October 12, 2004

Previously monitored nuclear material goes walkies

This worrying development was first reported very selectively some weeks ago. The situation doesn't seem to have improved. Basically, the International Energy Atomic Agency had been keeping tabs on Iraq's nuclear equipment - until USUK waded in, kicked 'em out and failed to maintain control. Or did they? Maybe they know exactly where that material now is. Still, in either case... who feels safer?

  • Or even, "International Atomic Energy Agency".
  • Um, isn't Iraq not supposed to have had materials for making nuclear weapons? Because, while I'm not a military man by any means, it seems I recall that nuclear arms fall under the heading of those "weapons of mass destruction" we all keep hearing about, and while this obviously isn't a *warhead* we're talking about, there was evidently some weapons-making machinery, raw uranium and missile engines lying about that have apparently now disappeared...? That would seem indicative of the oft-maligned assertion that Iraq had, if not stockpiles of WMD, then an active campaign to manufacture them?
  • And if these are not indicative of a WMD manufacturing campaign, why then are we worried that the materials have disappeared? Either this stuff could be used for weapons (in which case we need to rethink the "no WMD in Iraq" assertion) or it can't (in which case it's it's a local criminal matter, rather than a national security issue, that they've gone missing).
  • > Isn't Iraq not supposed to have had ... and > why then are we worried ... Are you asking these questions AFTER reading the Guardian article and understanding the history here? The industrial capacity that Iraq had built was dismantled, inventoried, and locked up by the IAEA. Anything useful for trouble was safeguarded. The USUK threw the IAEA out, overran the country, and left all that stuff unguarded. It's gone now. I doubt I can be clearer than the author was; look for answers to your questions around these bits: EXCERPTS, SEE ORIGINAL FOR FULL TEXT: "sites previously relevant to Iraq's nuclear programme and sites previously subject to ongoing monitoring and verification by the agency".... "Before the war, the buildings had been monitored and tagged with IAEA seals.... US authorities barred IAEA inspectors from returning ...in March 2003, instead deploying US teams in an unsuccessful search for Iraqi weapons of mass destruction." "[IAEA] relied largely on satellite imagery in the latest report. IAEA teams were allowed into Iraq in June 2003 to investigate reports of widespread looting .... "... Iraq's nuclear programme had been "neutralised" by December 1998. In the two and a half months his agency had in which to resume inspections during 2003, his teams found "no evidence of ongoing prohibited nuclear or nuclear related activities in Iraq". "Last week a CIA report ... agreed that Saddam Hussein had all but given up on his nuclear programme after the first Gulf war in 1991."
  • Iraq had a nuclear program, guys. That isn't news. It was curtailed and the IAEA were monitoring the places and material that needed to be monitored to stop the reactivation of that program. That's the point. "In February 2003, a month before the US-led invasion of Iraq, Mr ElBaradei reported to the security council that Iraq's nuclear programme had been "neutralised" by December 1998. In the two and a half months his agency had in which to resume inspections during 2003, his teams found "no evidence of ongoing prohibited nuclear or nuclear related activities in Iraq"." However, they found installations and equipment that needed to be monitored, and that's what they were doing. And that's what USUK failed to maintain. And now that stuff - which could *potentially* be useful in WMD manufacture - has been lost.
  • Gents, I got halfway through the article and jumped to conclusions. My apologies. I tend to distrust the Guardian, but this seems like a legitimately reported fuckup and worthy of concern. Please ignore my snarks.
  • At least we in the Western World™ are safer.
  • Now what about the 11 suspected terrorists who have disappeared?
  • Sure, they went "missing". My tinfoil covered head is telling me that these "missing" terrorists were given extraordinary rendition and might have died while being rendered by another country, such as Coalition of the Willing member Uzbekistan.
  • So is there any aspect life that the invasion of Iraq has made better for anyone (other than the new ex-CIA asset in charge of Iraq who replaced the old ex-CIA asset in charge of Iraq...)?
  • Ok, I'll take the bait. Could this be worked into an October surprise?
  • Way to go, Bush regime. Any other grand plans up your sleeves to make the world a safer place? Maybe you could just hand a few pounds of smallpox, ebola and anthrax to some al Qaeda operatives on U.S. soil along with a few million dollars (courtesy the Saudis) to learn how to weaponize it.