Serbia, Iraq forge secret military pact
Jerusalem Post -- 1999
Monday, March 29, 1999 12 Nisan 5759 Updated Mon., Mar. 29 03:16
Serbia, Iraq forge secret military pact
By DOUGLAS DAVIS LONDON (March 29) - Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic and Iraq's Saddam Hussein have concluded a secret military pact that will enhance their abilities to withstand allied bombing raids, according to reports in London yesterday.
"We are aware of the reports that there is a connection between the Iraqi and the Serbian regimes," a British official said at the weekend. "We believe that they are accurate and based on good information. Obviously this is a cause for concern and demonstrates the sort of company that Milosevic is now keeping."
A spokesman for British Prime Minister Tony Blair said Blair "is aware of these reports," adding: "Nothing would surprise us about Saddam or Milosevic."
According to a report in the Sunday Telegraph, Milosevic and Saddam have authorized their officials to work closely to fulfill their joint goal of shooting down aircraft flying bombing missions over Serbia and Iraq.
The alliance was initiated with a visit to Baghdad by a Serbian military delegation earlier this month, shortly before NATO commanders last week launched Operation Allied Force. The visit, which marked the first steps in formalizing the Serbian-Iraqi alliance, was intended to explore ways in which the two countries could cooperate to their common advantage.
The Serb delegation was headed by Serbian Deputy Defense Minister Lt.-Gen. Jovan Djukovic and followed a visit by Ivan Ivanovich, a Serb chemical and biological weapons expert, who arrived in Baghdad on March 9 to spend several days visiting Iraqi military facilities.
In addition to conventional military sites, the delegation also visited an Iraqi pharmaceutical plant at Samarra, 170 kilometers from Baghdad, which UN weapons inspectors say is a chemical weapons production site.
Middle East intelligence officials say both visits were authorized by Milosevic. The visits were also confirmed by the Foreign Office in London, where officials regard the growing cooperation between the two with alarm.
"It appears they have identified a common aim - to shoot down allied aircraft," a senior diplomat was quoted as saying. "Saddam and Milosevic see themselves as international outcasts who must support each other if they are to survive."
In return for Serb assistance in rebuilding Iraq's air defenses and making its jet fighters airworthy, Saddam has reportedly agreed to provide Milosevic with oil and cash to sustain the Serbs' battered economy and its war effort.
Since Iraq was subjected to a massive air bombardment by US and British aircraft during and after Operation Desert Fox last December, Saddam has been desperate to shoot down allied bombers and capture their pilots.
The Iraqi air-defense system is currently based on obsolete SA-2 and SA-3 Soviet missile systems, which are no match for the sophisticated air power deployed by US and British fighters patrolling the no-fly zones in northern and southern Iraq.
The Iraqis want Serbia to provide them with the advanced SA-7 anti-aircraft missile system, which was originally built to a Soviet design but has been upgraded by the Serbs and could seriously threaten allied warplanes. It is understood that Serb technicians are already assisting the Iraqis to prepare air-defense traps for allied warplanes.
The Iraqis are also reported to be seeking Serb assistance to modernize their aging squadrons of MiG-21 and MiG-29 fighters. Serb technicians regularly serviced Iraqi MiGs before the current conflict, and there have been reports that, despite the current bombardment, Serbian military specialists are being assigned to work with the Iraqi air force.
It is also believed that Moscow, which has condemned the NATO assault, will be more forthcoming - and more open - about its assistance to Iraq.
Asia Times-- 2000
Baghdad, Belgrade and Moscow gang up on Washington
Global Intelligence Update
Weekly Analysis April 19, 2000
Russia has reportedly brokered a deal to upgrade Iraqi air defense systems. The weapons upgrades Iraq could receive are of the same type that may have downed an F-117 stealth plane over Serbia during Operation Allied Force. After a visit to Belgrade, Iraq's defense minister met his Russian counterpart in Moscow April 14. There is a substantial history of military cooperation among the three countries, and Iraq and Yugoslavia have recently indicated a possible alliance. The possibility of such an alliance, tacitly supported by Russia may be nearing reality and could threaten US policy.
Iraqi Defense Minister Col Gen Sultan Hashim Ahmad arrived in Moscow April 14 and met with Russian Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev, reported Interfax. Prior to his arrival in Moscow, Ahmad was in Belgrade, Yugoslavia. The past military cooperation among the three countries offers an explanation of Ahmad's travels. The three may be cooperating to create simultaneous crises for US policy.
