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[casi] News, 19-26/02/03 (7)

News, 19-26/02/03 (7)


*   Expert dismisses dirty bomb risk
*  Exclusive new column: America leaves rest of world out in the cold
*  Inspectors Call U.S. Tips 'Garbage'
*  Defiance on missiles could be war trigger
*  Iraq's date with destiny
*  Why Saddam will never disarm
*  Baghdad seeks peaceful resolution after Blix demands destruction of
al-Samoud missiles
*  Allies hushed up weapons' destruction
*  Iraq 'discovers' documents relating to weapons disposals


*  U.S. Bombs Iraqi Communications Sites
*  Iraq says U.S. and British jets hit southern areas
*  US and Britain pound Iraqi defences in massive escalation of airstrikes
*  U.S. Bombs Northern, Southern Iraq


by Michael Holden
Reuters, 19th February

LONDON (Reuters) - Chemical, biological and radiological weapons (CBR) pose
only a minimal risk of causing widespread deaths and are of little interest
to al Qaeda, a counter terrorism expert says.

Instead militant groups such as Osama bin Laden's network, blamed for the
September 11 attacks on the United States, would continue to use bombs or
easily accessible "weapons" like planes or petrol tankers as weapons of mass

"CBR weapons have received only desultory attention from old terrorist
organisations and almost none from new. Al Qaeda have shown no interest,"
Brigadier Malcolm Mackenzie Orr told Reuters on Wednesday. "Why change their
favoured method of attack?"

The United States and Britain are massing troops in the Gulf in preparation
for a possible invasion of Iraq to disarm Baghdad of weapons of mass
destruction which they say could be used in the future by terror

Last week the U.S. government warned that al Qaeda could be planning a
possible mass casualty CBR attack, and raised the national threat level to
orange, the second-highest after red.

But Mackenzie-Orr accused governments of playing up the risk of CBRs for
political reasons, saying they had proved generally nowhere near as
effective as traditional weapons in the past.

He said chemical weapons were quickly dispersed, biological weapons were
difficult to spread widely, and radiological weapons -- so-called "dirty
bombs" -- presented big logistical problems.

Mackenzie-Orr, who served as a former bomb disposal chief in Northern
Ireland and worked at the Porton Down chemical and biological weapons
testing site in Wiltshire, was also the former head of the Australian
National Counter-Terrorism and Protective Security Organisation.

"Chemical weapons have not been successfully used since the First World
War," he said, adding that unless a person received a lethal dose, most
quickly recovered.

The 1995 sarin nerve gas attack on the subway in Tokyo was such an example,
he said, causing only 12 deaths despite about three years of planning -- the
same time taken to plot the September 11 attacks.

He also pointed to the gas attack that did kill thousands of Kurds in
northern Iraq in the late 1980s but which he said had only been possible
because the chemicals had been dispersed using a crop-sprayer.

Biological agents, such as anthrax which killed five Americans in 2001, were
difficult to use and tended only to affect those with health problems.

"It's (anthrax) a problem but not an easy one to disseminate and not one
that will readily kill fit, healthy people," he said, adding that deadly
toxins such as ricin, a small amount of which was discovered in a north
London flat in January, was only effective if you "stabbed someone in the
bum with it".

He also played down the danger of radiological weapons saying there were
"enormous problems" getting them to the intended target in sufficient
concentration because the material needed to be cased in lead.

But Mackenzie-Orr, who admitted not all security experts agreed with his
assessment, accepted that CBRs did have some attraction to terror groups
because the substantial fear that would be generated.

"The potential use of a CBR is emotive against a population that doesn't
understand or is frightened by them. It would have a great psychological
effect," he said.,5936,5988445%255E1

by Richard Butler
Sunday Telegraph (Australia), 16th February

It's beyond doubt that Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction. It is
equally established that Saddam has oppressed and terrorised the Iraqi
people and, with his various wars, brought about the deaths of about a
million people.
If the world was a fair place, Saddam should be sent to trial for crimes
against humanity. But the world isn't a fair place and, since the end of the
Cold War, has become a world with one superpower: the US.

The Cold War ended about the same time Saddam invaded Kuwait and the
business of seeking to contain him and remove his weapons of mass
destruction began.

Perhaps, then, it's not an accident that the biggest question of the
post-Cold War period ­ what will a world of one superpower be like, and to
what uses will the US put its power ­ is being worked out through the issue
of how to deal with the dictator of Iraq.

