It is time to add Syria to the Axis of Evil, if this Los Angeles Times piece is accurate.
A Syrian trading company with close ties to the ruling regime smuggled weapons and military hardware to Saddam Hussein between 2000 and 2003, helping Syria become the main channel for illicit arms transfers to Iraq despite a stringent U.N. embargo, documents recovered in Iraq show.
The private company, called SES International Corp., is headed by a cousin of Syria’s autocratic leader, Bashar Assad, and is controlled by other members of Assad’s Baath Party and Alawite clan. Syria’s government assisted SES in importing at least one shipment destined for Iraq’s military, the Iraqi documents indicate, and Western intelligence reports allege that senior Syrian officials were involved in other illicit transfers.
The article also highlights why the “oil for food” program was a scam managed by the United Nations.
Three Al Bashair contracts from 1993 to 1995, for example, indicated that Iraq had purchased $410 million, $500 million and $1.2 billion worth of sugar. U.N. inspectors found that most of the money was diverted to banks in Panama, the Bahamas and Monaco.
“The deals for sugar were a way to get money out of Iraq,” said a former U.N. inspector who studied the scam. “They would pay $10,000 to a trade company for $100 of sugar. And the rest of the money went into offshore accounts.”
I never understood how we could trust the mismanaged U.N. to oversee or manage the Iraqi “oil for food” program. It can’t keep its own house in order.