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Right after I graduated, I interned with the Arms Control Association. It was terrific.

– George Stephanopolous
Host of ABC's This Week
January 1, 2005
Press Releases

Effort to Find WMD in Iraq Comes Up Short

Paul Kerr

The U.S.-led effort to find Iraqi weapons of mass destruction (WMD) has so far found no evidence that Iraq possessed chemical or biological weapons or that it was actively reconstituting its nuclear weapons program at the time coalition forces invaded Iraq this past March. Administration officials insist, however, the search’s results to date justify their decision to go to war.

David Kay, a former International Atomic Energy Agency inspector leading the Iraq Survey Group (ISG), testified before the House and Senate Intelligence Committees Oct. 2 about the group’s progress. (Click here for a deconstruction of Kay's testimony). The ISG is the task force coordinating the search effort. Kay’s testimony revealed that Iraq was pursuing low-level, dual-use biological research and development (R&D) efforts, may have considered plans to produce chemical weapons, had a rudimentary R&D effort in dual-use nuclear technology, and was pursuing several programs to develop missiles that exceeded the range permitted under relevant UN Security Council resolutions.

Still, before the war, U.S. officials were more expansive in their claim, saying Iraq possessed chemical and biological weapons, had reconstituted its nuclear weapons program, and possessed prohibited missiles.

Kay cautioned Oct. 2 that the report “does not represent a final reckoning of Iraq’s WMD programs” and that “much remains to be done.” He added that continuing the weapons search is necessary for several reasons: learning lessons to improve the quality of future intelligence; stopping terrorists and Iraqi insurgents from acquiring WMD that may remain in the country; and keeping weapons, information, and expertise from spreading elsewhere. Kay told National Public Radio Oct. 5 that the task force could complete its mission in six to nine months.

Meanwhile, Lt. Gen. (Ret.) James R. Clapper Jr., head of the National Imagery and Mapping Agency, told reporters Oct. 28 that he personally believes Iraqi officials decided to move prohibited weapons materials to Syria prior to the war. He based his belief on pre-invasion satellite imagery showing a heavy flow of traffic from Iraq into Syria.

Administration officials insist that Kay’s report justified taking military action because it revealed that Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein intended to acquire prohibited weapons and was concealing the means to produce them. President George W. Bush told reporters Oct. 3 that the Kay report proves Iraq “was a threat, a serious danger.”

Secretary of State Colin Powell argued in an Oct. 7 Washington Post op-ed that Iraq’s failure to declare its dual-use equipment and activities to UN weapons inspectors placed it in material breach of its disarmament obligations under relevant Security Council resolutions. He added that Iraq intended to develop WMD despite the presence of inspectors. Vice President Dick Cheney stated in an Oct. 3 speech that Security Council Resolution 1441, adopted in November 2002, “deemed” Iraq’s material breach “to be sufficient cause to go to war.”

However, Resolution 1441 required the Security Council only to “consider” any instances of reported Iraqi noncompliance, rather than providing an automatic authorization for invasion. Moreover, the inspectors reported that prior to the March invasion Iraq was gradually increasing its cooperation with inspectors, although Iraq had not met its requirement to provide the Security Council with a complete declaration of its weapons programs and related activities.

Kay’s findings also challenge the Bush administration’s persistent dismissal of containment and UN weapons inspections as a useful means of checking Hussein’s WMD ambitions. According to an Oct. 27 article in The New Republic, Kay told reporters Oct. 3 that ISG workers have “been struck…by how often [Iraqi scientists] refer to the impact of sanctions” in constraining Iraq’s WMD programs.

 

 

The U.S.-led effort to find Iraqi weapons of mass destruction (WMD) has so far found no evidence that Iraq possessed chemical or biological weapons or that it was...

Army Report Details Patriot Record in Iraq War

Wade Boese

A new Army report reaffirms earlier Pentagon claims that the Patriot missile defense system destroyed all Iraqi missiles that it engaged during the invasion of Iraq, but does not fully account for why the system failed to target several other Iraqi missiles fired at U.S. forces and Kuwait. The report also describes several operational challenges to the system’s performance that emerged in the buildup to and unfolding of the conflict.

The 32nd Army Air and Missile Defense Command, which is charged with protecting U.S. ground forces from air and missile attacks, recently released its account of “Operation Iraqi Freedom.” As part of that history, the command reports that the Patriot missile defense system, which is designed to destroy short- and medium-range ballistic missiles, scored a perfect nine for nine in intercepting Iraqi missiles. Colonel Charles Anderson, chief of staff of the command, wrote, “The critics concerns over Patriot lethality should be forever silenced.”

Yet Iraq fired at least 23 ballistic and cruise missiles, according to the report, during the three-week span it took U.S. forces to fight their way to Baghdad and topple Saddam Hussein’s regime. Of the 14 Iraqi missiles not engaged by Patriots, four were reported as outside the range of any Patriot system and one exploded shortly after launch. No official explanation is given for why the other nine Iraqi missiles were not fired upon, though the report implied that at least three might have been because their trajectories were judged to be non-threatening.

Patriots also did not down any Iraqi cruise missiles, which are powered for their whole flight, can maneuver, and fly at low altitudes. Due to these flight characteristics, a cruise missile can be difficult for radars to track or confused with aircraft.

Although dismissing several Iraqi cruise missile attacks that caused no casualties as ineffective, the report acknowledged, “continued [cruise missile] attacks may have forced us to change our tactics.” The report later added that “the ability of these older cruise missiles to penetrate friendly airspace and reach their targets should serve as a warning…that the emerging cruise missile threat must be addressed.”


