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[casi] News, 29/11-6/12/02 (1)

News, 29/11-6/12/02 (1)


*  Inspectors Find Only Ruins at an Old Iraqi Weapons Site
*  How a 'leak' turned out to be an own goal
*  Waiting for an Iraqi Sakharov
*  Iraq's fate lies in hands of UN N-lab
*  A Glimpse Into Saddam's Lifestyle
*  UN: Iraqi arms equipment 'missing'
*  Regime Change, or Regime Protection?
*  Iraq Says It Had Aluminum Tubing Before Sanctions
*  Naked U.S.-Israeli Strategic Alliance for Destruction of Iraq
*  U.N. Team Inspects Former Iraqi Factory
*  French researcher says Iraq, N. Korea N-crises linked
*  Inspectors find only mushrooms amid ruins of bombed reactor
*  UN experts secure Iraqi mustard gas shells
*  Dance of Saddam's Seven Veils


by John F. Burns
New York Times, 29th November

 BAGHDAD, Iraq, Nov. 28: When United Nations weapons inspectors raced up to
the gates of a scruffy industrial plant on the southern outskirts of Baghdad
today they were met, amid the listless palm trees and acres of bare earth,
by a large, green-painted sign at the gate with a deceptively innocuous

"General Establishment for Animal Development," the sign read, in English
and Arabic, and underneath: "Animal Health Development. Foot and Mouth
Disease Vaccine Production Laboratory."

But the plant at Al Dawrah has as sinister a history as any on the weapons
inspectors' list of about 1,000 sites across Iraq - sites the inspectors
plan to search painstakingly.

Al Dawrah's story took a sharp turn in 1995, when Mr. Hussein's son-in-law,
Gen. Hussein Kamel, then in charge of all of Iraq's nuclear, biological and
chemical weapons programs, defected to neighboring Jordan with millions of
dollars of government money. Among the secrets he took with him was
confirmation of a huge biological weapons program that Iraq had insistently
denied, with Al Dawrah as one of the principal production plants.

General Kamel was later lured back to Baghdad, where within days, he and
several members of his family, taking refuge in his sister's luxurious
villa, were killed in a furious shootout. But Al Dawrah became a focal point
of the earlier round of United Nations weapons inspections. Those
inspections were terminated in December 1998, over Iraq's persistent
noncompliance. By that time, however, the United Nations specialized teams
had determined that Al Dawrah had produced, among other things, at least
1,425 gallons of botulinum toxin.

When the new round of inspections began on Wednesday, Al Dawrah was high on
the list for an early-morning, unannounced, arrive-at-high-speed search. One
reason was that the Iraqis never accounted for all the botulinum, which
kills by paralysis and suffocation. Another was that a British government
document issued this summer named Al Dawrah as a site where there was a
suspicion of renewed activity.

By the time the inspectors left the plant today, after four hours, they had
concluded that the plant was no longer operational - not for the production
of toxins, and not for animal vaccines either. Reporters who were allowed to
wander through the plant after the inspectors left found the place largely
in ruins. Apparently, it had been abandoned by the Iraqis after 1996, when
the weapons inspectors took heavy cutting equipment to the fermenters,
containers and pressurized tubing and valves used in the toxin production.

The darkened rooms of the compound's main building were little more than a
garbage site, with mangled lengths of steel, document files strewn about to
collect dust and piles of pressure valves and severed pipes. The inspectors,
bearing clipboards, tape recorders, cameras and flashlights, spent much of
their time scouring outbuildings, taking swab samples from air-filtration
systems and, in the case of one inspector, clambering to the top of a
20-foot tank, then nodding to his colleagues as if to confirm that he had
found what he expected. Equipment judged not to have been used in the toxin
production, they found, had been left untouched.

Al Dawrah's director, Montasser Omar Abdel Aziz, had been summoned to the
plant by aides after the inspectors began their search shortly before 9 a.m.
Later, he told reporters, somewhat testily, that the inspectors had found
exactly what Iraq had predicted when it said, repeatedly in recent months,
that it had abandoned all its banned weapons programs. "You can enter
inside, all there are destroyed," he said, speaking in English. "Nobody can
do nothing inside. Now, nothing. Just a store."

The weapons inspectors agreed with the Iraqi official, but only up to a
point. As they had on Wednesday, when they began their inspections by
visiting a missile-engine factory, an adjacent graphite plant and a motor
production complex, the leaders of the inspection teams acknowledged that
the Iraqis had placed no impediments in the way of their work.

It is a point much emphasized by Iraqi officials, who have encouraged
foreign reporters to follow the inspection teams and roam freely about the
plants afterward.

"We had no problem with access," said Demetrius Perricos, the 67-year-old
Greek chemical engineer who is leading the field inspection teams deployed
by the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission.
That agency is responsible for inspections of sites with potential
involvement in banned biological, chemical and missile programs. "We
conducted all the activities we had to do, so as far as we are concerned
this is a good start." Mr. Perricos dispatched 14 inspectors to Al Dawrah
today and met with reporters later at a United Nations briefing.

A similar view was offered by Jacques Baute, the French nuclear physicist
who leads the field inspection teams for the International Atomic Energy
Agency. Nine of the nuclear agency's teams today inspected the industrial
complex at Al Nasr, 30 miles north of Baghdad, where sophisticated
machine-tool equipment was identified during United Nations inspections from
1991 to 1998 as having been involved in producing rotors for centrifuges
designed for enriching uranium, and engine parts for missiles. "We had no
difficulty with access," Mr. Baute said. "We went into every technically
significant building."

Al Nasr was heavily bombed by American and British aircraft after
inspections were terminated in 1998, but has since been partly rebuilt. It
was identified by American officials in October as one of the weapons sites
the Iraqis were putting back into commission, but Mr. Baute said the new
building shown in American intelligence photographs appeared to be inactive,
at least during today's inspections. "As far as we observed today, it seemed
to be very empty," he said.

Both men gave the Iraqis credit for keeping an accurate inventory of
equipment "tagged" by the previous inspectors. When one fermenter at Al
Dawrah was missing, plant officials said it had been moved to a veterinary
plant north of Baghdad. When the inspectors went on to the other plant in
search of the missing equipment, they found it. Mr. Baute said his men had a
similar experience at Al Nasr, identifying every tagged piece of equipment
at the plant, other than some the Iraqis had acknowledged moving in earlier
declarations to the United Nations.

But neither Mr. Perricos nor Mr. Baute was ready to comment, based on the
initial inspections, on the issue behind the months of American threats that
led to the United Nations Security Council's action earlier this month in
approving the tough new weapons inspection mandate: whether Iraq still has
banned weapons programs, or has abandoned them, as senior Iraqi officials
have insisted. A key test of Iraq's intentions will come on Dec. 8, when the
Baghdad government must make a full, formal declaration of all its banned
weapons programs, if any, and of civilian work in related fields.

The inspectors said their work was not a matter of reaching conclusions from
visits to individual sites, but of building a "mosaic" by visiting groups of
related sites, then re-visiting some of them. Mr. Perricos described this
process as "trying to make an assessment of what happened in the dark years"
after 1998, when the inspections ceased.

Mr. Baute said the work could take "weeks or months" ? longer, possibly,
though he did not say so, than the Bush administration might be prepared to
wait as it weighs its options for war.

by Kim Sengupta in Baghdad
The Independent, 1st December

The extraordinary admission by the UN that it had warned Iraqi officials
about a supposed surprise visit to a site will play directly into the hands
of US hawks eager to portray weapons inspections as little more than going
through the motions.

Neither will their suspicions be allayed by the way in which the news was
revealed. When it emerged that the director of a military industrial complex
had received advanced notice of the "no warning" raid, there were
suggestions that UN security had been breached. A spokesman even said he had
no idea how Iraqi officials at the Mother of All Battles company, in
Yusoufiyyah, 10 miles south of Baghdad, knew that a monitoring team was

But late last night came the admission that it was the UN itself that had
told the Iraqis. This statement was more of a surprise than the inspection
was ever going to be, and the reaction to all this in Washington is now
nervously awaited.

UN weapons inspectors have completed searches of 10 sites in Iraq without
apparently finding any evidence to back up claims by the US and Britain that
some are being used in chemical, biological and nuclear programmes.

Another UN team undertook the first search of a "sensitive site" at the
Balad military base, 48 miles north of Baghdad, where the Iraqi army says it
carries out experiments and training in how to counter chemical and
biological attacks. It is believed the inspectors may have been checking for
atropine, a medicine that can be used to counter nerve agents, which, US
authorities have claimed, was being imported in large quantities.

US officials maintain this may be a sign that President Saddam is planning
to use nerve agents against any US-led attack and is stocking atropine to
protect his own troops against "blowbacks". The Iraqis have strongly denied
the claims.

The UN refused to say if any samples had been taken away. But after the
inspection, Brigadier Karim Mohsen Alwan of the Iraqi National Monitoring
Directorate, claimed the team had found nothing. Iraqi soldiers at the site
appeared to have been caught unaware by the visit, and the site was "frozen"
by monitors, barring anyone from entering or leaving.

The UN inspectors are not able to sweep their headquarters, the Canal Hotel,
for bugs. As a result, all confidential discussions have to take place

Iraqi "minders" accompany the inspectors, but they are told to follow UN
vehicles without knowing the destination. A senior UN official said earlier
that the Iraqis may have "guessed" the Mother of All Battles site was being
targeted by the direction of the journey.

A number of the sites inspected had been named by US and Britain as places
where Iraq is attempting to reactivate programmes for weapons of mass
destruction. One site inspected last week was al-Tahadi, a factory in the
north-eastern suburbs of Baghdad where, the US Senate intelligence committee
was told at a hearing in February, a number of "the alumni of the Iraqi
nuclear establishment" had been gathering.

But another US intelligence report, leaked to Washington newspapers, gave
the wrong location for the plant, which, the report claimed, was being used
for biological warfare experiments.

Another site visited was al-Rafah, 80 miles west of Baghdad where,
Washington claims, the Iraqis have built a new and large missile-testing

by Thomas L. Friedman
International Herald Tribune, from The New York Times, 2nd December

WASHINGTON: The United Nations inspectors in Iraq have begun their
investigation of various Iraqi factories and military sites. Pay no
attention. They will find nothing. The key to this whole inspection gambit
will not be where the inspectors look inside Iraq but whom they decide to
interview outside Iraq, and whether that person has the courage to talk.

The fate of Iraq will all come down to the least noticed paragraph in UN
Security Council Resolution 1441, which is Point 5.

The framers of this resolution had learned their lessons from previous Iraqi
inspections. They knew that Saddam Hussein was an expert at hiding his war
toys and, having had four years without inspections, had probably buried
everything good under mosques or cemeteries. That means the only way to
uncover anything important is if an Iraqi official or scientist - a Saddam
insider - tells the United Nations where it's hidden.

