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News, 13-20/12/02 (1) IRAQI COLLABORATION/OPPOSITION * Key Exiles Agree U.S. Should Not Run Postwar Iraq * US cash squads 'buy' Iraqi tribes * Differences of Opinion Surface Between Khalilzad and Iraqi Opposition * Saddam's foes share a history of tragedy * U.S. Army to Train 1,000 Iraqi Exiles * Hungary Agrees to Allow Military Training for Iraqi Exiles * Iraqi exiles name panel to rule after Saddam falls INSPECTIONS PROCESS * Scientists Hold Key To Iraqi Arms Search * UN Teams Hit Access Snag * Analysis: Baring information on WMD carries risks * U.N. Inspectors Visit 4 Sites in Iraq * UN unease at taking Iraq's scientists away * List of sites visited by U.N. weapons inspectors, Nov 27-16 Dec * UN arms experts search academic facility in Iraq IRAQI COLLABORATION/OPPOSITION http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A55519-2002Dec14.html * KEY EXILES AGREE U.S. SHOULD NOT RUN POSTWAR IRAQ by Peter Slevin and Daniel Williams Washington Post, 15th December LONDON, Dec. 14 -- Iraqi opposition leaders who disagree on fundamental questions about the future of their homeland appeared united today in the conviction that Iraqis, not Americans, should run the country immediately after the fall of President Saddam Hussein. Opening a conference dedicated to creating a conceptual framework for post-Hussein Iraq, a variety of opposition leaders said they would press the United States to grant power to Iraqis inside and outside the country if Hussein's government collapses or is overthrown by U.S. military force. The assertion poses a potential conflict with the Bush administration, which expects Americans to be in primary decision-making roles in Iraq until the country is stable and a credible government has been established. A U.S. official at the conference said that no firm policy has been set but that Iraqis now in exile could play a role "where appropriate." "No gap in sovereignty" is the way Ahmed Chalabi, leader of the Iraqi National Congress, described his argument for the establishment of an Iraqi authority as soon as any invasion begins. "I do not want any foreign governor, whoever appoints him." "Not an American military government," added Hamid Bayati, London representative of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, an Iran-based organization that fears a political vacuum in Iraq would lead to renewed military rule or foreign control. The dispute is not only about many Iraqis' distaste at having U.S. authorities dictate terms for months or years after Hussein's departure, but also reflects political maneuvering among exiled leaders who believe their best chance to establish themselves in power after Hussein's fall would come before Iraqis in Iraq become organized. After years of feuds and broken alliances, the exile groups are divided. It took them months to put together the conference of several hundred opposition members that began today, a process marked by disagreements about which hotel would host the meetings, whose statement of principles would rule and how a follow-up committee would be composed. Finally assembled under one roof, they talked about liberation and the possibilities of renewal, about replacing a punishing totalitarian regime with an elected government grounded in fair elections and equal rights. They spoke of "partnership," "sincerity" and "mutual respect." Effusive in their declarations, they left no democratic principle unmentioned. "We must place the first building blocks to build this democratic structure," said Sayed Muhammad Bahr Ulum . "We must return to the body of Iraq its spirit, its soul. We must tear a black page from our history." As the leaders spoke, their supporters sometimes took sides, applauding their own man while delegates in other parts of the ballroom remained quiet. The most religious among them murmured responses to calls for God's blessings. Later, a far smaller group applauded an appeal from Ann Clwyd, a member of the British Parliament, to make room for more women in positions of responsibility. The conference, which several knowledgeable delegates said would not have happened without U.S. pressure, was designed to suggest to Iraqis in Iraq and neighboring countries that exile forces have a progressive vision that is not to be feared. U.S. officials offer no encouragement to opposition figures who want to establish a government with a high proportion of exiles if Hussein falls, though Chalabi reiterated today that such an authority should be created on Iraqi soil as soon as any land is freed from Hussein's control in Iraq's Arab-controlled regions. The Bush administration, whose postwar plans remain fluid, sees the exiles more as consultants and helpers in the early stages of a new Iraq, officials report. Exactly how the country would be administered, and which Iraqi figures and foreign institutions would take part, remains to be decided. "I don't think they've addressed the issue in sufficient detail and depth," complained a senior Iraqi National Congress figure who said the presence of U.S. troops in Iraq will give Washington the power to decide. "We will not cross the United States, nor will we do anything to impede the United States. We will try to persuade the United States." White House emissary Zalmay Khalilzad has been holding court in London for several days, encouraging and cajoling delegates who arrive by appointment at his door. His principal ambition is to keep the rival groups on track. He tells them, according to a source, "I'm here to make sure you don't fail." The essential message is "Be prudent," said a U.S. official who described Khalilzad as urging the opposition "to be generous, not to overreach, not to monopolize." Khalilzad, according to Iraqis who have met with him, has advised members of the opposition to make their own decisions, and to come to him as mediator of last resort. http://observer.co.uk/international/story/0,6903,860249,00.html * US CASH SQUADS 'BUY' IRAQI TRIBES by Jason Burke, chief reporter The Observer, 15th December Dozens of teams of elite American soldiers and intelligence specialists have been sent into Iraq with millions of dollars in cash to woo key tribal leaders away from Saddam Hussein. The secret campaign, based on tactics used successfully in Afghanistan last year, has been under way for several weeks and is a critical part of the military and political strategy being pursued by the US and its closest ally, Britain, to strip Saddam of weapons of mass destruction and, if this is not possible, to bring about a 'regime change'. The tribal leaders command the allegiance of millions of Iraqis and have historically supported the Iraqi dictator for pragmatic rather than ideological reasons. US and British strategists hope they can now be persuaded to revolt or to stop co-operating with Saddam, fatally weakening his regime. Similar tactics were used against the Taliban when teams from the CIA carrying briefcases full of money bought off key power-brokers, accelerating the hardline Islamic regime's collapse in the face of American bombing and the advance of local opposition troops. The specialist teams in Iraq are thought to be concentrating on the rural areas of central Iraq around Baghdad, where Sunni Muslim tribal leaders are strongest. The Shia Muslim tribal leaders in the south are worried by a repeat of 1991 when, after being encouraged to rebel, they were abandoned by Washington. Kurdish tribal leaders in the north have made it clear they would back an American invasion of Iraq. Last week American and British officials said that Baghdad's 'full and final disclosure' of its nuclear, biological and chemical weapons programme was 'incomplete'. Iraq was responding to a UN resolution demanding that Baghdad end any production of weapons of mass destruction, declare its research and re-admit UN inspectors. A failure to comply with the resolution could be used by Washington to justify an invasion to oust Saddam and replace his government. The bid to woo tribal leaders indicates that US and British planners believe elements among the ruling groups will be retained even if Saddam is deposed. The CIA and the US State Department are also known to be keen to encourage defectors from the regime, possibly by offering key individuals in the army or security establishment posts in a new administration. 