A new batch of Iraqi documents has been released on the Foreign Military Studies Office web site. Only three are in English, so we need some Arabic speakers to take a look at the others.
Only one of the three translated documents appears interesting. It is from Iraqi intelligence, and includes the following order, dated Dec. 2, 2001:
In preparation for any foreign attack (God forbid), be prepared to disperse documents from Headquarters to private residences in various geographic locations.
Which raises three questions: Why was Iraqi intelligence fearful of a “foreign attack” in December 2001? Why was the agency so intent on preventing its documents from being captured by an enemy in the event that Baghdad fell? And, of course, were Iraqi intelligence records in fact dispersed to private residences in 2003, and if so, how many have been recovered?
The same document includes this related instruction, which appears to come from Saddam Hussein himself:
Subject: Details of the Bags
1. First bag
2. Second bag
3. And so on through bag 23. [Correspondence going out and correspondence coming in 1996 through 2002]
Next comes this, which is apparently a description of the last page of the document, rather than a translation:
Final document is the handling message turning over the bags with intelligence correspondence 1996-2002 to apparatus employee Jamal Hadi Majid with his signature witnessed by A’Del Aba’s Ali.
What a treasure trove! It sounds as though, on the eve of the March 2003 invasion, the last six years of Iraqi intelligence correspondence was given to a trusted agent for safekeeping. I did a quick Google search and found nothing on Jamal Hadi Majid. Has he been captured, and has the six years worth of correspondence been recovered? Is this the source of many of the documents now being released? Don’t know.
Again, one wonders why Iraqi intelligence was so concerned about preventing its files from being captured. This would happen only if Baghdad were taken, in which case such records would seem to be the least of the regime’s worries. Or maybe the concern was that the records might be destroyed by bombs; but then, the solution would be to put them in a hardened bunker, of which Iraq had many.