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– Lord Des Browne
Vice Chairman, Nuclear Threat Initiative
Iraq

Analysis and Resources on Iraq and Weapons of Mass Destruction

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For Immediate Release: December 9, 2002

Press Contacts: Paul Kerr, (202) 463-8270 x102 or Wade Boese, (202) 463-8270 x104

(Washington, D.C.): From 1991 to 1998, United Nations weapons inspectors worked to rid Iraq of much of its weapons of mass destruction (WMD), which Baghdad pursued in violation of international nonproliferation agreements. But since the inspectors left in December 1998, Iraq has been free to resume its WMD programs unchecked.

UN weapons inspectors are now back in Iraq, seeking to verify Iraqi claims that it no longer has weapons of mass destruction. UN Security Council Resolution 1441 gives weapons inspectors a strong mandate to carry out their mission, including unconditional access to Iraq's previously restricted presidential sites. Washington has supported the resolution and the inspections process, but the depth of its support is unclear. The Bush administration has reserved the right to take unilateral military action in the event that it is dissatisfied with the UN process, although the administration has not yet clearly described the circumstances under which it might act. The rest of the international community is united in demanding that the inspection process be given the time to produce results and for Iraq to fully cooperate with the inspectors.

ACA Resources on Iraq

The ACA Web site includes important analysis from leading experts on options and challenges for containing Iraq's WMD programs. An online resource guide contains a series of authoritative Arms Control Today interviews with former weapons inspectors, as well as detailed news reports and commentaries dating back to 1997. These resources are available online at http://www.armscontrol.org/country/iraq/.

Some key examples of Association materials on Iraq are:

  • An October 2002 ACA press conference, "Disarming Iraq: How Weapons Inspections Can Work," featuring Robert Gallucci, dean of the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University; Jessica Matthews, president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; and Jonathan Tucker, senior fellow at the U.S. Institute of Peace. The panelists discussed the successes and shortcomings of earlier weapons inspections and ways to strengthen future inspections.
  • ACA's special October report, "Iraq: A Chronology of UN Inspections in Iraq and an Assessment of Their Accomplishments." This report is a comprehensive guide to the history of inspections in Iraq from the beginning of the Persian Gulf War to present.
  • "Disarming Iraq: Nonmilitary Strategies and Options," a September 2002 article by David Cortright of the Fourth Freedom Forum and George Lopez of the University of Notre Dame. The authors call for a credible, coercive Iraq policy that consists of "continuing revenue controls, intensive diplomatic efforts to resume weapons inspections, and the creation of an enhanced containment system through strengthened border monitoring."
  • "The Inevitable Failure of Inspections in Iraq," a September 2002 article by the former deputy executive chairman of UNSCOM, Charles Duelfer. He outlines the limitations of past weapons inspection efforts, writing that "any weapons inspectors sent into Iraq under the existing UN Security Council resolutions are doomed to fail." He argues that "permanent disarmament goals imposed on Iraq were out of proportion with the inspectors' tools and the rewards and punishments the Security Council could practically impose."
  • Extensive interviews by Arms Control Today with the current chief of the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission, Hans Blix; chairman of the UN Special Commission on Iraq (UNSCOM) from 1997-1998, Ambassador Richard Butler; and the first chairman of UNSCOM, Ambassador Rolf Ekeus. Former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter also provided his views on the past challenges and future prospects for successful inspections in Iraq in a June 2000 article.
  • Documents, fact sheets, and news reports from Arms Control Today on key developments.

# # #

The Arms Control Association is an independent, nonprofit membership organization dedicated to promoting public understanding of and support for effective arms control policies. Established in 1971,the Association publishes the monthly journal, Arms Control Today.

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Media Advisory

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UN Weapons Inspections Begin in Iraq

December 2002

By Paul Kerr

United Nations weapons inspectors returned to Iraq this month for the first time since December 1998 after the UN Security Council passed Resolution 1441 November 8 requiring Iraq to admit inspectors. Following months of debate over how to disarm Iraq, the Security Council approved the new resolution by a vote of 15-0, but differences remain between Washington and the United Nations over future Iraq policy.

The first team of UN Monitoring, Verification, and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) and International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors arrived in Iraq November 25, with inspections scheduled to start November 27. The inspectors will update the Security Council on their progress 60 days later. Iraq must submit a “currently accurate, full, and complete declaration of all aspects of its [weapons of mass destruction] programmes” by December 8, according to the resolution.

The inspection teams have a strong mandate under the resolution, which specifies that Iraq must allow “immediate, unimpeded, unconditional and unrestricted access” to “facilities, buildings, equipment, records, and means of transport which they wish to inspect.” To prevent Iraq from moving weapons materials, the resolution grants UN inspectors the authority to prohibit the movement of vehicles and aircraft around sites to be inspected. Inspectors also have the right to interview anyone they choose, without Iraqi officials present, in any location they wish, including outside Iraq. Additionally, the resolution mandates access to “presidential sites,” superceding a 1998 memorandum of understanding between Baghdad and UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan that had placed special conditions on inspections of such sites. (See ACT, November 2002.)

The new resolution also encourages governments to provide “any information related to prohibited programmes or other aspects of their mandates,” an apparent reference to national intelligence data.

Baghdad accepted the new resolution in a November 13 letter to Annan from Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri despite an Iraqi parliament vote the day before to reject the new resolution. The letter included anti-American rhetoric and assertions that Iraq does not possess weapons of mass destruction. Iraq sent a second letter, dated November 23, reiterating Iraqi charges that it has complied with weapons inspections in the past and that the United States is in violation of past UN resolutions. The letter also argued that Resolution 1441 simply provides cover for Washington to use force against Iraq.

IAEA Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei said in a November 19 press conference that Iraqi officials agreed to comply with the resolution after he and UNMOVIC Executive Chairman Hans Blix met with them in Baghdad November 18-19. ElBaradei added that UN economic sanctions on Iraq could be suspended within a year if Baghdad cooperates.

In a November 20 press conference, Blix said that Baghdad had agreed to submit the required declaration by December 8 although it is concerned about the short time frame and disclosing information about “peaceful industries.” National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice suggested in a November 21 interview on The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer that an Iraqi denial that it possesses weapons of mass destruction would “be a signal that [Iraq is] not ready to cooperate.” Blix told the Security Council November 25 that Iraq maintains it does not have weapons of mass destruction programs.

“Material Breach” Still an Issue

The product of weeks of bargaining among Security Council members, the new resolution is different from a previous U.S.-U.K. draft resolution in several important ways. Some council members had balked at language that declared Iraq in “material breach” of past Security Council resolutions, fearing it could provide an automatic trigger for a military attack. As a result, Resolution 1441 declares that Iraq “remains in material breach” of past resolutions but explains that the council had decided to “afford Iraq…a final opportunity to comply with its disarmament obligations.”

Other language in the earlier U.S.-U.K. draft resolution was changed in an attempt to ensure that the Security Council has a significant role determining what constitutes an Iraqi violation of the resolution. Paragraph 4 of the earlier draft was amended to require that inspectors or UN member states report to the Security Council about potential Iraqi noncompliance that could constitute “material breach.” Additionally, a paragraph stating that “the Council has repeatedly warned Iraq that it will face serious consequences as a result of its continued violations of its obligations” was moved from the beginning of the resolution’s mandates and placed after the paragraphs requiring the Security Council to reconvene.

Nevertheless, differing interpretations of the Security Council’s role in determining violations of the resolution remain. During a November 10 interview on FOX News Sunday, Rice said that, in the event that inspectors report instances of Iraqi noncompliance, the Security Council would meet “for a discussion of the circumstances” but that such a discussion would not be “about whether there has been a material breach…[but] a discussion of serious consequences following a material breach.” In a November 8 briefing, a senior administration official argued that the “facts” determine a material breach of the resolution but did not say who would determine the facts.

ElBaradei had a different interpretation. During a November 14 speech at a conference held by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, he said that “the Security Council will decide…material breach.” The relevant portion of the resolution, paragraph 4, reads: “False statements or omissions in the declarations submitted by Iraq…and failure by Iraq at any time to comply with…this resolution shall constitute a…further material breach…and will be reported to the Council for assessment in accordance with paragraphs 11 and 12.” Those paragraphs state that inspectors are to report “any” instances of Iraqi noncompliance and that the Security Council should meet to “consider the situation.”

There are also differences over how serious and frequent Iraqi violations would have to be to constitute a “material breach.” “If we see a pattern of lack of cooperation, then we obviously have to report to the Security Council,” ElBaradei stated during the November 14 conference. A senior Bush administration official stated during the November 8 briefing that the Security Council should act if there is a “pattern of noncompliance” with the resolution. However, Rice stated in the November 10 interview that Washington needs to have a “zero-tolerance” policy.

The no-fly zones enforced by the United States and United Kingdom over Iraq could also provide a trigger for war. The United States, the United Kingdom, and France established the no-fly zones after the Persian Gulf War over the northern and southern thirds of the country. Iraq has fired repeatedly on coalition planes patrolling the zones since the UN resolution was passed, according to a November 20 Department of Defense briefing.

White House Deputy Press Secretary Scott McClellan said November 18 that firing on coalition aircraft is a “material breach” of the resolution. McClellan said that Washington reserves the right to take such incidents to the Security Council but had no immediate plans to do so. Annan stated that it was unlikely that the Security Council would consider shooting at U.S. planes a material breach of the resolution, according to a November 19 Associated Press report.

The United States argues that paragraph 8 of Resolution 1441 supports the U.S. case. That paragraph reads: “Iraq shall not take or threaten hostile acts directed against any representative or personnel…of any Member State taking action to uphold any Council resolution.” Resolution 1441 does not specifically mention no-fly zones, however.

Washington argues that the no-fly zones implement Security Council resolutions because they protect Iraq’s minority populations, prevent Iraq from threatening its neighbors, and monitor cease-fire conditions on Iraq. Specifically, the United States cites Resolutions 678, 687, 688, and 949. This position is controversial; none of the resolutions mention no-fly zones, and Annan stated July 5 after a meeting with Iraqi officials that the no-fly zones are not Security Council policy. Iraq has long opposed the zones, saying they violate its sovereignty and the UN Charter.

Other Security Council members’ views on the matter are mixed. Russia argued in a November 19 statement from the Foreign Ministry that the zones are not covered by any Security Council resolutions and that Washington’s arguments with respect to Resolution 1441 “have no international-legal foundation.” A spokesperson for the French Foreign Ministry would not take a position on the zones’ legality or Washington’s contention that Iraqi threats to coalition aircraft constitute a material breach of the resolution, according to a November 19 statement. China had no comment on Washington’s interpretation of the resolution, according to a November 21 Agence France-Presse report.

The use of intelligence is another potential area of controversy. Although the resolution allows for UN member states to provide intelligence data to inspectors, both Blix and ElBaradei expressed concern that the integrity of the inspections process be preserved. Blix stated in the November 14 issue of Time that “UNSCOM lost its legitimacy in the eyes of the world by [having] too close a relationship with the intelligence agencies.” He added, “We have to examine [intelligence data] critically because there’s a lot [of] disinformation around the world, and the more information you have, the better you’re able to compare.”

Washington’s Decision

Although the Bush administration praised the Security Council resolution, senior administration officials indicated during a November 8 background briefing that the United States retained the option of acting unilaterally, saying President George W. Bush “has given up none of his…authority to act to implement [Security Council] resolutions or to protect the United States working with like-minded nations.”

The status of the U.S. “regime change” policy remains unclear. The administration indicated last month that Iraq’s compliance with the UN resolution would be sufficient to meet Washington’s standard for regime change. McClellan said November 14 that Bush “seeks a peaceful resolution. War is a last resort.” A senior administration official indicated during the November 8 briefing that, “if the Iraqi regime did everything…to comply with all of the UN resolutions, it would be a changed regime.”

However, the official also indicated that other UN Security Council resolutions cover issues unrelated to weapons inspections, such as Baghdad’s human rights record and use of chemical weapons against Iraq’s Kurdish minority and Iran in the 1980s. Additionally, a senior administration official stated during the same briefing that Saddam Hussein could still be tried for war crimes, even if he complies with Resolution 1441. The officials also explained that the policy of regime change was “determined by the previous administration, and by the Congress” in 1998, an apparent reference to the Iraq Liberation Act, which says it is U.S. policy to replace the current government in Iraq.

UN Weapons Inspections Begin in Iraq

NATO Expands; Members Support Iraqi Disarmament

December 2002

By Wade Boese

At a November 21-22 summit marked by invitations to seven countries to join the alliance, NATO endorsed disarming Iraq, creating a military force capable of fighting anywhere in the world on short notice, and studying missile defenses against all ranges of ballistic missiles. Perfect harmony eluded the summit, however, as Germany and the United States squared off over what happens if Iraq refuses to disarm.

Meeting in Prague, the 19 leaders of NATO members invited Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia to begin accession talks immediately with the goal of becoming full-fledged members by May 2004. Since its 1949 creation, NATO has expanded four times, the last being the 1999 addition of the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland.

The seven new invitees combined have roughly 227,000 active military personnel and military budgets this year totaling $2.8 billion, according to the International Institute for Strategic Studies. By comparison, U.S. active duty strength numbers more than 1.4 million troops, and the Pentagon’s budget for fiscal year 2003 is $355 billion.

President George W. Bush downplayed concerns that the seven new members might be unable to contribute much militarily to the alliance’s collective defense due to their small and mostly non-Western forces, saying November 18, “I do believe they can contribute something really important, and that is they can contribute their love for freedom.”

While moving the alliance closer to Russia’s borders and including for the first time a remnant of the former Yugoslavia—Slovenia—the new round of expansion was most notable because of the invitations to Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, the three Baltic countries of the former Soviet Union. The summit was the first time that NATO invited any country of the former Soviet Union to join the alliance.

Russia, NATO, and CFE

Moscow, which vigorously protested NATO’s last expansion and wrung pledges from the alliance in May 1997 that it had no intentions or plans to deploy nuclear weapons or permanently station substantial numbers of armed forces on new members’ territories, seemingly resigned itself to the latest expansion, issuing only periodic and muted objections.

Russia’s most common criticism was that Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania are not party to the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty, which limits the deployment and stationing of conventional weaponry in Europe for 30 countries, including the United States. The three cannot join the CFE Treaty, however, because it does not allow countries to accede. Washington contends that NATO membership and CFE participation are two separate issues.

Nevertheless, the Baltic countries have reportedly indicated that they would favorably consider acceding to an updated version of the CFE Treaty negotiated in 1999 once it enters into force. But that treaty’s entry into force is stalled because NATO members have conditioned their ratification of the revised treaty, which requires all current CFE members to ratify it for it to become legally binding, on Russia fulfilling past pledges to shut down bases and withdraw its forces in Georgia and Moldova. The Kremlin is behind schedule in completing those commitments. (See ACT, September 2002.)

In their November 21 summit communiqué, NATO leaders appeared to suggest to Moscow that future Baltic CFE participation depended upon Russian compliance with its withdrawal commitments. The NATO statement read, “We welcome the approach of those non-CFE countries, which have stated their intention to request accession to the Adapted CFE Treaty upon its entry into force.” It further stated, “We urge swift fulfillment of [Russia’s] commitments on Georgia and Moldova, which will create the conditions for Allies and other States Parties to move forward on ratification of the Adapted CFE Treaty.”

Hosting Bush in St. Petersburg a day after the expansion announcement, Russian President Vladimir Putin commented that Russia did not believe NATO enlargement was justified, but he added, “We do not rule out the possibility of deepening our relations with the alliance.”

NATO repeated that it would keep its door open for other European democracies to join and that Russia is no longer an enemy or threat, but Moscow has said it has no interest in becoming a member. Albania, Croatia, and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, however, were passed over on their membership requests.

United Front on Iraq for Now

Although largely devoted to expansion, much of the summit discussion focused on Iraq. NATO issued a statement declaring its support for UN Security Council Resolution 1441 and calling on Iraq to comply “fully and immediately.” The leaders further stated that NATO would take “effective action” to support the UN mission.

But fissures appeared in NATO’s stand, most sharply between the United States and Germany, regarding what would constitute effective action. National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice said November 21 that effective action would be “whatever it takes to make sure that Saddam Hussein is disarmed.” German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, however, said Germany would not support military action.

U.S. officials downplayed the rift, arguing that the important point is that all NATO members currently agree Iraq must disarm, and Rice said that “we’re not yet at the stage of talking about military action.” Just minutes earlier, however, Rice had told reporters that “the United States is at this point talking to countries, consulting about what might be necessary, what capabilities might be necessary if military action takes place.”

Preparing NATO to Fight

Despite the lack of unanimity over employing military force against Iraq, NATO leaders supported a U.S. initiative to create a roughly 21,000-troop NATO Response Force (NRF) capable of fighting around the globe on as little as seven days’ notice. Use of the force would require consensus by NATO’s decision-making body, the North Atlantic Council.

Expected to be initially ready by October 2004 and fully operational by October 2006, the force is to be comprised of sea, air, and ground assets and be able to operate independently for up to a month. NATO will rotate troops through the new force every six months.

Establishment of the NRF stems from the alliance’s shifting focus of defending against a massive conventional attack from the east to the more disparate and asymmetrical threats posed by rogue states and terrorism.

Also reflecting its changing threat assessment, NATO agreed to study missile defenses against all ranges of ballistic missiles. Before the U.S. June 13 withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty that barred defenses against strategic ballistic missiles, key NATO members had publicly opposed U.S. missile defense plans to protect against long-range ballistic missiles, but there is now growing acceptance of the concept.


NATO Expands; Members Support Iraqi Disarmament

UN Security Council Resolution 1441

The United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 1441 by a vote of 15-0 on November 8, requiring Iraq to admit inspectors from the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Baghdad accepted the new resolution November 13, and it must submit a declaration of its prohibited weapons programs by December 8, 2002. Inspections are scheduled to begin November 27, and the inspectors are required to update the Security Council on their progress 60 days later.