The other Iraqi missile that presented a special challenge was the short-range FROG-7 missile. Because of their brief flight times, the missiles must be detected and engaged within roughly 90 seconds, forcing Patriot commanders to make rapid firing decisions. The report recommended that the Army consider putting more senior officers in charge of Patriot batteries in the future to ensure effective decision-making.

Iraq did not launch any Scud missiles, which an earlier version of the Patriot had little success against in the 1991 Persian Gulf War. Originally built by the Soviet Union and sold prolifically, Scuds are aging, short-range ballistic missiles capable of carrying a several hundred kilogram payload.

The report also pointed out difficulties in getting the Patriot systems up and running. The Iraqis, who waited to fire any missiles at U.S. forces until after the invasion started, might have caught U.S. forces unprepared to use Patriots if they had attacked earlier.

Up until just two days before the U.S. invasion began, Patriot radar systems were regularly malfunctioning due to the harsh environmental conditions. Raytheon, the Patriot manufacturer, sent engineers out to the field to get the systems working properly.

Once hostilities commenced, another problem arose. Due to the enormous amount of electronic equipment involved in the fast-moving battle, there was, in the report’s term, “cluttered cyberspace.” Electronic signals interfered with each other, creating confusion for radars and communication systems. The report said this could have contributed to one Patriot’s mistaken intercept of a U.S. fighter aircraft. Another Patriot destroyed a British jet.

An analysis should be done on battlefield electromagnetic interference and new tactics and techniques should be created to deal with the problem, the report recommended. It further stated that these should be “applicable to the environment in the Korean Theater of Operations.” The United States is currently in a standoff with North Korea over its pursuit of nuclear weapons, and roughly 37,000 U.S. troops are stationed in South Korea. These forces are equipped with Patriots.

Although Patriots are mobile and some moved forward with U.S. troops into Iraq, the report stressed that the system should be better designed to operate “cross-country” or off-road. “Since the armed forces of the United States are now an offensive force (as opposed to the Cold War, defense of Europe orientation) it is imperative that Patriot become more mobile and able to sustain maneuver over time,” the report concluded.

U.S. forces possess three versions of Patriot missiles. The newest is the Patriot Advanced Capability-3, which accounted for two of the nine Iraqi missile kills.

The Army Inspector General is also conducting a study on the Patriot’s performance and U.S. Central Command is investigating the two friendly-fire incidents.

A new Army report reaffirms earlier Pentagon claims that the Patriot missile defense system destroyed all Iraqi missiles that it engaged during the invasion of Iraq...

Deconstructed: Kay's Congressional Testimony

Paul Kerr

Biological Weapons

David Kay, chief U.S. weapons inspector, told Congress that “Iraq after 1996 further compartmentalized its program and focused on maintaining smaller, covert capabilities that could be activated quickly to surge the production of [biological weapons] agents” and that Iraq concealed relevant “equipment and materials” from UN inspectors in violation of Security Council Resolution 1441. His most prominent piece of evidence, however, was that an Iraqi scientist hid “a vial of live C. botulinum Okra B. from which a biological agent can be produced” in his home; Kay later acknowledged that the vial had been hidden in the scientist’s home since 1993. Kay also said that a “very large body of information has been developed…that confirms” Iraq’s concealment efforts, but he did not elaborate.

Additionally, Kay said the Iraq Survey Group (ISG) has “not yet been able to corroborate the existence of a mobile [biological weapons] production effort” and that the group’s investigation into two trailers discovered last spring is so far inconclusive. A May CIA report claimed that the two trailers were for producing biological weapons, apparently vindicating the administration’s prewar claims that Iraq possessed such mobile production units. The Department of State, however, has expressed doubts about the trailers’ purpose.

The ISG also found that:

· Iraqi scientists experimented with “nonpathogenic organisms serving as surrogates for prohibited investigation with pathogenic agents.” For example, they conducted experiments with a substitute for anthrax that would have been “directly applicable” to producing anthrax for weapons.
· Iraqi officials working to prepare for UN inspections were “explicitly ordered not to declare” a prison laboratory complex that was possibly used in human testing of biological weapons agents.
· New research was being conducted on biological-weapon applicable agents, Brucella and Congo Crimean Hemorrhagic Fever, and that continuing work on ricin and aflatoxin were not declared to the UN.
· Iraq never declared a “clandestine network of laboratories and facilities within the security service apparatus.” The network “was suitable for preserving [biological weapons] expertise, [biological weapons] capable facilities and continuing R&D [research and development]—all key elements for maintaining a capability for resuming biological weapons production.” The ISG is “still working on determining the extent to which this network was tied to large-scale military efforts or…weapons.”

Chemical Weapons

Iraq “did not have a large, ongoing, centrally controlled chemical weapons program after 1991. Information found to date suggests that Iraq’s large-scale capability to develop, produce, and fill new [chemical weapons] munitions was reduced—if not entirely destroyed—during Operations Desert Storm and Desert Fox, 13 years of UN sanctions, and UN inspections.”

Still, the ISG has “developed multiple sources that indicate that Iraq explored the possibility of chemical weapons production in recent years, possibly as late as 2003.”

Nuclear Weapons

“Iraqi scientists and senior government officials” told the ISG that “Saddam Hussein remained firmly committed to acquiring nuclear weapons” and “assert that Saddam would have resumed nuclear weapons development at some future point,” perhaps “after Iraq was free of sanctions.” In 2000, Iraq “began several small and relatively unsophisticated dual-use research initiatives,” but the ISG has no evidence that the research was applied to weapons production.

The ISG has “not uncovered evidence that Iraq undertook significant post-1998 steps to actually build nuclear weapons or produce fissile material” although “Iraq did take steps to preserve some technological capability from the pre-1991 nuclear weapons program.” These steps include directing scientists to perform work to “preserve the science base and core skills that would be needed for any future fissile material production or nuclear weapons development.” The ISG “has found indications that there was interest, beginning in 2002, in reconstituting a centrifuge enrichment program.”

