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News, 09-14/03/03 (6) NO FLY ZONES * U.S. 'no-fly' patrols hit air defences hard * Third day of no-fly zone strikes * Western jets attack Iraqi sites * US warplanes bomb radar in western Iraq * Danger multiplying in no-fly zone * Western jets attack Iraqi radar * U.S. beefs up Iraq airstrikes by employing B-1 bombers WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION (Iraq's possible possession of) * A Hazy Target: Before going to war over weapons of mass destruction, shouldn't we be sure Iraq has them? * U.S. Says Iraq Retools Rockets for Illicit Uses * UN critical of ministers' 'unfounded' allegations over Iraq * U.N. cancels U-2 flights over Iraq * A quick invasion unlikely as Iraq prepares its defences * ElBaradei Calls for U.N. to Compromise * FBI Probes Fake Evidence of Iraqi Nuclear Plans WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION (USUK's definite possession of) * The allies don't need to take Baghdad to defeat Saddam NO FLY ZONES http://www.gulf-news.com/Articles/news.asp?ArticleID=80104 * U.S. 'NO-FLY' PATROLS HIT AIR DEFENCES HARD by Bradley Graham Gulf News, from Los Angeles Times-Washington Post News Service, 10th March Washington: The commander of U.S. air forces in the Gulf said Saturday that several months of intensified U.S. airstrikes had hit all fixed air defences in southern Iraq known to American officials. But he added that mobile anti-aircraft guns and missiles remained a threat to U.S. pilots. "We've killed what we know is there," Air Force Lt. Gen. T. Michael "Buzz" Moseley said. "But they have a lot of depth in mobile systems that they can continue to roll into the south. The mobile systems are the ones I worry about the most." The arrival of hundreds of additional Air Force and Navy carrier-based aircraft in the region in the past two months has enabled the United States to more than double the number of sorties over southern Iraq. This in turn has led to wider and more frequent coverage of the southern "no-fly" zone, Moseley said. More than 400 U.S. planes are now operating from about 30 locations in the Gulf and elsewhere, according to other officials. In the past month, U.S. pilots have struck from seven to 14 targets in Iraq a week. But Moseley said patrols are still not being flown 24 hours a day, and Iraqi forces continue to shoot at U.S. aircraft. Since passage of UN Security Council resolution 1441 in early November, which gave Iraq one more chance to disarm, Iraqi forces have fired more than 200 anti-aircraft artillery shells and more than 100 missiles at U.S. and British warplanes patrolling the southern zone, Moseley said. "They're moving stuff around, they're enhancing the no-fly zone and they're a continual threat to my pilots and crews," the general said. "Sometimes they shoot at us 10 or 11 or 12 times during an operation." As commander of the 9th Air Force and the air component commander for the U.S. Central Command, Moseley would direct the air campaign in a war against Iraq. His remarks in a telephone interview were intended to portray the intensification of U.S. airstrikes against Iraq as still essentially an enforcement action prompted by a rise in Iraqi attacks in violation of UN resolutions. But the increasingly aggressive U.S. targeting in the southern and northern no-fly zones established a decade ago has been widely seen as reflecting an American plan for the systematic destruction of Iraqi air defences and, more recently, surface-to-surface missiles in a fashion that will ease the way for an invasion. The surge in sorties, which now number in the hundreds daily and reached a record 1,000 one day last week has transformed what was once a limited patrolling operation into a broader, more intense prelude to possible full-scale war. The first sign of the widened campaign came last September when Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld disclosed that he had directed commanders to focus retaliatory strikes not just on Iraqi radar and missile systems but also on air defence communications centres, command posts and cable relay sites to eliminate all elements of Iraq's air defence network in the no fly zones. Lately, the strikes have also included surface-to-surface missiles, which Iraq has moved into the southern zone within range of Kuwait, the key staging area for the bulk of U.S. ground forces massing in the region. Such weapons, which include Ababil-100 missiles, Frog-7 rockets and Astros-2 multiple rocket launchers, have also been shifted north of Baghdad presumably to attack American or Kurdish forces coming from that direction, according to defence officials. http://www.ccmep.org/usbombingwatch/2003.htm#3/9/03 * THIRD DAY OF NO-FLY ZONE STRIKES CNN, 9th March MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, United States: Coalition aircraft have again bombed military sites in southern and western Iraq, the third straight day allied jets have struck targets between Baghdad and Iraq's border with Jordan, according to the U.S. Central Command. Allied warplanes enforcing the southern "no-fly" zone over Iraq hit four military communication sites about 10:30 p.m. (6:30 p.m. GMT) Saturday after Iraqi troops fired at them, a Central Command statement said. The sites were related to Iraqi forces' ability to control air defenses. The sites were located near Qalat Sukkar, approximately 200 kilometers (125 miles) southeast of Baghdad. Earlier, coalition jets hit a mobile missile guidance system about 370 kilometers (230 miles) west of Baghdad at about 8:20 a.m. (4:10 a.m. GMT), according to a statement from the Florida-based Central Command. The military said the strike was ordered "in response to Iraqi threats." Warplanes monitoring the southern "no-fly" zone over Iraq targeted sites west of Baghdad on Thursday and Friday as well. Iraq's official news agency said the allied forces had targeted civilian infrastructure, but Central Command denied that charge. U.S. and British forces have been monitoring no-fly zones in the northern and southern sections of Iraq since the end of the Persian Gulf War in 1991. Iraq considers the zones, and the patrols monitoring them, a violation of its sovereignty. http://www.reuters.co.uk/newsArticle.jhtml?type=worldNews&storyID=2350875 * WESTERN JETS ATTACK IRAQI SITES Reuters, 10th March WASHINGTON: Warplanes taking part in U.S.