'Tribal leaders have acted as a parallel authority in Iraq for many years,' said Daniel Neep, of the Royal United Services Institute. 'Prising them away from Saddam certainly has the potential seriously to weaken him.' Saddam has showered many tribal 'sheikhs' with gifts and has played off tribes against each other. Some sheikhs have been sidelined, some restored to favour, others marginalised. There are reports of clashes between tribal militias and security forces. Last year members of the Bani Hasan tribe clashed with troops in the south of Iraq. In 1999 members of the al Dulaimi tribe staged a rebellion in the north-west. In recent years Saddam has given the tribal sheikhs a degree of autonomy, allowing them to dispense justice among their own people. Loyal leaders are rewarded by subsidies as well as roads and other public works built for their followers. 'The logic is, if Saddam can buy them, then so can the Americans,' said one tribal leader who fled to the UK. The CIA was recently given more than $200m (£130m) to pay for covert operations in Iraq. British officials and specialists, mainly from the Foreign Office, are understood to be supporting the American initiative in a variety of roles. The British, with a tradition of covert operations in the Middle East going back to the days of Lawrence of Arabia and the First World War, have a wealth of experience and expertise that the Americans have been anxious to tap. British special forces units operated behind Iraqi lines, with mixed results, during the Gulf war of 1991. There is still no indication of whether or when there will be war. Though one American aircraft carrier, the USS George Washington, headed out of the Middle East last week, another carrier and accompanying battle group is still stationed in the region and two others are en route. Exercises have been held at a mobile US military command and control base set up in the Gulf state of Qatar, slated as a possible headquarters for any attack on Iraq. The return of the George Washington to the US East Coast makes a large-scale attack on Iraq less likely in the near future, analysts say. 'That's an indication that a full-out invasion is less likely to occur in the next several months,' said Stephen Baker, a navy chief of staff for operations in the Gulf war. http://www.tehrantimes.com/Description.asp?Da=12/16/02&Cat=2&Num=020 * DIFFERENCES OF OPINION SURFACE BETWEEN KHALILZAD AND IRAQI OPPOSITION Tehran Times, 16th December TEHRAN -- A prominent Iraqi opposition, Seyed Majid Khuie, said yesterday that the Iraqi opposition forces who met in London on Sunday failed to reach an agreement with the U.S. special envoy for Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad, on transition and the future configuration of Iraqi political system. The Chairman of Al-Khuie Foundation, Khuie said, a coordination council is to be set up to represent the opposition groups and also the transitional government. The differences occurred when the session was held behind the closed doors, he said, adding the first difference occurred regarding the number of the coordination council. At one stage the representatives of various Iraqi opposition forces quit the hall of the meeting in protest to Khalilzad's remarks, he said, adding even Jalal Talebani told Khalilzad: "If you are looking for a lackey, please forget us and carry out the plan yourself." The opposition forces agree with the establishment of a federal system, but it must include all ethnic communities not only the Arabs but the Kurds as the U.S. maintains, he said. Khalilzad proposed that the Iraqi opposition introduce forty people for the coordination council and then the Americans select ten from amongst them, which was vociferously opposed by the Iraqi opposition, he said. The representatives of six opposition groups have participated in the meeting, he said, adding Ayatullah Mohammad Baqir al-Hakim has two votes, one representing the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution of Iraq and another representing the Islamic groups. At the end of the session decision must be made about the fate of Saddam Hussien's regime, he said, adding his regime will be toppled within the next 60 days. http://www.gulf-news.com/Articles/news.asp?ArticleID=71345 * SADDAM'S FOES SHARE A HISTORY OF TRAGEDY by Daniel Williams and Peter Slevin Gulf News, from Los Angeles Times-Washington Post News Service, 17th December Safia Al Suhail is an Iraqi who knows something about suffering in exile. Her prominent family fled Saddam Hussain's regime in fear, moving between safe havens in Beirut and Amman, Jordan, until her father sealed his own fate when he helped plot a 1993 coup attempt. Iraqi security forces uncovered the conspiracy and arrested the participants. Talib Al Suhail remained outside the country, but less than a year later, he was dead assassinated in Lebanon by agents posing as Iraqi diplomats. Now his daughter is seeking to avenge her father's death, not by force of arms, but by lobbying for a democratic Iraq where prospective dictators need not apply. At an Iraqi opposition conference in London dominated by well-heeled leaders and their seemingly endless rivalries, Al Suhail is one of dozens of delegates working more quietly to challenge the Iraqi government and the Iraqi exile leadership alike. Often motivated by their own tragedies, many of the delegates can now taste the possibility of redemption. The long-delayed opposition gathering, designed to establish a modicum of unity and a commitment to democracy, struggled with the creation of a leadership committee sought by the Bush administration to speak for the Iraqi diaspora. Inevitably, competing groups disagreed over the size of the panel and who would be included. Those who do not aspire to such heights nonetheless speak passionately about the future of Iraq. Sitting on stone steps at the conference hotel, Safia Al Suhail shed tears at the memory of her father. "Something is pushing me even harder now," said Al Suhail. "I was working for the liberation of Iraq, but I have something personal. He was my father. He was thinking of seeing his country, and he never saw it again. I want him to be buried in the soil of Iraq. Inshallah (God willing), I will do it soon." Mostafa Al Quzwini, born into a prominent Iraqi religious family 40 years ago, said his grandfather, a Muslim cleric, was arrested in 1980 after many members of his family had fled the country. Security forces contacted the Al Quzwini family and said the grandfather was in custody and would be released only if notable relatives returned to Iraq. "It was a trap," Al Quzwini said in a conference hall corridor. No one ever heard another word about his grandfather. In all, 15 members of his family were arrested between 1980 and 1991, and two were executed in prison, he said. Al Quzwini, an Islamic cleric, eventually settled in California, where he helped establish four Islamic centres and a school for 200 children. At a conference where Islamic factions were divided about the role religion should play in a future Iraq, Al Quzwini delivered a speech in favour of religious tolerance. "We have to have it for all religious traditions, even for atheists," he said. "We learned this from Americans and by living in the West. We can influence Iraq. Iraq will be a gate to other neighbouring countries, to Egypt and Saudi Arabia." As for life after Saddam Hussain, Al Quzwini is torn. He wants to help create civil society in Iraq. He sees it as a moral responsibility. But when he asks his four children, all of them raised in the United States, if they would go with him, they say, "No, Dad. You go. We are Americans." The bloody past makes some delegates wary of U.S. pledges to oust the Iraqi leader. Some paid a personal price when, at the end of the 1991 Gulf War, President George H.W. Bush encouraged Iraqis to rise up but failed to support the revolt. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A3956-2002Dec17.html * U.S. ARMY TO TRAIN 1,000 IRAQI EXILES by Daniel Williams Washington Post, 18th December LONDON, Dec. 17 -- The United States has accepted 1,000 Iraqi exiles for military training as guides and go-betweens for U.S. forces in a war with Iraq, a contingent that exile leaders hope will grow into the core of a new Iraqi army after President Saddam Hussein is ousted, Iraqis familiar with the training program said today. The list of those picked for an initial round of training was delivered by Pentagon officials who met with Iraqi opposition groups here on the sidelines of a four-day conference for Democracy and Salvation of Iraq, which concluded today. The roster came from among more than 4,000 names submitted by one of the leading opposition organizations, the Iraqi National Congress. Training is scheduled to begin soon, an Iraqi National Congress official said, and will take place under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Army's European Command. The Bush administration has asked Hungary, a NATO ally, to host the training at Taszar air base, 120 miles southwest of Budapest, where U.S. forces were staged during peacekeeping operations in Bosnia. "Enough names have been vetted to get the program underway," said an opposition official familiar with the meeting. "This is not meant to confront the Iraqi army or become an alternative to it," he added. "It is supposed to be an Iraqi force which Iraqi soldiers inside can join, instead of just surrendering to the Americans." Reports from Washington have described the force's main mission as logistics, guiding and translation for American invaders. The endorsement of a group of Iraqi trainees was seen as another step in military preparations for a possible U.S. offensive to destroy Hussein's three-decade-old rule. U.S. military forces are building up in the Persian Gulf. The U.S. Central Command, which would oversee an invasion, has set up a headquarters in the tiny Gulf state of Qatar and today finished a command exercise that amounted to a dress rehearsal for war. An aircraft carrier battle group is on the way and will join three others already there. While the London exile conference was highly public, the Pentagon held its meeting with 11 Iraqi opposition officials in secret. Deputy Assistant Defense Secretary William Luti presided along with Maj. Gen. David Barno, who Iraqis said will be in charge of training. The recruits come from the U.S.-protected zone in northern Iraq and from among exiles in Iran and Europe, one exile said. The vetting was designed to weed out Islamic extremists, possible Iraqi government agents and any volunteers who may have human rights crimes in their pasts, he explained. The process continues, he said, meaning the number of those accepted could rise in the weeks ahead. Most of those picked so far are Arabs. That is, they do not come from the Pesh Merga guerrilla forces organized by the two, often rival Kurdish parties in the north. Luti told the Iraqis that the new force must be the beginning of a national army and not be controlled by such political factions. "No party militias can join the force," said Nabil Moussawi, an Iraqi National Congress official. One major opposition group, the Shiite Muslim Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, or SCIRI, ignored the call for volunteers. The group has its own military units based in Iran and trained by the Iranian military. Its officials have tried to keep their relations with the United States distant, even though the State Department designated SCIRI one of six approved opposition groups. "The opposition has a lot of military forces. We can train all we need by ourselves," said Abdul Aziz Hakim, a top SCIRI official. The London exile conference, meanwhile, advanced what its participants hoped would be political preparations for Hussein's removal. [.....] http://palestinechronicle.com/article.php?story=20021218191133578 * HUNGARY AGREES TO ALLOW MILITARY TRAINING FOR IRAQI EXILES by Stefan Bos Palestine Chronicle, 18th December BUDAPEST - Hungary's socialist-led government has approved Wednesday an American request to use a U.S. military base in Hungary for training up to 3,000 Iraqi exiles. Hungarian government spokesman Zoltan Gal said that the Iraqi exiles will be allowed to receive training at a United States military base in the village of Taszar, about 200 kilometers southwest of Budapest. Under current plans, the Iraqis will arrive in two waves, starting in January or February, for training programs that will last about three months. According to the Hungarian defense ministry, the Iraqis will be accompanied by about 2,000 U.S. military personnel. The ministry said that, at Hungary's insistence, no combat training will take place at the base. Hungarian officials say the Iraqis will serve as translators, interpreters and guides for any military action against Iraq, and will also help to set up a new civil administration if and when Iraqi President Saddam Hussein is overthrown. Tibor Mercz, the acting mayor of Taszar, a village of over 2,000 people, has expressed concern that having the Iraqis in the region could leave it vulnerable to terrorist attacks. Hungarian defense officials, in an effort to allay those concerns, have said the Iraqis will not be allowed to leave the U.S. base. In addition, they say troops from both countries will guard the area and Hungarian and U.S. intelligence services will closely cooperate to prevent any problems. Government spokesman Gal has said that Hungary agreed to allow the Iraqis to train in the country in an effort to contribute to what he describes as "the international fight against terrorism." Hungary in the past has been criticized by NATO for not meeting the military obligations that were expected from the country when it joined the alliance in 1999. voanews (voanews.com). Redistributed via Press International News Agency (PINA). http://www.iht.com/articles/80636.html * IRAQI EXILES NAME PANEL TO RULE AFTER SADDAM FALLS International Herald Tribune, 18th December LONDON:Iraqi exiles ended a conference here Tuesday with agreement on a committee they hope could replace Saddam Hussein's regime in Baghdad and plans to meet next in Kurdish controlled northern Iraq. After a meeting following the official conclusion of the conference, organizers released a list of the 65 members of the committee. Shiite Muslims, largely denied political power under Saddam, held nearly half the seats, 32, one fewer than delegates had said going into the last session. The list included key leaders such as Ahmed Chalabi, head of the Iraqi National Congress, Iyad Allawi, leader of the Iraqi National Accord and Abdelaziz Hakim, whose brother, Ayatollah Baqir Hakim heads the Iran-based Shiite group the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq. Chalabi said exiles would reconvene Jan. 15 in northern Iraq, which slipped from Saddam's control after the 1991 Gulf War, to decide on the committee's leadership. The meeting is expected to take place