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Hi everyone, Sorry to send you so much stuff, but things are happening rather quickly at the moment, to say the least. The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has today published some pages about its policy and views regarding Iraq on its website at http://www.fco.gov.uk/keythemes/mideast/iraq/ It's worth a look, and has links to transcripts of press conferences etc about the possible military action. The following is the document you might have heard referred to on the news, produced today by the FCO in justification of their stance. Even if it's all true, to me it doesn't seem to justify the immediate bombing of Iraq, and it certainly doesn't agree with the many reports of how keen Iraq is to enter into dialogue. Is there any way of getting a feel for how Iraq is really behaving? Seb ---------------------------------------------- FCO DAILY BULLETIN: WEDNESDAY 04 FEBRUARY 1998 (Also available at http://www.fco.gov.uk/) FOREIGN OFFICE PAPER ON IRAQI THREAT AND WORK OF UNSCOM The Foreign Secretary today released to Parliament an FCO paper [below] on the work done by the UN Special Commission (UNSCOM) and the continuing threat from Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD). The Foreign Office have produced the paper in response to the strong Parliamentary and public interest in Iraq's existing WMD capability and the efforts of the international community to destroy Saddam Hussein's stocks and prevent him from developing his weapons programmes further. Copies of the paper are being placed in the Libraries of both Houses and are being sent individually to all Members of Parliament. On leaving for Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, Robin Cook said: 'We are facing a grave situation. The authority of the United Nations is at stake. It is important that we make the fullest information available to Parliament and the public. Iraq has built up an appalling stock of weapons. We must be certain that they are totally eradicated and cannot be rebuilt.' UN SPECIAL COMMISSION (UNSCOM): THE MANDATE Under UN Security Council Resolution (SCR) 687 (April 1991), which set out the cease-fire terms for ending the Gulf War, Iraq is obliged to: (a) accept the destruction, removal, or rendering harmless of all its - nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons, and ballistic missiles with a range over 150 kilometres; and - research, development, and manufacturing facilities associated with the above; and (b) undertake not to develop such weapons in the future. The Secretary-General was instructed to establish a Special Commission (UNSCOM) to oversee these processes. Iraq must give full cooperation, in particular immediate, unrestricted access to any site UNSCOM needs to inspect. WHAT HAS UNSCOM ACHIEVED? Despite constant Iraqi deceit, concealment, harassment and obstruction, UNSCOM has succeeded in destroying: - 38,000 chemical weapons - 480,000 litres of live chemical weapon agents - 48 operational missiles - Six missile launchers - 30 special missile warheads for chemical and biological weapons. - hundreds of items of CW production equipment. Iraq originally claimed much of it was for peaceful use but later admitted its real purpose. - Iraq claimed that the VX nerve gas project was a failure. UNSCOM has discovered Iraq had the capability to produce VX on an industrial scale, and produced four tonnes. Work was also going on into numerous other agents: sarin, tabun and mustard gas. - the A1 Hakam BW factory (3kms by 6kms) which was able to produce 50,000 litres of anthrax and botulinum. Iraq claimed it was for animal feed. One hundred kilograms of anthrax released from the top of a tall building in a densely populated area could kill up to three million people. UNSCOM has also discovered that Iraq produced 19,000 litres of botulinum, 8,400 litres of anthrax, 2,000 litres of aflatoxin (produces liver cancer) and clostridium (gas gangrene). Iraq has admitted filling ballistic missile warheads and bombs with the first three of these agents. These weapons were subsequently destroyed. Iraq denied the existence of all of these biological agents until August 1995. UNSCOM has also put into place a systematic monitoring system to watch facilities suspected of producing WMD. WHY IS UNSCOM STILL CONCERNED? Iraq has consistently tried to evade its responsibilities. Its required full disclosure document on missiles was not produced until July 1996, five years after it was demanded. It has so far produced three versions on chemical weapons and four on biological weapons, all shown to be seriously inaccurate. In particular, UNSCOM is concerned that: - Iraq may still have operational SCUD-type missiles with chemical and biological warheads. Critical missile components, warheads, and propellant are not accounted for. Nor are 17 tonnes of growth media for BW agents - enough to produce more than three times the amount of anthrax Iraq admits it had. Key items of CW production equipment are also missing. - UNSCOM strongly suspects that admitted Iraqi figures for production of BW agent are still too low. - Iraq's CW programme was on an enormous scale. 4,000 tonnes of CW precursors are not accounted for. These could have produced several hundred tonnes of CW agents, enough to fill several thousand munitions. Over 31,000 CW munitions are not accounted for. - Over 600 tonnes of VX precursors are also not accounted for. These could make 200 tonnes of VX. One drop is enough to kill. 200 tonnes could wipe out the world's population. IRAQ'S OBSTRUCTIONISM - Iraq has consistently denied UNSCOM inspectors the access they need to follow up these and other concerns and locate both WMD capabilities and documentation which might reveal more about Iraq's WMD programmes. Documents and material have been removed from and destroyed inside sites while UNSCOM inspectors have been held outside prevented from entering. The pattern of defiance has got worse over time. Throughout most of 1997 Iraq made difficulties over access to an arbitrary and self-advised category of supposed 'sensitive' sites. Iraq has now put an absolute ban on visits by UNSCOM to so called 'Presidential' sites, and has imposed a unilateral deadline of 20 May for the lifting of sanctions. It has tried to claim that UNSCOM inspection teams contain a disproportionate number of UK and US inspectors. - Hostile demonstrations against UNSCOM have been organised. Iraqi 'minders' have even endangered lives by trying to take control of UNSCOM helicopters in mid-air. WHY CONTINUED MONITORING IS IMPORTANT UNSCOM needs to continue to monitor Iraqi WMD facilities because: - UNSCOM has evidence of a deliberate government-controlled mechanism of concealment to continue developing WMD and procuring materials. Given the chance, Iraq would undoubtedly resume WMD production. - Iraq has four plants which have been used to produce CW munitions, and 30 which could be converted to produce CW materials. It has numerous personnel with the required expertise. These factories cannot be destroyed because they have legitimate alternative civilian uses. But it is important that they are monitored closely. - Without monitoring, Iraq could produce CW and BW in weeks, a long-range missile in a year, and a nuclear weapon in five years. - Iraq could produce up to 350 litres of weapons grade anthrax per week - enough to fill two missile warheads. It could produce mustard CW agent within weeks. - Iraq has continued trying to acquire banned WMD technology. In late 1995 Jordan intercepted a shipment of advanced missile guidance parts on the way to Iraq. The former Chairman of UNSCOM, Ambassador Rolf Ekeus stated publicly in 1993 that he believed Iraq fully intends to restore its military industrial base. 'The capabilities are there, the supply system including banks and payments is there. The day the oil embargo is lifted, Iraq will get all the cash. With the cash, the suppliers, and the skills they will be able to re-establish all the weapons ... It may grow up like mushrooms after the rain.' That remains true today. The present Chairman of UNSCOM, Ambassador Richard Butler told the Security Council on 23 January 1998 that 'If Iraq ... avoids answering questions ... and prevents UNSCOM from finding the answers, it is gravely to be doubted that we would be able to verify Iraq's claims that it has met its disarmament obligations established by the Security Council. 'Iraq appears determined to withhold any further information, and to prevent UNSCOM from finding it itself.' ENDS -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To be removed/added, email firstname.lastname@example.org, NOT the whole list. Archived at http://linux.clare.cam.ac.uk/~saw27/casi/discuss.html