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12/26/02 - POWELL ON IRAQ’S DECLARATION - 2002-12-26


United Nations Security Council Resolution fourteen-forty-one requires Iraq to disarm itself of weapons of mass destruction and to disclose all aspects of its nuclear, chemical, biological, and missile programs. But Iraq has submitted a declaration that fails to answer many questions. In some cases, the U-N has information that directly contradicts Iraq’s account. And much of that account is a resubmission of material that the U-N has already determined to be incomplete.

Other sections of the Iraqi declaration consist of passages copied from reports written by the U-N and the International Atomic Energy Agency. The only changes Iraq made were to remove references critical of its own conduct. As U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said, “The declaration totally fails to address what we had learned about Iraq’s prohibited weapons programs before the inspectors were effectively forced out in 1998.”

In December 1998, Iraq ceased all cooperation with the U-N inspectors, who said Iraq could have produced twenty-six-thousand liters of anthrax. That is three times the amount Iraq had declared and enough to kill millions. The regime of Saddam Hussein also admitted that it had manufactured more than one-thousand-two-hundred liters of a biological agent called botulinum toxin -- sixteen times what Iraq declared. U-N inspectors later determined that the Iraqis could have produced more than thirty-eight-thousand additional liters. Once again, the Iraqi declaration is silent on these missing supplies. Moreover, in the late 1990s, Iraq built mobile biological weapons production units. Yet the declaration mentions only mobile refrigeration vehicles and food testing laboratories.

“Most brazenly,” said Secretary of State Powell, “the Iraqi declaration denies the existence of any prohibited weapons program at all.... Iraq’s response is a catalogue of recycled information and flagrant omissions.” As Secretary of State Powell said, “It should be obvious that the pattern of systematic holes and gaps in Iraq’s declaration is not the result of accidents or editing oversights or technical mistakes. These are material omissions that...constitute another material breach” of Iraq’s obligations to the U-N.

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