February 14, 2003: The following analysis was written by Glen Rangwala, Lecturer in Politics at Cambridge University, firstname.lastname@example.org.
See also 'Counter-Dossier II' - Claims and Evaluations of Iraq's Proscribed Weapons
and First Response to Secretary of State Colin Powell's UN Presentation Concerning Iraq.
This page reviews the evidence presented by Hans Blix (UNMOVIC) and Mohamed ElBaradei (IAEA) to the Security Council on 14 February 2003, and contrasts it to the claims of Colin Powell to the Security Council on 5 February and Tony Blair in a dossier of 2 February.
Links to the original documents are at the end of this page.
Powell: "The gravity of this moment is matched by the gravity of the threat that Iraq's weapons of mass destruction pose to the world."
Blix: "So far, UNMOVIC has not found any such weapons, only a small number of empty chemical munitions, which should have been declared and destroyed."
2. COMPLIANCE with INSPECTIONS
Blair dossier, p.3: "Journeys are monitored by security officers stationed on the route if they have prior intelligence. Any changes of destination are notified ahead by telephone or radio so that arrival is anticipated. The welcoming party is a give away."
Powell: "This sequence of events raises the worrisome suspicion that Iraq had been tipped off to the forthcoming inspections at Taji"
Blix: "Since we arrived in Iraq, we have conducted more than 400 inspections covering more than 300 sites. All inspections were performed without notice, and access was almost always provided promptly. In no case have we seen convincing evidence that the Iraqi side knew in advance that the inspectors were coming."
Blair dossier, p.3: "Escorts are trained, for example, to start long arguments with other Iraqi officials ‘on behalf of UNMOVIC’ while any incriminating evidence is hastily being hidden behind the scenes."
Blix: "we note that access to sites has so far been without problems, including those that had never been declared or inspected, as well as to Presidential sites and private residences."
3. 'COMPLIANCE on SUBSTANCE'
Powell: "We believe Saddam Hussein knows what he did with [chemical weapons] and he has not come clean with the international community. We have evidence these weapons existed. What we don't have is evidence from Iraq that they have been destroyed or where they are."
Blix: "a letter of 12 February from Iraq’s National Monitoring Directorate may be of relevance. It presents a list of 83 names of participants 'in the unilateral destruction in the chemical field, which took place in the summer of 1991'. As the absence of adequate evidence of that destruction has been and remains an important reason why quantities of chemicals have been deemed 'unaccounted for', the presentation of a list of persons who can be interviewed about the actions appears useful and pertains to cooperation on substance."
Blair dossier, p.2: "The Regime has intensified efforts to hide documents in places where they are unlikely to be found, such as private homes of low-level officials and universities."
Powell: "Thanks to intelligence they were provided, the inspectors recently found dramatic confirmation of these reports. When they searched the homes of an Iraqi nuclear scientist, they uncovered roughly 2,000 pages of documents. You see them here being brought out of the home and placed in UN hands. Some of the material is classified and related to Iraq's nuclear program."
ElBaradei: "The IAEA has completed a more detailed review of the 2000 pages of documents found on 16 January at the private residence of an Iraqi scientist. The documents relate predominantly to lasers, including the use of laser technology to enrich uranium. [...] While the documents have provided some additional details about Iraq's laser enrichment development efforts, they refer to activities or sites already known to the IAEA and appear to be the personal files of the scientist in whose home they were found. Nothing contained in the documents alters the conclusions previously drawn by the IAEA concerning the extent of Iraq's laser enrichment programme."
Powell: "Iraq has a high-level committee to monitor the inspectors who were sent in to monitor Iraq's disarmament -- not to cooperate with them, not to assist them, but to spy on them and keep them from doing their jobs."
Blix: "The Iraqi side also informed us that the commission, which had been appointed in the wake of our finding 12 empty chemical weapons warheads, had had its mandate expanded to look for any still existing proscribed items. This was welcomed. A second commission, we learnt, has now been appointed with the task of searching all over Iraq for more documents relevant to the elimination of proscribed items and programmes. It is headed by the former Minister of Oil, General Amer Rashid, and is to have very extensive powers of search in industry, administration and even private houses."
Powell: "you will see the type of concealment activity Iraq has undertaken in response to the resumption of inspections. [...] We must ask ourselves: Why would Iraq suddenly move equipment of this nature before inspections if they were anxious to demonstrate what they had or did not have?"
Blix: "intelligence has led to sites where no proscribed items were found. Even in such cases, however, inspection of these sites were useful in proving the absence of such items and in some cases the presence of other items conventional munitions. It showed that conventional arms are being moved around the country and that movements are not necessarily related to weapons of mass destruction."
Powell: "This one is about a weapons munition facility, a facility that holds ammunition at a place called Taji. This is one of about 65 such facilities in Iraq. We know that this one has housed chemical munitions. [...] Here you see 15 munitions bunkers in yellow and red outlines. The four that are in red squares represent active chemical munitions bunkers. [...] Now look at the picture on the right. You are now looking at two of those sanitized bunkers. The signature vehicles are gone, the tents are gone. It's been cleaned up. And it was done on the 22nd of December as the UN inspection team is arriving, and you can see the inspection vehicles arriving in the lower portion of the picture on the right. The bunkers are clean when the inspectors get there. They found nothing."
