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Saddam, 1441 and non-compliance » Iraq Inquiry Digest

Saddam, 1441 and non-compliance

By Chris Ames - Last updated: Friday, February 19, 2010 - Save & Share - 37 Comments

by Chris Ames

This is an open invitation to readers and contributors.

In the light of Gordon Brown indicating (as in this piece yesterday) that he intends to tell the Inquiry that it was “Saddam Hussein’s failure to comply with international demands on disclosure that persuaded him that action was necessary”, I think it will be necessary to analyse this position on the basis of clear evidence.

At the time of the war, most of the US and UK governments’ statements about alleged Iraqi non co-operation with the requirements of resolution 1441 were based on claims that it was not disclosing illegal weapons that it secretly possessed or that it was concealing information. See for example, Tony Blair’s speech to the House of Commons on 18 March 2003.

The reports of UNMOVIC were less critical, but similarly expressed dissatisfaction that Iraq was not being as open as it hoped. After the war, it became clear that Iraq had neither the weapons nor the documentation to prove their unilateral destruction.

This, admittedly, is a brief and simplistic pen-portrait of the situation. I have to admit that these issues are by no means my strong point. So, as I say, this is an open invitation to readers and contributors to provide information as to the extent to which Iraq complied or failed to comply with UNSCR 1441. I would particularly welcome contributions from readers and contributors who believe that there was significant non-compliance and can point to it. My intention would be to make the issue the subject of a new question page.

Posted in Evidence • • Top Of Page

37 Responses to “Saddam, 1441 and non-compliance”

Comment from John Bone
Time February 19, 2010 at 12:45 pm

When I asked this question at the time, all the answers depended on the assumption that it was known that Iraq had WMD; therefore Iraq wasn’t complying because it was failing to hand over these WMD.

After it became clear that there were no WMD in Iraq, the answers referred to UNSCR 1441 and its preamble that says that Iraq is in breach of UN resolutions. However this seems to ignore the fact that Iraq would cease to be in breach of UN resolutions if it allowed the inspectors in and allowed them to work.

Do despite asking, I don’t know the answer to your question. It is another of these assertions that is made out of thin air.

Blair’s speech

(that CHris mentions on the previous

Comment from John Bone
Time February 19, 2010 at 12:48 pm

Blair’s speech (that Chris mentions in the previous thread) seems to hint that it is the Iraqi declaration that is the “material breach”. I have never seen an analysis of this. however, and again it appears that it was thought to be false because it didn’t mention any of those WMD that the UK government knew Iraq was hiding!

Comment from Carl Osgood
Time February 19, 2010 at 12:56 pm

As I have been reading through many of the transcripts of the inquiry’s sessions, I keep asking myself, how there could have been non-compliance when Iraq didn’t have any of the proscribed weapons, except for possibly the Al Samoud missiles that UNMOVIC destroyed. I remember hearing comments by former members of UNSCOM that, given the quantities of weapons they destroyed, there was about a 95 percent certainty that Saddam no longer had any WMD. There could never be 100 percent certainty in a case like this because of the difficulties of trying to prove a negative, but they indeed destroyed thousands of tons of chemical and biological materials.
On the other hand, we also know that Saddam was being coy about the whole thing. Even many of his top military commanders thought that there were still some chemical munitions being stockpiled somewhere and expected to be ordered to use them at some point during the invasion. Of course, we can’t ask Saddam, himself, since Rumsfeld saw to it that he would be dispatched before he could reveal too much.
Either way, I don’t think this question can be solely handled as a matter of international law, given that there was an ideological commitment to regime change in Iraq on the part of certain political factions long before 9/11. 9/11 merely gave them the pretext they could use to advance a policy they had been committed to as far back as the end of the first Gulf War in 1991. While Saddam’s two wars are often cited as one of the reasons for dealing with him, let’s not forget that the West supported him during his first war, which was, as you’ll all recall, against Khomenei’s Iran.

Comment from Brian Jones
Time February 19, 2010 at 2:42 pm

There is little doubt that Iraq was in breach of UNSCRs but obviously not to the extent of having stockpiles of chemical and/or biological weapons or substantial active programmes (towards the production end of the spectrum of whatever fits the definition of a programme). So there is the question of proportionality of response.

