Russian intelligence agents are holding daily meetings with Iraqi officials in Baghdad (to secure Baath Party Documents)


Jan 10, 2002
From Associated Press,0,1150257.story

Russian, Iraqi Agents Reportedly Meeting

By Associated Press

March 28, 2003, 5:34 PM EST

MOSCOW -- Russian intelligence agents are holding daily meetings with Iraqi officials in Baghdad, and may be interested in gaining control of Iraqi secret service archives if Saddam Hussein's regime falls, the newspaper Nezavisimaya Gazeta reported Friday.

The newspaper said the archives could be highly valuable to Russia in three major areas: in protecting Russian interests that remain in a postwar Iraq; in determining to what extent the Saddam regime may have financed Russian political parties and movements; and in providing Russia access to intelligence that Iraqi agents conducted in other countries.

The report, which said that the meetings include agents of the SVR, Russia's foreign intelligence service, did not specify its sources. But the newspaper is believed to have well-placed contacts in military and intelligence spheres.

Telephone calls to the SVR press office were not answered Friday evening.

The report speculated that the archives were a key topic of discussion when Russian President Vladimir Putin sent Yevgeny Primakov to Baghdad last month to meet with Saddam.

Primakov, a Middle East expert, once headed the foreign intelligence service in the Soviet era. Later, as Soviet foreign minister, he attempted to negotiate an agreement to avoid the 1991 Gulf War.

His meeting with Saddam in February was given little publicity, with the Foreign Ministry issuing only a brief statement saying he had received Saddam's promise to cooperate with United Nations resolutions, and the trip has remained cloaked in mystery and speculation.
Copyright © 2003, The Associated Press