Posts Tagged ‘United Nations’

Biden Reported Stating Israel Must Accept A Nuclear Iran

September 2, 2008

Did Joe Biden say it or not?

I think he said it.  I think a guy who has generally been considered a friend of Israel said what he thought Israel needed to hear.

Biden denies having made the statements.  And given the nature of the way they were reported, we certainly can’t claim that he made them for sure.

But we can examine what he is alleged to have said, consider the possibility that he said it, and then jump into the larger issue as to just how an Obama-Biden administration would go about ensuring that Iran not develop nuclear weapons.

I believe that I can demonstrate that, regardless of what did or didn’t come out of Joe Biden’s mouth, an Obama White House would grudgingly allow Iran to develop a nuclear weapons stockpile.

The article from the Israeli paper Haaretz says: (more…)

What’s the Difference Between Democrats And Republicans?

August 27, 2008

What’s the difference between Democrats and Republicans? A lot of people are frankly pretty apolitical and frankly don’t know a lot about the two parties. I am a conservative and a Republican, but I would like to try to provide at least the accurate essence of what Democrats believe in before offering the Republican counter.

I understand that many people are not particularly involved in politics until major elections. It is not a matter of ignorance, but rather a matter of being occupied with raising children and running households. When an election rolls around, many people want to make the right decisions for themselves and for their country, but become bogged down in a morass of partisan claims and counter-claims.

The truth is, Democrats and Republicans differ on nearly everything today. But let me focus on three categories – social policy, domestic policy, and foreign policy – and try to describe a few key differences.

(more…)

Iran And The Bomb: What Are We Going To Do?

August 7, 2008

Remember that National Intelligence Estimate saying that Iran had ended its nuclear weapons program five years ago? A December 2007 Washington Post article cast it this way:

A major U.S. intelligence review has concluded that Iran stopped work on a suspected nuclear weapons program more than four years ago, a stark reversal of previous intelligence assessments that Iran was actively moving toward a bomb.

The new findings, drawn from a consensus National Intelligence Estimate, reflected a surprising shift in the midst of the Bush administration’s continuing political and diplomatic campaign to depict Tehran’s nuclear development as a grave threat. The report was drafted after an extended internal debate over the reliability of communications intercepts of Iranian conversations this past summer that suggested the program had been suspended.

If Iran ever truly did in fact suspend its nuclear weapons program, it did so immediately after – and obviously as a direct result of – the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Understandably Iran didn’t want to be the next country to face the consequences for illegal weapons programs.

When the story came out that Iran had suspended its nuclear weapons program (the one Iran claimed it never had in the first place), Democrats and liberals immediately pounced all over President Bush’s claim that Iran continued to represent a nuclear weapons threat. President Bush was called a liar, he was called a warmonger, for continuing to describe Iran as a threat. The left openly mocked conservatives for calling for a tough stance against Iran. We didn’t need to worry about Iran, they said.

The Washington Post claimed that Iran was actually ten years from developing the bomb.

Given these reports, liberals made the argument that any “threat” from Iran was theoretical or academic. And President Bush was merely proving that he was the paranoid neo-con that they had been casting him as all along.

When Barack Obama initially said that Iran did not represent a threat, he was merely assuming the longstanding standard doctrinaire liberal mentality. It was only when he began to be presented with the overwhelming evidence to the contrary that he “refined” his remarks to acknowledge that Iran was in fact a threat.

In any event, as the United States began to succomb to increasing internal division over the war in Iraq, and as the United States began to bog down, the facts now overwhelmingly reveal that Iran clearly decided to restart its nuclear weapons program.

How long until Iran develops enough nuclear material to build a bomb? Ten years, like the elite media says?

Try six months to one year. That abstract academic threat is getting real concrete and very, very real.

Israel has been warning for some time now that Iran could have the bomb far more quickly than many Western experts were willing to acknowledge. They’ve been claiming that Iran could have enough material to build a bomb far earlier than most estimates stated. But they were ignored. After all, in the leftist view of the world, Israel is the biggest and most paranoid warmonger of all (or at least a very close second to the United States).

But now someone else is affirming that President Bush and the state of Israel were right all along.

And it’s not some neo-con warmonger saying this but none other than the U.N.’s International Atomic Energy Agency director-general, Mohamed ElBaradei:

Mohamed ElBaradei: “If Iran wants to turn to the production of nuclear weapons, it must leave the NPT, expel the IAEA inspectors, and then it would need at least… Considering the number of centrifuges and the quantity of uranium Iran has…”

Interviewer: “How much time would it need?”

ElBaradei: “It would need at least six months to one year. Therefore, Iran will not be able to reach the point where we would wake up one morning to an Iran with a nuclear weapon.”

Interviewer: “Excuse me, I would like to clarify this for our viewers. If Iran decides today to expel the IAEA from the country, it will need six months…”

ElBaradei: “Or one year, at least…”

Interviewer: “… to produce [nuclear] weapons?”

ElBaradei: “It would need this period to produce a weapon, and to obtain highly-enriched uranium in sufficient quantities for a single nuclear weapon.”

Sadly, ElBaradei – in the words of one writer – “seems to be more obsessed with politics than with doing his job. His job is to monitor the nuclear developments of countries, such as Iran, and to prevent them from developing nuclear weapons. That’s what he should be concerned about. Instead, he’s concerned with what countries may do when other countries ignore the UN and develop nuclear weapons regardless of world opinion.” Mohamed ElBaradei has claimed that any attack on Iran would be “unnecessary” and that he would resign if such an attack were to occur. That’s a pretty political statement from a supposedly apolitical weapons inspector.

And meanwhile Iran is getting closer and closer to the bomb with each passing day.

What would happen if Iran actually got the bomb? Many pooh pooh the possibility that Iran would start World War III by attacking an also nuclear-armed Israel. But only a fool would ignore the numerous “death to Israel” statements from both Iran’s president and its Ayatollah. What is particular frightening is that these Iranian rulers hold to an apocalyptic interpretation of Islam which holds to the doctrine that the last Imam will return during a period of crisis.

But Iran doesn’t actually have to use its nuclear weapons to make use of them. Ask yourself: would the United States dare attack a nuclear Iran? Even if Iran – through its terrorists surrogates – carried out another 9/11 attack against it?

Will they share nuclear technology and materials with terrorist organizations, and attempt to carry out nuclear attacks by proxy?

Iran is and has been the leading source of terrorism around the world. If they obtain a nuclear weapons capability, you can only expect them to be more emboldened and feel more invulnerable to meaningful retaliation than they have ever felt before. President Ahmadinejad has said, “I Have a Connection With God, Since God Said That the Infidels Will Have No Way to Harm the Believers”; “We Have [Only] One Step Remaining Before We Attain the Summit of Nuclear Technology”; The West “Will Not Dare To Attack Us.”

Are you ready for that? Are you ready for the kind of hell that a rogue, terrorist, totalitarian, jihadist, and Armageddonist state could unleash upon the world given the impunity of being protected by nuclear weapons?

What are you willing to do to prevent that nightmarish scenario from occuring?

One thing is certain: we absolutely cannot count on diplomacy to prevent this catastrophic threat to world stability and security.

Russia and China – both veto-wielding permanent United Nations security council members – have both repeatedly disallowed any meaningful sanctions against Iran. I write about this in detail in an article.

There’s all kinds of evidence of their refusal to all for any sanctions that would have any chance of forcing Iran to comply.

From August 5, 2008:

The United States, Britain and France warned Monday — two days after the deadline expired — that they would press for additional sanctions against Iran if it did not respond positively and unambiguously to the offer. The six powers will hold a conference call Wednesday to consider their response to the statement. But they remain divided, with China and Russia reluctant to support tough sanctions.

“I don’t see any reason to believe that the Russians and the Chinese are any more willing today to support really tougher sanctions against Iran,” said Flynt Leverett, a senior fellow at the New America Foundation and former Bush National Security Council staffer.

Iran is clearly more interested in becoming a nuclear power than it is in taking any of our carrots. And with the stick being removed from the proceedings, diplomacy simply has no chance of succeeding.

And we’ve seen all this before. I have written a three part series titled, “Iraq War Justified” that points to the fact the United States was placed in this exact same situation prior to 2003 (Part 1; Part 2; Part 3). A pitifully pathetic and corrupt United Nations was absolutely incapable of doing anything. The United States had good reasons to believe that Iraq was engaging in the illegal production of weapons of mass destruction, and inspectors were blocked from carrying out any meaningful inspection program. Iraq was able to use its abundant oil – and even the United Nations’ own oil for food program – to buy allies who would prevent the implementation of tough UN sanctions. And an attitude of anti-Americanism and a view that American influence should be siphoned away in favor of “a multi-polar world” (which is really just a cosmopolitan way of being anti-American) all combined to make it impossible for diplomacy to work in forcing Iraq to open itself up to inspections.

The United States was forced to attack Iraq because every other available option had failed, and we were not willing to allow the possibility of an Iraq armed with weapons of mass destruction.

When we attacked Iraq in the Gulf War, it was learned that Iraq was FAR closer to developing nuclear weapons than had ever previously been believed by Western “experts.” It was also realized that this threat – stopped in 1990 – carried through into the future:

In summary, the IAEA report says that following the August 1990 invasion of Kuwait, Iraq launched a “crash program” to develop a nuclear weapon quickly by extracting weapons grade material from safe-guarded research reactor fuel. This project, if it had continued uninterrupted by the war, might have succeeded in producing a deliverable weapon by the end of 1992. [PBS source: Tracking Nuclear Proliferation, a Guide in Maps and Charts, 1998, Rodney W. Jones and Mark G. NcDonough, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. (1998). p. 191] …

Nuclear physicist and Iraqi defector Khidhir Hamza agrees. He told FRONTLINE that Iraq did not relinquish certain critical components of the nuclear program to the inspectors, and that it retains the expertise necessary to build a nuclear weapon. He believes that Iraq may have one completed within the next couple of years.

Even now, the United Nations is questioning the intelligence pointing to Iran developing the bomb. How are we ever going to attain the “consensus” that liberals demand we have in this sort of perennially hazy political environment?

How can one condemn the Iraq attack and then sanction an Iran attack given all the similarities? On just what logical or moral basis?

It’s the exact same thing happening all over again, and Israel and the United States will be faced with the same choice: Are we willing to allow an Iran with doomsday capability? Are we willing to carry out an attack alone given a pathologically weak, corrupt, and frankly both pathetic and apathetic world?

This is the question that will effect – and possibly haunt – American foreign policy for generations to come.

If we elect Barack Obama, we are tacitly choosing to allow Iran to develop the bomb. Any of his tough-sounding rhetoric aside, you need to realize that Barack Obama has already repeatedly philosophically condemned the very same sort of preemptive attack that would be necessary to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons. And he continues to do so even today. Just how was a preemptive attack on Iraq wrong if a preemptive attack on Iran is right? If Barack Obama believes that our intelligence will be flawless regarding Iran’s nuclear program when it was so flawed regarding Iraq’s program, then he is a genuine fool of the very worst kind. And if he refuses to attack until the evidence against Iran is certain, he is an even greater fool. For Iran would greet our attacking soldiers with mushroom clouds.

Israel is clearly doing far more than threatening to attack Iran
in order to prevent this patently anti-Semitic and defiantly evil regime from obtaining nuclear weapons. It is clearly merely a matter of time, with many thinking that Israel might even attack prior to the change in American administrations. If and when they do, we will see just how vulnerable the Democrats have made us over the past thirty years in refusing to allow America to develop its own source of domestic oil as the price of oil goes up to over $300 a barrel and over $12 a gallon for gasoline.

U.S. vs. Nuclear Iran: Russia, China Block Any Resolution – Again

May 24, 2008

The occasion of the moment is the state visit of the new Russian President to China, during which a joint announcement was issued for the headline of the day: China, Russia condemn US missile defense plans. It is considered noteworthy that in his first state visit as Russian President, Putin turned to the West. Medvedev is turning to the East.

Some are saying that Russia and China are announcing themselves not as enemies, but adversaries, of the United States. I shall leave it to more nuanced analysts than myself to explain the difference.

In any event, we can understand why second-rate nuclear powers such as Russia and China would fear a missile defense system. The possession of nuclear weapons has historically made countries invulnerable to any attack; a missile defense system capable of fulfilling Ronald Reagan’s dream of rendering such weapons obsolete would nullify the historic advantage of nuclear weapons and make the last remaining superpower -as the greatest NON-nuclear military in the world – all the more powerful.

The United States’ contention that its missile defense system is geared toward preventing a missile attack by such radicalized countries as Iran and North Korea have not overcome the Russian and Chinese fear regarding the long-range viability of their own nuclear deterrents.

But the issue that is most relevant to me is the building threat of a nuclear-armed Iran, and the successful longstanding effort of Russia and China to prevent the United States from doing anything to deter Iran in the international community.

A few articles to establish the point:

Reuters, from today:

PALO ALTO, Calif. (Reuters) – The United States will aggressively impose more sanctions on Iran as long as it refuses to give up sensitive nuclear work and uses the world’s financial system for “terrorism,” U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said on Thursday.

However, the United States would face an uphill battle from veto-wielding Security Council members China and Russia, which oppose further punitive measures against Iran.

The New York Times, from August 2006:

Although Russia agreed to the Security Council’s resolution on July 31, Defense Minister Sergei B. Ivanov’s remarks made it clear that Russia would not support taking the next step that the United States and Britain have called for: imposing sanctions against Iran or its leaders over its nuclear programs. The Council set Aug. 31 as the deadline for Iran to respond to its demand.

Russia has repeatedly expressed opposition to punitive steps, even as President Vladimir V. Putin and others have called on Iran to cooperate with international inspectors and suspend its enrichment activity.

But on Friday Mr. Ivanov went further, saying the issue was not “so urgent” that the Security Council should consider sanctions and expressing doubt that they would work in any case.

The Council on Foreign Relations, from April 2006:

The referral of the Iran nuclear file to the UN Security Council opens up the prospect economic sanctions could be used to pressure Tehran to end its uranium enrichment program, feared as a cover for developing nuclear weapons. U.S. and European diplomats have stressed that council action is necessary to maintain pressure on Iran and the threat of sanctions is seen as important leverage for the council. But the United Nations’ powerful security body has moved away from sanctions as a coercive tool in recent years. Two veto-wielding members of the council, Russia and China, have virtually ruled out sanctions in dealing with the Iran crisis, leading some experts to call for nations to band together outside of the United Nations to plan meaningful economic penalties.