Prior to and during Operation Allied Force, Yugoslavia and Iraq maintained close military cooperation. A Yugoslav military delegation, headed by the deputy defense minister, visited Baghdad just before commencement of the Nato bombing of Serbia, according to a March 1999 Jerusalem Post report. Both nations, threatened by US warplanes, needed improved air defense systems. Serb technicians regularly serviced Iraq's Soviet-made MiG-21s and MiG-29s, according to the Jerusalem Post. The two nations also reportedly worked out a deal. In return for Yugoslavia rebuilding Iraqi air defenses, Baghdad would provide Belgrade with oil and cash to sustain the war effort.
The Washington Times in March 1999 cited a US intelligence official who said that some of Iraq's integrated air-defense system, including surface-to-air missiles (SAM), was of ''Yugoslav origin'' and may have been sent from Russia via Yugoslavia. The paper also claimed that there were reports of limited contacts between Iraqi and Yugoslav air-defense officials several months prior to Operation Allied Force.
During Operation Allied Force on March 27, 1999, a US Air Force F-117 stealth fighter-bomber went down over Yugoslavia. A US Pentagon official initially assessed that a Serb SAM hit the F-117, reported The Washington Times. The official said the plane apparently dropped below 20,000 feet, at which time the Serbs optically spotted the plane and launched either an SA-3 or SA-6 SAM. The report also cited several unnamed US sources, who speculated that Russia had helped upgrade Serbia's air defenses.
The Times of London reported October 7 that Russia, in violation of an arms embargo, had actually supplied the Yugoslav army with new warheads, fuses and sensors for its SA-6 missiles. The Pentagon has still not officially disclosed its findings on what caused the F-117 to go down.
Operation Allied Force stretched US forces to their limits. When the bombing campaign began in March 1999, the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt, stationed in the Persian Gulf, re-deployed to assist the war effort. Another carrier, the USS Kitty Hawk re-deployed from the Pacific region to cover the Persian Gulf - leaving the entire Pacific region void of a US carrier presence for 86 days. Additionally, many US warplanes stationed in Turkey to enforce the northern no-fly zone in Iraq were used for missions in Yugoslavia - leaving the northern no-fly zone under-patrolled.
Recently, Iraq and Yugoslavia have expressed renewed enthusiasm in mutual cooperation. A Yugoslav delegation, headed by Deputy Prime Minister Maja Gojkovic, was in Baghdad March 28 and met with Iraqi Vice President Taha Yasin Ramadan, who expressed Iraq's eagerness to expand comprehensive cooperation with Yugoslavia.
Iraq now appears to be looking to Yugoslavia and Russia to upgrade its air defenses. Interfax Russian News reported April 16, 2000, that Iraqi Defense Minister Col Gen Sultan Hashim Ahmad arrived in Moscow via Belgrade. In Moscow, Iraq's defense minister met with Russian Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev.
On the same day, the London-based Sunday Telegraph reported that Russian military officials have brokered a deal with Belarus to rebuild Iraq's air defenses. The report stated that the Belarussian state-owned military hardware company, Beltechexport, agreed to upgrade Iraqi air defense systems. Under the deal, Beltechexport will upgrade Iraqi anti-aircraft guns as well as Iraq's SA-3 anti-aircraft missiles. Also, Iraqi air defense crews will reportedly be sent to Belarus for specialized training, where they will be familiarized with the latest Russian electronic warfare systems.
If the report is true, it would not be the first time Iraq has attempted to upgrade its air defenses to threaten US and British warplanes. In 1998, the CIA uncovered a plot by Iraqi agents to secretly purchase Tamara - a special electronic warfare system made in the Czech Republic that can track radar-evading stealth planes like the F-117 and B-2 and may have been involved in the F-117 stealth shoot-down over Serbia.
Military and technological cooperation between Baghdad and Belgrade poses potential simultaneous threats in two different arenas. Milosevic may simply be helping Iraq to give himself some leeway without launching his own crisis. However, if Iraq seriously threatened US warplanes while Milosevic simultaneously ignited a crisis in Kosovo, the United States would have serious trouble containing both crises. It is not certain that Saddam acting alone would want to shoot down US planes even if he could. There would be severe repercussions, such as the extensive bombing of palaces and military facilities. The real threat is dual-crises in Iraq and Yugoslavia.
Russia is positioned to challenge US policies and has criticized the Nato bombing of Yugoslavia and the UN bombing of Iraq. The downing of the F-117 in Serbia was linked to reports that Moscow upgraded Yugoslav air defenses, and Russia is now reportedly behind Iraqi attempts to upgrade its air defenses. The possibility of an Iraqi-Yugoslav alliance tacitly supported by Russia is becoming more of a reality. The ramifications of such an alliance could result in simultaneous crises that threaten the safety of US forces and the maintenance of US policy in each region.