There is also the question of whether circumstances provided the Saddam regime any incentive to comply.

The following extract is from my first post on this web site.

“It is not clear whether the British government understood US motives at this time. It has recently become increasingly clear that, through the 1990s, the US focus in Iraq was about much more than the elimination of its wmd capabilities and potential (3). It may even have been that from the outset Washington saw the wmd issue as a means of achieving regime change. (Of course, to openly represent it as such would have diminished international support). Alternatively, it could have been a device for keeping Saddam “in a box” and his regime under some degree of control, and indeed the two things were entirely compatible.

For either purpose the US would have had an interest in delaying the resolution of the wmd issue until Saddam had gone (4). Were these possibilities discussed between the UK and US governments? To most in UK, within and outside government, the emphasis appeared to be simply on eliminating Iraq’s wmd capabilities. In any case, although there were some breakthroughs, successive Iraqi “full, final and complete declarations” failed to satisfy the US and UK governments and the matter remained unresolved.

In 1998, the new Labour government of Tony Blair was forced to make difficult decisions about Iraq and the UK/US relationship. President Bill Clinton, under some specific pressure from the Republican opposition to take greater advantage of America’s new authority as the worlds only superpower, and somewhat weakened by domestic issues, found himself taunted by an increasingly defiant Saddam.

Through the years since the 1991 conflict, Saddam must have come to realise that it was probably his own regime rather than his wmd ambitions that was in America’s sights. Now, the Iraqi leader may have sensed a weakness on the part of the US President and he demanded the exclusion of American “spies” from UNSCOM and IAEA inspection teams, forcing the withdrawal of all inspectors.”

Comment from John Bone
Time February 19, 2010 at 7:08 pm

Brian: could you clarify? Was Iraq in breach of UNSCRs on, say, 1st December 2002 or 1st March 2003?

Comment from chris lamb
Time February 19, 2010 at 9:06 pm

Brown’s position seems to be that he supported the military invasion because Iraq had “breached its international obligations”. Perhaps he can cite the evidence from which he reached this conclusion and apparently rejected the UNMOVIC findings (07 March 2003) of significant improvement (if not total compliance) in the co-operation of Iraq in the process of disarmament, additionally with no discoveries of WMD. He might also comment on why he rejected Hans Blix view that the process of disarmament could be brought to a satisfactory conclusion in months.

Brown should also clarify whether he knew of the Foreign Office Legal advisors opinion that the drafting of OPs 4,11 and 12 in R1441 ruled out the option of any other body than the Security Council determining whether Iraq was in “further material breach” or had taken its “final opportunity”.

Did Brown support Blair’s assumption of these powers over 13 and 14 March under the automaticity doctrine?

Comment from Anthony
Time February 19, 2010 at 9:58 pm

It seems to me that Brown’s gambit is part of a smokescreen that they’ve been putting up all along, and we might bear this in mind when evaluating the evidence relevant to SCR1441. They focused on whether individual states had a right under 1441 to determine whether there was a material breach, the criteria for which included any instance of withholding cooperation, however minor. However they’ve glossed over the other important issue – proportionality. As the Security Council should have taken the decision as to whether the degree of any material breach was sufficient to justify an invasion, it follows that in taking unilateral action an individual state has an even greater responsibility to be scrupulous in establishing that any action it takes is proportionate to the severity of the breach. They don’t like to focus on that bit – although it was crucial, it wasn’t even addressed in the Parliamentary Answer.

Brown’s current smokescreen is still trying to focus attention solely on whether Iraq was in material breach. Clearly it was in breach if it hadn’t disclosed information that US/UK had demanded but which it couldn’t disclose because it didn’t exist. But the real issue was whether the (incorrect) belief that there was some failure of disclosure amounted to such a severe breach as to justify an invasion as a proportionate response. Bearing in mind that no WMD had been found and that Blix said that Iraq was now cooperating. I suggest we ought to be able to agree very easily that if the Security Council had taken that decision, there is no chance whatsoever that it would have found that an invasion was a proportionate response to that degree of breach.