-British patrols over southern Iraq have attacked Iraqi communications sites in response to hostile actions, the U.S. military said. The aircraft used precision-guided weapons to target five, unmanned, underground military communications sites about 60 miles southeast of Baghdad that helped guide Iraqi air defenses posing a threat to Western jets, the U.S. Central Command said in a statement. "The coalition struck the communications sites after Iraqi forces fired a surface-to-air missile earlier in the day at coalition aircraft," the statement said. The raid occurred at about 8 pm British Time. With more than 200,000 U.S. and British troops committed to the Gulf region, defense officials said last week that warplanes from the two countries had more than doubled patrols to at least 500 a day in no-fly zones of northern and southern Iraq. In recent weeks the warplanes also have extended the targets being attacked in no-fly zones to include weapons that could hinder a ground invasion. The no-fly zones were set up after the 1991 Gulf War to protect Kurds in northern Iraq and Shiite Muslims in the south from Baghdad's forces. Iraq does not recognise the zones. In a separate statement, the U.S. Central Command said planes on Sunday also dropped 180,000 informational leaflets over several locations south of Baghdad. Millions of such leaflets have been dropped in recent months encouraging Iraqi troops not to fight if there is a war, warning against the destruction of oil wells and giving civilians the frequencies of western military radio broadcast critical of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2003/03/11/1047144948660.html * US WARPLANES BOMB RADAR IN WESTERN IRAQ Sydney Morning Herald, 12th March Washington: US warplanes bombed a mobile radar for a surface-to-air missile system in Iraq's western desert today in the latest air strikes against Iraqi air defences, the US military said. The US Central Command said the mobile radar was located south of Ar Rutbah, the site of an Iraqi airfield that protects the western approaches to Baghdad. The area was used to launch Scud missiles against Israel and Saudi Arabia during the Gulf War, and was expected to be a major focus of activity by Scud-hunting US and British special operations forces in the event of war. "The coalition executed today's strike after Iraqi forces moved the highly-mobile radar system, which is associated with a surface-to-air missile system ... into the southern no-fly zone where it was a threat to coalition aircraft supporting Operation Southern Watch," the command said. The strike came a day after a coalition warplane struck five underground military communications sites near An Numinayah, about 95km east of Baghdad. Meanwhile, coalition aircraft dropped leaflets in northern Iraq for only the second time ever, warning Iraqi gunners not to track or fire on US and British air patrols, the US European Command said. "Any hostile action by Iraqi air defences toward coalition aircraft will be answered by immediate retaliation," the leaflets said. "Iraqi air defence positions which fire on coalition aircraft or activate air defence radar will be attacked and destroyed." About 240,000 leaflets were dropped in two locations - south of Tall Afar and southwest of Saddam lake, the command said. http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/story.hts/world/1817943 * DANGER MULTIPLYING IN NO-FLY ZONE by Harvey Rice Houston Chronicle, 13th March DOHA, Qatar -- U.S. fighter pilots patrolling the southern no-fly zone over Iraq are facing increasing attacks from Iraqi antiaircraft weapons as well as traffic hazards in skies filled with mounting numbers of coalition aircraft. "It's a very much increased hostile environment," said Air Force Capt. Dan King, an F-15E pilot with the 336th Fighter Squadron, based in a Persian Gulf country that will not allow the location of the base to be revealed. King, who flies daily missions over southern Iraq, said in an interview this week that most of the increased ground fire comes from antiaircraft guns that hurl clouds of shrapnel into the sky. The fire is known in fighter pilot jargon as "Triple A." "It's generally Triple A and every once in a while a SAM missile," he said. King said antiaircraft fire has posed the most danger. "It can reach up and grab you and is the most lethal, because it is the most difficult to detect," he said. But Iraqi gunners have been unable to down a single U.S. or British manned aircraft since separate no-fly zones were created in Iraq in 1992. The zones were set up to prevent Iraqi aircraft from flying over Kurdish areas in northern Iraq and over Shiite areas in southern Iraq. King said that the increased air traffic in the zones presents dangers of another nature, requiring pilots to be more alert and to adhere strictly to navigation rules. A spokesman for the U.S. Central Command, Marine 1st Lt. Josh Rushing, said that aircraft of all types flew 1,000 sorties one day last week, marking a large increase in air activity. The sorties flown daily are targeting Iraqi radar, antiaircraft units firing on U.S. and British air patrols, and armaments that could threaten American forces, Rushing said. Many observers, however, believe that the increased pace of airstrikes in the no-fly zone reflects a U.S. attempt to disable Iraq's air defenses as a prelude to an invasion by American forces massing in Kuwait. Some believe that war planners are putting up a large number of aircraft daily so that the Iraqi military will not know on any given day whether an air assault is beginning. Rushing attributed the larger number of flights to increased levels of training as well as threats to U.S. forces. "Not only is there more ground fire, but we are finding more violations of U.N. Security Council Resolution 949," he said. The U.N. resolution, which does not specifically refer to the no-fly zone, requires Iraq to keep military units out of the southern part of the country. "The increased activity is a direct result of our enforcement of violations in that region," Rushing said. Iraq, for instance, recently moved new surface-to-surface missiles into the southern zone to threaten Kuwait, he said. Lt. Gen. T. Michael "Buzz" Moseley, the U.S. Air Force commander in the Persian Gulf region, said in a statement published Sunday that all known Iraqi antiaircraft positions in the no-fly zone have been hit. Still, he said, Iraq has a large number of mobile antiaircraft guns that it could move into the region. http://www.reuters.co.uk/newsArticle.jhtml?type=topNews&storyID=2379023 * WESTERN JETS ATTACK IRAQI RADAR Reuters, 14th March WASHINGTON: Warplanes taking part in U.S.-British patrols over southern Iraq have attacked an Iraqi radar southwest of Baghdad, the U.S. military says. With more than 250,000 American and British troops in the Gulf poised for a possible U.S. led invasion of Iraq, the U.S. military's Central Command said the planes used precision guided weapons to target a mobile radar system about 265 miles (426 km) southwest of the Iraqi capital on Thursday. In recent weeks, Western aircraft have stepped up attacks in the "no-fly zones" over southern and northern Iraq while extending the targets to include battlefield missiles and rockets that could hinder a ground invasion. The last strike came on Monday when Western warplanes attacked a mobile radar system about 230 miles (370 km) west of Baghdad. The no-fly zones were set up after the 1991 Gulf War to protect Kurds in northern Iraq and Shiite Muslims in the south from Baghdad's forces. Iraq does not recognise the zones. http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/134653741_iraqair15.html * U.S. BEEFS UP IRAQ AIRSTRIKES BY EMPLOYING B-1 BOMBERS by Thomas E. Ricks Washington Post, 14th March WASHINGTON ‹ In a notable escalation of the small-scale U.S. air war in Iraq, two Air Force B-1 bombers yesterday hit military sites in western Iraq, the first time in more than four years that a heavy bomber has been used, Pentagon officials said. The bombers hit two radar