Die irakischen Massenvernichtungswaffen - Reale Bedrohung oder "wilde Behauptungen"? / The dishonest case for a war on Iraq
Ein Gegendossier zu Tony Blairs Papier aus den Reihen der Labour Party / LABOUR AGAINST THE WAR's COUNTER-DOSSIER
Im Folgenden dokumentieren wir einen Artikel von Dirk Eckert aus der Internetzeitung "Telepolis" (www.heise.de/tp/deutsch/), in dem ein Überblick gegeben wird über ein Papier, das in Großbritannien versucht, ein wenig Gegenöffentlichkeit gegen die Anti-Irak-Propaganda der britischen Regierung herzustellen. Das Papier selbst, eine Art "Anti-Blair", folgt im englischen Original, allerdings von uns gekürzt.
Die irakischen Massenvernichtungswaffen
Von Dirk Eckert
Dem Dossier von Blair
haben Kritiker aus den Reihen der Labour-Partei ein Gegendossier entgegengestellt, das von "wilden Behauptungen als einem Vorwand für den Krieg" spricht
Tony Blair hat im September ein Dossier vorgelegt, das die Gefährlichkeit des Irak beweisen und somit einen Krieg gegen das Land als legitim erscheinen lassen sollte. "Die Geschichte von Saddams Massenvernichtungswaffen ist keine amerikanisch-britische Propaganda. Die Geschichte und die gegenwärtige Gefahr sind wirklich vorhanden", so Blair. Genau das wird in einem Gegendossier bezweifelt, das Kritiker des Kurses von Tony Blair über das Rüstungspotenzial des Irak verfasst haben.
Die Autoren des Gegendossiers sind Alan Simpson, Abgeordneter von Blairs Labour-Partei, und Glen Rangwala, Dozent für Politik am Newnham College der Universität Cambridge.
"Es gibt keinen Grund für einen Krieg gegen Irak. Das Land hat nicht gedroht, die USA oder Europa anzugreifen, und hat keine Verbindung zur al-Qaida. Es gibt kein Anzeichen dafür, dass das Land neue Massenvernichtungswaffen oder Trägersysteme hat."
So seien etwa die Aussagen von Tony Blair und George W. Bush über das Atompotenzial des Irak nicht glaubwürdig. Am 7. September hatten Blair und Bush Satellitenbilder gezeigt, auf der neue Gebäude in der Nähe einer Atomanlage zu sehen sind. Für die USA und Großbritannien ein Beweis dafür, dass der Irak wieder an der Entwicklung von Atomwaffen arbeite. Simpson und Rangwala konfrontieren diese Behauptung mit Aussagen der Internationalen Atomenergiebehörde (IAEA), von der die Bilder stammen. "Wir wissen nicht, ob das etwas bedeutet. Eine Gebäude zu errichten ist das eine, ein Nuklearwaffenprogramm erneut zu starten, ist das andere." Was C-Waffen betreffe, so hat der Irak diese Waffen größtenteils unter Aufsicht der Unscom zerstört. Das gleiche gelte für die Produktionsanlagen. Auch Al-Hakam, die Anlage für die Herstellung von B-Waffen, wurde 1996 zerstört.
Vor dem zweiten Golfkrieg, als Saddam Hussein noch ein nützlicher Verbündeter gegen den Iran war, gingen Großbritannien und die USA noch anders mit dem Land um. Auch darauf weisen die Autoren des Gegendossiers hin. In den Jahren vor der Invasion Kuwaits hat der Irak unter Saddam Hussein tatsächlich Chemiewaffen produziert und eingesetzt - zuerst im Krieg gegen den Iran, dann 1988 in Halabja gegen die kurdische Bevölkerung im eigenen Land. Der Unterstützung durch die USA und Großbritannien konnte sich das Regime in Bagdad sicher sein, wie Simpson und Rangwala zeigen.
