Saddam `Could Be Months from Nuclear Capacity' IRAQ: Any Attack on Country May Provoke Use of Biological Weapons, Experts Warn

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), September 10, 2002 | Go to article overview
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Saddam `Could Be Months from Nuclear Capacity' IRAQ: Any Attack on Country May Provoke Use of Biological Weapons, Experts Warn


Byline: SAM GREENHILL AND JOHN DEANE

SADDAM Hussein could be ``months'' away from assembling a nuclear bomb and has stockpiled possibly thousands of litres of deadly anthrax, a report on Iraq's military capabilities warned yesterday.

The dictator's ``enduring interest'' in creating weapons of mass destruction made the threat from Iraq greater than ever before, said analysts at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS).

But it said Saddam could only achieve his nuclear ambition quickly if he had extensive help from a friendly foreign power. Unless he bought or stole weapons-grade nuclear material, he was years off producing his own atomic bomb.

Defence analysts welcomed the IISS report but said it provided no new ``killer fact'' that would convince the public to go to war against Iraq.

The Prime Minister's official spokesman described the report as painting ``a powerful picture of a highly-unstable regime'' and said the world was waking up to the threat of Saddam.

Tony Blair will use his speech to the TUC today to argue that the United Nations must demonstrate it can control the dictator.

Yesterday's report by the Londonbased IISS will be seized upon as the most compelling evidence yet that Iraq is brazenly flouting UN resolutions and building up a lethal arsenal of weapons of mass destruction.

In terms of delivery, Iraq has no means of building long-range missiles, but is thought to have a small number of medium-range missiles, capable of striking Israel, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iran and Turkey.

The only way for him to reach Europe or the US would be by launching a missile from a plane or through some other terrorist route.

Dr John Chipman, director of the IISS, warned, ``War, sanctions and inspections have reversed and retarded, but not eliminated, Iraq's nuclear, biological and chemical weapons and long-range missile capacity, nor removed Baghdad's enduring interest in developing these capabilities.

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