It might be interesting to note at this point that both Russia and China have been involved with nuclear technology transfers to Iran. Some sources:

According to the Journal MERIA:

Unfortunately, for the time being the United States and Russia differ on which countries qualify as rogue states that must be contained or confronted. Like North Korea or China, Russia–the soothing or indignant pronouncements of its leaders notwithstanding–according to many experts and officials in the area, remains the world’s leading source of WMD-related items and expertise proliferation.

According to the Times:

RUSSIA defied stern American warnings yesterday to announce that it had agreed to start shipping nuclear fuel to Iran in three months.

Within hours President Bush vowed to stand by Israel if its security was threatened by Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons. He said that it would be unacceptable for Iran to develop a nuclear weapon.

According to Asian Research:

China has been providing missiles and nuclear technology to Iran for years, experts told a U.S. security committee last week, adding that transactions have continued despite Chinese government promises to improve regulation and prevent nuclear proliferation.

“China has worked actively to dilute the effectiveness of any global response,” said Ilan Berman from the American Foreign Policy Council. “Tehran’s intransigence in this stand-off has been made possible in part by its strategic partnership with Beijing.”

The Heritage Foundation says we should Confront China’s Support for Iran’s Nuclear Weapons, noting that:

China’s security relationship with Iran is broad. Despite over a decade of protests from Washington, China continues to export nuclear technology, chemical weapons precursors, and guided missiles to Iran. Indeed, China is one of Iran’s top two weapons suppliers (with Russia). A report in 2004 by the U.S.-China Security and Review Commission stated that “Chinese entities continue to assist Iran with dual-use missile-related items, raw materials and chemical weapons-related production equipment and technology” and noted that the transfers took place after the Chinese government pledged in December 2003 to withhold missile technology Iran. The Central Intelligence Agency reported in 2004 that “Chinese entities are continuing work on a zirconium production facility at Esfahan that will enable Iran to produce cladding for reactor fuel.” Although Iran was a signatory to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and was required to accept International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards on its production of zirconium fuel cladding, Iran made no moves to do so, and China exerted no influence to the contrary.

This is a repeat of the similar thwarting by Russian, French, and Chinese efforts to undermine the United States from having any success at attaining meaningful resolutions that would have forced Iraq to open itself up to meaningful weapons inspections. And, just as was the case in Iraq – with Saddam Hussein using the U.N. Oil for Food Program to secure the cooperation of the aforementioned corrupt countries – we are seeing the identical trend building against any effort to place any kind of deterrent against an Iranian nuclear weapons program.

This stuff is eerily similar to the Armageddon scenario depicted in the Book of Revelation and such passages as Ezekiel chapters 37-38. And while I’m not saying that the United States should base its foreign policy on Bible prophecy, I very much am saying that we very much should be acting according to our clear national interests. And we are seeing a very frightening development – a nuclear armed Iran which could be the hair trigger to World War III – happening before our very eyes.

What are we going to do? Should the United States passively sit by while a violent and apocalyptic regime such as Iran develops nuclear weapons? Should we similarly tolerate the resulting nuclear proliferation in the Sunni Arab world as a deterrence against the Shiite Iranian bomb?

One thing is increasingly clear: the United Nations is completely incapable of providing any meaningful resolution to one genuine international crisis after another. With its endemic corruption and incompetence, and with the five permanent member states having diametrically opposed agendas, there is simply no possibility that any meaningful action can occur within the halls of the U.N.

This makes the Iraq War all the more relevant as a baromter for the response to Iran’s nuclear campaign.

As I have argued in past articles, how is an American president who condemned the Iraq War, and who calls for an immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, going to respond against Iran in this hostile international environment?

How could such a president – who condemned the invasion of Iraq – now permit an attack on Iran, or even issue a meaningful threat of such an attack? The same murky “do they have these weapons or not?” scenario will again be the case in Iran; and the same staunch refusal of veto-wielding U.N. members that stymied any resolution against Iraq will again be the case with Iran.

Furthermore, how can a president who has demanded an immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from the vulnerable, fledgling Iraq ever possess the moral authority to promise Sunni countries such as Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Egypt, and Jordan that the United States – which does NOT want to see a nuclear arms race in the Islamic world – that it will protect them from a nuclear Shiite state at all costs?

John McCain – his considered flaws aside – is the only candidate who can meaningfully confront Iran and say, “The United States attacked Iraq because we believed it was developing weapons that threatened our vital national security – and I assure you that we will do the same to you unless you stop what you are doing.” He alone can assure the Sunni Arab states, “The United States stood by Iraq even when it was difficult – and I assure you that we will do the same for you.”

We are entering an increasingly frightening world in which we desperately need a leader who has the wisdom and the policy to prevent the Armageddon scenario from unfolding. As was the case in the last great conflagration, strength – and NOT weakness – provides the only chance of avoiding a future cataclysmic horror.  Let it be noted that – to the extent that Iran DID set aside its nuclear weapons program in 2003 – it did so because a powerful American president invaded its next-door-neighbor over its own weapons program.

As a P.S. I have no doubt that some will skim this and say, “There the conservatives go again, using the politics of fear for the sake of partisan advantage.” My response is that such a claim is meaningful if and only if I presented a false case. If I am wrong in contending that Russia and China are not blocking sanctions against Iran; if I am wrong in contending that Iran is a truly peaceful country with no hostile intentions, then present the case. But if I presented an accurate case, then the refusal to take a nuclear weapons-armed Iran seriously is simply a demonstration of such people’s foolishness and inability to comprehend reality.

Iraq War Justified: Paralysis, Corruption at U.N. Made Truth Impossible (Part 3)

May 8, 2008

The United Nations is by its very nature paralyzed in that five nations with incompatible views and goals can obstruct the process at will; but when corruption is added into the mix of systematic ideological biases, entrenched naiveté that borders on a prerequisite for a UN career, and blatant incompetence, then even the possibility for justice is perverted into a disgusting sham of profiteering and demagoguery – all with a profound sense of self-righteous moralistic judgmentalism. (A long sentence, I know… but describing the pompous windbags at the U.N. demands long sentences).

The United States could have the best resolution in the world for any given global issue, noble and good and effective and whatever else one wants to add; but human rights-abusing China can throw it out with its veto at will. France, based on its currently-deserved place in the world, is and has been virtually irrelevant; but with its veto power – based on its long-past heyday – gives it a clout that is completely without merit. And it is impossible to ignore the alliance with genuine evil that rapidly-approaching-totalitarianism Russia is forming in order to regain its former power and glory from its days as the vile U.S.S.R. That, plus Britain, is your U.N. Security Council, folks.

And that’s the United Nations on a really GOOD day.

What the Iraq War revealed (because no one would have ever known about it otherwise, given that we metaphorically had to pry the evidence from Saddam’s cold dead fingers) is that the United Nations implemented and participated in the greatest case of fraud and corruption in global history; and that the nations who most vociferously opposed any meaningful UN resolution – which could have shaped Iraq’s willingness to cooperate with open weapons inspections – were subsequently discovered to have been completely compromised and corrupted into serving as lackeys for the agenda of Saddam Hussein.

Given that the primary reason for the Iraq War was over the failure of meaningful weapons inspections, let me begin with what Saddam Hussein himself said about his mindset in refusing to allow weapons inspections to unfold. In a way, I am beginning at the end, but I want you to understand the case I am making, and why I am making it. I will add bold face type to point to the specific points in cited passages, but otherwise do not edit in any way.

According to the liberally-oriented Council on Foreign Relations:
Judging from his private statements, the single most important element in Saddam’s strategic calculus was his faith that France and Russia would prevent an invasion by the United States. According to Aziz, Saddam’s confidence was firmly rooted in his belief in the nexus between the economic interests of France and Russia and his own strategic goals: “France and Russia each secured millions of dollars worth of trade and service contracts in Iraq, with the implied understanding that their political posture with regard to sanctions on Iraq would be pro-Iraqi. In addition, the French wanted sanctions lifted to safeguard their trade and service contracts in Iraq. Moreover, they wanted to prove their importance in the world as members of the Security Council — that they could use their veto to show they still had power.”

Ibrahim Ahmad Abd al-Sattar, the Iraqi army and armed forces chief of staff, claimed that Saddam believed that even if his international supporters failed him and the United States did launch a ground invasion, Washington would rapidly bow to international pressure to halt the war. According to his personal interpreter, Saddam also thought his “superior” forces would put up “a heroic resistance and . . . inflict such enormous losses on the Americans that they would stop their advance.” Saddam remained convinced that, in his own words, “Iraq will not, in any way, be like Afghanistan. We will not let the war become a picnic for the American or the British soldiers. No way!” …
When it came to weapons of mass destruction (WMD), Saddam attempted to convince one audience that they were gone while simultaneously convincing another that Iraq still had them. Coming clean about WMD and using full compliance with inspections to escape from sanctions would have been his best course of action for the long run. Saddam, however, found it impossible to abandon the illusion of having WMD, especially since it played so well in the Arab world.

Ali Hassan al-Majid, known as “Chemical Ali” for his use of chemical weapons on Kurdish civilians in 1987, was convinced Iraq no longer possessed WMD but claims that many within Iraq‘s ruling circle never stopped believing that the weapons still existed. Even at the highest echelons of the regime, when it came to WMD there was always some element of doubt about the truth. According to Chemical Ali, Saddam was asked about the weapons during a meeting with members of the Revolutionary Command Council. He replied that Iraq did not have WMD but flatly rejected a suggestion that the regime remove all doubts to the contrary, going on to explain that such a declaration might encourage the Israelis to attack…

Ironically, it now appears that some of the actions resulting from Saddam’s new policy of cooperation actually helped solidify the coalition’s case for war. Over the years, Western intelligence services had obtained many internal Iraqi communications, among them a 1996 memorandum from the director of the Iraqi Intelligence Service directing all subordinates to “insure that there is no equipment, materials, research, studies, or books related to manufacturing of the prohibited weapons (chemical, biological, nuclear, and missiles) in your site.” And when UN inspectors went to these research and storage locations, they inevitably discovered lingering evidence of WMD-related programs.

In 2002, therefore, when the United States intercepted a message between two Iraqi Republican Guard Corps commanders discussing the removal of the words “nerve agents” from “the wireless instructions,” or learned of instructions to “search the area surrounding the headquarters camp and [the unit] for any chemical agents, make sure the area is free of chemical containers, and write a report on it,” U.S. analysts viewed this information through the prism of a decade of prior deceit. They had no way of knowing that this time the information reflected the regime’s attempt to ensure it was in compliance with UN resolutions.

What was meant to prevent suspicion thus ended up heightening it. The tidbit about removing the term “nerve agents” from radio instructions was prominently cited as an example of Iraqi bad faith by U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell in his February 5, 2003, statement to the UN.

We learn still more about Saddam, the nature of his regime, and of desire to maintain his WMD capability in statements made by Saddam Hussein himself. In a CBS 60 Minutes interview with FBI Special Agent Piro, who ran Saddam Hussein’s interrogation:

That June 2000 speech was about weapons of mass destruction. In talking casually about that speech, Saddam began to tell the story of his weapons. It was a breakthrough that had taken five months.

“Oh, you couldn’t imagine the excitement that I was feeling at that point,” Piro remembers.

“And what did he tell you about how his weapons of mass destruction had been destroyed?” Pelley asks.

“He told me that most of the WMD had been destroyed by the U.N. inspectors in the ’90s. And those that hadn’t been destroyed by the inspectors were unilaterally destroyed by Iraq,” Piro says.

So why keep the secret? Why put your nation at risk, why put your own life at risk to maintain this charade?” Pelley asks.

It was very important for him to project that because that was what kept him, in his mind, in power. That capability kept the Iranians away. It kept them from reinvading Iraq,” Piro says.

Before his wars with America, Saddam had fought a ruinous eight year war with Iran and it was Iran he still feared the most.

He believed that he couldn’t survive without the perception that he had weapons of mass destruction?” Pelley asks.

Absolutely,” Piro says.

As the U.S. marched toward war and we began massing troops on his border, why didn’t he stop it then? And say, ‘Look, I have no weapons of mass destruction.’ I mean, how could he have wanted his country to be invaded?” Pelley asks.

He didn’t. But he told me he initially miscalculated President Bush. And President Bush’s intentions. He thought the United States would retaliate with the same type of attack as we did in 1998 under Operation Desert Fox. Which was a four-day aerial attack. So you expected that initially,” Piro says.

Piro says Saddam expected some kind of an air campaign and that he could he survive that. “He survived that once. And then he was willing to accept that type of attack. That type of damage,” he says.

Saddam didn’t believe that the United States would invade,” Pelley remarks.

Not initially, no,” Piro says.

“Once it was clear to him that there was going to be an invasion of the country. I mean, did he actually believe that his armies could win?” Pelley asks.

“No,” Piro says. “What he had asked of his military leaders and senior government officials was to give him two weeks. And at that point it would go into what he called the secret war.”

“The secret war. What did he mean?” Pelley asks.

“Going from a conventional to an unconventional war,” Piro says.

“So the insurgency was part of his plan from the very beginning,” Pelley remarks.

“Well, he would like to take credit for the insurgency,” Piro says.

The Piro interviews with Saddam turned up other revelations about one of the most notorious war crimes of his regime: the use of chemical weapons on Kurdish civilians in 1988. Iraq gassed its own people in something called the Anfal campaign to counter Iranian incursions and Kurdish resistance to his rule.

Piro says Saddam told him he himself gave the orders to use chemical weapons against the Kurds in the North. When shown the graphic pictures of the aftermath, Piro says Saddam reacted by saying, “Necessary.”

In fact, Piro says Saddam intended to produce weapons of mass destruction again, some day. “The folks that he needed to reconstitute his program are still there,” Piro says.

And that was his intention?” Pelley asks.

Yes,” Piro says.

What weapons of mass destruction did he intend to pursue again once he had the opportunity?” Pelley asks.

He wanted to pursue all of WMD. So he wanted to reconstitute his entire WMD program,” says Piro.

Chemical, biological, even nuclear,” Pelley asks.

Yes,” Piro says.

In the summer of 2004, legal custody of Saddam transferred from the U.S. to Iraq. And Saddam had no illusions about what that meant. “Prosecution and execution,” Piro says.