So what we’re looking for isn’t just evidence of breach on any level, but evidence of breach of a severity that made an invasion and regime change a proportionate response.

Comment from barb bishop
Time February 19, 2010 at 11:06 pm

Can someone please point out to me where the word “proportionate” appears in 1441?

Comment from Anthony
Time February 19, 2010 at 11:38 pm

It doesn’t appear in SCR1441. It doesn’t need to – SCRs have to be read in the context of international law, they don’t supplant it. It’s a fundamental tenet of international law, all law really, that action must be proportionate to the cause.

Comment from barb bishop
Time February 20, 2010 at 1:19 am

Then where is the reference in 1441 to the international law of proportionality? In relation to, for example, the reference to “serious consequences?”

Comment from Anthony
Time February 20, 2010 at 10:43 am

At the risk of repeating myself, SCR1441 is just a resolution. It doesn’t need to state what the law is, nor does it supplant the law, nor can it be implemented in an illegal fashion.

The term ‘serious consequences’ has its own understood meaning, less severe than ‘all necessary measures’, but still a severe threat. But the fact that a resolution threatens serious consequences doesn’t mean the SC will go through with the threat for *any* infraction, no matter how minor.

But the whole point about the enforcement of SCR1441 is that individual states can’t take unilateral action to enforce resolutions, that is up to the SC itself. And one of the main reasons for that is that it is the SC that decides whether the severity of the offence merits the proposed punishment.

Comment from Anthony
Time February 20, 2010 at 10:47 am

Chris A
Returning to your question, are Blix’s written reports accessible on the web? Including the one issued just after they invaded? They must give chapter and verse.

Also didn’t Blair say that he was influenced by what Blix said to him which was slightly different from what he had put in writing? Would there be a documentary note of any conversations of that kind?

Comment from andrewsimon
Time February 20, 2010 at 11:18 am

Anthony -

(On behalf of Chris A.)

You’ll find most of what Hans Blix reported to the Security Council posted on the UNMOVIC website, which is now maintained as an archive. See the Selected Security Council Briefings section. The quarterly reports give good details as a running account of events, and the subsequently releases compendium describes the weapons programmes in definitive detail.

Comment from Brian Jones
Time February 20, 2010 at 12:27 pm

John: Based on the findings of the ISG, I think Iraq remained in breach for as long as Saddam’s regime existed at least because the IIS (Iraq Intelligence Service) maintained undeclared laboraties that had produced or could produce CW and BW agents, albeit in small quantities supposedly for assassination purposes. However, the IIS were major players in Iraq’s WMD efforts, especialyy the BW programme. As far as I know the laboratories were not included in Iraq’s final declaration or declared subsequently to UNMOVIC.

I have not recently checked the ISG report but I think what I have said is correct.

Comment from andrewsimon
Time February 20, 2010 at 12:44 pm

Brian/John -

Re the IIS small labs – my understanding is that these were actually food testing laboratories maintained for Saddam’s personal protection at various sites. Of course virtually any standard UK secondary school science block would be capable of producing rudimentary biological agents if anyone there had a wish to do so, so the existence of these facilities is not necessarily indicative of nefarious intent.

Comment from Lee Roberts
Time February 20, 2010 at 1:57 pm

Given that there were no WMDs, it would have been impossible for Saddam to comply at the “100% level”. The main drivers for the compliance regime, Britain and the US, had fabricated evidence about WMDs precisely because they knew Saddam couldnt comply. That was their entire purpose. The weapons inspectors couldnt go too far in second-guessing Bush and Blair’s false evidence, although they did say that the phony “intelligence” provided by Bush and Blair about the location of WMDs was shown to be false. You cannot discuss this issue without acknowleding that it was a trap built to catch Saddam, a Catch 22.

