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Profile: Hans Blix

 
  

Positions that Hans Blix has held:

  • Director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency
  • UNMOVIC chief weapons inspector


 

Quotes

 
  

Quote, September 10, 2002

   It will “take about a year of work before teams can verify that Iraq is not building weapons.” [Globe and Mail, 9/11/02]

Associated Events

Quote, October 1, 2002

   “The Iraqi representatives declared that Iraq accepts all the rights of inspections provided for in all the relevant UN Security Council resolutions. It was clarified that all sites are subject to immediate, unconditional and unrestricted access.... There is a willingness to accept inspections that has not existed before.” [Times, 10/02/02]

Associated Events

Quote, December 20, 2002

   “If the UK and the US are convinced and they say they have evidence, then one would expect they would be able to tell us where is this stuff.” When asked if he was getting sufficient cooperation from Western intelligence agencies, he explained: “Not yet. We get some, but we don't get all we need.” [Independent 12/21/02]

Associated Events

Summary, late January 2003

   In late January 2003, Hans Blix referred to the Americans as “librarians who did not want to lend out the books.” He was referring to the Bush administration's refusal to share intelligence on Iraq with the UN weapons inspectors. [New York Times 12/27/03]

Associated Events

Quote, February 5, 2003

   “I don't think there was clear-cut evidence that they have weapons of mass destruction. Very much of it was circumstantial.” [Mirror, 2/6/03]

Associated Events

Quote, March 2003

   “I think that is very, very disturbing. Who falsifies this? And is it not disturbing that the intelligence agencies that should have all the technical means at their disposal did not discover that this was falsified?” [Guardian, 4/22/03]

Associated Events

Summary, April 22, 2003

   On April 22,2003, Hans Blix told the BBC that the intelligence the US had provided to the inspectors had been “shaky.” [Reuters, 4/22/03]

Associated Events

Summary, mid-April 2003

   In mid-April 2003, after the US invasion of Iraq, Hans Blix told Der Spiegel that the intelligence Washington had provided the inspectors was “pathetic.” [Guardian, 4/18/03]

Associated Events


 

Relations

 
  

No related entities for this entity.


 

Hans Blix actively participated in the following events:

 
  

October 6, 1997      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       Hans Blix, director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, writes in a letter to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan that there is no evidence that Iraq has an active nuclear weapons program. Blix says that the agency now has a “technically coherent picture of Iraq's clandestine nuclear program,” despite some missing evidence and gaps in knowledge. He states with certainty the following: [Sources: IAEA Letter UN, 10/6/1997]
“There are no indications to suggest that Iraq was successful in its attempt to produce nuclear weapons. Iraq's explanation of its progress towards the finalization of a workable design for its nuclear weapons is considered to be consistent with the resources and time scale indicated by the available program documentation. However, no documentation or other evidence is available to show the actual status of the weapon design when the program was interrupted.” [Sources: IAEA Letter UN, 10/6/1997]
“Iraq was at, or close to, the threshold of success in such areas as the production of HEU [high-enriched uranium] through the EMIS [electromagnetic isotope separation] process, the production and pilot cascading of single-cylinder sub-critical gas centrifuge machines, and the fabrication of the explosive package for a nuclear weapon.” [Sources: IAEA Letter UN, 10/6/1997]
“There are no indications to suggest that Iraq had produced more that a few grams of weapon-usable nuclear material (HEU or separated plutonium) through its indigenous processes, all of which has been removed from Iraq.” [Sources: IAEA Letter UN, 10/6/1997]
“There are no indications that Iraq otherwise acquired weapon-usable nuclear material.” [Sources: IAEA Letter UN, 10/6/1997]
“All of the safeguarded research reactor fuel, including the HEU fuel that Iraq had planned to divert to its ‘crash program,’ was verified and fully accounted for by the IAEA and removed from Iraq.” [Sources: IAEA Letter UN, 10/6/1997]
“There are no indications that there remains in Iraq any physical capability for the production of amounts of weapon-usable nuclear material of any practical significance.” [Sources: IAEA Letter UN, 10/6/1997]
People and organizations involved: International Atomic Energy Agency, Iraq, Kofi Annan, Hans Blix
          

Late February 2002      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       Chief UN Inspector Hans Blix prepares a list of disarmament tasks that Iraq needs to complete in order prove its claim that it has no weapons of mass destruction. According to UN Resolution 1284, the completion of these tasks would make Iraq eligible for the suspension of sanctions. [The Washington Post, 3/01/03]
People and organizations involved: Hans Blix
          

September 16, 2002      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri meets with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and Arab League Secretary-General Amir Moussa and gives them a letter expressing Baghdad's willingness to readmit the UN weapons inspectors without conditions. The offer is made after Saddam Hussein convened an emergency meeting in Baghdad with his cabinet and the Revolutionary Command Council (RCC). [Associated Press, 9/16/02a; Independent, 9/17/02; New York Times, 9/17/02 Sources: Iraq's September 16, 2002 letter accepting the unconditional return of weapons inspectors] Iraq's letter is effectively an agreement to December 1999 UN Security Council Resolution 1284. [New York Times, 9/18/02] Kofi Annan tells reporters after the meeting, “I can confirm to you that I have received a letter from the Iraqi authorities conveying its decision to allow the return of the inspectors without conditions to continue their work and has also agreed that they are ready to start immediate discussions on the practical arrangements for the return of the inspectors to resume their work.” Annan credits the Arab League, which he says “played a key role” in influencing Saddam Hussein's decision to accept the inspectors, and suggests that Bush's speech also played a critical part in influencing Baghdad's decision. [UN, 9/16/02] UNMOVIC Chief Weapons Inspector Hans Blix also meets with Iraqi officials and it is reportedly agreed that weapons inspectors will return to Iraq on October 19. UNMOVIC spokesman Ewen Buchanan tells the BBC, “We are ready to discuss practical measures, such as helicopters, hotels, the installation of monitoring equipment and so on, which need to be put in place.” [BBC, 9/17/02] The Bush administration immediately rejects the offer, calling it “a tactical step by Iraq in hopes of avoiding strong UN Security Council action,” in a statement released by the deputy press secretary. [White House, 9/16/2002; Associated Press, 9/16/02] And Dan Bartlett, the White House communications director, tells reporters: “We've made it very clear that we are not in the business of negotiating with Saddam Hussein. We are working with the UN Security Council to determine the most effective way to reach our goal.” He then claims Iraq's offer is a tactic to give “false hope to the international community that [President Saddam] means business this time,” adding, “Unfortunately, his more than decade of experience shows you can put very little into his words or deeds.” Two days later Bush will tell reporters that Saddam's offer is “his latest ploy, his latest attempt not to be held accountable for defying the United Nations,” adding: “He's not going to fool anybody. We've seen him before. . . . We'll remind the world that, by defying resolutions, he's become more and more of a threat to world peace. [The world] must rise up and deal with this threat, and that's what we expect the Security Council to do.” [Agence France Presse, 9/19/02; Independent, 9/17/02] Later that night, Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice reportedly hold a conference call with Kofi Annan and accuse him of taking matters into his own hands. [Vanity Fair, 5/2004, pg 285] Britain supports the US position and calls for a UN resolution backed with the threat of force. [BBC, 9/17/03] Other nations react differently to the offer. For example, Russia's Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, says: “It's important that, through our joint efforts, we have managed to put aside the threat of a war scenario around Iraq and return the process to a political channel ... It is essential in the coming days to resolve the issue of the inspectors' return. For this, no new [Security Council] resolutions are needed.” [BBC, 9/17/03; Independent, 9/17/02]
People and organizations involved: Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, Hans Blix, Saddam Hussein, Amir Moussa, Scott McClellan, Kofi Annan, Naji Sabri, Dan Bartlett  Additional Info 
          

September 19, 2002      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       UN Chief Weapons Inspector Hans Blix tells the Security Council that he intends to position an advance weapons inspection team in Iraq by October 15. He explains: “We will select some sites that we think are interesting to go to in the early phases, so it's not like it takes two months before we can send any guys out there in the field. It will be much earlier than that.” [BBC, 9/20/2002]
People and organizations involved: Hans Blix
          

September 30, 2002      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       Iraqi and UN officials meet together with weapons inspectors to begin a two-day discussion on the resumption of weapons inspections in Iraq. “The Iraqis are being positive and businesslike and they are coming with a desire to reach an agreement,” says Muhammad ElBaradei, the director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency. Mr. ElBaradei co-hosts the discussion with Hans Blix, the UN's chief weapons inspector. This effort to reach an agreement is independent to, and in conflict with, the US and British plan to introduce a tougher UN resolution that would allow for the inspections to be backed by the threat of military force. Notes the Times of London, “Such an agreement could be bad news for the United States and Britain by further complicating their efforts to win UN approval for a tough new resolution explicitly threatening military action if Iraq does impede the inspectors.” [Times, 10/1/02]
People and organizations involved: Mohamed ElBaradei, Hans Blix
          

