Has Russia traded Iraq for Georgia ?

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Posted by andreas from p3EE3C5E2.dip.t-dialin.net ( on Monday, September 16, 2002 at 7:13AM :

Shlama all,

Has Russia traded Iraq for Georgia ? (in Caucasus, of course ...)

In addition to flanking salvos of bribes?

This, however, would come as no surprise as explained in the 3rd background article below from DebkaFiles.




Russia will back Iraq invasion, media reports say
Putin to support U.S. if Bush allows action on Chechen rebels

Matthew Fisher
National Post

Monday, September 16, 2002

MOSCOW - Russia has not yet said what it will do when the United Nations votes on any U.S.-backed resolution on Iraq. The Russian media, however, believes the matter has already been decided.

The NTV network's main newscast said last night that Russia will support the United States if the United States gives Russia the green light to do what it wants about Chechen rebels said to be hiding out in Georgia.

This analysis is no different than what has been offered for several days in Russia's newspapers and elsewhere. Iraq would be traded for Georgia.

As Vremya MN, a daily, declared on Friday: "Russia is offering to make no objection to how the United States deals with Iraq, in return for no obstruction from the United States in Russia's handling of Georgia." But the issue is much more complicated than that.

Vladimir Putin, the Russian President, transparently played the Georgia card last Wednesday. Only 24 hours before George W. Bush addressed the United Nations about how the world had to be protected from Iraq, Mr. Putin gave Georgia an ultimatum, warning that Russia would be obliged to protect itself from Chechen terrorists if the Georgian government wouldn't or couldn't root them out of the Pankisi Gorge, which abuts Russian territory in Chechnya.

Abandoning Iraq will not be easy. Russia has long been Iraq's greatest friend and ally outside the Arab world, even if Iraq has not always returned the favour. Russia is owed as much as US$9-billion by Iraq for weapons which Baghdad bought from the Soviet Union.

Washington's ambassador to Moscow, Alexander Vershbow, has not been shy about pointing out that Russia's chances of seeing some of that money would be greatly improved if Saddam Hussein were ousted and Iraq had a new, Western-oriented regime.

Russian arms merchants have apparently already decided they will get no money from Iraq as long as Saddam is in power. In recent months, they have been trying hard to sell guns and aircraft to the Gulf sheikdoms which will serve as the springboard for any U.S.-led military attack on Iraq.

Before Russia decides whether to use its veto at the UN Security Council, it will also undoubtedly be seeking assurances that its oil companies will receive a significant share of Iraq's oil business. Russian companies such as Lukoil already receive several billion dollars a year for helping to sell Iraqi oil under the UN's oil-for-food program. Those companies naturally fear U.S. competitors will be given preferential treatment if Saddam is deposed.

Iraq has the world's second largest proven oil reserves after Saudi Arabia, although almost nothing has been done to develop that potential since the first Gulf War in 1991. If Saddam is eliminated and Iraq's oil flows freely again on the world market, the price of oil will go down.

As Russia is the second biggest oil exporter after Saudi Arabia and its economic recovery is tied to those exports, the Russian economy is likely to be deeply harmed if Iraq is allowed to export again. Marginal oil fields in Siberia, for example, may not be developed because Iraqi oil would be much cheaper.

The United States could ease some of that pain by giving Russia special access to Iraq's oil business and by not interfering with Russia's plans to build a US$1-billion nuclear power plant in Iran. The United States could also lower tariffs on Russian exports and help Russia gain the place it covets in the World Trade Organization.

While not tipping its hand, a day after saying on Thursday that the Iraqi problem had to be resolved through diplomacy, Russia hinted that it might support the United States after all. Igor Ivanov, the Foreign Minister, warned that "it is a serious problem" if Iraq does not comply with existing UN resolutions and allows UN weapons inspectors into the country.

For its part, the United States has stated publicly that Russia should give Georgia time to root out the Chechen rebels on its territory. However, the Russian media has hinted that the United States may be sending different signals to the Kremlin privately.

© Copyright 2002 National Post



Assyrian News Watch
* * * * * * * * * * * *

1] Russia rooting for a quick hit on Saddam
2] Tactical Nuclear Weapons Deployed - English/Ivrith (Hebrew)

[ANU editor's note:
The Hebrew version of the below background article from DebkaFiles contains paragraphs which are not included in the English version. ANU's general experience is that the otherwise often iffy DebkaFiles are valuable mostly for this additional info in the Hebrew section being however blacked out from the English part.
Below there is added an English translation of the most important missing parts relevant for the topic of the US-Russia-Iraq-complex. (Marked with *** )]


1] Russia rooting for a quick hit on Saddam

Source: AsiaTimes
Date: Sept 05, 2002

By John Helmer

MOSCOW - Nuri Said was the puppet prime minister of Iraq during the 1950s, when the British pulled all the strings in Baghdad.

When he was toppled by revolutionary Iraqi officers in 1958, Said's mangled corpse was dragged through the streets, much as President George W Bush and his colleagues are thinking of doing to Saddam Hussein, if they can catch him. Said used to say, "You can always rent an Arab, but you can never buy him." His end more or less confirmed that. The Bush administration is filled with violent men with short memories who won't have heard of Nuri Pasha, and aren't in the frame of mind to listen to his advice.

Nuri Said's downfall was attributed at the time to the cleverness of the Soviet Union, in part because some of the revolutionary soldiers were communists, but mostly because it was the Cold War and Washington and London had no other way of explaining unexpected outbreaks of nationalism, localism and the like. It didn't take long for Moscow to realize the fragility of the new situation in Baghdad, as the Baath Party, in which Saddam got his start, began its long and bloody rise to power. Russians who have followed Iraqi history from those days to the present know that the only certain thing about Iraqi politicians is their thirst for blood; and the only reason for Saddam's long rule is is that he has outdrunk all others. Such Iraqis, Russians understand very well, are rentable, but cannot be bought.