What we saw yesterday, through an almost dreary report from UN chief weapons
inspector Hans Blix, was a new step in a major contest of high international

Secretary of State Colin Powell went back to the White House to give what is
bound to be one of his more depressing reports to his boss.

Given how far George W. Bush has committed himself to attacking Iraq, it's
hard to think unilateral action by the US is far away.

What will be of critical importance is whether the events of the past few
days will now lead to the worst possible situation, where not only is
unilateral action taken by the US but it is done in the face of a specific
rejection of any such action by the UN.

Blix clearly took a decision to avoid the politics surrounding the question
of a US-led attack on Iraq. In seeking to walk around this problem, he in
fact exposed it sharply.

We now see the battle in the UN Security Council is more about the uses of
American power than it is about disarmament of Iraq.

Blix decided to walk around the gut issue of Iraqi compliance because he
didn't want to say anything that might be used by the US to justify military

Ironically, his "non-political" decision exposed the real politics of the
post-Cold War world and of the security council.

The "opposition" was led by France's Foreign Minister, Dominique de
Villepin. In a brilliantly crafted speech, de Villepin rejected the central
American proposition that military force was needed to disarm Iraq.

What he was also doing was rejecting a world of one superpower and,
specifically, the American threat that if the security council won't deal
with the Iraqi problem, then America will take direct action.

The Frenchman wasn't just rejecting the US gun pointed at Iraq but, more
significantly, the gun pointed at the UN.

Given France's past record of abuse of its position as a permanent member of
the security council, it could be observed that de Villepin's speech was

But an astonishing event took place as he finished his speech. Against all
the rules, and in an unprecedented way, the packed security council chamber
erupted in applause. That applause, like the shot that sparked World War I,
was heard around the world.

Finally, given its absolute commitment to the US position on Iraq, no-one
will pay the slightest attention to the Howard government's views on the
crucial question of how the post-Cold War world is managed.

Richard Butler is former UN chief weapons inspector in Iraq and Australian
ambassador to the UN. He will be writing exclusively for The Sunday
Telegraph for the duration of the current Iraq crisis.

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by Mark Phillips
CBS News, 20th February

While diplomatic maneuvering continues over Turkish bases and a new United
Nations resolution, inside Iraq, U.N. arms inspectors are privately
complaining about the quality of U.S. intelligence and accusing the United
States of sending them on wild-goose chases. CBS News Correspondent Mark
Phillips reports the U.N. has been taking a precise inventory of Iraq's
al-Samoud 2 missile arsenal, determining how many there are and where they

Discovering that the al-Samoud 2 has been flying too far in tests has been
one of the inspectors' major successes. But the missile has only been
exceeding its 93-mile limit by about 15 miles and that, the Iraqis say, is
because it isn't yet loaded down with its guidance system. The al-Samoud 2
is not the 800-mile-plus range missile that Secretary of State Colin Powell
insists Iraq is developing. In fact, the U.S. claim that Iraq is developing
missiles that could hit its neighbors 'or U.S. troops in the region, or even
Israel' is just one of the claims coming from Washington that inspectors
here are finding increasingly unbelievable.

The inspectors have become so frustrated trying to chase down unspecific or
ambiguous U.S. leads that they've begun to express that anger privately in
no uncertain terms. U.N. sources have told CBS News that American tips have
lead to one dead end after another. Example: satellite photographs
purporting to show new research buildings at Iraqi nuclear sites. When the
U.N. went into the new buildings they found "nothing." Example: Saddam's
presidential palaces, where the inspectors went with specific coordinates
supplied by the U.S. on where to look for incriminating evidence. Again,
they found "nothing." Example: Interviews with scientists about the aluminum
tubes the U.S. says Iraq has imported for enriching uranium, but which the
Iraqis say are for making rockets. Given the size and specification of the
tubes, the U.N. calls the "Iraqi alibi air tight."

The inspectors do acknowledge, however, that they would not be here at all
if not for the threat of U.S. military action. So frustrated have the
inspectors become that one source has referred to the U.S. intelligence
they've been getting as "garbage after garbage after garbage." In fact,
Phillips says the source used another cruder word. The inspectors find
themselves caught between the Iraqis, who are masters at the weapons-hiding
shell game, and the United States, whose intelligence they've found to be
circumstantial, outdated or just plain wrong.

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by Brian Whitaker, Richard Norton-Taylor and Nick Paton Walsh in Moscow
Friday The Guardian, 21st February

Iraqi intransigence over missiles that can travel 20 miles beyond a 94-mile
limit set by the United Nations was rapidly emerging last night as a
possible trigger for an American invasion. As weapons inspectors prepared to
order the rockets' destruction, President Saddam Hussein held a council of
war with his military chiefs. The meeting came a day after the Iraqi leader
vowed that peace "at any cost" was unacceptable. Several westerners who have
been working privately to avert conflict expressed desperation yesterday at
what they see as a hardening of Iraq's stance.

