Hot Zone: Iraq and Weapons of Mass Destruction


A San Diego, CA TV station captures a mother waving to her husband as she holds her 4 year old daughter. The USS Comstock left Naval Station San Diego around 8 a.m., followed by the amphibious transport ship USS Dubuque, amphibious assault ships USS Bonhomme Richard and USS Boxer, amphibious transport ship USS Cleveland, and dock landing ships USS Anchorage and USS Pearl Harbor.

Ships have departed from both the East and West coast of the U.S. as U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld ordered an additional 35,000 troops to the Persian Gulf region. The British have also boosted their military might in recent days, sending the helicopter carrier Ark Royal last Thursday, Jan. 16, 2003, from Loch Long in Scotland

The increased activity comes as UN inspectors uncovered 12 empty chemical weapon warheads that the Iraqis forgot to mention in their 12,000 page declaration to the UN.

Meanwhile, evidence that Saddam has never given up his quest for amassing the world’s most deadliest threats to human life are becoming easier to recognize as Iraq’s denials don’t match information that is already known to the public. In October 2002, a Public Affairs Magazine reported that Abdul Qadeer Khan, the father of Pakistan’s nuclear program, is one of a group that is believed to have helped Iraq with its continued nuclear and missile efforts.

Last September, Prime Minister Tony Blair released the UK dossier, which reads on page 30: "Iraq has managed to rebuild much of the missile production infrastructure destroyed in the Gulf War and in Operation Desert Fox in 1998. New missile-related infrastructure is also under construction. Some aspects of this, including rocket propellant mixing and casting facilities at the al-Mamoun Plant, appear to replicate those linked to the prohibited Badr-2000 programme (with a planned range of 700-1000km) which were destroyed in the Gulf War or dismantled by UNSCOM. A new plant at al-Mamoun for indigenously producing ammonium perchlorate, which is a key ingredient in the production of solid propellant rocket motors, has also been constructed. This has been provided illicitly by NEC Engineers Private Limited, an Indian chemical engineering firm with extensive links in Iraq, including to other suspect facilities such as the Fallujah 2 chlorine plant. After an extensive investigation, the Indian authorities have recently suspended its export licence, although other individuals and companies are still illicitly procuring for Iraq."

Still, as the military buildup intensifies in the Persian Gulf region, Russia and France are urging for the utmost care in giving the UN inspectors all the time that they need to follow through with the process. Overall, global leaders are aware of Saddam’s extreme arsenol of weapons of mass destruction, but are holding out for a peaceful resolution.

Russian Foreign Minister Ivanov, speaking at the UN special session, indicated that he believes that all diplomatic and political efforts have not been exhausted and said "we must be careful not to take unilateral action."

Recently, Russia has received some pressure from Jordanian prime-minister Abu Ragheb Ali to intercede in preventing military action against Iraq. RIA Novosti stated in October 2002 that "he was hopeful that Russia would intensify its efforts and would completely prevent the threat of a military attack"

On Monday at the UN, the U.S. and Britian were reminding the council of the extreme danger Iraq poses to global safety. U.S. Secretary of State Powell told the council "if Iraq is not disarming, the United Nations cannot turn away from its responsibilities… no matter how difficult the road ahead may be with respect to Iraq, we must not shrink from a need to travel down that road… There is no question that Iraq continues to misunderstand the seriousness of the position that it’s in,"said Powell. Iraq has a responsibility now to avoid a conflict, to avoid a war..we will not allow Iraq to frustrate the will of the world."