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COMMENTARY OCTOBER 2002
the days when UNSCOM was conducting inspections, this mobility was revealed graphically in U-2 photos of a suspect site. The pictures were taken in sequence as soon as an inspection team left its headquarters. The first photos show no activity at the site; a slightly later sequence reveals a large number of vehicles leaving the site; then there is again no activity; and then the vehicles of the inspectors arrive.
UNMOVIC has not yet indicated whether it will conduct surprise inspections, but it is hardly likely to do better at them than UNSCOM, and will almost certainly do worse. The same goes for regular, scheduled inspections. Most UNMOVIC inspectors have little or no experience in Iraq, and, worse, litde or no experience in handling or evaluating intelligence information. In effect, this will be a team of rookies going to bat against a world-class intelligence organization highly practiced at foiling inspections.
UNMOVIC's recruitment procedures do not help. In assembling staff for an inspection team, UNSCOM looked for experts who had actually worked on the specific technology it was targeting-not just, say, a person familiar with missile or rocket design but one who knew Scuds specifically. To accomplish this, UNSCOM recruited from countries that had already built advanced missiles, or whose expertise was derived from military programs. UNMOVIC, by contrast, has chosen not to work this way. In order to achieve "geographic balance," UN-style, it hires staff from around the world, including from countries that do not themselves possess relevant weapon programs or expertise.
The results are predictable, and are likely to reverberate down the line, not just in planning and carrying out no-notice inspections (or inspections of any kind) but in generating new "baseline" information on the numerous Iraqi sites and in setting up a proper monitoring regime. In one way or another, UNMOVIC's inexperience will make itself felt in the myriad small signals that will tip off the Iraqis to its intentions.
TILL MORE obstacles remain to be mentioned.
tary General Kofi Annan made with Iraq in February 1998, just before the UN inspectors left. According to its terms, inspectors at certain sites-the so-called "presidential sites"-must be accompanied by members of a "Special Group" of diplomats, and must also notify Iraq in advance of any inspection, even disclosing the composition of the inspection team. Such procedures contradict the
principle of immediate, unconditional, and unrestricted access that is essential to effective inspections, and render inspection of these sites virtually impossible.
Iraq initially designated eight such presidential sites each a swath of land large enough to conceal entire factories as well as mobile equipment or laboratories. It also retained the prerogative to designate new sites at any time, and to decide just how many sites there are, where they are, how big they are, and what they include. All such locations, in effect, create refuges for mobile items. If Iraq chooses to use them aggressively, they could be a loophole large enough to defeat any inspection effort.
Finally, one must consider that any new inspections in Iraq will be occurring under the threat of imminent American military action. President Bush has emphasized that the United States is determined to use "all the tools at our disposal" to remove Saddam Hussein from power; under such conditions, any announcement by UN arms inspectors that Iraq is not cooperating is likely to be viewed as a casus belli. But UN organizations do not normally like to trigger wars. How can this not inhibit the readiness of UNMOVIC to issue any such damning report, regardless of Iraq's actual behavior?
Besides, UNMOVIC's staff has spent more than two years in New York getting ready to return to Iraq, and will hardly be eager to admit that it has failed to secure Iraq's cooperation. Rather, there will be every incentive to define inspection tasks narrowly-thus making it easier for Iraq to comply, at least nominally-and to avoid any aggressive inspection activity. UNMOVIC's executive chairman, Hans Blix, is fully empowered to set policy in this regard; in his previous career as director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Blix usually avoided confrontation (except when dealing with North Korea) and also missed Iraq's vast clandestine effort to build nuclear weapons.
What Blix would do now in Iraq is unknown— although, if he were to choose nonconfrontation, he would admittedly have one or two arguments on his side. Even nonconfrontational inspections are disruptive to a degree, and even when UNSCOM was not surprising the Iraqis, it was forcing them to mount a large concealment effort and move key equipment from one site to another, which made it harder to run illicit programs. Nonconfrontational inspections also yielded much essential information about Iraq's actual progress in making massdestruction weapons. (This was mainly so in the case of the country's missile program; in the case of its biological program, which was and is easier to
IRAQ: THE SNARE OF INSPECTIONS
conceal, the nonconfrontational model was of far less benefit.)
In the present instance, however, a policy of avoiding confrontation will be dangerous in the extreme. Inspections will then be aimed only at monitoring what is already known rather than at searching aggressively for what is still hidden. Moreover, the very failure to find anything new will feed the demand that the embargo against Iraq be lifted without the goal of inspections-namely, disarmament-ever being achieved. The price to be paid will be all the higher in view of the clementary fact that, since the day inspections began in 1991, Iraq has consistently tried to defeat them.
But that brings us to the heart of the matter. What is it that inspections are designed to do? They are designed to verify that a country's declarations about a weapon program are honest and
complete. And that sort of verification is indeed a feasible goal for an inspection team: to look at sites and equipment and see whether the official story about their use is accurate. To do this effectively, inspectors can rely both on scientific principles and on information gained through intelligence-gathering. It is a different proposition altogether to go ranging about a country in search of things that have been deliberately concealed; that is a task with no beginning and no end.
