[Marxism] Putin to the rescue

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sat Jun 19 08:11:31 MDT 2004


Russia Gave U.S. Intel on Iraq, Putin Says
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS, June 19, 2004

ASTANA, Kazakhstan (AP) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin said Friday 
his government warned Washington that Saddam Hussein's regime was 
preparing attacks in the United States and its interests abroad -- an 
assertion that appears to bolster President Bush's contention that Iraq 
was a threat.

Putin emphasized that the intelligence didn't cause Russia to waver from 
its firm opposition to the U.S.-led war last year, but his statement was 
the second this month in which he has offered at least some support for 
Bush on Iraq.

``After Sept. 11, 2001, and before the start of the military operation 
in Iraq, the Russian special services ... received information that 
officials from Saddam's regime were preparing terrorist attacks in the 
United States and outside it against the U.S. military and other 
interests,'' Putin said.

``Despite that information ... Russia's position on Iraq remains 
unchanged,'' he said in the Kazakh capital, Astana, after regional 
economic and security summits. He said Russia didn't have any 
information that Saddam's regime had actually been behind any terrorist 
acts.

``It's one thing to have information that Saddam's regime is preparing 
terrorist attacks, (but) we didn't have information that it was involved 
in any known terrorist attacks,'' he said.

Putin didn't elaborate on any details of the alleged plots or mention 
whether they were tied to al-Qaida. He said Bush had personally thanked 
one of the leaders of Russia's intelligence agencies for the information 
but that he couldn't comment on how critical it was in the U.S. decision 
to invade Iraq.

In Washington, a U.S. official said Putin's information did not add to 
what the United States already knew about Saddam's intentions.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Putin's tip 
didn't give a time or place for a possible attack.

Bush alleged Thursday that Saddam had ``numerous contacts'' with 
al-Qaida and said Iraqi agents had met with the terror network's leader, 
Osama bin Laden, in Sudan.

Saddam ``was a threat because he had terrorist connections -- not only 
al-Qaida connections, but other connections to terrorist 
organizations,'' Bush said.

However, a commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks reported this 
week that while there were contacts between al-Qaida and Iraq, they did 
not appear to have produced ``a collaborative relationship.''

Also Thursday, a top Russian diplomat called for international 
inspectors to resolve conclusively the question of whether Iraq had any 
weapons of mass destruction.

``This problem must be resolved ... because to a great extent it became 
the pretext for the start of the war against Iraq,'' the Interfax news 
agency quoted Deputy Foreign Minister Yuri Fedotov as saying. He said 
such a finding would allow the U.N. Security Council to ``finally close 
the dossier on Iraqi weapons.''

In the wake of the invasion of Iraq, Putin sharply rebuked the United 
States for going to war despite opposition within the U.N. Security 
Council and said the threat posed to international security by the war 
was greater than that posed by Saddam.

But Putin's relationship with Bush is warm by the accounts of both 
leaders, and last week he said he has no patience for those who 
criticize Bush on Iraq.

``I don't pay attention to such publications,'' Putin said of media 
criticism of Bush at the end of the Group of Eight summit in the United 
States, according to the ITAR-Tass news agency.

Putin said opponents who criticize Bush on Iraq ``don't have any kind of 
moral right. ... They conducted exactly the same kind of policy in 
Yugoslavia.''

Russia vehemently opposed the NATO bombing attacks on Yugoslavia in 
1999, which the United States pushed for under President Clinton.


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