They point out that Baghdad has made no positive moves on disarmament since
last Friday - which they fear is due to a misreading of the disarray in the
UN security council and the anti-war demonstrations last weekend.

In his latest report to the UN security council, the chief inspector, Hans
Blix, declared the Samoud 2 missiles illegal because they had been
test-fired to a distance of 114 miles.

Iraq says the missiles flew the extra distance because they were unburdened
by guidance and control systems.

UN weapons inspectors yesterday visited the Ibn al-Haithem facility, north
of Baghdad, which produces missile parts, and the Samoud factory, which
makes liquid-propellant engines for the missiles, according to Iraq's
information ministry.

They are believed to be compiling inventories of items to be destroyed, and
Mr Blix is expected to call for their destruction within the next few days.

Iraqi deputy prime minister Tariq Aziz has already declared the missiles'
destruction "unacceptable".

"They should not be destroyed because they are practically within the range
we are allowed to have," he said in a recent interview with CNN. "It would
be quite unfair and unacceptable by any scientific and security standards
... Destruction should be based on a reason, a reason linked with questions
of security and peace."

The rockets, which carry a conventional warhead but could potentially be
fitted with chemical or biological weapons, are viewed by Iraq as a key part
of its arsenal.

British officials said yesterday that it is up to Mr Blix to decide what to
do about the missiles, though they described the issue as a test for Iraq.
It would be "an element of judging Iraqi cooperation," they said.

The missile dispute has arisen at a propitious time for British and American
officials who are drafting a new UN resolution which they said yesterday the
would circulate next week.

The draft will seek to impose a time limit for Iraqi compliance with
security council demands.

Russia yesterday upped the stakes in its fervent opposition to US military
action by saying they had evidence the weapons inspectors were being
"pressurised" to force them to abandon their work in Iraq.

Igor Ivanov, the Russian foreign minister, said: "According to our
information, strong pressure is being exerted on international inspectors to
provoke them to discontinue their operations in Iraq, as happened in 1998,
or to pressure them into coming up with assessments that would justify the
use of force".

He stopped short of directly accusing Washington of interfering with
inspections, instead preferring to suggest that the international com munity
should "help rather than put pressure" on Dr Blix and Dr El Baradei and
their teams in Iraq.

Leaving no doubt as to the source of the pressure, he added that "the faster
we receive concrete results from the international inspectors' activities"
the better chance the world had of avoiding the war that Washington
increasingly says is justified.

The foreign minister's remarks constitute the most pointed criticism that
Moscow has yet levelled at Washington during the Iraq crisis. However, the
Kremlin has relentlessly sought to keep its options open, its remarks
usually ambivalent enough not to tie President Putin to a particular stance.

Yesterday, Mr Ivanov was careful to reiterate Moscow's insistence that
Baghdad cooperate fully with weapons inspectors, demanding a "full openness"
from Baghdad, the apparent absence of which fuels Washington's argument.
President Putin has in the past said Moscow's insistence on diplomacy may
evaporate if inspections are hampered.

Mr Ivanov's comments also come a day after he met US Congressman Tom Lantos,
who left their meeting in Moscow on Wednesday feeling assured that Russia
would eventually "create no obstacles" to US intentions.,5936,6025005%255E1

by Richard Butler (
Sunday Telegraph (Australia), 23rd February

IF THE suspense surrounding a US-led attack on Iraq is getting to you, take
It's only eight days to go ­ and counting. The first step, under way now, is
a directive to Iraq from chief inspector Hans Blix that its Al-Samoud
missiles must be destroyed. These are the missiles, made in Iraq and
sometimes called baby Scuds, that Blix determined last week could breach the
range limit of 150km.

The ruling of the UN Security Council is that any illegal weapons in Iraq
must be "destroyed, removed or rendered harmless".

Iraq was seeking to extend their range, and that of other missiles, more
than four years ago. As then chief inspector, I demanded that the work stop.

The last technical conversation I held in Baghdad was with General Amer
Rashid, the man in charge of missiles.

I called on him to stop Iraq's illegal activities ­ and put it in writing.
The general told me to get lost. He knew Iraq could get away with it because
the Security Council was deeply divided.