And we have Saddam Hussein talking about weapons of mass destruction on tape before the U.S. invasion. Note that there is also a discussion of burying prohibited weapons:

Saddam Discusses His Nonexistent Weapons Program The Washington Times reports that Saddam Hussein sure talked a lot about a weapons program he supposedly didn’t have: Audiotapes of Saddam Hussein and his aides underscore the Bush administration’s argument that Baghdad was determined to rebuild its arsenal of weapons of mass destruction once the international community had tired of inspections and left the Iraqi dictator alone. In addition to the captured tapes, U.S. officials are analyzing thousands of pages of newly translated Iraqi documents that tell of Saddam seeking uranium from Africa in the mid-1990s.

The documents also speak of burying prohibited missiles, according to a government official familiar with the declassification process Some pundits and recently retired military officers are convinced that Saddam moved his remaining weapons to Syria. They cite satellite photos of lines of trucks heading into the neighboring country before the invasion and the fact Saddam positioned his trusted Iraqi Intelligence Service agents at border crossings.

This news reminds me of a little-noticed Chicago Tribune analysis released at the end of last year: “After reassessing the administration’s nine arguments for war, we do not see the conspiracy to mislead that many critics allege. Example: The accusation that Bush lied about Saddam Hussein’s weapons programs overlooks years of global intelligence warnings that, by February 2003, had convinced even French President Jacques Chirac of “the probable possession of weapons of mass destruction by an uncontrollable country, Iraq.” We also know that, as early as 1997, U.S. intel agencies began repeatedly warning the Clinton White House that Iraq, with fissile material from a foreign source, could have a crude nuclear bomb within a year.”

What comes out of these sources above? We learn that:

1) That Saddam Hussein did not believe the United States would attack, in spite of President Bush’s unequivocal statements to the contrary and 150,000-plus troops on his border. Why did he think this? He thought his bribed French and Russian lackeys would protect him in the UN, and that he could ride out a US attack as long as “world opinion” – as constituted by the French and Russian-distorted view – would never sustain a real invasion.

2) That Saddam Hussein and his military and intelligence apparatus continued to put forth the impression that they had WMD so as to deter enemies from attack. How was the United States to learn the truth in such an environment in such a closed society? The U.S. could not hope to penetrate a closed totalitarian state and ferret out the truth from the lie, but neither could it withdraw from Iraq until it had done precisely that. And

3) That Saddam Hussein had EVERY intention of rebuilding his WMD and nuclear program as soon as the United States pulled back its troops and left him alone. Which is to say, had the United States not invaded when it did, it would either have had to go back and go through the year-long mess at the United Nations and another lengthy and expensive troop buildup all over again, or it would have had to tolerate Iraq possessing WMD and take the inherent risks that came from such possession.

A transcript of CIA Director George Tenet’s address from 5 Feb 2004 and the questioning that follows provides as good of an insight into the American intelligence community’s findings and mindset as anyone without a high-level security clearance could ever hope to find.

Let me now provide a series of comments from multiple media sources detailing how France and Russia completely prostituted their international policy positions on Iraq in order to financially benefit from the corrupt United Nations oil for food program. This fraud, incompetence, abuse, and corruption will be shown to extend far beyond these individual member nations and go straight to the heart of the United Nations itself. The facts reveal that the United States government simply never had any hope for any kind of legitimate redress whatsoever from the United Nations, and thus had no option but to invade:

The Oil-for-Food Scandal: Next Steps for Congress
The Oil-for-Food fraud is potentially the biggest scandal in the history of the United Nations and one of the greatest financial scandals of modern times (see Nile Gardiner, Ph.D., and James Phillips, “Investigate the United Nations Oil-for-Food Fraud,” Heritage Foundation Backgrounder No. 1748, April 21, 2004). Set up in the mid-1990s as a means of providing humanitarian aid to the Iraqi people, the U.N.-run Oil-for-Food program was subverted and manipulated by Saddam Hussein’s regime–allegedly with the complicity of U.N. officials–to help prop up the Iraqi dictator.

Oil-for-food scandal haunts United Nations
In the wake of the Iraq War, we are learning the depth and scope of Saddam Hussein’s treachery. In late November, the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations concluded that the total amount of money that Saddam swindled out of the Oil-For-Food program is $21 billion, where previously it was estimated to be $10 billion. The money, which was stolen over a period of years, was part of Saddam Hussein’s master plan to reconstitute his WMD programs…

The Duelfer Report, presented to the Senate Armed Services committee in October, details the methods Saddam used to manipulate both the Oil-For-Food program and the U.N. Security Council. While the Duelfer Report states that Saddam did not possess weapons of mass destruction (WMDs), it does state that Saddam had a broader plan to get rid of U.N. weapons inspectors and erode the sanctions imposed against him in the hopes of one day reconstituting his weapons program. The report paraphrases the mindset of Saddam in this respect: “We will never lower our heads as long as we live, even if we have to destroy everybody.” Saddam destroyed his WMDs in order to allay suspicions of weapons inspectors at the same time he boasted of his arsenal in order to appear strong.

3 Nations Reportedly Slowed Probe of Oil Sales
Congressional investigators say that France, Russia and China systematically sabotaged the former United Nations oil-for-food program in Iraq by preventing the United States and Britain from investigating whether Saddam Hussein was diverting billions of dollars.

The wages of greed: Robert Winnett and Stephen Grey reveal how the UN betrayed the poor of Iraq in what is being called the greatest financial scandal ever

The biggest humanitarian programme in history, it nominally allowed his regime to sell Iraqi oil to buy essential supplies under UN supervision. For years Saddam had systematically abused it to fill his own treasury and to reward foreign friends and helpful governments. The records appeared to implicate some of the most powerful figures on the planet.

In 1999-2001, the twilight days of UN sanctions against Iraq when parliamentarians from Russia and across Western Europe were rushing to Baghdad to express horror at the injustice of the decade-long embargo enforced by America and Britain, Mr Cash provided some recompense for their trouble. He sidled up as each new foreigner returned to the hotel from an audience with Saddam. “Have you been given any coupons for oil? Do you know what to do with them?” he asked.

The wages of greed
Every six months Saddam drew up a list of who would be allocated the oil. According to leaked Iraqi oil ministry documents: “During the first two stages (of the programme) the regime gave priority to Russia, China and France. This was because they were permanent members of, and hence had the ability to influence decisions made by, the UN security council. This was done by favouring companies from these countries by giving them oil contracts.”

It was in the “third stage” of the programme that Saddam began handing cut-price oil to “non-end users” — individuals unconnected to the oil industry but at the centre of international decision making, who could sell on their rights for a quick profit. The names of senior Russian and French politicians and businessmen — including an oil trader close to President Jacques Chirac and a senior Roman Catholic priest close to the Pope — have appeared in documents in Iraq. All strongly deny that they ever received or illegally profited from the sale of oil. Evidence has also emerged alleging that Benon Sevan, the UN official in charge of the oil for food programme, personally profited from selling Iraqi oil to the tune of $1.2m. He, too, strenuously denies the allegation.

By 2000 Iraq was free to sell as much oil as it wished through the programme. Corruption went into overdrive as Saddam began insisting on a kickback from every barrel of oil he allocated. A letter written on August 3, 2000 by Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan, marked “urgent and confidential”, informed fellow ministers that a high command committee wanted “extra revenues” from the programme…

Saddam made an estimated $20 billion between 1996 and 2003, once oil smuggling and other bribes are taken into account — while rates of disease and malnutrition rose among the Iraqi public. Why was he allowed to get away with it for so long?…

[And when Americans and British tried to slow down oil for food to reduce the enormous fraud that they saw benefitting Saddam and providing him cash for potential weapons programs,] “The people who opposed that were the French and Russians,” said Greenstock. “We consistently got opposition in the security council from the same quarters because there were a lot of their companies involved . . . Everyone was harping on about what the Americans and British were holding up.”

Claude Hankes-Drielsma, a former chairman of the management board at Price Waterhouse Coopers now advising the Iraqi government on the oil for food investigations, believes Annan should accept his responsibilities and that the UN should be reformed. “This is the world’s worst financial scandal, which needs to be thoroughly investigated. I would be surprised if, at the end of the day, as much as 50% of what the Iraqi people were supposed to receive they actually got,” he said.

New Details Emerge: France and Russia Bought and Paid for by Oil for Food
Also on October 6, the CIA released a final report from weapons inspector Charles Duelfer which provided new details about the extent of corruption in the Oil for Food program and the ease with which Saddam was able to ignore international sanctions and illegally export oil with the cooperation of his neighbors.

Most disturbing, however, was the Duelfer report’s disclosure that supposed U.S. allies, most notably France and Russia were literally trading their friendship with Saddam’s regime for billions of dollars in profits from the sale of oil and humanitarian goods. France’s and Russia’s “friendships” apparently also included the illegal sale of guns, ammunition, military spare parts, and so-called dual use items like dump trucks that can be easily converted into missile launchers.

Many concluded long ago that the real motive behind France’s and Russia’s opposition to U.S. plans in Iraq stemmed from the billions they were getting from Saddam Hussein. But the Duelfer report finally provided many of the details that had been missing, and left the French and Russians without their proverbial clothes.

The United States NEVER had a fair shake at justice in the United Nations, because influential countries with veto power over any resolution the U.S. and its allies could hope to pass would be immediately condemned and rejected. And there is no question that Saddam Hussein had a quid pro quo understanding with France and Russia for their cooperation in circumventing any resolution which would have forced Saddam Hussein to open up his country for honest weapons inspections or face severe consequences.

Susan Sachs and Judith Miller of the New York Times wrote a 13 Aug 2004 article titled, “Under Eye of U.N., Billions for Hussein In Oil-for-Food Plan,” that further describes how the oil for food program worked and how it came to be so corrupted. But I am more focused on the corruption of the program as it related to the United Nations attitude toward any Iraq resolutions than I am toward the fraud and incompetence of the U.N. itself.

What follows is more headlines, more revelations of the shocking corruption that the U.N. faced trying to gain legitimate international momentum on Iraq. The U.S. was left with literally no choice but to unilaterally invade Iraq:

Oil-for-Terror?: There appears to be much worse news to uncover in the Oil-for-Food scandal
Beyond the billions in graft, smuggling, and lavish living for Saddam Hussein that were the hallmarks of the United Nations Oil-for-Food program in Iraq, there is one more penny yet to drop.

It’s time to talk about Oil-for-Terror.

Especially with the U.N.’s own investigation into Oil-for-Food now taking shape, and more congressional hearings in the works, it is high time to focus on the likelihood that Saddam may have fiddled Oil-for-Food contracts not only to pad his own pockets, buy pals, and acquire clandestine arms — but also to fund terrorist groups, quite possibly including al Qaeda.

There are at least two links documented already. Both involve oil buyers picked by Saddam and approved by the U.N. One was a firm with close ties to a Liechtenstein trust that has since been designated by the U.N. itself as “belonging to or affiliated with Al Qaeda.” The other was a Swiss-registered subsidiary of a Saudi oil firm that had close dealings with the Taliban during Osama bin Laden’s 1990’s heyday in Afghanistan.

As I’ve already pointed out in my first article in this series, Saddam Hussein DID have ties with terrorism. He operated a terrorist training camp which had a dedicated section for the training of foreign terrorists. And he was paying the families of Palestinian gunmen killed in battles with Israelis $15000 and the families of suicide bombers $25000. And now we have yet another definitive link between Saddam Hussein and terrorism – even al Qaeda (though, as a note, a link to ANY terrorist organization is sufficient to jeopardize the United States and merit invasion).

How the U.N. Helped Saddam Buy Allies
United Press International recently reported the discovery of documents from Saddam Hussein’s oil ministry that show the Iraqi dictator “used oil to bribe top French officials into opposing the imminent U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.”

And according to ABC News, allies of Saddam Hussein profited by pocketing the difference between the price of oil under the U.N.’s “Oil for Food” program and the price of oil on the open market. Some of these allies included “a close political associate and financial backer of French President Jacques Chirac”, “Russian political figures” including “the Russian ambassador to Baghdad” and “officials in the office of President Vladimir Putin”, “George Galloway, a British member of Parliament”, and even some—gasp!—”prominent journalists”.

Because the U.N. allowed Saddam Hussein to decide who received contracts under the “Oil for Food” program, he was able to use it as a personal slush fund to pay off his defenders. France and Russia were two of the most stubborn supporters of the Hussein regime, and their friendship was rewarded well: Russian interests got the biggest cut of the loot, while the French came in second. British politician George Galloway, who likes to refer to Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Condoleezza Rice as “the three witches“, personally pulled in nearly $10 million while defending Saddam.

Saddam paid Russia in oil for support at Security Council

SADDAM HUSSEIN rewarded Russia with oil for protecting Iraq from key British and American initiatives in the United Nations Security Council, US Senate investigators report today.
The Senate Permanent Sub-committee on Investigations found evidence that the Russian Presidential Administration and the political party that backs President Putin were among those who were paid off with oil allocations in what Iraqi officials knew as the “Saddam Bribery System.”

At one point, Saddam gave Russia additional oil and food contracts under the UN’s Oil-For-Food scheme, specifically to “show gratitude” to Moscow for vetoing a plan by the United States to crack down on cross-border smuggling by Iraq, the report says. Russia was also rewarded for derailing a British and American plan to restrict Iraqi oil sales to an approved list of recognised oil traders, the report says.

Focus: Weapons of mass corruption? The CIA says Saddam abused the UN’s oil for food scheme to buy influence. Robert Winnett reports. Saddam’s trump cards were the oil allocations or “vouchers” that he was allowed to distribute. These pieces of paper entitled the holder to a certain amount of Iraqi oil at a fixed price. By selling them on the international oil market, the voucher-holders could make a quick and virtually invisible profit. In effect, the vouchers were as good as cash, enriching anyone who could get hold of them.

According to the ISG report last week: “The UN (oil-for-food) voucher programme provided Saddam with a useful method of rewarding countries, organisations and individuals willing to co-operate with Iraq to subvert UN sanctions.”

The three biggest recipients of vouchers were Russia, France and China, which received 30%, 15% and 10% of the total respectively. Among the individuals named are the French businessman Patrick Maugein, whom the report says is considered “a conduit to President Chirac”, and Charles Pasqua, the former French interior minister.

Oil-for-Food report names companies that bribed Saddam
Saddam Hussein received $1.8 billion in bribes from more than 2,200 companies in the scramble for lucrative contracts under the United Nation’s Oil-for-Food programme, investigators claimed today.
Russia harboured the most companies involved in the programme, followed by France, according to the inquiry led by Paul Volcker, a former chairman of the US Federal Reserve Board.

Many of the firms which benefited were obscure front companies which had been set up specifically to manipulate the UN programme.