Die USA hätten das Land dabei mit Waffentechnik unterstützt, darunter auch Hubschrauber, die 1988 gegen die Kurden zum Einsatz gekommen seien. Der Sicherheitsrat der Vereinten Nationen habe in dieser Zeit keine einzige Resolution verabschiedet, die den Einsatz von C-Waffen kritisiert hätte, weil die USA und Großbritannien das verhindert hätten. Auch nach 1988 hätten die USA ihre militärische Unterstützung des irakischen Regimes nicht ausgesetzt. London habe das Massaker von Halabja zwar verbal verurteilt, zehn Tage später aber einen 400-Millionen-Pfund-Kredit verlängert. Die Autoren ziehen daraus die Schlussfolgerung:
"Der Irak hat niemals chemische Waffen gegen einen äußeren Feind eingesetzt ohne die Zustimmung der mächtigsten Staaten."
C-Waffen seien immer nur dann eingesetzt worden, wenn sich der Irak "durch eine Supermacht vor Verurteilungen und Gegenmaßnahmen geschützt sah". Deshalb sei auch nicht anzunehmen, dass Saddam Hussein heute solche Waffen einsetze, sollte er denn welche haben.
"Es gibt keinen Grund anzunehmen, dass die irakische Führung heute irgendwelche militärischen Gewinne, die sie möglicherweise durch den Gebrauch von C-Waffen erzielen könnte, über ihren Wunsch stellen könnte, internationale Allianzen mit Großmächten zu schließen."
Mit ihrer Kritik stehen Simpson und Rangwala nicht allein. Auch das deutsche Fernsehmagazin Monitor hatte das Dossier angezweifelt, da es allenfalls Indizien, aber keine Beweise enthalte. Dem Irak werde etwa bescheinigt, Geräte für ein Nuklearprogramm kaufen zu wollen. "Doch kam es wirklich zum Kauf? Kein Wort davon im Blair-Papier."
Der britische Journalist Robert Fisk erinnerte am 25. September im "Independent" daran, was es bedeutet, wenn die Angaben von Blair zu Saddams Massenvernichtungswaffen korrekt sind: "Unsere massive, obstruktive, brutale Politik der UN-Sanktionen ist völlig fehlgeschlagen. In anderen Worten, eine halbe Millionen irakischer Kinder wurde von uns getötet - für nichts."
Dossier hin, Dossier her: Beim Parteitag von Labour Anfang dieser Woche hatte Premierminister Tony Blair zwar einen schweren Stand, bekam aber trotzdem ein Ergebnis, mit dem er leben kann. Einen Antrag, nach dem Labour seine Regierungspolitik unterstützt hätte, zog Blair noch schnell zurück - mangels Aussicht auf Erfolg. Die Kriegsgegner in der Partei konnten sich nicht damit durchsetzen, dass die Partei einen Krieg unter allen Umständen ablehnt. Bei der Abstimmung bekamen sie aber immerhin 40 Prozent. Schließlich setzte sich die Parteiführung durch mit einer Formulierung durch, wonach militärische Aktionen "im Rahmen des Völkerrechts" durchgeführt werden dürften.
Aus: Telepolis, 3. Oktober 2002 (www.heise.de/tp/)
LABOUR AGAINST THE WAR's COUNTER-DOSSIER
The dishonest case for a war on Iraq
by Alan Simpson, MP - Chair of Labour Against the War
Dr Glen Rangwala - lecturer in politics at Newnham College, University of Cambridge
There is no case for a war on Iraq. It has not threatened to attack the US or Europe. It is not connected to al-Qa'ida. There is no evidence that it has new weapons of mass destruction, or that it possesses the means of delivering them.
This pamphlet separates the evidence for what we know about Iraq from the wild suppositions used as the pretext for a war.
For there to be a threat to the wider world from Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, there need to be two distinct components: the capability (the presence of weapons of mass destruction or their precursor elements, together with a delivery system) and the intention to use weapons of mass destruction.
Most of the discussion on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction from British and American governmental sources has focused on Iraq's capabilities. However, a more fundamental question is why the Iraqi regime would ever use weapons of mass destruction. There are three aspects to this:
(a) External military use.
The US administration has repeatedly stated that Iraq is a "clear and present danger" to the safety and security of ordinary Americans. Yet the Iraqi leadership have never used weapons of mass destruction against the US or Europe, nor threatened to. Plans or proposals for the use of weapons of mass destruction by Iraq against these countries have never been discovered, and in their absence can only be presumed to be non-existent.
