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Sunday, June 20, 2004

Ok, we all know that Saddam had no wmd. Meanwhile a lot of wmds formerly in the possession of Saddam have been moving around the shadow world market. Ben Johnson has chronicled the wmd movements:
Demetrius Perricos, acting chairman of UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC), recently disclosed that his inspectors have been busily tracking shipments of illicit Iraqi WMD components around the world.
. . .
‘A number of sites which contained dual-use equipment that was previously monitored by UN inspectors has [sic.] been systematically taken apart,’ said Ewen Buchanan, spokesman for the New York-based inspectors. ‘The question this raises is what happened to equipment known to have been there.
. . .
The report said the U.N. inspectors also found papers showing illegal contracts by Iraq for a missile guidance system, laser ring gyroscopes and a variety of production and testing equipment not previously disclosed.
Many of the “dual use” components UNMOVIC found in foreign ports had been previous tagged by UN inspectors in Iraq before the war. And transfers are taking place rapidly. During his presentation, Perricos showed the Security Council a picture of a fully developed missile site in May 2003 that had been entirely torn down by February of this year.
. . .
These revelations came during a closed meeting of the UN Security Council held last Wednesday, June 9. However, the investigations are not new. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) launched its own probe into Iraqi WMD transfers a full six months ago, when a Dutch scrap metal company discovered five pounds of yellowcake uranium ore in Rotterdam. The sample was shipped from Jordan but Jordanian officials said the metal originated in Iraq. (Perhaps this is the yellowcake that atomic sleuth Amb. Joe Wilson insisted Iraq never purchased from Niger.) IAEA Director Mohammed El Baradei warned two months ago that evidence of Saddam’s WMDs is being shipped abroad.
Jordan has been the recipient of Iraqi WMDs in the past. Most recently, Jordan seized 20 tons of chemical weapons while foiling an al-Qaeda plot to kill 80,000 people. The stockpile they uncovered contained 70 different kinds of chemical agents, including Sarin and VX gas. (Remember, last month Iraqi insurgents lobbed two chemical weapons at U.S. troops armed with Sarin and mustard gas.)
. . .
You may be forgiven if this is news to you: The mainstream media have chosen to ignore or downplay the significance of the UN’s vindication of President Bush’s policies.
. . .
The discovery of banned WMD engines should forever silence those who believe Saddam had no stockpile of weapons, or that all such stockpiles were destroyed before the war. Saddam gassed his own people. He had WMDs that miraculously ended up in the hands of Jordanian al-Qaeda terrorists. And now we find his pre-war armoury of chemical and biological weapons, including anthrax agents, is being shipped around the world.
It makes for grim reading, though I'm a little hesitant to endorse this all as completely watertight fact, and I find the author's conclusion about the righteousness of toppling Saddam lame and unconvincing. It does confirm however what was the most obvious point about Saddam's wmd-programme, namely that it existed, but that it wasn't producing many weapons. These weapon-finds so far are rather small, compared to what Blair and Bush suggested to the public imagination.
The problem however reveals another mistake in the invasion and occupation of Iraq. This was a highly likely scenario, and in fact, I made it an argument of mine :
We must invade Iraq to ensure Iraq's weapons of mass destruction to not end up in the wrong hands. One popular argument against war acknowledges that Saddam Hussein is the root cause of the current crisis. Why not then, simply send in a realworld James Bond to kill him? It sounds nice but it is unfortunately not an option. The moment Saddam is dead the Iraqi state will collapse into chaos. This will be an ideal moment for any of the interested terror organisations already in Iraq as Saddam's guests and perhaps disgruntled military leaders to seize these weapons for the purpose of blackmail and terror. The only way to prevent such a catastrophe is by rapidly occupying the whole country and being in control of these weapons.
So much for that then. While it's undoubtedly a good thing that our intelligence agencies weren't entirely clueless, it's disappointing to see another failing in the occupation planning.


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