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Center for Non-Proliferation Studies, California--2002
Yugoslavia currently has no active nuclear weapons program, though it intermittently pursued both a nuclear energy and weapons program throughout the Tito regime. The former Yugoslavia is known to have produced a variety of chemical weapons, with a majority of the stockpile inherited by the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY), and there have been allegations of CW use in the former Yugoslavia. There is no evidence of a biological warfare program with the former Yugoslav republic or any of its successor states. It has acquired and developed short-range tactical rockets, and cooperated with Iraq on the manufacture of rockets and other military projects before Desert Storm. It extensively employs Soviet/Russian air defense missile systems.
Yugoslavia currently has no active nuclear weapons program. From the early 1950s through the mid-1970s, Yugoslavia intermittently pursued both a nuclear energy and weapons program. The regime of Josip Tito, primarily driven by a desire for international status rather than security concerns, initiated the program in the late 1940s. Belgrade collaborated with Norway —which had an advanced nuclear research program—until Tito deactivated the weapons program in the early 1960s. After India conducted its first nuclear test in 1974, Yugoslavia restarted its weapons program to “compete” with its rival for leadership of the nonaligned movement. Limited financial resources and indifference among the nuclear scientists working on the program brought it to an end in 1987 without ever producing a functioning weapon. In August 2002, 48 kilograms of 80% highly enriched uranium was transferred from the Vinca Institute of Nuclear Sciences near Belgrade to a processing plant in Dmitrovgrad, Russia. The Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia acceded to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in 1970. The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) has not formally acceded to the NPT (Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, and Slovenia joined the NPT after independence).
There is no evidence in the open literature of the existence of a biological warfare program within the former Yugoslav republic or any of its successor states. The former Yugoslavia signed the Geneva Protocol in 1929. The FRY, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and Slovenia are all states parties of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BWC).
The former Yugoslavia is known to have produced a variety of chemical weapons (CW). The majority of stockpiled CW is believed to have been inherited by its successor, the FRY, which consists of Serbia and Montenegro. Reports indicate that the former Yugoslavia’s Army produced large quantities of sarin (30 tons), sulfur mustard, phosgene, the incapacitant BZ (allegedly a stockpile of 300 tons), and tear gas. At least four chemical warfare production facilities have been identified in Serbia: Prva Iskra in Baric; Miloje Blagojevic in Lucani; and Milojie Zakic and Merima in Krusevic. There have been allegations that CW was used in the area of the former Yugoslavia, with both Bosnian Serbs and Bosnian Croats alleging that Bosnian government forces used chlorine during the conflict in Bosnia, Bosnian Serbs used BZ against Moslem refugees in July 1995, and of the FRY Army having used BZ against Kosovo Albanians in 1999. The former Yugoslavia signed the Geneva Protocol in 1929. In April 2000, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia acceded to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC).
Yugoslavia has acquired and developed short-range tactical rockets and anti-aircraft systems, including the 262mm M-87 Orkan multiple rocket launcher, produced at the Vogosca facility north of Sarajevo. Timer fuses for the rocket are produced at the Binas facility. Prior to Desert Storm, Yugoslavia worked cooperatively with Iraq in the latter’s efforts to manufacture this rocket indigenously. Belgrade and Baghdad have cooperated on other military projects, including Iraq’s transfer of production plans for the Al-Taw’han medium-range air-to-air missile and Yugoslavia’s reported assistance with Iraq’s Al-Samoud ballistic missile. There are unconfirmed reports that Serbia had a ballistic missile development program during the 1990s, which it may have abandoned due to financial constraints. Yugoslavian air defenses extensively utilize Soviet/Russian short-range surface-to-air missiles (SAM), and Belgrade used the SA-2 SAM as a ballistic missile during the recent Balkan conflicts. Other medium-range missile systems employed by Belgrade include the Russian-made FROG-7 and the Swedish RBS-15F air-to-ship missile. Yugoslavia is not a member of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR).
This material is produced independently for NTI by the Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of and has not been independently verified by NTI or its directors, officers, employees, agents. Copyright © 2002 by MIIS.
