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[casi] Blix orders Destruction of Iraq missiles.

It has taken a while for Blix to understand whose orders he is supposed to
follow...At least the article notes that
the US has been demanding this. The missiles only marginally exceed the
allowed range and Iraq insists that when loaded with guidance systems etc.
their range will be within allowed limits. Nice of Blix and the UN to
destroy part of Iraq's defensive system ahead of the war or force Iraq to
provide an international fig leaf to justify preemptive war. Note that ALL
the missiles are to be destroyed even though only some of those tested went
further than the allowable range. Note too that Iraq itself
reported the test results that 13 or the 40 missiles went beyond the limits!

Cheers, Ken Hanly

Blix orders Iraq to destroy missles
Associated Press

ted Nations - Chief UN weapons inspector Hans Blix ordered Iraq on Friday to
destroy dozens of its missiles with ranges that violate UN limits, and gave
Baghdad a March 1 deadline to begin the demolition.
In a four-page letter, Mr. Blix told Iraq to hand over to inspectors "for
verifiable destruction" all Al Samoud 2 missiles and warheads, SA-2 missile
engines configured for use in the missiles, machinery to produce missile
motors, and a host of other items.
"The appropriate arrangements should be made so that the destruction process
can commence by March 1, 2003," Mr. Blix said in the letter. March 1 is also
the date Mr. Blix's next report on Iraqi compliance is due to the Security
Iraq's response to the order will test its willingness to disarm as
negotiations for possible war enter a crucial stage. The United States and
Britain are trying to focus the world's attention on illegal Iraqi weapons
activities while they prepare a new resolution that could pave the way for
military action.
Secretary of State Colin Powell sought support from foreign ministers of
four Security Council nations Friday for such a resolution, which is likely
to be introduced early next week.
Stepping up the pressure on Saddam Hussein, Mr. Blix was also preparing a
list of more than 35 outstanding issues surrounding Iraq's disarmament that
he will present to his advisory board of commissioners when they meet on
Monday at UN headquarters.
The order to destroy its missiles confronts the Iraqi government with a
serious dilemma: whether to give up a valuable weapons system its military
would almost certainly use against a U.S.-led coalition, or refuse to comply
and face accusations that it is not cooperating with UN inspectors.
Mr. Blix, handed the letter, plus the findings of an independent panel of
experts, to Iraqi Ambassador Mohammed Al-Douri at UN headquarters, where
they met for more than an hour Friday.
"The necessary destruction is to be carried out by Iraq under," under UN
guidance and supervision, he wrote. The inspectors "will select from a
variety of methods of destruction, depending on items to be destroyed, such
as explosive demolition, crushing, melting, and other physical and chemical
Mr. Blix's order said the Al Samoud 2 missiles exceed the 93-mile limit set
by a UN resolutions at the end of the 1991 Gulf War.
"The necessary destruction is to be carried out by Iraq under . . . guidance
and supervision" of U.N. inspectors, Mr. Blix said.
Mr. Blix is also preparing a list of outstanding questions about Iraq's
biological, chemical and missile programs.
The list won't be included in his March 1 report but he will likely be asked
about it when he addresses the council, most likely on March 7. U.S.
officials have said they would be paying close attention to the list, which
could serve as a barometer for what inspectors have and haven't gotten from
The Americans had strongly pushed for the destruction of the missiles.
Iraq maintains that some Al Samouds traveled beyond a range limit set by the
Security Council because they were tested without warheads or guidance
systems, which made them lighter.
Mr. Al-Douri reiterated Friday that Iraq wants UN technical experts to come
to Iraq to see that the missiles can't exceed 150 kilometres, and not limit
themselves "to a written paper, a theoretical report."
But some former inspectors insist the technology Iraq chose for the Al
Samoud 2 was clearly intended to support missile systems with longer ranges.
David Kay, a chief nuclear weapons inspector after the Gulf War, said he
believes the Al-Samoud tests indicate Iraq is developing missiles to go
consistently beyond 150 kilometres.
"I think it is worrying," he said, noting that the former UN inspection team
told the Iraqis in 1997 that the Al Samoud missiles they were then building
would exceed the limit "and not to do it."
"They went ahead," Mr. Kay said. "The Iraqis understood that if the payload
were lighter it would go further. They played the game from very early on."
Iraq had declared the results of the missile tests in its semiannual report
to U.N. inspectors in October, and again in its 12,000-page weapons
declaration on Dec. 7. It said that 13 of the 40 tests went beyond the
150-kilometre limit, once to 180 kilometres.
Diplomatic sources said Iraq declared 76 Al-Samouds in June 2002 and said
some had been used for tests and component parts. But Iraq has continued to
produce the missiles, and UN inspectors now estimate they have between 100
and 120, the sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Last week, Mr. Blix told the Security Council that the panel of
international experts also concluded that casting chambers that previous
inspectors destroyed - but Iraq rebuilt - could still be used to produce
motors for missiles capable of ranges "significantly greater" than 150
The experts said they needed more data on another missile, the Al Fatah,
which Iraq also reported had gone beyond the limit in some tests. Mr. Blix's
letter is expected to ask Iraq for this information.

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