Resolution 1441 gives inspectors a stronger mandate than they had under previous Security Council resolutions. UN inspectors now have the authority to prohibit the movement of vehicles and aircraft around sites they wish to inspect in order to prevent Iraq from moving weapons materials. Inspectors have the right to interview anyone they choose, without Iraqi officials present, in any location they wish, including outside Iraq.

The resolution also encourages governments to share intelligence data with inspectors. Additionally, it mandates access to “presidential sites,” superceding a 1998 memorandum of understanding between Baghdad and UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan that had placed special conditions on inspections of those sites.

The product of weeks of bargaining among Security Council members, the new resolution is a compromise. (See ACT, November 2002.) France and Russia had been concerned that language originally proposed by the United States and the United Kingdom set an unacceptably low threshold for initiating military action against Iraq to enforce the resolution and minimized the role of the Security Council. The new resolution states that this is Iraq’s “final opportunity to comply with its disarmament obligations” and requires that reports from inspectors and member states about Iraqi noncompliance that could constitute “material breach” of the resolution be referred to the Security Council.

The Security Council members continue to have different interpretations of exactly what Iraqi violations might justify military action against the country.

Weapons inspectors have not been able to work in Iraq since 1998, when Iraq stopped complying with monitoring activities and halted cooperation with weapons inspectors, then comprised of personnel from the IAEA and the UN Special Commission (UNSCOM). The IAEA and UNSCOM withdrew their personnel in December 1998, just before the United States and the United Kingdom initiated three days of air strikes over Iraq. UNMOVIC was created in December 1999 by Security Council Resolution 1284 to replace UNSCOM.

Following is the text of the resolution:


Resolution 1441 (2002)
Adopted by the Security Council at its 4644th meeting, on 8 November 2002

The Security Council,

Recalling all its previous relevant resolutions, in particular its resolutions 661 (1990) of 6 August 1990, 678 (1990) of 29 November 1990, 686 (1991) of 2 March 1991, 687 (1991) of 3 April 1991, 688 (1991) of 5 April 1991, 707 (1991) of 15 August 1991, 715 (1991) of 11 October 1991, 986 (1995) of 14 April 1995, and 1284 (1999) of 17 December 1999, and all the relevant statements of its President,

Recalling also its resolution 1382 (2001) of 29 November 2001 and its intention to implement it fully,

Recognizing the threat Iraq’s noncompliance with Council resolutions and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and long-range missiles poses to international peace and security,

Recalling that its resolution 678 (1990) authorized Member States to use all necessary means to uphold and implement its resolution 660 (1990) of 2 August 1990 and all relevant resolutions subsequent to Resolution 660 (1990) and to restore international peace and security in the area,

Further recalling that its resolution 687 (1991) imposed obligations on Iraq as a necessary step for achievement of its stated objective of restoring international peace and security in the area,

Deploring the fact that Iraq has not provided an accurate, full, final, and complete disclosure, as required by resolution 687 (1991), of all aspects of its programmes to develop weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles with a range greater than one hundred and fifty kilometres, and of all holdings of such weapons, their components and production facilities and locations, as well as all other nuclear programmes, including any which it claims are for purposes not related to nuclear-weapons-usable material,

Deploring further that Iraq repeatedly obstructed immediate, unconditional, and unrestricted access to sites designated by the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), failed to cooperate fully and unconditionally with UNSCOM and IAEA weapons inspectors, as required by resolution 687 (1991), and ultimately ceased all cooperation with UNSCOM and the IAEA in 1998,

Deploring the absence, since December 1998, in Iraq of international monitoring, inspection, and verification, as required by relevant resolutions, of weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles, in spite of the Council’s repeated demands that Iraq provide immediate, unconditional, and unrestricted access to the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC), established in resolution 1284 (1999) as the successor organization to UNSCOM, and the IAEA, and regretting the consequent prolonging of the crisis in the region and the suffering of the Iraqi people,

Deploring also that the Government of Iraq has failed to comply with its commitments pursuant to resolution 687 (1991) with regard to terrorism, pursuant to resolution 688 (1991) to end repression of its civilian population and to provide access by international humanitarian organizations to all those in need of assistance in Iraq, and pursuant to resolutions 686 (1991), 687 (1991), and 1284 (1999) to return or cooperate in accounting for Kuwaiti and third country nationals wrongfully detained by Iraq, or to return Kuwaiti property wrongfully seized by Iraq,

Recalling that in its resolution 687 (1991) the Council declared that a ceasefire would be based on acceptance by Iraq of the provisions of that resolution, including the obligations on Iraq contained therein,

Determined to ensure full and immediate compliance by Iraq without conditions or restrictions with its obligations under resolution 687 (1991) and other relevant resolutions and recalling that the resolutions of the Council constitute the governing standard of Iraqi compliance,

Recalling that the effective operation of UNMOVIC, as the successor organization to the Special Commission, and the IAEA is essential for the implementation of resolution 687 (1991) and other relevant resolutions,

Noting the letter dated 16 September 2002 from the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iraq addressed to the Secretary General is a necessary first step toward rectifying Iraq’s continued failure to comply with relevant Council resolutions,

Noting further the letter dated 8 October 2002 from the Executive Chairman of UNMOVIC and the Director General of the IAEA to General Al-Saadi of the Government of Iraq laying out the practical arrangements, as a follow-up to their meeting in Vienna, that are prerequisites for the resumption of inspections in Iraq by UNMOVIC and the IAEA, and expressing the gravest concern at the continued failure by the Government of Iraq to provide confirmation of the arrangements as laid out in that letter,

Reaffirming the commitment of all Member States to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iraq, Kuwait, and the neighbouring States,

Commending the Secretary General and members of the League of Arab States and its Secretary General for their efforts in this regard,

Determined to secure full compliance with its decisions,

Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations,

1. Decides that Iraq has been and remains in material breach of its obligations under relevant resolutions, including resolution 687 (1991), in particular through Iraq’s failure to cooperate with United Nations inspectors and the IAEA, and to complete the actions required under paragraphs 8 to 13 of resolution 687 (1991);

2. Decides, while acknowledging paragraph 1 above, to afford Iraq, by this resolution, a final opportunity to comply with its disarmament obligations under relevant resolutions of the Council; and accordingly decides to set up an enhanced inspection regime with the aim of bringing to full and verified completion the disarmament process established by resolution 687 (1991) and subsequent resolutions of the Council;

3. Decides that, in order to begin to comply with its disarmament obligations, in addition to submitting the required biannual declarations, the Government of Iraq shall provide to UNMOVIC, the IAEA, and the Council, not later than 30 days from the date of this resolution, a currently accurate, full, and complete declaration of all aspects of its programmes to develop chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles, and other delivery systems such as unmanned aerial vehicles and dispersal systems designed for use on aircraft, including any holdings and precise locations of such weapons, components, sub-components, stocks of agents, and related material and equipment, the locations and work of its research, development and production facilities, as well as all other chemical, biological, and nuclear programmes, including any which it claims are for purposes not related to weapon production or material;

4. Decides that false statements or omissions in the declarations submitted by Iraq pursuant to this resolution and failure by Iraq at any time to comply with, and cooperate fully in the implementation of, this resolution shall constitute a further material breach of Iraq’s obligations and will be reported to the Council for assessment in accordance with paragraphs 11 and 12 below;

5. Decides that Iraq shall provide UNMOVIC and the IAEA immediate, unimpeded, unconditional, and unrestricted access to any and all, including underground, areas, facilities, buildings, equipment, records, and means of transport which they wish to inspect, as well as immediate, unimpeded, unrestricted, and private access to all officials and other persons whom UNMOVIC or the IAEA wish to interview in the mode or location of UNMOVIC’s or the IAEA’s choice pursuant to any aspect of their mandates; further decides that UNMOVIC and the IAEA may at their discretion conduct interviews inside or outside of Iraq, may facilitate the travel of those interviewed and family members outside of Iraq, and that, at the sole discretion of UNMOVIC and the IAEA, such interviews may occur without the presence of observers from the Iraqi government; and instructs UNMOVIC and requests the IAEA to resume inspections no later than 45 days following adoption of this resolution and to update the Council 60 days thereafter;

6. Endorses the 8 October 2002 letter from the Executive Chairman of UNMOVIC and the Director-General of the IAEA to General Al-Saadi of the Government of Iraq, which is annexed hereto, and decides that the contents of the letter shall be binding upon Iraq;

7. Decides further that, in view of the prolonged interruption by Iraq of the presence of UNMOVIC and the IAEA and in order for them to accomplish the tasks set forth in this resolution and all previous relevant resolutions and notwithstanding prior understandings, the Council hereby establishes the following revised or additional authorities, which shall be binding upon Iraq, to facilitate their work in Iraq:

–UNMOVIC and the IAEA shall determine the composition of their inspection teams and ensure that these teams are composed of the most qualified and experienced experts available;

–All UNMOVIC and IAEA personnel shall enjoy the privileges and immunities, corresponding to those of experts on mission, provided in the Convention on Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations and the Agreement on the Privileges and Immunities of the IAEA;

–UNMOVIC and the IAEA shall have unrestricted rights of entry into and out of Iraq, the right to free, unrestricted, and immediate movement to and from inspection sites, and the right to inspect any sites and buildings, including immediate, unimpeded, unconditional, and unrestricted access to Presidential Sites equal to that at other sites, notwithstanding the provisions of resolution 1154 (1998) of 2 March 1998;

–UNMOVIC and the IAEA shall have the right to be provided by Iraq the names of all personnel currently and formerly associated with Iraq’s chemical, biological, nuclear, and ballistic missile programmes and the associated research, development, and production facilities;

–Security of UNMOVIC and IAEA facilities shall be ensured by sufficient UN security guards;

–UNMOVIC and the IAEA shall have the right to declare, for the purposes of freezing a site to be inspected, exclusion zones, including surrounding areas and transit corridors, in which Iraq will suspend ground and aerial movement so that nothing is changed in or taken out of a site being inspected;

–UNMOVIC and the IAEA shall have the free and unrestricted use and landing of fixed- and rotary-winged aircraft, including manned and unmanned reconnaissance vehicles;

–UNMOVIC and the IAEA shall have the right at their sole discretion verifiably to remove, destroy, or render harmless all prohibited weapons, subsystems, components, records, materials, and other related items, and the right to impound or close any facilities or equipment for the production thereof; and

–UNMOVIC and the IAEA shall have the right to free import and use of equipment or materials for inspections and to seize and export any equipment, materials, or documents taken during inspections, without search of UNMOVIC or IAEA personnel or official or personal baggage;

8. Decides further that Iraq shall not take or threaten hostile acts directed against any representative or personnel of the United Nations or the IAEA or of any Member State taking action to uphold any Council resolution;

9. Requests the Secretary General immediately to notify Iraq of this resolution, which is binding on Iraq; demands that Iraq confirm within seven days of that notification its intention to comply fully with this resolution; and demands further that Iraq cooperate immediately, unconditionally, and actively with UNMOVIC and the IAEA;

10. Requests all Member States to give full support to UNMOVIC and the IAEA in the discharge of their mandates, including by providing any information related to prohibited programmes or other aspects of their mandates, including on Iraqi attempts since 1998 to acquire prohibited items, and by recommending sites to be inspected, persons to be interviewed, conditions of such interviews, and data to be collected, the results of which shall be reported to the Council by UNMOVIC and the IAEA;

11. Directs the Executive Chairman of UNMOVIC and the Director General of the IAEA to report immediately to the Council any interference by Iraq with inspection activities, as well as any failure by Iraq to comply with its disarmament obligations, including its obligations regarding inspections under this resolution;

12. Decides to convene immediately upon receipt of a report in accordance with paragraphs 4 or 11 above, in order to consider the situation and the need for full compliance with all of the relevant Council resolutions in order to secure international peace and security;

13. Recalls, in that context, that the Council has repeatedly warned Iraq that it will face serious consequences as a result of its continued violations of its obligations;

14. Decides to remain seized of the matter.


ANNEX

Text Of Blix/El-Baradei Letter

United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission, The Executive Chairman

International Atomic Energy Agency, The Director General


8 October 2002

Dear General Al-Saadi,

During our recent meeting in Vienna, we discussed practical arrangements that are prerequisites for the resumption of inspections in Iraq by UNMOVIC and the IAEA. As you recall, at the end of our meeting in Vienna we agreed on a statement which listed some of the principal results achieved, particularly Iraq’s acceptance of all the rights of inspection provided for in all of the relevant Security Council resolutions. This acceptance was stated to be without any conditions attached.
During our 3 October 2002 briefing to the Security Council, members of the Council suggested that we prepare a written document on all of the conclusions we reached in Vienna. This letter lists those conclusions and seeks your confirmation thereof. We shall report accordingly to the Security Council.
In the statement at the end of the meeting, it was clarified that UNMOVIC and the IAEA will be granted immediate, unconditional and unrestricted access to sites, including what was termed “sensitive sites” in the past. As we noted, however, eight presidential sites have been the subject of special procedures under a Memorandum of Understanding of 1998. Should these sites be subject, as all other sites, to immediate, unconditional and unrestricted access, UNMOVIC and the IAEA would conduct inspections there with the same professionalism.

H.E. General Amir H. Al-Saadi,
Advisor
Presidential Office
Baghdad
Iraq

We confirm our understanding that UNMOVIC and the IAEA have the right to determine the number of inspectors required for access to any particular site. This determination will be made on the basis of the size and complexity of the site being inspected. We also confirm that Iraq will be informed of the designation of additional sites, i.e. sites not declared by Iraq or previously inspected by either UNSCOM or the IAEA, through a Notification of Inspection (NIS) provided upon arrival of the inspectors at such sites.

Iraq will ensure that no proscribed material, equipment, records or other relevant items will be destroyed except in the presence of UNMOVIC and/or IAEA inspectors, as appropriate, and at their request.

UNMOVIC and the IAEA may conduct interviews with any person in Iraq whom they believe may have information relevant to their mandate. Iraq will facilitate such interviews. It is for UNMOVIC and the IAEA to choose the mode and location for interviews.

The National Monitoring Directorate (NMD) will, as in the past, serve as the Iraqi counterpart for the inspectors. The Baghdad Ongoing Monitoring and Verification Centre (BOMVIC) will be maintained on the same premises and under the same conditions as was the former Baghdad Monitoring and Verification Centre. The NMD will make available services as before, cost free, for the refurbishment of the premises.

The NMD will provide free of cost: (a) escorts to facilitate access to sites to be inspected and communication with personnel to be interviewed; (b) a hotline for BOMVIC which will be staffed by an English speaking person on a 24 hour a day/seven days a week basis; (c) support in terms of personnel and ground transportation within the country, as requested; and (d) assistance in the movement of materials and equipment at inspectors’ request (construction, excavation equipment, etc.). NMD will also ensure that escorts are available in the event of inspections outside normal working hours, including at night and on holidays.

Regional UNMOVIC/IAEA offices may be established, for example, in Basra and Mosul, for the use of their inspectors. For this purpose, Iraq will provide, without cost, adequate office buildings, staff accommodation, and appropriate escort personnel.

UNMOVIC and the IAEA may use any type of voice or data transmission, including satellite and/or inland networks, with or without encryption capability. UNMOVIC and the IAEA may also install equipment in the field with the capability for transmission of data directly to the BOMVIC, New York and Vienna (e.g. sensors, surveillance cameras). This will be facilitated by Iraq and there will be no interference by Iraq with UNMOVIC or IAEA communications.

Iraq will provide, without cost, physical protection of all surveillance equipment, and construct antennae for remote transmission of data, at the request of UNMOVIC and the IAEA. Upon request by UNMOVIC through the NMD, Iraq will allocate frequencies for communications equipment.

Iraq will provide security for all UNMOVIC and IAEA personnel. Secure and suitable accommodations will be designated at normal rates by Iraq for these personnel. For their part, UNMOVIC and the IAEA will require that their staff not stay at any accommodation other than those identified in consultation with Iraq.

On the use of fixed-wing aircraft for transport of personnel and equipment and for inspection purposes, it was clarified that aircraft used by UNMOVIC and IAEA staff arriving in Baghdad may land at Saddam International Airport. The points of departure of incoming aircraft will be decided by UNMOVIC. The Rasheed airbase will continue to be used for UNMOVIC and IAEA helicopter operations. UNMOVIC and Iraq will establish air liaison offices at the airbase. At both Saddam International Airport and Rasheed airbase, Iraq will provide the necessary support premises and facilities. Aircraft fuel will be provided by Iraq, as before, free of charge.

On the wider issue of air operations in Iraq, both fixed-wing and rotary, Iraq will guarantee the safety of air operations in its air space outside the no-fly zones. With regard to air operations in the no-fly zones, Iraq will take all steps within its control to ensure the safety of such operations.

Helicopter flights may be used, as needed, during inspections and for technical activities, such as gamma detection, without limitation in all parts of Iraq and without any area excluded. Helicopters may also be used for medical evacuation.

On the question of aerial imagery, UNMOVIC may wish to resume the use of U-2 or Mirage overflights. The relevant practical arrangements would be similar to those implemented in the past.

As before, visas for all arriving staff will be issued at the point of entry on the basis of the UN Laissez-Passer or UN Certificate; no other entry or exit formalities will be required. The aircraft passenger manifest will be provided one hour in advance of the arrival of the aircraft in Baghdad. There will be no searching of UNMOVIC or IAEA personnel or of official or personal baggage. UNMOVIC and the IAEA will ensure that their personnel respect the laws of Iraq restricting the export of certain items, for example, those related to Iraq’s national cultural heritage. UNMOVIC and the IAEA may bring into, and remove from, Iraq all of the items and materials they require, including satellite phones and other equipment. With respect to samples, UNMOVIC and IAEA will, where feasible, split samples so that Iraq may receive a portion while another portion is kept for reference purposes. Where appropriate, the organizations will send the samples to more than one laboratory for analysis.

We would appreciate your confirmation of the above as a correct reflection of our talks in Vienna.

Naturally, we may need other practical arrangements when proceeding with inspections. We would expect in such matters, as with the above, Iraq’s co-operation in all respect.