October 8 and 11, 2002      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       Chief UN inspector Hans Blix and Mohamed ElBaradei, the director-general of the UN International Atomic Energy Agency, send a letter to the Iraqi government which lists conclusions they had drawn from the October 1 meeting with Iraqi arms officials (see October 1, 2002). The letter asks that Iraqi officials respond with a letter confirming these conclusions. But the inspectors' letter actually includes additional conditions not discussed during the October 1 meeting, “among them were the right of inspectors to conduct interviews and choose ‘the mode and location’ for them as well as the possibility of flying U-2 spy planes over Iraq.” [Reuters, 10/12/02] Iraqi officials respond to the request on October 11 with a letter signed by Amir Hammudi al-Saadi, an adviser to Saddam Hussein. The letter agrees only to the conditions that were agreed upon during the October 1 meeting. [Reuters, 10/12/02; New York Times, 10/12/2002 Sources: Iraqi letter to UN, Oct. 10, 2002] The Bush administration seizes on the Iraqi response, calling it another example of Iraq evasion. “We are not surprised that once again the Iraqis want to delay and deceive. ... We've had 16 resolutions and 11 years of playing this game, and it's time the Security Council takes action,” says Richard Grenell, spokesman for US Ambassador John Negroponte. [New York Times, 10/12/2002; Reuters, 10/12/02]
People and organizations involved: Mohamed ElBaradei, Amir Hammudi al-Saadi, Hans Blix
          

October 15, 2002      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       Hans Blix announces that he will wait for a decision on the proposed new UN resolution being pushed by the US and Britain prior to leading the inspection team to Iraq. The New York Times reports, “The chief of the United Nations weapons inspectors appealed to Iraq today to agree to arrangements for new inspections but said his weapons teams would only return to Iraq after the Security Council adopts a resolution giving them a new mandate.” [New York Times, 10/16/02]
People and organizations involved: Hans Blix
          

November 2002-March 2003      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       The Bush administration and the United Nations disagree over how intrusive the inspections should be. The US wants the inspectors to be as aggressive as possible by visiting sensitive sites and demanding interviews with Iraqi scientists without the presence of minders. Hans Blix, on the other hand, advocates a more measured approach to achieving disarmament. He says that inspection team recruits should be “firm” with their Iraqi counterparts but never “angry and aggressive.” One of his aides tells The Washington Post in late November 2002: “We're not going to do in-your-face inspections. He [Blix] wants effective inspections. It's not our job to provoke, harm or humiliate.” The inspectors argue that it makes no sense—nor is logistically feasible—to begin the inspections process with intrusive inspections of Iraq's most sensitive sites. One UN official explains to The Washington Post, “If you only have 11 people, you cannot go to a big new site, but you can go check on a known monitoring site.” The Independent reports that inspectors “believe it would not only be counterproductive, but could damage the prospect of ascertaining whether President Saddam does indeed possess an arsenal of weapons of mass destruction.” [Washington Post, 11/17/02 Sources: US and UN officials] In December, Washington calls for an increase in the UN inspectors' staff so that the UN's two agencies can conduct multiple simultaneous inspections each day. On December 4, White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer says, “We want to make certain that they [the inspections] are aggressive enough to be able to ascertain the facts in the face of an adversary who in the past did everything in his power to hide the facts.” [BBC, 12/4/02]
People and organizations involved: Ari Fleischer, Hans Blix
          

November 16, 2002      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       Hans Blix says he cannot guarantee that there will be no spies on his team. “People have asked me, ‘Can you be absolutely sure we will have no spies in any of the member states?’ and I said, ‘No, I don't think either the KGB or the CIA can give that absolute assurance.’ ” He adds that if he discovers any spies, he will dismiss them from the team. [Independent, 11/17/02] The concern stems from the fact that the previous inspection regime, UNSCOM, had been infiltrated by US and British spies. While much of the intelligence obtained was used to increase the effectiveness of the inspections, some of it was used to serve other interests. For example, some of the intelligence was “used to help identify and target Hussein's suspected hide-outs when US and British bombers launched the Desert Fox airstrikes in December 1998.” And some intelligence was even sent to Israel. [Los Angeles Times, 6/19/02; The Times of London, 9/18/02; Los Angeles Times, 10/23/02; Reuters, 10/3/02; Financial Times, 7/29/02 Sources: Scott Ritter, Rolf Ekeus, Ake Sellstrom]
People and organizations involved: Hans Blix  Additional Info 
          

November 18, 2002      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       A team of 26 UN inspectors arrive in Baghdad. On the tarmac of Saddam Hussein International Airport, UNMOVIC Weapons Inspection Chief Hans Blix tells reporters, “We have come here for one single reason and that is because the world wants to have assurances that there are no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. The situation is tense at the moment, but there is a new opportunity and we are here to provide inspection which is credible... We hope we can all take that opportunity together.... There is a new opportunity and we hope that opportunity will be well-utilized so that we can get out of sanctions. And in the long term, we will have a zone free of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East.” Hans Blix and Director of the International Atomic Energy Agency Mohamed ElBaradei then head to Baghdad where they meet with Iraqi Gen. Amir al-Saadi and Hussam Mohammed Amin, the head of the Iraqi National Monitoring Directorate. [New York Times, 11/19/2002; CNN, 11/19/02; Guardian, 11/29/02]
People and organizations involved: Amir Hammudi al-Saadi, Mohamed ElBaradei, Hans Blix, Hussam Mohammad Amin
          

November 25, 2002      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       Iraq informs the Council that it might not be able to provide the UN with a complete declaration of its past and present civilian and military chemical, biological and nuclear programs as required by UN Resolution 1441 by the December 8 deadline. Hans Blix is sympathetic and the Russian UN ambassador suggests that the deadline should be extended. Iraqi officials also indicate they are not sure what exactly they are expected to include. According to The Washington Post, “Iraqi officials told Blix that they were uncertain whether the Security Council's terms required that they declare every single item produced in its commercial chemical industry, citing plastic slippers as an example.” Hans Blix indicates that he is also unsure. John D. Negroponte, the US ambassador to the United Nations, argues that no extension should be granted. [Washington Post, 11/26/2002]
People and organizations involved: Hans Blix, John Negroponte, Sergei Lavrov
          

Early December 2002      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       The White House orders the CIA, the department of defense, and the State Department to develop an aggressive plan for UN weapons inspectors that would require Iraqi scientists to appear for questioning. “An intense argument is under way ... on almost all of the details of a protection program,” reports the New York Times. “Some American officials want the United Nations team to be aggressive in identifying scientists and demanding that they leave the country, perhaps without the scientists' permission.” The UN would either issue subpoenas to the scientists or the UN would “lure” the scientists with offers of asylum in another country. If it is decided that subpoenas are to be used, Iraqi scientists would be required to “appear on a certain date and time at a place outside of Iraq ... [and] Baghdad would be held responsible for seeing that they appear,” reports The Washington Post. Officials leak to the press that the Bush administration views the plan as the most likely way to provoke resistance from Baghdad. One official tells The Washington Post that if Iraqis “don't produce those people, I would say that's a demonstration of noncompliance and noncooperation.” The Washington Post reports that the inspections agencies, some allied governments, and UN officials are not pleased with the idea. They warn “that attempts to short-circuit the inspection process with a quickly conceived operation that could involve hundreds of Iraqis and their families could endanger lives while undermining both the inspections themselves and ongoing US intelligence operations in Iraq.” [The Washington Post, 12/12/02; Washington Post 12/13/02; New York Times, 12/6/02 Sources: Unnamed US officials] Hans Blix, who strongly disapproves of the recommendation, argues that the United Nations cannot abduct people against their will. “Do you really think any Iraqis are going to go for it?” he asks. “I mean how big is a family, do you take just the wife and children and parents? What about the extended family—the cousins? Do you leave them behind? And what if we're stopped on the way to the airport?” [Guardian, 12/7/02] The next day he reaffirms his position, saying, “We are in nobody's pocket. ... We are not going to abduct anybody and we are not serving as a defection agency.” [United Press International, 12/6/02; New York Times, 12/7/02; The Times of London, 12/7/02] His view is “backed by most of the United Nations hierarchy and the State Department in Washington,” reports the New York Times. The Times quotes one US official, who disagrees with the idea. “Taking someone against their will is contrary to the whole United Nations concept,” the source says. “You'd fracture the UN consensus.” [Guardian, 12/7/02; New York Times, 12/6/02; The Washington Post, 12/12/02 Sources: Unnamed US official] Iraqi General Amir Saadi argues that the proposal is problematic under international law and expresses concern that Hans Blix would be pressured into providing a copy of Iraq's list of scientists to US intelligence. “This is a confidential list,” he says. “Will he make it public? Will he give it to other countries?” [The Washington Post, 12/20/02]
People and organizations involved: Hans Blix, Amir Hammudi al-Saadi
          