The sordid truth about the oil-for-food scandal

So now we know the truth. Forget the row about Saddam’s non-existent weapons stockpiles. That, after all, should never have been the justification for war in the first place. The proper casus belli for regime change in Baghdad was Saddam’s non-compliance with 17 United Nations resolutions over a period of more than 12 years.

The real scandal contained in the long-awaited report of the Iraq Survey Group (ISG) that was published last week concerns the fecklessness of the United Nations, not to mention the treacherous conduct of some of its security council members, in its dealings with Saddam’s regime between the end of the 1991 Gulf war and last year’s Operation Iraqi Freedom.

In the diplomatic build-up to last year’s war to remove Saddam Hussein from power, the two most vociferous opponents of military action were Russia and France. Even though Presidents Putin and Chirac reluctantly signed up to UN Security Council resolution 1441 in November 2002 – which threatened Saddam with “serious consequences” if he did not fully complythey were at the forefront of the international campaign to block military action.

At the time it was felt that their main motivation was to protect their lucrative trade ties with Baghdad. In late 2002, Saddam still owed the Russians some $10 billion, mainly for illegal arms deals. France came next in the trade rankings.

Even so, Moscow and Paris tried to claim that they were opposing the war as a matter of principle. That was certainly the impression Mr Chirac sought to give when he announced that he would veto any second UN resolution that authorised military action. Mr Putin also opposed the invasion of Iraq and, just as hostilities were about to commence, even dispatched Yevgeny Primakov, his trusty former KGB colleague, to Baghdad on a last-ditch mission to persuade Saddam to comply and avoid war.

Thanks to the efforts of the ISG team, we now know that there was another, even less palatable, explanation for their duplicity. Far from seeking to protect their lucrative trade ties, the real explanation for the opposition of France and Russia to the war was that both countries’ political establishments were deeply implicated in a lucrative scam to divert the profits of the UN’s oil-for-food programme into their own private coffers.

Annan faces questions on oil-for-food
THE ROLE of Kofi Annan in the Iraqi oil-for-food scandal is to be investigated after it emerged that the United Nations secretary-general was in charge of some of the most controversial aspects of the discredited humanitarian programme.

Oil-for-Corruption?

The cover-up is always worse than the crime, they say. But that doesn’t necessarily hold true when you’re dealing with the crime of the century — in fact, two centuries. And the United Nations Oil-for-Food program is among the largest criminal enterprises in history.
Over the course of several years, the U.S. General Accounting Office estimates Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi dictatorship generated more than $10 billion in illegal revenues by exploiting Oil-for-Food.

Members of the U.N. seem to have been deeply involved in the scandal. For example, Benon Sevan, once the executive director of Oil-for-Food, was included on an Iraqi Oil Ministry listing of hundreds of people who allegedly received oil vouchers as bribes from Saddam’s regime.

As such details have dribbled out, the United Nations has reacted predictably — by attempting to sweep Oil-for-Food under the rug or change the subject. For example, the U.N.’s commission of inquiry, headed by former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, has been at work for almost six months. But it doesn’t seem to be making progress.

And that’s not surprising — the commission seems to have been set up to fail. As Heritage Foundation experts Nile Gardiner and James Phillips reported recently, it has “no subpoena power and is clearly open to U.N. manipulation. It bears no enforcement authority (such as contempt) to compel compliance with its requests for information and has no authority to discipline or punish any wrongdoing it discovers.”

Let the Revelations Begin

Moreover, the French, Russian, and Chinese had “much to gain from maintaining the status quo.” Confidential records of the sanctions committee examined by subcommittee staff reveal that these nations and others “continually refused to support the US and UK efforts to maintain the integrity of OFFP.”

Leaks from a highly confidential new report prepared for the interim Iraqi government confirm that Saddam’s “regime gave priority to Russia, China and France. This was because they were permanent members of, and hence had the ability to influence decisions made by, the UN Security Council.”

The report claims that Russians had a prominent role. They received “unprecedented priority” and were allocated a third of all Iraqi oil – most of which was resold to other nations. Those named as having received oil include a former senior aide to [President Vladimir] Putin’s political parties, Russian oil firms and the foreign ministry.

The Oil-for-Food Scandal: Next Steps for Congress

The Oil-for-Food fraud is potentially the biggest scandal in the history of the United Nations and one of the greatest financial scandals of modern times. Set up in the mid-1990s as a means of providing humanitarian aid to the Iraqi people, the U.N.-run Oil-for-Food program was subverted and manipulated by Saddam Hussein’s regime–allegedly with the complicity of U.N. officials–to help prop up the Iraqi dictator.

Saddam’s dictatorship was able to siphon off an estimated $10 billion from the program through oil smuggling and systematic thievery, by demanding illegal payments from companies buying Iraqi oil, and through kickbacks from those selling goods to Iraq–all under the noses of U.N. bureaucrats.
Members of the U.N. staff that administered the program have been accused of gross incompetence, mismanagement, and possible complicity with the Iraqi regime. Benon Sevan, former executive director of the Oil-for-Food program, appeared on an Iraqi Oil Ministry list of 270 individuals, political entities, and companies from across the world that allegedly received oil vouchers as bribes from Saddam Hussein’s regime….

The heated U.N. Security Council debates before the U.S.-led war to liberate Iraq cannot remain separated from the Oil-for-Food program and the fact that influential politicians, major companies, and political parties from key Security Council member countries may have benefited financially from the program.

The Al Mada list of 270 individuals, political entities, and businesses across the world that allegedly received oil vouchers from Saddam Hussein’s regime included no fewer than 46 Russian and 11 French names. The Russian government alone allegedly received an astonishing $1.36 billion in oil vouchers.

The list of Russian entities accused of accepting bribes from Saddam goes to the heart of the Russian financial and political establishment and includes the Russian Foreign Ministry, the Russian Communist Party, Lukoil, Yukos, Gasprom, the Russian Orthodox Church, and the chief of the President’s Bureau. The list of French names includes former Interior Minister Charles Pasqua.

The close ties between Russian and French politicians and the Iraqi regime may have been an important factor in influencing their governments’ decision to oppose Hussein’s removal from power. They also highlight the close triangular working relationships among Paris, Moscow, and Baghdad and the huge French and Russian financial interests in pre-liberation Iraq. Prior to the regime change in April 2003, French and Russian oil companies possessed oil contracts with the Saddam Hussein regime that covered roughly 40 percent of the country’s oil wealth (See Carrie Satterlee, “Facts on Who Benefits from Keeping Saddam Hussein in Power,” Heritage Foundation WebMemo No. 217, February 28, 2003).

Without a shred of evidence, European and domestic critics have frequently derided the Bush Administration’s decision to go to war in Iraq as an “oil grab” driven by U.S. corporations such as Halliburton. They ignore the reality that the leading opponents of war at the U.N. Security Council–Russia and France–had vast oil interests in Iraq, protected by the Saddam Hussein regime. The Oil-for-Food program and its elaborate system of kickbacks and bribery was also a major source of revenue for many European politicians and business concerns, especially in Moscow [Note: it is now apparent after five years of war that the United States has fundamentally left Iraqi oil alone, proving the falseness of the above charge].

3 Nations Reportedly Slowed Probe of Oil Sales
Congressional investigators say that France, Russia and China systematically sabotaged the former United Nations oil-for-food program in Iraq by preventing the United States and Britain from investigating whether Saddam Hussein was diverting billions of dollars.

In a briefing paper given yesterday to members of the House subcommittee investigating the program, the investigators said their review of the minutes of a United Nations Security Council subcommittee meeting showed that the three nations “continually refused to support the U.S. and U.K. efforts to maintain the integrity” of the program.

The program, set up in 1996, was an effort to keep pressure on Mr. Hussein to disarm while helping the Iraqi people survive the sanctions imposed after the invasion of Kuwait in 1990. The briefing paper was prepared by the House Subcommittee on National Security, Emerging Threats and International Relations, before hearings scheduled for Tuesday on the scandal-ridden program.

The paper suggests that France, Russia and China blocked inquiries into Iraq‘s manipulation of the program because their companies “had much to gain from maintaining” the status quo. “Their businesses made billions of dollars through their involvement with the Hussein regime and O.F.F.P.,” the document states, using the initials for the program. No officials of the three governments could be reached for comment.

The paper also accuses the United Nations office charged with overseeing the program of having “pressed” contractors not to rigorously inspect Iraqi oil being sold and the foreign goods being bought. The program office, headed by Benan Sevan, who is also under investigation by a committee appointed by the United Nations, turned a blind eye to corruption charges, the paper says, because it apparently saw oil-for-food “strictly as a humanitarian program.

Oil for Food, Fraud, Terror, etc. Moreover, Oil-for-Food gave several key players a financial interest in the survival of Saddam’s tyrannical regime. The U.N. had an interest in seeing the program grow, as it received a 2.2 percent cut (a total of $1.8 billion) of every deal for administrative costs (more here). So did some conspicuous opponents of the U.S.-led coalition. Gardiner, Phillips, and Dean note that over fifty French and Russian oil companies possessed oil contracts with the Saddam Hussein regime that covered roughly 40 percent of the country’s oil wealth.

U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan has launched a special investigation into the scandal, (though he hasn’t yet labeled it as ‘illegal’) but the Independent Inquiry Committee into the U.N. Oil-for-Food Program chaired by former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker is “strikingly opaque,” conclude Nile Gardiner and James Phillips. So far, Volcker has refused to cooperate with Congress by releasing 55 internal U.N. audits and other documents (see more on Congressional investigations here). According to Gardiner and Phillips, “[t]he Commission bears all the hallmarks of a toothless paper tiger, with no subpoena power, no enforcement authority, no deadline, and no accountability.

As Rosett wrote back in April, “[t]he issue is not simply how much Saddam pilfered but whether he availed himself of the huge opportunities to fund carnage under the cover of U.N. sanctions and humanitarian relief.” That is, did some of those unaccounted-for billions go to fund terror against the United States and Saddam’s own people? Marc Perelman unearthed at least two links in a June 2003 Forward piece. While journalists inexplicably failed to follow-up on his findings on Asat Trust and Delta Oil, Fox News released the results of a new investigation over the weekend. As the New York Post reports:

“The network found that Hayel Saeed Anam, a director of a Yemeni company [HSA Group] that did $286 million worth of business with the program, is also the founder of a European-based firm called Malaysian Swiss Gulf and African Chamber – abbreviated MIGA – [which] was designated by the U.S. Treasury Department as “belonging to or associated with” al Qaeda [Fox called MIGA a “terrorist chamber of commerce”]. Fox said that in 1984, Anam gave power of attorney to run MIGA to financier Ahmed Idris Nasreddin, a member of the radical Muslim Brotherhood, who also ran a bank designated by the Treasury Department as a financial backer of al Qaeda.”

The wages of greed
Robert Winnett and Stephen Grey reveal how the UN betrayed the poor of Iraq in what is being called the greatest financial scandal ever.

On July 1 the world’s attention was on Baghdad. Three days after the Americans had formally handed power to an interim Iraqi government, Saddam Hussein was due in court to face charges of war crimes and genocide.

When Ehsan Karim left home that Thursday morning, however, he had other things on his mind. A little-known government accountant, Karim was in charge of the Iraqi supreme audit board. Not obviously a frontline job, it would nonetheless cost him his life.
After trawling through the financial records of Saddam’s former regime, Karim had uncovered evidence of a multi-billion-dollar global web of deceit and corruption.

Saddam ‘bought UN allies’ with oil
A LEAKED report has exposed the extent of alleged corruption in the United Nations’ oil-for-food scheme in Iraq, identifying up to 200 individuals and companies that made profits running into hundreds of millions of pounds from it.

The report largely implicates France and Russia, whom Saddam Hussein targeted as he sought support on the UN Security Council before the Iraq war. Both countries were influential voices against UN-backed action.

A senior UN official responsible for the scheme is identified as a major beneficiary. The report, marked “highly confidential”, also finds that the private office of Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, profited from the cheap oil. Saddam’s regime awarded this oil during the run-up to the war when military action was being discussed at the UN…

The former Iraqi regime was in effect free to “allocate” oil to whom it wished. Dozens of private individuals were given oil at knockdown prices. They were able to nominate recognised traders to buy the cheap oil from the Iraqi state oil firm and sell it for a personal profit.

The report says oil was given to key countries: “The regime gave priority to Russia, China and France. This was because they were permanent members of, and hence had the ability to influence decisions made by, the UN Security Council. The regime . . . allocated ‘private oil’ to individuals or political parties that sympathised in some way with the regime.”

The report claims that Russians had a prominent role. They received “unprecedented priority” and were allocated a third of all Iraqi oil — most of which was resold to other nations. Besides Putin’s private office, those named as having received oil include political parties, Russian oil firms and the foreign ministry

A section of the report on Russian involvement says Saddam and his henchmen furthered “their political and propagandist cause through companies, individuals and political parties that have no relation to the oil industry. Through their activities, they have gained the indebtedness of the Russian Federation and with that, its weight and leadership on the world stage as well as its permanent membership of the UN Security Council”.

Last week Claude Hankes-Drielsma, an Iraqi government adviser who worked on the investigation, confirmed the report as genuine. “The records demonstrate that the UN oil-for-food programme provided Saddam with a vehicle to buy support internationally by bribing political parties, companies, journalists and other individuals,” he said. “This shows the need for a complete review of the UN.”

Report: U.N. oil-for-food fraud widespread: 2,000 firms made $1.8 billion in illicit payments to Iraq, investigation finds
UNITED NATIONS – About 2,200 companies in the U.N. oil-for-food program, including corporations in the United States, France, Germany and Russia, paid a total of $1.8 billion in kickbacks and illicit surcharges to Saddam Hussein’s government, a U.N.-backed investigation said in a report released Thursday.
The report from the committee probing the $64 billion program said prominent politicians also made money from extensive manipulation of the U.N. oil-for-food program in Iraq.

The investigators reported that companies and individuals from 66 countries paid illegal kickbacks using a variety of ways, and those paying illegal oil surcharges came from, or were registered in, 40 countries.
There were two main types of manipulation: surcharges paid for humanitarian contracts for spare parts, trucks, medical equipment and other supplies; and kickbacks for oil contracts…

But Saddam, who could choose the buyers of Iraqi oil and the sellers of humanitarian goods, corrupted the program by awarding contracts to — and getting kickbacks from — favored buyers, mostly parties who supported his regime or opposed the sanctions.