“Several [Iraqi] scientists—at the direction of senior Iraqi government officials—preserved documents and equipment from their pre-1991 nuclear weapon-related research and did not reveal” them to the UN. These items would have been “useful” for uranium-enrichment programs, according to Kay.

Delivery Systems

Missiles

Kay’s statement indicates that Iraq was conducting R&D on several different missile projects designed to produce missiles with ranges exceeding the 150 km permitted under Security Council resolutions. Kay told reporters Oct. 2 that the ISG is still trying to determine whether the missiles were intended to carry conventional or weapons of mass destruction (WMD) payloads.

UN weapons inspectors ordered Iraq to destroy its al Samoud missiles, which Iraq declared to the UN in December 2002, in February 2003 because the missiles exceeded the permitted range. Baghdad was in the process of doing so when the invasion began.

Kay cited several Iraqi missile programs:

· Beginning in 1999, Iraq attempted to acquire technology from North Korea for “surface-to-surface missiles with a range of 1,300 km…and land-to-sea missiles with a range of 300 km.” No such transfers actually occurred.
· “[S]ources” told ISG that, beginning in 2000, Hussein “ordered the development of ballistic missiles with ranges of at least 400 km and up to 1,000 km.” These projects appeared to include liquid and solid propellant missiles. Work on the former “had [apparently] progressed to a point to support initial prototype production of some parts and assemblies.” It is unclear as to whether work on the latter had progressed past the design phase.
· “[T]estimony from missile designers” indicates “that Iraq…reinitiated work on converting SA-2 Surface-to-Air Missiles into ballistic missiles with a range goal of about 250 km. Engineering work was reportedly underway in early 2003, despite the presence of [the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission].”
· Kay said Iraq had two cruise missile programs. The first was to increase the range of its HY-2 coastal-defense cruise missile from 100 km to 150-180 km, according to “multiple sources of testimony…corroborated in part by a captured document.” Iraq produced 10 of these missiles, and two were fired during the invasion. The second, aimed at converting the same missile into a land-attack cruise missile with a 1,000 km range, began in 2001, but “Iraq halted engine development and testing and disassembled the test stand in late 2002 before the design criteria had been met.”

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV)

According to Iraqi officials, Iraq had several UAV programs. A prototype of one flew well beyond its permitted range during a 2002 test flight. However, Kay said that whether these vehicles were “intended” to deliver WMD “remains an open question.” Iraq had such a program before the 1991 Persian Gulf War, and UN inspectors were still investigating the matter as of the March 2003 invasion.

Inspectors' Difficulties

Kay said the ISG has faced difficulties performing its work:

· Iraq engaged in “systematic sanitization of documentary and computer evidence in a wide range of offices, laboratories, and companies suspected of WMD work. The pattern of these efforts to erase evidence—hard drives destroyed, specific files burned, equipment cleaned of all traces of use—are ones of deliberate, rather than random, acts.”
· Iraqi officials dispersed “material and documentation related to weapons programs” and may have taken “evidence and…weapons-related materials” to other countries.
· Both ISG personnel and knowledgeable Iraqis are subject to safety threats. For example, Kay stated that ISG facilities and personnel were attacked three times in September alone and told FOX News Sunday Oct. 5 that one scientist was assassinated the same day he spoke to ISG inspectors.
· Iraq undertook extensive concealment efforts, such as co-locating unmarked chemical ordnance with large stocks of conventional munitions.

 

 

David Kay, chief U.S. weapons inspector, told Congress that “Iraq after 1996 further compartmentalized its program and focused on maintaining smaller, covert capabilities...

Brazil Prepares to Enrich Uranium for Reactors

Brazil plans to begin enriching uranium for its nuclear reactors next year and hopes to export enriched uranium by 2014, Brazilian Science and Technology Minister Roberto Amaral announced Oct. 6.


The news comes 10 months after Amaral made headlines when he told the BBC that Brazil should not rule out acquiring the ability to produce a nuclear bomb. At that time, a spokesperson for Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva distanced the president from Amaral’s remarks, saying they were not reflective of official policy. Yet, Lula’s own commitment to nonproliferation came under scrutiny last year after a campaign speech in which he criticized the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) as discriminatory.

Brazil signed the NPT in 1997 after a series of negotiations with Argentina resulted in each state giving up its nuclear weapons programs. However, Brazil did not entirely forgo the military uses of nuclear energy and its uranium-enrichment program remains linked to the Brazilian navy’s attempts to develop nuclear-powered submarines.

Amaral stressed that the uranium-enrichment program is aimed solely at securing Brazil’s energy supply. Brazil currently receives roughly 90 percent of its energy through hydroelectric power. Severe droughts a few years ago led to energy shortages and rolling blackouts in 2001, creating pressure to diversify Brazil’s energy production capacity and renewing interest in the country’s nuclear energy program.

Department of State spokesperson Kurtis Cooper said that the United States believes Brazil takes seriously its treaty responsibilities under the NPT and the Treaty of Tlatelolco, which calls for a nuclear-free zone in Latin America and the Caribbean. However, he added, “The United States urges all states, particularly with sensitive nuclear activities such as uranium enrichment, to adopt the highest nonproliferation standards including the Additional Protocol.”

Although Brazil has not yet signed or brought into force an additional protocol, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) spokesperson Melissa Fleming said that the agency is working with Brazilian authorities to bring Brazil’s uranium-enrichment activities under safeguards. She said the IAEA encourages Brazil to sign the Additional Protocol “to provide the agency with the additional authority it requires in order to provide the necessary peaceful use assurances.”

