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Washington Times Editorial

[The Washington Times is very conservative.]


EDITORIAL . April 3, 2000

Saddam's rogue alliance

     Saddam Hussein is busy trying to put together a kind of rogue nation
alliance to challenge American strength. Saddam has reached out to
Yugoslavia, Russia and, possibly, to North Korea and Sudan with this
ambition in mind.
     On Tuesday, Iraq's Vice-President Taha Yassin Ramadan said his country
is "keen to expand full cooperation with Yugoslavia which stood firm in the
face of the American aggression," according to the official Iraqi News
Agency. This budding alliance is worrisome because while Yugoslavia has
fissile material, Iraq has missile technology. If these two countries start
swapping with each other, global security would be undermined. "It is our
duty to resist American policy, which is aggressive, imperialist, unjust and
aims to take away the rights of people everywhere," Mr. Ramadan told
visiting Yugoslav Deputy Prime Minister Maja Gojkovic. The Iraqi vice
president didn't elaborate on just what he meant by "resist American
policy," but in view of Saddam's favored tactics, this comment should make
U.S. officials wary.
     In addition, Iraq also recently congratulated Russia's Vladimir Putin
on winning this week's presidential election. Iraq has plenty of incentive
to cozy up to Russia. As reported by The Washington Times' Bill Gertz,
Russia, along with China, is continuing to provide nuclear and missile
technology and goods to rogue nations, such as Iran and North Korea. Surely,
Saddam would like in on the deal.
     Most worrisome, however, is the prospect that Saddam is having himself
a $475 million missile factory constructed in Sudan, using North Korean
missile technology and manpower - a possibility proposed by William Safire
in a March 23 column. Mr. Safire was first tipped off by an article by Mr.
Gertz, which cited a Pentagon intelligence agency report that said that
North Korea offered to sell the government of Sudan an entire factory for
assembling Scud missiles.
     Since Sudan presumably wouldn't have the funds or need for long-range
missiles, there seemed to be more to the story. According to Mr. Safire's
sources, Sudan would provide only the site for the factory while Saddam
would pay for and own the weapons. Only about five weeks ago, North Korean
technical experts and Iraqi military researchers met in Khartoum, Sudan's
capital, to discuss plans on the ballistic-missile plant.
     All this should give U.S. officials pause. The White House's
containment policy on Iraq has been ineffective. Saddam kicked out weapons
inspectors in 1998 and has successfully smuggled out Iraqi oil, giving him
access to millions of dollars in unmonitored oil revenue each month. This
money is sure to go to the purchase of weapons.
     In a March 26 television interview, former arms inspector Richard
Butler said "It would be utter folly not to assume that they're back in the
business of making chemical and biological warheads for long-range
missiles." Saddam continues determined to make a global menace of himself.
If Saddam is successful in uniting the rogue powers of the world, he could
fortify his power to cause harm to the region and beyond.

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