Hans Blix brought up that correspondence again with the Iraqis and, when he
reported to the Security Council last week, he put the missile facts on the
table. The critical question is: what will Iraq do?

Being nice to inspectors as they look through empty buildings in Iraq isn't
exactly disarmament. Blowing up real objects, such as these missiles, is.

Iraq will refuse Blix's demands at its peril. There could hardly be a more
concrete example of its resistance to the UN Security Council than to refuse
to allow these missiles to be destroyed.

If Iraq continues to resist, or even seeks to argue about it, it seems
beyond question that the Americans and the British will run up the red flag
of absolute non-compliance and declare the game over.

Meanwhile, the US and Britain have been hard at work on a second Security
Council resolution stating that Iraq has not met the conditions of
Resolution 1441.

It will seek Security Council agreement to the carrying out of "serious
consequences". The two allies' preference would be for a form of words that
blesses a US-led attack on Iraq.

It's unlikely they will obtain this explicitly, but it may be possible that
the Russians, French and Chinese will not block a form of words the two
allies could use to argue that the use of force is legitimate.

The fascinating issue to watch in this context is just when the US will call
it quits.

Notwithstanding the rhetoric about military action being a last resort, it's
faintly ludicrous to conclude that the US is not set on that path.

It cannot be ruled out that if a second resolution is bogged down in
substance or simply takes too much time, George W. Bush will decide to stop
the UN game and take unilateral action.

Hans Blix will report to the Security Council again on Saturday, March 1.

Following last week's events in the Security Council ­ particularly what the
Americans consider to be grandstanding by the French Foreign Minister ­
Washington has insisted that Blix's next report be delivered in writing.

It will be posted on the UN website to eliminate any possibility for

The best guess is that the March 1 report will signal the end of the current
phase of diplomacy and the beginning of the last lap.

If Blix reports anything other than that Saddam has caved in, opened the
warehouse, put the weapons on the table, then it can be wagered that the US
and Britain will say that time has expired on Resolution 1441 and "serious
consequences" are now essential.

In other words, watch the week beginning Monday, March 3. I believe the
Americans and the British will then make it clear they want quick action on
a new resolution within days, or not at all.

Richard Butler is former UN chief weapons inspector in Iraq and Australian
ambassador to the UN. He will be writing exclusively for The Sunday
Telegraph for the duration of the present Iraq crisis.,6903,901050,00.html

by William Shawcross
The Observer, 23rd February

Hans Blix, the United Nations' chief weapons inspector, has demanded that
Iraq destroy all its al-Samoud missiles that have been found to exceed the
UN's permitted range of 150 kilometres. Saddam may acquiesce for tactical
reasons - above all because such 'concessions' would convince many people
that the inspections are 'working' and that an armed attack is not only
unnecessary but grotesque.

But the reality to remember is that Saddam will never voluntarily give up
his weapons of mass destruction (WMD) as resolution 1441 and 16 other
resolutions demand. They are integral to his sense of his regime. His record
shows that he considers no cost too high to retain his biological, chemical
and whatever exists of his nuclear capability.

In 1991, the surrender agreement ending the war in Kuwait specifically
guaranteed that Iraq would surrender its weapons of mass destruction within
15 days. Till then sanctions, imposed after his invasion of Kuwait, would
remain. His refusal to do so has meant that the UN oil embargo has stayed
for 12 years, costing Iraq more than $180 billion and its ordinary people
great suffering. It is wrong to blame the West, or the UN, for the
starvation and deaths of Iraqi children - Saddam is to blame and he
considers it a small part of the price to pay for his proscribed weapons.

Saddam's obsession with his WMD has deep roots at home as well as abroad.
First, he sees the threat of such weapons as a means of internal control
over the 60 per cent of Iraqis who are Shia. The use of chemical weapons
against the Kurds in 1998 taught the Shia the dangers of revolt. In 1999 a
Shia revolt in the town of Najaf was crushed by Saddam's security forces
accompanied by troops in white uniforms wearing gas masks. People were
terrified that Saddam was about to gas them - with the weapons that Saddam
denies having and for which the UN is still vainly searching. The Shia have
been mostly cowed since.

WMD also helps to keep the regular armed forces in line, according to
Amatzia Baram, of the Saban Centre at the Brookings Institution in
Washington. They are controlled by the Special Security Organisation, which
is loyal to Saddam. This serves as a counterweight to the regular army,
whose officers Saddam does not trust. The army knows his ultimate power lies

Abroad, the benefits seem even more obvious. Saddam believes that Iraq's
victory over Iran in 1998 was largely to do with Iraq's massive use of
chemical weapons. He also believes that that was one of the principal
reasons the Allies did not march on Baghdad in 1991. Watching the stand-off
with North Korea he may have concluded that only nuclear weapons provide an
unassailable deterrent.

