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Profile: Mohamed ElBaradei

 
  

Positions that Mohamed ElBaradei has held:

  • Director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency


 

Quotes

 
  

Quote, Mid November 2002

   The Inspections teams need “six months to a year” to complete their work. [Telegraph, 11/19/02]

Associated Events

Quote, December 1, 2002

   “It will take us probably around a year before we can come to a reasonable conclusion. We will be able to report progress as we go along but we are not keen to rush to a conclusion... We'd like to take our time and I hope the world will bear with us as we go through this difficult task. I would like to avoid a war. War is not good for anybody but we have an important job to do and we have to do a thorough job. It really depends on absolute 100% Iraqi cooperation so the ball really very much is in the Iraqi court” [Guardian, 12/2/02]

Associated Events

Quote, January 11, 2003

   “I think it's difficult for Iraq to hide a complete nuclear-weapons program. They might be hiding some computer studies or R. and D. on one single centrifuge. These are not enough to make weapons. There were reports from different member states that Iraq was importing aluminum tubes for enrichment, that they were importing uranium from Africa. Our provisional conclusion is that these tubes were for rockets and not for centrifuges. They deny they have imported any uranium since 1991.” [Time, 1/12/02]

Associated Events

Quote, January 15, 2003

   Inspectors will need “at least several [more ] months” before they can decide whether or not Iraq has met its disarmament obligations. [Washington Post, 1/16/03]

Associated Events

Quote, January 17, 2003

   War is a “worst scenario” and “if we can avoid that, even spending a few more months to do our job, that is time well spent.” [New York Times, 1/17/03]

Associated Events

Quote, January 27, 2003

   “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, Washington Post, 1/28/03, IAEI, 1/27/03]

Associated Events

Quote, February 5, 2003

   “We do not contend that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction. But we cannot exclude that possibility.” [Mirror, 2/6/03]

Associated Events

Quote, February 14, 2003

   “We have to date found no evidence of ongoing prohibited nuclear or nuclear related activities in Iraq.” [IAEI, 2/14/03]

Associated Events

Quote, March 7, 2003

   “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.” [Associated Press, 3/7/03, CNN, 3/7/03, Washington Post, 3/8/03, Los Angeles Times, 3/7/03, New York Times, 3/8/03, Reuters, 3/7/03]


 

Relations

 
  

No related entities for this entity.


 

Mohamed ElBaradei actively participated in the following events:

 
  

Mid-January 2002      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       By this time, more than 300 different inspections have been conducted in Iraq by the UN weapons inspection teams, which report no instances of Iraqi attempts to impede their access to the alleged weapons sites. [Associated Press, 1/18/03; Baltimore Sun, 1/20/03; New York Times, 1/20/03] The London Independent quotes one diplomat, who says, “Realistically, it is not going to be easy to see in the next two months that we will be able to say that Iraq is not cooperating.” [Independent 1/8/03] Inspectors also say that there are no signs that Iraq is developing weapons of mass destruction. An Associated Press report cites several specific cases of alleged weapons sites that the inspection teams—after repeated visits—have determined are not involved in the production of weapons of mass destruction. “UN arms monitors have inspected 13 sites identified by US and British intelligence agencies as major ‘facilities of concern,’ and reported no signs of revived weapons building.” [Associated Press, 1/18/03; Baltimore Sun, 1/20/03; New York Times, 1/20/03] And International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Chief Weapons Inspector Mohamed ElBaradei tells reporters: “I think it's difficult for Iraq to hide a complete nuclear-weapons program. They might be hiding some computer studies or R. and D. on one single centrifuge. These are not enough to make weapons” (see January 11, 2003). [Time, 1/12/03]
People and organizations involved: Mohamed ElBaradei
          

