The United Nations has determined that Saddam Hussein
shipped weapons of mass destruction components as well as medium-range
ballistic missiles before, during and after the U.S.-led war against
Iraq in 2003.
The UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission briefed the Security Council on new findings that could help trace the whereabouts
of Saddam's missile and WMD program.
The briefing contained satellite photographs that demonstrated the speed
with which Saddam dismantled his missile and WMD sites before and during the
war. Council members were shown photographs of a ballistic missile site
outside Baghdad in May 2003, and then saw a satellite image of the same
location in February 2004, in which facilities had disappeared.
UNMOVIC acting executive chairman Demetrius Perricos told the council on June 9 that "the only controls at the
borders are for the weight of the scrap metal, and to check whether there
are any explosive or radioactive materials within the scrap," Middle East Newsline reported.
"It's being exported," Perricos said after the briefing. "It's being
traded out. And there is a large variety of scrap metal from very new to
very old, and slowly, it seems the country is depleted of metal."
"The removal of these materials from Iraq raises concerns with regard to
proliferation risks," Perricos told the council. Perricos also reported that inspectors found Iraqi WMD and
missile components shipped abroad that still contained UN inspection tags.
He said the Iraqi facilities were dismantled and sent both to Europe and around the Middle East. at the rate of about 1,000 tons of metal a
month. Destionations included Jordan, the Netherlands and Turkey.
The Baghdad missile site contained a range of WMD and dual-use
components, UN officials said. They included missile components, reactor
vessel and fermenters ø the latter required for the production of chemical
and biological warheads.
"It raises the question of what happened to the dual-use equipment,
where is it now and what is it being used for," Ewen Buchanan, Perricos's
spokesman, said. "You can make all kinds of pharmaceutical and medicinal
products with a fermenter. You can also use it to breed anthrax."
The UNMOVIC report said Iraqi missiles were dismantled and exported to
such countries as Jordan, the Netherlands and Turkey. In the Dutch city of
Rotterdam, an SA-2 surface-to-air missile, one of at least 12, was
discovered in a junk yard, replete with UN tags. In Jordan, UN inspectors
found 20 SA-2 engines as well as components for solid-fuel for missiles.
"The problem for us is that we don't know what may have passed through
these yards and other yards elsewhere," Buchanan said. "We can't really
assess the significance and don't know the full extent of activity that
could be going on there or with others of Iraq's neighbors."
UN inspectors have assessed that the SA-2 and the short-range Al Samoud
surface-to-surface missile were shipped abroad by agents of the Saddam
regime. Buchanan said UNMOVIC plans to inspect other sites, including in
In April, International Atomic Energy Agency director-general Mohammed
El Baradei said material from Iraqi nuclear facilities were being smuggled
out of the country.