December 3, 2002      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       One day after Bush asserts that signs of Iraqi cooperation are so far “not encouraging,” UN Chief Weapons Inspector Hans Blix tells the Associated Press, “I think we have started in the manner we expected and we have not had any impediments in the visits of plants.” By this date, notes the Associated Press, “UN inspectors have reported unimpeded access and Iraqi cooperation” in “more than a dozen field missions.” [Guardian, 12/11/02; AP, 12/3/02; Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 12/3/02; Fox News, 12/3/02] Similarly, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan says, “It's only been a week and obviously the cooperation seems to be good, but this is not a one-week wonder. They have to sustain the cooperation and the effort and perform.” [Washington Post, 12/4/02; Associated Press, 12/3/02]
People and organizations involved: Hans Blix, Kofi Annan
          

December 6, 2002      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       UNMOVIC weapons inspection leader Hans Blix calls on the US to share its secret intelligence with inspectors. “Of course we would like to have as much information from any member state as to evidence they may have on weapons of mass destruction, and, in particular, sites,” he says. “Because we are inspectors, we can go to sites. They may be listening to what's going on and they may have lots of other sources of information. But we can go to the sites legitimately and legally.” Notes the New York Times: “On one hand, administration officials are pressing him to work faster and send out more inspectors to more places to undermine Baghdad's ability to conceal any hidden programs. At the same time, Washington has been holding back its intelligence, waiting to see what Iraq will say in its declaration.” [New York Times, 12/7/02]
People and organizations involved: Hans Blix
          

December 10, 2002      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       Hans Blix completes an initial review of Iraq's December 7 declaration (see December 7, 2002) and tells the UN Security Council that he will brief them as early as December 16. He says he plans to meet with representatives of the United States and the four other permanent members to decide what portions of the declaration need to be censored before being distributed to the other Security Council member states. Certain documents will be censored in order to prevent the details of Iraq's nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs from falling into the wrong hands and being used as a virtual “cookbook” to build weapons of mass destruction. “He proposed that the most sensitive information should be purged from the text by inspectors, to ensure that it did not leak. To do otherwise would breach international treaties on weapons proliferation,” reports the London Telegraph. The US will play the dominant role in deciding what parts of the declaration need to be blacked out. The Washington Post reports, “Bush administration officials indicated today that they would tell Blix before the end of the week what elements of the report should remain confidential.” Blix recommends censoring sections dealing with designs for the production of nuclear weapons, plans for converting short-range missiles into long-range rockets, and a list of foreign companies that supplied Iraq with materials for its chemical, biological and nuclear weapons. [Telegraph, 12/8/02; The Washington Post, 12/11/02b Sources: Unnamed UN Security Council diplomats]
People and organizations involved: Hans Blix
          

December 19, 2002      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       Secretary of State Colin Powell and US ambassador to the UN John Negroponte say that the Bush administration considers Iraq to be in “material breach” of UN Resolution 1441, citing deliberate omissions and falsehoods in Iraq's 12,000 page December 7 declaration (see December 7, 2002). Powell calls the declaration “a catalogue of recycled information and flagrant omissions,” adding that it “totally fails to meet the resolution's requirements.” He says the omissions “constitute another material breach.” [Washington Post, 12/19/02; Associated Press, 12/19/02; Ireland Online, 12/19/02; Associated Press, 12/19/02b] But the administration's conclusion is made before the Arabic sections of the declaration have even been translated. Blix says that there are 500 or 600 pages that still need to be translated and that it is too early to provide a complete assessment. He adds that the Bush administration's statements about a “material breach” are baseless allegations. [The Strait Times, 12/20/02; CNN, 12/19/02]
People and organizations involved: John Negroponte, Hans Blix, Colin Powell  Additional Info 
          

December 20, 2002      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       UNMOVIC chief weapons inspector Hans Blix criticizes the US and British governments for failing to provide inspectors with the intelligence they need to locate Iraq's alleged arsenal of banned weapons. Blix states, “If the UK and the US are convinced and they say they have evidence, then one would expect they would be able to tell us where is this stuff.” When asked if he is receiving enough cooperation from Western intelligence agencies, he answers, “Not yet. We get some, but we don't get all we need.” In response, US and British intelligence claim they will provide UN inspectors with higher quality intelligence. One official tells the New York Times, “We are going to give them one piece of information at a time, given strategically at the right moment.” Another official explains that the reason for this is because, “Based on our historical experience with UNSCOM, they had a very difficult time keeping information from falling into Iraqi hands.” [New, York Times 12/21/2002; Independent, 12/21/02; Independent, 12/22/02 Sources: Unnamed administration officials]
People and organizations involved: Hans Blix
          

January 9, 2003      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       UNMOVIC inspectors say they have yet to uncover evidence indicating that Iraq has resumed its production of weapons of mass destruction. After providing the UN Security Council with a summary of the inspectors' findings, Hans Blix tells reporters in New York, “We have now been there for some two months and been covering the country in ever wider sweeps and we haven't found any smoking guns.” [Guardian, 1/10/03] But Ari Fleischer, the White House press secretary, insists that the absence of evidence is of little concern, asserting, “The problem with guns that are hidden is you can't see their smoke. We know for a fact that there are weapons there.” And John Negroponte, the US ambassador to the UN, accuses Iraq of “legalistic” cooperation, claiming that it needs to act proactively. He also says, “There is still no evidence that Iraq has fundamentally changed its approach from one of deceit to a genuine attempt to be forthcoming.” [Guardian, 1/10/03] Colin Powell also seems undaunted by Blix's remarks. “The lack of a smoking gun does not mean that there's not one there,” he says, “If the international community sees that Saddam Hussein is not cooperating in a way that would not allow you to determine the truth of the matter, then he is in violation of the UN resolution [1441]...You don't really have to have a smoking gun.” [News24, 1/10/03] Sir Jeremy Greenstock, the British ambassador to the UN, echoes views from Washington, asserting that the “passive cooperation of Iraq has been good in terms of access and other procedural issues,” and adds, “But proactive cooperation has not been forthcoming—the kind of cooperation needed to clear up the remaining questions in the inspectors' minds.” [Guardian, 1/10/03]
People and organizations involved: Ari Fleischer, Hans Blix, John Negroponte, Colin Powell, Jeremy Greenstock
          

January 13, 2003      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       Both Hans Blix and Mohamed ElBaradei say they need several more months before they can determine whether or not Saddam Hussein still has an illegal weapons program. ElBaradei says the inspectors “still need a few months to achieve our mission,” but adds that Baghdad must supply more documents to verify its claim that Iraq no longer is developing weapons of mass destruction. ElBaradei also hints at his concern that the US might end the inspections by invading the country. He says, “It could be that one day they will say, ‘Move aside boys, we are coming in.’ ” [Associated Press, 11/13/03]
People and organizations involved: Mohamed ElBaradei, Hans Blix
          

January 14, 2003      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       A disagreement arises among UN Security Council members over the weapons inspections schedule. UN Resolution 1441 specifies that after 60 days, the inspectors must report to the Council on the progress of inspections. But the resolution provides no instructions for how the inspections are to proceed after this date. The resolution also fails to explain what is to happen if no weapons of mass destruction are found. Hans Blix believes that after the 60 day report—due January 27—his team should revert to the terms contained within 1999 UN Resolution 1284. According to the provisions of this agreement, an additional report would be due in late March, which would contain a list of disarmament requirements that Iraq would have to satisfy prior to the lifting of sanctions. “The 1999 resolution spells out steps, which, in theory, could lead to a suspension of sanctions as early as July,” reports Reuters. Bush administration officials strongly disagree with Hans Blix's approach, fearing that it would subvert US plans to provoke a military confrontation with Iraq. The Washington Post reports, “[Blix's] plan risks undermining the administration's strategy to ratchet up the pressure for a decision on whether to go to war later this month and it raises the prospect that Security Council members, including some US allies, would use it as an excuse to put off a decision until March, at the earliest.” Other countries—including France, Britain, Russia, France, China and Syria—see no problem with the timetable being advocated by Hans Blix. “The Council's resolutions shouldn't be flouted, they should be respected,” says Fayssal Mekdad, Syria's deputy UN ambassador. [Reuters, 1/16/03; New York Times, 1/16/03; Washington Post, 1/16/03; Sydney Morning Herald, 1/16/03 Sources: UN Resolution 1284]
People and organizations involved: Fayssal Mekdad, Hans Blix  Additional Info 
          