Tracing the politicization of oil contracts, the report said Iraqi leaders in the late 1990s decided to deny American, British and Japanese companies allocations to purchase oil because of their countries’ opposition to lifting sanctions.

At the same time, it said, Iraq gave preferential treatment to France, Russia and China, which were perceived to be more favorable to lifting sanctions and were also permanent members of the Security Council.

An article from 21 April 2004 titled “Investigate the United Nations Oil-for-Food Fraud” by by Nile Gardiner, Ph.D., and James Phillips had the following:
There is mounting evidence that the United Nations Oil-for-Food program, originally conceived as a means of providing humanitarian aid to the Iraqi people, was subverted by Saddam Hussein’s regime and manipulated to help prop up the Iraqi dictator. Saddam’s dictatorship was able to siphon off an estimated $10 billion from the Oil-for-Food program through oil smuggling and systematic thievery, by demanding illegal payments from companies buying Iraqi oil, and through kickbacks from those selling goods to Iraq–all under the noses of U.N. bureaucrats. The members of the U.N. staff administering the program have been accused of gross incompetence, mismanagement, and possible complicity with the Iraqi regime in perpetrating the biggest scandal in U.N. history.

As previously already noted, the figures provided – already characterized as the “the biggest scandal in U.N. history” would subsequently DOUBLE (showing just how massive this scandal truly was) as even more evidence emerged. The article continues:

Emerging from the evidence is a mosaic of international corruption involving a patchwork of politicians and businesses across the world that benefited from the Oil-for-Food program and helped to keep Hussein in power. The Iraqi Oil Ministry recently released a partial list of beneficiaries: 270 names of individuals, political entities, and companies from across the world who received oil vouchers from Saddam Hussein’s regime, allegedly at below-market prices (The names were published in January in the Arabic Iraqi newspaper Al Mada and subsequently reported on in Therese Raphael, “Saddam’s Global Payroll,” The Wall Street Journal, February 9, 2004).

The list includes former French Interior Minister Charles Pasqua, the “director of the Russian President’s office,” the Russian Communist Party, the Ukraine Communist Party, the Palestine Liberation Organization, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the son of Lebanese President Emile Lahud, the son of Syrian Defense Minister Mustafa Tlass, and George Galloway, a British Member of Parliament.

Ominously, the list also implicates U.N. Assistant Secretary General Benon V. Sevan, executive director of the Oil-for-Food program, who has stringently denied any wrongdoing. Sevan, a longtime U.N. bureaucrat with close ties to Kofi Annan, has taken an extended vacation, pending retirement later this month.

Kofi Annan’s son Kojo may also be implicated in the mushrooming scandal. Kojo Annan had ties to Cotecna Inspection SA, a Swiss-based company that received a contract for inspecting goods shipped to Iraq under the Oil-for-Food program. The younger Annan worked for Cotecna in the mid-1990s and became a consultant to the company until shortly before it won the Oil-for-Food contract (Claudia Rosett, “Turtle Bay’s Carnival of Corruption: Digging Deeper into the Scandalous Oil for Food Program,” National Review, March 21, 2004, at http://www.nationalreview.com/comment/rosett200403212155.asp). Cotecna, reportedly implicated in earlier bribery scandals, did not disclose this potential conflict of interest, and neither did the United Nations.

No fewer than 46 Russian and 11 French names appear on the Iraqi Oil Ministry list (For a full list of names by nationality, see Dr. Nimrod Raphaeli, The Saddam Oil Vouchers Affair, Middle East Media Research Institute, February 20, 2004, at memri.org/bin/opener.cgi?Page=archives&ID=IA16404). The Russian government is alleged to have received an astonishing $1.36 billion in oil vouchers from Saddam Hussein.

The close ties between French and Russian politicians and the Iraqi regime may have been an important factor in influencing their governments’ decision to oppose Hussein’s removal from power. They also highlight the close working relationships between Moscow and Baghdad and between Paris and Baghdad, and the huge French and Russian financial interests in pre-liberation Iraq.

Prior to the regime change in April 2003, French and Russian oil companies possessed oil contracts with the Saddam Hussein regime that covered roughly 40 percent of the country’s oil wealth. French oil giant Total Fina Elf had won contracts to develop the Majnoon and Nahr Umar oil fields in southern Iraq, which contain an estimated 26 billion barrels of oil (25 percent of Iraq’s oil reserves). Russian company Lukoil had won the contract to develop the West Qurna field, also in southern Iraq, which has an estimated 15 billion barrels of oil (See Carrie Satterlee, “Facts on Who Benefits from Keeping Saddam Hussein in Power,” Heritage Foundation WebMemo No. 217, February 28, 2003).

Political and military ties between Moscow and Baghdad were extensive. Documents found in the bombed-out headquarters of the Mukhabarat (the Iraqi intelligence service under Hussein) reveal the full extent of intelligence cooperation between the Russian and Iraqi governments.

According to reports in the London Sunday Telegraph:
Russia provided Saddam Hussein’s regime with wide-ranging assistance in the months leading up to the war, including intelligence on private conversations between Tony Blair and other Western leaders. Moscow also provided Saddam with lists of assassins available for “hits” in the West and details of arms deals to neighbouring countries” (see also David Harrison, “Revealed: Russia Spied on Blair for Saddam,” The Sunday Telegraph (London), April 13, 2003).

The Russians are also believed to have sold arms to Iraq illegally right up until the outbreak of war with the United States in March 2003. The Bush Administration has accused Russian arms dealers of selling anti-tank guided missiles, electronic jamming equipment, and thousands of night vision goggles to the Iraqis in open violation of U.N. sanctions.13 During Hussein’s dictatorship, Russia reportedly provided him with $14 billion worth of arms shipments (David Harrison, “Revealed: Russia Spied on Blair for Saddam”).

Evidence has also come to light of intimate political cooperation between Paris and Baghdad in the period leading up to the U.S.-led war against Saddam Hussein. Documents found in the wreckage of the Iraqi Foreign Ministry reveal that “Paris shared with Baghdad the contents of private transatlantic meetings and diplomatic traffic from Washington (Matthew Campbell, “Dossier Reveals France Briefed Iraq on U.S. Plans,” The Sunday Times (London), April 27, 2003).

Officials in the French Foreign Office reportedly shared information with their Iraqi counterparts on a sensitive meeting between former French Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine and U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell following the terrorist attacks on September 11. Details of talks between French President Jacques Chirac and President George W. Bush were also reportedly passed on to the Iraqi Foreign Ministry by the French ambassador in Baghdad. One Russian company signed contracts valued at about $20 million to provide material for Iraq’s missile systems. Another Russian firm, Uliss, negotiated a deal to support a tank project dubbed “Saddam the Lion,” according to the report.

See also the fact sheet, “Facts on Who Benefits From Keeping Saddam Hussein In Power.”

The French Connection
France, China and Syria all have a common reason for keeping American and British troops out of Iraq: the three nations may not want the world to discover that their nationals have been illicitly supplying Saddam Hussein with materials used in building long-range surface-to-surface missiles.

We’re not talking about short-range Al Samoud 2 missiles, which Saddam is ostentatiously destroying to help his protectors avert an invasion, nor his old mobile Scuds. The delivery system for mass destruction warheads requires a much more sophisticated propulsion system and fuels.

If you were running the Iraqi ballistic missiles project, where in the world would you go to buy the chemical that is among the best binders for solid propellant?

Saddam’s Arsenal: Arms From France, Russia, Germany, Belgium and China

Paris, Moscow, Berlin, Brussels and Beijing all threaten to veto any U.N. move for the United States to war with Iraq. All of these worldly members have vowed to strike a blow for peace and not challenge Saddam Hussein. However, Saddam has more than just diplomacy to thank our global allies for.

Saddam is not one to settle for second best. Thus, Saddam had to arm his nation with the best military equipment the world could offer. Saddam’s quest to arm his country led him on a shopping spree in Paris, Moscow, Berlin, Brussels and Beijing.

For articles detailing the evidence of the above mentioned moving of Saddam Hussein’s WMD arsenal to Syria prior to the U.S. invasion, see the following articles:

Many Helped Iraq Evade U.N. Sanctions On Weapons
The French were hardly alone in helping Hussein to reinvigorate his military forces during the 12 years that Iraq was under strict U.N. sanctions. Arm dealers and military suppliers from the former Eastern Bloc — Russia, Poland, Romania, Belarus and Ukraine — provided critical assistance to Iraq as it tried to build a long-range missile program and other systems that weapons inspectors feared could have been used someday to launch chemical, biological or even nuclear attacks.

“It was well known within the U.S. government that individuals and companies were selling Iraq various kinds of prohibited items,” said Gary Samore, a nonproliferation specialist in the Clinton administration who now works as an analyst for the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies.
While the United States sought to shut down suppliers through diplomatic and other means, Samore said, it was common knowledge that Iraq was able to bypass sanctions by buying in small quantities and paying high prices, using a network of front companies in Jordan, Syria and other countries in the Middle East.

“The world is awash in conventional arms, and every time there’s been an arms embargo on a country they’ve been able to circumvent it,” he said. “It’s much more difficult to buy more exotic technologies like nuclear weapons, but there are so many private dealers and corrupt state entities, especially in the former Soviet Union. The best you can do is slow down sales, obstruct them or make it more expensive.”
Some of the clearest evidence of government corruption, according to the report, involved Russia, a country that has vast storehouses of military technology.

Although the Russian government has denied past accusations that it played a role in supplying arms and military equipment to Hussein’s government, U.S. weapons inspectors reported finding “a significant amount of captured documentation showing contracts between Iraq and Russian companies.”

In one case, a Russian general, Anatoly Makros, formed a joint company with Iraqi partners in 1998 “just to handle the large volume of Russian business,” according to the report, which also cited a former Iraqi diplomat as saying that Russian customs officials ignored the illegal commerce in exchange for bribes. Trade with Russia was so brisk that Iraqi Embassy officials smuggled military supplies on weekly charter flights from Moscow to Baghdad, according to the former Iraqi diplomat, who was not named in the report. The equipment included radar jammers, night-vision goggles and small missile components.

The French Connection
France, China and Syria all have a common reason for keeping American and British troops out of Iraq: the three nations may not want the world to discover that their nationals have been illicitly supplying Saddam Hussein with materials used in building long-range surface-to-surface missiles.

We’re not talking about short-range Al Samoud 2 missiles, which Saddam is ostentatiously destroying to help his protectors avert an invasion, nor his old mobile Scuds. The delivery system for mass destruction warheads requires a much more sophisticated propulsion system and fuels.

If you were running the Iraqi ballistic missiles project, where in the world would you go to buy the chemical that is among the best binders for solid propellant?

Saddam’s Arsenal: Arms From France, Russia, Germany, Belgium and China
Paris, Moscow, Berlin, Brussels and Beijing all threaten to veto any U.N. move for the United States to war with Iraq. All of these worldly members have vowed to strike a blow for peace and not challenge Saddam Hussein. However, Saddam has more than just diplomacy to thank our global allies for.

Saddam is not one to settle for second best. Thus, Saddam had to arm his nation with the best military equipment the world could offer. Saddam’s quest to arm his country led him on a shopping spree in Paris, Moscow, Berlin, Brussels and Beijing.

For articles detailing the evidence of the above mentioned moving of Saddam Hussein’s WMD arsenal to Syria prior to the U.S. invasion, see the following articles:

In addition, there are legitimate questions whether a massive bomb plot uncovered in Jordan used expertise and materials that came from Iraq.

In this absolutely toxic environment, the United States recognized that it had no feasible alternative but to go to war. The Iraq resolution was overwhelmingly passed by both the U.S. House and the U.S. Senate, with 29 Democrats voting to support the resolution and only 21 opposed. In addition, there is a massive trove of statements compiled by snopes.com from Democrats acknowledging both that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction and that he posed a clear and present danger to the United States. There subsequent repudiation of the war they supported represents one of the most despicable acts in U.S. political history.

The Iraq War resolution can be found here. It was granted to the President of the United States in the name of the people of the United States by their duly appointed elected representatives. Like it or not, it was the United States of America – and not President George Bush – which voted to go to war.

If anyone actually bothers to read that war resolution, you’ll find it all there: Saddam Hussein’s violation of his surrender terms; his repeated acts of firing on our forces conducting legitimate operations as agreed in the cease fire agreement from the Gulf War; his longstanding refusal to cooperate with weapons inspectors in direct violation of U.N. Resolution 1441; his ties to terrorist groups. And the long-term threat he steadfastly maintained to our strategic interests if we left him in power. All of that and more is found right there in the resolution in plain black and white.

Another document worth reading is the Apparatus of Lies: Saddam’s Disinformation and Propaganda 1990-2003, which details the longstanding pattern that mandated his removal in the aftermath of 9/11.

Every major intelligence service in the world – whether in Asia, Europe, or the Middle East – believed along with the United States that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and that his possession represented a potential threat. British, French, German, Russian, Chinese, Australian, Saudi Arabian, Turkey, you name it, they accepted that conclusion. Paul Pillar wrote in “Intelligence, Policy, and the War in Iraq,” Foreign Affairs 85:2 (March/April 2006): “the Bush administration was quite right: its perception of Saddam’s weapons capacities was shared by the Clinton administration, congressional Democrats, and most other Western governments and intelligence services.” See also Mortimer B. Zuckerman, “Foul-ups — Not Felonies,” U.S. News and World Report (November 14, 2005)).

Hans Blix, the head of the un inspection effort in Iraq, reported as much to the Security Council two weeks before the invasion began: “intelligence agencies have expressed the view the proscribed programs [in Iraq] have continued or restarted in this period [since 1998].” “It is further contended,” he noted, “that proscribed programs and items are located in underground facilities . . . and that proscribed items are being moved around Iraq.” From this information, Blix himself drew the judgment that, although Iraq had undertaken “a substantial measure of disarmament,” Iraq’s actions, “three to four months into the new resolution [referring to U.N. Resolution 1441], cannot be said to constitute immediate cooperation, nor do they necessarily cover all areas of relevance.” (“In a Chief Inspector’s Words: A Substantial Measure of Disarmament,” excerpts from reports by Hans Blix and Mohammed El Baradei to the un Security Council, New York Times (March 8, 2003)).

Those are the facts as basically all the world’s intelligence experts understood them at the time.

