Thoughts on South African and international politics and culture

Monday, March 27, 2006

Russians gave details of US battle plans to Hussein
The Washington Post reported over the weekend that a US Army intelligence report states that Russian officials gathered sensitive information from inside US military command regarding battle plans for the attack on Iraq and passed them straight over to Saddam Hussein.
"The intelligence reports, which the study said were provided to Hussein through the Russian ambassador in Baghdad at the height of the U.S. assault, warned accurately that American formations intended to bypass Iraqi cities on their thrust toward Baghdad. The reports provided some specific numbers on U.S. troops, units and locations, according to Iraqi documents dated March and April 2003 and later captured by the United States."
This will add tremendous strain to a US-Russian relationship that is already damaged at best. Russia, and Putin in particular, have proven to be prickly allies for the US in the last few years, openly opposing the invasion of Iraq and currently any action against Iran. Putin's own activities stifling Russia's democracy, and influencing neighbouring states, have also won him few friends in the West. But this is the first hint of true blatant betrayal, and takes Russian defiance of the West to a new level. One doubts that any comment will come out of Russia, unless specifically and openly requested by Bush, but one can imagine that there will be much diplomatic chatter behind the scenes. It'll be well worth following the Washington Post for further developments...