US Thinks Iraq Is Helping Yugoslavs: Can you say World War III? : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

US Thinks Iraq Is Helping Yugoslavs

By John Diamond Associated Press Writer Monday, March 29, 1999; 3:44 p.m. EST

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Yugoslav defense specialists, expecting a war over Kosovo, met last month in Baghdad with Iraqi counterparts in what the Pentagon suspects was a collaboration between two U.S. enemies to prepare Yugoslavia to shoot down American war planes, government officials say.

U.S. intelligence agencies kept track of the Yugoslavs going to the meeting but could not get firsthand information about what went on, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Nevertheless, Pentagon officials said the meeting's timing and personnel, a similarity in Iraqi and Yugoslav air defense tactics since NATO airstrikes began and separate intelligence about possible arms deals between the two countries all suggest Yugoslavia sought information on U.S. fighter jets and combat tactics.

The Baghdad meeting was described to The Associated Press by senior Clinton administration officials, Pentagon officials familiar with intelligence matters and congressional officials briefed on the matter. They spoke on condition of anonymity.

Collaboration between Iraq and Yugoslavia predates the Kosovo crisis. Baghdad purchased some air defense equipment from Yugoslavia late in the Cold War, and there have been occasional contacts between the two countries' military experts.

But February's two-day visit of a four-member Yugoslav air defense team to the Iraqi military headquarters in Baghdad drew the immediate attention of U.S. intelligence. President Clinton and key congressional leaders were quickly notified, the officials said.

Both Yugoslavia and Iraq are under international arms embargoes, and U.S. officials said they have intelligence indicating Yugoslavia was offering to trade military spare parts in exchange for Iraqi intelligence on U.S. air operations. Yugoslavia may also be seeking parts from Iraq.

``Each country has supplies or parts it would like to get from the other country,'' a senior Pentagon official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

An official ``at a fairly high level'' in the Yugoslav military, and accompanying officers ``stayed a couple of days and met with a whole variety of people'' in Baghdad, including air defense specialists, the Pentagon official said.

At the time, Belgrade was resisting a diplomatic solution to the Kosovo crisis and bracing for threatened NATO airstrikes, and Iraq was challenging U.S. planes patrolling deny-flight zones over Iraq and coming under frequent retaliatory attacks.

U.S. officials said they suspect Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's desire to help another U.S. adversary outweighed any concerns about Serb attacks in Kosovo against ethnic Albanians, who are mostly Muslim.

Iraq has had little success defending against U.S. and British airstrikes during the skirmishes since the end of the Gulf War. But Pentagon officials say Baghdad is in a position to share detailed information about the tactics, flight patterns and capabilities of U.S. warplanes, including:

--How high do U.S. warplanes fly during attack missions and what predictable patterns do they follow?

--How long does it take a U.S. fighter to react with a radar-seeking missile after an air defense battery directs its radar at the plane?

--How can military equipment be hidden from view?

--How can radar systems be tuned to detect, even fleetingly, an F-117 stealth fighter?

In the opening days of the NATO campaign over Yugoslavia, Serb forces largely held off firing from their scores of surface-to-air missile batteries, then gradually intensified their air defense fire, the same basic tactic seen recently in Iraq.

Yugoslav fighter tactics, however, have been more aggressive. NATO shot down five highly capable Russian-made MiG-29s in recent days. But there have been signs the Serb warplanes are also trying to draw NATO combat aircraft into SAM traps, much as Iraqi fighter planes tried in recent weeks.

Pentagon officials say Yugoslavia's air defense system is more capable and better manned than Iraq.

``The Serbs have been tutored by the Russians. Their air defense system has been upgraded more recently than the Iraqis. They have huge numbers of mobile missile launchers, and better terrain and weather for hiding. And we think their people are better trained,'' one Pentagon official said.

The downing of an F-117A stealth fighter Saturday has defense officials concerned that U.S. adversaries' knowledge of American air combat methods is improving, the officials said.

But the concern hasn't stopped the strikes on Yugoslavia. More F-117As took off Monday from Aviano Air Base, Italy.

-- a (a@a.a), March 29, 1999


And it's one two three what are we fighten foW

Don't ask me cause I don't know,

the next stop is Kosovo....

And it't five six seven open up those peraly gates

Well ain't no time to wonder why, Whoopeee we'er all gona die


Applogies to Country Joe and the Fish......

-- helium (, March 29, 1999.

I just keep wondering if the Serbs might not just lob a Scud at Aviano Air Base. It must be an inviting target to them with all those aircraft parked all over the place. I wonder if they got any Scud help from Saddam?


-- Wildweasel (, March 29, 1999.

The US and NATO (read U.S.) might think that Iraq is helping the Serbs but it is clear that Russia IS helping them. They have already admited to giving humanitarian aid and does it stop there? I would be very skeptical that they are not providing other supplies. At the present NATO is targeting supply lines that they are aware of, but for every supply line they cut there will be ten more that spring up from sympathetic countries. Don't underestimate the Russians interest in starting a war even in the face of Unites States hand outs. They take the hand outs because there is no other option until now. War is very productive for a country. It invigorates the economy and gives people something to do. WW3 is inevitable with all the technology and hate lying around just waiting to be used. It's just a matter of when. In our lifetime? Who knows but I wouldn't be the least bit surprised.

Personally , I won't accept a draft to fight for the Clinton administration if it comes to that. "The country (USA) don't mean dumb".

-- (, March 29, 1999.

PS: Thousands of unemployed Russians heading towards Yugolsavia as we speak volunteering for combat on the side of their Serbian brothers. The Russian Ambassador is going to meet with Milosovich tomorrow with who by his side?? The Russian Minister of Defense. The news says that the Russian ambassador is very skilled as a negotiator and they are hopeful that he will be able to talk sense into Mr. Milosovich. My take on it is that he is going to solidify Russian support. Time will tell.

-- (, March 29, 1999.

@ Where did you get that ??

-- R. Wright (, March 30, 1999.

Ugly as the situation is it looks like Russia's mediation is our best shot at stopping WWIII. While I am always happy to see any country (especially the US) act independently of the UN, this NATO action is really bone-headed - unless NATO intelligence knows something important that they are not telling the world on CNN.

Personally, without *any* access to intelligence, it looks to me like NATO is continuing the dismantling of what was the USSR, since Russia has been getting more aggressive recently. If Yugoslavia can be eliminated, the Ukraine is probably next. The Ukraine, until the recent bombing, was already pro-west.

-- Anonymous99 (, March 30, 1999.

yup, big problems over there. but seeing WW3 is a bit of a stretch.

-- jocelyne slough (, March 30, 1999.

Look, TASS has reported that Russia plans to move tactical nukes to Byelorussia. Voice of Russia has threatened NATO pilots with responsibility for starting another world war. The Russian military and powerful Communist factions are talking war, promising aid to Yugoslavia. Then Yeltsin grabs the mike and talks peace. They are veering back and forth on this thing; it's very unstable. Read the Drudge report. Or, just read the New York Times, it's easier on the digestion.


-- Prepared (, March 30, 1999.

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