What quietly drives President Vladimir Putin's strategy in Iraq is that Russia needs stability, especially in the oil markets. The pressure on Iraq has kept large volumes of crude oil off world markets and allowed the Russian government to navigate out of its debt trough on the back of high oil prices. But an American invasion is bound to upset everything. To be sure, in the first days of the attack, oil will jump to US$30 or $35 a barrel. But if the Americans establish the protectorate they say they are aiming for, then it is near certain that the spigot on Iraqi taps is going to open. The flood of new oil on to the market, by which the fresh Iraqi democracy will pay for its American tutors, will be so great, prices are likely to collapse to between $10 and $15. The American people will celebrate the victory all the way to their petrol pumps. The Russian people - approaching by then a parliamentary election, followed by a presidential poll - won't be so cheery. They can kiss goodbye to much of the planned investment in the Arctic, St Petersburg and the Baltic shore, on Sakhalin and along the Pacific coast, all of which depends on the stability of oil prices at around $20.

Putin may be quietly whispering Nuri Pasha's venerable advice into Bush's ear. But he already understands that Bush, having already gone so far, must change the Iraqi regime, if not wage war. Putin's hope, therefore, is that Bush won't have the nerve for risking the US occupation that most threatens the Russian interest. The best outcome, from Putin's point of view, would be an American attack on Saddam himself, taking a leaf from Ronald Reagan's script when he dispatched 120 warplanes to kill Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi in his tent in the middle of Tripoli. Qaddafi's infant child was killed; Qaddafi survived.

In a wicked world run by ill-educated men who can't be reasoned with, the best outcome now for Russia is for the Americans to try the biggest assassination attempt in the history of the world - and leave Iraqi oil in the ground, where it does the Russians the most good, at least for a few years yet. Even the timing of the attack ought to be clear - within three weeks of Tuesday, November 5. That's election day in the US.

Source: Debkafile
Date: Oct 06, 2001

2] Tactical Nuclear Weapons Deployed

6 October: DEBKAfile’s military and intelligence sources report that Presidents George W. Bush and Vladimir Putin, in a single 70-minuted conversation on September 23, eleven days after the terrorist assaults in New York and Washington, agreed on the deployment of tactical weapons. This is an epic shift in the global balance of strength.
Putin gave the nod for US forces poised in Central Asia to jump into Afghanistan to be armed with tactical nuclear weapons, such as small neutron bombs, which emit strong radiation, nuclear mines, shells, and other nuclear ammunition suited to commando warfare in mountainous terrain.
In return, Bush assented to Russia deploying tactical nuclear weapons units around Chechnya after Moscow’s ultimatum to the rebels, some of whom are backed by Osama Bin Laden, to surrender, went by without response. DEBKAfile’s military sources place the US nuclear weapons in four former Soviet Central Asian bases: the military air facility at Tuzel, 15 km (10 miles) northwest of the Uzbek capital of Tashkent; at Kagady in the Termez region; in Khandabad, near the city of Karshi; and at the military air base in Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan.
In addition to the nuclear weapons units, Russian bombers carrying small neutron bombs were moved to Russian military air bases around the border of the breakaway province, in Stavropol northwest of Chechnya, the Godowta base in Georgia to the south, and Mozdok in northern Osetia, northwest of Chechnya.
Russian and U.S. military sources refuse to take questions on these startling events.
The US is far from eager to actively inject a nuclear element into the war against terrorism and will not be the first to do so. According to DEBKAfile’s military sources, the US plans to hold those tactical nuclear weapons in reserve, unleashing them in the campaign against bin Laden only in certain extreme circumstances:
1. To counter a move by Bin Laden’s men first bring out nuclear, chemical or biological weapons against the US force fighting inside Afghanistan.
2. If a chemical or biological assault by the Taliban against Pakistan.
3. Should groups of bin Laden’s Al Qaeda network – either in Central Asia or the Balkans – wield these weapons of mass destruction against US military targets or US nuclear arms in other parts of the world.
4. If using them is the only way to save heavy American combat casualties.


******* With regard to Iraq the two leaders agreed that if the United States will decide to finally attack Iraq Russia will drop her objections against such an attack and will support the US by supplying intelligence information on such Iraqi targets as WMD (=Weapon of Mass Destruction) production and/or firing sites as well as information on headquarters and camps of terror organisations.
If a situation will emerge in which Saddam Hussein, his regime and the power groups surrounding him will crumble down, the US promised that it will enable Russia to maintain the degree of influence she holds in the Iraqi capital and chiefly that the US will participate together with Russia in the rebuilding and the development/exploitation of the Iraqi oil industry. ******

לגבי עיראק, שני הנשיאים הסכימו, כי אם ארצות הברית תחליט לתקוף סופית את עיראק, תסיר רוסיה את התנגדותה לתקיפה כזו ואף תעזור לארצות הברית בהעברת מידע מודיעיני על מטרות עיראקיות של ייצור או החזקת נשק השמדה המוני ועל מפקדות ומחנות של ארגון טרור.ח
אם יווצר מצב ובו סדאם חוסיין, משטרו, והקבוצה השלטת שמסביבו יתמוטטו, מבטיחה ארצות הברית לאפשר לרוסיה לשמור בידיה את מידת ההשפעה שיש לה בבירה העיראקית ובעיקר ארצות הברית תשתף, ביחד אתה את רוסיה בבנייה מחדש ובפיתוח תעשיית הנפט העיראקית.ח

-- andreas
-- signature .

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