News


Tracking Number:  203797

Title:  "Inspections Succeed in Checking Iraqi Weapons Program." An active UN inspection and monitoring regime in Iraq has checked that country's pursuit of weapons of mass destruction, but without the regime Iraq's weapons program could be rapidly reconstituted. (911113)

Translated Title:  Inspecciones tienen exito en contener programa armas Iraqui.; Irak: les inspections bloquent son projet d`armement. (911113)
Author:  PORTH, JACQUELYN S (USIA STAFF WRITER)
Date:  19911113

Text:
*POL304

11/13/91 HINSPECTIONS SUCCEED IN CHECKING IRAQI WEAPONS PROGRAM SH(But need for long-term presence cited) (1010) BYBy Jacquelyn S. Porth BIUSIA Security Affairs Writer

TWashington -- An active United Nations inspection and monitoring regime in Iraq has checked that country's pursuit of weapons of mass destruction, a high ranking State Department official says, but without the regime Iraq's weapons program could be rapidly reconstituted.

Richard Clarke, assistant secretary of state for politico-military affairs, told members of Congress November 13 there will be a one-time cost of about $50 million to eliminate Iraq's chemical and some nuclear weapons. He suggested it would cost, subsequently, between $5 million and $8 million per year to ensure that Iraq doesn't reconstitute its previous programs to develop chemical, biological and nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.

Asked about the cost of maintaining on-site monitoring and challenge inspections in Iraq, Clarke said the inspection regime is funded through donations. Saudi Arabia, for example, recently donated $1.7-million, he said.

There is "very good support" in the United Nations for maintaining "a permanent presence" to continue U.N. Special Commission and International Atomic Energy Agency inspections in Iraq, he said.

Clarke made his remarks at the first in a series of House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence hearings on proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

While indicating that sufficient support seems to exist to maintain the inspection regime in Iraq for as long as a decade, he also expressed the hope that Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein does not remain in power that long. As long as Saddam Hussein remains in control, he suggested, the Iraqi leadership likely would maintain its potential for reviving weapons capabilities.

Gordon Oehler, a Central Intelligence Agency analyst for science, technology and proliferation who appeared at the committee hearing with Clarke, was asked how long it would take Iraq to reconstitute its weapons capabilities if inspections were halted. He said it depends, in part, on how well other nations prevent the resumption of the technology flow into that country. It could take anywhere from a few years "to more than a decade" for Iraq to reconstitute in the absence of inspections, he said.

Asked about Iraq's biological weapons capabilities, Clarke said inspectors found delivery vehicles which could have been used to deploy either chemical or biological weapons, but no weapons were actually found filled with biological agents. Even though no biological weapons were discovered in Iraq, he said he believes the Iraqis had biological weapons.

Congressman Stephen Solarz told committee witnesses he believes that the potential of North Korea's nuclear program is the single most serious threat today. "The horse may soon be out of the barn there," he warned. Clarke noted that North Korea is less reliant on foreign sources of technology than some other nuclear aspirants.

Department of Energy official Victor Alessi told the committee that denial of technology can slow down, but not prevent, a country from eventually acquiring a nuclear weapons capability. He noted that Iraq "made a deliberate effort to make its nuclear program self-sufficient and not reliant on foreign suppliers." He said the Iraqis made a political decision in 1981 after Israel bombed its nuclear reactor at Tuwaitha "to send its nuclear program 'underground.'"

Clarke said it is important to encourage nations to adopt broader export controls to prevent other countries from trying to achieve their goal of acquiring weapons of mass destruction.

But, Alessi said, "We should not mislead ourselves into thinking that export controls will, by themselves, prevent a country with the appropriate financial and technical resources from developing a covert nuclear weapons program should they have the political determination to move down that path." He said the importance of controls "is real and tangible, but should not be exaggerated."

Alessi said the United States is leading an international effort under the Nuclear Suppliers Group to create an export control regime for dual-use equipment -- equipment that could be used for either weapons or peaceful purposes. "It is important that we take advantage of the new atmosphere of heightened sensitivity to nuclear proliferation to press for as rigorous a regime as possible," he said. He also indicated the prospects are "very good" that such a regime may be implemented sometime next year.

Clarke noted that Americans are prohibited by law from going to a foreign country and working on a nuclear weapons project without permission from the U.S. government. The United States has been trying to persuade its European allies to enact similar legislation, he noted.

The United States has been putting "a lot of pressure on a broad-range of countries," Clarke said, to emulate it on this, but some countries have said the issue presents a constitutional dilemma. If the United States can work around it, he said, the European countries can and should, too. The official said it is "unacceptable" for a citizen of a NATO ally to be legally free to work on a high-level weapons project in a foreign country without his or her government's permission.

While Western nations were aware of the threat once posed by Iraq, Clarke noted, "we did not know how far along they were in nuclear weapons development. The fact that we significantly under-estimated that capability should be a lesson to err on the side of caution with other nations in the future."

Oehler expressed some optimism on controlling proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. With U.S.-Soviet arms reduction agreements as precedents, he said, "we are starting to see regional discussions, if not yet initiatives, for example, between India and Pakistan and Argentina and Brazil."

Asked about Chinese efforts to halt weapons proliferation, Clarke noted that China has been an active participant in all the recent meetings by the five permanent U.N. Security Council member on arms transfers and non-proliferation matters. He also noted that the issue of proliferation would be high on the agenda of Secretary of State Baker when he meets with Chinese officials this week. NNNN


File Identification:  11/13/91, PO-304; 11/13/91, EU-306; 11/13/91, NE-305; 11/14/91, AR-409; 11/14/91, AS-406; 11/14/91, AE-410; 11/14/91, AR-409; 11/14/91, NA-403; 11/14/91, EP-411; 11/15/91, AF-506
Product Name:  Wireless File
Product Code:  WF
Languages:  Spanish; Arabic; French
Keywords:  INSPECTIONS; IRAQ/Defense & Military; NUCLEAR WEAPONS; ARMS CONTROL VERIFICATION; INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY; CLARKE, RICHARD; CONGRESSIONAL TESTIMONY; HOUSE PERMANENT SELECT CMTE ON INTELLIGENCE
Thematic Codes:  2FP; 1NE; 1AC; 1UN
Target Areas:  EU; NE; AR; AF; AR; EA
PDQ Text Link:  203797; 204027; 204053