Russia spied for Saddam in Iraq war
According to Iraqi documents, Moscow had sources inside the US military as it planned and executed the 2003 war.india Updated: Mar 25, 2006 16:03 IST
The Russian government had sources inside the American military as it planned and executed the invasion of Iraq in 2003, according to Iraqi documents released as part of a Pentagon report.
The Russians passed information to deposed President Saddam Hussein on US troop movements and plans during the opening days of the war, including a crucial moment before the assault on Baghdad began, according to the report released on Friday.
The unclassified report does not assess the value of the information or provide details beyond citing two captured Iraqi documents that say the Russians collected information from sources "inside the American Central Command" and that battlefield intelligence was provided to Saddam through the Russian ambassador in Baghdad.
A classified version of the Pentagon report, titled "Iraqi Perspectives Project," is not being made public.
In Moscow, a duty officer with Russia's Foreign Ministry declined to comment on the report late on Friday evening. No one answered the phones at the Defence Ministry.
At Central Command headquarters in Florida officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment. State Department spokesman Adam Ereli declined to comment.
The Pentagon report cited two captured Iraqi documents on the matter of Russian intelligence, but the report also directly asserted that the intelligence link existed.
"Significantly, the (Saddam) regime was also receiving intelligence from the Russians that fed suspicions that the attack out of Kuwait was merely a diversion," the report's authors wrote.
They cited as an example a document that was sent to Saddam on March 24 and captured by the US military after Baghdad fell.
The Iraqi document said: "The information that the Russians have collected from their sources inside the American Central Command in Doha is that the United States is convinced that occupying Iraqi cities are impossible," and that as a result the US military would avoid urban combat.
Central Command's war-fighting headquarters is at an encampment in the desert just outside Doha, Qatar.
First Published: Mar 25, 2006 11:30 IST