17 February 2001 GSR010217
AIRSTRIKES ON IRAQ
The US and British airstrikes on Iraq on16 February were undoubtedly a high-risk strategy. Washington and London will have been all too aware of the criticism that they would face. President George W Bush may have felt a need to show that he intends to get tough with Saddam Hussein, but he will have a hard time trying to convince the international community that the strikes were more than just trying to complete the unfinished business of a decade earlier. The airstrikes come at a time of high tension in the Middle East and there is a very real chance of a backlash on the Arab street. The fact is Saddam has secured much popular support in the Arab world as a champion of the embattled Palestinians. In the eyes of Washington and London, an emboldened Saddam is posing a greater threat to regional security especially as international sanctions are eroding and Iraq appears to have improved its air defence capabilities. In a worst-case scenario, Israel might launch an airstrike against Islamist guerrillas in Lebanon that could result in a large-scale civilian loss of life. If this happened, Saddam would again offer support to those confronting Israel, and he would again challenge the US and British in the Gulf. Washington and London would then face an even more vigorous popular backlash if they tried to contain Saddam by force. Basically, if the US and British wanted to degrade Iraq’s air defence capability and issue a warning to Saddam to “stay in his box”, they may have decided it was better to do so now rather than wait for Arab-Israeli violence to escalate further. US and British aircraft apparently faced an increased threat as Russia and the Serb-dominated Yugoslavia are said to have helped improve Iraq’s air defences. While the new government in Yugoslavia may want to improve ties with the West, there are Serbian elements keen to maintain ties with Baghdad. Vojislav Seselj, head of the Serb Radical Party, visited Iraq in mid-February . The Pentagon said 24 US and British strike aircraft - including F-18s, F-14s,F-15s and British Tornados were used in the mission. Six aircraft were reportedly British, while the total air package was about 70, and included aircraft providing jamming, electronic counter-measures, suppression of any enemy air defences, command and control, and tanker aircraft. The aircraft used were not long-range bombers, but reportedly aircraft based in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, as well as from the aircraft carrier USS Harry S Truman. Iraq said that two civilians were killed and more than 20 others were wounded in the attacks. The attack required White House approval as the targets were outside the air exclusion zones. Normal US rules of engagement enable aircraft to strike targets that threaten them inside the no-fly zones. The Pentagon also indicated that such strikes are not unprecedented: the last time US aircraft went north of the 33rd parallel was during Desert Fox in December 1998, and the last time US aircraft went south of the 36th parallel was in October 1999. The reasons given for the airstrikes were summed up in a Pentagon press briefing. “The military operation was conducted because the Iraqi air defences had been increasing both their frequency and the sophistication of their operations. Both the frequency and the more sophisticated command and control of their operations had yielded an increased threat to our aircraft and our crews,” said director for operations of the Joint Staff, Lieutenant General Greg Newbold. The increased sophistication reportedly included all types of air defence systems: surface-to-air missiles, anti-aircraft artillery, and what was described as “something like an unguided missile system.” In the attack, four command-and-control nodes north of the 33rd parallel and one to the south were targeted. It is noteworthy that some of the radar systems destroyed were said to be capable of reaching well into the no-fly zones, while the attacking aircraft used standoff munitions and never went north of the 33rd parallel. The airstrikes will ensure that forthcoming visit to the region by US Secretary of State Colin Powell will attract some popular hostility. The five-day visit begins on 23 February and will take in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Egypt, Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian territories. GCC leaders will be compelled to make some decisions regarding Iraq: do they improve ties with Saddam or support Washington’s attempt to reinvigorate efforts to oppose the Iraqi leader? President Bush has demonstrated his resolve to be tough on Saddam and he appears keen to offer further help to the opposition Iraqi National Congress (INC). The INC has said it supports the "no-fly" zones and has called for them to be extended to offer further protection to minorities. However, the airstrikes risk undermining the prospects of the exiled INC obtaining support inside Iraq. A few INC members are due to receive weapons training in the US in the next few weeks. Previously the US has offered “non-lethal” assistance to them. Some US officials have described the training as aimed at enabling the INC to protect its non-lethal activities in Iraq. However it is described, it is an acknowledged step up in the type of training being offered to the INC. The INC members are due to receive their training in College Station, Texas, from former police, military and special forces personnel. The contract for the training is said to be worth $98,000 to the private Guidry Group, and forms part of a $4 million aid package. [GSR010203] The Iraqi opposition may come to expect more, especially with President Bush’s new appointment of Paul Wolfowitz as deputy defence secretary. Whilst out of office during the Clinton administration, Wolfowitz tried to persuade the White House to arm, train and, significantly, provide air cover for Iraqi rebels. Under the 1998 Iraq Liberation Act, the US has set aside $97 million for arms and military training for the INC. However, to date the US has spent less than $500,000 on non-lethal activities.