sites, officials said. One was a truck-mounted mobile anti aircraft-radar system near a military air base, a defense official said. The other target was a surveillance radar system near the Jordanian border. Knocking out border radar systems would be a key step in clearing the way for a U.S. offensive into Iraq. One priority early in any U.S. attack would be to shut down the ability of the Iraqi military to launch Scud missiles or to send a drone aircraft laden with chemical or biological weapons against Israel from the western desert. Thus, Pentagon insiders say, one of the first moves in the campaign likely would be Special Operations troops into western Iraq, where they could observe suspected launch sites and call in airstrikes against them. The B-1 flights marked the first time the Air Force has used that supersonic heavy bomber against Iraq since "Operation Desert Fox" ‹ four days of punitive bombings and missile strikes conducted in December 1998. Since then, the main aircraft used to patrol the two "no-fly zones" have been lighter fighter bombers ‹ Air Force F-15s and F-16s, and Navy F-14s and F/A-18s. The two no-fly zones over Iraq were imposed by the United States, Britain and France after the Gulf War, in what was described as a humanitarian effort to protect Shiites in the south and Kurds in the north. The introduction of heavy bombers follows earlier escalation of operations in the no-fly zones. In recent years the United States typically sent no more than 25 aircraft a day into each of the two no-fly zones in southern and northern Iraq. Now the Air Force and Navy have intensified the patrols, and one recent day flew 1,000 sorties ‹ that is, one mission by one plane ‹ into Iraqi airspace. WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION (Iraq's possible possession of) http://www.latimes.com/la-op-arkin9mar09004511,0,4564058.story * A HAZY TARGET: BEFORE GOING TO WAR OVER WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION, SHOULDN'T WE BE SURE IRAQ HAS THEM? by William M. Arkin Los Angeles Times, 9th March SOUTH POMFRET, Vt -- For all their differences, proponents and opponents of war with Iraq agree on one thing: The paramount threat posed by Saddam Hussein is his possession of chemical and biological weapons. "The one respect that we think most about and worry most about is an enemy with weapons of mass destruction," Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul D. Wolfowitz said last month. Opponents of war with Iraq have much the same view. Administration leaders argue that only war can smoke out Hussein's hidden biochemical capabilities. Doves argue that we must rely on inspections because attacking Hussein could provoke him to use chemical or biological weapons; if Israel were hit, they warn, the result could be nuclear war. By different routes, the two sides arrive at an almost obsessive focus on Iraq's chemical and biological weapons. Each side has practical as well as principled reasons for doing so. For the administration, equating chemical and biological weapons with nuclear weapons -- and warning that, sooner or later, Iraq's weapons will find their way into terrorists' hands -- has become a way of making the case that war with Iraq is essential to protecting American lives at home. For those who oppose the U.S. position, treating chemical and biological weapons as weapons of mass destruction akin to nuclear weapons justifies diplomacy and brinkmanship because of the seeming horrendous consequences of failure. The question is whether these weapons in fact form a foundation sufficient to support all the weight being placed on it. Instructively, the one place where policy is not being driven by the focus on chemical and biological weapons is inside the American armed forces. For one thing, while not dismissing the seriousness of chemical and biological warfare, most field commanders are reasonably confident they can handle any such attacks Hussein can mount. For another, they understand all too well the mass destruction a full-scale war might inflict. Moreover, most know that, after nearly four months of renewed weapons inspections by the United Nations and the most intensive effort in the history of the U.S. intelligence community, American analysts and war planners are far from certain that chemical and biological weapons even exist in Iraq's arsenal today. Incredible as it may seem, given all the talk by the administration -- including Secretary of State Colin L. Powell's discourse last week about continuing Iraqi deception -- there is simply no hard intelligence of any such Iraqi weapons. There is not a single confirmed biological or chemical target on their lists, Air Force officers working on the war plan say. No one doubts that Iraq has consistently lied and cheated about its proscribed arms capabilities. This is a country that has used chemical weapons against Iran and against its own population, a country that fired missiles at Israel and its Arab neighbors in 1991. And the rundown of Iraqi weapons that remain incompletely accounted for since the 1991 Gulf War is daunting: 6,500 bombs filled with chemical agents, 400 bombs filled with biological agents, 31,500 chemical munitions, 550 artillery shells loaded with mustard gas, 8,500 liters of anthrax. Moreover, CIA and Defense Intelligence Agency analysts believe that Hussein's forces could launch two types of short-range missiles, rockets or artillery that are capable of carrying chemical agents. The analysts say Iraqi aircraft or unmanned drones could mount sprayers to disperse chemicals or biological agents. Analysts also think it possible for Iraqi commandos to penetrate coalition lines with small quantities of these weapons. And U.S. intelligence has received reports that Special Republican Guard units, as well as secret police and security services charged with defending the regime, have been given bio chem protective gear. President Bush, in his Feb. 8 radio address, said the administration had intelligence "that Saddam Hussein recently authorized Iraqi field commanders to use chemical weapons." "We cannot rule out of course that Saddam might try in some kind of desperation to use chemical or biological weapons," National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice said, echoing the administration line. Yet, in fact, there is as much uncertainty as certainty about Iraq's capabilities, as well as about the military effectiveness of any 11th-hour resort to chemical and biological weapons. So much of what the U.S. believes is based upon Iraq's history, not knowledge of current conditions. Vice Adm. Lowell Jacoby, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, said as much when he told Congress last month that U.S. beliefs were "based on ... past patterns and availability ... that he will in fact employ them." But the thinking that lies behind such statements when made by military professionals is quite different from that underlying the pronouncements of Rice and Wolfowitz. When Maj. Gen. John Doesburg, the Army's top biological and chemical defense commander, says the United States must assume Hussein thinks "it's OK to use chemical agents, because he's done it," the general is simply engaging in the kind