No Saddam, al-Qaeda link: report 

No Saddam, al-Qaeda link: report


No Saddam, al-Qaeda link: report
From correspondents in Washington
January 9, 2004

IRAQ posed no imminent threat to the United States and there was no solid evidence that President Saddam Hussein was cooperating with the al-Qaeda terror network, a private think tank maintained today.

The administration systematically misrepresented a weapons threat from Iraq, and US strategy should be revised to eliminate the policy of unilateral preventive war, said Jessica Mathews, Joseph Cirincione and George Perkovich of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

"It is unlikely that Iraq could have destroyed, hidden or sent out of the country the hundreds of tons of chemical and biological weapons, dozens of Scud missiles and facilities engaged in the ongoing production of chemical and biological weapons that officials claimed were present without the United States detecting some sign of this activity," the report said.

Iraq's nuclear program had been dismantled and there was no convincing evidence it was being revived, the report said.

And the US-led war on Iraq in 1991 combined with UN sanctions and inspections "effectively destroyed" Iraq's ability to produce chemical weapons on a large scale, the report said.

The real threat was posed by what Iraq might have been able to do in the future, such as starting production of biological weapons quickly in the event of war, Carnegie said.

Also, Iraq apparently was expanding its capability to build missiles beyond the range permitted by the UN Security Council, the report said.

"The missile program appears to have been the one program in active development in 2002," it said. Years of UN inspections to determine whether Saddam was harbouring weapons of mass destruction were working well, and the United States should set up jointly with the United Nations a permanent system to guard against the spread of dangerous technology, the report said.

It recommended that consideration be given to making the job of CIA director a career post instead of a political appointment.

Mathews is president, Cirincione is director of the proliferation project, and Perkovich is vice president for studies at Carnegie, an independent research group.

Citing the CIA and other US intelligence offices, the Bush administration claimed before attacking Iraq that Saddam had potent caches of weapons of mass destruction and plans to produce more of them.

The Carnegie report said the US intelligence process failed on Iraq and that Bush administration officials dropped qualifications and expressions of uncertainty presented by US intelligence analysts.

Several US allies, including France, Germany and Russia, sought continuation of UN weapons searches and tried to avert war. But President George W Bush went ahead with the war that toppled Saddam and thrust the United States into trying to steer the oil-rich country through reconstruction and toward democracy.

In the weeks before the war, the administration also intensified its allegations of links between Saddam and the al-Qaeda terror network headed by Osama bin Laden and believed responsible for a series of attacks on the United States, including those against the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001.

But "there was no solid evidence of a cooperative relationship between Saddam's government and al-Qaeda", the report said.

And, Carnegie said, "there was no evidence to support the claim that Iraq would have transferred WMD (weapons of mass destruction) to al-Qaeda and much evidence to counter it".

Since May, when Bush declared an end to major combat, 357 US service personnel have died in attacks on them and in accidents.

The Associated Press,4057,8356508%255E1702,00.html


Return to Main Page


Add Comment

On This Site

  • About this site
  • Main Page
  • Most Recent Comments
  • Complete Article List
  • Sponsors

Search This Site

Syndicate this blog site

Powered by BlogEasy

Free Blog Hosting