If you want, however, to assume that the whole process was well-intentioned and that Blair and Bush were simply led astray by a hopelessly incompetent security service (highly unlikely, as there were many speaking up and saying that this was fraud), then the issue becomes whether the actual defaults were material, or purely procedural and marginal. I recall Rice jumping up and down if Saddam paused in the middle of s sentence, and making a total prat of herself. One of the embedded principles of the UN Charter is that of “proportionality”, that the use of force would have to reflect the level of the threat, or the real significance of the non-complaince. If it could be proven that (say) the British Virgin Islands was lining up to attack the US with pea-shooters, it would not authorise the US to blast the British Virgin Islands from the face of the earth. Demanding 100% compliance may be needed to show the seriousness of the demand. But it doesnt follow that you can massacre over 100,000 innocent people, displace another 2 million, and destroy an entire society, just because of a marginal and purely technical, but non-material act of non-compliance. That is pretty well what Blix has been saying all along…yes, Saddam’s compliance record had gaps, but none of any real significance and certainly not warranting an immoral and illegal conquest.

Comment from Lee Roberts
Time February 20, 2010 at 2:08 pm

I should add that at the time of 1441, there was so much manic sabre-rattling from a clearly psychotic US administration, that the opponents of a Bush invasion of Iraq, were desperate for a resolution that would block Bush’s efforts to argue that the Gulf War was not over and he could invade whenever he wished. So desperate were they, that they agreed to the inclusion of things they almost certainly didnt believe…ie that Saddam’s swaggering attitude and lack of cooperation amounted to “material breach”. Blair and Bush wanted that in there because they could then argue that Saddam was CONTINUING to be in material breach. That was the trap. If France, Russia, Germany, and China had greater courage to stand up to Bush and his pathetic little lying poodle, Blair, they wouldnt have been cornered into agreeing to what was obviously language intended to build a trap.

Comment from Anthony
Time February 20, 2010 at 4:08 pm

Brian
“Based on the findings of the ISG, I think Iraq remained in breach for as long as Saddam’s regime existed at least because the IIS (Iraq Intelligence Service) maintained undeclared laboraties that had produced or could produce CW and BW agents, albeit in small quantities supposedly for assassination purposes. However, the IIS were major players in Iraq’s WMD efforts, especialyy the BW programme. As far as I know the laboratories were not included in Iraq’s final declaration or declared subsequently to UNMOVIC.”

from the ISG report:
http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/library/report/2004/isg-final-report/isg-final-report_vol3_bw_key-findings.htm
——————————
The IIS had a series of laboratories that conducted biological work including research into BW agents for assassination purposes until the mid-1990s. ISG has not been able to establish the scope and nature of the work at these laboratories or determine whether any of the work was related to military development of BW agent.

* The security services operated a series of laboratories in the Baghdad area. Iraq should have declared these facilities and their equipment to the UN, but they did not. Neither the UN Special Commission (UNSCOM) nor the UN Monitoring, Verification, and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) were aware of their existence or inspected them.
* Some of the laboratories possessed equipment capable of supporting research into BW agents for military purposes, but ISG does not know whether this occurred although there is no evidence of it. The laboratories were probably the successors of the Al Salman facility, located three kilometers south of Salman Pak, which was destroyed in 1991, and they carried on many of the same activities, including forensic work.
* Under the aegis of the intelligence service, a secretive team developed assassination instruments using poisons or toxins for the Iraqi state. A small group of scientists, doctors and technicians conducted secret experiments on human beings, resulting in their deaths. The aim was probably the development of poisons, including ricin and aflatoxin to eliminate or debilitate the Regime’s opponents. It appears that testing on humans continued until the mid 1990s. There is no evidence to link these tests with the development of BW agents for military use.
————————————–

Isn’t it the case that any state could have small laboratories capable of making BW in small quantities for assassination purposes? That doesn’t seem to fit the definition of WMD.

This seems to me to illustrate the issue of proportionality that I was referring to. Was Iraq squeaky clean? Obviously not. Do we imagine that other countries such as Saudi Arabia, Syria and Iran might have had similar facilities? Quite possibly. Did we invade any of those countries? Was a massive and in the event catastrophic invasion a proportionate response to Iraq having had these laboratories?