Brazil plans to begin industrial-scale operations in the middle of next year at the centrifuge enrichment plant in Resende and hopes to provide 60 percent of the low-enriched uranium needed to fuel Brazil’s two nuclear power plants by 2010. It is estimated that Brazil’s current reactor needs will be satisfied by 2014, at which time the country plans to export enriched uranium and could also supply fuel for a possible third nuclear power plant.

According to Amaral, the proposed enrichment plan would save Brazil $11-12 million every 14 months. Currently, Brazil sends its raw uranium ore to Canada to be processed into uranium hexafloride, which is then sent to Europe for enrichment by URENCO. Brazil boasts the world’s sixth-largest uranium reserve.

 

Brazil plans to begin enriching uranium for its nuclear reactors next year and hopes to export enriched uranium by 2014, Brazilian Science and Technology Minister Roberto Amaral announced Oct. 6. 

U.S. Chemical Weapons Program to Miss Deadline

Christine Kucia

U.S. officials informed the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) last month that the United States will not meet a key interim deadline set by the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) to destroy nearly half of its chemical weapons holdings. Under the CWC, the United States had agreed to destroy 45 percent of its stockpile by April 29, 2004, but U.S. officials are now seeking an extension to December 2007.

The new deadline means the United States, possessing the world’s second-largest chemical weapons stockpile, will not meet the CWC’s final date of April 2007 for destroying 100 percent of the stockpile and will have to ask for another extension in the future. The convention allows member states to request up to a five-year extension of the final deadline.

Washington’s appeal follows on the heels of multiple requests by Russia, which has the world’s largest arsenal of chemical weapons, to extend its deadline for destroying the country’s 40,000-ton stockpile. Russia destroyed one percent of its chemical weapons in April 2003, three years after the original deadline, and is slated to have just 20 percent completed by 2007. (See ACT, June 2003.)

Washington’s request was forwarded for consideration to the OPCW Conference of the States Parties, scheduled to convene Oct. 20-24.

The Department of Defense blames U.S. delays on “unresolved political and operational issues that forced shutdowns or postponed start-up dates,” according to a Sept. 3 statement. To date, the U.S. program has destroyed approximately one-quarter of the total declared stockpile of 31,500 tons.

Greg Mahall, a spokesman for the U.S. Army’s Program Manager for Chemical Demilitarization—the office that conducts U.S. chemical weapons destruction activities—said the program ran into difficulties when disposal experts found munitions and agents in worse shape than previously thought and because new means of disposing of the chemicals were more technically challenging than they expected. He said “earlier [time] projections were somewhat unrealistic” and stressed that the Army wouldn’t sacrifice “safety for schedule.”

A Sept. 5 report from the General Accounting Office (GAO) concluded that the U.S. chemical weapons program is “in turmoil” because of “long-standing and unresolved leadership, organizational, and strategic planning issues.” GAO investigators recommend that Pentagon and Army officials develop a strategy and implementation plan with a mission statement, long-term objectives, and clear roles and responsibilities for program leadership. They also suggest adding near-term performance measures and tools that could anticipate internal and external factors that may predict program impediments.

Meanwhile, despite longer timelines for destroying chemical weapons in Russia and the United States, new states continue to join the CWC. The island nation of Sao Tome and Principe in western Africa will formally join the CWC regime on Oct. 9, and Afghanistan will become the 155th state party to the convention on Oct. 24.

 

Slipped Milestones from 2001 Schedule

U.S. Chemical Weapons Site
Next Project Milestone
Scheduled Date to Begin
New Start Date
# of Months Delayed
Anniston, Ala.
Operations
July 2002

July 2003
(began Aug. 9)

+13
Umatilla, Ore.
Operations
July 2003
December 2003
+5
Pine Bluff, Ark.
Operations
October 2003
April 2004
+6
Johnston Atoll
End of closure process
September 2003
January 2004
+4

 

 

 

 

 

 

U.S. officials informed the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) last month that the United States will not meet a key interim...

Key Hill Panel Faults Intelligence Community for Flawed Iraq Analysis;

Paul Kerr

As the search for Iraqi weapons of mass destruction (WMD) continues without any weapons discoveries and the Bush administration steadily retreats from some of its earlier claims, a key congressional committee has reportedly issued a harsh critique of the intelligence community’s Iraq analysis. The administration has been promising for months that questions surrounding its so far unproven claims about Iraq’s arsenals would be resolved by a report from a CIA task force headed by David Kay, a former International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspector. But administration officials have recently cast doubt on whether that report will ever be made public.

“I would not count on [public] reports,” National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice told reporters during a press briefing Sept. 22. During a Sept. 28 appearance on FOX News Sunday, Rice said Kay’s “progress report” is “likely not to draw...major conclusions.” She added that the administration “will make known [Kay’s] findings” but did not say if the report would be released to the public.

Bush officials continue to insist that evidence of programs to produce prohibited weapons, as well as weapons themselves, will be found. However, Marine Corps Lt. Gen. James Conway said during a Sept. 9 press briefing that Iraqi weapons “were not at the operational level.”

The Washington Post reported Sept. 28 that Rep. Porter Goss (R-Fla.), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, and ranking member Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.) sent a letter Sept. 25 to CIA Director George Tenet criticizing the intelligence community for lacking the ability to collect new evidence about Iraqi weapons capabilities and relying on “past assessments.” The letter adds that the intelligence community took “the absence of proof” that Iraq had destroyed prohibited weapons as “proof that they continued to exist.” CIA spokesman Bill Harlow called the letter’s findings “premature and wrong,” according to the Post.