in Irbil. The committee is to formulate unified policies and act as a conduit between Iraqi dissidents and the international community until Saddam's possible ouster and beyond. Many believe it could form the basis for a post-Saddam transitional government. Documents issued at the end of the conference suggested a three-man Sovereign Council to lead the transitional period. No candidates for the council were discussed publicly. The closing session of the conference was marred by a walkout of delegates representing five Shiite groups, who said they were opposed to the apparent dominance of the largest Shiite party, the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq. In the end, the council got only 8 of the 32 Shiite seats. But the dissident leader and the U.S. envoy to the exiles, Zalmay Khalilzad, said the conference had offered new hope for Iraqis determined to change Saddam's three-decade long rule of the embattled Arab country. The White House press secretary, Ari Fleischer, said: "The conference represents a strong statement of the aspirations of Iraqis - inside Iraq and throughout the world - for a better future. We support these aspirations and look forward to working together with all Iraqis to help achieve them." Conference delegates and U.S. congressmen have expressed concern that a post-Saddam Iraq could descend into chaos. Chalabi said the London conference was sending a strong message to Washington that the Iraqi exiles could forge a united front. The Shiite walkout indicates the sharp divides separating Iraqi Shiites, who represent 60 percent of Iraq's 22 million population and are split along conservative Islamic and liberal lines. Massoud Barzani, head of the influential Kurdistan Democratic Party, said during a news conference that the meeting was a success in that it represented the majority of Iraqis. But he added: "There are some other forces and people who have not joined us. These people have a long history of struggle against the dictatorship and we will continue our discussions with them." He called for "tolerance, forgiveness" and putting Iraq's national interests first. "We are for a new Iraq, an Iraq for all," Barzani said. Intense lobbying over the form and membership of the committee forced the three-day London conference to stretch out to five days. UN arms inspectors hunting for Iraqi weapons of mass destruction widened their search to the northern province of Mosul on Tuesday, Reuters reported from Baghdad. Biological and nuclear teams left for Mosul, nearly 400 kilometers (250 miles) north of Baghdad, at dawn. Groups of experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency visited two previously declared sites in Baghdad, said Hiro Ueki, a spokesman. Two missile inspection teams were in action, one at an oxidizer plant 50 kilometers northwest of Baghdad, and the other at Almeen factory 125 kilometers southwest of the capital. Chemical experts returned to the Falluja site west of Baghdad, while a biological team visited Baghdad University's biotechnology department. INSPECTIONS PROCESS http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A55750-2002Dec14.html * SCIENTISTS HOLD KEY TO IRAQI ARMS SEARCH by Joby Warrick Washington Post, 15th December If U.N. officials get the opportunity to question Iraq's scientists about hidden weapons programs, near the top of the list will be a 47-year-old mother with black hair streaked with gray and a talent for growing anthrax bacteria. Biologist Rihab Taha ran one of Iraq's largest biological weapons programs for more than a decade, a job that earned her the nickname "Dr. Germ" among weapons inspectors. She has at times displayed an explosive temper -- she once smashed a chair during a meeting with U.N. inspectors -- and U.S. officials believe she might eventually spill details about Iraqi plans to wage biowarfare. But only if Iraq agrees to let her talk. Three weeks after the start of weapons inspections, the question of access to Iraqi weapons scientists poses one of the biggest challenges yet to U.N. efforts to disarm Iraq. The Bush administration last week repeated its demand that President Saddam Hussein deliver top weapons scientists for interviews outside Iraq. So far, Iraq has given no clear sign that it will cooperate, despite U.S. threats that a refusal could lead to armed conflict. Hans Blix, the chief U.N. weapons inspector, on Thursday asked Iraq in a letter to turn over the names of all scientists involved in its previous biological, chemical and nuclear weapons programs, as required by a Security Council resolution. Meanwhile, the White House is preparing its own list -- a who's who of top Iraqi scientists based on the assessments of U.S. intelligence agencies, U.S. and U.N. officials said. The identities of the scientists have not been disclosed, but intelligence officials and weapons experts say many of the names are well known from Iraqi documents and seven years of intensive weapons inspections in the 1990s. Collectively the lists represent the best hope of the United States and the United Nations for uncovering the truth about Hussein's efforts to acquire weapons of mass destruction, the officials said. "The one thing that survived the Gulf War and sanctions was Iraq's brain trust," said a Pentagon intelligence official who spoke on the condition of anonymity. "It's one thing to go to Iraq and see a piece of equipment. But the most important thing is to be able to talk to the guy who worked the equipment." The scientists who will likely make up the U.S. list reflect nearly every type of weapons specialty, from relatively crude chemical weapons such as mustard gas to nuclear bombs. Many have earned degrees from prestigious U.S. and British universities. Some received specialized training -- and, in the case of Taha, live cultures of deadly bacteria -- directly from the United States through legal academic or commercial connections. Whether the scientists will talk -- or possibly defect -- is uncertain. Hussein in the past retained the loyalty of his scientists through a combination of privileges and threats, including an explicit threat of imprisonment, torture and death for scientists and their family members. One of Iraq's best-known nuclear scientists, Jaffar Dhia Jaffar, was persuaded to head Hussein's nuclear program only after a stint in a Baghdad prison. But if their safety can be guaranteed, at least some of the scientists would almost certainly jump at the chance to defect, according to former weapons inspectors and an Iraqi defector who worked with many of them. Exactly how those guarantees would be made, and how and where the interviews would be conducted, remain matters of intense debate. "In my opinion, 80 to 90 percent will defect," said Khidhir Hamza, a former Iraqi nuclear scientist who fled Iraq in 1994 and now lives in Virginia. "Think about it: If you're an Iraqi scientist getting by on a few dollars a month and you have a chance to live in freedom with your family for the rest of your life -- why wouldn't you cooperate?" Hamza, like several former Iraqi weapons officials interviewed for this story, declined to talk about specific scientists for fear they would face reprisals in Iraq. The experts were especially reluctant to talk about lesser-known and mid-level scientists whose identities the Iraqis fought to keep secret during the inspections of the 1990s. But many of Iraq's top weapons scientists are profiled in U.N. and Iraqi weapons reports as well as in books by Iraqi defectors, including Hamza's autobiography, "Saddam's Bombmaker," published in 2000. Because the group's collective knowledge of advanced weapons is so deep, some weapons experts argue that they should be encouraged to defect, regardless of whether they produce any helpful leads in the