Comment from barb bishop
Time February 20, 2010 at 6:22 pm

ISG Report: “* The security services operated a series of laboratories in the Baghdad area. Iraq SHOULD HAVE DECLARED these facilities and their equipment to the UN, but THEY DID NOT. Neither the UN Special Commission (UNSCOM) nor the UN Monitoring, Verification, and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) WERE AWARE OF THEIR EXISTENCE OR INSPECTED THEM.”

Anthony: “Was Iraq squeaky clean? Obviously not.”

Did it comply with 1441? No.

Is that the whole point of this thread? Yes.

Comment from andrewsimon
Time February 20, 2010 at 7:44 pm

Barb -

“* The security services operated a series of laboratories in the Baghdad area. Iraq SHOULD HAVE DECLARED these facilities and their equipment to the UN, but THEY DID NOT.

If you read R.687 very carefully you will note reference to ‘toxin’ weapons twice:

1) Recalling also that Iraq has signed the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on Their Destruction, of 10 April 1972,

2) 7. Invites Iraq to reaffirm unconditionally its obligations under the Geneva Protocol for the Prohibition of the Use in War of Asphyxiating, Poisonous or Other Gases, and of Bacteriological Methods of Warfare, signed at Geneva on 17 June 1925, and to ratify the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on Their Destruction, of 10 April 1972;

Clearly the Convention makes the distinction between the two different types of weapon, Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin.

A word search of Resolutions 687 (1991) of 3 April 1991, 707 (1991) of 15 August 1991, 715 (1991) of 11 October 1991, 986 (1995) of 14 April 1995, 1111 (1997) of 4 June 1997, 1154 (1998) of 2 March 1998, 1284 (1999) of 17 December 1999, 1441 (2002) of 8 November 2002, these being the major resolutions against Iraq, reveals no other instance of the word ‘toxin’.

Therefore could you please demonstrate the formal UN requirement for Iraq to declare these (clearly) toxin related facilities.

Comment from Lee Roberts
Time February 20, 2010 at 9:32 pm

No, barb, the whole point of the thread about liars and racketeerss who were using the inspection regime NOT to discover WMDs or out of genuine concern about WMDs, but to catch Saddam out, to find a pretext, however flimsy to justify an attack which had been planned prior to Bush even coming to office, in the murky chambers of the PNAC. Everyone knows ity was a trick because we now know that the case about WMDs was phony. Millions of us knew that it was a trick and phony as it was happening. That is the reality underpinning this thread. You know very well that even if full complaince were possible and Saddam fully complied, it would have made no difference. The American invasion was planned to take p[lace regardless and Blair had agreed to support it regardless. So rabbiting on about a little laboratory that Saddam didnt report is such utter bullshit.

Comment from barb bishop
Time February 21, 2010 at 1:29 am

Andrewsimon:

Apparently you have not read Dr Jones’ contributions to this thread.

Dr Jones:” Based on the findings of the ISG, I think Iraq remained in breach for as long as Saddam’s regime existed at least because the IIS (Iraq Intelligence Service) maintained undeclared laboraties that had produced or could produce CW and BW agents, albeit in small quantities supposedly for assassination purposes.

“However, the IIS were major players in Iraq’s WMD efforts, especialyy the BW programme. As far as I know the laboratories were not included in Iraq’s final declaration or declared subsequently to UNMOVIC.

I have not recently checked the ISG report but I think what I have said is correct.”

My quote from the ISG report as quoted by Anthonty.

“The security services operated a series of LABORATORIES in the Baghdad area. Iraq SHOULD HAVE DECLARED these facilities and their equipment to the UN, BUT THEY DID NOT. Neither the UN Special Commission (UNSCOM) nor the UN Monitoring, Verification, and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) were AWARE of their existence OR INSPECTED THEM them.”

Not toxins, laboratories. Not laboratories that were producing poisons or toxins but laboratories that “had” produced or “could” produce CW and BW agents.

Did Iraq comply with Resolution 1441?
No.

Did Iraq comply with Resolutions 687 (1991) of 3 April 1991, 707 (1991) of 15 August 1991, 715 (1991) of 11 October 1991, 986 (1995) of 14 April 1995, 1111 (1997) of 4 June 1997, 1154 (1998) of 2 March 1998 and of 1284 (1999) of 17 December 1999?
No,no,no,no,no,no and no.