Iraq would face massive reprisals if its leadership ever ordered the use of weapons of mass destruction on the US or Europe. It is difficult to imagine circumstances in which the Iraqi regime would use these weapons directly against any Western country. The only conceivable exception would be if the Iraqi leaders felt they had nothing left to lose: that is, if they were convinced of their own imminent demise as a result of an invasion. Weapons of mass destruction were not used by Iraq in the 1991 Gulf War, despite having both a much more developed capacity than it holds at present (see below) and the routing of its army. The best way to avoid prompting Iraqi leaders to use any non-conventional capacity would be to refrain from invading Iraq or attempting to assassinate or depose its rulers.
The only occasion on which the Iraqi government used weapons of mass destruction against another country was against Iran from 1981/82 to 1988. The use of mustard agents had a devastating impact on Iranian troops in the first years of the war, and the civilian death toll from the use of sarin and tabun numbers in the thousands. However, it should be noted that the use of chemical weapons was undertaken with the compliance of the rest of the world. The US Secretary of State acknowledged that he was aware of reports of Iraqi use of chemical weapons from 1983, and a United Nations team confirmed Iraqi use in a report of 16 March 1984. Nevertheless, the US administration provided "crop-spraying" helicopters to Iraq (subsequently used in chemical attacks on the Kurds in 1988), gave Iraq access to intelligence information that allowed Iraq to "calibrate" its mustard attacks on Iranian troops (1984), seconded its air force officers to work with their Iraqi counterparts (from 1986), approved technological exports to Iraq's missile procurement agency to extend the missiles' range (1988), and blocked bills condemning Iraq in the House of Representatives (1985) and Senate (1988).
Most crucially, the US and UK blocked condemnation of Iraq's known chemical weapons attacks at the UN Security Council. No resolution was passed during the war that specifically criticised Iraq's use of chemical weapons, despite the wishes of the majority to condemn this use. The only criticism of Iraq from the Security Council came in the form of non-binding Presidential statements (over which no country has a veto). The 21 March 1986 statement recognised that "chemical weapons on many occasions have been used by Iraqi forces against Iranian forces"; this statement was opposed by the United States, the sole country to vote against it in the Security Council (the UK abstained).
In summary, Iraq has never used chemical weapons against an external enemy without the acquiescence of the most powerful states. It has done so only in the knowledge that it would be protected from condemnation and countermeasures by a superpower. There is no reason to suspect that the Iraqi leadership now places any military gains it might achieve through the use of chemical weapons above its desire to form international alliances with major powers.
(b) Arming terrorists
One prospect raised by President Bush in his State of the Union address of 29 January was that hostile countries such as Iraq could supply non-state organisations with weapons of mass destruction, to use against the US:
"By seeking weapons of mass destruction, these regimes pose a grave and growing danger. They could provide these arms to terrorists, giving them the means to match their hatred. They could attack our allies or attempt to blackmail the United States."
The State Department's annual report on terrorism, released on 30 April 2001, stated that the Iraqi regime "has not attempted an anti Western terrorist attack" since 1993. The small paramilitary groups that Iraq supports, such as the Arab Liberation Front (in Palestine) and the Mujahidin e-Khalq (Iran), have no access to Iraq's more advanced weaponry, let along weapons of mass destruction. Furthermore, these groups have never carried out attacks on the US or Europe, and have little if any supporting infrastructure in those countries. The Iraqi regime has no credible links to al-Qa'ida, either in the perpetration of the 11 September attack, or in the presence in eastern Iraqi Kurdistan (controlled by the US-backed Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, not the Iraqi government, since 1991) of Ansar al-Islam. This group is an off-shoot of the US-backed Islamic Movement of Iraqi Kurdistan which has taken funds and arms from Iran and (reportedly) from al-Qa'ida.
The Iraqi regime has not been shown to have any intention of attacking the Western world, and it knows that it would be subject to massive reprisals if it did so. In summary, Iraq has shown no indication that it would be willing to use terrorists to threaten the outside world with weapons of mass destruction.
(c) Internal repression by the Iraqi military
As part of the Anfal campaign against the Kurds (February to September 1988), the Iraqi regime used chemical weapons extensively against its own civilian population. Between 50,000 and 186,000 Kurds were killed in these attacks, over 1,200 Kurdish villages were destroyed, and 300,000 Kurds were displaced. The most infamous chemical assault was on the town of Halabja in March 1988, which killed 5,000 people. Human Rights Watch regards the Anfal campaign as an act of genocide.