investigation of Iraq's current weapons program. "Even if they tell you nothing," said David Albright, a former weapons inspector and president of the Washington-based Institute of Strategic and International Studies, "at least they are no longer building weapons." Here, according to U.N. documents and weapons experts, is a sampling of some of the better-known Iraqi weapons scientists who would likely be included on any list of experts sought by U.N. officials for questioning. Rihab Taha Taha is perhaps the most colorful of Iraq's senior weapons scientists, and arguably one of the most dangerous. Since assuming her first post in one of Iraq's early bioweapons labs in 1984, she has been something of an oddity: a rare female scientist and manager in a world dominated by men. A British-trained microbiologist, Taha in 1987 was put in charge of Iraq's top-secret biological research lab at Al Hakam, which explored the weaponization of the pathogens that cause anthrax and plague, among others. It was around this time that she ordered and received biological specimens from U.S. companies that would later be used in the production of weapons. Her reputation as "Dr. Germ" was well established when she met and married the Iraqi oil minister, Lt. Gen. Amir Mohammad Rasheed, in 1993. Taha's position ensured that she would be a frequent subject of U.N. interrogations during weapons inspections in the 1990s. Under intense questioning, the normally soft-spoken Taha often showed her famous temper, storming out of the room and sometimes leaving overturned furniture in her wake. The frustrations were apparently mutual. Richard Spertzel, a former head of the U.N. inspectors' bioweapons teams, recalled his exasperation when Taha clung to false accounts of her lab's activities even when confronted with contradictory evidence. "It is not a lie," Spertzel recalled Taha saying, "when you're being ordered to lie." Jaffar Dhia Jaffar The man some regard as the father of Iraq's nuclear weapons program never aspired to the title, according to former colleagues now living in the West. Hussein used imprisonment and torture to persuade the British-trained physicist to help him in his quest to become the Arab world's first nuclear-armed head of state. Among his punishments: being forced to watch as guards broke the back of an elderly man and left him to suffer in Jaffar's presence. "He recanted and returned to work," Hamza, a former subordinate, wrote in "Saddam's Bombmaker." The deputy head of Iraq's atomic energy agency ultimately took command of Iraq's secret "Petrochemical-3" unit, which ran clandestine programs to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons. At its height, the unit employed more than 20,000 people and cost an estimated $10 billion. After his jailhouse conversion in the early 1980s, Jaffar promised to deliver Hussein a nuclear weapon within 10 years. By Western estimates he came very close -- perhaps as near as a few months -- when the program was disrupted by the outbreak of war in 1991. Hazem Ali Of the many questions U.N. officials would likely pose to this Iraqi virologist, the most urgent is this: Does Iraq possess the smallpox virus? Ali's role in Iraq's secret viral research in the 1980s attracted the attention of U.N. officials as they investigated whether Iraq may have tried to weaponize smallpox. At the time, Ali headed Iraq's research into the "camel pox" virus, a close cousin to the variola virus that causes smallpox. Inspectors later found an industrial freeze-dryer in a viral vaccine factory that bore the word "smallpox" on its label. Spertzel, the former U.N. inspector, described Ali as a brilliant virologist who earned his doctorate in Britain. He said inspectors never fully questioned him because Iraqi authorities, sensing the increasing interest in the scientist, put Ali out of reach. "One day he announced to our team he was leaving to become director of a college of veterinary medicine. But when we went to the college he wasn't there," Spertzel said. "We kept on asking for him. The Iraqis clearly knew where he was and what he was working on." Mahdi Obeidi When Iraqi leaders decided to try to master the difficult feat of enriching uranium for nuclear weapons, they turned to well-respected Iraqi nuclear scientist Mahdi Obeidi. For inspiration, Obeidi in turn looked to the world's leading experts in enrichment technology: the United States and Europe. Obeidi and Hamza, the nuclear scientist who later defected, learned about emerging technologies for enriching uranium during a 1975 visit to the U.S. Department of Energy's Los Alamos laboratory in New Mexico. In the 1980s, Obeidi led efforts to build gas centrifuges for uranium enrichment, using designs and expertise bought from German businessmen. Iraq ultimately used a combination of technologies to produce the fissile material needed for nuclear weapons. Designs for the equipment were never surrendered to U.N. inspectors after the Gulf War, and are believed to still exist in Iraq, along with the practical know-how acquired by Obeidi through years of trial and error. Although Obeidi's current role in Iraqi weapons research is unknown, some experts on Iraq's nuclear program believe his knowledge would be critical to any current efforts to build an Iraqi bomb. "Iraq probably could not start a centrifuge [enrichment] program without him," said Albright, the former weapons inspector. Abdul Nassir Hindawi In 1988, Abdul Nassir Hindawi, a microbiologist, wrote a letter to a British military laboratory asking for a sample of the common bacterium that causes anthrax in cattle. The specific strain he requested was known as "Ames," a variety that was little known outside microbiology at the time, but has since become infamous: It is the same strain used in the deadly anthrax attacks in Washington, Florida and New York in the fall of 2001. Hindawi's request was turned down, and it is unclear whether the U.S.-trained scientist succeeded in acquiring the strain elsewhere. But what is clear is that Hindawi played a key role in helping create Iraq's biological weapons program and shaping its direction. After studying microbiology at Mississippi State University, Hindawi returned to his native country in time to observe Hussein's use of chemical weapons to counter superior numbers of enemy troops in the Iran-Iraq War. In 1983, U.N. documents say, Hindawi wrote a secret paper for Iraq's ruling Baath party suggesting the possibility of mass-produced, inexpensive biological weapons as an alternative to chemicals. Within two years, Iraq established its biological weapons program at Al Muthanna State Establishment, a project designated by officials as a "presidential priority." Hindawi was appointed to help direct the program, and he picked as one of his top aides a promising young female biologist who had recently returned to Iraq after completing her studies in Britain. Her name: Rihab Taha, Iraq's future "Dr. Germ." Staff writer Walter Pincus contributed to this report. http://www.newsday.com/news/nationworld/ny woinsp143044562dec14,0,4589882.story?coll=ny%2Dnationworld%2Dheadlines * UN TEAMS HIT ACCESS SNAG Newsday, from Associated Press, 14th December Baghdad - UN teams were held up for two hours on Friday at a newly declared site - an infectious diseases center - forcing inspectors to use their hotline to higher Iraqi authorities for the first time since returning to the country last month. The snag occurred as U.S. officials in Washington said Iraq's 12,000-page weapons declaration doesn't account for missing chemical and biological weapons. During the inspections in Baghdad, a UN team got access to the Communicable Disease Control Center but found several rooms locked and no one with keys. The Iraqis said the rooms were locked because