Comment from Chris Ames
Time February 21, 2010 at 8:45 am

Dear all, thank you very much for this. It is unfortunate that the arguments remain but the information is useful.

Comment from andrewsimon
Time February 21, 2010 at 11:55 am

Barb -

Apparently you have not read Dr Jones’ contributions to this thread…

Yeah right. So I didn’t see the bit where he stated “I have not recently checked the ISG report but I think what I have said is correct” either.

So plainly you cannot demonstrate the UN requirement to declare the labs.

My quote from the ISG report as quoted by Anthony.

So plainly you haven’t read the whole thing either.

Just for the record the whole ISS / MI6 Directorate issue is covered by an ISG Final Report annex here.

Where does this reporting go beyond the CIA speculating upon uncorroborated and suspect speculation about the possible production of CW (and even more remotely BW) agents?

To me it looks like both you and the CIA are desperately clutching at non-existent straws!

Comment from Anthony
Time February 21, 2010 at 1:00 pm

Apologies to Chris A if I have hijacked this thread, that wasn’t my intention.

However I think the discussion does illustrate my point. Barb reacts to the ISG passage that I reproduced in ‘gotcha!’ mode, but nobody did at the time. If Barb is right, Dick Cheney and his acolytes must all be wimps, because none of them reacted to that passage by saying ‘there you see, we were justified after all, in spending a trillion dollars and wasting thousands of US lives’.

Why was that? Not because those little labs were nothing, but because even on Dick Cheney’s definition of proportionality, those little labs didn’t come anywhere remotely near justifying what turned out to be a national disaster for the United States, a huge boost for both Iran and Al Qaeda and a major setback for Middle East peace.

But in any case, the labs weren’t known about in March 2003, so they weren’t a cause for the war. Chris was asking what was the known evidence in March 2003, and we need to know what that sum total of evidence was, in order to be able to evaluate how it stacked up as a casus belli.

Comment from John Bone
Time February 21, 2010 at 1:52 pm

War is not cost-free or risk-free, though the way it was discussed before the invasion of Iraq suggested that it is. One of the lessons that should be learnt from this Inquiry (or relearnt, because it is in all our history books) is that “it’ll all be over by Xmas” is almost always wrong.

International law sees war as a last resort, because experience of two world wars suggested that war could cause as many problems as it solved. The Bush administration appears to have forgotten this and assumed that US military superiority was overwhelming. Blair seems to have assumed this too. This was misplaced confidence.

Blair said to the Inquiry something about “calculus of risk”. This implies doing some calculations about objectives, alternative methods of reaching those solutions, the costs and the risks and the opportunity costs. There is no evidence that he did those calculations. The answer was always that an invasion was needed and that the risks would be low. Perhaps there was an assumption that being firm with Iraq would mean that the US/UK would be shown to be determined so terrorists would slink back into their caves. In practice the costs have been high, the risks were high, and attention was therefore diverted from other post-9/11 dangers.

Comment from Anthony
Time February 21, 2010 at 3:28 pm

Blair is a man whose walk doesn’t match his talk. He can see that ‘calculus of risk’ is a phrase that sounds good, and that by using it he might cast himself in a good light, but that doesn’t mean that he would ever be bothered to actually *do* any calculus.

This issue did have previous form though, and the risks had been addressed. Bush senior could have deposed Saddam Hussein if he had pursued the Iraqi army past the border. He didn’t because inter alia it would have been illegal and he would have been walking into a quagmire. Two pretty good reasons actually.

But in a can do era, Bush junior saw that sane evaluation as a failure and a blot on the family name, so he was going to go one better. Unfortunately he didn’t have very good judgment, so it turned out to be one worse.

Comment from John Bone
Time February 21, 2010 at 4:58 pm

And it would appear that no-one with resonsibility on this side of the pond got themselves together to ask the necessary questions.

Comment from Anthony
Time February 21, 2010 at 6:01 pm

I feel sure that the necessary questions were being answered John, it’s just that nobody with responsibility was willing to listen.