January 15, 2003      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       US National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice flies to New York City to meet with Hans Blix. She attempts to discourage him from his plans to revert to the provisions of UN Resolution 1284 after his January 27 report to the UN Security Council—the last update required by UN Resolution 1441. She also attempts to persuade him to press ahead with plans to aggressively interview Iraqi scientists. [Sydney Morning Herald, 1/16/03; New York Times, 1/16/03] At a Council luncheon, US ambassador to the UN John Negroponte attempts to convince delegates of the other member states that the inspections timetable should not be based on the 1999 resolution. But they disagree, seeing no reason to ignore the process outlined in Resolution 1284. A few days later, the London Observer reports, “US officials have made it clear that they will try to foil further reports and say that an accumulation of evidence of military activity in Iraq will be enough for Saddam to be in material breach of the orders to Saddam to disarm.” [Reuters, 1/16/03b; Observer, 1/19/03; New York Times, 1/17/03]
People and organizations involved: Condoleezza Rice, John Negroponte, Hans Blix
          

January 27, 2003      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       UNMOVIC Chief Weapons Inspector Hans Blix and IAEA Chief Weapons Inspector Mohamed ElBaradei present their long-anticipated reports on the progress of weapons inspections to the UN Security Council. Blix's assessment is notably more critical than the IAEA report by Mohamed ElBaradei. Blix tells the UN Security Council that while the Iraqi government has passively cooperated with the weapons inspectors: “Unlike South Africa, which decided on its own to eliminate its nuclear weapons and welcomed inspection as a means of creating confidence in its disarmament, Iraq appears not to have come to a genuine acceptance—not even today—of the disarmament, which was demanded of it and which it needs to carry out to win the confidence of the world and to live in peace.” Additionally, Blix reports that it is still too early to determine whether or not Iraq has or is developing weapons of mass destruction, noting that Iraq has still not answered several questions concerning unaccounted-for weapons. [New York Times, 1/27/03b; New York Times, 1/28/03; Washington Post, 1/28/03; Deutsche Welle, 1/27/03; Times of London, 1/28/03; UNMOVIC, 1/27/03]
Hans Blix's report -
Iraq has refused to permit overflights by American U2 surveillance planes. Iraq said that it would allow the overflights only if the UN promised to demand an end to the almost daily bombings by US and British war planes in the so-called “no-fly” zones. Iraq worries that if fighter jets and U2 planes are flying over Iraq at the same time, Iraq might inadvertently shoot at the surveillance planes, thinking they are fighter jets. [Washington Post, 1/28/03; New York Times, 1/27/03b; Times of London, 1/28/03]
Iraq has not provided an adequate declaration of its prior production of nerve agent VX. [Times of London, 1/28/03; New York Times, 1/27/03b; Washington Post, 1/28/03]
Inspectors have found a “laboratory quantity” of thiodiglycol, a precursor of mustard gas. [New York Times, 1/27/03b]
1,000 tons of chemical agents from the Iraq-Iran War remain unaccounted for. [New York Times, 1/27/03b]
6,500 missing chemical rockets remain unaccounted for. [Times of London, 1/28/03; Washington Post, 1/28/03; New York Times, 1/27/03b]
Iraq has not provided evidence to substantiate its claim that it destroyed 8,500 liters of anthrax [Washington Post, 1/28/03; New York Times, 1/27/03b; Times of London, 1/28/03]
650kg of bacterial growth media remain unaccounted for. [Times of London, 1/28/03; Washington Post, 1/28/03; New York Times, 1/27/03b]
Iraq has been developing Al Samoud 2 and Al Fatah missiles with a range beyond the 150km limit. [Times of London, 1/28/03; New York Times, 1/27/03b; Washington Post, 1/28/03]
380 rocket engines were smuggled into Iraq the previous month with chemicals used for missile propellants and control systems. [Los Angeles Times, 12/31/01; Times of London, 1/28/03; New York Times, 1/27/03b; Washington Post, 1/28/03]
Iraq had provided the names of only 400 of the estimated 3,500 Iraqi scientists. [Washington Post, 1/28/03; New York Times 1/27/03b; Times of London, 1/28/03] Iraqi scientists are refusing private interviews with UN inspectors. [Washington Post, 1/28/03; New York Times, 1/27/03b; Times of London, 1/28/03]
ElBaradei's report to the UN -
The International Atomic Energy Agency's inspection team has failed to uncover any evidence implicating Saddam's regime in the development of nuclear weapons. He tells the Council: “We have to date found no evidence that Iraq has revived its nuclear weapon program since the elimination of the program in the 1990's. ... No prohibited nuclear activities have been identified during these inspections.” [New York Times, 1/28/03; IAEI, 1/27/03; Washington Post, 1/28/03]
The International Atomic Energy Agency's inspection team is close to completing weapons inspections in Iraq. He says: “We should be able within the next few months to provide credible assurance that Iraq has no nuclear weapons program. These few months would be a valuable investment in peace because they could help us avoid war.” He adds: “[T]he presence of international inspectors in Iraq today continues to serve as an effective deterrent to and insurance against the resumption” of secret weapons programs. [Times of London, 1/28/03; New York Times, 1/27/03b; IAEI, 1/27/03]
The aluminum tubes that Iraq attempted to import were not related to uranium enrichment. ElBaradei states: “IAEA inspectors have inspected the relevant rocket production and storage sites, taken tube samples, interviewed relevant Iraqi personnel, and reviewed procurement contracts and related documents. From our analysis to date it appears that the aluminum tubes would be consistent with the purpose stated by Iraq and, unless modified, would not be suitable for manufacturing centrifuges....” [Times of London, 1/28/03; IAEI, 1/27/03; Washington Post, 1/28/03; New York Times, 1/27/03b]
The IAEA is investigating concerns that Iraq has attempted to obtain magnets that could be used in a gas centrifuge program. “Iraq presented detailed information on a project to construct a facility to produce magnets for the Iraqi missile program, as well as for industrial applications, and that Iraq had prepared a solicitation of offers, but that the project had been delayed due to ‘financial credit arrangements’ . Preliminary investigations indicate that the specifications contained in the offer solicitation are consistent with those required for the declared intended uses. However, the IAEA will continue to investigate the matter ....” [IAEI, 1/27/03]
Response - Responses to the two presentations are predictable. The US and Britain see no hope for Iraqi cooperation and peaceful disarmament, whereas other nations feel Blix and ElBaradei's reports demonstrate that the inspections are working and that the use of military force is not necessary. [Reuters, 1/27/03; Times of London, 1/28/03; New York Times, 1/27/03b]
People and organizations involved: Mohamed ElBaradei, Hans Blix  Additional Info 
          

January 28, 2003      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       Bush gives his State of the Union address, making several false allegations about Iraq. [US President, 1/28/03]
He says, “The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa. Saddam Hussein has not credibly explained these activities.... He clearly has much to hide.” [US President, 1/28/03; Independent, 6/5/03; White House website] The British allegation cited by Bush concerns a SISMI (Italy's military intelligence) report (see (Mid-October 2001)) based on a set of forged documents. Months after the speech, with evidence mounting that the statement was completely false, the administration will retract this claim (see July 11, 2003). [Independent, 8/10/03a Sources: Wissam al-Zahawie]
Bush alleges that a shipment of aluminum tubes imported by Iraq were intended to be used in the country's alleged nuclear weapons program. “Our intelligence sources tell us that he has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes suitable for nuclear weapons production. Saddam Hussein has not credibly explained these activities. He clearly has much to hide.” [US President, 1/28/03]
Bush accuses Iraq of having enough material “to produce over 25,000 liters of anthrax—enough doses to kill several million people ... more than 38,000 liters of botulinum toxin—enough to subject millions of people to death by respiratory failure ... as much as 500 tons of sarin, mustard and VX nerve agent.” [Washington Post, 1/28/03]
Bush alleges: “Iraqi intelligence officers are posing as the scientists inspectors are supposed to interview. Real scientists have been coached by Iraqi officials on what to say.” [White House, 1/28/03] But Hans Blix, the chief UNMOVIC weapons inspector, tells the New York Times in an interview that he knows of no evidence supporting that claim. [New York Times, 1/31/03] Bush says, “We know that Iraq, in the late 1990s, had several mobile weapons labs . . . designed to produce germ warfare agents and can be moved from place to a place to evade inspectors,” citing “three Iraqi defectors” as sources of the information. One of the defectors referred to by Bush is “Curveball,” whom the CIA station chief in Germany warned was not reliable the day before (see January 27, 2003). Another source for the claim was Mohammad Harith, whom the Defense Intelligence Agency had labeled a “fabricator” the previous May (see May 2002).
People and organizations involved: Hans Blix, George W. Bush  Additional Info 
          