of worst-case thinking that professional soldiers are trained to do. "What does he plan to do? I have no idea," Brig. Gen. Stephen Reeves, Army program officer for chemical and biological defense, said at a Pentagon news conference last month. Military leaders like Doesburg and Reeves do not mean to suggest that chemical and biological weapons are the battlefield equivalent of nuclear weapons. And they certainly do not mean to suggest such weapons are so uniquely horrific that they should drive the nation's policy decisions -- either toward or away from war. Among other things, using chemical and biological weapons effectively is so difficult that this alone has always been considered a major impediment for Iraq. The weapons are unpredictable. Weather conditions are a major factor. Chemical and biological agents also have to avoid exposure to heat, light or severe cold. When U.N. weapons inspectors were in Iraq during the 1990s, they found it had turned toward unmanned ground vehicles and sprayers as platforms for delivering chemical and biological weapons because Iraqi engineers could not master the technology for delivering such weapons in missiles or artillery shells; loaded into the warheads, the chemical and biological material was usually incinerated when the warhead exploded. Moreover, "it takes a lot of chemicals to have a significant effect on the battlefield," Doesburg told Bloomberg News. "We don't suspect he has the stockpile." According to war planners, three aspects of U.S. military strategy are specifically related to preventing the use of such weapons once open hostilities begin. First, initiating the use of force across all fronts, with simultaneous air and ground operations, will communicate what Wolfowitz calls "the inevitability" of Hussein's demise. "No one wants to be the last one to die for Saddam Hussein," he said. Second, the war plan itself favors smaller and more highly dispersed formations to limit exposure to the kinds of brute-force chemical attacks that occurred in Iraq's war with Iran. Third, early air and special operations assaults, particularly in western Iraq, will seek to disrupt any potential attacks on Israel. Despite so little hard evidence of Iraq's capabilities, U.S. troops have been vaccinated, trained, equipped and dressed to prepare for chemical and biological war. For military units, all this is no more than prudent planning. For the rest of us, we must take care that apprehension about weapons of mass destruction -- whether generated from hawks or from doves -- does not become a substitute for thinking through the justification to go to war, a decision that could have consequences for years to come. There have been recent reports that U.S. Marines in Kuwait were literally using "sentinel" chickens to aid in the early detection of chemical and biological weapons. "I just have to tell you from personal experience," said Reeves, "having had a great-uncle with a chicken farm, chickens are spectacularly nervous animals. They will literally worry themselves to death." http://www.nytimes.com/2003/03/10/international/middleeast/10WEAP.html * U.S. SAYS IRAQ RETOOLS ROCKETS FOR ILLICIT USES by John H. Cushman Jr. with Steven R. Weisman New York Times, 10th March WASHINGTON, March 9 ‹ United Nations weapons inspectors in Iraq recently discovered a new variety of rocket seemingly configured to strew bomblets filled with chemical or biological agents over large areas, United States officials say. The reconfigured rocket warheads appear to be cobbled together from Iraq's stockpiles of imported or home-built weapons, some which Iraq had used with both conventional and chemical warheads. Iraq contends that it has destroyed all its old chemical warheads, a claim that the inspectors have not verified. An American official who described the weapon said it was discovered in the last few months, since the United Nations inspectors returned to Iraq in November. At first, he said, Iraq told the inspectors that it was designed as a conventional cluster bomb, which would scatter explosive submunitions over its target, and not as a chemical weapon. A few days later, he said, the Iraqis conceded that some might have been configured as chemical weapons. The distinctive appearance of the rockets' cluster munitions, heavy metal balls with holes in them, suggested their use as a way to disperse chemical or biological weapons, said the official. "If you take the kinds of fuses we know they have, and you screw them in there, when these things come out from the main frame and they explode inward, chemical agents come out," he said. "These can be used for biological weapons, too," he said. American officials said the discovery showed that Iraq could not be trusted to cooperate with the inspectors. They provided the information to reinforce the administrtion's point of view that weapons inspectors found incriminating evidence in Iraq. The discovery is buttressed by information contained in a detailed, 173-page report by the inspection team, cataloging the history of Iraqi weapons programs and the United Nation's attempts to enforce compliance with its disarmament resolutions over the last 12 years. Secretary of State Colin L. Powell said today that the chief inspector for chemical and biological weapons, Hans Blix, should have made more of the evidence in that report when he appeared before the Security Council last week. "When you look at page after page of what the Iraqis have done over the years to hide, to deceive, to cheat, to keep information away from the inspectors, to change facts to fit the latest issue, and once they put that set of facts before you, when you find you those facts are false, they come up with a new set of facts ‹ it's a constant pattern," he said on "Fox News Sunday." Mr. Powell did not mention the rocket, but cited development of drone aircraft capable of dispensing chemical weapons as another example, and hinted that the United States would release more information about prohibited weapons as the Council debates a resolution this week. "That's the kind of thing we're going to be making some news about in the course of the week and point this out," he said. "And there are other things that have been found that I think more can be made of." According to the detailed report by the inspection team, which was circulated at the United Nations during the Security Council's debate on a new resolution to authorize the use of force against Iraq, Baghdad has a long history of exploring novel approaches for chemical and biological weapons. It remains unclear whether the Iraqi cluster warhead is a newly developed one, devised during the absence of inspectors over the last four years, or whether its existence was kept secret before 1998, when the inspectors left. The report, a copy of which has been provided to The New York Times, mentions that Iraq was known since 1996 to have been working on new chemical warheads at a facility known as Haidar Farm, where inspectors had discovered caches of documents and other evidence of prohibited programs with which to confront the Iraqi government. Videotapes from Haidar, the report said, showed "personnel conducting tests of a cluster bomb that appears to utilize submunitions based, in part, on 122-millimeter warhead components." As early as 1988, Iraq subsequently admitted to the United Nations, it had experimented on converting short-range "Frog" rockets with a cluster warhead using aluminum shells and some components from another rocket, the Ababil 50. However, Iraq said that it had done nothing but produce drawings and that no prototypes were built. When the evidence of those programs from Haidar Farm was analyzed in 1997, intelligence agencies supporting the United Nations weapons inspectors said materials found there included "all the necessary files and specifications to build" an unconventional, probably chemical, warhead for the Frogs. Photographs, used by an American official to buttress the administration's position on Iraq, were said by the official to depict the newly discovered munitions. They show a large, cylindrical body of roughly the same size as a conventional Frog missile, with a series of round cluster munitions, about the size of soccer balls or basketballs, set into cavities in the rocket. The official did not say how the photographs were obtained. The new United Nations report, noting that Iraq had been found able to make chemical warheads for longer-range Scud missiles, said inspectors "assumed" that Iraq could do so for shorter range missiles as well. Iraq is thought to have produced at least 50 to 75 chemical warheads for ballistic missiles, and inspectors have not confirmed that they were all destroyed. But cluster warheads of this new kind have not been described in a number of documents made public recently by the inspectors or by British and American intelligence agencies. The report also noted that Iraq still has "significant stocks" of smaller, 122-millimeter warheads similar to those previously used as chemical weapons before the first gulf war. "Iraq's industries appear fully capable of modifying these conventional munitions for use with chemical agents as well as the indigenous production of most or all of their components," the new report from the inspectors said. The suspect cluster munitions look strikingly different than the photos of 18 empty chemical warheads for 122-millimeter rockets found by inspectors in January of this year at a storage depot southwest of Baghdad and at another depot. Iraq explained that the existence of those warheads had simply been overlooked for many years. This time, the American official said, the inspectors found just one rocket at first. "Then they found a second, a third, a fourth and a fifth," the official said. "These are imported," he added. "Then they found Iraq could manufacture these indigenously, so who knows how many they have?" The new United Nations report describes in considerable detail the inspectors' continuing uncertainty about how much chemical and biological agents Iraq may have retained. Sections of the report suggest that Iraq had tried repeatedly, and sometimes succeeded, in developing agents especially suited for cluster munitions. http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/politics/story.jsp?story=385891 * UN CRITICAL OF MINISTERS' 'UNFOUNDED' ALLEGATIONS OVER IRAQ by Andrew Grice and Ben Russell Independent, 11th March Ministers were criticised yesterday for failing to withdraw allegations that Iraq secretly attempted to buy uranium for nuclear weapons after the claims were dismissed as "unfounded" by United Nations weapons inspectors. On Friday, Mohamed el- Baradei, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), rejected British and American claims that Saddam Hussein had tried to buy uranium from Niger, saying the allegations were based on fake documents. But yesterday the British Government's dossier on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction was still available on the Downing Street and Foreign Office websites, with the claim that President Saddam "sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa, despite having no active civil nuclear power programme that could require it". The Number 10 website also included Tony Blair's statement on 24 September, when the Prime Minister said "we know Saddam has been trying to buy significant quantities of uranium from Africa, though we do not know whether he has been successful". Yesterday, Menzies Campbell, the Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesman, said: "Dr El Baradei's careful analysis of the aluminium tubes, magnets and the alleged efforts to obtain uranium from Niger would appear to have undermined the belief that Iraq was still actively seeking a nuclear capacity. "Indeed, he went further when he said there was no evidence of a renewal of a nuclear programme in Iraq. In the face of such an unequivocal assertion on the part of the IAEA, one would have thought the British Government would have made some kind of response." Tam Dalyell, Labour MP for Linlithgow, said: "Dr El-Baradei said that based on thorough analysis, the IAEA had concluded with the concurrence of outside experts that these documents which form the basis of reports of recent uranium transactions between Iraq and Niger are in fact not authentic. What does the Foreign Office know about not authentic documents?" Mr Straw replied: "The idea of putting in inspectors is to put faith in inspectors. There were perfectly legitimate reasons for there to be the greatest suspicion of the possibility of Iraq having a continuing nuclear programme." http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/134651283_iraqnotes12.html * U.N. CANCELS U-2 FLIGHTS OVER IRAQ by Murad Sezer Seattle Times, 12th March UNITED NATIONS (AP): U.N. arms inspectors yesterday canceled U-2 reconnaissance flights over Iraq for what it called safety reasons after Iraq complained that two of the aircraft flying simultaneously constituted a hostile action. In Baghdad, a senior Iraqi official said the United Nations had admitted that having the second aircraft in the air was a "mistake" and denied that Iraq had threatened the planes. But Bush administration officials said Iraq scrambled MiG-23 fighters to intercept the surveillance planes, prompting the U.S. Central Command to quickly order the U-2s to leave Iraqi airspace. U.S. crews fly the planes for the U.N. inspectors. Baghdad's U.N. ambassador, Mohammed Aldouri, said Iraqi aircraft had "escorted" one of the U-2s, but Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said there was no direct confrontation although suspension of the surveillance flights showed Iraq was not being cooperative. Should Iraq be found to have interfered with the flights, chief U.N. inspector Hans Blix is required to report the incident immediately to the U.N. Security Council. http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2003/03/11/1047144970301.html * A QUICK INVASION UNLIKELY AS IRAQ PREPARES ITS DEFENCES The Age, 12th March by Paul McGeough Iraq's war planning has none of the "shock and awe" promised by the United States as it marshals a quarter of a million men and machines on Iraq's borders. But enough of Saddam Hussein's defence strategy is known now for analysts and diplomats to caution against any US presumption that a war will be fast, easy or casualty-free. President Saddam has promised