Friday, the Muslim day of prayer, was a day off for doctors and other workers and no one else had keys. Gen. Hossam Mohammed Amin, head of the National Monitoring Directorate, arrived two hours after being summoned by the hotline call. He and the inspectors agreed the rooms would be sealed for inspection later, perhaps on Saturday. Both Ewen Buchanan, spokesman for the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission in New York, and Amin sought to downplay the incident. "We have sealed those rooms that the Iraqi officials could not provide keys for and we'll go back to check on them," Buchanan said. Amin told reporters that it was "a newly declared site" and said there was "a need for tagging of some of its equipment. There is no problem." Iraqi Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan, meanwhile, said in an interview broadcast Friday that the UN inspectors were doing a "normal" job, but hinted Baghdad would act if they threaten Iraqi national security. Inspection teams visited three other sites Friday. Details were not released. http://www.gulf-news.com/Articles/news.asp?ArticleID=71141 * ANALYSIS: BARING INFORMATION ON WMD CARRIES RISKS by William Douglas Gulf News, from Los Angeles Times-Washington Post News Service, 15th December Hoping to convince a sceptical world, the United States went before the United Nations and dramatically presented indisputable evidence that a rogue nation possessed weapons of mass destruction. "Do you, Ambassador Zorin, deny that the USSR has placed and is placing medium- and intermediate-range missiles and sites in Cuba? Yes or no?" UN Ambassador Adlai Stevenson asked his Soviet counterpart, Valerian Zorin. Stevenson's October 1962 confrontation - along with enlarged surveillance photos of the Russian missiles - helped convince the world of a potential threat. With Iraq daring the Bush administration in 2002 to prove that Baghdad possesses weapons of mass destruction, several lawmakers and experts are urging the White House to take a cue from the Cuban missile crisis and make public whatever compelling evidence it has that Iraq lied in the declaration it submitted to the United Nations this weekend. Administration officials insisted even before the 12,000-page document reached New York that there is sufficient evidence that Saddam Hussain is hiding weapons. "I think it's time now the United States bring forward the evidence that we have," said former Rep. Lee Hamilton, D-Ind., director of the Woodrow Wilson International Centre for Scholars, a Washington-based think tank. "If we don't bring evidence forward, the U.S. is damaged because our credibility will be damaged. We have the burden of coming forward." Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Calif., said both Baghdad and Washington are engaged in a game of international poker, and it's time for Bush to show his hand. "This is a card game where people are saying, 'We really have great cards.' Well, show us," said McDermott, who visited Iraq with a congressional delegation in September. "Ronald Reagan said, 'Trust but verify.' Okay, we trust you, now show us." But Martin Indyk, former U.S. ambassador to Israel under President Clinton, said that going public with any evidence would play right into Saddam's hands. "The Adlai Stevenson approach of putting the evidence in front of the Security Council has a very big downside," said Indyk, a fellow at Washington's Brookings Institution, a think tank. "If it is just a matter of pointing to a site where we believe the weapons of mass destruction are hidden or being produced, the very big downside is the Iraqis have cleaned it up, sanitised the place, and will say ... 'Come visit, come have a look.' That option is a very dangerous, risky one for the U.S." Indyk said the Clinton administration thought it had the goods on Saddam, only to be disappointed. "We used to go to bed at night in the late 1990s convinced that we had intelligence on where Saddam was hiding stuff, knowing that the inspectors were going to go there the next morning and we would wake up ... only to discover it was not there," he said. Showing evidence now, Indyk said, would play into Saddam's plan of "putting the onus on U.S. to try to prove that he does by looking for that needle in the haystack or that smoking gun that would somehow prove him wrong." Kenneth Pollack, another Brookings fellow, said if the Bush administration has solid proof of Iraq's weapons activities, it should quietly present it to allies and not make it public. "I certainly hope the administration has some smoking-gun evidence that they are holding back on all of us that will allow them to prove things beyond a shadow of a doubt," said Pollack, a former CIA and National Security Council analyst. "But I know that the body language from the administration suggests otherwise." Like Indyk, Hamilton said the United States would face some risks in going public with evidence against Iraq. "The problem the administration will confront is revealing sources and methods (of gaining information)," said Hamilton, a former member of the House International Relations Committee. "But the U.S. has to take that risk. We have the whole world looking at the U.S. to present its case. The spotlight is on Iraq, but it's also on us." http://www.lasvegassun.com/sunbin/stories/w-me/2002/dec/15/121501412.html * U.N. INSPECTORS VISIT 4 SITES IN IRAQ by Nadia Abou El Magd BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP): U.N. inspectors hunting for banned weapons of mass destruction that Iraq may be hiding visited four sites on Sunday, including a missile plant south of Baghdad that had aroused U.S. suspicions, the inspectors and Iraqi officials said. With the arrival of 15 additional inspectors Saturday, the total now stands at 113. The newly bolstered team visited a dozen sites on Saturday in what spokesman Hiro Ueki described as the busiest day in terms of sites visited since the teams returned to Iraq on Nov. 27 after a four-year hiatus. The sites visited Sunday included al-Mutasim, a government missile plant occupying the grounds of a former nuclear facility 45 miles south of Baghdad, the inspectors said in a statement. As usual, they offered no details about what they sought or found. Al-Mutasim was cited in a CIA intelligence report released in October detailing what U.S. officials said was evidence Iraq was producing chemical and biological weapons and means to deliver them, as well as seeking nuclear weapons. The CIA report said the scale of some of the work at al-Mutasim suggested Iraq would work on prohibited weapons there. Iraqi officials said the inspectors also revisited a large nuclear complex just south of Baghdad. The site, al-Qa'qaa, which was involved in working on the final design for a nuclear bomb, drew inspectors Saturday and last week, and had been under U.N. scrutiny in the 1990s. The United Nations offered no details about Sunday's inspections at al-Qa'qaa. On Saturday, the inspectors said they discussed with the director changes made since inspectors were last in Iraq, in 1998, and last week they said they began inventorying explosive materials from Iraq's past nuclear programs at the site. Also Sunday, the inspectors returned to a missile complex 30 north of Baghdad that they had examined a day earlier. The complex, the government-owned al-Nasr company also houses sophisticated machine tools that can, for example, help manufacture gas centrifuges. Such centrifuges are used to enrich uranium to bomb-grade level - a method favored by the Iraqis in their bomb program of the late 1980s. Haithem Shihab, manager of a factory in al-Nasr, said the inspectors compared the facility to site plans and checked machinery. "Today's inspection went smoothly, and we provided the inspectors with