The FCO has great expertise in Arab affairs and it is surely implausible that those experts weren’t making evaluations of the aftermath issues. Blair’s claim that that the things that happened weren’t foreseeable was preposterous. It would be interesting if Sir John called the FCO Arab experts as witnesses and asked them what advice they provided and where it went.

We know that similar and very good work was done by the State Department, but after Bush handed over aftermath planning to the Pentagon all the preparatory work was regarded as pansy talk and put firmly on the shelf. The good ol boys would handle it just fine.

The biggest question of all about Iraq is why did a man like Blair ally himself so closely with a far right gink like Bush? Lots of witnesses have claimed they had severe misgivings about the aftermath planning, but the whole thing was governed by Blair’s personal loyalty to Bush, so we just went along with rule by cowboys.

And for what? The special relationship? What special relationship? There isn’t one. What a crass crass blunder.

[apologies to Chris for straying fractionally OT]

Comment from barb bishop
Time February 21, 2010 at 6:21 pm

Anthony: Apologies for having seemed to personalise. Only referred to your quote because had been too lazy to go into the original and check it for myself.

Actually it was Dr Jones’ comments that I was most interested in rather than yours, as am sure you would understand.

Andrewsimon:

Direct from the published ISG findings itself.

http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/library/report/2004/isg-final-report/isg-final-report_vol3_bw_key-findings.htm

“The security services operated a series of LABORATORIES in the Baghdad area. Iraq SHOUlD HAVE declared these facilities and their equipment to the UN, but THEY DID NOT. Neither the UN Special Commission (UNSCOM) nor the UN Monitoring, Verification, and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) were AWARE of their existence or INSPECTED them.”

Nothing to do with chemicals and toxins, Andrew, but because these laboratories had produced or could produce CW and BW agents, as Dr Jones pointed out.

Ergo, Iraq did not comply with Resolution 1441 or Resolutions 687 (1991) of 3 April 1991, 707 (1991) of 15 August 1991, 715 (1991) of 11 October 1991, 986 (1995) of 14 April 1995, 1111 (1997) of 4 June 1997, 1154 (1998) of 2 March 1998 and 1284 (1999) of 17 December 1999.

Dr Jones also said: “Based on the findings of the ISG, I think Iraq remained in breach for as long as Saddam’s regime existed ” as it begs the question as to whether Iraq would ever have complied while Saddam’s regime existed?

Dr Blix’s account reveals that Muhammed al-Baradei made huge diplomatic efforts to get them a meeting with Saddam on the occasions they were in Baghdad but Saddam never agreed.

fwiw, perhaps more interesting debate here would be on the topic “So what if Iraq did not comply with 8 UNSCR Chapter V11 resolutions. It doesn’t matter because …..”

Comment from Lee Roberts
Time February 21, 2010 at 9:42 pm

It is interesting to me how the supporters of Blair are beginning to sound as fanatical and strident as the people they condemn. Sort of like a twisted version of the Stockholm syndrome. And as they become more excitable, so the points they try to make become so absurd and far fetched, they actually destroy themselves. Not that I am surprised, because so much of this stuff is simply made up.

Comment from andrewsimon
Time February 21, 2010 at 9:57 pm

Barb -

You can repost the same paragraph time after time but that does not change the fact that it is the CIA saying this when they themselves operated under a presidential mandate to create the conditions for the removal of Saddam Hussein from power for many many years, right up until the deed was actually done. This is the same CIA who were (after the invasion had taken place) desperately scrabbling for anything the could produce to justify the action that just taken place against Iraq and more personally against Saddam Hussein himself.

Obviously you and I look at these matters from the opposite ends of the viewing spectrum. Whilst you would ask “… the question as to whether Iraq would ever have complied while Saddam’s regime existed?”, I would have to ask whether the Americans would ever had allowed or accepted Iraq’s compliance whilst Saddam’s regime still existed?