Yours sincerely,

(Signed)
Hans Blix,
Executive Chairman
United Nations Monitoring,
Verification and Inspection Commission

(Signed)
Mohamed ElBaradei,
Director General,
International Atomic Energy Agency


 

North Korea Is No Iraq: Pyongyang's Negotiating Strategy

Leon V. Sigal

The revelation that North Korea is buying equipment useful for enriching uranium has led many in Washington to conclude that North Korea, like Iraq, is again making nuclear weapons and that the appropriate response is to punish it for brazenly breaking its commitments. Both the assessment and the policy that flows from it are wrong.

North Korea is no Iraq. It wants to improve relations with the United States and says it is ready to give up its nuclear, missile, and other weapons programs in return.

Pyongyang’s declared willingness to satisfy all U.S. security concerns is worth probing in direct talks. More coercive alternatives—economic sanctions and military force—are not viable without allied support. Yet, the Bush administration, long aware of North Korea’s ongoing nuclear and missile activities, has shown little interest in negotiating.

Recognizing that, both Japan and South Korea have refused to confront North Korea and instead have moved to engage it. Hard-line unilateralists in the Bush administration and Congress oppose such engagement. As they continue to get their way, they are putting the United States on a collision course with its allies, undermining political support for the alliance in South Korea and Japan and jeopardizing the U.S. troop presence in both countries.

The United States rightly wants to stop North Korea from acquiring nuclear arms; prevent it from developing, testing, deploying and selling any more ballistic missiles; get rid of its biological and chemical weapons; and assure that, whatever happens internally in North Korea, the artillery Pyongyang has emplaced within range of Seoul is never fired in anger.

To achieve its aims, Washington has to understand that Pyongyang is seeking an end to its hostile relationship with the United States. When Washington fails to reciprocate, Pyongyang retaliates by breaking its pledges in a desperate effort to get Washington to cooperate.

Tit-for-Tat to End Enmity

In the late 1980s, then-North Korean leader Kim Il Sung decided he had no better way to provide for his country’s security than to end its lifelong enmity with the United States, South Korea, and Japan. He reached out to all three, but in the early 1990s, the first Bush administration, determined to put a stop to Pyongyang’s nuclear arming before easing its isolation, worked to block closer South Korean and Japanese ties with the North. Concluding that Washington held the key to open doors to Seoul and Tokyo, Pyongyang engaged seriously with Seoul and Tokyo in the ensuing decade only when it was convinced Washington was cooperating.

Pyongyang also decided to trade in its nuclear arms program in return for an end to enmity. At the same time, it kept its nuclear option open as leverage on Washington to live up to its end of the bargain—initially by delaying international inspections to determine how much plutonium it reprocessed before 1992.

That trade became the basis of the October 1994 Agreed Framework, whereby the North agreed to freeze and eventually dismantle its nuclear arms program in return for two new light-water reactors (LWRs) for generating nuclear power, an interim supply of heavy-fuel oil, some relaxation of U.S. economic sanctions, and—above all to North Korea—gradual improvement of relations. The accord stopped a nuclear program that had already produced five or six bombs’ worth of plutonium then lying in a cooling pond in Yongbyon and that by now would have been capable of reprocessing 30 bombs’ worth of plutonium a year.

In halting Pyongyang’s plutonium program, Washington got what it most wanted up front, but it did not live up to its end of the bargain. When Republicans won control of Congress in elections just a week later, unilateralists in the Republican Party denounced the deal as appeasement. Unwilling to challenge Congress, the Clinton administration shrank from implementation. Construction of the first replacement reactor was slow to begin—it was supposed to be ready by 2003 but is three years behind schedule—and the heavy-fuel oil was not always delivered on schedule. Above all, Washington did little to improve political relations with Pyongyang.

When the United States was slow to fulfill the terms of the 1994 accord, North Korea threatened to break it. In February 1997, Pyongyang began warning it would no longer be bound by the accord if Washington failed to uphold it. That played into growing suspicions in the U.S. intelligence community that an underground site at Kumchang-ni might be nuclear related. In late April 1998, the North stopped canning the plutonium-laden spent fuel at Yongbyon, and it threatened to reopen the reactor at Yongbyon for maintenance. Its decision to acquire equipment for enriching uranium probably dates back to this time.

Had North Korea wanted to break the 1994 accord, it could have resumed reprocessing. It did not. Instead, Pyongyang resolved to try again to end enmity, this time using its missiles as inducement. On June 16, 1998, Pyongyang publicly offered to negotiate an end to its development as well as export of ballistic missiles. Development meant not only tests but also production of missiles for testing. Pyongyang also warned that, if the United States was unwilling to declare an end to enmity, it would keep testing missiles—a threat it carried out on August 31, when it launched a three-stage rocket in an unsuccessful attempt to put a satellite into orbit.

Pyongyang’s bargaining tactics led many to conclude that it was engaging in blackmail in an attempt to obtain economic aid without giving up anything in return. It was not. It was playing tit-for-tat, cooperating whenever Washington cooperated and retaliating when Washington reneged, in an effort to end enmity.

On the Road to Reconciliation

The 1998 missile test prompted a policy review in Washington conducted by former Defense Secretary William Perry, who concluded that “the urgent focus of U.S. policy toward the D.P.R.K. [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] must be to end its nuclear weapons and long-range missile-related activities.” In May 1999, Perry traveled to North Korea where he affirmed that the United States was ready to negotiate in earnest again and this time make good on its promises. Prior to Perry’s trip, North Korea let the canning of spent fuel at Yongbyon be completed. It also allowed visits to the Kumchang-ni site by U.S. inspectors, who found it was not nuclear related.

The Perry policy paid off that September when Pyongyang agreed to suspend its test-launching of missiles while negotiations proceeded. In return, Washington promised to end sanctions under the Trading with the Enemy Act, a pledge it was slow to carry out.

Meanwhile, South Korean President Kim Dae-jung, who had played a pivotal part in putting Washington back on the road to reconciliation with Pyongyang, was quietly arranging a summit meeting with North Korean ruler Kim Jong Il—a meeting the Clinton administration had helped make possible by showing its readiness to cooperate. In anticipation of high-level talks in Washington proposed by Perry, it had handed North Korea a draft communiqué in January 2000 declaring an end to enmity.

At their June 2000 summit meeting, the South and North pledged to reconcile, an irreversible step toward ending a half-century of internecine conflict. By reaching accommodation, the one-time foes would be realigning relations in all of Northeast Asia and opening the way to regional cooperation on security.

As soon as the summit ended, the Clinton administration carried out its promise to end sanctions under the Trading with the Enemy Act. Pyongyang also wanted Washington to end sanctions under U.S. antiterrorism laws. Instead, in a joint statement issued October 6, the North renounced terrorism, and both sides “underscored their commitment to support the international legal regime combating international terrorism and to cooperate with each other in taking effective measures to fight terrorism,” specifically, “to exchange information regarding international terrorism.”

These steps prompted Kim Jong Il to send his second-in-command, Vice Marshal Jo Myong Rok, to Washington October 9, 2000. A joint communiqué issued October 12 read, “Neither government would have hostile intent toward the other.” In plain English, we are not enemies.

This declared end to enmity opened the way to a missile deal. Within two weeks, in talks with then-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright in Pyongyang, Kim Jong Il offered to end exports of all missile technology, including those in existing contracts, and to freeze testing, production, and deployment of all missiles with a range of 300 miles or more. That covered the Nodong; the Taepo Dong-1 and 2; and, arguably, the Scud-C. In return, the United States offered to arrange for the launch of two or three satellites a year. The North said it would accept compensation in kind, not cash, to replace revenue forgone by halting its missile exports. Though it did not say so at the time, Washington was prepared to arrange for $200-300 million a year in investment and aid.1

To turn the freeze into a verifiable ban, significant issues remained to be explored and resolved: “elimination” of North Korea’s missiles, on-site monitoring to verify the cessation of missile production and deployment (what negotiators called “transparency” and “confidence-building measures on missiles”), and extending the freeze to all missiles capable of a range of more than 180 miles, the standard set by the Missile Technology Control Regime.

The October 12 joint communiqué alluded to one way to verify the accord. “The sides agreed on the desirability of greater transparency in carrying out their respective obligations under the Agreed Framework,” it reads. “In this regard, they noted the value of the access which removed U.S. concerns about the underground site at Kumchang-ni.” North Korea had allowed U.S. inspectors to visit the site twice and even proposed permanent monitoring at the site in the form of a joint venture. Such transparency was needed at other suspect nuclear sites in the North, as well as for verification of a missile ban.

Above all, North Korea wanted President Bill Clinton to come to Pyongyang to seal the missile deal and place his imprimatur on the October 9 pledge, thereby consummating North Korea’s 10-year campaign to end enmity with the United States. Why would North Korea give up nuclear arms and missiles, never mind its artillery threat to Seoul, if the United States remained its foe?

Reconciliation Derailed

President Clinton decided not to travel to North Korea, and without his commitment to go, negotiations with the North stalled. On June 17, 2002, Clinton said as much to the Council on Foreign Relations: “We were very close to ending the North Korean missile program in the year 2000. I believe if I had been willing to go there, we would have ended it.”

Instead of picking up the ball where Bill Clinton dropped it, George W. Bush moved the goalposts when he assumed the presidency in 2001. In so doing, he picked a fight with ally South Korea. The White House broke with Kim Dae-jung in March 2001 by publicly repudiating Kim’s policy of reconciliation and privately discouraging the South from concluding a peace agreement with the North or providing it with electricity. Bush also disparaged Kim Jong Il, not a diplomatic way to address someone who had just offered to stop making and selling missiles.

After completing a review of policy toward North Korea, the Bush administration reneged on past U.S. commitments and reinterpreted agreements with the North unilaterally. First, it did not reaffirm the October 12, 2000, U.S.-North Korea pledge of no “hostile intent”—a pledge it would repudiate the next year when it labeled North Korea a member of the “axis of evil.” Second, the White House announced June 6, 2001, that it would seek “improved implementation” of the 1994 Agreed Framework—in effect, reinterpreting it to require prompt nuclear inspections without offering anything in return. Third, the administration wanted the North to adopt “a less threatening conventional military posture,” which Pyongyang believes it cannot do without reciprocity by Washington and Seoul, given its military inferiority. The White House also decided that, as a matter of policy, progress toward an agreement on missiles would depend on progress on other issues of concern. That assured no progress across the board.

In response to the June 6 White House statement, a North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman on June 18 called on Washington to implement “the provisions of the D.P.R.K.-U.S. Agreed Framework and the D.P.R.K.-U.S. joint communiqué as agreed upon.” The North followed that up June 28 with the hint of a deal: it linked a U.S. demand for nuclear inspections with its own demand for electricity, which it sees as compensation for the delay in providing the first reactor promised under the Agreed Framework. At the same time, however, the North warned of tit-for-tat: “If no measure is taken for the compensation for the loss of electricity, the D.P.R.K. can no longer keep its nuclear activities in a state of freeze and implement the Agreed Framework.”2

Grinding Axes

Then came September 11. The next day, a North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman voiced regret and reiterated North Korea’s opposition to all forms of terrorism. On September 15, the head of a delegation from Pyongyang, arriving in Seoul for ministerial talks, also expressed regret. A senior Foreign Ministry official handed Sweden’s chargé in Pyongyang a note for the United States expressing condolences about the September 11 attacks—a signal of willingness to cooperate on terrorism.

Far from cooperating on terrorism or anything else, the Bush administration sounded like it was spoiling for a fight. Instead of reaffirming the declaration of no “hostile intent,” Bush repudiated it in his 2002 State of the Union address, when he said, referring to North Korea, “States like these, and their terrorist allies, constitute an axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world.” He went on:

By seeking weapons of mass destruction, these regimes pose a grave and growing danger. They could provide these arms to terrorists, giving them the means to match their hatred. They could attack our allies or attempt to blackmail the United States. In any of these cases, the price of indifference could be catastrophic.

What began as the purple prose of speechwriters soon became administration policy—and not just toward Iraq. On May 6, in a reference that drew little public attention, Undersecretary of State John Bolton accused North Korea as well as Iraq of having “covert nuclear programs, in violation of the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty [NPT].” Bolton’s statement was followed June 1 by Bush’s announcement of a new doctrine for combating states that are developing weapons of mass destruction by waging preventive war—without allies, without United Nations sanction, in violation of international law. “We cannot put our faith in the word of tyrants who solemnly sign nonproliferation treaties, and then systematically break them,” he declared. “We must take the battle to the enemy, disrupt his plans, and confront the worst threats before they emerge.”

Even though it was aware of North Korea’s ongoing nuclear and missile activities, the Bush administration made no effort to enter into negotiations. The administration had long said it would meet “anytime, anywhere,” but Pyongyang’s willingness to resume talks, conveyed to South Korean special envoy Lim Dong-won in early April 2002, caught it unprepared—mired in an internal struggle over whom to send and what negotiating position to take. On April 30, the administration offered dates for a resumption, but the ongoing internal struggle led it to seek a postponement. It cited the deadly July 2 naval clash between North and South Korea as a reason to postpone talks proposed for July 10-12 in Pyongyang, withdrawing the offer before North Korea had the chance to respond. Even after Secretary of State Colin Powell’s brief chat with Foreign Minister Paek Nam Sun at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Forum on July 31, Washington did not offer to set a date for the start of talks.

Meanwhile, hard-liners were trying to undermine the Agreed Framework, the basis for negotiations. Some Republicans in Congress had long pressed to halt heavy-fuel oil deliveries and reactor construction and abandon the Agreed Framework altogether. Taking a more moderate tone, the administration opted not to certify North Korea’s compliance with the accord, a requirement under U.S. law, while at the same time saying it would continue to abide by the accord’s provisions.

Some administration officials wanted to go further and accuse North Korea of “anticipatory breach” of the accord—on the grounds it had not allowed inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to determine how much reprocessing of plutonium it had done before 1991. A case could be made that the North has not permitted inspections that are mandated by the accord, for instance, at the isotope production laboratory at Yongbyon. But the inspections demanded by some Bush officials, however desirable, were not required by the text of the Agreed Framework, which reads: “When a significant portion of the LWR project is completed, but before delivery of key nuclear components, the D.P.R.K. will come into full compliance with its safeguards agreement with the IAEA.” Nothing in the negotiating record obliges the North to act sooner.3

Pyongyang’s New Tack

Some hard-liners in the Bush administration claim its tough stance brought North Korea to seek accommodation with South Korea and Japan, but they’ve got it backward: it led Seoul and Tokyo to improve relations with Pyongyang in order to head off a crisis.

Pyongyang opened the way. Convinced it was getting nowhere with Washington, Pyongyang changed course in September 2001 and resumed ministerial-level talks with Seoul to implement agreements reached in the June 2000 summit. In secret talks in Beijing around the same time, North Korea began tiptoeing toward a resumption of normalization talks with Japan as well. This marked an important shift for Pyongyang, which for the past decade had engaged seriously with Seoul and Tokyo only when it was convinced that Washington was cooperating as well. It had finally concluded that the path to reconciliation with Washington runs through Seoul and Tokyo. It was also reducing the risk of renewed confrontation with Washington by persuading Seoul and Tokyo it was ready to deal.

Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi’s September 17 summit meeting with Kim Jong Il was clear evidence of this. After the Bush administration spurned talks with Pyongyang, Tokyo tired of waiting for Washington. On February 18, less than three weeks after the “axis of evil” speech, Koizumi, with Bush at his side, said at a press conference in Tokyo, “Japan, through cooperation and coordination with the U.S. and Korea, would like to work on normalization of relations with North Korea.” Pyongyang did not take long to respond. It revived Red Cross talks and pledged to resume its search for the missing persons that Tokyo suspected it had kidnapped two decades ago.

Yet, it came as a shock to some when Koizumi announced August 30 that he would hold a summit meeting in Pyongyang. On the eve of the summit, in a written response to questions from Kyodo News Service, Kim Jong Il said that the time had come to “liquidate the past.” Japan had to “apologize sincerely” for its World War II occupation and “the issue of compensation must be correctly resolved.” Left unsaid was that he was about to acknowledge the fate of Japanese citizens kidnapped by North Korea. An end to “abnormal relations,” Kim said, “will also dissipate the security concerns of the Japanese people.”4

The September 17 communiqué produced by the summit put security at the top of the agenda for Japan’s dialogue with North Korea. “In step with the normalization of their relations,” they agreed to hold parallel talks on “issues relating [to] security.” These talks would “underscore the importance of building a structure of cooperative relations” in Northeast Asia—a possible sign of Pyongyang’s support for Tokyo’s formula of six-party talks—and, in a joint signal to Washington, “promote dialogue among the countries concerned as regards all security matters including nuclear and missile issues.” North Korea committed itself to an indefinite extension of its moratorium on missile test launches. Whether Pyongyang also indicated willingness to eliminate its Nodong and longer-range missiles is not yet known.

The communiqué committed Tokyo and Pyongyang to resume normalization talks in October and “exert all efforts to establish diplomatic ties at an early date.” These talks would address economic assistance to the North, “including grants in aid, low-interest long-term loans and humanitarian aid through international organizations” and “loans and credits through the International Cooperation Bank of Japan.”

For Japan to act on its own was unprecedented. Since the start of the Cold War, it had deferred to the United States on security matters. Knowing North Korea wanted direct negotiations with the United States, Japan tried to coax Washington into engaging.

Unilateralists in Washington might have wanted to impede North Korea-Japan rapprochement, but others close to the president recognized that failure to re-engage could put the U.S. military presence in play in Japanese politics by alienating supporters of the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty and strengthening the hand of right-wingers who insist “Japan can say no” to the United States and look after its own security unbound by the alliance.

These concerns at last led the administration to hold the first substantive high-level talks with North Korea since November 2000. However, when the United States sent an emissary to Pyongyang for talks, the administration was in no mood to negotiate. Tokyo continues to push the United States toward engagement, and failing that, it may try to broker a deal between Washington and Pyongyang.