all the information they asked for. They entered all the places they wanted. We answered all questions. They made sure that there are no prohibited activities in this factory," Shihab said. Shihab said his factory produced parts for missiles with a range no greater than 43 miles. Under U.N. resolutions, Iraq cannot have missiles with a range greater than 90 miles. Meanwhile, International Atomic Energy Agency experts on the U.N. team inspected Um-Al Maarek - Mother of Battles - a government facility 10 miles south of Baghdad. Nuclear experts inspected the site the first time Nov. 30. It is run by the government's Military Industrialization Commission, which is in charge of developing weapons. In the first round of inspections in the 1990s, after Iraq's defeat in the 1991 Gulf War, the United Nations destroyed tons of Iraqi chemical and biological weapons and dismantled Iraq's nuclear weapons program - but inspectors do not believe they got all Iraq's banned arsenal. The inspectors are back under a tough U.N. resolution passed last month that threatens serious consequences if Iraq fails to prove it has surrendered all its banned weapons. The United States already has expressed skepticism at an Iraqi weapons declaration released Dec. 8. Separately, Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri sent a letter to the United Nations criticizing U.S. air strikes that hit three air-defense installations south and east of Baghdad on Saturday. The U.S. Central Command said the strikes were ordered after Iraqi military jets violated the southern no-fly zone, but Sabri said they amounted to "undeclared war." Sabri also took a swipe at Kuwait, saying the neighboring country Iraq invaded in 1990 - touching off the Gulf War - had approved the strikes. "The United Nations is required to adopt the necessary measures according to U.N. Charter, to stop the aggression and put the whole international responsibility on the party that has committed it," he said in the letter. Such air strikes have been routine since U.S. and coalition aircraft began patrolling southern and northern Iraq after the end of the Gulf War, which expelled Iraqi forces from Kuwait. The zones were established to prevent Saddam Hussein from attacking the Kurdish minority in the north of the country and the Shiites in the south. http://news.ft.com/servlet/ContentServer?pagename=FT.com/StoryFT/FullStory&c =StoryFT&cid=1039523663089&p=1012571727172 * UN UNEASE AT TAKING IRAQ'S SCIENTISTS AWAY by Mark Turner, United Nations Correspondent, in New York Financial Times, 15th December The UN's weapons inspection commission warned yesterday that any decision to conduct interviews with Iraqi scientists outside their country required far more analysis, and that its recent request for a list of Iraqi weapons experts should not be interpreted as a move in that direction. The statement came amid US pressure on the commission, Unmovic, to use discretionary powers under November's Security Council Resolution 1441 to take scientists and their families abroad, in the belief that they will talk more candidly away from prying eyes. Expert testimony is seen as the fastest route to discovering any omissions or false statements in Iraq's 12,000-page weapons declaration, a key part of declaring Iraq in further material breach of its obligations to the UN. Hans Blix, the UN's chief weapons inspector, wrote a letter to Iraq's presidential adviser Amir al-Saadi on Thursday demanding a list of key personnel by the end of the month. But an Unmovic official stressed this did "not mean the issue of dragging people outside of Iraq has been resolved". According to the resolution, inspectors have the right to conduct interviews with scientists outside Iraq, as well as facilitating the travel of their family members. But many questions remain unanswered, such as how to identify which officials should be invited to leave, how many family members could come with them, and their subsequent status. It is also unclear to what extent Iraqi authorities will co-operate with such moves. Mr Blix has already made it clear he does not intend to "abduct anybody" or to serve as a "defection agency". But even in voluntary cases, the Unmovic official said concerns remained. "Mr Blix has never said 'No, I will not do it', but he has been consistent in saying he sees problems," he said. "What if they intercept the car on the way to the airport? Where are we going to put them - at the bottom of the UN garden? We are looking at our options." He added that Unmovic had other ways of eliciting information, including the right to interview officials privately in Iraq. Other Security Council members agreed more thought was needed. "As far as every other member of the Security Council is concerned, this option is just that," said a Security Council diplomat. "They have made it clear there are all sorts of problems with using this course. The Americans obviously are pushing it, but it is not clear to me to what extent they have tried to work through the practicalities. This is something that may not happen." Hikmet Jamil, the president of the International Society of Iraqi Scientists, also urged caution, although accepting that interviews outside the country were more likely to yield results. "If they have freedom outside their country (and if they have something) they will be more honest," he said. "They cannot talk in Iraq. But this is a very difficult question: if they bring them out, and find they have nothing, how will they be handled?" http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,71607,00.html * LIST OF SITES VISITED BY U.N. WEAPONS INSPECTORS, NOV 27-16 DEC [My title - PB] Fox News, 16th December Following is a list of sites visited by U.N. weapons inspectors searching for alleged weapons of mass destruction in Iraq: Dec. 16, 2002: Inspectors returned for a third day to the al-Tuwaitha nuclear facility and to the Hatteen industrial complex south of Baghdad. Other teams went to an electronics and a heavy machinery factory in Baghdad, the Biological Technologies Institute at Baghdad University, and what Iraqi officials described as a small boat factory 20 miles north of Baghdad. Dec. 15, 2002: ‹ U.N. inspectors visited four sites, including al-Mutasim, a government missile plant occupying the grounds of a former nuclear facility south of Baghdad. Iraqi officials said the inspectors also revisited a large nuclear complex just south of Baghdad, al-Qa'qaa, which was involved in working on the final design for a nuclear bomb. The inspectors returned to a missile complex 30 miles north of Baghdad that they had examined a day earlier. International Atomic Energy Agency experts on the U.N. team inspected Um-Al Maarek ‹ Mother of Battles ‹ a government facility 10 miles south of Baghdad. Dec. 14, 2002: ‹ U.N. inspectors returned to an infectious diseases center Saturday to examine rooms they were locked out of a day before. A second team re-examined the main Iraqi nuclear facility, al-Tuwaitha, about 15 miles southeast of Baghdad, where nearly two tons of low-grade enriched uranium are stored. Inspectors also went to a government-owned Scud missile facility about 30 miles north of Baghdad that had been used to make bomb casings for chemical weapons before the end of the Gulf War. Dec. 13, 2002: ‹ The inspection team visited Iraq's Communicable Disease Control Center, but was initially unable to enter several locked rooms. A team also visited the Ibn Al-Haithem Company, which Iraqi officials would only describe as an industrial facility for the military six miles north of Baghdad. Dec. 12, 2002: ‹ One group of inspectors traveled to a missile test site west of Baghdad. Nuclear inspectors continued searching al-Tuwaitha. The complex contains more than 100 buildings, many of which