Point 5 says: "Iraq shall provide" the UN inspectors and the International
Atomic Energy Agency "immediate, unimpeded, unrestricted and private access
to all officials and other persons whom [the United Nations] or the IAEA
wish to interview in the mode or location of [the United Nations'] or the
IAEA's choice, pursuant to any aspect of their mandates."

The United Nations and the International Atomic Energy Agency may "conduct
interviews inside or outside of Iraq, may facilitate the travel of those
interviewed and family members outside of Iraq, and ... such interviews may
occur without the presence of observers from the Iraqi government."

In other words, the chief UN inspector, Hans Blix, can invite any Iraqi
general or scientist to come outside Iraq and reveal what he knows. And
should that Iraqi worry about personal safety, U.S. officials would be
prepared to give his whole family green cards and money to live on.

And why not? "I am happy to pay for that," a senior Pentagon official said.
"It will be a lot cheaper than going to war to find these weapons."

But there are two weak points to worry about here. The first is Blix, an
IAEA veteran. Although the United Nations has given him this authority, he
is not entirely comfortable with it, UN officials say.

The whole IAEA inspection process and culture were never set up to be
prosecutorial, and it isn't in most countries, where the host government
provides full cooperation. Blix, and the United Nations generally, are not
used to such an "aggressive, adversarial approach," effectively subpoenaing
Iraqi officials, a U.S. official said.

The United States will have to hold the United Nations' feet to the fire.
"The key is finding a defector" through interviews, a senior U.S. official
said. "That's the only way we're going to find anything." Is there an Iraqi
Andrei Sakharov? Is there just one Iraqi scientist or official who wants to
see the freedom of his country so badly that he is ready to cooperate with
the United Nations by submitting to an interview and exposing the regime's
hidden weapons?

It takes just one person in Iraq who wants these inspections to be real, who
wants Saddam to be exposed, and the whole house of cards comes down. And
that person does not really have to risk his life or his family to do it. He
can get everybody out. If there is not one such person in Iraq, well, that
tells us something about the Iraqi people's own quest for freedom and a
different future.

"In the past year we've seen Arab extremists risking their lives to attack
others," says the Middle East expert Stephen P. Cohen. "Is there one Arab
democrat willing to risk his life to save his own country? Think about the
refuseniks in Russia who went to prison. Think about the reformers in Iran
who speak out every day, knowing that it will land them in jail or with a
death sentence.

"It's really an Abraham-like situation, when God told Abraham he would not
destroy Sodom if he could find just 10 good men there. Are there 10 Iraqi
refuseniks who dare to say 'Enough is enough' and will whisper to Blix the
truth? Is there one?"

If there isn't one such Iraqi, we will have to ask, and many Arabs will ask,
"Exactly who are we fighting this war for?"

So watch this issue. This is the real drama.

by Louis Charbonneau
Dawn, from Reuters, 3rd December

SEIBERSDORF: It is hard to imagine that inside an innocuous cluster of
buildings in the Austrian countryside scientists might find something worthy
of igniting a war in Iraq.

But that is exactly the power the UN forensic laboratories located a half
hour's drive from the Austrian capital will hold when samples collected by
weapons inspectors begin arriving from Baghdad next week.

The UN inspectors have returned to Iraq after a four-year hiatus to resume
their hunt for weapons of mass destruction under threat of a United
States-led military attack.

David Donohue, head of the UN International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA)
Clean Laboratory Unit in the east Austrian town of Seibersdorf, said that
technicians and scientists would make sure they deliver results to the UN
Security Council inside the two month deadline.

"The inspectors have a list of sites that they have to visit in this
two-month period and the samples that come back have to be analysed in the
same period," Donohue said, referring to IAEA head Mohamed ElBaradei's
deadline to brief the Security Council.

"It's going to be a lot of stress to get the samples analysed before the end
of this two-month period," he added.

Donohue is confident that if inspectors have unlimited access to all the
sites they want to see, the multi-million dollar lab that analyses
environmental samples from Iraq will uncover even the most minute traces of
illegal activity. "Even if they paint the walls and completely change the
floor to hide it, we'll still find it," said Donohue.

"If we're in the right building or on the right site, we will find it. They
can be quite clever at hiding things, but we have to be just as clever at
finding it," he said.

Experience from the very first inspection in May 1991, when UN experts found
traces of a uranium enrichment programme indicating Iraqis were trying to
make a bomb, shows results may come fast.

The nuclear inspectors' principal tool is not a Geiger counter but a 10x10
cm (4x4 inch) cotton pad for swabbing buildings.

Armed with hundreds of sterile environmental sampling kits - which include
swabs, medical gloves and polythene bags to protect the samples - dozens of
IAEA inspectors in the field will meticulously examine suspicious buildings
and sites all over Iraq.

Inspectors will be especially interested in areas around ventilation
systems, where telltale dust particles tend to collect, Donohue said.

"What they're trying to do is to collect very small traces of nuclear
material that might be present at the site," he said.

State-of-the art instruments, some of which are new since the inspectors
fled Iraq in 1998, can detect the tiniest uranium particle, down to a
trillionth of a gram.

A country needs 20 to 30 kg of highly-enriched uranium for a nuclear
programme, so it is virtually impossible to erase all traces, Donohue said.

The inspectors already had a pretty good idea of where to look before they
arrived in Baghdad.

"They have been watching Iraq very closely by satellite, spy satellites, for
the last couple of years," said Donohue. "And if (the Iraqis) have built
anything, I'm sure it will be found. Even an underground tunnel leaves a

The scientists at the lab are well aware that their work could be the
trigger for a war against Iraq.