Tit-for-Tat on Enrichment

Having moved to accommodate Seoul and Tokyo, Pyongyang was ready for nuclear tit-for-tat with Washington when U.S. Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly arrived October 3. A day after Kelly had confronted him with evidence of the country’s covert nuclear program, North Korean negotiator Kang Sok Ju acknowledged its existence. The admission was at once a threat to develop nuclear arms and an offer to stop. Kelly made it clear Washington did not want further talks; the North had to stop, or else.

“Program” has a range of meanings from seeking to acquire gas centrifuges and other matériel usable for enrichment to having produced quantities of highly enriched uranium. U.S. intelligence is said to have proof that the North succeeded in obtaining some gas centrifuges from Pakistan and “was trying to acquire large amounts of high-strength aluminum” to make more—from Japan, of all places. U.S. intelligence says it “recently learned that the North is contructing a plant that could produce enough weapons-grade uranium for two or more nuclear weapons per year when fully operational, which could be as soon as mid-decade.” That leaves plenty of time to negotiate a verifiable end to the program.

The stunning revelation confirmed the worst suspicions of some, that North Korea had intended to dupe the United States all along by substituting a covert nuclear program for the one it allowed to be frozen. That contention does not seem plausible. After all, if North Korea had been determined to acquire nuclear arms early in the 1990s, it could have done so by shutting down its reactor at Yongbyon anytime between 1991 and 1994, removing the spent nuclear fuel, and reprocessing it to extract plutonium, then refueling the reactor to generate more plutonium. It could also have completed two more reactors then under construction. By now, it could have generated enough plutonium for more than 100 nuclear weapons. Why give up a Barry Bonds for a player to be named? And if North Korea was trying uranium enrichment because it was easier to hide, then why acknowledge that fact in talks with Kelly?

Two other interpretations seem more tenable. One is that after 1997 the North began hedging against U.S. failure to live up to the Agreed Framework but is now prepared to trade in that hedge. Another is that it is playing tit-for-tat to induce the United States to end enmity. These explanations seem to fit the data disclosed by U.S. intelligence, which dates the first enrichment activity back to 1998. After 2000, activity picks up again in highly visible ways. In other words, after North Korea warned of retaliation for what it called U.S. failure to live up to the Agreed Framework in 1997, it decided to shop for gas centrifuges for enriching uranium. It gave new impetus to the effort in 2001 and 2002 when the Bush administration’s hostility became apparent. It would be useful to know whether U.S. intelligence detected any attempted purchases in 2000 when Washington was being cooperative.

Either way, Pyongyang keeps signaling its desire for a deal with Washington—and not just on nuclear and missile issues. In a June 10 speech to the Asia Society, Powell set out a four-point agenda for talks: “First, the North must get out of the proliferation business and eliminate long-range missiles that threaten other countries.” Second, “it must make a much more serious effort to provide for its suffering citizens.” Third, “the North needs to move toward a less threatening conventional military posture” and “live up to its past pledges to implement basic confidence-building measures with the South.” “Finally, North Korea must come into full compliance with the International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards that it agreed to when it signed the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.” In reply, Pyongyang accepted Powell’s agenda, suggesting a new or revised Agreed Framework to accommodate it. It also moved to set up a military hotline in the context of constructing a rail link to the South.

On August 29, Bolton gave a much-ballyhooed speech in Seoul. The North, he said, has “an active program” of chemical weapons; has “one of the most robust bioweapons programs on earth” and “is in stark violation of the Biological Weapons Convention”; is “the world’s foremost peddler of ballistic missile-related equipment, components, materials, and technical expertise”; and “has not begun to allow inspectors with the International Atomic Energy Agency to complete all of their required tasks. Many doubt that North Korea ever intends to comply fully with its NPT obligations.”

On August 31, 2002, a North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman recited all of Bolton’s concerns and said, “The D.P.R.K. clarified more than once that if the U.S. has a willingness to drop its hostile policy toward the D.P.R.K., it will have dialogue with the U.S. to clear the U.S. of its worries over its security.” It was putting biological, chemical, and conventional arms on the negotiating table—once the nuclear and missile deals are done. On October 20, Kim Young Nam, president of the Supreme People’s Assembly and titular chief of state, reiterated the August 31 formula in talks with Jeong Se-hyun, South Korea’s unification minister: “If the United States is willing to drop its hostile policy toward us, we are prepared to deal with various security concerns through dialogue.”5

In the talks with Kelly, Kang Sok Ju put the North’s covert nuclear program on the negotiating table. By Kelly’s own account, Kang laid out the terms of trade in general terms only. He asked for assurances the United States would not attack the North, would sign a peace agreement or declare an end to enmity, and would respect its sovereignty.6 A North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman put the terms somewhat differently on October 25. North Korea, he said, “was ready to seek a negotiated settlement of this issue on the following three conditions: firstly, if the United States recognizes the D.P.R.K.’s sovereignty; secondly, if it assures the D.P.R.K. of nonaggression; and thirdly, if the United States does not hinder the economic development of the D.P.R.K.” He spoke of “a nonaggression treaty” between the two.

Already aware of the enrichment program, Seoul and Tokyo had moved to engage Pyongyang in diplomatic give-and-take. They have not been driven off course. After Kelly briefed them on his talks, Seoul went ahead with ministerial talks, and Tokyo moved up the date for resumption of normalization talks with the North. “I have decided to resume negotiations,” Koizumi said October 18, “because I judged that taking the first major step of moving from an adversarial relationship to a cooperative one would be in the best interests of Japan.” During his summit meeting with Kim Jong Il, he added, “I discerned their intention to seek a comprehensive promotion of talks on a number of issues, such as nuclear weapons development and other national security issues.”7 A high-ranking Foreign Ministry official explained Japan’s decision to Asahi Shimbun this way: “We cannot afford to have North Korea leave the negotiating table. If the United States takes a more hard-line stance, we have to mollify North Korea. The negotiations have definitely become much harder.”8

In its ongoing talks with South Korea and its responses to the Powell agenda, the Bolton list of concerns, and the Kelly accusation, North Korea has now said it is prepared to negotiate with the United States on all of Washington’s security concerns. Early in November, North Korean ambassador to the United Nations Han Song Ryol spelled that out for anyone who had missed the point. “Everything will be negotiable,” he said, including inspections of the enrichment program and shutting it down. “Our government will resolve all U.S. security concerns through the talks if your government has a will to end its hostile policy.”9

Negotiating a Way Out

Diplomatic give-and-take with North Korea could satisfy U.S. nuclear and other security concerns without a replay of the 1994 nuclear crisis. Then, like now, the United States had three options: impose sanctions, which were rightly deemed unlikely to be effective in curbing the North’s nuclear program; attack the nuclear sites at Yongbyon, which was not certain to eliminate all the nuclear material and sites in the North but certain to raise a political storm in the South; or negotiate. By refusing to negotiate, the administration might leave itself with no other option than to live with a nuclear-arming North.

The 1994 Agreed Framework is a basis for negotiating further inspections of nuclear activity by the North. Although the accord does not explicitly refer to uranium enrichment, it does say, “The D.P.R.K. will consistently take steps to implement the North-South Joint Declaration on the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.” It thereby incorporates the obligation under that declaration “not to possess facilities for reprocessing or enrichment” without providing for verification. The visits to the suspect site at Kumchang-ni under the Agreed Framework are useful precedents for that.

In a test of wills, North Korea does not lack leverage; it has yet to renounce the Agreed Framework, throw out the IAEA inspectors, reopen the plutonium-filled casks, or restart its Yongbyon reactor. Instead of trying to compel rightly reluctant allies to ratchet up the pressure on Pyongyang, President Bush needs to ask himself: Is the world’s only superpower tough enough to sit down and negotiate in earnest with North Korea?

U.S. hard-liners may want to use Pyongyang’s “confession” to punish the North, but the crime-and-punishment approach has never worked before, and there is no reason to believe that it will work now. Sooner or later, every administration since Ronald Reagan’s has given diplomatic give-and-take a try. Let’s hope this one does not have to undermine its alliances or go back to the brink of war before doing so.


NOTES

The author would like to thank the Carnegie Corporation and the Ploughshares Fund for their generous support.

1. Michael R. Gordon, “How Politics Sank Accord on Missiles With North Korea,” The New York Times, March 6, 2001, p. A1.
2. These two statements and others issued by North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesmen can be found at www.kcna.co.jp.
3. Robert Gallucci, An ACA Press Conference, “Progress and Challenges in Denuclearizing North Korea,” Arms Control Today, May 2002, p. 16-17.
4. “N. Korea’s Kim Eyes Better Ties, Ready to Visit Japan,” Kyodo News, September 14, 2002.
5. Jay Shim, “N.K. Ready to Resolve Nuclear Crisis Thru Dialogue: Kim YN,” Korea Times, October 21, 2002.
6. Doug Struck, “Nuclear Program Not Negotiable, U.S. Told North Korea,” The Washington Post, October 20, 2002, p. A18.
7. “Suddenly, Japan Has a Lot on Its Plate,” Asahi Shimbun, October 19, 2002.
8. Tetsuya Hakoda, “Analysis: North Korea Plays Wild Card,” Asahi Shimbun, October 18, 2002.
9. Philip Shenon, “North Korea Says Nuclear Program Can Be Negotiated,” The New York Times, November 3, 2002, p. A1.


Leon V. Sigal is director of the Northeast Asia Cooperative Security Project
at the Social Science Research Council.

U.S., U.K. Leave Ukraine With Few Answers

U.S. and British investigators have been unable to conclude whether Ukraine illegally supplied Iraq with an advanced early-warning system two years ago, according to their report on the alleged sale, which was delivered November 5 to Ukrainian officials. In September, Washington determined that Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma had approved the deal, and it is pressing Ukraine to prove that it did not ship the system to Iraq in violation of a 1990 UN arms embargo. (See ACT, October 2002.)

State Department spokesman Richard Boucher told reporters November 6 that Ukraine provided “mixed” cooperation with the investigators, who visited Ukraine for eight days in October. Boucher repeated his complaint a week later, stating, “We were disappointed that the team did not receive full cooperation and transparency that was promised by Ukrainian authorities.”

The system in question, known as the Kolchuga, is designed to pick up electronic signals sent out by potential targets. It can reportedly detect aircraft, possibly including stealth fighters and bombers if they are sending out electronic signals, at reported distances of 600-800 kilometers.

Ukraine continues to disavow any wrongdoing and has requested that the United Nations look into the matter, but the United States does not support a separate UN probe. Instead, the United States is urging Ukraine to provide answers to seven follow-up questions that Washington posed about the suspected deal.

Ukraine has not officially responded to the questions, which reportedly ask Kiev to provide information that it contends is secret, proprietary, and not related to Iraq. For instance, one of the questions reportedly asks Ukraine to provide the exact locations of four Kolchuga systems it exported to China. Given the context, the question appears to be aimed at verifying whether all systems reported as delivered to China are actually there and not in Iraq.

The United States, which suspended $54 million in aid to Ukraine two months ago, has hinted that U.S. ties with Ukraine could suffer further if Ukraine is not forthcoming. “We remain broadly committed to a robust relationship with Ukraine and a strong NATO-Ukraine partnership, but obviously these things and the cooperation has to be taken into account,” Boucher said November 13.

U.S., Security Council Debate

November 2002

By Paul Kerr

As weapons inspectors waited to enter Iraq, the United States submitted a resolution to the UN Security Council on October 25 that firmly calls for Iraq to dismantle its weapons of mass destruction but does not directly threaten the use of force if Baghdad fails to comply. Supporting a tough stance against Iraq, Congress passed a joint resolution, which President George W. Bush signed October 16, authorizing the use of force to compel compliance with UN resolutions.

The new resolution, submitted with the United Kingdom, declares Iraq to be in “material breach” of its obligations under “relevant” Security Council resolutions, particularly Resolution 687, which mandated in 1991 that Iraq give up its nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons programs and most missiles. It calls for Iraq to submit “a currently accurate, full and complete declaration of all aspects of its [prohibited weapons] programs.”

The inspection teams would have a strong mandate under the resolution, which specifies that Iraq is to allow “immediate, unimpeded, unconditional and unrestricted access” to “facilities, buildings, equipment, records, and means of transport which they wish to inspect.” To prevent Iraq from moving materials, the resolution grants UN inspectors the authority to prohibit the movement of vehicles and aircraft around sites to be inspected. Inspectors would also have the right to interview anyone they choose, without Iraqi officials present, in any location they wish.

The resolution also mandates access to “presidential sites,” superceding a 1998 memorandum of understanding between Baghdad and UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan that had placed special conditions on inspectors to such sites. Although the memorandum, which was endorsed by a Security Council resolution, did not give Iraq the right to impede inspections, some former UN inspectors have argued that these conditions could enable Iraq to conceal prohibited weapons activities.

Significantly, the new resolution gives the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) the right to access “any information that any member state is willing to provide,” an apparent reference to sharing of national intelligence data.

UNMOVIC Executive Chairman Hans Blix said during an October 28 briefing to the Security Council that access to intelligence about Iraqi weapons activities would be an important tool for UNMOVIC to perform effectively, but he emphasized that UNMOVIC would not give intelligence data to national governments. Allegations that UN weapons inspectors had been gathering intelligence in Iraq for their governments led to a controversy in 1999 that damaged UNSCOM, the previous inspection organization.

The resolution demands that Iraq “state its acceptance” of the resolution within seven days and submit declarations of its weapons programs within 30 days. UNMOVIC is to resume inspections no later than 45 days after the resolution is adopted and to update the council 60 days later.

Move Toward Compromise

The resolution differs in several respects from an earlier draft resolution that the United States circulated to permanent members of the Security Council in September, particularly in its provision for the use of force. The previous draft stated that failure “by Iraq at any time to comply and cooperate fully in accordance with” the resolution’s demands would “constitute a further material breach of Iraq’s obligations” and authorize “all member states to use all necessary means to restore international peace and security in the area.”

The current resolution also says that Iraq’s failure to comply would be a “material breach,” but instead of directly threatening force, it merely “recalls” previous Security Council warnings that Iraq will face “serious consequences as a result of …continued violations of its obligations.” In the event that weapons inspectors report Iraqi noncompliance with the resolution, the new resolution requires the Security Council to meet “in order to consider the situation and the need for full compliance with all of the relevant Security Council resolutions in order to restore international peace and security.” The previous draft did not include such a requirement.

The U.S.-British draft is an attempt at a compromise with other council members, particularly Russia and France, but neither country appears satisfied with the U.S. text. Both Moscow and Paris have composed their own draft resolutions but have not yet decided to submit them formally, according to an October 28 interview with a UN official. Both proposals omit the phrase “material breach,” believing that it sets the stage for the use of military force, according to U.S. sources. The Iraq Liberation Act of 1998, the U.S. law establishing the overthrow of the Iraqi government as U.S. policy, contains the same phrase.

The same sources also indicated that the Russian and French resolutions include somewhat less stringent standards for inspections, as well as assurances that Security Council members would discuss possible responses to Iraqi noncompliance before using force. These changes are consistent with previous Russian and French statements. For example, Russian Ambassador Sergey Lavrov criticized the U.S. proposal’s “automaticity of the use of force” in an October 23 press conference following a Security Council meeting.

France had previously supported a two-resolution process, where one resolution would demand the return of weapons inspectors and the second would authorize necessary action. (See ACT, October 2002.) Russia had previously opposed a new resolution.

Inspections Without New Resolution

Whether weapons inspections would begin without a new resolution has been open to question. After Baghdad announced in September that it would accept weapons inspections “without conditions,” Iraqi representatives met with Blix and IAEA Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei in Vienna from September 30 to October 1 to finalize necessary logistical arrangements.

The meeting resolved many key areas of potential disagreement, according to an October 8 letter from Blix and ElBaradei to an Iraqi official, but several issues are outstanding. In an October 15 briefing to the Security Council, Blix said that uncertainty remains regarding UNMOVIC’s use of helicopters, the presence of Iraqi officials during interviews of Iraqi citizens, inspectors’ right to supervise the destruction of weapons materials or documentation, and the use of aerial imagery.

Blix also indicated that UNMOVIC had been prepared to resume inspections on October 19 but had decided to wait for the Security Council to adopt a new resolution.

It is uncertain if Iraq will abide by the provisions of a new resolution. An October 24 letter from Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri condemned the decision to wait for a new resolution and blamed the United States for blocking inspectors’ return. Iraq had stated in September that it would allow the inspectors access to any sites they wished to inspect, and Iraq agreed during the Vienna meeting to allow UNMOVIC access to previously restricted “sensitive sites.” Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz stated in an interview aired October 12 on Beirut television that inspectors would be allowed into presidential sites but that the inspectors should not be allowed repeat visits to them.

U.S. Response

Frustrated by delays in the process, the Bush administration has indicated that it may abandon the UN process if the Security Council does not vote for its resolution. On October 26, during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum meeting in Mexico, Bush stated that the United States would “lead a coalition to disarm” Iraq if its resolution failed to pass. A date for the vote has not yet been set, but White House spokesman Ari Fleischer told reporters October 29 that “time is running out.”

After several weeks of debate about how much freedom to give the president, the House of Representatives passed a resolution October 8 providing Bush with the authority to use military force against Iraq. The Senate followed suit October 11, and Bush signed the resolution October 16.

The resolution expresses support for Bush’s efforts to work through the Security Council and authorizes the president to use force to “defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq” and “enforce all relevant” Security Council resolutions. It also requires the president to notify Congress 48 hours after initiating the use of force, explaining his determination that a peaceful solution will not “adequately protect the national security of the United States” or enforce Security Council resolutions.

The Bush administration has been unclear about the conditions under which it would use military force against Iraq. Bush said in an October 7 speech that, in addition to dismantling its prohibited weapons programs, Iraq must end its support for terrorism, account for military personnel missing from the Persian Gulf War, and end human rights abuses. “Only by taking these steps [can] the Iraqi regime…avoid conflict,” he said.