In short, without a full and coherent description of the entire Iraqi weapon program, inspectors can never verify that it has been eliminated. The truth must come first, and it can come only from the Iraqis themselves. What the world needs is an Iraqi government that will stop lying and surrender those programs. That is hardly likely to happen as long as Saddam Hussein remains in power.
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Psssst... Can I Get A Bomb Trigger?
HEN it was revealed last week that Iraq had tried to purchas "minum tubes," it seemed t many experts- sad certainly to the Bush administration-that Saddam Huss
2003 High-strength aluminum can have benign ap-
1984 Although the material is used in
1999 Heavy water in small amounts is used in laboratories and for medical testing, and graphite goes into golf clubs and tennis rackets. But when heavy water quantites reach into the tons, the only use can be in nuclear reactors. Reactors using heavy water, like this one In India, are especially attractive for producing plutonium for nuclear weapons.
1998 These magnets are specially
(pictured above), which are used to
was partly based much like them
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of technologies and services that are
Case overviews at right compiled by Jordan
Wanted: Enriched Uranium
Known incidents, by type of nuclear
www more A Gargy Agancy Mucher Car by: Wong Preal on A Con
Week in Review
Sunday, September 15, 2002
1999 These switches have legitimate and beneficial
1990's Uranium is used in the peaceful production
Heavy Water and
Tested Weapons Designs
EARLY 1980's Benign reasons for sharing nuclear weapon designs are hard to imagine. Experts say that Pakistan was able to shop for parts to it an already tested design provided by the Chinese. An Iraqi ver sion of the same design (above) was discovered later
[Insert from the New York Times OP-ED Friday, April 24, 1992-A35.]
IRAQ'S BOMB, CHIP BY CHIP
The U.S. Commerce Department licensed the following strategic American exports for Saddam Hussein's atomic weapon programs between 1985 and 1990. Virtually all of the items were shipped to Iraq; all are useful for making atomic bombs or long-range missiles. United Nations inspectors in Iraq are still trying to find most of them. The list is based on Commerce Department export licensing records; the dollar amount of each transaction is as claimed by the exporting company. It was compiled by Gary Milhollin, a law professor at the University of Wisconsin and director of the Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control, and Diana Edensword, a research analyst at the project.
ATOMIC BOMB BUILDERS
Sales to: Iraqi Atomic Energy Commission, the main atomic research laboratory; Badr and Daura sites, where bomb fuel was made; Al Qaaaa site, where detonators were made.
Canberra Elektronik: computers for measuring gamma rays and fast neutrons$30,000
Cerberus Ltd.: computers-$18,181
Hewlett Packard: computers; electronic testing, calibration and graphics equipment-$25,000
International Computer Systems: computers useful for graphic design of atomic bombs and missiles $1,600,000
Perkin-Elmer: computers and instruments useful for quality control of bomb fuels $280,000
TI Coating Inc.: equipment for coating metal parts, useful for bomb production$373,708
ATOMIC BOMB AND MISSILE BUILDERS
Sales to: Ministry of Industry and Military Industrialization, which ran the atomic bomb, missile and chemical weapon factories; Nassr state enterprise, where equipment for enriching atomic bomb fuel was made; Salah Al Din site, where electronic equipment for missiles and atomic bombs was made; Ministry of Defense, which oversaw missile and atomic bomb development. Axel Electronics: capacitors $84,000 BDM Corporation: computers; computer-assisted design equipment-$52,000 Canberra Elektronik: computers for computer-assisted design-$21,552 Carl Zeiss: microcomputers for mapping-$104,545 Consarc Corporation: computers to run machine tools capable of manufacturing atomic bomb parts (this sale was stopped by Presidential order in June 1990 $525,550 Data General Corporation: computers for mapping_$324,000 Gerber Systems: computers to run machine tools capable of manufacturing atomic bomb and missile parts $367,428 Hewlett Packard: computers for making molds; frequency synthesizers and other equipment useful for operating secured military communications systems $1,045,500 Honeywell Inc.: computers $353,333 International Computer Systems: computers for manufacturing, tool design and graphics $4,497,700 International Computers Ltd.: computers $687,994 Leybold Vacuum Systems: computer controlled welder used by Iraqis to produce centrifuges for making atomic bomb fuel-$1,400,000 Lummus Crest: Radio spectrum analyzers; design computers; computers for factories producing mustard gas ingredients $250,000 Rockwell Collins International: equipment for navigation, directional finding, radar communications or airborne communications $127,558 Sackman Associates: computers and instruments capable of analyzing metals and powders for atomic bomb and missile manufacture $60,000 Siemens Corporation: computers and instruments capable of analyzing metals and powders for atomic bomb and missile manufacture $78,000 Spectra Physics: lasers; detection and tracking equipment for lasers $19,000 Unisys Corporation: computers $2,600,000 Wild Magnavox Satellite Survey: computers for processing satellite images that are useful for military mapping and surveillance $270,000 Zeta Laboratories: quartz crystals for military radar $1,105,000
Sales to: Saad 16, the main missile research site; State Organization for Tech-