His third incentive is his desire to become the unquestioned leader of the
Arab world. His failure to seize Kuwait's oil resources in 1991 convinced
him that nuclear weapons were essential. With nuclear weapons he would feel
able to confront Israel in a spectacular way.

So WMD are tied into his sense of survival and his sense of destiny. He is
brilliantly cunning at dividing his enemies. But he also makes spectacular
misjudgments. He did not believe the allies would use force to throw him out
of Kuwait. But he saw his own survival as a victory over his enemies.
Equally victorious has been his campaign to keep his WMD for the 12 years.

The worldwide opposition to the US/UK use of force may have convinced him
that tactics can get him off the hook again. This week, he could surrender
the al-Samoud missiles so that Blix can report a 'great success' and thus
split Saddam's enemies further. But he will never disarm voluntarily as
resolution 1441 demands.

The inspectors may find some banned materials, by luck, perseverance and
good intelligence - and because Saddam has made cunning tactical
concessions. They will never find the bulk of the illegal weapons. But that
is not their job. That is to monitor his voluntary disarmament. He is not
doing that and he never will. He is in clear breach of resolution 1441 and
he always will be. The decision the world faces is: will we let him get away
with it again? George Bush and Tony Blair say No. They are right.

William Shawcross is author of 'Deliver Us From Evil: Warlords, Peacekeepers
and a World of Endless Conflict'. He is on the board of the International
Crisis Group.

by Anne Penketh
The Independent, 24th February

Iraq is "studying" an order for the UN-supervised destruction of missiles,
to start by Saturday, in a crucial test of President Saddam Hussein's
willingness fully to co-operate with UN disarmament demands.

Hans Blix, the chief UN weapons inspector, sent a letter to the Iraqis on
Friday calling for the destruction of the al-Samoud-2 missiles, which have
an illegal range. A panel of international experts determined that Iraqi
tests of the missiles had exceeded the 150km (93-mile) range permitted by
the UN. Mr Blix had earlier informed the UN Security Council that at least
one rocket had been test-fired with a range of 183km.

The order to destroy the rockets is a blow to the Iraqi leader, who may
attempt to stall rather than implement it immediately. In an effort to
persuade the UN weapons inspectors that the al-Samoud programme did not
violate UN rules, the Iraqis staged a test firing yesterday.

Iraq's chief liaison officer to the inspectors, Lieutenant-General Hossam
Mohamed Amin, refused to answer directly whether the regime would observe
the UN deadline for the destruction to begin. But, he said: "We are serious
about solving this. This issue is under deep and comprehensive study from
the Iraqi side, and we hope it will be resolved peacefully, without the
interference of others, particularly the Americans."

Lt-Gen Amin also played down the effect that blowing up the missiles would
have on Iraq's military capability. "Destroying these missiles will affect
our defence capabilities but would not completely terminate them."

Kofi Annan, the UN secretary general, said he was confident that Iraq would
comply with the deadline. "If they refused to destroy the weapons, the
Security Council will have to make a decision," he said during a visit to
Turkey. "I don't see why they would not destroy them."

President George Bush said: "If Iraq decides to destroy the weapons that
were long-range weapons, that's just the tip of the iceberg. My question is,
why don't they destroy every ... illegal weapon?"

by Tim Cornwell
The Scotsman, 25th February

THE highest-ranking defector ever to turn informant on Saddam Hussein's
government told United Nations weapons inspectors in 1995 that Iraq had
destroyed all its chemical and biological weapons stocks after the Gulf war.

But UN inspectors hushed up that part of Hussein Kamel's story - which he
also told to debriefers from British and United States intelligence -
because they wanted to keep the pressure on Iraq to tell more.

The revelation, reported in the US magazine Newsweek, raises new questions
over claims by the US and Britain that Iraq has failed to account for vast
stores of chemical and biological weapons.

Of the thousands of chemical bombs and thousands of litres of deadly anthrax
said to have gone mysteriously missing inside Iraq, most date back to before

Iraq has long claimed to have destroyed the weapons "unilaterally", but a
regime hardly famous for its honesty and openness is accused of failing to
provide hard evidence.

However "the defector's tale raises questions about whether the WMD [weapons
of mass destruction] stockpiles attributed to Iraq still exist" Newsweek

Kamel, Saddam's son-in-law, defected to Jordan with his wife and family in
1995. His sensational departure, in a convoy of black Mercedes, was received
as evidence that Saddam's regime was soon to fall.

