The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, December 10, 2002 - 5
A friendly welcome?
U.S. officials scrutinize Saddam's
inventory for clues to weapons
UNITED NATIONS (AP) - The United States
took possession yesterday of the Security Council's
copy of Saddam Hussein's massive arms declaration,
as inspectors began combing the dossier for clues
about whether Iraq is free of weapons of mass
Reversing an earlier decision, the U.N. Security
Council agreed late Sunday to give the United States
and the four other permanent council members -
Britain, France, Russia and China - full copies of
the 12,000-page declaration.
Deputy Russian Ambassador Gefinady Gatilov said
the United States had taken the council's lone copy to
Washington where it would make duplicates for dis-
tribution to the four other powerful council members.
The 10 non-permanent members, including Syria,
will only see a censored version of the document
once weapons inspectors have gone through the
report and gleaned it of sensitive material - includ-
ing possible instructions on bomb-making.
Angered by the decision cut over the weekend by
Secretary of State Colin Powell, diplomats said, Syria
planned to protest the arrangement during Security
Council consultations yesterday.
Meanwhile, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan
said it would take some time to review the declara-
tion and he called on Washington and others to be
patient with the inspectors.
"The inspectors will have to review them, analyze
them and report to the council, and I think that's
going to take a while."
In Washington, White House press secretary Ari
Fleischer withheld judgment on the massive docu-
mentation and said the United States wants to study
the material "thoroughly, completely and fully and
The U.N. nuclear agency said yesterday that at first
glance, the nuclear section of the dossier repeats Sad-
dam's claim that his country has no atomic weapons,
materials or associated programs.
Of the 2,400-page nuclear portion of the docu-
ment, 300 pages still must be translated from Arabic.
And only an exhaustive analysis, backed up by ongo-
ing arms inspections in Iraq, can determine if the
document is truthful, said Melissa Fleming, a
spokeswoman for the Vienna, Austria-based Interna-
tional Atomic Energy Agency.
"The cross-checking is extremely important,
including cross-checking on the ground," Fleming told
The Associated Press. "Should there be elements we
feel have to be checked out, we have the advantage of
having a team on the ground that can go the next day."
On Sunday, an adviser to Saddam suggested that in
the years before the 1991 Gulf War, Iraq may have
been close to building an atomic bomb.
Lt. Gen. Amer al-Saadi said Iraq no longer has
such ambitions, but that it was up to the U.N. nuclear
agency to determine "how close we were."
Using a powerful electronic database, nuclear
experts began poring through the dossier within
hours after it arrived at U.N. offices Sunday, measur-
ing Iraq's claims against the hundreds of thousands
of documents the agency has compiled since it began
inspections in Iraq in the early 1990s.
Iraq insists in the declaration that it has no pro-
grams for developing banned biological or chemical
weapons - and challenged the United States to hand
over any evidence it has to the contrary.
"The sooner they do it, the better," al-Saadi said
Annan also said yesterday that sharing some intel-
ligence with inspectors was critical to their success.
In Iraq, U.N. arms inspectors made a return visit
yesterday to Iraq's huge al-Tuwaitha nuclear com-
plex, where scientists in the 1980s worked to produce
the fissionable material for nuclear bombs.
Chief nuclear arms monitor Mohamed ElBaradei
said that war can be avoided if continued inspections
prove Iraq is disarmed.
"If we succeed in providing a thorough analysis
on the report and if we succeed in making sure Iraq
is disarmed through an inspection, that I think could
lead to the avoidance of a use of force," ElBaradei
said at a Tokyo conference on nuclear safeguards.
The bulk of the Iraqi document, covering chemical,
biological and missile components, is being reviewed
in New York by the U.N. Monitoring, Verification and
Inspection Commission, known as UNMOVIC.
The declaration arrived at U.N. offices in New
York and Vienna late Sunday, the deadline for Iraq to
provide a full and complete accounting of its
But the real test will be the document's transparen-
cy, which could determine whether Iraq will face
another war with the United States and its allies over
U.S. insistence that Iraq has banned weapons.
Under the terms of Security Council Resolution
1441, passed on Nov. 8, false statements or omis-
sions in the declaration, coupled with a failure by
Iraq to comply with inspections, "shall constitute a
further material breach of Iraq's obligations."
Such a breach could be enough for Washington to
argue that military action is the only way to force
Iraq to comply.
In Moscow, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Yuri
Fedotov said Iraq's declaration created "not a bad
basis" for resolving the Iraq crisis politically.