The Anfal campaign was carried out with the acquiescence of the West.
Rather than condemn the massacres of Kurds, the US escalated its support for Iraq. It joined in Iraq's attacks on Iranian facilities, blowing up two Iranian oil rigs and destroying an Iranian frigate a month after the Halabja attack. Within two months, senior US officials were encouraging corporate co-ordination through an Iraqi state-sponsored forum. The US administration opposed, and eventually blocked, a US Senate bill that cut off loans to Iraq. The US approved exports to Iraq of items with dual civilian and military use at double the rate in the aftermath of Halabja as it did before 1988. Iraqi written guarantees about civilian use were accepted by the US commerce department, which did not request licences and reviews (as it did for many other countries). The Bush Administration approved $695,000 worth of advanced data transmission devices the day before Iraq invaded Kuwait.
As for the UK, ten days after the Foreign Office verbally condemned the Halabja massacre, the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry rewarded Iraq by extending Ł400 million worth of credits to trade with Iraq.
The Iraqi regime has never used chemical weapons in the face of formal international opposition. The most effective way of preventing any future use against Iraqi civilians is to put this at the top of the human rights agenda between Iraq and the UN. The Iraqi regime's intentions to use chemical weapons against the Kurds will not be terminated by provoking a further conflict between the Iraqi state and its Kurdish population in which the Kurds are recruited as proxy forces. The original repression of the Kurds escalated into genocide in response to Iran's procurement of the support of the two main Kurdish parties for its military efforts from 1986. This is essentially the same role that the US sees for the Kurds in its current war preparations.
In 1998, when the US ordered UN weapons inspectors to leave Iraq, it was widely accepted the Iraq's nuclear capacity had been wholly dismantled. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), charged with monitoring Iraq's nuclear facilities after the Gulf War, reported to the Security Council on 8 October 1997 and subsequently Iraq had compiled a "full, final and complete" account of its previous nuclear projects, and there was no indication of any prohibited activity. The IAEA's fact sheet from 25 April 2002, entitled "Iraq's Nuclear Weapons Programme", recorded that "There were no indications that there remains in Iraq any physical capability for the production of amounts of weapons-usable nuclear material of any practical significance."
In recent months, however, the UK government has put primary emphasis on Iraq's alleged nuclear programme. UK ministers have made three major claims:
(a) That Iraq was within three years of developing a nuclear bomb in 1991.
This could be true. Uranium was imported from Portugal, France, Italy and other countries; uranium enrichment facilities operated at Tuwaitha, Tarmiya, and Rashidiya, and centrifuge enrichment facilities were being built at al-Furat, largely with German assistance. Theoretical studies were underway into the design of reactors to produce plutonium, and laboratory trials were carried out at Tuwaitha. The main centre for the development of nuclear weapons was al-Atheer, where experiments with high explosives were carried out. However, IAEA experts maintain that Iraq has never had the capacity to enrich uranium sufficiently for a bomb and was extremely dependent on imports to create centrifuge facilities (report of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, 28 June 2002). If this is so, Iraq may have only been close to developing a bomb if US and European assistance had continued to the same extent as before.
In the Gulf War, all Iraq's facilities capable of producing material for a nuclear programme and for enriching uranium were destroyed. The IAEA inspected and completed the destruction of these facilities, with the compliance of the Iraqi government. From 1991, the IAEA removed all known weapon usable materials from Iraq, including 22.4kg of highly enriched uranium. The IAEA left 1.8 tonnes of low-grade uranium in heavyweight sealed barrels at the Tuwaitha facilities. This uranium has remained untouched by the Iraqis, and is inspected annually by experts from the IAEA, who have confirmed that the seals had never been tampered with. The remaining facilities at Tuwaitha and buildings at al-Atheer were destroyed by the IAEA by 1992.
(b) That Iraq could make a nuclear device "within three years" without foreign assistance.