Retreating

During the past few months, administration officials have backtracked from their earlier assertions about Iraq’s weapons. Prior to the invasion, officials vigorously asserted that Baghdad possessed weapons of mass destruction. (See ACT, July/August 2003 and September 2003.) In public statements since June, however, officials have stressed that inspectors are certain to find evidence of weapons programs rather than actual weapons.

Two senior administration officials recently corrected claims they made months ago. During a Sept. 10 press conference, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld acknowledged that his March 30 claim that “we know where…[Iraq’s WMD] are. They’re in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad” was inaccurate and said he should have stated that “our intelligence tells us they’re in that area.”

Similarly, Vice President Dick Cheney told NBC’s Meet the Press Sept. 14 that he misspoke when he said during a March 16 interview that Iraq had “reconstituted nuclear weapons” and that he merely meant to say Iraq had the “capability” to develop such weapons—a claim he had repeated earlier in the show.

The vice president then went on to make a number of questionable charges. For instance, he said an Iraqi scientist came forward with “full designs” for a gas centrifuge “system,” as well as the “key parts” to “build such a system.” That scientist, however, had hidden the parts since 1991 and an IAEA official said the component set was incomplete and the documents appeared to contain errors. (See ACT, September 2003.) Gas centrifuges can be used to enrich uranium for use in nuclear weapons.

Cheney also asserted that Iraq possessed mobile units to produce biological weapons, citing the discovery of two trailers that, according to the CIA, were designed for this purpose. A Department of State memorandum, however, expresses doubts about whether the trailers were built to produce biological weapons. (See ACT, July/August 2003 and June 2003.)
Moreover, Cheney stated that he had never seen a 2002 report by former U.S. Ambassador Joseph Wilson that calls into question intelligence reports accusing Iraq of trying to acquire uranium in Niger—a key component of the administration’s nuclear weapons charges against Iraq. In a Sept. 16 interview, Wilson argued that he believed the government’s system for getting such information to senior officials would had to have changed significantly in order for Cheney’s account to be true. (See ACT, September 2003.)

As the possibility of finding weapons or significant weapons programs recedes, officials have continued to stress other motives for the Iraq invasion. Secretary of State Colin Powell argued during a Sept. 28 television appearance that Saddam Hussein’s appalling human rights record, along with suspected ties to terrorists and WMD activities, justified the invasion. In a Sept. 5 interview, Richard Haass, the State Department’s recently departed director of policy planning maintained there was “a menu of arguments” for the invasion, including “the feeling that we had to score a geopolitical victory” in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

The IAEA Reports


Meanwhile, the IAEA says it had found no evidence of a nuclear weapons program in Iraq by the time it left the country March 18, according to a report summarizing IAEA inspection activities pertaining to Iraq since September 2002 and released during the Sept. 15-19 general conference. However, the report adds that the agency did not have enough time to completely resolve questions over whether Iraq’s capabilities had changed since December 1998, when Iraq stopped cooperating with inspectors.

The report goes on to say that the IAEA would have been able to provide “credible assurance” that Iraq had not revived its nuclear program “within an additional two to three months of continuing verification activities.”

The document also summarizes the agency’s June 7-23 inspection of the Tuwaitha nuclear complex following reports that nuclear material had been looted during the March invasion. (See ACT, July/August 2003). The inspectors estimated that at least 10 kilograms of uranium compounds could have been dispersed but that the materials are not a proliferation concern.

 

 

 

 

As the search for Iraqi weapons of mass destruction (WMD) continues without any weapons discoveries and the Bush administration steadily retreats from some of its earlier claims...

U.S. Still Reigns As Top Global Arms Seller

Wade Boese

Last year, the United States sold more arms than any other country, continuing a post-Cold War pattern, according to an authoritative Congressional Research Service (CRS) report published Sept. 22.

The report by CRS analyst Richard Grimmett states that Washington accounted for more than 40 percent of all global arms sales agreements and deliveries in 2002. The United States also ranked as the top weapons supplier to the developing world, which the report classifies as all countries outside of Europe, Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Russia, and the United States. In the eight-year span 1995-2002 covered by the report, the developing world accounted for approximately two-thirds of worldwide arms buys.

In 2002 the United States agreed to export roughly $13 billion in arms and delivered weapons worth more than $10 billion. (All figures in constant 2002 dollars.) There is often a substantial delay, which can sometimes be measured in years, between when a weapon is sold and when it is actually exported.

Both of last year’s sums marked a slight increase from 2001 U.S. totals of $12 billion in agreements and $9.9 billion in deliveries.

Still, the United States is managing to claim a higher share of a shrinking global market for arms. Last year’s $29 billion in arms sales agreements was the lowest mark since 1997 when new deals totaled $24 billion. Likewise, global arms deliveries steadily decreased to $25 billion in 2002 after peaking five years ago at nearly $49 billion.

Several factors account for the shrinking arms market, wrote Grimmett, who has authored the report annually since 1982. Many countries do not have the money for weapons because of lingering economic troubles caused by erratic oil prices or the late-1990s Asian financial crisis. Several governments also went on arms buying binges after the 1991 Persian Gulf War and are still absorbing those purchases into their militaries.

As a result, many arms purchasers are focusing on maintaining or updating previously acquired weapons rather than seeking to buy new armaments. The sale of munitions, spare parts, services, and upgrades for weapons systems makes up a “very substantial portion” of the U.S. arms trade, Grimmett stated.

Even though Western-made weapons dominate the global arms bazaar, Russia has emerged in recent years as the leading, though distant, challenger to U.S. primacy in new arms sales. Moscow, whose ascendancy is largely a result of arms sales to China and India, tallied $5.7 billion in deals last year.

In addition to selling weapons to China and India, Russia has also set up major projects to co-produce advanced arms, such as fighter aircraft and tanks, in the two countries.