Under successive resolutions, passed since the Gulf
War ousted Saddam's troops from neighboring Kuwait,
the Security Council has demanded that Iraq disarm
and comply with a weapons inspections regime. Only
after inspectors declare Iraq in compliance can 12 years
of crippling sanctions, imposed after the Iraqi invasion
of Kuwait, be suspended.
U.N. weapons inspectors pass a portrait of Saddam Hussein
yesterday as they enter a nuclear energy facility in Iraq.
trooDs in Mideast
WASHINGTON (AP) - Continu-
ing his consultations with allies,
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld
began a five-day trip to the Persian
Gulf and Horn of Africa yesterday to
visit American and allied troops.
Citing the potential for terrorist
threats, Pentagon officials insisted that
reporters traveling with Rumsfeld not
reveal his destinations in advance.
Officials would say only that he was
visiting Central Command's area of
responsibility, which includes the Per-
sian Gulf, the Horn of Africa and Cen-
Rumsfeld's trip is the latest in a
series of consultations by senior Bush
administration officials with key allies
in the Iraq crisis and the war on terror.
Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the
Joint Chiefs of Staff, was due to visit
Moscow this week to consult on Iraq
and the terror war.
Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wol-
fowitz visited Turkey last week and
secured a preliminary agreement that
would permit U.S. forces to use Turk-
ish bases in the event of war in Iraq.
The U.S. general who would run a
war against Iraq, Tommy Franks,
arrived in Qatar on Friday to prepare
for a computerized war game starting
Franks, the commander of Central
Command, was in the Gulf late last
month to consult with leaders in Saudi
Arabia, Kuwait and Bahrain.
U.S. troops under Franks' command
are stationed in many countries in the
Gulf and Central Asia. There are about
12,000 troops in Kuwait, mostly Army
soldiers, and more than 5,000 in Saudi
Arabia, mostly Air Force. The Navy's
5th Fleet headquarters is in Bahrain,
and more than 4,300 troops are in
There are more than 1,000 U.S.
troops in Djibouti, a small nation on
the Horn of Africa.
Coinciding with Rumsfeld's trip was
the arrival off the Red Sea coast of Dji-
bouti of the USS Mount Whitney.
Bush wary of releasing Iraq intelligence
WASHINGTON (AP) - Underpinning the U.S.
review of,.Iraq's 12,000-page arms declaration,
"there's skepticism and there's fear" about Saddam
Hussein's nuclear ambitions, President Bush's
spokesman said yesterday.
White House press secretary Ari Fleischer also
said the United States had security concerns
about sharing its own intelligence with United
Nations inspectors trying to verify Saddam's
insistence that his regime has no weapons of
"We're going to continue to work with the
inspectors to help to get them the information so
they can do their job. ... Of course, at the same
time, we want to make sure that sources and
methods are not compromised in any information
that could be conveyed to the inspectors," Fleisch-
Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) countered that if
the administration has evidence, "They should pro-
vide such evidence to the United Nations, to the
Fleischer withheld judgment on the arms declara-
tion that Iraq turned over to the United Nations Secu-
rity Council on Saturday. The United States wants to
study the material "thoroughly, completely and fully
and thoughtfully," Fleischer said.
U.S. officials were still helping the Security Coun-
cil president copy and distribute the material by yes-
terday afternoon, he added.
Over the weekend, a military adviser to Saddam
suggested that Iraq was close to building an atomic
bomb a decade or so ago - a "wistful" admission
of how much Iraq "yearned to get nuclear
weapons," as Fleischer described it, and proof that
the United States is right to be skeptical of Iraqi
Saddam, the Iraqi president, insists his regime
has no programs for developing banned nuclear,
biological or chemical weapons. Bush says Sad-
dam is lying.
Under a U.N. Security Council resolution unani-
mously approved last month, international weapons
inspectors are in Iraq trying to validate those claims
along with the information submitted on Saturday.
"On the broader picture yes, there's skepticism
and there's fear about Iraqi intentions and abili-
ties," Fleischer said.
On the narrower question of determining the
validity of Iraq's declaration to the U.N. Security
Council, "that process deserves respect and it
deserves thoughtful judgment and we will not
rush to it," Fleischer said.
Kucinich was one of seven anti-war House
Democrats who held a Capitol Hill news conference
yesterday to express worries that the Bush adminis-
tration is intent on going to war without giving the
inspections a chance to work.
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) protested
that the administration still has "not given the
American people the proof that there is a neces-
sary war" and said that war would be "a devastat-
ing blow to America's economy."
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