Friday, October 08, 2004

Not really surprised by this news...

US report on Iraqi weapons deepens Arab hostility towards America
Thu Oct 7

CAIRO (AFP) - A report by the chief United States weapons inspector in Iraq that the regime of Saddam Hussein was not actively pursing weapons of mass destruction has only helped deepen Arab hostility towards Washington.

Analysts and observers here said Thursday the report compiled by Charles Duelfer, the special CIA adviser proved the extent to which the United States was prepared to go in harassing Arab countries.

"All Arab and Muslim peoples are convinced that (US President George W.) Bush is persecuting Muslims and Arabs and is targeting only the Arab world," said Makram Mohammed Ahmed, editor-in-chief of the semi-official Al-Mussawar magazine.

The report also reinforces the feeling among many Arabs and Muslims that the "Americans can never be impartial, they can never be honest partners in the peace process or any political process for that matter," Ahmed added.

And this, he said, "increases tensions and hatred. The whole Arab world hates America and the Bush administration."

Mohammed al-Sayed Said, deputy director of the Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies and a former Washington correspondent for the Al-Ahram daily, argued that Bush had a preordained plan to invade Iraq.

"Bush's main priority, even during his election campaign, was to invade Iraq, whether or not it possessed weapons of mass destruction," said Said, adding that the issue of the weapons was simply "a tactic or excuse."

Said said he found it even more disturbing that "the Americans do not have any regret for what they did to the Iraqi people as a result of their mistakes."

Duelfer's report highlighted a series of miscalculations on the part of the administration, particularly those on which the invasion was based, Ahmed noted.

These, he said, included false declarations by the Bush administration about weapons of mass destruction and Saddam Hussein's alleged relations with the Al-Qaeda terrorist network of Osama bin Laden.

"Al-Qaeda came after the American invasion," claimed Said.

He added that, contrary to claims in Washington, the deposed Iraqi leader was probably the most reliable bulwark against Al-Qaeda infiltration into Iraq.

He also hailed the Duelfer report for finally answering lingering questions concerning Iraq's alleged weapons programs, but attacked it for not going far enough in declaring that the Bush administration knew the truth all along.

In this regard, the Duelfer report commits the same error as previous ones: "concealing this point," Said alleged.

It found no evidence that Iraq had either weapons stockpiles or active programs by the time US-led forces invaded Iraq in 2003.

Among the key findings, no evidence was found that Iraq attempted to restart its nuclear program after 1991, and its ability to reconstitute it progressively decayed after that date.
The investigators also judged that Iraq unilaterally destroyed its chemical stockpile in 1991, and they found no credible indications that it resumed production of chemical munitions thereafter.

In contrast, they found that Iraq attempted to preserve its biological warfare programs through 1995, but was believed to have abandoned it late that year for fear discovery would undercut its efforts to get sanctions lifted.

Duelfer judged that Iraq could have resumed production of biological weapons within a few weeks to a few months of a decision to do so, but his people discovered no indications that the regime was pursuing such a course.

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