There was a process that the United Nations ostensibly provided by which two nations in material disagreement could come to a fair resolution. But what should have been an honest process was interfered with and corrupted by powerful member nations and by the United Nations itself. If we are going to blame anyone for the invasion, then let us blame countries like France and Russia, as well as the corrupt and grossly incompetent and negligent United Nations. They made it impossible for any just solution to prevail. In Saddam Hussein’s own words and thoughts, their protection and interference gave him the idea that he could defy the United States and keep the inspectors at bay without any meaningful consequence.

What would have happened had the U.N functioned as it should have functioned? The legitimate concerns of his past, present, and future WMD program would have been taken seriously. Resolutions would have been passed that mandated consequences for any failure to comply. Faced with no powerful corrupt ally on the outside, Saddam Hussein may very well have opened up his regime to inspection and averted war. As it is, France, Russia and other such countries self-righteously criticized the United States while literally making deals with the devil. They put the security of the United States and quite possibly the world at risk for the sake of profit and self-advancement. They transformed a humanitarian program that was supposed to feed the hungry and needy people of Iraq into a den of thieves that only profited criminals in high places.

There is plenty of blameworthy parties leading up to the Iraq War. Saddam Hussein, for his refusal to cooperate with the arms inspections; France, Russia, and China, for allowing themselves to be corrupted by Saddam Hussein, and for opposing any U.N. resolution that had any hope of forcing Iraq’s cooperation; and the United Nations itself, for incompetence and negligence. Rather than being the deceitful and malicious party – as so many have claimed – the United States was actually the only party that was acting honorably and reasonably.

See also Part 1: Iraq War Justified: Lessons from Saddam’s History

See also Part 2: Iraq War Justified: What the Chronology Reveals

Iraq War Justified: What the Chronology Reveals (Part 2)

May 6, 2008

Iraq Chronology: 2000-2002, and 2003

Available at http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/stories/s814212.htm

My sometimes admittedly smarmy editorials [appear in brackets]. I selectively choose dates in the chronology, and I add bold type face wherever I wish to emphasize a point, but I do not alter any other information in this presentation.

On 3 Feb 2000, the US Navy seized the Russian tanker Volgoneft-147 in the Persian Gulf, which was carrying Iraq oil in violation of UN sanctions against Iraq. Action resulting from smuggling by another Russian tanker results in Royal Dutch Shell’s agreeing to pay a $2 million fine, though it appeared to have been an unwitting victim of Russia’s [illegal] operations. On 23 March Vice Admiral Charles Moore, overseeing US operations in the Gulf, briefed the United Nations Sanctions Committee on the increased smuggling of Iraqi oil. Iraq is expected to earn in excess of $500 million from oil smuggling, and possibly up to double that amount, in the absence of strong action by Iran to prevent the use of its territorial waters by smugglers. [Darn. That’s a lot of money. But Saddam Hussein can be trusted to only use it for niceness, and not evilness. At this time, weapons inspectors have not been allowed into the country for two years]

On 30 March 2000, The United Nations Security Council votes to allow Iraq to import $1.2 billion in spare parts and other equipment for its oil industry this year under the “oil-for-food” program. This is an increase from the previous $600 million annual value allowed. [This program would become the worst case of UN fraud in a history chock full of fraud, and allow Iraq to continue profiting (thus rendering all UN sanctions essentially useless).]

On 24 Aug 2000, Iraq‘s Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz says “Iraq will not cooperate “with UNMOVIC, the body created by the United Nations to replace the former UN Special Commission on Iraq (UNSCOM). [This a rather crystal clear statement as to whether Iraq intends to cooperate with weapons inspections. As will be shown, everyone says Iraq should cooperate, but a few countries will not allow any measure that punishes failure to cooperate. Everything that follows in this chronology is just part of the same sick joke]

On 30 Aug 2001, Iraq fires missiles at US aircraft, and claims to have shot down a “spy plane.” The US retaliates with air strikes. [Under the cease fire agreement, the US was allowed to fly over Iraq].

[On 11 Sep 2001, the United States is hit with four terror attacks using passenger aircraft as flying bombs (a fifth was planned but was prevented from boarding). 3000 Americans are killed. Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda claim responsibility. American intelligence realizes that a terrorist attack with weapons of mass destruction would be catastrophic beyond imagination. Understanding that the most dangerous WMD must be developed b a nation-state, planners begin to consider the possibilities of a nation-state covertly providing WMD to some terrorist organization.]

On 27 Nov 2001 Iraq rejects a call by U.S. President George Bush to let United Nations weapons inspectors back into the country to determine whether it is building weapons of mass destruction.

28 Jan 2002 Iraqi crude oil is flowing through a pipeline to Syria and being exported – or at least substituted in Syrian refineries allowing for more Syrian crude oil exports – in violation of United Nations sanctions. Analysts have placed the amount of crude oil being sent from Iraq to Syria at between 150,000 and 200,000 barrels per day. Iraq also negotiates with Turkey to export oil – in violation of the UN program – in details which emerge on 7 Feb.

29 Jan 2002 President Bush clearly states (at the State of the Union) that “The United States of America will not permit the world’s most dangerous regimes to threaten us with the world’s most destructive weapons.”

On 13 Feb 2002, Iraq says that it will not allow United Nations arms inspectors to return to Iraq. Iraqi Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan states, “There is no need for the spies of the [U.N.] inspection teams to return to Iraq since Iraq is free of weapons of mass destruction.” The United States has declared that actions may be taken against the Iraqi government if U.N. arms inspectors are not allowed to return.

On 4 April 2002, An Iraqi defector tells Vanity Fair that Iraq is developing a long-range ballistic missile system that could carry weapons of mass destruction up to 700 miles.

On 3 May 2002, UNMOVIC and Iraqi officials hold talks. The United Nations Secretary-General, Kofi Annan says these are the first talks to take place at a technical level since December 1998. [In other words, over three years have passed since UNSCOM/UNMOVIC have done any significant monitoring of Iraq’s weapons program].

On 5 July talks in Vienna between the United Nations and Iraq end without agreement on inspections as Baghdad seeks assurances that sanctions will be lifted.

On 30 July The leaders of Germany and France say they could not support an attack on Iraq without a U.N. mandate. [But France wields a UN veto that can stop any UN action, and France and Germany are both participating in major illegal arms sales to Iraq, as well as profiting from violations in the UN oil for food program].

On 31 July [Former United Nations chief weapons inspector] Richard Butler tells a U.S. Senate Committee that Iraq increased the production of chemical and biological weapons after U.N. inspections ended- and might even be close to developing a nuclear bomb. A former Iraqi nuclear engineer tells the Committee that Saddam Hussein will have enough weapons-grade uranium for three nuclear bombs by 2005.

On 4 August 2002 Hans Blix rejects an Iraqi invitation to travel to Baghdad for “technical talks,” saying he would not do so until Saddam Hussein approved the return of weapons inspectors. [Iraq continues to refuse to allow weapons inspectors in clear and repeated violation of its cease fire agreement.]

On 8 August Saddam Hussein warns against a possible U.S. attack on his nation, saying that anyone who wages war against Iraq will die in “disgraceful failure.

On 14 August A prominent Iraqi Kurdish leader, Jalal Talabani, publicly issues an invitation to the US for the first time to mount an invasion of Iraq from his territory.

On 2 September 2002, Hans Blix rejects a second Iraqi request that he travel to Baghdad for “technical talks,” saying he would not do so until Saddam Hussein approved the return of weapons inspectors.

On 8 September The Guardian reports that the United States has begun a massive military build-up required for a war against Iraq, ordering the movement of tens of thousands of men and tons of material to the Gulf region.

On 10 September, The Iraqi vice-president, Taha Yassin Ramadan, tells a press conference in Jordan that “the aggression on Iraq is an aggression on all Arab nations. It is the right of all the Arab people, wherever they are, to fight against the aggression through their representatives and on their soil … by all means….We call on all Arab and good people to confront the interests of the aggressors, their materials and humans wherever they are because this is a human right.”

On 12 Sep 2002 President Bush addresses the U.N. to put the case for war against Iraq.

On 13 September Baghdad rejects President George Bush’s demand for the unconditional return of U.N. weapons inspectors.

On 15 September Saudi Arabia indicates that American forces would be free to attack Iraq from bases on its soil if Baghdad rejects a fresh United Nations resolution on weapons inspectors.

On 16 September, Under growing international pressure and to avoid a possible U.S. invasion, Iraq announces it will accept the unconditional return of international weapons inspectors four years after they left.

On 21 September 2002, Iraq rejects U.S. efforts to secure new U.N. resolutions threatening war. Iraqi state-run radio announces Baghdad will not abide by the unfavorable new resolutions adopted by the U.N. Security Council. U.N. chief inspector Hans Blix says he expects an advance team of inspectors to be in Iraq by October 15, and some early inspections could be carried out soon afterward.

On 23 September British Prime Minister Tony Blair says new sources of intelligence from inside Iraq provide “persuasive and overwhelming” evidence that Saddam Hussein is reassembling and expanding his weapons programme. Also on that day, the United States military gives President George Bush a highly detailed military plan for ousting Saddam Hussein.

On 24 September Britain publishes a dossier saying that Iraq could produce a nuclear weapon within one or two years, if it obtains fissile material and other components from abroad and has constructed test equipment for a missile capable of striking British military bases in Cyprus.

On 26 September 2002 Britain and the United States reach agreement on a tough United Nations Security Council resolution which threatens Saddam Hussein with severe consequences if he fails to grant weapons inspecters unfettered access to Iraq. Russia, China and France express grave reservations about the Anglo-American text. [Russia, China, and France are all massively profiting from the corrupt U.N. oil for food program and participating in arms deals with Iraq that are illegal under the UN regulations.]

On 28 September Iraq declares it will not accept the new rules that the United States wants to impose on U.N. weapons inspections. The U.S. draft resolution calls on Iraq to: grant full access to all sites, including military bases, factories and Saddam Hussein’s presidential palaces; agree within seven days to the terms of the new resolution; and show within 30 days that it has met those demands. Failing compliance, the U.N. Security Council authorizes “all means necessary” to enforce the new conditions. Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq, Tariq Aziz warns that the United States will suffer “losses they have never sustained for decades”, if Iraq is attacked.

On 1 October United Nations negotiators and an Iraqi delegation meet in Vienna to agreeterms for resuming weapons inspections. The talks leave eight presidential compounds off-limits, and the U.S. rejects the inspectors’ return without a new security council resolution toughening the inspection scheme.

On 1 October 2002 U.S. defense and intelligence officials say that President Saddam Hussein may have given army commanders conditional authority to use chemical or biological weapons if the United States invades. [Note: NOT President Bush or the White House, but the military. This intelligence is part of what shapes Bush; not part of Bush shaping the intelligence.]

On 1 October The Sydney Morning Herald reports that France and Russia have launched diplomatic strikes on the United States over its apparent determination to invade Baghdad if Saddam Hussein interfered with the work of weapons inspectors. France’s Foreign Minister, Dominique de Villepin, said the U.S.’s stated goal of “regime change” in Baghdad was” against international law”. [But the UN Security Council had authorized the plan. Again, France and Russia were themselves acting illegally under international law, and their actions were actually part of the reason that the United States believed Iraq was rebuilding its weapons programmes.]

On 2 October 2002, President George Bush secures bipartisan congressional support for authority to go to war without U.N. backing if the U.N. fails to agree on a new resolution making drastic new demands of Iraq.

On 5 October The Sydney Morning Herald reports that the United Nations will delay sending weapons inspectors to Iraq until after the Security Council has voted on a tough new resolution designed to ensure that Saddam Hussein does not interfere with their work.

On 7 October The New York Times reports that President Bush has declared in an address to the nation that Saddam Hussein could attack the United States or its allies “on any given day” with chemical or biological weapons. In an argument for disarming Iraq or going to war with that country, he said that “we have an urgent duty to prevent the worst from occurring.”

On October 7, 2002 President George W. Bush stated: “Eleven years ago, as a condition for ending the Persian Gulf War, the Iraqi regime was required to destroy its weapons of mass destruction, to cease all development of such weapons, and to stop all support for terrorist groups. The Iraqi regime has violated all of those obligations. It possesses and produces chemical and biological weapons. It is seeking nuclear weapons. It has given shelter and support to terrorism, and practices terror against its own people. The entire world has witnessed Iraq’s eleven-year history of defiance, deception and bad faith.”

On 11 October 2002 The US House of Representatives passes a resolution giving President George W. Bush broad authorization to use military force, if the United Nations fails to rid Iraq of its weapons of mass destruction. See Richard Butler’s article in the Sydney Morning Herald Bringing Saddam to Trial is the Real Challenge.

On 16 October Iraq says that Saddam Hussein has scored 100 percent of the 11.4 million votes cast in a presidential referendum, thus securing — from a field that consisted only of himself — a further seven years as Iraq’s leader. A London-based Iraqi opposition group described the poll as an illegitimate event in which terrified citizens voted out of fear of punishment.

On 16 October The New York Times reports that the Bush administration’s push for an early American-led war against Iraq has drawn broad opposition in an unusual open debate in the Security Council. Many countries backed weapons inspections, and Arab states said they would not support an attack without United Nations endorsement, considering an attack only as a last resort. Iraq’s ambassador, Mohammed Aldouri, calls the United Nations economic sanctions against his country an act of genocide and rejects the American and British proposal for a new, tougher resolution for Iraq to disarm. [It is becoming increasingly clear that nothing will change. The U.N. is paralyzed and corrupt]

On 18 October 2002 The British Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, says that Britain and the U.S. were prepared to go it alone with military action against Iraq, if they failed to secure a new U.N. mandate on weapons inspections.

On 22 October France and Russia vow to resist a revised United Nations resolution proposed by the U.S.

On 8 Nov 2002 The U.N. Security Council votes unanimously in favor of a British and American resolution to send weapons inspectors back into Iraq. George Bush promises “the severest consequences” if Saddam Hussein fails to comply. President Saddam has one week to accept the resolution in writing, at which point weapons inspectors could head back to Iraq after an absence of over four years.

On 10 November Iraq‘s parliament condemns the U.N. resolution on resuming weapons inspections and Salim al-Koubaisi, the head of the foreign relations committee, advises MPs to follow the “wise Iraqi leadership” but recommends the legislators reject the US-drafted document. The Bush administration says it will not wait for the U.N. Security Council to approve an attack on Iraq if it fails to comply with weapons inspections.

On 12 Nov 2002 The Iraqi parliament votes unanimously to reject the United Nations resolution calling on the country to disarm.

On 13 November Iraq‘s ambassador to the U.N. says that Iraq has accepted the Security Council Resolution for the return of weapons inspectors. [More of the same continual pattern of mixed signals, followed by delay and obfuscation.