The Iraqis are to provide a full and truthful declaration of any nuclear,
chemical, biological and ballistic weapons programmes by Dec 8. If they fail
to meet this demand, Washington is expected to lead a coalition to
forcefully disarm and topple Saddam Hussein.

IAEA lab director Gabriele Voigt said she feels the weight of responsibility
that their findings could spark a bloody war thousands of miles away from
peaceful Seibersdorf. That is why the lab must provide proof that is

"All we can do is provide good data," she said. "And if we find something we
have to report it."

To ensure their findings are solid, the lab sends swabs to other labs in
IAEA member states like the US, Britain and Germany for confirmation. "If
there is an undeclared activity, we should find evidence of it in each
laboratory," Donohue said.

The inspectors would then extend their nuclear police work by interviewing
scientists to find out what they have been doing for the last four years.

The inspectors' right to carry out surprise inspections anytime and anywhere
in Iraq have an important deterrent effect going forward and will put
pressure on the Iraqis to keep clean.

by Charles J. Hanley
Newsday, from Associated Press, 3rd December

BAGHDAD, Iraq -- The vast lawns, roadway, portico and grand entrance hall
were eerily quiet and empty. No one appeared in the endless windows. No one
was there to smell the rows of pale yellow roses.

When a president like Saddam Hussein has dozens of palaces at his command,
any one of them, like Al-Sajoud, can stand idle for many days at a time --
hidden, silent and beautiful.

The quiet was broken Tuesday, first by a dozen U.N. weapons inspectors who
showed up at the gates and demanded immediate entry under U.N. resolutions.

After the inspectors left, the peace was disturbed even more by more than
100 journalists who were allowed a rare look at the grandiose lifestyle of a
Middle Eastern autocrat.

What the journalists saw silenced even the most jaded among them.

Built in a modern Islamic style, the palace has soaring arched windows, an
enormous sky blue dome, and a facade of tan brick that stretches for
hundreds of yards.

A flourish of Arabic calligraphy on the portico announces the name of the
palace, Al Sajoud, an Arabic word signifying the Islamic act of kneeling in

Further back, the intricately carved wooden doors are inset with another
seal, in gold, that bears the initials "SH."

When the tall doors swung open, they revealed an entry hall that brought a
gasp to the visitors. It is an octagonal space, three stories high and with
walls of white marble, exquisitely worked in Islamic patterns. It is
illuminated by a glittering gilt-and-crystal chandelier.

In the middle of the hall sat models of Al-Sajoud itself -- charred and
holed from U.S. bombing in the 1991 Gulf War, and then restored to its
gleaming self.

Al-Sajoud is part of a sprawling presidential neighborhood that runs along a
bend in the Tigris River in western Baghdad. It includes the Iraqi "White
House" -- the Republican Palace which is home to Saddam's executive offices.
Across the road stands the massive headquarters of the ruling Baath Party,
an edifice that dwarfs most government buildings in Washington.

After taking full command of oil-rich Iraq in 1979, Saddam went on a spree
of palace building across Iraq. He is known to travel among them, partly
because he fears assassination. He often spends only a brief period in one
palace before moving to another.

The opulence of the palaces contrasts starkly with the drab existence of
ordinary Iraqis. The economy has plummeted because of the international
economic sanctions that resulted from Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1990.

But the lavish decor and the enormous size of the palaces seems to fit the
gargantuan ego of the president, who has his portrait displayed in hundreds
of public places across Baghdad.

Before being ushered out of Al-Sajoud, the journalists caught a close look
at the octagon's walls, each of which was inscribed in gold with a poem
singing the praises of Saddam.

"You are the glory," read one.

Daily Star, Lebanon, 3rd December

BAGHDAD: UN weapons experts said they discovered Monday that some equipment
tagged by previous inspectors was missing from a missile site during a
six-hour inspection, as the United States and Britain turned up military and
psychological pressure on Baghdad.

In the first glitch in five days of inspections, a statement by the
inspectors reported that Iraqi officials had said the missing gear had
either been destroyed by Western bombing or moved to other facilities.

A UN source declined to comment on how serious the matter was, but said the
Iraqi side had informed the inspectors where the remaining equipment had
been moved to.

"When the time comes, our inspectors will verify their claims," the source

The statement said that in 1998 the site contained pieces of equipment
tagged by the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM) and several
monitoring cameras.

"None of these are currently present at the facility," it said. "It was
claimed that some had been destroyed by the bombing of the site; some had
been transferred to other sites."

The inspectors spent six hours at the Karamah (Dignity) compound in Baghdad.
The statement said the facility, run by the Military Industrialization
Commission, was an engineering design and research and development site.

The site was one of Iraq's main missile-development sites before it was
placed on long-term monitoring by previous inspection teams.

Brigadier Mohammed Saleh Mohammed, commander of the Karamah compound, said
the facility was involved in the production - mainly design - of missiles
permitted by UN Security Council resolutions. Iraq is allowed to only have
missiles with a range of 150 kilometers or less.


by Ken Adelman
Fox News, 3rd December

The Bush administration wanted U.N. inspections of Iraq the worst way
possible. Well, that's how it's gone for them so far.

 All the lovey-dovey cooperation in Iraq last week masks D-Day-- "Decision
Day"-- this week, when President George W. Bush has to decide if he goes the
U.N. way of non confrontation, or implements his confrontational but wholly
justified goal of "regime change."