Blix: "The presentation of intelligence information by the US Secretary of State suggested that Iraq had prepared for inspections by cleaning up sites and removing evidence of proscribed weapons programmes. I would like to comment only on one case, which we are familiar with, namely, the trucks identified by analysts as being for chemical decontamination at a munitions depot. This was a declared site, and it was certainly one of the sites Iraq would have expected us to inspect. We have noted that the two satellite images of the site were taken several weeks apart. The reported movement of munitions at the site could just as easily have been a routine activity as a movement of proscribed munitions in anticipation of imminent inspection."
5. The EFFECTIVENESS of INSPECTIONS
Powell: "The pattern is not just one of reluctant cooperation, nor is it merely a lack of cooperation. What we see is a deliberate campaign to prevent any meaningful inspection work."
ElBaradei: "The Government of Iraq reiterated last week its commitment to comply with its Security Council obligations and to provide full and active co-operation with the inspecting organizations. Subject to Iraq making good on this commitment, the above measures will contribute to the effectiveness of the inspection process."
Powell: "Just imagine trying to find 18 trucks among the thousands and thousands of trucks that travel the roads of Iraq every single day. It took the inspectors four years to find out that Iraq was making biological agents. How long do you think it will take the inspectors to find even one of these 18 trucks without Iraq coming forward as they are supposed to with the information about these kinds of capabilities."
Blix: "It is our intention to examine the possibilities for surveying ground movements, notably by trucks. In the face of persistent intelligence reports for instance about mobile biological weapons production units, such measures could well increase the effectiveness of inspections."
Powell: "The regime only allows interviews with inspectors in the presence of an Iraqi official, a minder."
ElBaradei: "The IAEA has continued to interview key Iraqi personnel. We have recently been able to conduct four interviews in private - that is, without the presence of an Iraqi observer."
Powell: "Iraq did not meet its obligations under 1441 to provide a comprehensive list of scientists associated with its weapons of mass destruction programs."
ElBaradei: "In response to a request by the IAEA, Iraq has expanded the list of relevant Iraqi personnel to over 300, along with their current work locations. The list includes the higher-level key scientists known to the IAEA in the nuclear and nuclear related areas."
7. WEAPONS and FACILITIES
Powell: "These quantities of chemical weapons are now unaccounted for. [...] Saddam Hussein has chemical weapons."
Blix: "To take an example, a document, which Iraq provided, suggested to us that some 1,000 tonnes of chemical agent were "unaccounted for". One must not jump to the conclusion that they exist."
Powell: "As part of this effort, another little piece of evidence, Iraq has built an engine test stand that is larger than anything it has ever had. Notice the dramatic difference in size between the test stand on the left, the old one, and the new one on the right. Note the large exhaust vent. This is where the flame from the engine comes out. The exhaust vent on the right test stand is five times longer than the one on the left. The one of the left is used for short-range missiles. The one on the right is clearly intended for long-range missiles that can fly 1,200 kilometers. This photograph was taken in April of 2002. Since then, the test stand has been finished and a roof has been put over it so it will be harder for satellites to see what's going on underneath the test stand."
Blix: "The experts also studied the data on the missile engine test stand that is nearing completion [...]. So far, the test stand has not been associated with a proscribed activity."
Powell: "it strikes me as quite odd that these [aluminium] tubes are manufactured to a tolerance that far exceeds U.S. requirements for comparable rockets. Maybe Iraqis just manufacture their conventional weapons to a higher standard than we do, but I don't think so.
ElBaradei: "Iraq has been asked to explain the reasons for the tight tolerance specifications that it had requested from various suppliers. Iraq has provided documentation related to the project for reverse engineering and has committed itself to providing samples of tubes received from prospective suppliers."
Powell: "Intercepted communications from mid-2000 through last summer showed that Iraq front companies sought to buy machines that can be used to balance gas centrifuge rotors. [...] there is no doubt in my mind. These illicit procurement efforts show that Saddam Hussein is very much focused on putting in place the key missing piece from his nuclear weapons program".
ElBaradei: "IAEA inspectors found a number of documents relevant to transactions aimed at the procurement of carbon fibre, a dual-use material used by Iraq in its past clandestine uranium enrichment programme for the manufacture of gas centrifuge rotors. Our review of these documents suggests that the carbon fibre sought by Iraq was not intended for enrichment purposes, as the specifications of the material appear not to be consistent with those needed for manufacturing rotor tubes. In addition, we have carried out follow-up inspections, during which we have been able to observe the use of such carbon fibre in non-nuclear-related applications and to take samples."
Dr. Hans Blix, Executive Chairman of UNMOVIC, "Briefing to the Security Council" (14 February 2003), at:
Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei, IAEA Director General, "The Status of Nuclear Inspections in Iraq" (14 February 2003), at:
Tony Blair, "Iraq - its infrastructure of concealment, deception and intimidation" (2 February 2003), via:
Secretary of State Colin Powell, "Remarks to The United Nations Security Council" (5 February 2003), at:
For more detailed analysis of the evidence for the claims by the US and UK
governments, see "Claims and evaluations of Iraq's proscribed weapons",