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"No one can solve this problem alone, but together we can change things for the better." 

– Setsuko Thurlow
Hiroshima Survivor
June 6, 2016
Press Releases

White House Ready to Support Sanctions on Syria

Karen Yourish

A bill that would levy sanctions on Syria is winding its way through Congress and is expected to be signed by President George W. Bush when it lands on his desk later this fall. The House of Representatives voted 398-4 on Oct. 15 to impose economic and diplomatic sanctions on Syria unless it immediately halts development of ballistic missiles and production of biological and chemical weapons, stops supporting terrorism, and withdraws its forces from Lebanon. A similar measure in the Senate is expected to be sent to the floor for a vote in mid-November.

As passed by the House, the “Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act of 2003” (H.R. 1828) requires the president to impose two or more sanctions from a list of six if Syria fails to comply. The sanctions include a ban on exports other than food and medicine; restrictions on travel for Syrian diplomats in the United States; a prohibition on U.S. investments or business operations in Syria; a ban on any aircraft owned or controlled by Syria from taking off from, landing in, or flying over the United States; a reduction of U.S. diplomatic contacts; and a freeze on Syrian assets in the United States. The bill allows the president to waive the imposition of sanctions for six-month periods for national security reasons.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) will seek to modify the Senate version of the bill (S. 982) before it is sent to the floor, to provide the president with maximum flexibility. “Senator Lugar has always been philosophically opposed to sanctions,” said Mark Helmke, a committee staffer. The committee held a hearing on the bill Oct. 30.

Last year, Secretary of State Colin Powell and other administration officials only barely thwarted a similar bid by lawmakers, contending at that time that imposing sanctions on Syria would make peace efforts in the Middle East more difficult. This time around, they have dropped their opposition, and everyone seems to be on the same page. “The administration informed Congress…this week that we did not…object to the Syria Accountability Act,” Adam Ereli, Department of State deputy spokesperson, said during a briefing Oct. 9. “I think this is a recognition of the fact, frankly, that…we were very clear with Syria about what we thought it needed to do to act effectively against terrorism.” Ereli said Powell told Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in May that there would be consequences if Syria failed to take steps to ameliorate U.S. concerns.

 

 

 

 

A bill that would levy sanctions on Syria is winding its way through Congress and is expected to be signed by President George W. Bush when...

Former Negotiator Warns Bush: Last Chance for Diplomacy with North

One glance at the wall in Charles L. “Jack” Pritchard’s new office lined with magazine covers of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Il makes clear that the veteran diplomat may have left the State Department, but his interest in striking a deal to rid North Korea of its nuclear weapons remains undiminished.


Pritchard left his post as chief U.S. interlocutor with North Korea in late August. Since leaving the executive branch, this often lonely voice for more intensive diplomacy has prodded the Bush administration to engage Kim’s regime in arms control talks, a case he made in a 45-minute interview with Arms Control Today Oct. 28.

The United States wants North Korea to dismantle its recently-restarted plutonium-based nuclear facilities and suspected clandestine uranium enrichment program, both of which can produce fissile material for nuclear weapons. Two previous rounds of talks have not resulted in agreements.

Another round of six party talks is likely to occur, Pritchard said, but he warned that they might well be Washington’s final opportunity to shut down North Korea’s weapons programs. And he fretted that despite President George W. Bush’s recent statements that he will support a security agreement with North Korea, the administration has so far put “no substance on the table.”

“The North Koreans, if they believe that there’s nothing in it for them and we haven’t got our act together” will not return for a next round of talks, Pritchard said. A diplomatic breakdown, he warned, could lead to a sizeable North Korean nuclear arsenal. “This thing has the potential of getting well out of hand,” he said.

In particular, Pritchard said it was possible that North Korea would sell nuclear materials to terrorists or other rogue states if negotiations fail. He acknowledged that his assessment of the likelihood of that threat had changed in the last few years. Until “a couple of years ago,” Pritchard said, North Koreans were “trending away from what we would view as legitimate state sponsors of terrorism.”

Asked why the administration has not gone further in its diplomatic efforts, Pritchard said that “a wide range of views within the administration” has inhibited the administration’s ability to develop “a single, focused effort.”

To maximize the possibilities for a diplomatic breakthrough, Pritchard said the United States should concentrate on persuading North Korea to freeze its plutonium-based nuclear facilities, arguing that the less-developed uranium enrichment program is a much longer-term threat. Pyongyang’s current efforts to reprocess the spent fuel from previous operations of its reactor have “the potential” to yield enough material to give North Korea a total of between six and ten nuclear devices “in the very near future,” he said.

Obtaining such a freeze and addressing North Korea’s perceptions of a military threat from the United States “simultaneously and early will set the stage for the longer-term prospects that would include some form of economic developmental assistance” that could be coupled with a termination of the uranium enrichment program, he continued.

Commenting on preparations for a next round of talks, Pritchard expressed concern that the administration will agree to a date for a next round of talks before having a complete proposal. This approach will allow “those who are opposed to this level and direction” of diplomacy to “stall” the process. If that happens, “time will run out and then there will be a compromise and something less than sufficient will go forward.”

Pritchard stressed the need for a “sustained bilateral dialogue” between the United States and North Korea and recommended that the United States initiate a multilateral working-level meeting “ahead of the six-party talks to get most of the substantive work done.”

Speaking on how an agreement could be verified, an issue which “remains unresolved within the administration,” Pritchard cautioned that obtaining a completely verifiable deal from North Korea ought not become a stumbling block to a settlement. He characterized as “ridiculous” the notion held by some U.S. officials that an acceptable agreement must be “100 percent verifiable.”