Russia’s favorite clients ranked first and third among all developing world arms buyers last year. China signed $3.6 billion in weapons contracts and India inked agreements valued at $1.4 billion. South Korea, which typically buys U.S. arms, negotiated $1.9 billion in new purchases.

Neither China nor India, however, rivals Saudi Arabia for the sheer accumulation of arms in recent years. Between 1995 and 2002, Saudi Arabia has imported $64.5 billion in weaponry, far surpassing the second-largest importer, Taiwan, which acquired $20.2 billion in arms during the same period. China had a comparatively paltry $9.3 billion in arms imports.

Saudi Arabia, along with many other developing world countries, had embarked on a weapons-buying spree following the 1991 Gulf War, leading to a huge spike in the arms market for two to three years. Grimmett does not foresee a similar rise in the wake of the latest conflict. Instead, he predicts that arms sales to the developing world will likely stay level or fall further in the near term because of the “tenuous state of the international economy.”

 

 

 

Last year, the United States sold more arms than any other country, continuing a post-Cold War pattern, according to an authoritative Congressional Research Service (CRS) report published Sept. 22. 

U.S. Imposes More Proliferation Sanctions

Wade Boese

The Bush administration in September continued to show that it would not be shy about sanctioning entities suspected of proliferation activities, levying penalties against a Russian entity and a Chinese firm, as well as sanctioning the Chinese government.

Since taking office, the administration has aggressively imposed sanctions at a rate about triple that of the Clinton administration. (See ACT, July/August 2003.) Including these latest sanctions, Washington has penalized foreign companies and individuals 23 separate times this year alone.

On Sept. 16, the United States announced that the Russian firm Tula Design Bureau would be prohibited from receiving aid, signing contracts, or trading in military equipment with the U.S. government for one year due to its sale of advanced conventional weapons to Iran.

Three days later, Washington announced that the Chinese firm China North Industries Corporation (NORINCO) would be barred for two years from trading in missile-related goods with the U.S. government because of unspecified missile proliferation activities. The firm will also be prohibited from shipping any items it produces to the United States.

Both the Russian and Chinese companies are repeat offenders. Tula Design Bureau was last sanctioned in September 2002, but NORINCO has already been sanctioned twice this year.

The Bush administration also decided to sanction the Chinese government. Beijing will be barred from importing any goods appearing on the export control list of the 33-member Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) for two years if the import is for China’s development or production of electronics, space systems and equipment, or military aircraft. The MTCR control list includes missiles, their subsystems and components, and related technologies. Similar sanctions were imposed on the Chinese government in September 2001.

The administration also had the option of penalizing the Kremlin but decided not to. In its public statement, the administration explained that providing aid to the Russian government was “important to the national interests of the United States.”

 



 

 

 

The Bush administration in September continued to show that it would not be shy about sanctioning entities suspected of proliferation activities, levying penalties...

U.S. Refuses to Lift Sanctions Against Libya

Paul Kerr

Citing concerns about Libya’s pursuit of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), the United States will continue bilateral sanctions on Tripoli despite the UN Security Council’s Sept. 12 decision formally to lift similar decade-old sanctions.

The UN sanctions were initially imposed in 1992 in response to the bombings of a Pan Am flight en route from London to New York in 1988 and a French flight over Niger in 1989. The sanctions were lifted by a 13-0 vote, with the United States and France abstaining, after Libya agreed to take formal responsibility for the attacks and compensate the families of the Pan Am flight victims.

The UN had suspended the sanctions in 1999 after Libya handed over two officials for trial in the Pan Am bombing and following France’s acknowledgement that Libya cooperated with French officials investigating the 1989 bombing.

Department of State deputy spokesman Adam Ereli said Washington abstained from the UN vote because it did not want action on the resolution “to be misconstrued as a decision to modify” U.S. bilateral sanctions on Libya and because the Bush administration has concerns about Libya’s “pursuit of weapons of mass destruction” as well as “other aspects” of the country’s behavior, including its poor human rights record and “history of involvement in terrorism.”

The United States maintains a series of sanctions against Libya that prohibit a wide range of economic activities. Under the 1996 Iran-Libya Sanctions Act, the United States can punish foreign companies for providing goods or services that contribute to Libya’s ability to acquire chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons.

In recent months, the Bush administration has stepped up allegations that Libya is trying to obtain weapons of mass destruction. During a Sept. 16 hearing before the House International Relations Committee, Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security John Bolton identified Libya as one of four “rogue states”—along with Iran, North Korea, and Syria—attempting to “acquire or develop WMD and their means of delivery.” In what could be construed as a veiled threat, Bolton in April said the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq should signal to Libya that “the cost of [its] pursuit of weapons of mass destruction is potentially quite high...the determination of the United States…to keep these incredibly dangerous weapons out of the hands of very dangerous people should not be underestimated.”

That said, so far Libya’s WMD capabilities appear to be relatively modest. In February, CIA Director George Tenet told Congress that “Tripoli has been able to increase its access to dual-use nuclear technologies” since the 1999 suspension. (See ACT, March 2003.) An April CIA report to Congress covering the first half of 2002 expresses concern over “Libya’s continued interest in nuclear weapons” since the UN sanctions were suspended in 1999. A 2001 Pentagon report, however, assesses that “Libya has made little progress” on its nuclear program because the program “lacks well-developed plans, expertise, consistent financial support, and adequate foreign suppliers.”

Additionally, the CIA assesses that Tripoli is seeking to “acquire” the capability to develop and produce biological weapons agents. The Pentagon report states that the suspension of UN sanctions will improve “Libya’s ability to acquire biological-related equipment and expertise” but Libya’s biological weapons program “has not advanced beyond the research and development stage.”