This claim, repeated by a UK Foreign Office minister, derives from a statement from the head of Germany's Federal Intelligence Service (BND) in February 2001 that Iraq could enrich its own uranium and construct its own nuclear device in three to six years. This claim was backed up by a statement from the Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control that Iraq's only uranium extraction facility at al-Qaim has been rebuilt (it had been destroyed in 1991). If Iraq was again extracting uranium, then it could reasonably be presumed that it was intending to enrich and weaponise it. The allegation about Iraq's extraction of uranium, however, seems to be wrong.
Since the emergence of these claims, a number of journalists have visited al-Qaim and have found it in a state of disrepair. Paul McGeough, the much-respected Middle East correspondent of the Sydney Morning Herald, wrote on 4 September 2002 that the site appeared to be a "near-vacant lot ... as the result of a clean-up supervised by the [IAEA]". Reuters reporters have confirmed the same impression. If Iraq was hiding its nuclear extraction facilities every time a journalist visits, this would beg the question of when any extraction could actually take place.
If Iraq has no operating facilities to extract uranium, and if it continues to refrain from accessing the low-grade uranium sealed at Tuwaitha, then there is no way it could produce a nuclear device without foreign assistance.
Furthermore, enriching uranium requires substantial infrastructure and a power supply that could be easily spotted by US satellites. No such information has been provided. Over the past year, US and UK sources have made much of the fact that Iraq has attempted to import specialized steel and aluminium tubes that could be used in gas centrifuges that enrich uranium. According to the Washington Post (10 September 2002), such tubes are also used in making conventional artillery rockets, which Iraq is not prohibited from developing or possessing under UN resolutions. As David Albright, former IAEA inspector in Iraq and director of the Institute for Science and International Security, told the Washington Post, "This is actually a weak indicator for suggesting centrifuges -- it just doesn't build a case. I don't yet see evidence that says Iraq is close."
(c) That Iraq could have a nuclear bomb "within months" if fissile material is acquired from abroad.
Even the US Department of Defence recognises that claims about Iraq's imminent production of a nuclear bomb are not credible: "Iraq would need five or more years and key foreign assistance to rebuild the infrastructure to enrich enough material for a nuclear weapon" (January 2001 intelligence estimate). However, the International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS) managed to hit the headlines in September 2002 by claiming that Iraq "could assemble nuclear weapons within months if fissile material from foreign sources were obtained." This claim is no more than a tautology.
If Iraq could import the core material for a bomb, then it would have a bomb. Obtaining the fissile material is the most difficult part of constructing any nuclear device, and there are no signs that Iraq has attempted to obtain any such material from abroad. According to the Nuclear Control Institute (nci.org/heu.htm), "With bomb-grade, high-enriched uranium (HEU), a student could make a bomb powerful enough to destroy a city". Unless we are to stop any students of physics from entering Iraq, the best control on the circulation of fissile material would be to invest resources into safeguarding Russia's nuclear material. We would then need to complete a fissile-material cut-off treaty as agreed by the UN General Assembly in 1993.
On 7 September 2002, Tony Blair and George Bush proclaimed that commercial satellite photographs showing new buildings near a facility that had been part of Iraq's nuclear programme before 1991 were "proof" of Iraqi intentions. By contrast, a spokesperson from the IAEA - which had provided the pictures months earlier - said: "We have no idea whether it means anything. Construction of a building is one thing. Restarting a nuclear program is another."
3. CHEMICAL and BIOLOGICAL
Allegations about Iraq's chemical and biological weapons fall into three categories:
(a) Retained stocks?
that Iraq has retained weapons that were produced before 1991,
- that Iraq has kept or rebuilt facilities since 1998, which are allegedly producing or able to produce new chemical or biological agents that can subsequently be weaponised; and
- that Iraq could threaten other countries by delivering these agents, by missile or through other means.
Up to 1998, a substantial part of the work of the weapons inspectors in Iraq was to track down chemical and biological agents that Iraq produced before their entry in 1991, and to check the documentation that showed how much of each agent Iraq had manufactured. However, the amount Iraq is thought to have produced in the 1980s was found to be greater than the quantity that Iraq or the inspectors verified as having destroyed. The discrepancy between the two levels is the amount that remains - in the inspectors' language - "unaccounted for".