He was shot to death after he returned to Iraq six months later in the hope
of leniency from Saddam, along with his brother, also married to one of
Saddam's daughters. If nothing else, the report sheds new light on one of
the most bizarre episodes in the history of the regime and its leader.

Kamel's value as an informant, however, was huge; for ten years he had run
Iraq's nuclear, chemical, biological and missile weapons programmes, as well
as Iraqi efforts to keep the weapons secret.

Kamel talked to both the then UN chief inspector, Rolf Ekeus, and agents
from the CIA and MI6 in Jordan. Among other revelations, he provided the
first report that Iraq was developing mobile biological weapons factories -
a subject on which Colin Powell, the US Secretary of State, dwelt long and
hard in his recent damning presentation to the UN Security Council.

But Kamel's story that Iraq had indeed - as it has long claimed - destroyed
chemical and biological stocks back in 1991 was never reported.

While UN inspection teams have been trying to investigate what weapons Iraq
may have built since the Gulf war, the mystery of what happened to older
munitions remains vital.

Iraq's chief liaison officer to the UN inspection teams, General Hossam
Amin, said yesterday that Iraq had begun to dig trenches in the areas it
claims the weapons were destroyed.

A UN team was due in Baghdad on 2 March to examine the sites and carry out
soil tests, he said. Gen Amin also said Iraq had made no decision on a UN
order that it destroy its Al Samoud 2 missile programme. But "we are serious
about solving this", he said.

In his 27 January report to the UN Security Council, Hans Blix, the chief UN
arms inspector, bolstered the case for war when he accused Iraq of
co-operating on process, but not substance.

Early in his report, Mr Blix noted that "one of three important questions
before us today is how much might remain undeclared and intact from before
1991; and, possibly, thereafter".

The second question, he said, was what if anything was illegally produced or
procured after 1998, when inspectors left the country, and the third was how
the production of weapons of mass destruction could be prevented in the
future. Mr Blix singled out the issue of 6,500 chemical bombs that were
unaccounted for, containing in total up to 1,000 tonnes of chemical agents.

The missing bombs date back to before 1991, with Iraq claiming they were
used in the Iran Iraq war, which ended in 1988.

Mr Blix also raised questions over about 8,500 litres of anthrax, which Iraq
"states it unilaterally destroyed in the summer of 1991. Iraq has provided
little evidence for this production and no convincing evidence for its
destruction," he said.

Iraq also has claimed that a small quantity of the deadly poison VX, which
it produced, was unilaterally destroyed in the summer of 1991.

When Mr Blix returned to the UN with his much more favourable report on 14
February, he noted that Iraq had provided a list of 83 people involved in
the unilateral destruction of chemicals, which "appears useful". Newsweek
said it had obtained the notes of Kamel's debriefing by the UN team, and
that he told the same story to MI6 and the CIA.

But his revelations were hushed up for two reasons, the magazine said.
Saddam did not know how much Kamel had revealed, and inspectors hoped to
call his bluff; in addition, there was no corroborating evidence that the
weapons were destroyed.

Kamel did not give Iraq a clean bill of health. He said the stocks were
destroyed to hide the programmes, rather than end them, with Iraq secretly
holding on to blueprints, computer disks, and other engineering details, in
order to resume productions after inspections ended.

Kamel's defection in August 1995 was an international sensation. He drove
out of Iraq in a convoy of black Mercedes with his wife, Raghad, his
brother, Saddam, sister-in-law, Rina, and several of Saddam Hussein's
grandchildren. A family feud with Uday Hussein, Saddam's son, was blamed.

The Iraqi government, badly rattled, immediately admitted for the first time
to having a biological weapons programme - though it stuck to the story that
the weapons were destroyed.

Kamel told the inspectors about Iraq's attempt to develop a home-grown
missile, Project 1728, and of the secret committee, set up by Saddam
himself, expressly to keep secrets from the inspectors.

Spurned by the Iraqi opposition, and complaining that the Western officials
sent to talk to him were too junior, he made the bizarre decision to return
to Iraq. The two brothers were forced to divorce their wives and were killed
in a gun battle with the presidential guard soon after.

The UN ceasefire resolution that ended the Gulf war on 3 April, 1991, laid
down the ground rules for the work now continuing today.

It called for the destruction, removal or rendering harmless of all chemical
and biological weapons, and all stocks of agents and components. The same
rules applied for ballistic missiles with a range greater than 93 miles.

