Laurie Mylroie has circulated the following April 26 AP story by Laurie Copans via her Iraq Newsletter. I can’t find the story online, but here is the text of the story in its entirety:
Iraq had chemical weapons and the means to deliver them ahead of last year’s US-led invasion, Israel’s military chief claimed in an interview published today.
Iraq may have transferred the weapons to Syria or buried them in desert sands, said Lieut General Moshe Yaalon, speaking a month after a parliamentary investigation criticised Israeli intelligence gathering on Iraq.
The parliamentary report found that Israeli warnings that Saddam Hussein could launch weapons of mass destruction were based on speculation and that Israeli authorities had little evidence to support this belief.
In today’s interview in the Yediot Ahronot newspaper, Yaalon said that before the war, Iraq had developed the ability to fit planes with chemical weapons that could have been used against Israel.
“There is no doubt that in the eight months leading up to the war, the Iraqis prepared an ability to deliver by air chemical weapons, at least at us,” Yaalon said.
He said the Iraqis were preparing drones and Russian Tupolev-16 and Sakhoi aircraft to carry dozens or hundreds of pounds of chemical substances.
He said the US military destroyed the planes in the first two days of the war – based on Israeli intelligence information. The chemical weapons, Yaalon said, were more carefully hidden.
“Perhaps they transferred them to another country, such as Syria,” Yaalon said. “We very clearly saw that something crossed into Syria. Perhaps, they (the Iraqis) buried them.”
The United States cited Iraq’s weapons capabilities as justification for the war. But since ousting Saddam last year, inspectors have failed to find chemical or biological weapons.
Yaalon, in tacit criticism of the US operation in Iraq, said he would have carried out searches in Iraq in a “different way than the Americans”, but did not elaborate.
Now will anyone express interest in discovering the source of the chemical weapons that were to be used in the foiled Jordanian attack came from?
UPDATE: Reader Tom Lyons forwards the link to the AP story as carried in the Jerusalem Post: “Ya’alon: Iraq had chemical weapons.”