Secretary of State Colin Powell contradicted Bush in an October 20 interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” While pointing out that UN resolutions cover some of the issues Bush raised, he said “all we are interested in is getting rid of those weapons of mass destruction…there are many other resolutions that [Saddam Hussein] has violated…. All of those...have to be dealt with in due course, but the major issue before us is disarmament.”

It is also uncertain whether U.S. military action would attempt to overthrow Iraq’s government. Recent Bush administration statements suggest that a disarmed Iraq would be sufficient to satisfy Washington’s requirement for “regime change,” which the administration previously defined as a change in government.

The text of the 1998 legislation reads, “[I]t should be the policy of the United States to seek to remove the Saddam Hussein regime from power in Iraq and to replace it with a democratic government.” In his October 7 speech, however, Bush said that Iraq’s compliance with his demands would “change the nature of the regime.”

U.S., Security Council Debate

Serb Arms Companies in Illegal Deals With Iraq

November 2002

By Wade Boese

The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) fired two public officials and launched a government investigation October 22 in response to evidence that Serbian companies have been illegally upgrading Iraqi combat aircraft. The United States, which recently suspended some U.S. aid to Ukraine for its president’s authorization two years ago of arms sales to Iraq, welcomed the Yugoslav moves and urged all countries to abide by the 1990 UN arms embargo on Iraq.

NATO troops conducted an October 11-13 inspection of the Orao aviation firm in the Republika Srpska, discovering contracts revealing unreported, illegal weapons exports. A NATO spokesperson refused to specify October 22 where the exports were going, but U.S. officials reported the deals were with Iraq and done in cooperation with Yugoimport, a company based in the FRY. An additional report appeared a few days later in The Washington Post, claiming that the United States also suspects FRY companies of helping Iraq develop cruise missiles, but U.S. officials refused to comment on the issue.

The FRY and the Republika Srpska, which is part of Bosnia and Herzegovina, are both predominantly Serbian entities of the former Yugoslavia. Republika Srpska is under the jurisdiction of NATO’s Stabilization Force, which was established in 1996 to oversee and help implement the 1995 Dayton Peace Accords that ended fighting in the former Yugoslavia.

Responding quickly to the news, the FRY denied that the illicit Iraq activities were approved by the central government and removed the deputy minister of defense responsible for overseeing its weapons exports and the director of Yugoimport. A special committee was also formed to investigate the matter further.

The Republika Srpska has also reacted by removing three officials: the head of Orao, a top air force official, and the individual in charge of its arms trade. But Washington says Republika Srpska has not done enough because the evidence indicates a concerted program to aid Iraq. Bosnia and Herzegovina subsequently banned all arms exports and imports.

Unlike the case with Ukraine, the United States has not imposed sanctions on any of the Yugoslav entities or companies. Washington, however, encouraged both the FRY and Bosnia and Herzegovina to improve their controls governing arms exports and, in the words of State Department spokesman Richard Boucher, “to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

The Yugoslav evidence became public the day after U.S. and British officials completed an eight-day visit to Ukraine investigating whether it had actually transferred early-warning systems to Iraq. The investigation team has not yet released a report on its findings.

Serb Arms Companies in Illegal Deals With Iraq

Disarming Iraq: How Weapons Inspections Can Work

On October 7, the Arms Control Association held a press conference to discuss the capability of United Nations inspections to disarm Iraq of its weapons of mass destruction. Panelists spoke on the successes and difficulties of previous inspections, which ended in 1998, and offered suggestions for strengthening future inspections. The briefing came amid debate in the UN Security Council and the United States regarding potential U.S.-led military action against Iraq.

The panelists were Robert Gallucci, dean of the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University and former deputy executive chairman of the UN Special Commission (UNSCOM); Jessica T. Mathews, president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, which recently produced a report on “coercive inspections” called “Iraq: A New Approach”; and Jonathan B. Tucker, a senior fellow at the U.S. Institute of Peace and a former UNSCOM inspector in Iraq. Daryl G. Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association, moderated the briefing.

The following is an edited version of the panelists’ remarks and the question-and-answer session that followed.

Daryl G. Kimball

Despite the overall success of the nonproliferation regime, a small number of states threaten to undermine the norm against the development, possession, and use of weapons of mass destruction. Among them is Iraq, which has violated nonproliferation treaties and resisted UN Security Council mandates for the disarmament of its proscribed weapons of mass destruction capabilities.

Even without full Iraqi cooperation and Security Council support over the last decade, the UN Special Commission on Iraq [UNSCOM] and the International Atomic Energy Agency [IAEA] succeeded in ridding Iraq of most of its prohibited weapons capabilities. But with the absence of inspectors since 1998, the United Nations, the Bush administration, and the Congress are once again debating the nature of the threat posed by Iraq, its unfulfilled disarmament obligations, and what actions are most appropriate and effective to deal with that threat. Central to that debate is whether and how weapons inspections can be effective in disarming Iraq. This is the main subject of this morning’s press briefing.

Just a few weeks ago, it was not clear whether President Bush would pursue renewed UN weapons inspections in Iraq at all or whether he would attempt a pre-emptive, unilateral military strike against Iraq. But for now the president appears to have made the common sense choice to work through the Security Council to reach agreement on a strengthened inspections regime. Also significant is the fact that Iraq, under pressure from the international community, has expressed its willingness to allow unfettered access to its facilities, including the presidential sites, which had been off limits in 1998.

Over the course of the next few days and weeks, the sincerity of President Bush’s appeal to the UN, the will of the Security Council’s support to uphold nonproliferation norms, and Iraq’s willingness to cooperate with the United Nations will all be tested. Top-level Bush administration officials continue to assert that strengthened inspections are bound to fail and that pre-emptive military invasion is necessary. In fact, the stated goal of the administration is the removal of Saddam Hussein from power. Such talk suggests to many that the administration supports the new and extremely tough new resolution at the United Nations only to provide a convenient trigger and justification for all-out military action against Baghdad. This should not be the purpose of renewed and strengthened UN inspections. Instead, the Arms Control Association and the expert panelists we have here today all agree that for now the most prudent and feasible means to deny Saddam Hussein access to weapons of mass destruction is a strategy of multilateral prevention through effective UN weapons inspections.

To explain, we have three panelists with substantial experience on Iraq and weapons inspections. First, we’re going to hear from Bob Gallucci, who’s currently dean of the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. He’s a former assistant secretary of state for political-military affairs, and in 1991 he was appointed deputy executive chairman of UNSCOM. Then we’ll hear from Jonathan Tucker, currently a senior fellow at the United States Institute of Peace, who served as an UNSCOM biological weapons inspector in Iraq in 1995. Finally, we’ll hear from Jessica Mathews, who is president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and who is responsible for the Carnegie Endowment’s recent report, “Iraq: A New Approach.”

Robert Gallucci

It seems to me that U.S. policy has come a long way in a relatively short period of time. We have come from a situation in which regime change was essential to a situation in which regime change in Iraq is still desirable but not necessarily essential in order—to use the administration’s phrase—to separate Saddam Hussein from his weapons of mass destruction. In fact, Secretary [of State Colin] Powell seems to be saying that, if Iraq accepts the intrusive inspections that are described in the American draft UN resolution, it will have effectively changed the regime. I like that.

The United States is now pressing for a new inspection regime that, among other things, would eliminate any sanctuaries, would do away with any requirement for advance notice of inspections, would be guided by intelligence, would be permissive of interviews with Iraqi experts, would be accompanied by an armed military unit of some kind, would follow Iraq’s full and complete declarations, and would require Iraqi cooperation in the logistics of an inspection.

This type of inspections regime, it seems to me, can indeed work if Iraq understands two things: one, that rejecting the regime will mean that it will have to suffer an invasion and two, that acceptance of the regime will mean that it does not have to suffer an invasion. Both of those must be true. The question then becomes whether an inspection regime will ensure our security in the face of the threat from Iraq.

A few observations about the inspections. First, the threat derives from Iraqi capabilities in weapons of mass destruction. There are some uncertainties, but we have high confidence that Iraq has a chemical weapons capability in mustard and nerve agents, and a biological weapons capability in toxins and bacteriological weapons. There are uncertainties beyond that, and there are questions with respect to when Iraq might have a nuclear weapons capability.

Second, the threat is urgent in Iraq to the extent that the transfer of this capability to a terrorist group like al Qaeda is perceived to be imminent. Al Qaeda or another terrorist group, one could well argue, is open to neither defense nor deterrence by the United States and therefore cannot be tolerated with that capability. There is at the same time, to the best of my knowledge, no good evidence that Iraq would transfer such a capability to such a group.

Third, Iraq itself, even with weapons of mass destruction, could be open to deterrence and therefore be a manageable threat. But over time, it seems to me, it’s an unacceptable threat. Over time, Iraq will improve its capabilities and add a nuclear weapons capability. Given its past violation of UN Security Council resolutions, its invasion of Kuwait, and other indications that it is a rogue-like regime, deterrence and containment are too passive a response to the Iraqi threat over time. By saying that, however, I don’t mean to endorse the strategy of preventive war described in the new National Security Strategy.

The fourth point I’d like to make is that we should have confidence in the effectiveness of an inspection regime in a reasonable way, which is to say that we ought to compare an inspection regime to realistic alternatives—an invasion, for example. If the United States does eventually resort to military force, hopefully in coalition with its allies, an Iraqi threat could arise again a year after that or five years after that because we could not be absolutely sure that the regime that we initially installed would remain and because the capabilities to produce weapons of mass destruction could always be rebuilt. The technology is not reversible. We must, I think, look at Iraq the way we look at other states with emerging weapons capabilities and ask how we deal with them. We have concerns about Iran, Syria, Libya, North Korea, and other countries, but it is not a good idea to plan on invading all of them.

Finally, then, we are at a moment when we have an opportunity to use diplomacy to broaden the consensus on the nature of the threat and the need to respond with UN Security Council allies and those in the region. We are also at a point where we have an opportunity to let arms control work—and by arms control, I mean an intrusive set of inspections that will give us high confidence that we can separate Saddam from his weapons. This is not the instinct of this administration—at least it has not been up until now. So, the Iraqi case could well be the administration’s first test-case in its new strategy of pre-emptive war, or it could be a counterpoint to that strategy in which diplomacy and arms control prove to be effective. I hope it is the latter.

Jonathan B. Tucker

In assessing the successes and shortcomings of the UNSCOM inspection regime, it’s important to recall its main objectives. There were three phases of the inspection process. First was the discovery phase, in which the inspectors tried to obtain a full accounting of Iraq’s past programs and supplier networks and to compile a comprehensive inventory of its dual-use facilities—that is, factories that were ostensibly engaged in legitimate commercial production but could be easily diverted to weapons production. Second was the destruction phase, in which the UN agencies, both UNSCOM and the IAEA, sought to eliminate Iraq’s stockpile of prohibited weapons, to the extent they could be found, as well as facilities that were specifically involved in weapons of mass destruction programs. And finally, there was the ongoing monitoring and verification phase, during which the inspectors kept a close watch on Iraq’s dual-capable facilities and tracked its imports and exports of sensitive technologies, with the aim of preventing Baghdad from reconstituting its weapons programs in the future. In practice, the three phases of the UNSCOM operation overlapped extensively.

What can one say about the accomplishments of the inspection regime and how well it worked? Well, first, it was clear from the outset that Iraq was not going to cooperate fully with UNSCOM. Iraq’s declarations of its weapons and facilities were incomplete and contained numerous false statements and distortions. When confronted with contradictory evidence, Iraqi authorities typically responded with partial admissions, indicating at each stage they were making a full disclosure, but each “full, final, and complete” declaration was far from full, final, or complete.

The Iraqi authorities tried to lead the inspectors away from sensitive sites, and they developed elaborate and sometimes preposterous cover stories to protect their clandestine programs. They also conducted counterintelligence operations, infiltrated the inspection system, destroyed evidence, used various means to impede and delay inspections, confronted and intimidated inspectors, and employed what are called “deception and denial” techniques. Deception involves the use of active or passive measures to convey a false or inaccurate picture of a clandestine activity, such as disguising a biological weapons facility as a vaccine plant, whereas denial involves the use of active measures to conceal the very existence of a clandestine activity. Iraq became quite skilled at these techniques, which included camouflage, control of electronic emissions and chemical pollution from weapons plants, and various forms of personnel and communications security.

Nevertheless, the Iraqi declarations were useful as a point of departure and provided a basis for planning and carrying out the initial inspections. Discrepancies between the declarations and other evidence often gave the inspectors valuable leads. Despite pervasive Iraqi noncooperation, UNSCOM’s detective work and dogged persistence produced a broad overview, if not every last detail, of Iraq’s prohibited weapons programs. UNSCOM inspectors, who had initially told the Iraqis what they knew, soon learned to make it harder for Baghdad to tailor its declarations by withholding some of their information. They placed greater emphasis on technical means of verification, including the use of a U-2 aircraft provided by the United States and other forms of aerial surveillance, and they conducted no-notice inspections of undeclared sites. So in response to Iraq’s noncooperation, the inspectors became more aggressive and used more intrusive techniques.

UNSCOM analysts also learned how to piece together bits of information from a wide range of sources, including aerial and satellite imagery, confidential trade data from Western companies that had supplied dual-use materials and equipment to Iraq before the Gulf War, ongoing monitoring of Iraq’s imports of sensitive technologies, and reports by Iraqi defectors.

In particular, UNSCOM inspectors made excellent use of what are called “mass-balance” calculations. They determined the amounts of raw materials Iraq had imported, compared this information with the quantities of biowarfare agents Iraq had admitted to having produced, and then calculated the differences to obtain estimates of undeclared production. For example, UNSCOM learned from Western suppliers that during 1988 alone, Iraq had imported nearly 39 tons of complex growth media suitable for cultivating large quantities of bacteria such as anthrax, as well as for culturing patient specimens for hospital use. So, this was a dual-use material. UNSCOM could only account for 22 tons of the media imported by Iraq, leaving 17 tons unexplained. That’s a huge quantity of material.

When confronted with this evidence, the Iraqi authorities stated that the missing media had been imported for medical diagnostics and had been destroyed in riots affecting health clinics in the aftermath of the Gulf War. There were three problems with this explanation. First, Iraq’s total hospital consumption of diagnostic media from 1987 to 1994 had been less than 200 kilograms per year, yet 17 tons of media were unaccounted for. Second, the imported media did not include the types most often used for hospital diagnosis, but they were suitable for culturing agents such as anthrax. Third, since culture media spoils rapidly once a package has been opened, hospitals typically use small packages of a tenth of a kilogram to a kilogram, yet Iraq had imported the media in large drums of 25-100 kilograms.

These discrepancies made it clear that the official Iraqi cover story was false and provided strong circumstantial evidence for large-scale production of anthrax, botulinum toxin, and other biological agents. When the Iraqi authorities were confronted with this information, they ultimately admitted to large-scale production. So, that’s an example of how UNSCOM’s use of analysis forced the Iraqis to acknowledge prohibited activities.

At the end of the day, was the glass half full or half empty? Different analysts have come to different conclusions about the effectiveness of the inspection regime. I would argue that the glass was at least half full. UNSCOM’s successful detective work, as in the case of the culture media story I just told you, persuaded the Security Council to maintain economic sanctions on Iraq despite political pressures from France and Russia to lift them.

The new revelations also put senior Iraqi officials in the increasingly untenable position of getting caught telling outright lies, creating serious tensions within the Iraqi regime. Arguably, those tensions contributed to the defection to Jordan in August 1995 of the mastermind of the Iraqi weapons programs, Lieutenant General Hussein Kamel. Kamel’s defection proved to be a key break in the UNSCOM investigation because he revealed that, prior to the 1991 Gulf War, Iraq had loaded biological agents into aerial bombs and Scud missile warheads.

The UN inspection regime was also successful in eliminating major elements of Iraq’s weapons programs, setting them back several years. Tens of thousands of chemical munitions were destroyed, as well as key facilities involved in the nuclear, chemical, biological, and missile production complexes.

In addition, ongoing monitoring and verification at dual-capable facilities, including the installation of closed-circuit video cameras and air-sampling devices, helped to increase the difficulty, expense, and political cost to Iraq of attempting to reacquire weapons of mass destruction, serving to deter further violations. And monitoring of Iraqi imports of sensitive dual-use technologies made it more difficult for Iraq to reconstitute its weapons programs.

On the negative side, UNSCOM could not account for major historical gaps in the chemical and biological weapons programs and never found Iraq’s stockpile of VX, the most deadly type of chemical nerve agent, or any filled biological munitions. Although ongoing monitoring and verification prevented Iraq from using its dual-use facilities to reconstitute its chemical and biological programs, the monitoring continued only as long as the inspectors were on the ground.

It’s also important to point out that the inspectors were unarmed and that their authority derived from a united Security Council and the implicit threat of military action if Iraq did not comply. The political foundation of the inspection regime was gradually weakened, however, as Iraq shrewdly played the permanent members of the Security Council against one another. Iraq also managed to negotiate directly with the UN secretary-general over special inspection procedures for so-called presidential sites, such as Saddam’s palaces, seriously undermining UNSCOM’s authority and credibility.

Finally, the revelation that the United States was piggybacking on UNSCOM to conduct its own intelligence operations, and reports that UNSCOM Executive Chairman Richard Butler was working closely with the Clinton administration, lost the public relations war for UNSCOM.

In terms of lessons learned for a future inspection regime under UNMOVIC, it’s clear that the inspectors must have access to all facilities of interest throughout Iraq and that presidential and “sensitive” sites (such as government ministries) must not be subject to less intrusive inspection procedures, as they were under UNSCOM. Of course, even with an “anywhere, anytime” inspection system, Iraq will be able to constrain the timeliness of inspections to some extent by means of logistical delays. But there should be a general principle that any suspect site in Iraq can be subjected to immediate inspection on demand.

Also, it’s important that UNMOVIC have the authority to interview Iraqi weapons scientists without the presence of Iraqi officials. During the UNSCOM period, Iraqi government “observers” sat in on all such interviews, which had an intimidating effect and prevented cooperative sources from revealing much of what they knew.