The UN inspection teams’ strategy in Iraq, said one expert, is "all about
accounting. It has always been to try and force the Iraqis to account, and
documentarily prove, all their claims and positions".

Gen Amin yesterday told journalists that Iraq was studying a letter from Mr
Blix ordering destruction of all Al Samoud 2 missiles, warheads, fuel,
engines and other components. Iraq has declared 76 Al Samouds, but the UN
estimates it has up to 120.

by Fiona Symon in London
Financial Times, 25th February

Iraqi officials have told United Nations weapons inspectors they have
discovered a number of documents relating to the disposal of weapons of mass
destruction in 1991.

Hans Blix, chief UN weapons inspector, said on Tuesday the disclosures,
which came in a series of six letters sent to Unmovic in the past three
days, were "positive" but needed to be explored further.

The documents aim to provide an answer to the question of what happened to
some of the banned weapons that remain unaccounted for.

Iraq also disclosed the discovery of a bomb containing liquid in an area
where Baghdad was known to have disposed of biological weapons in the past,
Mr Blix said.



Las Vegas Sun, 22nd February

WASHINGTON (AP): American warplanes bombed military communications sites in
southern Iraq Saturday after the Iraqis fired anti-aircraft guns at U.S.
planes, U.S. Central Command said.

Around 2:45 p.m. EST, the U.S. planes bombed six cable relay sites between
Al Kut, about 95 miles southeast of Baghdad, and Basra, about 245 miles
southeast of Baghdad, Central Command said in a statement.

The airstrikes came after Iraqis fired anti-aircraft artillery at U.S.
warplanes patrolling the no-fly zone over southern Iraq, the statement said.


Reuters, 23rd February

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq says U.S. and British warplanes have attacked
civilian targets in the south of the country but has reported no casualties.

An Iraqi defence spokesman said in a statement carried by the official news
agency INA on Sunday that U.S. and British planes enforcing a "no-fly" zone
flew over 100 sorties over a number of Iraqi cities in the south overnight
and again on Sunday.

A spokesman at the U.S. Central Command said he was unaware of any strike on
Iraq after Saturday.

"Our last strike was last night," the spokesman in Florida said.

The Iraqi statement said the planes bombed "civilian installations" in the
provinces of Basra, about 245 miles, and Dhi Qar, 235 miles south of
Baghdad. It made no mention of casualties.

The report said Iraqi air defences fired at the planes.

The U.S. military earlier said American and British warplanes attacked
communications sites in southern Iraq on Saturday after Iraqi forces fired
at the aircraft.

The U.S. Central Command, which oversees military operations in the Gulf
region, said the aircraft used precision-guided weapons to target six
unmanned cable repeater sites.

The communications sites were located between Al Kut, about 95 miles
southeast of Baghdad, and Al Basra southeast of Baghdad, the U.S. statement


by Raymond Whitaker
The Independent, 23rd February

Iraq has been ordered to destroy dozens of missiles which violate UN limits,
but the US and Britain are not waiting to see whether Saddam Hussein

In recent days, an Independent on Sunday investigation reveals, they have
stepped up attacks on missile sites near Basra which could threaten the
military build-up in Kuwait and the Gulf.

The raids are being carried out by aircraft patrolling the "no-fly" zones in
northern and southern Iraq, established by the victors after the first Gulf
war. They claim the patrols are being carried out in the name of the UN ­
especially ironic, given the passionate debate over the need for a second
Security Council to authorise war on Iraq.

Some have always disputed whether the "no-fly" zones have UN authority, but
now the US and Britain have widened the "rules of engagement" to the point
where warplanes are effectively preparing the way for an imminent invasion.

Targets have included surface-to-air batteries as well as an anti-ship
missile launcher which was considered a threat to the growing concentration
of naval vessels in the Gulf. In the past two weeks there have been at least
three strikes in the same area on Ababil-100 mobile missile batteries. They
are capable of rapidly firing four missiles a distance of nearly 90 miles,
each with a single explosive warhead or up to 25 anti-tank "bomblets". From
Basra they could easily reach the ground forces building up in northern
Kuwait, which has been declared a closed military zone.

Attacks on such battlefield weapons, rare until recently, are part of a
semi-secret air campaign, conducted under cover of the no-fly patrols, which
has intensified sharply since the beginning of the year. Allied aircraft
have gone into action over Iraq almost every day. By the end of this month
the number of missions is likely to overtake the 78 flown during the whole
of 2002.