a hard-fought battle for Baghdad - an ugly, urban-combat last stand. But while his best forces are encircling the capital and Tikrit, his hometown to the north of Baghdad, he is leaving sufficient troops in the north and south, hoping to slow any US-led advances. So he confronts the US with twin bogymen. The first is that the invading forces will be desperate not to fall for his strategy of luring them into Baghdad's civilian quarters. But if the alternative is a siege of the capital, it could go badly for the allied forces. Daily pictures of terrified, cowering civilians would not play well in the court of world opinion. And if the only way for the US to smash the morale of Mr Saddam's forces is to barge into Baghdad, the damage could make it hard for the invaders to win acceptance as a liberation army. The middle course between a siege and a full-frontal assault also might have to be a potentially dangerous and slow ground and air campaign. But if that takes too long it also might test domestic support for governments that have joined the US-led war. The American plans for such a conquest of Baghdad call for government centres to be the focus of the attack. If, as the US has warned, Mr Saddam were to spread his forces among civilians and around mosques and hospitals, he would be making cannon-fodder of his own people. The results would be devastating; the casualties might be unbearable. The second bogyman is chemical and biological weapons. Mr Saddam says he does not have them, and to use them would destroy every argument he has put to the world to stop the the noose tightening around his neck. But if he does have them and he was to be cornered, he might use them. The President has put the Special Republican Guard inside Baghdad and he has three Republican Guard divisions surrounding it, a force that Western analysts expect will fight capably, hoping to drag the US into street-by-street fighting. In the past few weeks Mr Saddam has pulled the 15,000-strong Adnan Republican Guard division south towards Tikrit, which late last year was bristling with anti-aircraft and missile systems. The division was near the northern city of Mosul, as part of a 100,000-man force that glowers into the semi-autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq. This also suggests that Mr Saddam wants to fight in the north. Much of the detail of Mr Saddam's defence plan is a mystery. The Age has seen extensive earthworks along major highways and around major cities and installations, most of them oriented in the direction from which a US-led attack might come. With the exception of the defences around Tikrit, a dozen fighter aircraft at a desert air base near the Syrian border and four mobile Scud missile launchers headed for the western border region, there has been little evidence of Mr Saddam's half-million-man army or of its known stock of weapons: hundreds of missiles, almost 300 combat aircraft, thousands of tanks and armoured cars, nearly 2000 howitzers and about 300 combat helicopters. US intelligence has warned of a "scorched earth" campaign - blowing up dams and bridges or burning Iraqi oil fields. Mr Saddam denied this in a television interview last week. Kurdish fighters have recently reported the Iraqi military has been laying minefields and building trenches which are to be filled with crude oil - to be set ablaze in the face of an American push from the north. Explosives also have been dumped at roadsides - to be detonated as US convoys pass. Expecting that the US will destroy its command and control centres, Iraq has ordered its forces to fight on independently - but this is a point at which the US hopes their resolve will have broken, causing big numbers to desert or surrender. Lastly, there is the propaganda - most of it in the vein of Mr Saddam rallying his army and his nation. In recent nights it has taken a turn that has surprised diplomats here. Iraqi TV has been running rarely seen, graphic footage of the Shiite uprising that took place in southern cities in the wake of the 1991 Gulf War. The message to Iraqis is simple - only Mr Saddam can hold Iraq together in the face of civil war, and they should fight with him. http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20030313/ap_on_re_mi_ea/ir aq_elbaradei * ELBARADEI CALLS FOR U.N. TO COMPROMISE by Charles J. Hanley Yahoo, 13th March VIENNA, Austria (AP): The chief U.N. nuclear inspector urged the Security Council on Thursday to compromise on proposed disarmament conditions for Iraq, with staggered deadlines and no ultimatum for war. "I think there's a keen desire globally to do everything before resorting to war," Mohamed ElBaradei said in an Associated Press interview at his agency's headquarters along the Danube River in Vienna. He offered to return to Baghdad himself to help see a timetable of tasks carried out. ElBaradei, director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, also dismissed the U.S. contention that Iraq intends to use imported aluminum tubes to eventually help make nuclear bombs. ElBaradei reported to the Security Council last Friday that his investigation concluded the tubes were unrelated to nuclear work. Secretary of State Colin Powell has since said "more information from a European country" suggested they were, indeed, meant for that purpose. "We have got this information," ElBaradei said, "and it doesn't change our assessment." The IAEA chief spoke as divisions deepened at the United Nations in New York over the next steps in the crisis. In the latest version of a British resolution, London proposes listing six disarmament requirements Baghdad would have to meet or face "serious consequences." France, which opposes setting ultimatums and has veto power in the council, flatly rejected the plan. ElBaradei, who with chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix has been at the center of the disarmament effort in Iraq, said he supports the idea of setting "tasks" for the Baghdad government. "We haven't really told them specifically what they need to do," he said of the Iraqis. He approved of some requirements on the British list, such as its call for interviews abroad of Iraqi scientists and a commitment to destruction of all al-Samoud 2 missiles, recently declared illegal by U.N. inspectors. But he questioned Britain's demand for a televised statement by Iraqi President Saddam Hussein that banned weapons are hidden in Iraq. "We have no clear evidence he has things he is hiding for him to admit," ElBaradei said. ElBaradei, an international lawyer from Egypt, said he regretted the schisms in the Security Council. "You need the U.N. for (fighting) terrorism, for the Middle East," he told the AP. "The fact the Security Council is being split is very counterproductive." He called on the Security Council to fashion a compromise resolution with disarmament benchmarks, with deadline dates assigned to certain tasks. "You need to give them (Iraq) adequate time, and the time obviously is linked to the task you're asking them to do," ElBaradei said. Then, he said, he would go to Baghdad if necessary. "If as part of the implementation of this benchmark we are asked to go to Iraq, I obviously would not see any reason not to go," he