The days following Dec. 8 will be the most important of the Bush
administration since the days immediately following Sept. 11, 2001. This
Sunday, Iraq must declare if its facilities are capable of producing -- and
undoubtedly still producing -- nuclear, chemical or biological weapons.

The administration can then highlight any discrepancies between what Saddam
declares as his weapons of mass destruction, and what we know he has through
intelligence gathered over the past 11 years. Deeming such discrepancies a
material breach would constitute grounds for regime change, and with it
Iraq's liberation.

And this may be the last opportunity Bush has available over the next year.
Because once U.N. inspectors begin their full operations -- such that they
are! -- we can kiss President Bush's justified policy of regime change
goodbye, at least for a while.

After that, there's scant way we can liberate Iraq without getting a green
light from inspections chief Hans Blix. And there's no way Blix will be
giving Bush a green light to attack.

Members of the administration, along with the U.N. establishment, somehow
imagined that inspections could ensure Saddam's disarmament. Fat chance.

Really, no chance. Saddam mastered developing and hiding chemical,
biological and nuclear weapons over the past 11 years. He just finished four
years of developing, without having to bother about the hiding.

Hans Blix plans for 80 or so inspectors to cover a country the size of
France, with 23 million inhabitants who face torture or death for revealing
such information. To show how ludicrous this is, consider two simple

--After World War I, more than 5,000 international inspectors went into
Germany after its hostile government was changed -- not with the violators
still in power;

-- A team of 80 inspectors equals the size of the police force of
Blacksburg, Va., and is smaller than the force of Milford, Conn.

>From this flows my conclusion that the only reliable international
inspectors for Iraq are members of the 101st Airborne Division. Real
inspections can only follow real regime change.

Unless this post Dec. 8 opportunity is seized, the U.N. inspections will
lead to "regime protection" over the coming year. This is remarkably
different from the "regime change" Bush intended.

Kenneth Adelman is a frequent guest commentator on Fox News, was assistant
to U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld from 1975 to 1977 and, under
President Ronald Reagan, U.N. ambassador and arms-control director. Mr.
Adelman is now co-host of

Yahoo, 3rd December

LONDON (Reuters) - A source close to U.N. weapons inspectors said Tuesday
that Iraq recently admitted to several failed attempts to acquire aluminum
tubing for use in conventional weapons in violation of United Nations

But Baghdad immediately denied that claim, saying it has had the aluminum
tubing since 1989, before the U.N. sanctions imposed for its 1990 invasion
of Kuwait, and was using them for the production of artillery shells.

"The Iraqis said they tried to import the aluminum tubing, but not for use
in nuclear weapons as the U.S. and Britain have alleged," the source close
to the inspectors told Reuters.

The source said the Iraqis told the inspectors after they returned to
Baghdad last week that the tubing was to be used in multi-barreled rocket
launchers. Baghdad also said it made several failed attempts to import the

Asked by reporters in Baghdad about the claims, Hussam Mohammed Amin, the
Iraqi official in charge of liasing with the weapons inspectors, said: "This
is untrue."

"This is a tube which was available in Iraq since 1989, before the (Gulf)
war, and we did not import any such tubes and the situation was explained in
detail to Mr. Hans Blix and Mr. (Mohamed) ElBaradei during the Baghdad
discussions with the UNMOVIC and IAEA (chiefs)," he said in English.

The aluminum tubing "are currently used for the production of artillery
rockets of 81 (mm) caliber...," he said.


by Parviz Esmaeili
Tehran Times, 4th December

TEHRAN - In an unprecedented measure in the history of international
relations, President George W. Bush appointed Zalamy Khlalizad as his
plenipotential envoy and coordinator for the post-Sadddam Iraqi affairs.

The move shows that the overthrow of the Saddam government is one of the
objectives of the United States to be fulfilled in the next few months. The
decision has in fact been taken regardless of the outcome of the
investigations of the UN inspectors in Iraq, the Iraqi treatment of the UN
inspection team, and the tactical maneuvers of Iraqi generals with respect
to the probable future democratic measures inside Iraq.

All these signs show unprecedented U.S. preparations for a military attack
on Iraq. Among these activities one may mention the secret meeting between
Condoleeza Rice, the National Security Advisor to the Bush Administration,
with the head of the UN inspection team Hans Blix; the prediction of the
U.S. Defense (read war) Secretary that the results of the inspections will
be irrelevant; the pressure the White House exerts on the UN inspection team
to prepare a report to suit Pentagon's objectives; the grant of a
three-billion-dollar aid package to Turkey as a quid pro quo for military
cooperation with the United States in its attack on Iraq - similar to how
Pakistan was dealt with during the U.S. attacks on Afghanistan; and the
meetings of the U.S. Assistant Defense Secretary as well as Khalilzad's
consultations with the Iraqi opposition are among the events that herald war
and gunpowder in the Middle Eastern region.

In 1982 Israel used special highly advanced homing devices planted by its
agents in the Ossirak Nuclear power plant near Baghdad to guide its
fighter-bombers and their missiles to their intended target and successfully
destroyed the power plant.

The devices are reported to also help the jets evade Iraqi anti-aircraft
batteries and surface to-air missiles.

A necessary ingredient for any planning involving the homing devices
involves, of course, the services of agents or mercenaries who plant the
devices at or close to the target.

The system has been repeatedly and successfully used by the Israelis in
assassinating many Palestinian and Hizbullah leaders by planting the homing
device on the target vehicle by an agent.

The targets were subsequently destroyed by missiles launched from Israeli
helicopters using the homing devices for precise targeting.

Therefore, analysts suggest that it is plausible that in the September 11
events of last year in the United States Israeli agents planted homing
devices in the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon enabling the
hijacked airliners to effectively act as missiles which homed in on their
targets with great accuracy.

And only recently in Yemen, a missile launched from an American drone
successfully tracked and destroyed an speeding vehicle carrying a number of
alleged Al-Qaeda members killing all occupants instantly.

There are reports that not long before the Yemen operation, the United
States signed a contract for the purchase of the drones and the ground
station equipment and other needed electronics with Israel.

Some also suggest that there is a possibility that some UN inspectors with
dubious allegiances be able to surreptitiously plant such homing devices in
various places they visit, or even hide them in cameras they are entitled to
install in sensitive places. Afterwards, the United States and its allies
can use the homing devices for extremely effective targeting of Iraqi sites
in case a good excuse if found.

The devices would allow American warplanes to accurately target and destroy
Iraqi targets from long distances without entering skies where harm might
come to the attacking aircraft.

Thus, analysts suggest that American acquiescence on the United Nations
Security Council Resolution 1441 might be only a trick enabling American
agents to enter sensitive Iraqi sites to plant the homing devices for later

Therefore, the cumulative weight of evidence suggests that the once
thinly-veiled strategic cooperation of the United States and Israel has
entered a new phase and the two do not see any need to hide the partnership
any longer.

The unholy strategic alliance between the two is now aimed at the
destruction of the Iraqi regime and its replacement by a puppet government,
analysts say. Bearing in mind that Iraq and its defensive capabilities are
quite different from that of the Taliban; and the possibility of chemical
and biological weapons being used by Iraq in any attack by the U.S., the
value of the Israeli homing devices in military planning becomes even more

by Charles J. Hanley
Associated Press, 4th December

U.N. monitors spent five hours Wednesday inspecting a desert factory that
was once the heart of Iraq's chemical and biological weapons industries.

A second team, meanwhile, visited the Al-Tuwaitha nuclear complex to check
on new construction and other changes since the last inspection in 1998,
according to Melissa Fleming, spokeswoman for the U.N. nuclear control
agency in Vienna, Austria.

Elsewhere, U.S. war planes bombed an Iraqi air defense site in the northern
"no-fly" zone about 15 miles from the city of Mosul, U.S. officials said.
The attack came after the Iraqis fired on U.S. jets patrolling the area, the
officials said.

The Al-Tuwaitha site, 15 miles southeast of Baghdad, has long been an issue
of international concern. The site was bombed by Israeli warplanes in 1981
and again by the Americans in the Gulf War 10 years later. Recent satellite
photos have spotted new construction.

The inspectors who drove to the desert chemical weapons factory were making
a return visit to check that Iraq had not resumed production at the site.

In the late 1990s, U.N. inspectors demolished the al-Muthanna State
Establishment, in wastelands 40 miles northwest of Baghdad, after finding it
had been key to Iraq's production of some of the deadliest chemical weapons
known: mustard gas, tabun, sarin and VX nerve agent.

The desert center operated under the name of Iraqi State Establishment for
Pesticide Production, but the Iraqis finally admitted to the U.N. monitors
that al-Muthanna produced 4,000 tons of chemical warfare agent per year.

Al-Muthanna also became instrumental in the development of biological
agents, apparently including anthrax.

Wednesday's searches came at the end of the first week of renewed
inspections under a U.N. Security Council mandate for Iraq to shut down any
continuing chemical, biological or nuclear weapons programs.

When the inspectors arrived at the remote front gate of al-Muthanna at 10:25
a.m., they were admitted quickly to what appeared to be a vast desert
installation covering what seemed to be several square miles. Through the
morning fog, the ruins of scattered buildings could be seen from the outer

After the 1991 war, the facility's equipment and material were destroyed
under the supervision of U.N. inspectors in the late 1990s.

The disarmament of al-Muthanna was a major achievement of the U.N.
inspectorate. A recent Iraqi report said the U.N. teams at al-Muthanna had
destroyed 38,500 artillery shells and other chemical-filled weapons, almost
520,000 gallons of liquid material, 150 pieces of equipment used to make
chemical weapons, and four production facilities.

Inspectors left al-Muthanna without speaking to journalists waiting at the
gate. However, an Iraqi liaison officer, Raad Manhal, said the arms experts
had searched for signs of resumed production at the site.

"There were looking for any change, and they found no change," Manhal said.


by Jean Serror
Daily Yomiuro, Japan, 5th December

PARIS--Georges Amsel is a prominent French researcher in atomic physics. As
emeritus research director at France's Centre National de la Recherche
Scientifique and adviser on proliferation issues to former French President
Francois Mitterrand, Amsel was part of a small group of scientists that
revealed the extent and risks of France-Iraq nuclear cooperation in the
1970s and 1980s.

In an interview with The Yomiuri Shimbun, Amsel said the new round of U.N.
inspections will be crucial to ending the Iraqi crisis and will directly
impact the way the North Korean nuclear issue is resolved.

The Yomiuri Shimbun: How can U.N. inspections help clear up doubts about
Iraq's nuclear program?

Amsel: One should never forget that India, Pakistan and North Korea have
signed the Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Inspectors from the International
Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have visited nuclear facilities in these
countries regularly. But inspections have never prevented these nations from
developing clandestine nuclear programs. As NPT rules limit where inspectors
can go, inspectors found nothing in Iraq until post-Gulf War U.N.
inspections in 1991.