February 2003-March 2003      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       The US and British conduct a spy operation targeting UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and other top UN officials. But news of this will not surface until February 2004. “[T]he UK ... was ... spying on Kofi Annan's office and getting reports from him about what was going on,” former British cabinet member Claire Short will tell BBC Radio 4's Today. When asked to elaborate, she says, “Well I know—I've seen transcripts of Kofi Annan's conversations.” [Guardian, 2/28/04; New York Times, 2/27/04; Independent, 2/26/04; BBC, 2/26/04 Sources: Claire Short] And in an interview with The Guardian one day later, Hans Blix will say that he believes he too was bugged. [Guardian, 2/28/04 Sources: Hans Blix] Under international treaties, it is illegal for member states to spy on UN offices. [Sydney Morning Herald, 2/28/04; New York Times, 2/27/04]
People and organizations involved: Kofi Annan, Hans Blix, Claire Short
          

10:30 a.m. February 5, 2003      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       US Secretary of State Colin Powell presents the Bush administration's case against Saddam to the UN Security Council, in advance of an expected vote on a second resolution that the US and Britain hope will provide the justification to use military force against Iraq. [The White House, 2/6/03] At the insistence of Powell, CIA Director George Tenet is seated directly behind him to the right. “It was theater, a device to signal to the world that Powell was relying on the CIA to make his case that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction,” Vanity Fair magazine will later explain. [Vanity Fair, 5/2004, pg 232; Bamford, 2004, pp 371-2] In his speech before the Council, Powell makes the case that Iraq is in further material breach of past UN resolutions, specifically the most recent one, UN Resolution 1441. Sources cited in Powell's presentation include defectors, informants, communication intercepts, procurement records, photographs, and detainees. [The White House, 2/6/03] Most of the allegations made by Powell are later demonstrated to be false. “The defectors and other sources went unidentified,” the Associated Press will later report. “The audiotapes were uncorroborated, as were the photo interpretations. No other supporting documents were presented. Little was independently verifiable.” [Associated Press, 8/9/03]
Iraq's December 7 declaration was inaccurate - Powell contends that Iraq's December 7 declaration was not complete. According to UN Resolution 1441 the document was supposed to be a “currently accurate, full and complete declaration of all aspects” of its programs to develop weapons of mass destruction. But Saddam has not done this, says Powell, who explains that Iraq has yet to provide sufficient evidence that it destroyed its previously declared stock of 8,500 liters of anthrax, as it claimed in the declaration. Furthermore, notes the secretary of state, UNSCOM inspectors had previously estimated that Iraq possessed the raw materials to produce as much as 25,000 liters of the virus. [Washington Post, 2/6/03d; The White House, 2/6/03; New York Times, 2/5/03]
Iraq has ties to al Qaeda - Powell repeats earlier claims that Saddam Hussein's government has ties to al-Qaeda. Powell focuses on the cases of the militant Islamic group Ansar-al-Islam and Abu Musab Zarqawi, a Jordanian-born Palestinian, who had received medical treatment in Baghdad during the summer of 2002 (see Late 2001-May 2002). [The White House, 2/6/03] However, just days before Powell's speech, US and British intelligence officials—speaking on condition of anonymity—told the press that the administration's allegations of Iraqi-al-Qaeda ties were based on information provided by Kurdish groups, who, as enemies of Ansar-al-Islam, should not be considered reliable. Furthermore, these sources unequivocally stated that intelligence analysts on both sides of the Atlantic remained unconvinced of the purported links between Iraq and al-Qaeda (see February 3-4, 2003). [Daily Telegraph, 2/4/03; Independent, 2/3/03] Powell also claims that Iraq provided “chemical or biological weapons training for two al-Qaeda associates beginning in December 2000.” The claim is based on a September 2002 CIA document which had warned that its sources were of “varying reliability” and that the claim was not substantiated (see September 2002). The report's main source, Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, an al-Qaeda operative who offered the information to CIA interrogators while in custody, later recounts the claim (see February 14, 2004). [CNN, 9/26/02; Newsweek, 7/5/04; The New York Times, 7/31/04 Sources: Unnamed administration official] Larry Wilkerson, Powell's chief of staff, will later say that neither he nor Powell ever received “any dissent with respect to those lines � indeed the entire section that now we know came from [al-Libi].” [Newsweek, 11/10/2005] Senior US officials will admit to the New York Times and Washington Post after the presentation that the administration was not claiming that Saddam Hussein is “exercising operational control” of al-Qaeda. [Washington Post, 2/7/03; New York Times, 2/6/03b Sources: Unnamed senior US officials, Unnamed senior US State Department officials]
Iraq has missiles capable of flying up to 1,200 kilometers - Describing a photo of the al-Rafah weapons site, Powell says: “As part of this effort, another little piece of evidence, Iraq has built an engine test stand that is larger than anything it has ever had. Notice the dramatic difference in size between the test stand on the left, the old one, and the new one on the right. Note the large exhaust vent. This is where the flame from the engine comes out. The exhaust vent on the right test stand is five times longer than the one on the left. The one of the left is used for short-range missiles. The one on the right is clearly intended for long-range missiles that can fly 1,200 kilometers. This photograph was taken in April of 2002. Since then, the test stand has been finished and a roof has been put over it so it will be harder for satellites to see what's going on underneath the test stand.” [New York Times, 2/5/03; The White House, 2/6/03] But according to the Associated Press, “... UN missile experts have reported inspecting al-Rafah at least five times since inspections resumed Nov. 27, have studied the specifications of the new test stand, regularly monitor tests at the installation, and thus far have reported no concerns.” [Associated Press, 2/7/03] Similarly, Reuters quotes Ali Jassem, an Iraqi official, who explains that the large stand referred to in Powell's speech is not yet in operation and that its larger size is due to the fact that it will be testing engines horizontally. [Reuters, 2/7/03; Guardian, 2/15/03] Several days later, Blix will report to the UN that “so far, the test stand has not been associated with a proscribed activity.” [Guardian, 2/15/03b]
Iraqis attempted to hide evidence from inspectors - Powell shows the UN Security Council satellite shots depicting what he claims are chemical weapons bunkers and convoys of Iraqi cargo trucks preparing to transport ballistic missile components from a weapons site just two days before the arrival of inspectors. “We saw this kind of housecleaning at close to 30 sites,” Powell explains. “We must ask ourselves: Why would Iraq suddenly move equipment of this nature before inspections if they were anxious to demonstrate what they had or did not have?” [Washington Post, 2/6/03; The White House, 2/6/03] But the photos are interpreted differently by others. An unnamed UN official and German UN Inspector Peter Franck say the trucks in the photos are actually fire engines. [Mercury News, 3/18/03; Agence France Presse, 6/6/03] Another series of photos—taken during the spring and summer of 2002—show that Iraqis have removed a layer of topsoil from the al-Musayyib chemical complex. This piece of evidence, combined with information provided by an unnamed source, leads Powell to draw the following conclusion: “The Iraqis literally removed the crust of the earth from large portions of this site in order to conceal chemical weapons evidence that would be there from years of chemical weapons activity.” [The White House, 2/6/03; Washington Post, 2/6/03h] Showing another series of pictures—one taken on November 10 (before inspections) and one taken on December 22—Powell says that a guard station and decontamination truck were removed prior to the arrival of inspectors. Powell does not explain how he knows that the truck in the photograph was a decontamination truck. [Washington Post, 2/6/03h; The White House, 2/6/03; Washington Post, 2/6/03]
Communication intercepts demonstrate Iraqi attempts to conceal information from inspectors - Powell plays recordings of three conversations intercepted by US Intelligence—one on November 26, another on January 30, and a third, a “few weeks” before. The conversations suggest that the Iraqis were attempting to hide evidence from inspectors. [New York Times, 2/5/03; Sydney Morning Herald, 2/7/03; Times, 2/6/03; The White House, 2/6/03] Senior administration officials concede to The Washington Post that it was not known “what military items were discussed in the intercepts.” [Washington Post, 2/13/03] Some critics argue that the intercepts were presented out of context and open to interpretation. [Sydney Morning Herald, 2/9/03; Sydney Morning Herald, 2/7/03] Others note that the conversations were translated from Arabic by US translators and were not analyzed or verified by an independent specialist. [Newsday, 2/6/03]
Biological weapons factories - Colin Powell says that US intelligence has “firsthand descriptions” that Iraq has 18 mobile biological weapons factories mounted on trucks and railroad cars. Information about the mobile weapons labs are based on the testimonies of four sources—a defected Iraqi chemical engineer who claims to have supervised one of these facilities, an Iraqi civil engineer (see December 20, 2001), a source in “a position to know,” and a defected Iraqi major (see February 11, 2002). Powell says that the mobile units are capable of producing enough dry biological agent in a single month to kill several thousand people. He shows computer-generated diagrams and pictures based on the sources' descriptions of the facilities. Colin Powell says that according to the chemical engineer, during the late 1990s, Iraq's biological weapons scientists would often begin the production of pathogens on Thursday nights and complete the process on Fridays in order to evade UNSCOM inspectors whom Iraq believed would not conduct inspections on the Muslim holy day. [Washington Post 2/5/03d; Reuters, 2/8/02; The White House, 2/6/03; New York Times, 2/5/03] Responding to the allegation, Iraqi officials will concede that they do in fact have mobile labs, but insist that they are not used for the development of weapons. According to the Iraqis, the mobile labs are used for food analysis for disease outbreaks, mobile field hospitals, a military field bakery, food and medicine refrigeration trucks, a mobile military morgue and mobile ice making trucks. [Guardian, 2/5/03; ABC News, 5/21/03] Iraq's explanation is consistent with earlier assessments of the UN weapons inspectors. Before Powell's presentation, Hans Blix had dismissed suggestions that the Iraqis were using mobile biological weapons labs, reporting that inspections of two alleged mobile labs had turned up nothing. “Two food-testing trucks have been inspected and nothing has been found,” Blix said. And Ewen Buchanan, spokesman for the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission, said, “The outline and characteristics of these trucks that we inspected were all consistent