New intelligence indicates Saddam has nuclear weapons
Geostrategy-Direct Week of May 14, 2002
BACKGROUNDER: Compiled by Bill Gertz
A Turkish military officer has revealed that Turkey's intelligence
service believes Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's regime has successfully
produced a nuclear device. According to U.S. intelligence officials the new
intelligence on Iraq's nuclear weapons efforts was obtained in early March
and adds to a growing body of intelligence on Saddam's efforts to produce
No details of the type of nuclear weapon were disclosed, but Iraq is
believed to be developing a uranium-fueled nuclear device.
A senior defense official said the threat from Saddam's chemical,
biological and nuclear programs continues to grow, and the most worrying is
his "energetic nuclear weapons program."
An Iraqi nuclear weapons engineer, Khidir Hamza defected to the United
States in 1996 and disclosed that Iraqi switched from a plutonium based
nuclear arms program to one based on enriched uranium, which can produced
from natural uranium mined in Iraq. According to Hamza, Iraq has some 400
locations where it producing nuclear weapons and related material, making UN
inspections in a search for those programs nearly impossible.
The nuclear program is being carried out in schools, mosques, hospitals
and warehouses. "The possibility of finding them and destroying them is
negligent," the defense official said. "We cant say when [Saddam] will cross
that threshold but he will. It could be tomorrow, it could be a year from
now. If he successfully buys weapons-grade uranium, he may already have a
nuclear device. But he certainly, if he doesn't have one now is going to get
one. And when he does the whole geopolitics of the region will be changed
Secretary of State Colin Powell said on May 5 that Saddam is "working
feverishly" on nuclear weapons but had not made any recent breakthroughs in
his weapons program.
The disclosure comes amid secret U.S. government efforts to oust the
Last week U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan said progress had been made
in resuming weapons inspection in Iraq. Annan said the progress was the
result of talks with senior Iraqi technicians, including Jafaar Dhia Jafaar,
one of its senior nuclear physicists, and Gen. Amir H. Al-Saadi, a key
player in the Iraqi weapons programs. The men are personal advisers to
Saddam and were involved in U.N. inspections in the early 1990s.
Annan told reporters that the Iraqis are attempting to link Baghdad's
granting of new weapons inspections in Iraq to assurances that the United
States would end its efforts to change the Baathist regime and with ending
air exclusion zones.