UNMOVIC On Hussein’s WMD Motives

UNMOVIC released “a report”:http://www.un.org/Depts/unmovic/new/documents/compendium_summary/s-2006-420-English.pdf a while back describing the commission’s lessons-learned from its work in Iraq.

The whole thing is pretty interesting…I would just highlight its explanation for Iraq’s slack cooperation with the inspectors:

It would appear that the following factors contributed to Iraq’s decision not to reveal such information to the United Nations:

(a) Preservation of valuable resources by minimizing the extent of
destruction, removal and rendering harmless of items, materials and facilities involved in proscribed programmes (particularly while it remained under comprehensive United Nations sanctions);

(b) Preservation of the ability to conduct clandestine work on some
proscribed missile projects and, possibly, intent to resume other proscribed programmes after the departure of the United Nations inspectors from Iraq;

(c) National security concerns led Iraq to prevent inspection teams from entering sensitive areas of governmental infrastructure, such as institutions of political leadership, military command and control facilities, special security apparatus and intelligence;

(d) Protection of the identity of senior members of the former regime who were involved in the decision-making process, supervision, control and implementation of proscribed weapons programmes;

(e) Safeguarding information relating to rationale and military doctrines for the deployment of proscribed weapons, including possible targets and chain of command, as well as political sensitivity concerning any evidence of the past use of chemical weapons by Iraq;

(f) Protection of information on the procurement network and foreign contacts in support of proscribed weapons programmes in order to shield providers of technology, items and materials, and also on what was specifically acquired by Iraq for these programmes;

(g) Concerns that other States could attempt to collect intelligence
information on Iraq within the framework of United Nations inspections.

58. It is not clear which of these factors dominated Iraq’s concealment policies. However, all of these, separately or in combination, predetermined the extent of Iraq’s declarations prior to 1995.

In other news, I am amazed to learn that the SSCI “lacks sweet Iraq reporting skills”:http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/09/06/AR2006090601920.html.

4 thoughts on “UNMOVIC On Hussein’s WMD Motives

  1. hass

    “(g) Concerns that other States could attempt to collect intelligence
    information on Iraq within the framework of United Nations inspections.”

    And these concerns proved to be quite valid too!

  2. Alex

    I was just about to say the exact same thing. IMO the most depressing thing to come out over the whole Iraq inspections story is that Unscom WAS a “nest of spies.” It seems incredibly short-sighted to pack UN weapons inspection groups with CIA members.

    As for the rest of it, it seems like the old problem of being suspected of breaking one rule because you’re actually breaking another and don’t want to be open about it. Unfortunately in so many of situations like this, the rule which is actually being broken seems to insignificant, in the end, in comparison of the one which is alleged to be broken.

  3. Andy

    Intelligence collection should be expected when a country signs a cease-fire after losing a war. Iraq made agreements in that ceasefire that it failed to keep, and it should have known that information the IAEA collected would end up with the US and other coalition nations. I don’t have much sympathy for the Iraqis in this regard – Intelligence collection comes with the territory. I’m sure the Russian Open Skies flights are collecting intelligence too, but you don’t see us or the Russians attempting to interfere with those flights through delay, obfuscation and threats.

    Here’s a relevant quote from JFCOM’s IPP report:

    “Saddam walked a tight rope with WMD because as he often reminded his close advisors, they lived in a very dangerous global neighborhood where even the perception of weakness drew wolves. For him, there were real dividends to be gained by letting his enemies believe he possessed WMD, whether it was true or not.”

    “According to Chemical Ali, Saddam was asked about having WMD 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. Saddam went on explain that if Iraq made such a declaration, it would not only show Israel that Iraq did not have WMD but might actually encourage the Israelis to attack.”

    In short, Saddam’s paranoia was probably the principle reason for non-cooperation.

  4. Dan

    Consider the domestic political reasons, too. Saddam was a military dictator, so leaving office likely means execution. He maintained power through support of the military, and a scary scary image.

    He’d just made a monumental blunder leading to his military getting hammered, and his own image to become a whole lot less scary. He was in real danger of being shot by his own military.

    If he’d meekly accepted whatever his enemies cared to impose, he would have been a dead man. He had to appear strong for his own domestic audience.


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