Pritchard added that verifiably shutting down North Korea’s plutonium-based nuclear program in a manner acceptable to Pyongyang would be “relatively easy.” He admitted that verifying the elimination of the uranium enrichment program would “be a little bit trickier,” but said the United States should accept a deal if it “looks reasonable” because “if they cheat in the future, we will find out” through national intelligence sources.

He also warned against the alternatives to successful negotiations, arguing that increasing pressure on North Korea in hopes of overthrowing Kim Jong-Il’s regime would fail. Describing the North Korean government as “relatively stable,” Pritchard continued: “In the near term, is there anything on the horizon that suggests that regime change is imminent? No. Nothing. Zero.” He added that, based on accounts of recent visitors to North Korea, its economy “is inexplicably better off than it was a year ago…if you’re looking for things to implode because they’re getting worse, [they don’t] appear to be.”

Moreover, he said that key regional powers, particularly China, would be unlikely to support U.S. efforts to further pressure Pyongyang. “We’ve reached a peak” with Beijing in terms of its willingness to pressure North Korea “because of what the Chinese have perceived as a relatively poor showing by the [United States] in the April and August talks,” Pritchard said. The Chinese “fully expected that the [United States] would have a more mature and flexible approach in April. That was absolutely not the case.” At the time, in fact, he worried that the Chinese “might very well have walked away from their commitment to the six party talks” as a consequence.

Pritchard further cautioned that Washington should not use the talks merely as a means to gain support for a containment policy as opposed to reaching a genuine diplomatic resolution. “The other parties will not buy into it,” he warned.

 

 

One glance at the wall in Charles L. “Jack” Pritchard’s new office lined with magazine covers of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Il makes clear that the veteran diplomat may...

Interdiction Initiative Participants Agree on End, Differ on Means

The United States has enlisted 10 other countries for its plan to seize shipments of deadly arms to terrorists and countries suspected of pursuing weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programs. However, they have yet to reach consensus on all the measures to accomplish this mission.


Diplomats at an Oct. 9-10 meeting in London discussed what legal steps would be needed to follow through on President George W. Bush’s Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) and board vessels suspected of carrying dangerous cargo. Yet, they did not complete work on a model agreement to guide future interdictions because of differing interpretations on what is permissible, according to diplomats familiar with the fourth plenary meeting of PSI participants.

Like-minded countries within the initiative may still draft a boarding agreement, but it would not be a binding document. A chairman’s statement by the British government at the meeting’s end urged countries to share swiftly further comments on a boarding agreement presented by the United States so those “interested can move forward with concluding the agreement.”

The diplomats, who spoke on background, downplayed the differences as not being detrimental to the initiative’s future operation. They said the lack of an agreement reflects the flexible and informal nature of the initiative, which the chairman’s statement described as “an activity not an organisation.”

Per that understanding, the diplomats did not foresee a big expansion of the core group of countries involved in the initiative even though more than 50 countries have reportedly expressed support for its objectives. Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States are the current participants.

Other governments may be invited on an ad hoc basis to participate in or observe interdiction exercises or called upon to help perform or permit an actual cargo seizure, but such involvement will not necessarily signify formal membership. One of the diplomats explained that the initiative is a “much looser arrangement than typical arms control agreements.”

China and Russia are not counted among the 50-some countries endorsing the initiative, although both have been consulted about it. Moscow and Beijing question the legality and implications of the U.S.-led effort.

Due to their ties to Iran and North Korea—two of the initiative’s targets, in the eyes of the United States—and their own proliferation records, China and Russia could ultimately determine the initiative’s effectiveness. One diplomat said constructive Chinese behavior is essential to constraining North Korea’s weapons trade. Absent Chinese support, North Korea could bypass an initiative dragnet by importing or exporting WMD or related goods via Chinese territory or airspace.

Although the British chairman’s statement declared that the initiative’s participants are prepared to stop WMD trade “at any time and in any place,” there are legal limits to what actions they can take. Participants cannot seize cargo that is within another country’s borders or territorial seas without that government’s permission. The initiative’s participants also do not have freedom of action in international waters or airspace. For example, a ship on the high seas can only be stopped under certain scenarios, such as when it is not flying a national flag. Participants agree that the initiative needs to respect existing international law, the diplomats said.

Still, Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security John Bolton holds out the hope that the initiative will lead countries to act more aggressively within current law and, in effect, change it. In comments published Oct. 21 by The Wall Street Journal, Bolton said, “As state practice changes, customary international law changes.”

In any case, ensuring that they have the necessary legal authority to act does not rank high among the participants’ worries. They are more concerned about gathering and sharing accurate intelligence in a timely manner to enable interdictions.

The commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, Admiral Walter Doran, told reporters in early October that a key issue in stopping smuggling and unwanted shipments is “situational awareness—what do we know about what’s moving on the ocean.” At this time, “[w]e don’t know enough,” Doran was quoted as saying.

The 11 participants continue to prepare for the moment when they have enough information. On Oct. 8, officials met in London for a simulated exercise of how to deal with an aircraft transporting dangerous goods. An Italian-sponsored exercise involving real aircraft is set for early December.

A U.S. naval ship and surveillance aircraft also participated in an Oct. 14-17 maritime interdiction exercise, SANSO 03, in the Mediterranean Sea. Hosted by Spain, the exercise included France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, and the United Kingdom. Another naval exercise is scheduled for late November.

Although continuing to hone their interdiction capabilities, the participants are going to take a short rest from plenary meetings. Portugal will host the next plenary in early 2004.

 

The United States has enlisted 10 other countries for its plan to seize shipments of deadly arms to terrorists and countries suspected of pursuing weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programs. 

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. 

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