September 7, 2002      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       During a joint press conference with US President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair, the two leaders make 2 false and misleading statements, which are quickly contested by experts.
Tony Blair states, “We only need to look at the report from the International Atomic Agency [IAEA] this morning showing what has been going on at the former nuclear weapons sites to realize that” Saddam is a real threat. [White House, 9/7/02] But no such report exists. [Washington Times, 9/27/02] What Blair is actually referring to is a set of commercial satellite photographs showing signs of new construction at a site the US had bombed in 1998. [Associated Press, 9/10/02; MSNBC 9/7/02; Guardian 9/9/02] That same day, Mark Gwozdecky, a spokesman for the UN agency, says the agency had drawn no conclusion from those photographs. [MSNBC 9/7/02] On September 9, the Guardian of London will report that according to “a well-placed source” the photographs do not support Blair's statement. “You cannot draw any conclusions,” the source explains. “The satellites were only looking at the top of a roof. You cannot tell without inspectors on the ground.” [Guardian, 9/9/02] [Guardian, 9/9/02] The following day, Hans Blix, head of UNMOVIC, will similarly tell reporters: “... satellites don't see through roofs. So we are not drawing conclusions from them. But it would be an important element in where, maybe, we want to go to inspect and monitor.” [Associated Press, 9/10/02; The Globe and Mail, 9/11/02]
Bush asserts, “I would remind you that when the inspectors first went into Iraq and were denied—finally denied access [in 1998], a report came out of the Atomic—the IAEA that they were six months away from developing a weapon,” adding, “I don't know what more evidence we need.” [Washington Times, 9/27/02; White House, 9/7/02] But Bush's statement is quickly refuted by an MSNBC news report published later that day, which includes an excerpt from the summary of the 1998 IAEA report Bush cited. The summary reads, “[B]ased on all credible information available to date ... the IAEA has found no indication of Iraq having achieved its program goal of producing nuclear weapons or of Iraq having retained a physical capability for the production of weapon-useable nuclear material or having clandestinely obtained such material.” [MSNBC 9/7/02] The text of the actual report, authored by IAEA Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei, reads: “There are no indications that there remains in Iraq any physical capability for the production of weapon-usable nuclear material of any practical significance.” [Washington Times, 9/27/02] When confronted by MSNBC reporters on this point, an unnamed senior White House official states, “What happened was, we formed our own conclusions based on the report.” [MSNBC 9/7/02] Later, when The Washington Times presses Deputy Press Secretary Scott McClellan for an explanation, he says, “[Bush is] referring to 1991 there. In '91, there was a report saying that after the war they found out they were about six months away.” But this too is challenged by Mr. Gwozdecky, spokesman for the UN agency, who says that no such report was ever published by the IAEA in 1991. Apparently the President's accusations are based on two news articles that were published more than a decade ago— “a July 16 [2001] story in the London Times by Michael Evans and a July 18 [2001] story in the New York Times by Paul Lewis.” But as The Washington Times notes, “Neither article cites an IAEA report on Iraq's nuclear-weapons program or states that Saddam was only six months away from ‘developing a weapon’ —as claimed by Mr. Bush.” Instead the two news articles reported that at that time, UN inspectors had concluded that Iraq was only six months away from the large-scale production of enriched uranium. But as the 1998 report shows, both 1991 news stories are outdated. [Washington Times, 9/27/02]
People and organizations involved: Tony Blair, Mark Gwozdecky, Mohamed ElBaradei, Scott McClellan, George W. Bush
          

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
          

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
          

January 6, 2003      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency Mohamed ElBaradei says that his inspections teams have yet to find a “smoking gun.” “I think we need still a few months before we can reach that conclusion,” he says. “We haven't seen a smoking gun, but we still have a lot of work to do before we come to the conclusion that Iraq is clean.” [Toronto Star, 1/7/03; Scotsman, 1/7/03; Telegraph, 1/8/03; CNN, 1/6/03; Associated Press, 1/7/03] Melissa Fleming, an IAEA spokeswoman, adds that it is “too early to draw sweeping or final conclusions.” She also says that laboratory tests of air and earth samples have also provided inspectors with “nothing significant” that would lead them “to draw conclusions that they have been building a nuclear program.” [Associated Press, 1/7/03]
People and organizations involved: Mohamed ElBaradei, Melissa Fleming
          