The CIA report also states that Libya appears “to be working toward an offensive [chemical weapons] capability” and has “reestablished contacts with sources of expertise, parts, and precursor chemicals abroad” since the UN sanctions were suspended.

According to the Pentagon report, Libya maintains an “aging Scud missile force,” and the missiles are probably poorly maintained and their operational status “questionable.” Tripoli will probably be able to build a medium-range ballistic missile “with continued foreign assistance,” the CIA warned.

Libya has ratified the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and the Biological Weapons Convention and subscribes to the Hague Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation. It has not signed the Chemical Weapons Convention.

A Libyan official denied the country is attempting to develop weapons, according to a Sept. 15 report from Jana, Libya’s official news agency.

 



 

 

 

Citing concerns about Libya’s pursuit of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), the United States will continue bilateral sanctions on Tripoli despite...

U.S. Shows More Flexibility in North Korea Talks

Paul Kerr

With another round of six-party talks concerning the North Korean nuclear crisis likely to take place, the Bush administration has signaled new flexibility in its bargaining position. Although U.S. policy is still far from fully formed, the biggest change appears to be that the United States will not insist that North Korea completely dismantle its nuclear facilities before Washington addresses some of North Korea’s concerns. Instead, Department of State officials say, they are looking at a step-by-step approach to reduce tensions.


Secretary of State Colin Powell said Sept. 22 that future multilateral discussions are likely, and officials from South Korea, Japan, Russia, and China—the other participants in the recent talks held in Beijing—have all expressed support for another round.

North Korea, however, has been ambivalent. An Aug. 30 statement from the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) indicated that Pyongyang was uninterested in further six-party talks. But a Sept. 2 agency statement reaffirmed Pyongyang’s “will to peacefully settle the nuclear issue…through dialogue.”

Subsequent North Korean statements have argued that future six-party talks will not be useful unless Washington changes its “hostile policy” of threatening a military attack and economic strangulation. Pyongyang officials have repeatedly demanded that the two countries conclude a non-aggression treaty before Pyongyang destroys its nuclear weapons program.

Pyongyang’s ambivalence toward future talks stems from its aversion to U.S. demands that North Korea dismantle its nuclear program before addressing any of North Korea’s concerns. Indeed, the United States has repeatedly insisted that North Korea dismantle its nuclear program as a necessary—although not necessarily sufficient—condition for improved bilateral relations.

North Korea contends that the United States continued to articulate this position during the Beijing talks. (See ACT, September 2003). However, a senior State Department official insisted during a Sept. 4 press briefing that the U.S. delegation actually displayed more flexibility than the North Koreans claim and that Pyongyang’s statements seemed “pre-scripted” rather than responsive to the actual discussions.

The official said the U.S. presentations were “different in tone and in content” from those made during talks with North Korea in Oct. 2002 and this past April. The official added that the U.S. delegation “made clear that we are not seeking to strangle North Korea…we can sincerely discuss security concerns in the context of nuclear dismantlement, and...we are willing to discuss a sequence of denuclearization measures with corresponding measures on both sides.” The United States did not specify what measures it would take, the official said.

This account of the U.S. position is somewhat consistent with Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s Aug. 29 statement that all parties had reached a “consensus” to solve the nuclear crisis “through synchronous and parallel implementation.” However, a Sept. 1 statement from the South Korean government said there were “sharp differences” between the two sides, and Wang told reporters the same day that—despite his earlier comments—Washington’s policy is the “main problem” preventing diplomatic progress.

Pyongyang’s Proposal

During the talks, North Korea reiterated and elaborated on its solution for resolving the standoff. According to an Aug. 29 KCNA statement, North Korea proposed a step-by-step solution, calling for the United States to conclude a “non-aggression treaty,” normalize bilateral diplomatic relations, refrain from hindering North Korea’s “economic cooperation” with other countries, complete the reactors promised under the 1994 Agreed Framework, resume suspended fuel oil shipments, and increase food aid. In return, North Korea would dismantle its “nuclear facility,” as well as end missile testing and export of missiles and related components.

North Korea made a similar proposal during a round of trilateral talks held in Beijing in April. A Sept. 10 KCNA statement also said that Pyongyang would discuss verification measures for any agreement “only after the U.S. drops its hostile policy.”

“Nuclear facility” appears to refer to its plutonium-based nuclear reactor frozen under the Agreed Framework—the agreement that defused the first North Korean nuclear crisis by providing North Korea with heavy fuel oil and two proliferation-resistant light water reactors in exchange for freezing its plutonium-based nuclear facilities. An August KCNA statement denied U.S. charges, first made during a bilateral meeting in Oct. 2002, that North Korea possesses a uranium-enrichment program—another method for producing fuel for nuclear weapons.

A Compromise?

Following meetings with Bush and Powell in early September, South Korean Foreign Affairs-Trade Minister Yoon Young-kwan said in a statement that the United States would probably go to the next round of talks with a proposal that would likely address North Korea’s security concerns. Powell said in August that the United States could support some form of written security assurance to North Korea, although he ruled out a nonaggression treaty.

Although State Department spokesman Richard Boucher Sept. 5 said the United States is not “going to grant inducements to North Korea to change its behavior,” a State Department official interviewed by ACT Sept. 24 said Washington is “looking at a sequence of steps” toward North Korean dismantlement. The senior State Department official stated Sept. 4 said North Korea would not “have to do everything before they would hear anything.”

Still, U.S. policy is clearly in flux. For example, the senior State Department official said Washington has not “completely decided” on procedures for verifying any North Korean agreement. And although Bush said in May that the United States “will not tolerate” a nuclear-armed North Korea, the administration has not said how it will respond to North Korea’s producing nuclear weapons. Powell stated during a Sept. 22 interview with Business Week that the United States will say “Gee, that was interesting” if North Korea test nuclear weapons, contending that North Korea would only conduct such a test to “scare the international community.”