Some carrots as well as sticks will be required to secure Iraqi cooperation. As Bob Gallucci pointed out, the Security Council should make it clear that the Iraqi regime will be allowed to remain in power if—and only if—it cooperates fully in eliminating its stocks of weapons of mass destruction and submits to ongoing monitoring and verification for a period of years. Absent an assurance of regime survival as a quid pro quo, Saddam Hussein has no long-term incentive to cooperate.

Another key factor is that UNMOVIC can be effective only to the extent that the inspectors know where to look. Iraq is a large country, about the size of California, with many places to hide weapons and clandestine production facilities, so the inspection process must be supported with accurate and timely intelligence. This need will require the United States and like-minded countries to share sensitive data on clandestine Iraqi weapons production and storage sites. UNMOVIC must also have, as UNSCOM did, intelligence-gathering assets such as U-2 aircraft and its own analytical unit.

Short-notice inspections can increase the likelihood that Iraq will make mistakes and leave behind telltale indicators of illicit activity. In addition, the combined use of various tools, such as overhead surveillance, trade flow monitoring, visual inspection, sampling and analysis, and other techniques, can yield valuable synergies. Overhead surveillance can serve both to cue onsite inspections and to monitor the Iraqi response while an inspection is underway—observing, for example, if Iraqi officials are trying to remove sensitive documents or materials out the back door.

In conclusion, a realistic goal of the UN inspection regime is not to eliminate every last weapon, which is probably impossible, but to deny Iraq a militarily significant mass-destruction capability. I believe that goal is probably achievable if UNMOVIC is given full access to relevant facilities throughout Iraq, supplied with accurate and timely intelligence, and supported by a united Security Council.

Jessica T. Mathews

I agree with virtually everything my colleagues have said, but I have a few additional thoughts. Let me describe some of the crucial elements behind the concept of coercive inspections and then give you a sense of where I think we are in terms of policies in the administration.

The Carnegie Endowment’s study on coercive inspections began with the belief that, among all the grievances the United States has against Saddam Hussein, his weapons of mass destruction are the only aspect of his regime that pose a threat to us. We therefore began with the premise that U.S. policy ought to be aimed at weapons of mass destruction rather than at regime change per se. At that time, that was a very radical belief.

Having determined that, we then asked the question of whether there was any policy that could get us beyond the more than half- decade of impotence in the face of Iraqi behavior, that could deal effectively with its weapons of mass destruction short of regime change, and we came to the conclusion that the answer was yes. In our view, however, such a policy required a radically different inspection regime than either UNSCOM or UNMOVIC.

We looked at the history of Iraqi behavior, the technical successes and failures of UNSCOM, and the political successes and failures of the Security Council, and we concluded that three factors accounted for the success of UNSCOM in its first five years. The first of these was the credible and immediate threat of force that began with the presence of U.S. Desert Storm forces in the region when UNSCOM was formed. The second was unity among the permanent five members of the Security Council, which persisted, I think, until the United States undermined it, beginning in about 1995, by equivocating about whether its goal was disarmament or regime change. After that, Iraq became increasingly confident and increasingly successful at the techniques of divide and conquer in the Security Council. And the third was Saddam Hussein’s belief, which he held at the outset of inspections, that he could successfully hide what he had.

Now, all three of those conditions for success are currently gone, but we believe the first two could be reconstituted—the third is obviously gone for good. We felt that because of Saddam Hussein’s political success over the past five years and also the relative painlessness and ineffectiveness of pinprick bombing against his weapons of mass destruction, the new inspection regime had to be more than just marginally strengthened. And we came to the conclusion that the tougher the inspection regime, the tougher the initial resolution under which inspectors begin their work, the more likely we will be able to avoid war.

The report therefore proposed not only strengthening UNMOVIC’s mandate, but a good deal more—namely, having inspectors accompanied by an armed force that would provide security for the inspectors themselves, major technological resources, and the ability to determine the pace of inspections and achieve go-anywhere, go-anytime inspections.

This is a regime we call “comply or else” inspections, and the “or else” is obviously an invasion, which is where I think we are at this point. It’s a regime that depends a great deal less on Iraqi cooperation but rather more simply on Iraqi compliance, and it was designed not to be negotiated but to be presented as a take-it-or-leave-it deal. I still believe, as I think most of us who worked on this do, that that is the only way to approach Iraq—that the only thing that will separate Saddam Hussein from his weapons of mass destruction is the immediate threat of the end of his regime, but that faced with that choice, he will choose even this inspections regime. Nobody knows whether we’re correct or not, but I believe that if you look at the record of his behavior over the last 15 years, there are solid reasons for believing that the man is not insane and will make the rational choice.

We also agreed that inspections can be successful in the way they have been in the past. So, why a military requirement now? First, the current situation is much more dicey and could end, if challenged, in failure, and therefore there is a much higher risk of hostage-taking. This force is designed to prevent, if it should come to that, any hostage-taking of inspectors. Second, we also feel that a military force is required to get Saddam Hussein’s attention and change his mindset. Third, it is designed to prevent Iraq from causing delays that affect what the inspectors can find and to provide the elements of really strong operational and communications security that we believe are essential.

The core of this plan is the ability to impose both no-fly zones, which we have used before and currently have in effect over part of Iraq, and military no-drive zones. For example, with little advance notice, Iraq would be told that in this broad region all day tomorrow there is both a no-fly and a military no-drive zone. The region would be large enough that the Iraqis would not know exactly where the inspectors intended to go.

Where are we now? Well, last week two core beliefs of administration policy changed, at least for the time being, and that is of enormous importance. The first is that inspections cannot effectively disarm Saddam Hussein of weapons of mass destruction, and the second is that even if they could that would not be enough, that it was necessary to get rid of him. Instead, we heard a statement by Minority Leader Trent Lott as he left the White House and several statements by Secretary Powell that, if Saddam Hussein could be divested of his weapons of mass destruction, that would be “ideal.”

This is a hugely important change, which I think the press largely missed in its attention to two secondary issues. One is this obsession about one resolution versus two, when what matters is not how many there are but what they say. And the second is the full coverage of what the Iraqis say, which matters not at all because whatever it is they say on day one will be different on day two and day three. This we know. So really, there should be no attention paid to that.

And that last comment encapsulates the spirit behind the proposal for coercive inspections: it is feckless to give Iraq another chance to prove its bona fides on inspections. We know that Saddam Hussein views inspections as the continuation of war by other means, so if we’re going to conduct inspections, we’ve got to do them in a way that really accomplishes their objective. Inspections under the old regime or the old regime-plus are almost certain to lead both to the embarrassment of the United Nations and ultimately to war.

I am not really clear where the administration stands right now. There are elements in what we know of the draft UN resolution that are very encouraging. There is no evidence, however, that the Pentagon is doing planning on the kind of coercive inspection regime that I believe is necessary, and of course, none of us knows what elements of the resolution are bargaining chips and what elements are bottom line, although we can make some inferences.

Finally, I want to just point out that it’s hard to look beyond Iraq right now, but this situation has broader implications for arms control and for the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. If war proves to be necessary to control weapons of mass destruction, that will almost certainly be a very heavy blow—perhaps somewhat paradoxically—to the strength and resilience and effectiveness of the nonproliferation regime because the United States is not going to go to war with country after country after country. If, on the other hand, the international community proves it is possible to levy a dire threat with determination and persistence and unity over time, that sends a very, very different message to current and possibly future proliferators.

Questions and Answers:

Question: Given UNSCOM’s experience with the technical aspects of inspections—like using the U-2 aircraft—what additional intelligence assets might be required for the new inspections regime?

Tucker: I think basically the same assets should be provided to UNMOVIC, although some new technologies could be applied—for example, rapid detection techniques for biological agents, which were not available 10 years ago. More broadly, it is essential not only for UNMOVIC to have its own analytic and intelligence-collection capabilities but for like-minded countries to provide information on suspect sites in Iraq because, of course, the intelligence-gathering resources of the United States and other countries are vastly greater than UNMOVIC’s. And just to reiterate, Iraq is a large country. There are many possible hiding places. It’s also likely that Iraq has built underground facilities, which are difficult to detect without advanced-technology systems. So sharing of national intelligence with UNMOVIC is really critical if the inspectors are to be effective.

Mathews: We have urged the deployment not just of U-2s but AWACS, JSTARS, Global Hawks, Predator—the whole panoply of the top of the line U.S. intelligence collection, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities—as being vital to the success of this effort.

Gallucci: When we talk about this range of intelligence collection, it can sound awfully intrusive, which makes some people uncomfortable. But it needs to be understood that this is a very special case. I direct this comment mostly to those in Paris and Moscow who are contemplating this new resolution. It should go without saying, but apparently it doesn’t, that this is not a cooperative arrangement. The Iraqis have established themselves as hostile to inspections. This is not a game, but it certainly is a contest where an inspection regime is trying to find things that the Iraqis are trying to hide. So, there should be no arguments about Iraqi sovereignty being compromised because Iraq compromised Kuwait’s sovereignty when it invaded it in 1990.

The intrusiveness of the inspection regime and the intelligence that must go along with it should not be thought of as compromising an international organization—this is the argument about whether there are spies associated with the regime. We have to understand that the inspection teams are not simply looking to hire chemists or biologists or nuclear engineers; they’re looking for experts in chemical weapons and biological weapons and nuclear weapons. These people come from the governments of various countries and sometimes from intelligence communities. A certain amount of maturity about this is absolutely essential.

So, using intelligence from various governments is not compromising an international organization; it is supporting an international organization in conducting inspections against a member state that has violated international rules and laws. If it’s understood that way, I think it should be more acceptable in those capitals that appear to be having some difficulty with the intrusiveness of the regime.

Question: Will the Security Council, particularly the Russians and the French, agree to such a tough new resolution for inspections?

Gallucci: First, to underline what Jessica said, that’s the right question. The question is not what Iraqis will accept. Second, I think that the decision for countries on the Security Council has to be put in terms of “compared to what?” The United States has been very clear in saying that the alternative will be military action, so that should provide an incentive. I can’t say whether they’ll end up doing the right thing, but it seems to me that this is a way to have an inspection regime in which you can have reasonably high confidence of separating Saddam from his weapons.

Mathews: I think the elements of a compromise are clearly on the table. That is one of the reasons that I mentioned how major the U.S. shift was last week and how underplayed I think media reports of this have been. The French and the Russians both have, in effect, won a major victory in the shift of the administration’s position from defining regime change as the removal of Saddam Hussein to defining it as a change in his behavior. That is a huge reversal. And it is exactly what the other permanent five members of the Security Council were arguing for in August.

Even this hang-up on the question of whether military action would be automatic if the inspections fail has the elements of compromise. It is essential to the success of inspections that the link to war is explicit. It’s essential for the Iraqis to believe that the choice is totally unfettered inspections or invasion for regime change. That’s absolutely essential. It is also essential, as Bob said, that they have to believe that if they do comply we won’t invade, or else there’s no reason for them to comply.

The French don’t mind that link being made in the first resolution, but they don’t want military action to be triggered by violation of that resolution. In other words, they want some kind of second action to approve military action, and now they are suggesting that it doesn’t have to be a formal Security Council resolution. So, a compromise is to leave the linkage in the resolution but not include the actual trigger, which is what the United States has been rightly insisting on. You have to spell out the consequences.

Of course, there are a million ways this could fail between now and whenever a vote takes place, but the elements of a compromise are clearly there.

Question: The inspections, at least initially, were predicated on a cooperative Iraqi regime, which might have allowed us to be certain that Iraq had disarmed. But clearly, Iraq did not cooperate and, even with a coercive arrangement, how do you get around the fact that the inspectors would still be in a position of trying to prove a negative—that is, that Iraq no longer has weapons of mass destruction?

Gallucci: I would disagree with the premise that when we began inspections we thought that were working with a cooperative state. We didn’t. The International Atomic Energy Agency, which was implementing a part of Resolution 687, I think had an ethic of cooperation with the host government, but that fell away very quickly. Within the first two inspections, the IAEA team that was working with UNSCOM was extremely aggressive. So, I don’t really think that we proceeded on any assumption of cooperation.

With respect to the proposition that inspectors are trying to prove a negative, that there’s nothing there, I’m not sure I consider that the political challenge to the inspection regime. It seems to me that what they need to do is to find what’s there that is not supposed to be there and to continue the inspection process, which makes it very difficult—hopefully nearly impossible—for Iraq to regenerate militarily significant programs in any of the weapons areas. The idea that they’re trying to prove that nothing is there may, in fact, be captured in some of the language of the resolution, but it is not the political charge of the inspection regime.

Question: But you’re still left with a predicament, are you not, of proving the negative? If Saddam Hussein doesn’t tell you where the bodies are buried, so to speak, how can you certify that the country is disarmed?

Tucker: Well, for one thing the United States and the British governments have claimed recently that Iraq retains significant capabilities in the chemical, biological, and missile disciplines. It is to be hoped that both governments will provide some or all of their information to UNMOVIC for the inspectors to track down.

Second, the inspection regime, as I mentioned, is not focused exclusively on finding weapons and destroying them but also on preventing reconstitution of the various weapons programs through ongoing monitoring and verification of dual-use facilities, which presumably will continue for a period of years. That element of preventing Iraq from reacquiring its mass-destruction capabilities in the coming years is complementary to efforts to ferret out whatever weapons Iraq may currently possess.

Kimball: This is a question that comes up in arms control all the time: how do you verify with 100 percent confidence that a particular state is not violating a particular legal obligation? One hundred percent confidence is impossible, but one of the chief advantages of a strengthened inspections regime is that it can provide high confidence that Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction programs are contained and do not pose a threat.

Mathews: I think Jonathan Tucker gave a nice feel for how this thing proceeds. It is a huge puzzle, and when you start it, it’s kind of like a thousand-piece jigsaw puzzle. At first you think it’s impossible, that you’ll never get through this, but the more pieces you put in place, the smaller the number of unknowns that remain. It is true that Saddam Hussein has had a number of years to alter records, to hide things, to move things, to improve his capabilities. But the UNMOVIC team has had a lot of time to learn what we do know and, as Jonathan has said, there’s a lot more intelligence that they can get access to.

Another key point is that a lot of what inspectors do is interview people. And while there are an awful lot of places in a country the size of California, there are fewer people that are key to the success of these weapons programs. So, one can look at where those people are, where they were trained, where they work, what trucks go to and fro. There are a thousand pieces to put together, but over time you can zero in with higher and higher confidence on what’s around.

Question: The president has focused national and world attention on Iraq as an imminent threat, but aren’t there other, similar threats? Is this the most important one? Why go to war at this moment?

Gallucci: I think the most salient threat posed to the security of this country is al Qaeda, and as a citizen I hope, expect, and believe that the Bush administration is doing everything it can to deal with that threat. I know that there are those who have suggested that a military engagement with Iraq might distract us from the war against terrorism broadly and al Qaeda specifically, but I rather think we can, in fact, do both, particularly if we judge that the Iraqi threat is getting worse with each passing day.

I don’t think that you can say that a switch has been thrown that has made the threat from Iraq catastrophic today where it wasn’t six months ago. But there haven’t been inspectors in Iraq since 1998, and we have good evidence that the Iraqis have been working to regenerate programs in the nuclear, chemical, and biological areas, as well as their ballistic missile program. So, the threat is getting worse over time, and it will not simply grow incrementally. When Iraq does enrich uranium to high levels or acquire plutonium or highly enriched uranium, the threat will all of a sudden jump in seriousness, and that will be an enormous concern. And we don’t want to get to that point, given Iraq’s past behavior.

I understand the administration has been making an effort to link Iraq to al Qaeda specifically, and what I have heard has not been overwhelmingly persuasive to me. But from my perspective, absent that, there is still a good reason for concluding that passively containing Iraq is not a prudent, durable policy for the United States and that we have been driven to our current course of action by the Iraqi resistance of inspections over time. Containment has failed as a policy. The situation is worsening, and I think the administration and the international community does have an obligation to deal with it.

Tucker: I would just add that Iraq is a special case because it is a country that invaded its neighbors, both Iran and Kuwait, and lost the Gulf War. It was the object of a series of Security Council resolutions that it then proceeded to violate. So, I think that the Security Council does have an obligation to enforce those resolutions, to make sure that other countries are not emboldened by Iraqi noncompliance to acquire weapons of mass destruction or to invade their neighbors. A general principle of international law is at stake here.

Kimball: Let me add a different facet to the answer. Although quick action is needed, as many experts and observers have pointed out, the administration has not been able to present evidence about Iraq’s program that is particularly new. Nevertheless, action is needed to move weapons inspectors back in there under more effective rules.

I want to go back to one thing that Jessica Mathews said earlier about the administration’s shift toward embracing the idea that strengthened weapons inspections can work. I would just point out that the administration is not simply doing what its allies want, but that this approach is also clearly in the interest of the United States and the Bush administration because a war with Iraq could involve weapons of mass destruction. If the Iraqis do indeed have chemical and biological weapons capabilities, Saddam Hussein might use those weapons in a last attempt to stave off attack. That could have very serious consequences, of course, for U.S. troops and countries in the region. Israel, for one, has nuclear weapons and might respond. So, an all-out war to disarm Saddam Hussein could produce the very effect that we’re all so concerned about.

Question: There are stories where UNSCOM inspectors would enter an Iraqi facility and the Iraqis would simply go out the back door. How do you prevent that from happening again? And if you need to use force, how do you do that without putting the inspectors in danger?

Tucker: I’m uncomfortable with the idea of inspectors being accompanied by armed troops because I think it could put the inspectors in jeopardy. It would also make their work more difficult because the inspectors need to talk to Iraqi scientists, technicians, and plant managers, and people generally won’t talk with a gun pointed at their head, at least not freely.
So, I think there should be a credible threat of military force if Iraq refuses to comply, but the forces should not be right there on the scene. They should perhaps be deployed nearby in the region, but it would be highly problematic for troops and inspectors to be intermingled.