January 11, 2003      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       Following press reports that the Bush administration has begun supplying inspectors with intelligence, director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Mohamed ElBaradei tells reporters that the inspection teams need “more actionable information” and that the US is still refusing to provide “specific intelligence about where to go and where to inspect.” He adds that “the inspections process will intensify to allow the inspections to speedup” if the Bush administration cooperates with inspectors. He also suggests that he does not think Iraq has a nuclear weapons program. He says: “I think it's difficult for Iraq to hide a complete nuclear-weapons program. They might be hiding some computer studies or R. and D. on one single centrifuge. These are not enough to make weapons.” [The Washington Post, 1/12/03; Montreal Gazette, 1/11/03; Sun-Herald, 1/12/03; Time, 1/12/03] Richard A. Boucher, a spokesperson for the State Department, contests ElBaradei's contention that inspectors have been given little to go on, saying, “I can certainly say that they're getting the best we've got, and that we are sharing information with the inspectors that they can use, and based on their ability to use it.” [The Washington Post, 1/12/03]
People and organizations involved: Mohamed ElBaradei, Richard A. Boucher  Additional Info 
          

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 16, 2003      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       Conducting its first raid of a private home, that of Faleh Hassan, a specialist in laser equipment who was once associated with Iraq's nuclear program, UN inspectors discover 3,000 documents containing information that some initial reports say is related to Iraq's former nuclear weapons program. [New York Times, 1/28/03; IAEA, 1/27/03; Associated Press, 1/18/03; BBC, 1/19/03; Telegraph, 1/18/03; Observer, 1/20/03] Mohamed ElBaradei, director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), is bothered by the discovery, saying, “We haven't received these original documents before and that's precisely the point we have been emphasizing, Iraq should be pro-active. We shouldn't have to find these on our own. Why should these documents be in a private home? Why are they not giving them to us?” [New York Times, 1/20/03; Agence France Presse, 1/20/03] But Hassan denies that the documents are related to Iraq's former nuclear weapons program. He later explains to reporters: “The inspectors put their hands on personal documents which have nothing to do with the former [nuclear] program. We did research on laser isotopic separation, and in 1988 we reached the conclusion that this technology was very difficult given our infrastructure, so the decision was taken to abandon that approach.” He adds that he is ready to go through the documents with ElBaradei, “page by page, line by line and even word by word to prove that everything they found is in alignment with what we declared in 1991.” [Associated Press, 1/18/03; BBC, 1/19/03] After the discovery of the documents, Hassan accompanies inspectors to a field where they inspect what appears to be a man-made mound. The field is part of a farm Hassan sold in 1996. While at the farm, a female American inspector offers to arrange a trip outside of Iraq for him and his wife, so his wife can undergo treatment for kidney stones, diabetes and high blood pressure. The Iraqi scientist is angered by the offer and later refers to the woman's tactics as “mafia-like behavior.” Recalling the incident he will also tell reporters, “We would rather live as beggars in our country than live as kings abroad,” also saying, “Never, never will I leave my country.” [BBC, 1/18/03; Associated Press, 1/18/03; Observer, 1/20/03] Hassan then goes with inspectors to a hotel in Baghdad where he spends most of the night arguing over whether he will be permitted to keep copies of the documents. [Observer, 1/20/03] Three weeks 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.” [Guardian, 2/15/03b; BBC, 2/17/03]
People and organizations involved: Faleh Hassan, Mohamed ElBaradei
          