said. But missed deadlines must not automatically lead to war, he said: "It's a deadline to evaluate, to take stock, not a deadline to automatically say I'm going to war." http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A17888-2003Mar12.html * FBI PROBES FAKE EVIDENCE OF IRAQI NUCLEAR PLANS by Dana Priest and Susan Schmidt Washington Post, 13th March The FBI is looking into the forgery of a key piece of evidence linking Iraq to a nuclear weapons program, including the possibility that a foreign government is using a deception campaign to foster support for military action against Iraq. "It's something we're just beginning to look at," a senior law enforcement official said yesterday. Officials are trying to determine whether the documents were forged to try to influence U.S. policy, or whether they may have been created as part of a disinformation campaign directed by a foreign intelligence service. "We're looking at it from a preliminary stage as to what it's all about," he said. The FBI has not yet opened a formal investigation because it is unclear whether the bureau has jurisdiction over the matter. The phony documents -- a series of letters between Iraqi and Niger officials showing Iraq's interest in equipment that could be used to make nuclear weapons -- came to British and U.S. intelligence officials from a third country. The identity of the third country could not be learned yesterday. The forgery came to light last week during a highly publicized and contentious United Nations meeting. Mohamed ElBaradei, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), told the Security Council on March 7 that U.N. and independent experts had decided that the documents were "not authentic." ElBaradei's disclosure, and his rejection of three other key claims that U.S. intelligence officials have cited to support allegations about Iraq's nuclear ambitions, struck a powerful blow to the Bush administration's argument on the matter. To the contrary, ElBaradei told the council, "we have to date found no evidence or plausible indications of the revival of a nuclear program in Iraq." The CIA, which had also obtained the documents, had questions about "whether they were accurate," said one intelligence official, and it decided not to include them in its file on Iraq's program to procure weapons of mass destruction. The FBI has jurisdiction over counterintelligence operations by foreign governments against the United States. Because the documents were delivered to the United States, the bureau would most likely try to determine whether the foreign government knew the documents were forged or whether it, too, was deceived. Iraq pursued an aggressive nuclear weapons program during the 1970s and 1980s. It launched a crash program to build a nuclear bomb in 1990 after it invaded Kuwait. Allied bombing during the Persian Gulf War in 1991 damaged Iraq's nuclear infrastructure. The country's known stocks of nuclear fuel and equipment were removed or destroyed during the U.N. inspections after the war. But Iraq never surrendered the blueprints for its nuclear program, and it kept teams of scientists employed after U.N. inspectors were forced to leave in 1998. http://straitstimes.asia1.com.sg/commentary/story/0,4386,176891,00.html? * THREE NATIONS, A HIDDEN MOTIVE AND AN EXPLOSIVE LINK WITH IRAQ by William Safire Straits Times, from The New York Times, 14th March WASHINGTON - France, China and Syria all have a common reason for keeping American and British troops out of Iraq: The three nations may not want the world to discover that their nationals have been illicitly supplying President Saddam Hussein with materials used in building long-range surface-to-surface missiles. We are not talking about the short-range Al-Samoud 2, which Mr Saddam is ostentatiously destroying to help his protectors avert an invasion, nor his old mobile Scuds. The delivery system for mass-destruction warheads requires a much more sophisticated propulsion system and fuels. If you were running the Iraqi ballistic missiles project, where in the world would you go to buy the chemical that is among the best binders for solid propellant? Answer: To 116 DaWu Road in Zibo, a city in the Shandong province of China, where a company named Qilu Chemicals is a leading producer of a transparent liquid rubber called hydroxy-terminated polybutadiene, familiarly known in the advanced-rocket trade as HTPB. But you wouldn't want the word 'chemicals' to appear anywhere on the purchase because that might alert inspectors enforcing sanctions, so you employ a couple of cut-outs. One is an import-export company with which Qilu Chemicals often does business. To be twice removed from the source, you would turn to CIS Paris, a Parisian broker that is active in dealings of many kinds with Baghdad. Its director is familiar with the order but denies being the agent. A shipment of 20 tonnes of HTPB - the sale of which to Iraq is forbidden by United Nations resolutions and the oil-for-food agreement - left China in August last year in a 40-foot container. It arrived in the Syrian port of Tartus - fortified by the Knights Templar in AD 1183, and the Mediterranean terminus for an Iraqi oil pipeline today - and was received there by a trading company that was an intermediary for the Iraqi missile industry, the end user. The HTPB was then transported in trucks across Syria to Iraq. Syria has no sophisticated missile-building programme. What rocket weaponry it has comes off the shelf (and usually on credit) from Russia, so it therefore has no use for HTPB. But cash-starved Syria is the conduit for missile supplies to cash-flush Mr Saddam, as this shipment demonstrates. We will have to wait to find out how much other weaponry, for what huge fees, Mr Saddam has stored in currently uninspectable Syrian warehouses. The French connection - brokering the deal among the Chinese producer, the Syrian land transporter and the Iraqi buyer - is no great secret to the world's arms merchants. French intelligence has long been aware of it. The requirement for a French export licence as well as UN sanctions approval may have been averted by disguising it as a direct offshore sale from China to Syria. I am also told that a contract was signed last April in Paris for 5 tonnes of 99 per cent unsymmetric dimethylhydrazine, another advanced missile fuel, which is produced by France's Societe Nationale des Poudres et Explosifs. In addition, Iraqi attempts to buy ammonium perchlorate, an oxidiser for solid propellant missiles, were successful, at least on paper. Both chemicals, like HTPB, require explicit approval by the UN Sanctions Committee before they can be sold to Iraq. Perhaps a few intrepid members of the Chirac Adoration Society, formerly known as the French media, will ask France's lax export-control authorities about these shipments. UN inspectors looking at Iraq's El Sirat trading company might try to follow its affiliate, the Gudia Bureau, to dealings in Paris. Is this account what journalists call a 'keeper', one held back for publication at a critical moment, made more newsworthy by the Security Council debate? No. I've been poking around for only about a week, starting with data originating from an