State Department Spokesman J. Peter Ereli said Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly is to meet his counterparts from South Korea and Japan Sept. 29-30 to coordinate their North Korea policies.

A Nuclear Doctrine?

North Korea articulated the circumstances under which it would use nuclear weapons in a Sept. 1 KCNA statement, which describes Pyongyang’s “nuclear deterrent” as “defensive,” adding that its weapons will “remain unused” unless another country “provokes” it. North Korea does not intend to sell its nuclear weapons or provide them to terrorists, the statement adds.

North Korea told the U.S. delegation during the April talks that it had nuclear weapons and made a veiled reference to testing them. According to the senior State Department official, during the August talks the North Korean delegation threatened to test nuclear weapons or “demonstrate the means that they would have to deliver” them—an apparent reference to their missiles. The Sept. 2 statement warned that North Korea “will have no option but to increase its nuclear deterrent force” if the United States does not change its policy.

KEDO’s Future

Meanwhile, Bush agreed Sept. 14 to waive the restrictions on funding to the Korean Peninsula Development Organization (KEDO), the U.S.-led consortium that is building the reactors under the Agreed Framework. Congress had prohibited funding KEDO unless Bush determined “that it is vital to the national security interests of the United States.” Bush’s decision provided “up to” $3.72 million for KEDO’s administrative expenses—not for the actual reactors, which the United States has never funded.

U.S. allies have opposed scrapping the reactor project. Minister Yoon said Seoul favors a “temporary suspension” of the project, as opposed to terminating it, according to a September press release.
Decisions about the reactor project’s future would be made at a KEDO Executive Board meeting, but no meeting has been scheduled, a KEDO official said during a Sept. 24 interview.

A North Korean Proposal

The following is the keynote speech given by Kim Yong II, North Korea’s vice minister of foreign affairs, at the six-party talks in Beijing Aug. 27. It is the most detailed account to date of what the North Koreans proposed, and appeared in an article published by KCNA, the state-run news agency:

For a package solution, the U.S. should conclude a non-aggression treaty with the D.P.R.K., establish diplomatic relations with it, and guarantee the economic cooperation between the D.P.R.K. and Japan and between the north and the south of Korea. And it should also compensate for the loss of electricity caused by the delayed provision of light-water reactors [LWRs] and complete their construction.

For this, the D.P.R.K. should not make nuclear weapons and allow the nuclear inspection, finally dismantle its nuclear facility, put on ice the missile test fire, and stop its export.

According to the order of simultaneous actions, the U.S. should resume the supply of heavy-fuel oil and sharply increase the humanitarian food aid while the DPRK should declare its will to scrap its nuclear program.

According to this order, we will allow the refreeze of our nuclear facility and nuclear substance and monitoring and inspection of them from the time the U.S. has concluded a nonaggression treaty with the DPRK and compensated for the loss of electricity.

We will settle the missile issue when diplomatic relations are opened between the DPRK and the U.S. and between the DPRK and Japan. And we will dismantle our nuclear facility from the time the LWRs are completed.

First, the DPRK and the U.S. should make clear their will to clear up bilateral concerns.
The DPRK will clarify its will to dismantle its nuclear program if the U.S. makes clear its will to give up its hostile policy toward the DPRK.

Second, all the countries participating in the six-way talks should agree on the principle to implement the measures for solving the nuclear issue between the DPRK and the U.S. through simultaneous actions.

If our reasonable proposal is turned aside at the talks, we will judge that the U.S. does not intend to give up its attempt to stifle the DPRK by force at an appropriate time while persistently insisting the DPRK “scrap its nuclear program first” to waste time.

In this case, the DPRK cannot dismantle its nuclear deterrent force but will have no option but to increase it. Whether the nuclear issue will be settled or not depends on the U.S. attitude.

In His Own Words

The following are excerpts from the first public comments made by Charles L. “Jack” Pritchard, former special envoy for negotiations with North Korea, since he resigned from the State Department in late August (prior to the Beijing talks) over the Bush administration’s approach toward North Korea. The comments were made during a Sept. 8 press briefing at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C.:
“I’ll start off by saying…the prospects for success, unless the format is slightly altered, are very grim. [T]he six-party formulation is in fact the right one. Multiparty internationalization of the issue, particularly on the nuclear issue, is the right track to take…The change that has to occur is putting in the component of a true bilateral engagement between the United States and North Korea....
“What is required is a sustained involvement by the United States with North Korea. Does that mean that we’re going to resolve the problem bilaterally? No. We’re going to lay the ground work that will put it back into the six-party format….But it cannot occur without a sustained and serious dialogue between the United States and North Korea. You cannot get to the point where you understand who your opponent is at the negotiating table unless you have had continuous contact with them over a period of time….
“[I]t’s going to be very difficult to trust any arrangements that are made with the North Koreans. But the alternative is not acceptable. Allowing the North Koreans to become a declared nuclear weapons state, testing the nuclear weapons, and potentially having the ability to transfer the technology or the weapons is not acceptable. Nor is not negotiating acceptable….
“Rather than the drive-by meetings that occur, where we roll down the window and we kind of wave to the North Koreans and then move on, we’ve got to have a full-time negotiator who can do the coordination with North Korea, do the coordination of our policies with our allies Japan and South Korea on a continuous basis, and touch base with the Chinese and the Russians….”

 

 

 

 

 

With another round of six-party talks concerning the North Korean nuclear crisis likely to take place, the Bush administration has signaled new flexibility in its bargaining position. 

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