with the declared purposes.” [The Guardian, 2/5/03; ABC News, 5/21/03] Powell's case is further damaged when it is later learned that one of the sources Powell cited, the Iraqi major, had been earlier judged unreliable by intelligence agents at the Defense Intelligence Agency (see February 11, 2002). In May 2002, the analysts had issued a “fabricator notice” on the informant, noting that he had been “coached by Iraqi National Congress” (see May 2002). But the main source for the claim had been an Iraqi defector known as “Curveball,” who turned out to be the brother of a top aide to Ahmed Chalabi. The source claimed to be a chemical engineer who had helped design and build the mobile labs. His information was passed to Washington through Germany's intelligence service, the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), which had been introduced to the source by the Iraqi National Congress (INC). In passing along the information, the BND noted that there were “various problems with the source.” And only one member of the US intelligence community had actually met with the person—an unnamed Pentagon analyst who determined the man was an alcoholic and of dubious reliability. Yet both the DIA and the CIA validated the information. [Newsweek, 4/19/04; Newsweek, 7/19/04; Knight Ridder, 3/28/04; Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, 08/22/03; Knight Ridder, 4/4/04 Sources: Unnamed Pentagon analyst, Unnamed current and former US intelligence officials, Unnamed senior US officials, Unnamed senior German security official] In addition to the inspectors' assessments and the dubious nature of the sources Powell cited, there are numerous other problems with the mobile factories claim. Raymond Zilinskas, a microbiologist and former UN weapons inspector, argues that significant amounts of pathogens such as anthrax, could not be produced in the short span of time suggested in Powell's speech. “You normally would require 36 to 48 hours just to do the fermentation .... The short processing time seems suspicious to me.” He also says: “The only reason you would have mobile labs is to avoid inspectors, because everything about them is difficult. We know it is possible to build them—the United States developed mobile production plants, including one designed for an airplane—but it's a big hassle. That's why this strikes me as a bit far-fetched.” [Washington Post, 2/5/03d] After the Powell's speech, Blix will say in his March 7 report to the UN that his inspectors found no evidence of mobile weapons labs (see March 7, 2003). [Blix, 3/7/03; CNN, 3/7/03; Agence France Presse, 3/7/03; UNMOVIC, 3/7/03]
Iraq is developing unmanned drones capable of deliverying weapons of mass destruction - Powell asserts that Iraq has flight-tested an unmanned drone capable of flying up to 310 miles and is working on a liquid-fueled ballistic missile with a range of 745 miles. He plays a video of an Iraqi F-1 Mirage jet dispersing “simulated anthrax.” [New York Times, 2/5/03; Washington Post, 2/5/03f; The White House, 2/6/03] But the Associated Press will later report that the video was made prior to the 1991 Gulf War. Apparently, three of the four spray tanks shown in the film had been destroyed during the 1991 military intervention. [Associated Press, 8/9/03]
Imported Aluminum tubes were meant for centrifuge - Powell argues that the aluminum tubes which Iraq had attempted to import in July 2001 (see July 2001) were meant to be used in a nuclear weapons program and not for artillery rockets as experts from the US Energy Department, the INR, and the IAEA have been arguing (see February 3, 2003) (see January 11, 2003) (see (Mid-July 2001)-August 17, 2001) (see January 27, 2003). To support the administration's case, he cites unusually precise specifications and high tolerances for heat and stress. “It strikes me as quite odd that these tubes are manufactured to a tolerance that far exceeds US requirements for comparable rockets,” he says. “Maybe Iraqis just manufacture their conventional weapons to a higher standard than we do, but I don't think so.” Powell also suggests that because the tubes were “anodized,” it was unlikely that they had been designed for conventional use. [The White House, 2/6/03; Washington Post, 2/5/03; Washington Post, 3/8/03] Powell does not mention that numerous US nuclear scientists have dismissed this claim (see (Mid-July 2001)-August 17, 2001) (see September 23, 2002) (see December 2002). [Institute for Science and International Security, 10/9/03] Powell also fails to say that Iraq has rockets identical to the Italian Medusa 81 mm rockets, which are of the same dimensions and made of the same alloy as the 3,000 tubes that were intercepted in July 2001 (see After January 22, 2003). [Washington Post, 8/10/03] This had been reported just two weeks earlier by the Washington Post. [Washington Post, 1/24/03] Moreover, just two days before, Powell was explicitly warned by the US State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research not to cite the aluminum tubes as evidence that Iraq is pursuing nuclear weapons (see February 3, 2003). [Financial Times, 7/29/03]
Iraq attempted to acquire magnets for use in a gas centrifuge program - Powell says: “We ... have intelligence from multiple sources that Iraq is attempting to acquire magnets and high-speed balancing machines. Both items can be used in a gas centrifuge program to enrich uranium. In 1999 and 2000, Iraqi officials negotiated with firms in Romania, India, Russia and Slovenia for the purchase of a magnet production plant. Iraq wanted the plant to produce magnets weighing 20 to 30 grams. That's the same weight as the magnets used in Iraq's gas centrifuge program before the Gulf War.” [The White House, 2/6/03; New York Times, 2/5/03; New York Times, 2/6/03b] Investigation by the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency [IAEA] will demonstrate that the magnets have a dual use. IAEA Director Mohamed ElBaradei said a little more than a week before, on January 27, in his report to the Security Council: “Iraq presented detailed information on a project to construct a facility to produce magnets for the Iraqi missile program, as well as for industrial applications, and that Iraq had prepared a solicitation of offers, but that the project had been delayed due to ‘financial credit arrangements.’ Preliminary investigations indicate that the specifications contained in the offer solicitation are consistent with those required for the declared intended uses. However, the IAEA will continue to investigate the matter ....” (see January 27, 2003) [Sources: Letter dated January, 27 2003 from the Secretary-General addressed to the President of the Security Council] On March 7, ElBaradei will provide an additional update: “The IAEA has verified that previously acquired magnets have been used for missile guidance systems, industrial machinery, electricity meters and field telephones. Through visits to research and production sites, reviews of engineering drawings and analyses of sample magnets, IAEA experts familiar with the use of such magnets in centrifuge enrichment have verified that none of the magnets that Iraq has declared could be used directly for a centrifuge magnetic bearing.” (see March 7, 2003) [CNN, 3/7/03]
Iraq attempted to purchase machines to balance centrifuge rotors - Powell states: “Intercepted communications from mid-2000 through last summer show that Iraq front companies sought to buy machines that can be used to balance gas centrifuge rotors. One of these companies also had been involved in a failed effort in 2001 to smuggle aluminum tubes into Iraq.” [New York Times, 2/6/03b; New York Times, 2/5/03; The White House, 2/6/03]
Powell cites the documents removed from the home of Iraqi scientist Faleh Hassan - Powell cites the documents that had been found on January 16, 2003 by inspectors with the help of US intelligence at the Baghdad home of Faleh Hassan, a nuclear scientist. Powell asserts that the papers are a “dramatic confirmation” that Saddam Hussein is concealing evidence and not cooperating with the inspections. The 3,000 documents contained information relating to the laser enrichment of uranium (see January 16, 2003). [The White House, 2/6/03; Hassan, 1/19/03; Daily Telegraph, 1/18/03; Associated Press, 1/18/03] A little more than a week later, in the inspectors' February 14 update to the UN Security Council (see February 14, 2003), ElBaradei will say, “While the documents have provided some additional details about Iraq's laser enrichment development efforts, they refer to activities or sites already known to the IAEA and appear to be the personal files of the scientist in whose home they were found. Nothing contained in the documents alters the conclusions previously drawn by the IAEA concerning the extent of Iraq's laser enrichment program.” [Associated Press, 8/9/03; BBC, 2/17/03; Guardian, 2/15/03b]
Iraq is hiding missiles in the desert - Powell says that according to unidentified sources, the Iraqis have hidden rocket launchers and warheads containing biological weapons in the western desert. He further contends that these caches of weapons are hidden in palm groves and moved to different locations on a weekly basis. [The White House, 2/6/03] It will later be suggested that this claim was “lifted whole from an Iraqi general's written account of hiding missiles in the 1991 war.” [Associated Press, 8/9/03]
Iraq a few dozen scud missiles - Powell also says that according to unnamed “intelligence sources,” Iraq has a few dozen Scud-type missiles. [Associated Press, 8/9/03]
Iraq has weapons of mass destruction - Secretary of State Colin Powell states unequivocally: “We ... have satellite photos that indicate that banned materials have recently been moved from a number of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction facilities. There can be no doubt that Saddam Hussein has biological weapons and the capability to rapidly produce more, many more.” Elsewhere in his speech he says: “We know that Saddam Hussein is determined to keep his weapons of mass destruction, is determined to make more.” [US Department of State, 2/5/03; CNN, 2/5/03]
Reaction - The speech does little to change minds on the Security Council. France, Russia, and China remain opposed to the idea of a new resolution that would pave the way for the US to invade Iraq. These countries say that Powell's speech demonstrates that inspections are working and must be allowed to continue. “Immediately after Powell spoke, the foreign ministers of France, Russia and China—all of which hold veto power—rejected the need for imminent military action and instead said the solution was more inspections,” reports The Washington Post. But governments who have been supportive of the United States' aggressive stance remain firmly behind Washington. [Washington Post, 2/7/03; Washington Post, 2/6/03] The press' response to Powell's evidence is also mixed. The Times of London, a relatively conservative daily newspaper, describes Powell's presentation as a “few smudgy satellite photographs, a teaspoon of talcum powder, some Lego-style drawings of sinister trucks and trains, a picture of an American U2 spy plane, several mugshots of Arabic men and a script that required a suspension of mistrust by the world's doves.” [Times, 2/6/03] The Washington Post opinion pages, however, are filled with praises for the speech. [New York Review of Books, 2/26/04] The editorial proclaims that after the presentation, it is “hard to imagine how anyone could doubt that Iraq possesses weapons of mass destruction.” [Washington Post, 2/6/04]
People and organizations involved: Mohamed ElBaradei, Raymond Zilinskas, Faleh Hassan, Hans Blix, Iraqi National Congress, Colin Powell, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, Saddam Hussein  Additional Info 
          