Gallucci: There’s a nice contrast here that can be built between what we had in UNSCOM in one of our more aggressive inspections that was successful and what we could have had if we’d had more aggressive inspections. If you remember in September of 1991, we had what inspectors called the “parking lot tour,” where we spent four days in a parking lot because we wouldn’t give up some documents on the design of Iraqi nuclear weapons.

Now, what people have forgotten is that the day before the parking lot standoff happened, we were at another building where we tried to do without any military capability what the Carnegie report recommends with coercive inspections. We had inspectors armed only with little Sony Handycams, and we arrived at o-dark-thirty and surrounded the building before we started to search. The idea was to contain the situation and then launch a thorough search of the building. In the course of that, there was an awful lot of movement by the Iraqis as they began to figure out that we had actually come upon the right place.

When the end of the day came and we had actually found nuclear weapons design information, the Iraqis took a lot of the material from us. They physically just took it away from us. We had boxed it up and put it in our vehicle. They shoved us aside and they took the material from us. The next day, we were a little smarter and we put the material on our bodies to raise the level that the Iraqis would have to go to to seize the material that we had found. They decided not to strip search 41 UN inspectors, so that led to the parking lot situation.

What we were trying to do was raise the threshold in a small way—and that could be done in a much more demonstrative way. There’s a proposal for a no-fly, no-drive zone so that you have military capability to contain an area for an inspection. Then you can make sure that, if the Iraqis want to prevent an inspection team from a successful inspection, they have to use force greater than the force that’s deployed, in which case they have tripped a wire, which unambiguously leads to an invasion, and that’s the whole point.


Despite the overall success of the nonproliferation regime, a small number of states...

Disarming Iraq: How Weapons Inspections Can Work

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An ACA Press Conference

On October 7, the Arms Control Association held a press conference to discuss the capability of United Nations inspections to disarm Iraq of its weapons of mass destruction. Panelists spoke on the successes and difficulties of previous inspections, which ended in 1998, and offered suggestions for strengthening future inspections. The briefing came amid debate in the UN Security Council and the United States regarding potential U.S.-led military action against Iraq.

The panelists were Robert Gallucci, dean of the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University and former deputy executive chairman of the UN Special Commission (UNSCOM); Jessica T. Mathews, president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, which recently produced a report on “coercive inspections” called “Iraq: A New Approach”; and Jonathan B. Tucker, a senior fellow at the U.S. Institute of Peace and a former UNSCOM inspector in Iraq. Daryl G. Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association, moderated the briefing.

The following is an edited version of the panelists’ remarks and the question-and-answer session that followed.

Daryl G. Kimball

Despite the overall success of the nonproliferation regime, a small number of states threaten to undermine the norm against the development, possession, and use of weapons of mass destruction. Among them is Iraq, which has violated nonproliferation treaties and resisted UN Security Council mandates for the disarmament of its proscribed weapons of mass destruction capabilities.

Even without full Iraqi cooperation and Security Council support over the last decade, the UN Special Commission on Iraq [UNSCOM] and the International Atomic Energy Agency [IAEA] succeeded in ridding Iraq of most of its prohibited weapons capabilities. But with the absence of inspectors since 1998, the United Nations, the Bush administration, and the Congress are once again debating the nature of the threat posed by Iraq, its unfulfilled disarmament obligations, and what actions are most appropriate and effective to deal with that threat. Central to that debate is whether and how weapons inspections can be effective in disarming Iraq. This is the main subject of this morning’s press briefing.

Just a few weeks ago, it was not clear whether President Bush would pursue renewed UN weapons inspections in Iraq at all or whether he would attempt a pre-emptive, unilateral military strike against Iraq. But for now the president appears to have made the common sense choice to work through the Security Council to reach agreement on a strengthened inspections regime. Also significant is the fact that Iraq, under pressure from the international community, has expressed its willingness to allow unfettered access to its facilities, including the presidential sites, which had been off limits in 1998.

Over the course of the next few days and weeks, the sincerity of President Bush’s appeal to the UN, the will of the Security Council’s support to uphold nonproliferation norms, and Iraq’s willingness to cooperate with the United Nations will all be tested. Top-level Bush administration officials continue to assert that strengthened inspections are bound to fail and that pre-emptive military invasion is necessary. In fact, the stated goal of the administration is the removal of Saddam Hussein from power. Such talk suggests to many that the administration supports the new and extremely tough new resolution at the United Nations only to provide a convenient trigger and justification for all-out military action against Baghdad. This should not be the purpose of renewed and strengthened UN inspections. Instead, the Arms Control Association and the expert panelists we have here today all agree that for now the most prudent and feasible means to deny Saddam Hussein access to weapons of mass destruction is a strategy of multilateral prevention through effective UN weapons inspections.

To explain, we have three panelists with substantial experience on Iraq and weapons inspections. First, we’re going to hear from Bob Gallucci, who’s currently dean of the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. He’s a former assistant secretary of state for political-military affairs, and in 1991 he was appointed deputy executive chairman of UNSCOM. Then we’ll hear from Jonathan Tucker, currently a senior fellow at the United States Institute of Peace, who served as an UNSCOM biological weapons inspector in Iraq in 1995. Finally, we’ll hear from Jessica Mathews, who is president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and who is responsible for the Carnegie Endowment’s recent report, “Iraq: A New Approach.”

Robert Gallucci

It seems to me that U.S. policy has come a long way in a relatively short period of time. We have come from a situation in which regime change was essential to a situation in which regime change in Iraq is still desirable but not necessarily essential in order—to use the administration’s phrase—to separate Saddam Hussein from his weapons of mass destruction. In fact, Secretary [of State Colin] Powell seems to be saying that, if Iraq accepts the intrusive inspections that are described in the American draft UN resolution, it will have effectively changed the regime. I like that.

The United States is now pressing for a new inspection regime that, among other things, would eliminate any sanctuaries, would do away with any requirement for advance notice of inspections, would be guided by intelligence, would be permissive of interviews with Iraqi experts, would be accompanied by an armed military unit of some kind, would follow Iraq’s full and complete declarations, and would require Iraqi cooperation in the logistics of an inspection.

This type of inspections regime, it seems to me, can indeed work if Iraq understands two things: one, that rejecting the regime will mean that it will have to suffer an invasion and two, that acceptance of the regime will mean that it does not have to suffer an invasion. Both of those must be true. The question then becomes whether an inspection regime will ensure our security in the face of the threat from Iraq.

A few observations about the inspections. First, the threat derives from Iraqi capabilities in weapons of mass destruction. There are some uncertainties, but we have high confidence that Iraq has a chemical weapons capability in mustard and nerve agents, and a biological weapons capability in toxins and bacteriological weapons. There are uncertainties beyond that, and there are questions with respect to when Iraq might have a nuclear weapons capability.

Second, the threat is urgent in Iraq to the extent that the transfer of this capability to a terrorist group like al Qaeda is perceived to be imminent. Al Qaeda or another terrorist group, one could well argue, is open to neither defense nor deterrence by the United States and therefore cannot be tolerated with that capability. There is at the same time, to the best of my knowledge, no good evidence that Iraq would transfer such a capability to such a group.

Third, Iraq itself, even with weapons of mass destruction, could be open to deterrence and therefore be a manageable threat. But over time, it seems to me, it’s an unacceptable threat. Over time, Iraq will improve its capabilities and add a nuclear weapons capability. Given its past violation of UN Security Council resolutions, its invasion of Kuwait, and other indications that it is a rogue-like regime, deterrence and containment are too passive a response to the Iraqi threat over time. By saying that, however, I don’t mean to endorse the strategy of preventive war described in the new National Security Strategy.

The fourth point I’d like to make is that we should have confidence in the effectiveness of an inspection regime in a reasonable way, which is to say that we ought to compare an inspection regime to realistic alternatives—an invasion, for example. If the United States does eventually resort to military force, hopefully in coalition with its allies, an Iraqi threat could arise again a year after that or five years after that because we could not be absolutely sure that the regime that we initially installed would remain and because the capabilities to produce weapons of mass destruction could always be rebuilt. The technology is not reversible. We must, I think, look at Iraq the way we look at other states with emerging weapons capabilities and ask how we deal with them. We have concerns about Iran, Syria, Libya, North Korea, and other countries, but it is not a good idea to plan on invading all of them.

Finally, then, we are at a moment when we have an opportunity to use diplomacy to broaden the consensus on the nature of the threat and the need to respond with UN Security Council allies and those in the region. We are also at a point where we have an opportunity to let arms control work—and by arms control, I mean an intrusive set of inspections that will give us high confidence that we can separate Saddam from his weapons. This is not the instinct of this administration—at least it has not been up until now. So, the Iraqi case could well be the administration’s first test-case in its new strategy of pre-emptive war, or it could be a counterpoint to that strategy in which diplomacy and arms control prove to be effective. I hope it is the latter.

Jonathan B. Tucker

In assessing the successes and shortcomings of the UNSCOM inspection regime, it’s important to recall its main objectives. There were three phases of the inspection process. First was the discovery phase, in which the inspectors tried to obtain a full accounting of Iraq’s past programs and supplier networks and to compile a comprehensive inventory of its dual-use facilities—that is, factories that were ostensibly engaged in legitimate commercial production but could be easily diverted to weapons production. Second was the destruction phase, in which the UN agencies, both UNSCOM and the IAEA, sought to eliminate Iraq’s stockpile of prohibited weapons, to the extent they could be found, as well as facilities that were specifically involved in weapons of mass destruction programs. And finally, there was the ongoing monitoring and verification phase, during which the inspectors kept a close watch on Iraq’s dual-capable facilities and tracked its imports and exports of sensitive technologies, with the aim of preventing Baghdad from reconstituting its weapons programs in the future. In practice, the three phases of the UNSCOM operation overlapped extensively.

What can one say about the accomplishments of the inspection regime and how well it worked? Well, first, it was clear from the outset that Iraq was not going to cooperate fully with UNSCOM. Iraq’s declarations of its weapons and facilities were incomplete and contained numerous false statements and distortions. When confronted with contradictory evidence, Iraqi authorities typically responded with partial admissions, indicating at each stage they were making a full disclosure, but each “full, final, and complete” declaration was far from full, final, or complete.

The Iraqi authorities tried to lead the inspectors away from sensitive sites, and they developed elaborate and sometimes preposterous cover stories to protect their clandestine programs. They also conducted counterintelligence operations, infiltrated the inspection system, destroyed evidence, used various means to impede and delay inspections, confronted and intimidated inspectors, and employed what are called “deception and denial” techniques. Deception involves the use of active or passive measures to convey a false or inaccurate picture of a clandestine activity, such as disguising a biological weapons facility as a vaccine plant, whereas denial involves the use of active measures to conceal the very existence of a clandestine activity. Iraq became quite skilled at these techniques, which included camouflage, control of electronic emissions and chemical pollution from weapons plants, and various forms of personnel and communications security.

Nevertheless, the Iraqi declarations were useful as a point of departure and provided a basis for planning and carrying out the initial inspections. Discrepancies between the declarations and other evidence often gave the inspectors valuable leads. Despite pervasive Iraqi noncooperation, UNSCOM’s detective work and dogged persistence produced a broad overview, if not every last detail, of Iraq’s prohibited weapons programs. UNSCOM inspectors, who had initially told the Iraqis what they knew, soon learned to make it harder for Baghdad to tailor its declarations by withholding some of their information. They placed greater emphasis on technical means of verification, including the use of a U-2 aircraft provided by the United States and other forms of aerial surveillance, and they conducted no-notice inspections of undeclared sites. So in response to Iraq’s noncooperation, the inspectors became more aggressive and used more intrusive techniques.

UNSCOM analysts also learned how to piece together bits of information from a wide range of sources, including aerial and satellite imagery, confidential trade data from Western companies that had supplied dual-use materials and equipment to Iraq before the Gulf War, ongoing monitoring of Iraq’s imports of sensitive technologies, and reports by Iraqi defectors.

In particular, UNSCOM inspectors made excellent use of what are called “mass-balance” calculations. They determined the amounts of raw materials Iraq had imported, compared this information with the quantities of biowarfare agents Iraq had admitted to having produced, and then calculated the differences to obtain estimates of undeclared production. For example, UNSCOM learned from Western suppliers that during 1988 alone, Iraq had imported nearly 39 tons of complex growth media suitable for cultivating large quantities of bacteria such as anthrax, as well as for culturing patient specimens for hospital use. So, this was a dual-use material. UNSCOM could only account for 22 tons of the media imported by Iraq, leaving 17 tons unexplained. That’s a huge quantity of material.

When confronted with this evidence, the Iraqi authorities stated that the missing media had been imported for medical diagnostics and had been destroyed in riots affecting health clinics in the aftermath of the Gulf War. There were three problems with this explanation. First, Iraq’s total hospital consumption of diagnostic media from 1987 to 1994 had been less than 200 kilograms per year, yet 17 tons of media were unaccounted for. Second, the imported media did not include the types most often used for hospital diagnosis, but they were suitable for culturing agents such as anthrax. Third, since culture media spoils rapidly once a package has been opened, hospitals typically use small packages of a tenth of a kilogram to a kilogram, yet Iraq had imported the media in large drums of 25-100 kilograms.

These discrepancies made it clear that the official Iraqi cover story was false and provided strong circumstantial evidence for large-scale production of anthrax, botulinum toxin, and other biological agents. When the Iraqi authorities were confronted with this information, they ultimately admitted to large-scale production. So, that’s an example of how UNSCOM’s use of analysis forced the Iraqis to acknowledge prohibited activities.

At the end of the day, was the glass half full or half empty? Different analysts have come to different conclusions about the effectiveness of the inspection regime. I would argue that the glass was at least half full. UNSCOM’s successful detective work, as in the case of the culture media story I just told you, persuaded the Security Council to maintain economic sanctions on Iraq despite political pressures from France and Russia to lift them.

The new revelations also put senior Iraqi officials in the increasingly untenable position of getting caught telling outright lies, creating serious tensions within the Iraqi regime. Arguably, those tensions contributed to the defection to Jordan in August 1995 of the mastermind of the Iraqi weapons programs, Lieutenant General Hussein Kamel. Kamel’s defection proved to be a key break in the UNSCOM investigation because he revealed that, prior to the 1991 Gulf War, Iraq had loaded biological agents into aerial bombs and Scud missile warheads.

The UN inspection regime was also successful in eliminating major elements of Iraq’s weapons programs, setting them back several years. Tens of thousands of chemical munitions were destroyed, as well as key facilities involved in the nuclear, chemical, biological, and missile production complexes.

In addition, ongoing monitoring and verification at dual-capable facilities, including the installation of closed-circuit video cameras and air-sampling devices, helped to increase the difficulty, expense, and political cost to Iraq of attempting to reacquire weapons of mass destruction, serving to deter further violations. And monitoring of Iraqi imports of sensitive dual-use technologies made it more difficult for Iraq to reconstitute its weapons programs.

On the negative side, UNSCOM could not account for major historical gaps in the chemical and biological weapons programs and never found Iraq’s stockpile of VX, the most deadly type of chemical nerve agent, or any filled biological munitions. Although ongoing monitoring and verification prevented Iraq from using its dual-use facilities to reconstitute its chemical and biological programs, the monitoring continued only as long as the inspectors were on the ground.

It’s also important to point out that the inspectors were unarmed and that their authority derived from a united Security Council and the implicit threat of military action if Iraq did not comply. The political foundation of the inspection regime was gradually weakened, however, as Iraq shrewdly played the permanent members of the Security Council against one another. Iraq also managed to negotiate directly with the UN secretary-general over special inspection procedures for so-called presidential sites, such as Saddam’s palaces, seriously undermining UNSCOM’s authority and credibility.

Finally, the revelation that the United States was piggybacking on UNSCOM to conduct its own intelligence operations, and reports that UNSCOM Executive Chairman Richard Butler was working closely with the Clinton administration, lost the public relations war for UNSCOM.

In terms of lessons learned for a future inspection regime under UNMOVIC, it’s clear that the inspectors must have access to all facilities of interest throughout Iraq and that presidential and “sensitive” sites (such as government ministries) must not be subject to less intrusive inspection procedures, as they were under UNSCOM. Of course, even with an “anywhere, anytime” inspection system, Iraq will be able to constrain the timeliness of inspections to some extent by means of logistical delays. But there should be a general principle that any suspect site in Iraq can be subjected to immediate inspection on demand.

Also, it’s important that UNMOVIC have the authority to interview Iraqi weapons scientists without the presence of Iraqi officials. During the UNSCOM period, Iraqi government “observers” sat in on all such interviews, which had an intimidating effect and prevented cooperative sources from revealing much of what they knew.

Some carrots as well as sticks will be required to secure Iraqi cooperation. As Bob Gallucci pointed out, the Security Council should make it clear that the Iraqi regime will be allowed to remain in power if—and only if—it cooperates fully in eliminating its stocks of weapons of mass destruction and submits to ongoing monitoring and verification for a period of years. Absent an assurance of regime survival as a quid pro quo, Saddam Hussein has no long-term incentive to cooperate.

Another key factor is that UNMOVIC can be effective only to the extent that the inspectors know where to look. Iraq is a large country, about the size of California, with many places to hide weapons and clandestine production facilities, so the inspection process must be supported with accurate and timely intelligence. This need will require the United States and like-minded countries to share sensitive data on clandestine Iraqi weapons production and storage sites. UNMOVIC must also have, as UNSCOM did, intelligence-gathering assets such as U-2 aircraft and its own analytical unit.

Short-notice inspections can increase the likelihood that Iraq will make mistakes and leave behind telltale indicators of illicit activity. In addition, the combined use of various tools, such as overhead surveillance, trade flow monitoring, visual inspection, sampling and analysis, and other techniques, can yield valuable synergies. Overhead surveillance can serve both to cue onsite inspections and to monitor the Iraqi response while an inspection is underway—observing, for example, if Iraqi officials are trying to remove sensitive documents or materials out the back door.