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 
          

February 5, 2003      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       After months of delay, the US State Department provides the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) with the Niger documents . The State Department includes the following caveat with the documents: “We cannot confirm these reports and have questions regarding some specific claims.” French nuclear scientist Jacques Bautes, head of the UN Iraq Nuclear Verification office, quickly determines they are fakes. [Independent, 7/10/03; The Washington Post, 7/20/03] Several months later, Melissa Fleming, a spokeswoman for the IAEA, will describe to reporters the ease with which the documents' authenticity was determined. “These were blatant forgeries. We were able to determine that they were forgeries very quickly.” [Independent, 6/5/03] When Jacques Bautes asks for an explanation from the US, there is no response. “What do you have to say? They had nothing to say,” Baute will later say in an interview with Seymour Hersh. [New Yorker, 3/31/03] There are numerous indications that the documents are forgeries.
Several of the names and titles of officials mentioned in the documents are incorrect. For example, one of the letters is purportedly signed by Niger's President Tandja Mamadou. The signature is said to be an obvious forgery. An unnamed IAEA official will tell Reuters, “It doesn't even look close to the signature of the president. I'm not a (handwriting) expert but when I looked at it my jaw dropped.” [Globe and Mail, 3/8/03; Reuters, 3/26/03; New Yorker, 3/31/03; Knight Ridder, 6/13/03; Reuters, 3/26/03 Sources: Forged Niger documents] Another, dated October 10, 2000, is signed “Alle Elhadj Habibou” —Niger's foreign minister who had not been in office since 1989. [New Yorker, 3/31/03; Reuters, 3/26/03; Knight Ridder, 6/13/03 Sources: Forged Niger documents] Another letter includes the forged signature and seal of Wissam al-Zahawie, Iraq's former ambassador to the Vatican. When Mr. Al-Zahawie is interviewed by the IAEA, he informs the agency that it was standard procedure for all diplomatic notes to be initialed and sealed, while letters were only to be signed—with no seal. He explains that correspondences were never both signed and sealed. [Independent, 8/10/03a Sources: Forged Niger documents]
In addition to problems with signatures and seals, there are other problems as well. One letter is on the wrong letterhead. [Knight Ridder, 6/13/03] The “letterhead was out of date and referred to Niger's ‘Supreme Military Council’ from the pre-1999 era—which would be like calling Russia the Soviet Union,” reports Reuters [Reuters, 3/26/03 Sources: Forged Niger documents]
Yet another letter, purported to be from the president of Niger, refers to his authority under the country's obsolete 1966 constitution. [Reuters, 3/26/03 Sources: Forged Niger documents]
Also, in some letters, French words are misspelled and dates do not match the day of the week. [Mercury News, 3/18/03]
The IAEA also points out that the amount of uranium which Iraq is purportedly interested in purchasing is unrealistic. Seymour Hersh, writing for the New Yorker, explains: “The large quantity of uranium involved should have been another warning sign. Niger's ‘yellow cake’ comes from two uranium mines controlled by a French company, with its entire output pre-sold to nuclear power companies in France, Japan, and Spain. ‘Five hundred tons can't be siphoned off without anyone noticing,’ ... [an] IAEA official told me.” [New Yorker, 3/31/03 Sources: Unnamed senior official from the IAEA]
People and organizations involved: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, Alle Elhadj Habibou, Jacques Bautes, Mohamed ElBaradei, Mamadou Tandja, Wissam al-Zahawie  Additional Info 
          

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 22, 2003      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       The chief weapons inspector for the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Mohamed ElBaradei, says that Iraq has “cooperated increasingly well ... in recent days.” He adds that, in his opinion, there is no reason to “give up hope.” He explains that Iraqi officials have provided the inspectors with unrestricted access to all sites as well as Saddam's palaces. “There is a UN clock,” he says, “which is ticking, and a Franco-German one. And above all there are the American clocks—they work differently. So long as we can report progress, I see no reason why we should break off inspections.” [Associated Press, 2/22/03]
People and organizations involved: Mohamed ElBaradei
          

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 
          

March 16, 2003      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       The United States informs UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei that it would not be “prudent” for UN and IAEA staff to remain in Iraq any longer. [Washington Files, 3/17/2003]
People and organizations involved: United States, Mohamed ElBaradei, Kofi Annan
          

November 10, 2003      US confrontation with Iran

       The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reports that it has found “no evidence” Iran is trying to make nuclear weapons. But it says that because Iran has been secretive in the past it is not ruling out the possibility. The report, authored by IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei, says, “To date there is no evidence that the previous undeclared nuclear material and activities ... were related to a nuclear weapons program.” [CNN, 11/10/2003]
People and organizations involved: Mohamed ElBaradei
          

November 12, 2003      US confrontation with Iran

       John Bolton, speaking at a dinner for the right-wing publication American Spectator, calls the conclusions of a forthcoming IAEA report (see November 10, 2003) on Iran's nuclear activities “impossible to believe.” The widely leaked report says inspectors have found no evidence that Tehran is developing nuclear weapons. Bolton insists that Iran's “massive and covert ... effort to acquire sensitive nuclear capabilities make sense only as part of a nuclear weapons program.” [US Department of State, 11/12/2003] Responding to Bolton's remarks, IAEA's Director General Mohamed ElBaradei tells Time magazine, “We are not in the business of judging intentions. What we look for are facts and proof, and so far we have no proof of a nuclear-weapons program. The jury is still out.” [Time Europe, 11/24/2003]
People and organizations involved: Mohamed ElBaradei, John R. Bolton
          

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