While the number of attacks and the targets are known, important information
is almost always kept back, including the number and type of aircraft
deployed, the weapons used and the success or otherwise of each attack: US
Central Command communiques routinely say "battle damage assessment is
ongoing", and further details are never released. The Iraqis ritually say
civilians have been killed; equally ritually, this is denied. What is
certain, however, is that no allied aircraft has been shot down in more than
a decade of patrols

Significantly, the air attacks have been heavily concentrated in the south
of Iraq, with only one having been reported north of Baghdad since the
beginning of the year. Millions of leaflets have also been dropped in the
south, some warning Iraqis not to repair bomb damage, others giving the
frequencies of anti-regime broadcasting stations.

The US Secretary of Defence, Donald Rumsfeld, proclaimed last week that
there were sufficient forces in the Gulf region for war to be launched at
any time. At the weekend, the Pentagon claimed that it had some 200,000
troops in the region, roughly half of them in Kuwait.

Within days there will be five US carrier battle groups in and around the
Gulf, as well as the Ark Royal and its task force. The number of strike
aircraft, including a third of the Royal Air Force's strength, is climbing
to about 500. They will be able to unleash devastating power against Saddam
when ordered to do so, but already Iraq's air defences have been
significantly eroded by months of military action.

Mr Rumsfeld's announcement took military chiefs by surprise, however. Delays
in reaching agreement with Turkey have hampered the deployment of some
significant elements in the US invasion plan. Britain's Challenger 2 tanks
and about half the 42,000 personnel in its combined force are still on the
high seas.

Until last summer, coalition aircraft patrolling the "no-fly" zones over
Iraq hit back only at missile or artillery batteries that opened fire on
them, or loosed AGM-88 anti-radiation missiles at radar units "locking on"
to them. But with an invasion looming, the number and type of targets
attacked have increased sharply.

‹ Last September, in a raid given unusual publicity, more than 100 British
and US warplanes hit the main Iraqi air command and control centre in the
west of the country, which would direct any Scud attacks on Israel.

‹ Air defence command bunkers along the Tigris and Euphrates rivers south of
Baghdad, and the fixed communications that link them to missile and gun
positions, have come in for repeated attack.

‹ Fibre-optic links get the most attention, since they are quickly repaired.
The Iraqis are warned through leaflets that repair crews may be targeted.

‹ While continuing to dismantle Iraq's air defences, coalition aircraft are
increasingly attacking battlefield weapons in the far south of Iraq, the
likely focus of an invasion. Fixed and mobile surface-to-air missile
batteries have been targeted, as well as surface-to-surface missiles
threatening US and British land and naval forces.

by Matt Kelley
Las Vegas Sun, 25th February

WASHINGTON (AP) - U.S. warplanes bombed surface-to-surface missile systems
in northern Iraq and surface-to-air missiles in southern Iraq Tuesday, the
U.S. military said.

The strikes in both the northern and southern no-fly zones came after Iraq
moved the missile systems into the no-fly zones, threatening coalition
forces, military officials said.

In the north, American jets used precision-guided weapons to attack three
surface-to-surface missile systems just south of the northern Iraqi city of
Mosul, according to a statement from U.S. European Command. The statement
said the missiles were in range to threaten coalition forces, which are
based in Turkey. Mosul is about 70 miles from Iraq's border with Turkey.

All the planes involved in the northern strike returned safely, to their
base at Incirlik, Turkey, the European Command statement said.

In the south, American warplanes attacked a mobile surface-to-air missile
system near Basra, which is 245 miles southeast of Baghdad and about 35
miles from the border with Kuwait, the U.S. Central Command said in a
statement. The southern strike happened at about 6:55 a.m. EST. U.S. and
British planes have been enforcing a no-fly zone north of the 36th parallel
since the aftermath the of the 1991 Persian Gulf War. American planes
enforce a similar no-fly zone south of the 33rd parallel. The zones are
meant to keep Saddam Hussein's military from attacking opposition Kurdish
forces in the north and Shiite Muslims in the south.

The last U.S. airstrike in northern Iraq occurred on Jan. 31, when U.S. jets
struck Iraqi anti aircraft artillery. Strikes in the south have been more
frequent, with the latest coming Sunday when U.S. planes attacked six air
defense communications sites.

Saddam does not recognize the no-fly zones and his forces frequently try to
shoot down planes patrolling them. Iraq has not succeeded in downing a
piloted plane over either zone.

The strikes come as Washington is pressing Turkey to allow tens of thousands
of U.S. combat troops in the country to open a northern front in a possible
Iraq war and tens of thousands of U.S. troops are massing in Kuwait.

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