were destroyed in U.S. bombing during the 1991 Gulf War. Dec. 11, 2002: ‹Inspectors paid unannounced visits to at least eight sites, including a medical research center and a new missile factory. They also made return visits to a large complex where Iraq once worked on a nuclear bomb. Deep in the western Iraqi desert, near the Syrian border, another team was in the second day of its inspection of a remote uranium-mining site. Other nuclear inspectors again visited al-Tuwaitha. In the 1980s, Iraqi scientists at al-Tuwaitha developed technology for enriching uranium to levels usable in bombs. Dec. 10, 2002 ‹ Weapons inspectors visited 13 sites. One team of nuclear inspectors headed across 250 miles of desert to the Ashakat uranium mine near the Syrian border. Another nuclear team returned for the third time in a week to the al-Tuwaitha nuclear complex, while three chemical- and biological-weapons teams went to the Amariyah Serum and Vaccine Institute at Abu Ghraib, a military training center in Baghdad and an industrial facility at al-Furat, just south of the Iraqi capital. More inspectors were expected to fly into Baghdad to join the efforts. Dec. 9, 2002 ‹ Nuclear inspectors returned to the al-Tuwaitha nuclear complex, which they had visited five days earlier, and said they would come back yet again. Another team headed 30 miles west of Baghdad to the Falluja II chlorine plant that intelligence analysts fear could mask chemical weapons-making. Dec. 8, 2002 ‹ Inspectors toured a mining and survey company in Baghdad and a pesticide plant west of the capital. More inspectors, mostly from the nuclear agency, were scheduled to join the team later that day. Dec. 7, 2002 ‹ Inspections resumed as the U.N. team visited uranium storage sites near the major Iraqi nuclear research center at al-Tuwaitha, 15 miles southeast of Baghdad. They also checked out the al-Quds General Company for Mechanical Industries at Iskandariya, 25 miles south of Baghdad, which made munitions for chemical or biological weapons. Dec. 5 and 6, 2002 ‹ No inspections during the Eid al-Fitr holiday marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan. Dec. 4, 2002 ‹ U.N. inspectors entered the al-Muthanna State Establishment, which once produced chemical and biological agents, and a team from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which conducts the U.N.'s nuclear inspections, went to the al-Tuwaitha nuclear complex, famous for once being attacked by Israeli warplanes. Dec. 3, 2002 ‹ The sprawling, opulent Al-Sajoud presidential palace along the Tigris River was inspected. The U.N. teams did not appear to find anything, but the visit was an important test of the inspectors' new-found power to gain immediate access to any location in Iraq. Baghdad obstructed entry to "presidential" facilities in the previous round of inspections. Dec. 2, 2002 ‹ A factory that once manufactured guidance and control systems for "stretch Scuds," Soviet-designed missiles that the Iraqis modified to fly longer distances during the Gulf War, was inspected, presumably to make sure that production had not resumed on the long-range missiles. Missiles with ranges of longer than 400 miles are forbidden to Iraq. ‹ An alcohol factory was also inspected. The purpose of the inspection could not be immediately determined, but alcohol is a component of many chemical weapons. Dec. 1, 2002 ‹ Weapons inspectors searched an airfield north of Baghdad for a "Zubaidy," a device that could spray deadly biological contaminants. Inspectors ignored more than a dozen helicopters while they nosed around holding tanks that could have been used for aviation fuel. Though the United Nations teams said nothing publicly about their mission that day, it was clear they were hunting for biological or chemical weapons. Nov. 30, 2002 ‹ The Balad military base, 50 miles north of Baghdad, was inspected for three hours. According to an Iraqi escort, the base housed a unit equipped to counter chemical attacks. The inspectors may have been looking for signs of atropine, a civilian medication that can be used to fight the effects of nerve agents, which Iraq has reportedly stockpiled. Nov. 29, 2002 ‹ No inspections take place on Friday, the Muslim sabbath. Nov. 28, 2002 ‹ Inspections took place at the al-Dawrah plant, ostensibly used for making animal vaccines, which earlier U.N. inspections determined produced deadly botulinum toxins in the 1980s. British intelligence suspected it of developing anthrax. Iraq announced last year it would renovate the plant for animal vaccines. ‹ The al-Nasr complex, 30 miles north of Baghdad, owned by the Ministry of Industry, was also inspected. In the past, al-Nasr produced "special munitions," particularly aerial bombs that were believed to hold chemical agents. The complex also was used to extend the range of Scud missiles imported from the former Soviet Union. Nov. 27, 2002 ‹ Iraq's state-run al-Tahadi factory, which Iraq says produces water pumps and cement mixers, was the first site to be inspected. The factory, 6 miles east of Baghdad, was scrutinized by U.N. weapons inspectors in the 1990s. ‹ Al-Rafah, a huge expanse behind 7-foot-high walls at the Graphite Rod Factory, a sprawling military-run complex 25 miles southwest of Baghdad, was also searched. The inspection lasted about five hours. The Associated Press contributed to this report. http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2002-12/17/content_661469.htm * UN ARMS EXPERTS SEARCH ACADEMIC FACILITY IN IRAQ BAGHDAD, Dec. 16 (Xinhuanet) -- UN arms inspectors Monday visited the Institute for Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering in Baghdad University, their first visit to an Iraqi academic facility since resuming search for weapons of mass destruction on Nov. 27. A team of biological experts from the United Nations Monitoring,Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) completed full inspection of the building with the assistance of the director of the institute and chiefs of two departments, the experts' spokesman Hiro Ueki said in a statement. The institute, engaged in training, teaching and research activities in biotechnology and genetic engineering, is a new site included in recent Iraqi declarations. The team then paid a return visit to the Al Amiryah Serum and Vaccine Institute in Baghdad to seek clarifications from the formerdirector of the institute. The biological experts "took physical inventory of the instituteand took some samples," said the statement. Another two UNMOVIC teams of missile inspectors visited the SaadGeneral Company and the Taji fiberglass plant respectively, both ofwhich were allegedly involved in missile activities. The Saad facility, located in central Baghdad and owned by IraqiMilitary Industrialization Commission, is an engineering firm specializing in "engineering design, construction and commissioning of projects," Ueki said. The facility "hires a number of personnel from the former nuclear weapons program organization, Petrochemical Complex-3 (PC-3)," the spokesman added. Meanwhile, two teams from the International Atomic Energy Agency(IAEA) visited a total of seven sites, most of which were suspectedof engaging in prohibited nuclear weapons projects. On Monday, UN arms inspectors visited a total of 14 suspected sites in Iraq searching for weapons of mass destruction. Currently over 100 UN arms experts carried out their almost daily field operations in Iraq. So far, no conflicts between the inspectors and their Iraqi "minders" have been reported. The experts are expected to submit their first report to the UN Security Council about Iraq's weapons programs on Jan. 27. _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email email@example.com All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk