- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 10, 2002

NEW YORK The first and largest section of Iraq's report to the United Nations details its attempts to develop nuclear weapons, with more than 2,000 pages devoted to efforts prior to its invasion of Kuwait in 1990.
The nuclear section of the report, which largely reiterates what U.N. inspectors already know, includes minute detail on techniques used in the nuclear program, with more than 200 pages devoted to the arcane subject of "enrichment by gaseous diffusion and gaseous centrifuge."
Other sections include entries on "foreign technical assistance" and "relationships with companies, representatives and individuals."
This much could be gleaned from a nine-page table of contents to the 12,000-page report that arrived in New York on Sunday night. U.S. officials began duplicating and translating the complete copy of the document delivered by Iraq on Saturday to the United Nations.
The United States will pass on complete copies of the report to the other four permanent Security Council members Russia, China, France and Britain all of which have declared nuclear weapons capabilities.
The council's 10 elected members will see only an edited version of the declaration that has been translated and cleansed of material that may provide tips on how to build chemical, biological and nuclear weapons.
The 15 council members, meeting behind closed doors, decided late Sunday which countries would receive the report.
"This is not a question of the [five permanent council members] asserting some special privilege," said U.S. Ambassador John Negroponte. "It's drawing on the expertise of declared nuclear weapon states who have the kind of expertise that can be useful in contributing to this exercise and expediting the kind of analysis that everyone is trying to achieve. I characterize this as win-win."
But envoys from several of the elected nations remained bitter, saying the report was addressed to the entire Security Council and that all of its members should be treated equally.
The most impassioned critic of the decision was Syrian Ambassador Mikhail Wehbe, council diplomats said.
On Friday, chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix surprised council nations by telling them that they would see only a redacted version of the Iraqi declaration. U.S. diplomats praised the decision at the time, but were overridden quickly by superiors in Washington.
Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and other U.S. officials lobbied their counterparts with other council members to argue in favor of releasing the full document to the permanent five.
Mexican diplomats, who during the weekend had demanded equal access to the document, refused yesterday to criticize the new arrangement publicly. But hard feelings clearly remained, potentially complicating any agreement on military action against Iraq.
The contents of the 12,000-page manifesto still were being translated and analyzed by U.S. and U.N. officials, and no formal evaluation was expected for at least a week.
Baghdad has maintained that it has no programs to develop weapons of mass destruction and no desire to rebuild its arsenals. But a glance at the table of contents of its report shows that Iraq has had varied and significant chemical, biological and nuclear programs.
The section on chemical programs includes 22 pages on "chemical munitions research and development activities" and "munitions filling techniques."
Another 22-page entry details the "unilateral destruction of chemical munitions, agents and precursors."
The biological section goes back to 1974 and appears to describe activities at six different facilities. The document has a 95-page entry on "weaponization activities" and two pages on finances.
A 96-page section promises the "whereabouts" of biological material and equipment. This section presumably will be valuable to the inspectors as they try to dismantle Iraq's weapons programs.
Mr. Blix was expected to meet with the council today to discuss his preliminary impressions of the declaration, which was required by a Nov. 8 Security Council resolution authorizing the inspectors to return to work.
White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said yesterday the United States will reserve judgment on the Iraqi document until it "is in a position to look at it thoroughly and completely and fully and thoughtfully."
The Bush administration says it has plenty of intelligence proving that Iraq has invigorated its efforts to develop weapons of mass destruction, but it has not released details to the public or to the U.N. inspectors.
"We're going to continue to work with the inspectors to help to get them the information so they can do their job," Mr. Fleischer said. "Of course, at the same time, we want to make sure that sources and methods are not compromised in any information that could be conveyed to the inspectors."
U.N. officials note that the Iraqi government has offered no impediment to weapons inspectors in the 10 days they have been on the ground. However, they have been careful not to say Baghdad is cooperating.
The inspection teams yesterday visited an Iraqi nuclear facility and an industrial complex, both known as former nuclear weapons sites. No problems were reported.


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