On 18 November 2002 United Nations weapons inspectors arrive in Iraq to re-launch the search for weapons of mass destruction. The 30 inspectors who flew into Baghdad from Cyprus marks the first visit by U.N. arms monitors to Iraq for four years. [There are 30 inspectors to examine a country the size of Texas.]

On 19 November Coalition planes fire on Iraqi air defenses in retaliation for an Iraqi

attack. The U.S. Defense Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, said on November 17 that such attacks are violations of the U.N.’s resolution 1441.

On 23 November 2002 U.S. President George W. Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin warn Iraq that it faces “serious consequences” if it fails to comply completely with a U.N. disarmament ultimatum. [But Putin refuses to allow ANY consequences whatsoever in ANY U.N. resolution. More useless double-talk.]

On 25 November The first team of U.N. inspectors land in Baghdad to begin their search for chemical, biological and nuclear weapons. A C-130 transport plane touches down at Saddam International Airport carrying six nuclear experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency and 11 members of the Unmovic team, together with an array of high-technology sensors, computers and other equipment.

On 2 December The United States confirms it has struck targets in southern Iraq over attacks on its warplanes in no-fly zones.

On 3 December A new report published by the British Foreign Office says that the regime of President Saddam Hussein carries out “systematic torture” on Iraqi opponents of the regime.

On 3 December U.N. weapons inspectors say Iraq has admitted for the first time that it illegally tried to import aluminium tubing for weapons purposes. The Iraqis claim the tubing was for conventional and not nuclear weapons as has been claimed by the Americans and the British. [And we should believe them, because they are honest folk.]

On 4 December 2002 United States President George W. Bush says the signs that Saddam was complying completely with the inspections process are not encouraging and warns that the December 8 declaration “must be credible and complete”, adding that if Saddam did not disarm, “the United States will lead a coalition to disarm him.”

On 7 December Iraqi officials in Baghdad present the U.N. with more than 12,000 pages of documents detailing its nuclear, chemical and biological activities and formally declaring to that it has no weapons of mass destruction.

On 12 December U.N. officials say that Iraq‘s 11,000-page declaration on weapons contains mostly old information, including thousands of pages of reports that the United Nations has already seen.

On 12 December The United States reaches a preliminary conclusion that Iraq‘s 12,000-page declaration of its weapons programs fails to account for chemical and biological agents missing when inspectors left Iraq four years ago.

On 15 December 2002 The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency says that the United Nations will need a few months to reach a conclusion about Iraq’s declaration on its weapons program.

On 19 December Chief UN weapons inspector Hans Blix says the Iraqi arms declaration contains little new information about its weapons of mass destruction capability. The United States accuses Baghdad of being in “material breach” of the UN resolution.

On 21 December United States President George W. Bush gives his formal approval to the deployment of a further 50,000 US soldiers in the Persian Gulf.

On 23 December US military officials announce that Iraqi aircraft have shot down a US unmanned surveillance drone over southern Iraq.

On 26 Dec 2002 An Iraqi scientist refuses to be interviewed by UN weapons inspectors without Iraqi officials present. [Clearly, the scientist – fearing reprisals from his government – makes this request so that Iraqi Intelligence will be able to confirm that he told the inspectors nothing.]

On 27 December A United Nations spokesman says that an Iraqi scientist interviewed by inspectors has given details of a military program suspected of being part of a secret effort to build a nuclear weapon.

On 30 December US military commanders tell the New York Times that the Saudi government has agreed to allow American planes to use its bases in a war with Iraq. Earlier On 11 December, The United States and Qatar signed a pact to upgrade Qatari military bases which the U.S. could use in a conflict with Iraq. Turkey similarly authorizes the US to use its territory for military action against Iraq on Jan 10, 2003. [Clearly, the US DOES have allies – including Arab allies – in its cause (specifically Iraq‘s neighbors)].

On 6 January 2003 An address by Iraqi president Saddam Hussein is televised to mark the 82nd

anniversary of the establishment of the country’s army. Saddam Hussein accuses the UN inspectors of being spies and calls his enemies the “friends and helpers of Satan”. He also declares that Iraq is fully prepared for war.

On 7 January Britain announces that it will mobilise 1,500 reserve forces and despatch a naval task force of 3,000 Royal Marines and about 2,000 sailors to the Persian Gulf.

On 9 January Hans Blix and Mohammed el-Baradei deliver interim assessments to the UN Security Council in New York on Iraq’s weapons declaration. Mr Blix tells reporters: “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.” [According to some sources, at the rate they are going, it will take the inspectors five or more years to complete their inspection even if Iraq continues to “cooperate.”]

On 16 January 2003, The Washington Post reports that UN weapons inspectors have found a cache of 11 empty chemical warheads, in “excellent condition” that were not listed in Iraq’s final weapons declaration. Gen. Hussam Mohammed Amin, head of Iraq’s weapons-monitoring directorate says the chemical shells were overlooked because they were stored in boxes similar to those for conventional 122mm rocket warheads.

On 16 January Four Iraqi scientists refuse to be interviewed without Iraqi officials present, [again, indicating that they wish to prove to their government that they had said nothing to inspectors]. Hans Blix again warns Iraq that it must cooperate more fully with his monitors if it wants to avoid a war with the United States and its allies. [But Iraq NEVER cooperates more, do they?]

On 19 Jan 2003 The United States offers Saddam Hussein immunity from prosecution if he leaves Iraq.US Secretary of Defence, Donald Rumsfeld says in a television interview: “If to avoid a war, I would…recommend that some provision be made so that the senior leadership in that country [Iraq] and their families could be provided haven in some other country.” [The ball is in Saddam’s Court.]

On 20 January US military officials announce that they are sending a force of about 37,000 soldiers to the Persian Gulf region. This takes the number of US troops ordered to deploy to around 125,000.

On 21 January The Iraqi government agrees to measures for greater cooperation with the United Nations including encouraging scientists to grant interviews to inspectors. [But they do not allow the scientists to be questioned outside of the country.]

On 22 January The United States issues a detailed report, Apparatus of Lies which seeks to expose what it calls Iraq’s “brutal record of deceit” from 1990 until the present.

On 23 Jan 2003 Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iran and Turkey meet in Istanbul in a diplomatic effort to avert a war in Iraq. They urge Iraq to “demonstrate a more active approach” in providing information on its weapons programmes. [But ‘urging’ is meaningless without resolutions defining military consequences].

On 23 January Australia sends its first batch of an expected 1,500 troops to join the US-British buildup in the Persian Gulf region. Prime Minister John Howard farewells HMAS Kanimbla saying that it was right for the international community to try and disarm Iraq.

On 24 January United States Deputy Defense Secretary, Paul D. Wolfowitz says that Washington has evidence that Iraq has threatened to kill scientists and their families if they co-operated with UN inspectors.

On 24 January China and Russia join France and Germany in calling for the Bush Administration to work within the United Nations. [It is noteworthy to point out that China, Russia, and France – longstanding opponents of American foreign policy – have veto power in the UN and can block any measure the US attempts to pass. They are also all deeply involved with massive sales to Iraq. Based on its long history of pursuit of human rights, China is probably also motivated by a profound sense of altruism.]

On 25 January 2003 Three more Iraqi weapons specialists refuse to be interviewed by UN inspectors without government authorities present. [Why don’t they want to speak with UN inspectors? And so much for the 21 January agreement.]

On 27 January In an address to the World Economic Forum in Washington US Secretary of State, Colin Powell says that Saddam Hussein has clear links with the al-Qaeda network. Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz denies the accusation saying Iraq has no “relationship with terrorist groups.” [They are just such nice people. The U.S. has legitimate beliefs that Iraq is doing NOTHING to disprove.]

On 27 January The newspaper of Iraq’s ruling Baath party advises the Iraqi people to be prepared for martyrdom in the event of an invasion. It also says that US and British soldiers will face the choice of “withdrawing from the battlefield or returning home in bodybags.” [Yep. That’s cooperation, all right. Hey, let’s keep trying!]

On 28 January Hans Blix reports to the UN Security Council on the progress of weapons inspections in Iraq, 60 days after they began. The 15-page report states that although Iraq had been quite co-operative, there was an absence of full transparency including the deliberate concealment of documents. The report also states that inspectors have evidence that Iraq produced thousands of litres of anthrax in the 1990s and that the deadly bacteria “might still exist”. It also says that Iraq may have lied about the amount if VX nerve gas it has produced, and that it has failed to account for 6500 chemical bombs.

On 28 Jan 2003 Australian Prime Minister John Howard calls on the United Nations Security Council to act, saying it was time for the UN “rhetoric” to be backed with action. He also tells reporters that letting Saddam Hussein get away with keeping weapons of mass destruction “makes it a more dangerous world for all of us.”

On 28 January Former UN chief weapons inspector Richard Butler tells BBC radio that there is no doubt Iraq is developing weapons of mass destruction but that an attack on Iraq without approval of the Security Council would be a contravention of international law. [Let’s put aside his political insights and consider his area of expertise: the former chief says “there is no doubt.”]

On 30 January A survey by EOS Gallup Europe says that although 66 per cent of European citizens agree that Iraq poses a serious threat to world peace, 82 per cent would not support their countries’ participating in a military intervention without UN support. 72 per cent of Europeans believe that Iraq’s oil resources are the main reason behind Washington’s desire to intervene militarily. [It is interesting to note that, five years after the invasion, the US hasn’t touched Iraqi oil.]

On 30 January The leaders of Britain, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Hungary, Poland, Denmark and the Czech Republic call on Europe to stand united with America in the battle to disarm Iraq, in a letter published in newspapers worldwide. The letter also states: “The Security Council must maintain its credibility by ensuring full compliance with its resolutions. We cannot allow a dictator to systematically violate those resolutions. If they are not complied with, the Security Council will lose its credibility and world peace will suffer as a result.”

On 30 January before a private meeting with the Saudi Foreign Minister, Prince Saud al-Faisal, US President George W. Bush publicly endorses efforts by Arab leaders to negotiate exile for President Saddam Hussein. [The ball is still clearly in Saddam’s court to avoid war. This offer has been made previously.]

On 4 Feb 2003 Australian Prime Minister John Howard makes a statement to Parliament on Iraq: “To explain to the House and through it to the Australian people the government’s belief that the world community must deal decisively with Iraq; why Iraq’s continued defiance of the United Nations and its possession of chemical and biological weapons and its pursuit of a nuclear capability poses a real and unacceptable threat to the stability and security of our world; why the matters at stake go to the very credibility of the United Nations itself; why the issue is of direct concern to Australia and why, therefore, the Australian government has authorized the forward positioning of elements of the Australian Defense Force in the Persian Gulf.”

On 6 Febuary US Secretary of State Colin Powell presents tape recordings, satellite photos and informants’ statements to the UN, which he says constitute “irrefutable and undeniable” evidence that Saddam Hussein is concealing weapons of mass destruction. Read the full text of Colin Powell’s speech.

On 6 Febuary The European Union formally demands Iraq fully comply with UN inspectors. [But Iraq doesn’t comply. Now what?]

On 6 Febuary 2003 The Prime Minister of Turkey declares his government’s support for America‘s plans for military action in Iraq. On 7 Febuary Turkey’s Parliament approves a plan that will allow the United States to renovate the country’s military bases and ports.

On 7 February the Sydney Morning Herald reports that France, Russia and China have rejected US Secretary of State Colin Powell’s argument that urgent action should be taken against Iraq, saying the case for war was not strengthened by his address to the UN Security Council.

On 8 Febuary Chief UN weapons inspector, Hans Blix says inspectors had found another empty warhead Iraq had not disclosed, bringing to 18 the number uncovered thus far.

On 9 Febuary The Iraqis give the chief weapons inspectors more documents to try to clarify questions about chemical and biological weapons. Australian Prime Minister John Howard says Saddam Hussein needs to do more than just hand over more documents to the UN if he wants to avoid military strikes.

On 10 Feb 2003 France, Germany and Belgium block a NATO plan to improve defenses for Turkey. All three countries are involved in illegal deals with Iraq and Saddam Hussein]. Turkey responds by becoming the first country in NATO’s 53-year history to publicly invoke Article 4 of the alliance’s mutual defense treaty which binds the 19 allies to talks when one perceives a threat to its “territorial integrity, political independence or security.”

On 12 Febuary UN weapons inspectors in Iraq destroy a declared stockpile of mustard gas and artillery shells at a former weapons site.

On 13 Febuary US military officials say that US and British warplanes have struck an Iraqi surface-to-surface missile system located near Basra in southern Iraq that had been moved into striking range of US troops in Kuwait for the second time in two days. [How much longer should the U.S. allow Iraq to move its arsenal into position to kill its soldiers? Does France, Russia, China care?]

On 13 Febuary A team of international missile experts conclude that an Iraqi ballistic missile program is in clear violation of UN mandates prohibiting Iraq from building medium and long-range missiles.

On 14 Febuary United Nations chief weapons inspector Hans Blix delivers his verdict on Iraq’s compliance with his team, telling the UN Security Council that Iraq has not fully co-operated. Blix also states that the inspectors have not found any weapons of mass destruction. The problem is that the inspectors can’t possibly find such weapons UNLESS Iraq cooperates.

On 17 Feb 2003 French President Jacques Chirac publicly pledges that France will veto a second UN resolution that explicitly authorizes military action.

On 18 Febuary Australia’s federal cabinet decides to support and lobby for a new US-led UN resolution on Iraq, setting a deadline of about two weeks for Iraq to fully comply with UN disarmament demands or face military action. On 19 Febuary Australia‘s ambassador to the United Nations, John Dauth, urges the UN Security Council to deal with Iraq and Saddam Hussein without delay.

On 21 Febuary UN officials say that chief weapons inspector, Hans Blix has ordered the destruction of dozens of Iraqi missiles with ranges that violated UN limits. General Amer al-Saadi, science adviser to Saddam Hussein says they are considering the demand and will “come up with a decision quite soon.” [In other words, Iraq doesn’t comply and delays again].

On 21 Febuary US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld announces that the US has sufficient troops and equipment in the Gulf to launch an attack on Iraq at any time.

On 21 Febuary The Sydney Morning Herald reports that the US Navy is boarding an average of six vessels a day as it steps up patrols in international waters searching for Iraqi weapons. UNMOVIC had previously announced that there were reports suggesting that Iraqi weapons had been smuggled abroad in recent months. [What kind of weapons? Smuggled to where? We KNOW Saddam Hussein had WMD because he used it repeatedly. Where did it go? Are we truly supposed to believe that Saddam destroyed it out of goodness and guilt?]