Starting out with R.687, one should wonder whether international (WMD) arms control on the scale that it was conducted should ever have been tied in with a ceasefire resolution in the first place. With retrospect, perhaps more time should have been given into thinking this through. By all accounts it was the US and UK who drafted this resolution as some kind of victors justice, perhaps to mitigate the fact that they hadn’t done all the way to Baghdad in 1991. Evidence suggests that Rolf Ekeus, UNSCOM’s first chairman, came close to closing the books on Iraq’s weapons programmes in the mid-nineties, but the US wouldn’t let this happen because it didn’t suit them politically. You suggest debating “So what if Iraq did not comply with 8 UNSCR Chapter V11 resolutions”. I’d say of course this matters, but there are (at least) two sides to every story. Are we going to get anywhere with this if no-one wants to consider the fact that the US completely destroyed Iraq’s faith in the UN process by using UNSCOM to spy on Iraq, covertly targeting their facilities in an ongoing war situation, and actually went as far as to ferment a coup process under cover of a manufactured inspection crisis?

Comment from John Bone
Time February 22, 2010 at 9:37 am

Anthony. “Blair’s claim that that the things that happened weren’t foreseeable was preposterous.”

Indeed. A flick through a GCSE history book would show how risky war is.

If I remember rightly, Blair had a meeting with a group of academic specialists in the area (including Toby Dodge), who warned him of the possible repercussions. Dodge said afterwards that they gave up talking to Blair becase Blair just kept on saying “Saddam is evil”. People like this, and the FCO Arabists and DfID were kept out of the loop because they were saying the wrong things. To some extent Blair was trying to prove these people wrong, though when he was proved wrong he hid behind the excuse that everybocdy else had got it wrong as well.

There is a lot of this kind of thing in the Iraq invasion business: “everybody thought … “; “nobody could have predicted …”. (Nobody except the people marching through the streets and writing to the newsapers, that is.) It makes you wonder whether anyone in Government, or in our poliical parties, has got their brains switched on. The herd instinct seems to have taken over.

Comment from Anthony
Time February 22, 2010 at 11:48 am

I don’t think it’s a herd instinct as such, I think it’s a career instinct. It’s a ‘can do’ age, and ‘on message’ people do well in their careers, while ‘yes but’ people don’t. So everyone at all levels sees that it’s in their own personal interests to be on message. Furthermore senior officers tend to be on message and in supervising others coerce the yes but types into being ‘helpful’. The result is as planned.

As to Blair, I mentioned his puzzling loyalty to Bush, but another factor not much discussed here but I think extremely important in all this, is the deep personal hatred of Saddam Hussein that distorted the thinking of many of those concerned.

Saddam wasn’t the only bogey man of the western media, but he was by far the best. Gaddafi had been ok, Mugabe isn’t bad and Ahmadi Nejad isn’t doing badly considering he isn’t even the ruler of Iran, but Saddam Hussein’s ugly mug sold way more newspapers than any of those. He was *the* bogey man, and even now we have Brown saying that the invasion was justified because Saddam Hussein wouldn’t do what he was told.

He was a terrible man, but would he necessarily have killed more of his people if left in power than Robert Mugabe has done since 2003, or than Omar al-Bashir has done? al-Bashir may be the worst of the lot, but he isn’t a bogey man because he doesn’t get into the media. So western leaders aren’t constantly challenged ‘what are you going to do about it?’ So they don’t hate him. So he is still there.

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Comment from barb bishop
Time February 26, 2010 at 10:53 am

“would have to ask whether the Americans would ever had allowed or accepted Iraq’s compliance whilst Saddam’s regime still existed?”

Academic question since Saddam never complied with any of those resolutions.

On the CIA and the ISG, obviously you haven’t read Charles Duelfer’s book. He was quite an admirer of Saddam and most of his many, many Iraqi friends were members of the Baath Party. Most upset by Saddam’s execution, he was. Also Bremer’s de-Baathification.

The CIA was always Baath centric, like most of the American and Brit Foreign policy establishment.

Comment from andrewsimon
Time February 26, 2010 at 10:40 pm

Barb -

…obviously you haven’t read Charles Duelfer’s book.

bookshelf

That’s right. I just buy them so they’ll look good on my shelf…


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