The ongoing inspections must be conducted very strictly, and inspectors must
be allowed to go everywhere and interview Iraqi engineers without witnesses.
If these conditions are not met, inspections will only lead to false
guarantees--the inspectors may not find anything, but that won't mean Iraq
has nothing to hide. The quantity of enriched plutonium needed to make bomb
is about the size of an orange. It's easy to hide in a country as big as

Does that mean the inspections are unlikely to solve the crisis?

Iraq has been misleading the West for 10 years. The only guarantee against
its weapons of mass destruction would be the inauguration of a pacifist
regime. According to Hans Blix, the U.N. chief inspector, new inspections
will take at least a year, which leaves Iraq some time. I'm afraid that in
order to prevent any automatic use of force by the United States, the U.N.
Security Council may not be strict enough with Iraq.

The current situation is very important for Japan. It will create a
precedent that will determine the way the North Korean crisis is solved. The
question of inspections is crucial. It will be impossible to impose
conditions on North Korea that have not been imposed on Iraq. The Iraq
crisis has taken on more global dimensions since the revelation of North
Korea's nuclear program. It will be a test of whether a peaceful solution is
possible to the problem of weapons of mass destruction. Japan should be very
aware of what's going on. It will have a direct impact on the crisis with
North Korea.

In the 1970s, France played an important role in the Iraqi nuclear program
by building two research reactors, known as Osirak 1 and 2. What may remain
of this program?

Osirak was a very powerful research reactor, an exact copy of the reactor
the French built in their nuclear research center in Saclay. Although the
French government always has denied it, Osirak 1 was powerful enough to
produce three to five kilograms a year of so-called military plutonium.

This reactor was destroyed by Israeli planes in 1981, but France already had
delivered up to 14 kilograms of highly enriched uranium to Iraq. Later,
these were recovered by the IAEA, but since then we haven't known precisely
what became of this uranium.

Do you think Iraq could get a stock of plutonium?

It's clear Iraq has no more means of producing military plutonium, but it
could have bought it from another state. Tons of plutonium were left in
former Soviet republics like Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine after the
partial dismantling of the Russian nuclear arsenal. In these states, the
military and scientists are often poorly paid, and due to social disruption
and the power of the mafia, they represent a real proliferation risk. Tons
of plutonium produced by civilian nuclear plants also are circulating around
the world. It is highly possible that Iraq tried to buy some.

It is generally said that this plutonium, which contains only 25 to 30
percent of plutonium 239, cannot be used to make a bomb. However, 20 years
ago the United States succeeded in exploding such a bomb. As it is a dirty
device whose explosion is uncertain, it would not be very effective in terms
of deterrence, but it would be enough for a terrorist attack. Only a few
dozens kilograms are needed to make an explosive device. As recent events
have proven, it would be difficult to prevent a terrorist group from
planting a nuclear device in the heart of a city.

by Kim Sengupta in Tuwaitha
The Independent, 5th December

Twisted pieces of metal rise from the rubble, rainwater lies in craters
gouged into the earth, a scorched chimney leans into a jagged wall 
reminders of how Saddam Hussein's nuclear ambitions were destroyed.

United Nations inspectors revisited the old Osirak site yesterday to check
whether Iraq has once again embarked on a nuclear programme, as Washington
and London claim. Tony Blair recently made public satellite photographs
which, he maintained showed that the Iraqis were engaged in secret new

The remains of the three reactors destroyed in 1981 by the Israelis, and
then a decade later in the Gulf War, by the Americans, have been left by the
Iraqis. Around it is the vast, sprawling al-Tuwaitha complex, with dozens of
buildings, artificial hills with foxholes for anti-aircraft guns, and cars
and buses lined up to transport workers around the plant.

The Iraqis insist the site is now used for medical and pharmaceutical
products. Officials were keen to show the supposedly clandestine
construction which so alarmed Mr Blair. They appeared to be no more than a
few sheds. Nor were there overt signs of the infrastructure needed to enrich
uranium for nuclear weapons.

Monitors from the International Atomic Energy Agency arrived at 8.55am and
spent four hours and 48 minutes at Iraq's biggest suspected nuclear site,
poring over equipment and computers, before leaving with samples.

Faiz al-Barkhdar, the director of al-Tuwaitha and an adviser to President
Saddam, professed to be bewildered by the visit. Nothing nuclear had been
tested at the site since 1991, he insisted, and the gun emplacements were

One of the new sheds was being used to grow mushrooms, Mr al-Barkhdar said.
Observers comments about nuclear bombs and mushroom clouds were lost on him.
"It is to help us produce better quality mushrooms, that is all," he
insisted. "I know this is not strictly medical and pharmaceutical, but are
Bush and Blair going to say this is a material breach?

"The truth is even the harmless work we do is very difficult, because of the
UN sanctions. We cannot get spare parts, and around 70 per cent of the
equipment cannot be used. We keep applying to the UN to get more supplies
in, but we only get refusals."

For a plant running at a fraction of its capacity, there appeared to be a
huge number of people present. Twenty-eight buses were lined up to take
workers back to Baghdad in the afternoon as work finished early for Ramadan.
Mr al-Barkhdar said about 2,500 people were employed, in a variety of jobs,
"but none of them nuclear".

The inspectors had been particularly interested in a furnace in the physics
laboratory, said Mr al-Barkhdar. It was made by the Degusse company of
Germany and has been at the plant for over 10 years. "It does not even work,
again because of lack of spare parts," he complained. "But the inspectors
still took swabs from inside, I think to see whether we are using it for
uranium. They will not find anything, I guarantee."