In conclusion, a realistic goal of the UN inspection regime is not to eliminate every last weapon, which is probably impossible, but to deny Iraq a militarily significant mass-destruction capability. I believe that goal is probably achievable if UNMOVIC is given full access to relevant facilities throughout Iraq, supplied with accurate and timely intelligence, and supported by a united Security Council.

Jessica T. Mathews

I agree with virtually everything my colleagues have said, but I have a few additional thoughts. Let me describe some of the crucial elements behind the concept of coercive inspections and then give you a sense of where I think we are in terms of policies in the administration.

The Carnegie Endowment’s study on coercive inspections began with the belief that, among all the grievances the United States has against Saddam Hussein, his weapons of mass destruction are the only aspect of his regime that pose a threat to us. We therefore began with the premise that U.S. policy ought to be aimed at weapons of mass destruction rather than at regime change per se. At that time, that was a very radical belief.

Having determined that, we then asked the question of whether there was any policy that could get us beyond the more than half- decade of impotence in the face of Iraqi behavior, that could deal effectively with its weapons of mass destruction short of regime change, and we came to the conclusion that the answer was yes. In our view, however, such a policy required a radically different inspection regime than either UNSCOM or UNMOVIC.

We looked at the history of Iraqi behavior, the technical successes and failures of UNSCOM, and the political successes and failures of the Security Council, and we concluded that three factors accounted for the success of UNSCOM in its first five years. The first of these was the credible and immediate threat of force that began with the presence of U.S. Desert Storm forces in the region when UNSCOM was formed. The second was unity among the permanent five members of the Security Council, which persisted, I think, until the United States undermined it, beginning in about 1995, by equivocating about whether its goal was disarmament or regime change. After that, Iraq became increasingly confident and increasingly successful at the techniques of divide and conquer in the Security Council. And the third was Saddam Hussein’s belief, which he held at the outset of inspections, that he could successfully hide what he had.

Now, all three of those conditions for success are currently gone, but we believe the first two could be reconstituted—the third is obviously gone for good. We felt that because of Saddam Hussein’s political success over the past five years and also the relative painlessness and ineffectiveness of pinprick bombing against his weapons of mass destruction, the new inspection regime had to be more than just marginally strengthened. And we came to the conclusion that the tougher the inspection regime, the tougher the initial resolution under which inspectors begin their work, the more likely we will be able to avoid war.

The report therefore proposed not only strengthening UNMOVIC’s mandate, but a good deal more—namely, having inspectors accompanied by an armed force that would provide security for the inspectors themselves, major technological resources, and the ability to determine the pace of inspections and achieve go-anywhere, go-anytime inspections.

This is a regime we call “comply or else” inspections, and the “or else” is obviously an invasion, which is where I think we are at this point. It’s a regime that depends a great deal less on Iraqi cooperation but rather more simply on Iraqi compliance, and it was designed not to be negotiated but to be presented as a take-it-or-leave-it deal. I still believe, as I think most of us who worked on this do, that that is the only way to approach Iraq—that the only thing that will separate Saddam Hussein from his weapons of mass destruction is the immediate threat of the end of his regime, but that faced with that choice, he will choose even this inspections regime. Nobody knows whether we’re correct or not, but I believe that if you look at the record of his behavior over the last 15 years, there are solid reasons for believing that the man is not insane and will make the rational choice.

We also agreed that inspections can be successful in the way they have been in the past. So, why a military requirement now? First, the current situation is much more dicey and could end, if challenged, in failure, and therefore there is a much higher risk of hostage-taking. This force is designed to prevent, if it should come to that, any hostage-taking of inspectors. Second, we also feel that a military force is required to get Saddam Hussein’s attention and change his mindset. Third, it is designed to prevent Iraq from causing delays that affect what the inspectors can find and to provide the elements of really strong operational and communications security that we believe are essential.

The core of this plan is the ability to impose both no-fly zones, which we have used before and currently have in effect over part of Iraq, and military no-drive zones. For example, with little advance notice, Iraq would be told that in this broad region all day tomorrow there is both a no-fly and a military no-drive zone. The region would be large enough that the Iraqis would not know exactly where the inspectors intended to go.

Where are we now? Well, last week two core beliefs of administration policy changed, at least for the time being, and that is of enormous importance. The first is that inspections cannot effectively disarm Saddam Hussein of weapons of mass destruction, and the second is that even if they could that would not be enough, that it was necessary to get rid of him. Instead, we heard a statement by Minority Leader Trent Lott as he left the White House and several statements by Secretary Powell that, if Saddam Hussein could be divested of his weapons of mass destruction, that would be “ideal.”

This is a hugely important change, which I think the press largely missed in its attention to two secondary issues. One is this obsession about one resolution versus two, when what matters is not how many there are but what they say. And the second is the full coverage of what the Iraqis say, which matters not at all because whatever it is they say on day one will be different on day two and day three. This we know. So really, there should be no attention paid to that.

And that last comment encapsulates the spirit behind the proposal for coercive inspections: it is feckless to give Iraq another chance to prove its bona fides on inspections. We know that Saddam Hussein views inspections as the continuation of war by other means, so if we’re going to conduct inspections, we’ve got to do them in a way that really accomplishes their objective. Inspections under the old regime or the old regime-plus are almost certain to lead both to the embarrassment of the United Nations and ultimately to war.

I am not really clear where the administration stands right now. There are elements in what we know of the draft UN resolution that are very encouraging. There is no evidence, however, that the Pentagon is doing planning on the kind of coercive inspection regime that I believe is necessary, and of course, none of us knows what elements of the resolution are bargaining chips and what elements are bottom line, although we can make some inferences.

Finally, I want to just point out that it’s hard to look beyond Iraq right now, but this situation has broader implications for arms control and for the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. If war proves to be necessary to control weapons of mass destruction, that will almost certainly be a very heavy blow—perhaps somewhat paradoxically—to the strength and resilience and effectiveness of the nonproliferation regime because the United States is not going to go to war with country after country after country. If, on the other hand, the international community proves it is possible to levy a dire threat with determination and persistence and unity over time, that sends a very, very different message to current and possibly future proliferators.

Questions and Answers:

Question: Given UNSCOM’s experience with the technical aspects of inspections—like using the U-2 aircraft—what additional intelligence assets might be required for the new inspections regime?

Tucker: I think basically the same assets should be provided to UNMOVIC, although some new technologies could be applied—for example, rapid detection techniques for biological agents, which were not available 10 years ago. More broadly, it is essential not only for UNMOVIC to have its own analytic and intelligence-collection capabilities but for like-minded countries to provide information on suspect sites in Iraq because, of course, the intelligence-gathering resources of the United States and other countries are vastly greater than UNMOVIC’s. And just to reiterate, Iraq is a large country. There are many possible hiding places. It’s also likely that Iraq has built underground facilities, which are difficult to detect without advanced-technology systems. So sharing of national intelligence with UNMOVIC is really critical if the inspectors are to be effective.

Mathews: We have urged the deployment not just of U-2s but AWACS, JSTARS, Global Hawks, Predator—the whole panoply of the top of the line U.S. intelligence collection, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities—as being vital to the success of this effort.

Gallucci: When we talk about this range of intelligence collection, it can sound awfully intrusive, which makes some people uncomfortable. But it needs to be understood that this is a very special case. I direct this comment mostly to those in Paris and Moscow who are contemplating this new resolution. It should go without saying, but apparently it doesn’t, that this is not a cooperative arrangement. The Iraqis have established themselves as hostile to inspections. This is not a game, but it certainly is a contest where an inspection regime is trying to find things that the Iraqis are trying to hide. So, there should be no arguments about Iraqi sovereignty being compromised because Iraq compromised Kuwait’s sovereignty when it invaded it in 1990.

The intrusiveness of the inspection regime and the intelligence that must go along with it should not be thought of as compromising an international organization—this is the argument about whether there are spies associated with the regime. We have to understand that the inspection teams are not simply looking to hire chemists or biologists or nuclear engineers; they’re looking for experts in chemical weapons and biological weapons and nuclear weapons. These people come from the governments of various countries and sometimes from intelligence communities. A certain amount of maturity about this is absolutely essential.

So, using intelligence from various governments is not compromising an international organization; it is supporting an international organization in conducting inspections against a member state that has violated international rules and laws. If it’s understood that way, I think it should be more acceptable in those capitals that appear to be having some difficulty with the intrusiveness of the regime.

Question: Will the Security Council, particularly the Russians and the French, agree to such a tough new resolution for inspections?

Gallucci: First, to underline what Jessica said, that’s the right question. The question is not what Iraqis will accept. Second, I think that the decision for countries on the Security Council has to be put in terms of “compared to what?” The United States has been very clear in saying that the alternative will be military action, so that should provide an incentive. I can’t say whether they’ll end up doing the right thing, but it seems to me that this is a way to have an inspection regime in which you can have reasonably high confidence of separating Saddam from his weapons.

Mathews: I think the elements of a compromise are clearly on the table. That is one of the reasons that I mentioned how major the U.S. shift was last week and how underplayed I think media reports of this have been. The French and the Russians both have, in effect, won a major victory in the shift of the administration’s position from defining regime change as the removal of Saddam Hussein to defining it as a change in his behavior. That is a huge reversal. And it is exactly what the other permanent five members of the Security Council were arguing for in August.

Even this hang-up on the question of whether military action would be automatic if the inspections fail has the elements of compromise. It is essential to the success of inspections that the link to war is explicit. It’s essential for the Iraqis to believe that the choice is totally unfettered inspections or invasion for regime change. That’s absolutely essential. It is also essential, as Bob said, that they have to believe that if they do comply we won’t invade, or else there’s no reason for them to comply.

The French don’t mind that link being made in the first resolution, but they don’t want military action to be triggered by violation of that resolution. In other words, they want some kind of second action to approve military action, and now they are suggesting that it doesn’t have to be a formal Security Council resolution. So, a compromise is to leave the linkage in the resolution but not include the actual trigger, which is what the United States has been rightly insisting on. You have to spell out the consequences.

Of course, there are a million ways this could fail between now and whenever a vote takes place, but the elements of a compromise are clearly there.

Question: The inspections, at least initially, were predicated on a cooperative Iraqi regime, which might have allowed us to be certain that Iraq had disarmed. But clearly, Iraq did not cooperate and, even with a coercive arrangement, how do you get around the fact that the inspectors would still be in a position of trying to prove a negative—that is, that Iraq no longer has weapons of mass destruction?

Gallucci: I would disagree with the premise that when we began inspections we thought that were working with a cooperative state. We didn’t. The International Atomic Energy Agency, which was implementing a part of Resolution 687, I think had an ethic of cooperation with the host government, but that fell away very quickly. Within the first two inspections, the IAEA team that was working with UNSCOM was extremely aggressive. So, I don’t really think that we proceeded on any assumption of cooperation.

With respect to the proposition that inspectors are trying to prove a negative, that there’s nothing there, I’m not sure I consider that the political challenge to the inspection regime. It seems to me that what they need to do is to find what’s there that is not supposed to be there and to continue the inspection process, which makes it very difficult—hopefully nearly impossible—for Iraq to regenerate militarily significant programs in any of the weapons areas. The idea that they’re trying to prove that nothing is there may, in fact, be captured in some of the language of the resolution, but it is not the political charge of the inspection regime.

Question: But you’re still left with a predicament, are you not, of proving the negative? If Saddam Hussein doesn’t tell you where the bodies are buried, so to speak, how can you certify that the country is disarmed?

Tucker: Well, for one thing the United States and the British governments have claimed recently that Iraq retains significant capabilities in the chemical, biological, and missile disciplines. It is to be hoped that both governments will provide some or all of their information to UNMOVIC for the inspectors to track down.

Second, the inspection regime, as I mentioned, is not focused exclusively on finding weapons and destroying them but also on preventing reconstitution of the various weapons programs through ongoing monitoring and verification of dual-use facilities, which presumably will continue for a period of years. That element of preventing Iraq from reacquiring its mass-destruction capabilities in the coming years is complementary to efforts to ferret out whatever weapons Iraq may currently possess.

Kimball: This is a question that comes up in arms control all the time: how do you verify with 100 percent confidence that a particular state is not violating a particular legal obligation? One hundred percent confidence is impossible, but one of the chief advantages of a strengthened inspections regime is that it can provide high confidence that Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction programs are contained and do not pose a threat.

Mathews: I think Jonathan Tucker gave a nice feel for how this thing proceeds. It is a huge puzzle, and when you start it, it’s kind of like a thousand-piece jigsaw puzzle. At first you think it’s impossible, that you’ll never get through this, but the more pieces you put in place, the smaller the number of unknowns that remain. It is true that Saddam Hussein has had a number of years to alter records, to hide things, to move things, to improve his capabilities. But the UNMOVIC team has had a lot of time to learn what we do know and, as Jonathan has said, there’s a lot more intelligence that they can get access to.

Another key point is that a lot of what inspectors do is interview people. And while there are an awful lot of places in a country the size of California, there are fewer people that are key to the success of these weapons programs. So, one can look at where those people are, where they were trained, where they work, what trucks go to and fro. There are a thousand pieces to put together, but over time you can zero in with higher and higher confidence on what’s around.

Question: The president has focused national and world attention on Iraq as an imminent threat, but aren’t there other, similar threats? Is this the most important one? Why go to war at this moment?

Gallucci: I think the most salient threat posed to the security of this country is al Qaeda, and as a citizen I hope, expect, and believe that the Bush administration is doing everything it can to deal with that threat. I know that there are those who have suggested that a military engagement with Iraq might distract us from the war against terrorism broadly and al Qaeda specifically, but I rather think we can, in fact, do both, particularly if we judge that the Iraqi threat is getting worse with each passing day.

I don’t think that you can say that a switch has been thrown that has made the threat from Iraq catastrophic today where it wasn’t six months ago. But there haven’t been inspectors in Iraq since 1998, and we have good evidence that the Iraqis have been working to regenerate programs in the nuclear, chemical, and biological areas, as well as their ballistic missile program. So, the threat is getting worse over time, and it will not simply grow incrementally. When Iraq does enrich uranium to high levels or acquire plutonium or highly enriched uranium, the threat will all of a sudden jump in seriousness, and that will be an enormous concern. And we don’t want to get to that point, given Iraq’s past behavior.

I understand the administration has been making an effort to link Iraq to al Qaeda specifically, and what I have heard has not been overwhelmingly persuasive to me. But from my perspective, absent that, there is still a good reason for concluding that passively containing Iraq is not a prudent, durable policy for the United States and that we have been driven to our current course of action by the Iraqi resistance of inspections over time. Containment has failed as a policy. The situation is worsening, and I think the administration and the international community does have an obligation to deal with it.

Tucker: I would just add that Iraq is a special case because it is a country that invaded its neighbors, both Iran and Kuwait, and lost the Gulf War. It was the object of a series of Security Council resolutions that it then proceeded to violate. So, I think that the Security Council does have an obligation to enforce those resolutions, to make sure that other countries are not emboldened by Iraqi noncompliance to acquire weapons of mass destruction or to invade their neighbors. A general principle of international law is at stake here.

Kimball: Let me add a different facet to the answer. Although quick action is needed, as many experts and observers have pointed out, the administration has not been able to present evidence about Iraq’s program that is particularly new. Nevertheless, action is needed to move weapons inspectors back in there under more effective rules.

I want to go back to one thing that Jessica Mathews said earlier about the administration’s shift toward embracing the idea that strengthened weapons inspections can work. I would just point out that the administration is not simply doing what its allies want, but that this approach is also clearly in the interest of the United States and the Bush administration because a war with Iraq could involve weapons of mass destruction. If the Iraqis do indeed have chemical and biological weapons capabilities, Saddam Hussein might use those weapons in a last attempt to stave off attack. That could have very serious consequences, of course, for U.S. troops and countries in the region. Israel, for one, has nuclear weapons and might respond. So, an all-out war to disarm Saddam Hussein could produce the very effect that we’re all so concerned about.

Question: There are stories where UNSCOM inspectors would enter an Iraqi facility and the Iraqis would simply go out the back door. How do you prevent that from happening again? And if you need to use force, how do you do that without putting the inspectors in danger?

Tucker: I’m uncomfortable with the idea of inspectors being accompanied by armed troops because I think it could put the inspectors in jeopardy. It would also make their work more difficult because the inspectors need to talk to Iraqi scientists, technicians, and plant managers, and people generally won’t talk with a gun pointed at their head, at least not freely.
So, I think there should be a credible threat of military force if Iraq refuses to comply, but the forces should not be right there on the scene. They should perhaps be deployed nearby in the region, but it would be highly problematic for troops and inspectors to be intermingled.

Gallucci: There’s a nice contrast here that can be built between what we had in UNSCOM in one of our more aggressive inspections that was successful and what we could have had if we’d had more aggressive inspections. If you remember in September of 1991, we had what inspectors called the “parking lot tour,” where we spent four days in a parking lot because we wouldn’t give up some documents on the design of Iraqi nuclear weapons.

Now, what people have forgotten is that the day before the parking lot standoff happened, we were at another building where we tried to do without any military capability what the Carnegie report recommends with coercive inspections. We had inspectors armed only with little Sony Handycams, and we arrived at o-dark-thirty and surrounded the building before we started to search. The idea was to contain the situation and then launch a thorough search of the building. In the course of that, there was an awful lot of movement by the Iraqis as they began to figure out that we had actually come upon the right place.

When the end of the day came and we had actually found nuclear weapons design information, the Iraqis took a lot of the material from us. They physically just took it away from us. We had boxed it up and put it in our vehicle. They shoved us aside and they took the material from us. The next day, we were a little smarter and we put the material on our bodies to raise the level that the Iraqis would have to go to to seize the material that we had found. They decided not to strip search 41 UN inspectors, so that led to the parking lot situation.

What we were trying to do was raise the threshold in a small way—and that could be done in a much more demonstrative way. There’s a proposal for a no-fly, no-drive zone so that you have military capability to contain an area for an inspection. Then you can make sure that, if the Iraqis want to prevent an inspection team from a successful inspection, they have to use force greater than the force that’s deployed, in which case they have tripped a wire, which unambiguously leads to an invasion, and that’s the whole point.

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