The levels of agents that are unaccounted for in this way is large: 600 metric tonnes of chemical agents, such as mustard gas, VX and sarin; and extensive amounts of biological agents, including thousands of litres of anthrax as well as quantities of botulinum toxin, aflatoxin, and gas gangrene, all of which had been weaponised before 1991. But the fact that these quantities are unaccounted for does not mean that they still exist. Iraq has never provided a full declaration of its use of chemical and biological weapons against Iran in the 1980-88 war, and destroyed large quantities of its own stocks of these weapons in 1991 without keeping sufficient proof of its actions.
In some cases, it is quite clear that the stocks no longer exist in usable form. Most chemical and biological agents are subject to processes of deterioration. A working paper by the United Nations Special Commission on Iraq (Unscom) from January 1998 noted that: "Taking into consideration the conditions and the quality of CW-agents and munitions produced by Iraq at that time, there is no possibility of weapons remaining from the mid-1980's" (quoted in Ritter, Arms Control Today, June 2000). [...]
There are two potential exceptions for materials that would not be expected to have deteriorated if produced before 1991. Mustard gas has been found to persist over time, as shown when Unscom discovered four intact mustard-filled artillery shells that would still have constituted a viable weapon. Unscom oversaw the destruction of 12,747 of Iraq's 13,500 mustard shells. The Iraqi regime claimed that the remaining shells had been destroyed by US/UK bombardment. This claim has not been verified or disproved. However, as former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter notes, "A few hundred 155 mm mustard shells have little military value on the modern battlefield. A meaningful CW attack using artillery requires thousands of rounds. Retention of such a limited number of shells makes no sense and cannot be viewed as a serious threat."
The other potential exception is VX nerve agent. It became clear to Unscom during the 1990s that Iraq had succeeded before 1991 in producing stabilised VX in its laboratories - that is, VX agents that would not deteriorate over time. However, to produce significant stocks of VX requires advanced technology that Iraq did not have. Iraq did have some elements of the production equipment for developing VX on a large scale. Unscom tested this equipment before destroying it in 1996, and found that it had never been used. This would indicate that Iraq, despite its attempts before 1991, had never succeeded in producing VX on a significant scale.
(b) Re-built facilities?
If the stocks that Iraq had produced before 1991 are no longer a credible threat, then what of the facilities that Iraq may still have to produce more weapons of mass destruction? The major facilities that Iraq had prior to 1991 have all been destroyed. The Muthanna State Establishment, Iraq's main plant for the production of chemical warfare agents, was destroyed partially through aerial bombardment and partly under Unscom supervision. Al-Hakam, Iraq's main biological weapons facility that was designed to make up to 50,000 litres of anthrax, botulinum toxin and other agents a year, was destroyed in May-June 1996.
However, US and UK officials have claimed that new plants have been built since 1998. Among the allegations are that two chemical plants that were used to produce weapons before 1991 have been rebuilt at Fallujah; further chemical and biological weapons sites have been partially constructed at Daura and Taji; and that "mobile biological production laboratories" have been deployed that would be able to circumvent any inspectors who are re-admitted into Iraq. It has also been claimed that other existing civilian facilities have been partially converted so as to be able to produce agents for weapons of mass destruction.
These allegations are difficult to assess. Even the IISS study of September 2002 - edited by Gary Samore who had been a senior member of President Clinton's staff and thus involved two years before in the making of the allegations - concluded that the claims about mobile laboratories were "hard to confirm". Much of the information comes from individuals who claim to have been scientists employed by the Iraqi government but who have now "defected" to Europe or the US. The US has offered financial rewards to scientists who defect, as well as guarantees of asylum. As a result, many of the claims may be exaggerated, highly speculative or simply concocted. US State Department officials have often mentioned that they do not take verbal information obtained from defectors seriously; it may be more plausible to assume that their information is publicised more as part of attempts to win support for a war than to make a realistic assessment of Iraqi weapons development.
... Now that the Iraqi Foreign Minister has made an unconditional offer to the UN to readmit weapons inspectors (on 16 September), allegations about the production of new facilities can be checked. However, the British Foreign Secretary and the White House have both disparaged the Iraqi offer, even though it could lead to the verified disarmament of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.
(c) Delivering an attack?