On 22 Feb 2003 US Secretary of State, Colin Powell says there will be no war if Saddam Hussein leaves Iraq. [This is at least the third U.S. invitation to avoid war]

On 22 Febuary An intelligence official tells The Washington Times that Saddam Hussein has started deploying his armed forces around Iraq in order to prevent the US from achieving a quick victory. [And we should continue to wait so he can do a better job]

On 24 Febuary The US, Britain and Spain propose a UN resolution declaring that Iraq “has failed to take the final opportunity” to disarm itself of weapons of mass destruction.

Australian Prime Minister John Howard backs the resolution, saying that if it was not carried then the credibility of the Security Council would be weakened. Germany, France and Russia present a rival initiative saying that “the military option should be the last resort.” [The Security Council will never have credibility again. The rival measure provides no end to the stalling, because there will always be some new gimmick.]

On 25 Febuary British Prime Minister Tony Blair gives an address to the House of Commons and says a vote on a new UN Security Council resolution will be delayed to give Iraq a last opportunity to disarm voluntarily.

On 25 Feb 2003 France and Germany reiterate that they will oppose the new US-backed resolution. French President Jacques Chirac says that “a majority of the UN Security Council is opposed to a second resolution” to allow the use of force to disarm Iraq. [There HAD been that first resolution back on 28 Sep 2002, however.]

On 25 Febuary France urges Iraq to avoid war by destroying its illegal al-Samoud 2 missiles. [But they don’t]

On 26 Febuary In a televised interview with CBS News, Saddam Hussein denies any connections with al-Qaeda and says he will refuse any offer of asylum, vowing to die in Iraq. He also denies his al-Samoud 2 missiles break UN resolutions and refuses to destroy them.

On 26 Febuary 2003 Chief UN weapons inspector Hans Blix says his team will need a few months to complete inspections in Iraq, even if Iraq “immediately, actively and unconditionally” co-operates. He also states that it is “not clear whether Iraq really wants to co-operate.” [It’s “not clear”? What is this guy smoking? It has ALWAYS been clear that Iraq intended to do everything it could NOT to cooperate. And as Blix plays a fun game of hide-and-seek and basks in the glow of media exposure, over 150,000 American troops are, and have been for months, stuck in a flea-ridden desert at exorbitant financial cost to the United States.]

On 26 February US President George Bush says that only full disarmament by Iraq will avert US military action.

On 26 February The Washington Post reports that the United States and Saudi Arabia have reached a new agreement on the use of Saudi military facilities in the event of a war against Iraq.

On 26 Feb 2003 The US military says that warplanes taking part in US-British patrols have attacked two air defense cable communications sites in southern Iraq after the Iraqi air force violated the no-fly zone.

On 26 Febuary The US tells Iraqi opposition groups that it has no intention of governing a post-Saddam Hussein Iraq any longer than it has to. [Although the aftermath has been

difficult, it clearly still doesn’t].

On 26 Febuary The British government puts forward a motion asking for backing for UN efforts to disarm Iraq which is passed by 434 to 124. However 199 MP’s, including members of the Labour Party, back an amendment to the motion which states the case for war is as yet unproven.

On 28 Febuary Pentagon officials say that satellite imagery has detected Iraqi Republican Guard units moving south from Mosul to Tikrit, about 160km north-west of Baghdad, while other units are moving into residential areas of Baghdad.

On 2 March 2003 Leaders of the 22-member Arab League gather in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheik for a summit on the Iraq crisis. They declare a “complete rejection of any aggression on Iraq” and call for more time for inspections. They also urge Baghdad to abide by UN demands that it surrender weapons of mass destruction and missiles it could use to deliver them. The United Arab Emirates calls on Saddam to step down. [The second two requests will clearly never happen. The only question is whether the world – and specifically the US, Britain, and Australia, should tolerate WMD in the hands of Saddam Hussein or not].

On 5 March France, Russia and Germany again vow “not to allow” a resolution authorising war to be passed by the UN security council. They also state that Iraq must do more to cooperate, saying: “We strongly encourage the Iraqi authorities to cooperate more actively with the inspectors towards the full disarmament of their country. These inspections can not continue indefinitely.” [But they already HAVE continued indefinitely, and France, Russia, and Germany vow to ensure that they continue to continue with no consequences].

On 5 March US Secretary of State Colin Powell says Saddam Hussein has told Iraqi government officials that everything must be done to ensure inspectors do not find any weapons of mass destruction.

On 6 March 2003 China joins France and Russia in opposition to a US-British second resolution authorizing war with Iraq, saying “the Chinese side still supports using political means to resolve the Iraq issue”. Chinese Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan says there is no need for a new UN Security Council resolution on the Iraqi crisis. [Presumably this is because China is satisfied with all the progress made over the last five years].

On 7 March Turkey’s armed forces say they are in favor of allowing thousands of US troops to pass through the country and create a second front against Iraq.

On 7 March US president George W. Bush gives a news conference at the White House and says he will insist on a vote on a new resolution authorizing war on Iraq, and that it is time for UN Security Council members to “show their cards”. Bush also tells Saddam Hussein that only “total disarmament” is acceptable.

On 8 March The United States and Britain propose a March 17 deadline for Iraq to disarm or face war.

On 8 March 2003 A report by UN chief weapons inspector Hans Blix to the Security Council says that he suspects Iraq might be trying to produce new missiles. He also says it will take months to disarm Iraq, even with its active cooperation. The Head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohamed El Baradei, says there is no evidence Iraq has a nuclear weapons development program.

On 8 March Russia‘s deputy foreign minister Yuri Fedotov tells the BBC that Russia will do everything it can to ensure that an amended draft UN resolution that sets a March 17 deadline for Iraq to disarm is not passed by the Security Council. [In other words, those who believe the US should wait for a UN resolution to attack Iraq therefore believe that Russia should be able to unilaterally control the decision. Russia can block ANYTHING it wants to with its veto.]

On 9 March Japan declares its support for the UN Security Council resolution and Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi calls it “a final effort by the international community to pressure Iraq to disarm on its own.”

On 10 March France and Russia say they will oppose the US-backed resolution setting a March 17 ultimatum for Saddam Hussein. In a televised statement, French President Jacques Chirac says, “Whatever happens, France will vote no.” [France also has the ability to block ANY resolution it wants. At this point I add again that both France and Russia are massively benefiting from the corrupt oil for food program and from weapons sales to Iraq].

On 10 March 2003 Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohamed El Baradei tells the Al-Hayat newspaper that a “dramatic and fundamental change in spirit and substance” from Iraqi President Saddam Hussein is needed to avert war. [But one isn’t coming; so what do we do?]

On 11 March The New York Times reports that UN weapons inspectors in Iraq have found a new variety of rocket apparently configured to spread bomblets filled with chemical or biological agents over large areas.

On 11 March Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Abdel Tawab Mullah Huweish says, “our leadership, people and army are ready for the battle of destiny.” [So GIVE it to them. They have never cooperated. They will NEVER cooperate].

On 11 March Romania announces that it has expelled five Iraqi diplomats for activities incompatible with their diplomatic status.

On 11 March Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov states “that if the draft of the resolution containing ultimatum-type demands that were submitted to the UN is put on the vote, Russia will vote against it.”

On 12 March 2003 The British government puts forward six tests that the Iraqi president will have to pass to avoid war. These include a televised statement by Saddam Hussein saying he is giving up his weapons of mass destruction, permission for Iraqi weapons experts to be interviewed abroad and the complete destruction of all al-Samoud 2 missiles.

On 12 March A spokesman for the UN weapons inspectors tells reporters that Iraq has destroyed three more al-Samoud missiles.

On 13 March The UN says it has pulled out more than 30 weapons inspectors throughout Iraq.

On 13 March 2003 Australian Prime Minister John Howard gives a major speech to the National Press Club, laying his case for Australian support of US-led military action and saying that it is “very much in the national interest of Australia that Iraq have taken from her chemical and biological weapons and be denied the possibility of ever having nuclear weapons… if terrorists ever get their hands on weapons of mass destruction that will, in my very passionate belief and argument, constitute a direct, undeniable and lethal threat to Australia and its people.”

On 13 March Islamic Action Front leader Sheik Hamza Mansur warns Australia and other countries backing a US-led attack on Iraq that they face a violent backlash from across the Arab world.

On 13 March The UN Security Council holds a meeting to discuss Britain‘s six-test plan to deal with Saddam Hussein. French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin rejects the proposal, saying the new ideas do not address the key issue of seeking a peaceful solution to the crisis. Iraqi foreign minister Naji Sabri dismisses the British compromise proposal calling it “an attempt to beautify a rejected aggressive project.”

On 13 March Iraqi technicians begin destroying three more banned al Samoud 2 missiles.

On 14 March 2003 In a speech in Santiago Chilean President Ricardo Lagos proposes five “benchmark” tests, a three-week deadline, and a final council judgment. [Yes, but the French don’t like such a “test,” and the French should rule the world through the UN]

On 15 March The office of the chief UN arms inspector Hans Blix announces that it has received a report from Iraq containing details of the VX chemical agents it says it destroyed 12 years ago. [But there’s no evidence beyond the claim that it was destroyed]

On 15 March ABC News Online reports that Iraqi troops have started planting mines along the border with the Kurdish-controlled north of the country. [And we should keep letting them do that]

On 16 March US President George W. Bush, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar hold an emergency summit in the Azores. They give the United Nations 24 hours to enforce “the immediate and unconditional disarmament” of Saddam Hussein. President Bush says: “Tomorrow is a moment of trut for the world. Tomorrow is the day that we can determine whether or not diplomacy will work.”

On 16 March 2003 The official Iraqi News Agency says President Saddam has warned that if Iraq was attacked, it will take the war anywhere in the world “wherever there is sky, land or water.” [There is no question that Saddam Hussein has no intention of fully cooperating. Only a fool would think otherwise. The problem is that there are so damn many fools]

On 16 March France, Russia and Germany issue a joint declaration, saying there was no justification for a war on Iraq and that UN weapons inspections were working.

On 17 March 2003 Peter Goldsmith, Attorney General for England and Wales, set out his government’s legal justification for an invasion of Iraq. He said that Security Council Resolution 678 authorised force against Iraq, which was suspended but not terminated by Resolution 687, which imposed continuing obligations on Iraq to eliminate its weapons of mass destruction. A material breach of resolution 687 would revive the authority to use force under resolution 678. In Resolution 1441 the Security Council determined that Iraq was in material breach of resolution 687 because it had not fully carried out its obligations to disarm, and in early 2003 sent teams of weapons inspectors to verify the facts on the ground. [And there is also that U.N. “all means necessary to enforce” resolution from 28 Sep 2002 that has been conveniently forgotten.]

On 18 March 2003 Britain, Spain and the United States withdraw a draft resolution seeking UN Security Council authority for military action to disarm Iraq, after concluding a consensus by the Security Council will not be possible. [And never will be possible].

On 18 March US President George W. Bush gives a televised speech saying “Saddam Hussein and his sons must leave Iraq within 48 hours. Their refusal to do so will result in military conflict commenced at a time of our choosing.” [This is the fourth offer].

On 18 March The British Government votes to allow military action in Iraq with 412 votes for and 149 against. [But I thought this was George Bush’s war. Mind you, there were similar overwhelming numbers in the US House and Senate. But Britain has the same type of cowards the US does, who vote for a war, then retreat from it and start stabbing the men still fighting in the back].

On 19 March Saudi Arabia officially proposes that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein should go into exile as a last-ditch effort to avert war. A Saudi diplomatic source says that “the kingdom, and other parties, are exerting maximum effort to prevent a devastating war and they have proposed the idea of exile for Saddam and securing a safe haven for him and his family”.

On 19 March 2003 Iraqi President Saddam Hussein appears on national television and rejects the US ultimatum to leave the country or face war, saying “this battle will be Iraq‘s last battle against the tyrannous villains and the last battle of aggression undertaken by America against the Arabs.” [That’s right; I’m sure somewhere that there is a tape of Bush saying “We’ll go after Jordan next!”]

On 19 March The Iraqi parliament unanimously rejects the US ultimatum for President Saddam Hussein to leave the country and says any US-led invasion of Iraq will end in defeat.

On 19 March At the UN Security Council, Germany, France and Russia condemn any military action. [Is that a surprise, or what?]

On 19 March Chief UN Weapons inspector Hans Blix tells the UN Security Council that “I naturally feel sadness that 3 months of work carried out in Iraq have not brought the assurances needed about the absence of weapons of mass destruction or other proscribed items in Iraq.” [This is completely correct: we rightfully demanded assurances, and Iraq did nothing to provide such assurance. We rightfully demanded that the UN produce a resolution that had some kind of teeth, and some kind of consequence for noncompliance, but a few key countries repeatedly declared and demonstrated that no such resolution would ever come.]

On 19 March 2003 Thailand expels three Iraqi diplomats because they posed a threat to national security. On 18 March Germany’s foreign ministry said that four Iraqi diplomats had been ordered to leave the country for activities “incompatible with their diplomatic status.”

On 19 March Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi declares his support for the United States‘ stance on Iraq but says Italy will take no direct part in a US-led military assault.

On 20 March 2003 US President George W Bush announces that he has launched war against Iraq: “My fellow citizens, at this hour, American and coalition forces are in the early stages of military operations to disarm Iraq, to free its people and to defend the world from grave danger… On my orders, coalition forces have begun striking selected targets of military importance to undermine Saddam Hussein’s ability to wage war. These are opening stages of what will be a broad and concerted campaign… this will not be a campaign of half measures and we will accept no outcome but victory.” [President Bush doesn’t like a campaign of “half measures”? Then he must have been really annoyed by the 1/1000th measures that the U.N. had been providing].

In my editorial comments, I state three things that I do not attempt to prove here:

1) That the U.N. oil for food program is corrupt.

2) That specific countries which oppose any meaningful U.N. resolution containing consequences for Iraq if it does not fully cooperate with weapons inspections illegitimately benefit from the oil for food program.

3) That specific countries which oppose any meaningful U.N. resolution containing consequences for Iraq if it does not fully cooperate with weapons inspections engage in significant weapons sales with Iraq.

The establishment of these facts will take up my third article in this series, “Iraq War Justified.”

See also Part 1: Iraq War Justified: Lessons from Saddam’s History

See also Part 3: Iraq War Justified: Paralysis, Corruption at U.N. Made Truth Impossible