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Kuwait, Saudis Supplied Iraq With U.S. Arms

September 12, 1992|MURRAY WAAS and DOUGLAS FRANTZ | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

The GAO also concluded that the actual shipment was apparently much larger than the Saudi government admitted. "An intelligence report . . . indicates that 1,500 rather than 300 MK-84 bombs were transferred," the GAO said. "Furthermore, the intelligence indicates that an unknown quantity of (smaller) MK-82 bombs was also transferred."

Investigators were unable to determine how many TOW missiles were provided to Iraq by Kuwait. But the report said that after receiving reports of the transfer in 1984, the State Department delivered a protest to the Kuwaiti government.

The GAO attempted to investigate evidence that 4,000 fuses for mortar bombs manufactured by Eastman Kodak Co. in Rochester, N.Y., were transferred to Iraq by the United Arab Emirates in the fall of 1989. But the GAO said the U.S. Embassy in that country refused to allow investigators to travel there to investigate the allegations because of "political sensitivities."

The GAO report also found that a number of other nations transferred U.S. arms to Iraq without authorization from Washington. South Korea provided spare parts for 105-millimeter howitzers, Greece "probably transferred 400,000 rounds of U.S.-origin ammunition to Iraq in 1986" and Italy in 1985 sold "conversion kits to Iraq for Hughes helicopters that Iraq had purchased from the U.S. with assurance of non-military use."

But the GAO also found that proposals by Jordan, Egypt, Oman and Greece to send U.S. weapons to Iraq were turned down by the State Department.

A separate classified State Department cable supports the possibility that additional U.S. arms were shipped to Iraq. According to the cable, an official with a Brazilian arms manufacturer told State Department officials in July, 1985, that his employees had unloaded sophisticated U.S. military equipment, including TOW missiles, at an airport in Iraq.

Waas is a special correspondent, and Frantz is a Times staff writer.

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