Possession of chemical or biological agents is not enough to threaten another country, even if the Iraqi regime desired to. British and American claims about possession have therefore been linked to allegations that Iraq could fire these agents on missiles, which could even reach Europe.
The first problem with this claim is the very low number of longer range missiles that Iraq might have. According to Unscom, by 1997, 817 out of Iraq's known 819 ballistic missiles had been certifiably destroyed. On the worst-case assumption that Iraq has salvaged some of the parts for these missiles and has reconstructed them since 1998, even Charles Duelfer - former US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, deputy head of Unscom and strong proponent of an invasion of Iraq - has provided an estimate of only 12 to 14 missiles held by Iraq. Even under this scenario, it is difficult to see Iraq posing a threat to the rest of the world through its missiles. Furthermore, biological weapons cannot be effectively dispersed through ballistic missiles. ...
British ministers have made much of the claim that Iraq has experimented with using small Czech-built L-29 training jets as remote-controlled drones, which could deliver chemical and biological weapons. Such drones were apparently spotted at Iraq's Talil airbase in 1998. A British defence official invoked the possibility that if these drones were flown at low altitudes under the right conditions, a single drone could unleash a toxic cloud engulfing several city blocks. He labelled them "drones of death". The hyperbole is misleading: even if Iraq has designed such planes, they would not serve their purpose, as drones are easy to shoot down. A simple air defence system would be enough to prevent the drones from causing damage to neighbouring countries. The L-29 has a total range of less than 400 miles: it would be all but impossible to use it in an attack on Israel. The only possibility for their use against Western targets would be their potential deployment against invading troops.
Many of the assessments of Iraq's development of biological, chemical and nuclear weapons are based largely on a hypothetical analysis of what could be done by the Iraqi regime if it was determined to produce these weapons. Using worst-case scenarios, they present Iraq's potential activities - such as importing fissile material or producing anthrax spores - as an immediate threat. Whilst such assessments may be valuable in order to understand the range of possibilities, they do not provide any evidence of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction or the Iraqi regime's intention to use them. As Hans Blix, executive chairman of Unmovic - the new UN weapons inspection body - said on 10 September, there is much that is unknown about Iraq's programmes,
"but this is not the same as saying there are weapons of mass destruction. If I had solid evidence that Iraq retained weapons of mass destruction or were constructing such weapons I would take it to the Security Council."
"You cannot launch a war on the basis of unconfirmed suspicions of both weapons and intentions. It would be better to take up Iraq's unconditional offer of 16 September to allow inspectors to return, and to reject the plans for an invasion to achieve 'regime change'."
The US and UK policy has been to provide disincentives to Iraqi compliance rather than incentives. The UK has refused to rule out its support for "regime change" even if a full weapons inspections system is in place: Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has only said that the possibility of an invasion "recedes" in such circumstances. ...
If the Iraqi regime is led to believe that the US has made an invasion inevitable, it will have no reason to co-operate with weapons inspectors. As Hans Blix said on 18 August, "If the Iraqis conclude that an invasion by someone is inevitable then they might conclude that it's not very meaningful to have inspections."
The Iraqi regime also has a clear disincentive if it believes that the weapons inspectors will - like their predecessors in Unscom - collect information that the US government would use to plot its overthrow. That Unscom was engaged in such actions is now beyond doubt. Its executive director from 1991 to 1997, Rolf Ekéus, said on 28 July that the US tried to gather information about Iraq's security services, its conventional military capacity and even the location of Saddam Hussein through the supposedly impartial weapons inspections programme. It is not hard to guess why the US wanted such information.
If the US and UK re-engage with the political process that was laid out in the ceasefire resolution, Iraq will once again be provided with reasons to cooperate with the weapons inspectorate. That possibility, which will remove the need for instigating a humanitarian crisis inside Iraq and instability in the region, should not be dismissed lightly.
This briefing was written by
ALAN SIMPSON MP and GLEN RANGWALA.
LABOUR AGAINST THE WAR,
PO Box 2378, London E5 9QU;
tel.: 020-8985 6597; fax: 020-8985 6785
email: email@example.com; www:labouragainstthewar.org.uk
Blairs Dossier über die irakische Bedrohung / "IRAQ`S WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION" - Executive Summary (verbatim)
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