February 14, 2003      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       UNMOVIC Chief Weapons Inspector Hans Blix and IAEA Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei present an update to the UN Security Council on the progress of weapons inspections in Iraq. The content of their presentation includes no evidence to substantiate US and British claims that Iraq poses a serious threat to the US or Europe. After the report is presented, the majority of the UN Security Council members feel that the use of military force will not be needed to effectively disarm Iraq. [United Nations, 2/14/03; Financial Times, 2/14/03]
UNMOVIC report by Hans Blix -
After conducting some 400 inspections at over 300 Iraqi sites since December 2002, the inspection teams still have not found any evidence that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction or that Iraq has programs to develop such weapons. [Associated Press, 2/14/03; Financial Times, 2/14/03; AP, 2/14/03; Interpress News Service, 2/15/03; Guardian, 2/14/03b]
The inspectors are unaware of any reliable evidence that the Iraqis have had advanced knowledge of the timing and locations of weapons inspections. “In no case have we seen convincing evidence that the Iraqi side knew in advance that the inspectors were coming,” Blix says. [Associated Press, 2/14/03; Guardian, 2/14/03b; Financial Times, 2/14/03; Reuters, 2/14/03b; Guardian, 2/15/03b]
The Iraqi government agreed to reduce the number of “minders” present in interviews with Iraqi scientists. [Financial Times, 2/14/03]
The UNMOVIC weapons inspection teams have begun destroying Iraq's declared arsenal of mustard gas. [Financial Times, 2/14/03]
South Africa has made an agreement with Iraq to assist it in its disarmament efforts. [Guardian, 2/14/03b; Financial Times, 2/14/03]
Several proscribed weapons and other items remain unaccounted for, including more than 1,000 tons of chemical agents. Blix explains that if they do not exist, Iraq needs to provide him with credible evidence that they have been destroyed. “Another matter and one of great significance is that many proscribed weapons and items are not accounted for. One must not jump to the conclusion that they exist. However, that possibility is also not excluded. If they exist, they should be presented for destruction. If they do not exist, credible evidence to that effect should be presented.” [Financial Times, 2/14/03; Associated Press, 2/14/03; Guardian, 2/14/03b]
Based on the data contained in Iraq's declaration of arms, experts have concluded that two varieties of Iraq's Al Samoud II missile systems are capable of exceeding the 150km range limit that was imposed on Iraq in 1991 after the First Gulf War (see February 12, 2003). But contrary to what Powell recently stated in his February 5 presentation to the UN, test stands located at the Al Rafah facility have not been associated with the testing of missiles with the ranges Powell suggested (see 10:30 a.m. February 5, 2003). [Financial Times, 2/14/03; Guardian, 2/15/03b; Associated Press, 2/14/03]
More interviews with Iraqi scientists, especially ones involved in its former biological weapons programs, are needed. [Financial Times, 2/14/03]
Recent private interviews with Iraqi scientists have been helpful to weapons inspectors. [Financial Times, 2/14/03]
The amount of intelligence being supplied by foreign agencies have recently increased and the new information is helping inspectors. [Financial Times, 2/14/03]
Blix challenges the conclusions made by Powell in his February 5 presentation (see 10:30 a.m. February 5, 2003) to the UN with regard to US satellite pictures showing the movement of trucks and supplies at suspected weapons sites prior to inspections. He says, “The reported movement of munitions at the site could just as easily have been a routine activity as a movement of proscribed munitions in anticipation of an imminent inspection.” [Reuters, 2/14/03b; Guardian, 2/15/03b; Guardian, 2/14/03b; Associated Press, 2/14/03; Financial Times, 2/14/03]
Iraq produced a list of 83 people who it says participated in the destruction of large quantities of anthrax and VX precursors in 1991. [Financial Times, 2/14/03]
Inspections are increasing inspectors' knowledge of Iraqi arms. [Guardian, 2/14/03b]
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report by Mohamed ElBaradei -
ElBaradei's team has found no evidence of an illegal nuclear weapons program. “We have to date found no evidence of ongoing prohibited nuclear or nuclear related activities in Iraq.” [Financial Times, 2/14/03; IAEI, 2/14/03]
Iraqi officials have provided IAEA inspectors with immediate access to all sites it has sought to examine. [IAEI, 2/14/03; Financial Times, 2/14/03]
The IAEA is still investigating why Iraq attempted to import aluminum tubes during the summer of 2002. The agency is awaiting an explanation from Iraq as to why the tubes—alleged by Iraq to have been destined for a conventional weapons artillery program—were fabricated according to such high quality specifications. [Financial Times, 2/14/03; IAEI, 2/14/03]
Referring to the documents that had been discovered in the home of Faleh Hassan (see January 16, 2003), Mohamed ElBaradei states: “While the documents have provided some additional details about Iraq's laser enrichment development efforts, they refer to activities or sites already known to the IAEA and appear to be the personal files of the scientist in whose home they were found. Nothing contained in the documents alters the conclusions previously drawn by the IAEA concerning the extent of Iraq's laser enrichment program” . [BBC, 2/17/03; Guardian, 2/15/03b; IAEI, 2/14/03]
Reaction - After the two reports, most UN Security Council members say they believe inspections are working and that the use of military force is unnecessary. Dominique de Villepin, the French foreign minister, says: “There is an alternative to war: disarming Iraq through inspections. [War] would be so fraught with risk for the people, the region and international stability that it should be envisaged only as a last resort. ... We must give priority to disarmament by peaceful means.” His comments are followed by a huge applause. “French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin's impassioned speech seeking more time for inspections elicited rare applause from diplomats in the chamber,” reports the Associated Press. By contrast, the more hawkish remarks of US Secretary of State Colin Powell—who was said to have appeared “annoyed” during parts of Blix's report— “did not receive any applause.” Powell, in his response to the report, had stated: “We cannot wait for one of these terrible weapons to turn up in our cities.... More inspections—I am sorry—are not the answer.... The threat of force must remain.” After the reports, Germany, Syria, Chile, Mexico, Russia, France and Pakistan, favor continuing the inspections while Spain and Bulgaria back the US and British position. [Interpress News Service, 2/15/03; US Department of State, 2/14/03; Associated Press, 2/14/03; Fox News, 2/15/03]
People and organizations involved: Hans Blix, Mohamed ElBaradei, Colin Powell, Dominique de Villepin  Additional Info 
          