Arab source, not from the CIA. (Anti-Kurd analysts at Langley have it in for me for embarrassing them for 18 months on Al-Qaeda's ties to Mr Saddam, especially in the terrorist Ansar enclave in Iraqi Kurdistan.) This detail about the France-China-Syria-Iraq propellant collaboration makes for dull reading, but it reveals some of the motivation behind the campaign of those nations to suppress the truth. The truth, however, will be out. WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION (USUK's definite possession of) http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml?xml=/opinion/2003/03/10/do1001 .xml&sSheet=/portal/2003/03/10/ixportal.html&secureRefresh=true&_requestid=7 6191 * THE ALLIES DON'T NEED TO TAKE BAGHDAD TO DEFEAT SADDAM by John Keegan Daily Telegraph, 10th March By every sign, America and its allies will open a ground and air war on Iraq during the next fortnight. The Bush Administration has clearly lost all patience with Iraq and retains little patience for the United Nations inspection procedures or for debate in the Security Council. It will persist with diplomacy, in a final effort to bring dissenting and doubting member states round to its point of view. Diplomatic protocol will not, however, cause it to slow or halt its military build-up on Iraq's borders. The expeditionary forces are moving to their attack positions. The attack is imminent. Many comparisons have been made between the current crisis and others of the past - appeasement in 1938, the Suez crisis of 1956, even the July crisis of 1914, which preceeded the First World War. The closest comparison of all has been overlooked - that with the preliminaries to the Salonika campaign of 1915-18. Then, the British and French, anxious to open a front against their enemies in southern Europe after the failure of Gallipoli, disembarked a large army in northern Greece through the port of Salonika. They had been invited to do so by Venizelos, the Greek prime minister. The Greek king opposed the move and dismissed Venizelos. The allies took no notice and proceeded with their campaign anyway. Something similar seems to be happening at present. Though the Turkish parliament has voted against allowing American troops to use southern Turkey as a base, American ships are reported to be unloading equipment at the southern Turkish port of Iskanderun. American aircraft have arrived at Souda Bay in Crete, though the Greek public opposes the war, and troops and aircraft are appearing at bases in Jordan and Saudi Arabia, even though the Saudi government is highly sensitive to Muslim anti-war opinion. It seems that, as in 1915, offensive bases are being prepared through agreement reached with autonomous authorities and local government factions. The Turkish army, for example, the ultimate source of political power in the country, supports American policies. The moves may provoke protest, but should not cause surprise. Anticipating Turkish parliamentary agreement, America has already deployed a large proportion of the expeditionary force in the eastern Mediterranean, including the equipment and 15,000 soldiers of the 4th Mechanised Division. They have been waiting offshore in a fleet of more than 20 ships and cannot be kept cooped up much longer. They could be shipped to Kuwait through the Suez Canal, but that would postpone the outbreak by several months, counting both movement and loading time, which the Americans in their present mood would not countenance. Moreover, a northern base is highly desirable, if not absolutely essential, to the Pentagon's war plan. It would no doubt be possible to defeat and overrun Iraq from Kuwait. Indeed, almost any point of departure chosen by the overwhelmingly powerful American expeditionary force would yield victory, and quite quickly. It will oblige Saddam to divide his forces, to his great disadvantage, while using bases in southern Turkey will hasten the advance on Baghdad by making use of routes through the northern no-fly zone, which is not under Saddam's control. If the reports of allied concentrations in Turkey, Jordan and Saudi Arabia as well as Kuwait are accurate, the following picture of the coming campaign emerges. It will open, obviously, with intense air operations, employing cruise missiles, B-52 heavy bombers and stealth aircraft. The targets will be headquarters and communication centres. In 1991, the coalition air forces were presented with targets virtually guaranteeing Saddam's defeat, by his decision to spread out his army without air cover in a desert, and to mark his positions with conspicuous fixed defences that prevented it from manoeuvring. This time, he appears to have avoided those mistakes, but his troops still lack air cover, since the rump of the Iraqi air force flies antiquated machines and will in any event be driven from the skies, probably on the first day. He probably won't resort to chemical warfare - the inconvenience of chemical suits is great on both sides. The air offensives will be accompanied or quickly succeeded by an air mobile assault, using armed helicopters, the elite troops of the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions and special forces. The 82nd is already in Kuwait; the deployment of the 101st has been set back by the Turkish difficulty, but means will no doubt be found to bring it into battle. Special forces, some of which are already on Iraqi territory, are said to have bases in Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Jordan. After the air and air mobile preliminaries, the ground forces will strike at the Iraqi army, with the objective of reaching Basra in the south and Baghdad in the north. How the ground battle will go depends on what Saddam decides to defend. If he tries to hold the main roads, he will inevitably present the coalition air forces with ripe targets. If he attempts to fight mobile engagements off the roads, he will be overcome by superior technology. Battles off the roads are unlikely, in any case, because, at this time of the year, the valleys of the Tigris and Euphrates are waterlogged by the flow of snowmelts off the northern mountains. Flood conditions will also hamper the coalition, but its possession of large numbers of helicopters will allow its troops to press forward unchecked. The ultimate question is whether the coalition will attempt to enter the cities. They provide Saddam with strongholds, for no invading army willingly commits itself to street-fighting. It need not be necessary, however, to fight in Baghdad, the key to the campaign, to bring about its surrender. Blockade will achieve the same result. Saddam isolated within his capital would be Saddam defeated. The coalition would possess his territory, would control his oil fields, the source of his finances, and would be free to uncover the hiding places of his weapons of mass destruction. Distances are the coalition's chief enemy. Baghdad is 400 miles both from the Turkish and the Kuwaiti borders. Mobile and air mobile forces, protected by air power, should nevertheless be able to reach it in a week. The fall of the Saddam regime would inevitably follow. _______________________________________________ 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