Osirak, is never far from the mind of the people working at the plant.
Pointing at the wreckage, Mr al-Barkhdar recalled: "The Israelis hit with
missiles early in the evening, a Frenchman and a number of Iraqis were
killed, they hit the reactors. Then the Americans bombed the new facility
during the war in the middle of the night, all that work was lost. Now they
are just seeking an excuse to attack again."

Another group of UN inspectors visited al-Muthanna, 60 miles north west of
Baghdad, once the nucleus of Iraq's chemicals production. But the facility
was severely damaged in the Gulf War by more than 30 Tomahawk missiles and
2000lb laser-guided bombs

The inspectors discovered mustard gas shells in the derelict buildings of
the complex. The Iraqis claimed they intended to destroy the shells  of the
type used to gas to death 5,000 people in Halabjah  but were waiting for
discussions with the UN first.

Times of India (from AFP), 5th December

BAGHDAD: UN arms experts secured a stock of mustard gas shells already
inventoried by a previous inspections mission during a visit on Wednesday to
a huge complex in the Iraqi desert, team leader Dimitri Perricos told

"We wanted to make sure that the mustard shells which were not destroyed
were still there," said Perricos after the visit to the al-Muthanna
facility, 150 KMs north of the capital, where Iraq launched its chemical and
biological weapons research in 1985.

"It's a pretty good quantity of mustard," he said explaining that the shells
had been transferred to the desert site by the former UN Special Commission
in 1998.

"There is no leakage," he said.

"We should proceed with the procedure of destruction. They have been stored
in a safe place."

NO URL (sent through list)

The Wall Street Journal, 6th December

Sunday is the deadline for Iraq to fess up to all of its secret weapons
programs, but we already have a suggestion of what that list will be worth.
"We have no weapons of mass destruction, absolutely no weapons of mass
destruction," said Iraqi Major General Hussam Muhammad Amin this week.

Well, that's a relief. This remarkable non-admission is the real Iraq news
this week, not the dance of the seven veils now being undertaken in Baghdad
by United Nations weapons inspectors. The latter couldn't be more amusing if
it had been written by the Friar's Club. The inspectors pretend to be
"surprising" the Iraqis about their inspection destinations, while the
Iraqis pretend to be cooperating.

This week they even managed a surprise visit to one of Saddam Hussein's
umpteen presidential sites and/or palaces. Iraqis claimed to be outraged at
this intrusion into their sovereignty, as if they haven't long ago had the
chance to conceal whatever they really want to keep secret.

The real, stunning surprise will be if the inspectors find something. In
recent years Saddam has developed mobile laboratories that can take off in
the opposite direction if they see a U.N. team heading their way. Nor does
he have to keep many of his lethal weapons actually in stock. As a senior
U.S. official told us this week, he's perfected the art of "just in time
inventory" and has the ability to cook up weapons on demand. Some of the
ingredients even have legitimate alternative uses, so Iraqis will insist
they aren't a problem.

The Iraqi report due this weekend could run to thousands of obfuscating
pages, and the Bush Administration says it likely will take a while to
respond. But the reality is that we already know Iraq has weapons of mass
destruction, both from intelligence information and from U.N. inspections
during the 1990s. All of this was laid out a couple of months back in a
dossier by Tony Blair's Labor government.

The Brits released another report on Iraq this week, this time reminding the
world about Saddam's human-rights abuses. But the earlier report is more
relevant to this weekend, demonstrating as it does that any assertion that
Iraq lacks mass-murder weaponry is one more lie.

Saddam's inventory includes:

 up to 360 tons of bulk chemical warfare agent, including 1.5 tons of
deadly VX nerve agent;

 up to 3,000 tons of precursor chemicals for use in chemical weapons;

 growth media for the production of biological weapons (enough to make more
than three times the 8,500 liters of anthrax spores that Iraq admits to
having manufactured);

 and more than 30,000 special munitions "for delivery of chemical and
biological agents."

The British dossier also performs a useful service by describing in detail
what it calls Iraq's "large, effective system for hiding proscribed
material." That includes forged documents, dual-use facilities and hiding
spots close to roads and telecommunications so illicit items can be moved at
short notice.

It's always possible the inspectors will get a break and stumble onto
something, much as inspectors got lucky with defections in the 1990s before
Saddam threw them out. But Saddam will always win a game of inspect and
pretend on his home turf. In the meantime, the world is left to live with
the knowledge that, as the British report also notes, Iraq can get weapons
of mass destruction ready for use within 45 minutes of Saddam's order.

In the foreword to the report, issued on September 24, Prime Minister Blair
previews the charade we've been watching in Baghdad this week. Saddam, he
warns, will "do his utmost to try to conceal his weapons from U.N.
inspectors" and will "go to extreme lengths, indeed has already done so, to
hide these weapons and avoid giving them up." It's the same old pattern of
deceit that Saddam has gotten away with for more than a decade.

But with the accounting due this weekend, the dance should finally be up. As
U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said this week, "The United States
knows that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction. The U.K. knows that they
have weapons of mass destruction. Any country on the face of the Earth with
an active intelligence program knows that Iraq has weapons of mass

If Iraq asserts this weekend that it has no such weapons, then that will on
its face be a material breach of U.N. Security Council resolutions demanding
that he disarm. And a material breach means Iraq must be disarmed by force.
The U.S. and Britain ought to say so, the U.N. should then bring its
inspectors home, and the hour will be at hand to liberate Iraqis and the
world from Saddam Hussein's terror threat.

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