February 21, 2003      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       Chief UN weapons inspector Hans Blix informs Iraq in a letter delivered to UN ambassador Mohammed Al-Douri that it must begin destroying its Al Samoud 2 missiles and all “associated equipment” by March 1. [Associated Press, 2/22/03; CNN, 2/24/03; Cox News Service, 2/24/03]
People and organizations involved: Hans Blix, Mohammed Al-Douri
          

February 28, 2003      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       Chief UN weapons inspector Hans Blix's 12th quarterly report is circulated among UN Security Council members. The report will be presented orally to the Council on March 7 (see March 7, 2003). The report does not provide any evidence to support the US and British claim that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction or that is has any programs to develop such weapons. Blix does however say the Iraqis could do more to assist his team's work. [Associated Press, 2/28/03; Telegraph, 2/28/03; Guardian, 3/1/03]
People and organizations involved: Hans Blix
          

March 7, 2003      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       UNMOVIC chief arms inspector Hans Blix provides a quarterly report to the UN Security Council on the progress of inspections in Iraq, as required by UN Security Resolution 1284 (1999). It is the twelfth such report since UNMOVIC's inception. Blix's report to the Council does not contain any evidence to support US and British claims that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction or the programs to develop such weapons. IAEA director-general Mohamed ElBaradei also reports to the Council and says there are no signs that Iraq has reconstituted its nuclear weapons program. [UNMOVIC, 3/7/03; CNN, 3/7/03]
UNMOVIC report by Hans Blix -
There is no evidence that Iraq has mobile biological weapons factories, as was recently alleged by Colin Powell in his February 5 presentation (see 10:30 a.m. February 5, 2003) to the UN. “Several inspections have taken place ... in relation to mobile production facilities,” Blix says. “No evidence of proscribed activities has so far been found.” He further explained that his inspectors had examined numerous mobile facilities and large containers with seed processing equipment. [UNMOVIC, 3/7/03; Agence France Presse, 3/7/03; Blix, 3/7/03; CNN, 3/7/03]
The Iraqi government has increased its cooperation with inspectors since the end of January. It is attempting to quantify the biological and chemical weapons that it says were destroyed in 1991. [UNMOVIC, 3/7/03; CNN, 3/7/03; Los Angeles Times, 3/7/03; Associated Press, 3/7/03]
Iraq's destruction of several Al Samoud II missiles represents a real step towards disarmament. “The destruction undertaken constitutes a substantial measure of disarmament,” he says. “We are not watching the destruction of toothpicks. Lethal weapons are being destroyed.” [New York Times, 3/8/03; Associated Press, 3/7/03; Los Angeles Times, 3/7/03; UNMOVIC, 3/7/03]
Blix says that the UN inspectors needed a few more months to finish their work. “Even with a proactive Iraqi attitude induced by continued outside pressure, it will still take some time to verify sites and items, analyze documents, interview relevant persons and draw conclusions,” he says, concluding, “It will not take years, nor weeks, but months.” [Los Angeles Times, 3/7/03; UNMOVIC, 3/7/03; Associated Press, 3/7/03]
Iraqi scientists have recently accepted inspectors' requests to be interviewed without “minders.” “Since we started requesting interviews, 38 individuals were asked for private interviews, of which 10 accepted under our terms, seven during the past week,” Blix explains. [UNMOVIC, 3/7/03; CNN, 3/7/03]
Some Iraqi scientists have agreed to interviews without “minders” —but more cooperation is needed. He says, “While the Iraqi side seems to have encouraged interviewees not to request the presence of Iraqi officials or the taping of the interviews, conditions ensuring the absence of undue influences are difficult to attain inside Iraq.” [UNMOVIC, 3/7/03] Iraq needs to turn over more documents. “Iraq, with a highly developed administrative system, should be able to provide more documentary evidence about its proscribed weapons. Only a few new such documents have come to light so far and been handed over since we began.” [UNMOVIC, 3/7/03] There is no evidence of underground weapons facilities. Blix says: “There have been reports, denied by Iraq, that proscribed activities are conducted underground. Iraq should provide information on underground structures suitable for the production or storage of weapons of mass destruction. During inspections of declared or undeclared facilities, inspectors examined building structures for any possible underground facilities. In addition, ground-penetrating radar was used in several locations. No underground facilities for chemical or biological production or storage were found.” [UNMOVIC, 3/7/03]
IAEA report by Mohamed ElBaradei -
There is no evidence that the aluminum tubes imported by Iraq in July 2001 were meant for a nuclear weapons program. ElBaradei says: “Extensive field investigation and document analysis have failed to uncover any evidence that Iraq intended to use these 81mm tubes for any project other than the reverse engineering of rockets. ... Moreover, even had Iraq pursued such a plan, it would have encountered practical difficulties in manufacturing centrifuges out of the aluminum tubes in question.” [Reuters, 3/7/03; New York Times, 3/8/03; CNN, 3/7/03; Associated Press, 3/7/03; The Washington Post, 3/8/03; Los Angeles Times, 3/7/03; IAEA, 3/7/03]
There is no evidence that Iraq tried to obtain uranium from Niger. Documents provided to the International Atomic Energy Agency by the US were determined to be forgeries. The documents were a collection of letters between an Iraqi diplomat and senior Niger officials discussing Iraq's interest in procuring a large amount of uranium oxide (see Early October 2002). “Based on thorough analysis, the IAEA has concluded, with the concurrence of outside experts, that documents which formed the basis for the reports of recent uranium transactions between Iraq and Niger are in fact not authentic,” ElBaradei explains. “We have therefore concluded that these specific allegations are unfounded.” (see June 12, 2003) [IAEA, 3/7/03; The Washington Post, 3/8/03; Los Angeles Times, 3/7/03; Associated Press, 3/7/03; CNN, 3/7/03; Reuters, 3/7/03; New York Times, 3/8/03; Globe and Mail, 3/8/03; Guardian, 3/8/03; Associated Press, 3/8/03]
The IAEA has yet to come across evidence of a nuclear weapons program. “After three months of intrusive inspections, we have to date found no evidence or plausible indication of the revival of a nuclear weapons program in Iraq,” ElBaradei states. “[T]here is no indication of resumed nuclear activities in those buildings that were identified through the use of satellite imagery as being reconstructed or newly erected since 1998, nor any indication of nuclear-related prohibited activities at any inspected sites.” [The Washington Post, 3/8/03; Associated Press, 3/8/03; Globe and Mail, 3/8/03; Associated Press, 3/7/03; Los Angeles Times, 3/7/03; IAEA, 3/7/03]
In a direct response to allegations made by Colin Powell on February 5 (see 10:30 a.m. February 5, 2003) related to the attempted procurement of magnets that could be used in a gas centrifuge, ElBaradei, says: “The IAEA has verified that previously acquired magnets have been used for missile guidance systems, industrial machinery, electricity meters and field telephones. Through visits to research and production sites, reviews of engineering drawings and analyses of sample magnets, IAEA experts familiar with the use of such magnets in centrifuge enrichment have verified that none of the magnets that Iraq has declared could be used directly for a centrifuge magnetic bearing.” [IAEA, 3/7/03]
Iraq's industrial capacity “has deteriorated” at the inspected sites because of lack of maintenance and funds. [IAEA, 3/7/03]
Reaction - Both sides claim that the reports give further support to each of their respective stances on the issue of Iraqi disarmament. French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin tells the Council that the reports “testify to the progress” of the inspections. He states that France will not support another resolution because “we cannot accept any ultimatum, any automatic use of force.” Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov says that the reports demonstrate that inspections have been “fruitful.” The Bush administration does not alter its position, despite statements by the two inspectors that Iraq is cooperating with inspections and complying with demands to disarm. Colin Powell, responding to the inspectors' reports, reiterates the administration's position that the inspections are not working and that Saddam is not cooperating. “We must not walk away,” Powell says. “We must not find ourselves here this coming November with the pressure removed and with Iraq once again marching down the merry path to weapons of mass destruction, threatening the region, threatening the world.” He claims that Iraq's behavior is a “a catalog still of noncooperation” and repeats the administration's allegation that the “Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised.” Back at the White House, Ari Fleischer tells reporters, “As the president has said, if the United Nations will not disarm Saddam Hussein, it will be another international organization, a coalition of the willing that will be made up of numerous nations that will disarm Saddam Hussein.” [CNN, 3/6/03; US Department of State, 3/7/03; CNN, 3/7/02]
People and organizations involved: Hans Blix, Mohamed ElBaradei, Ari Fleischer, Dominique de Villepin, Igor Ivanov, Colin Powell  Additional Info 
          

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