Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Anthrax Expert Sits on Saddam Cabinet; WAR ON IRAQ: New Pictures Signal Tyrant Is Still in Control: BAGHDAD TV GIVES ALLIED INTELLIGENCE POSSIBLY VITAL CLUE TO HOW HE WILL DEFEND REGIME IN LAST RESORT

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Anthrax Expert Sits on Saddam Cabinet; WAR ON IRAQ: New Pictures Signal Tyrant Is Still in Control: BAGHDAD TV GIVES ALLIED INTELLIGENCE POSSIBLY VITAL CLUE TO HOW HE WILL DEFEND REGIME IN LAST RESORT

Article excerpt

Byline: HUGH DOUGHERTY

THIS is the picture which is spreading consternation among Western intelligence experts today.

It shows Saddam's son sitting next to the woman dubbed Mrs Anthrax during a meeting of the Iraqi war cabinet, chaired by Saddam Hussein, in pictures shown across the country on state television.

Qusay Hussein is Saddam's heir-apparent - the son Saddam wants to take control of his regime after his death.

And the woman dubbed Mrs Anthrax, Huda Salih Mahdi Ammash, is one of his most feared scientists. She rebuilt his biological weapons programme after the first Gulf War in a series of carefully concealed plants and secret laboratories hidden from the eyes of UN weapons inspectors.

And the fact that she is sitting next to the man who now holds many of the levers of power in war-torn Iraq has raised fears of a chemical or biological weapons attack.

The pictures had already raised fears in Western circles as they are the first to show Saddam and his most senior Ba'ath henchmen meeting since the war began more than a week ago.

Even if the pictures are pre-recorded, it sends a major signal to Ba'ath loyalists throughout the country that the regime is still in place.

But it was when Western intelligence analysts realised that the woman in Ba'ath uniform and a head scarf was Dr Ammash that their concern reached the highest level.

Her presence signals that the chemical and biological weapons threat is real - and that one of the most ruthless members of Saddam's ruling command council is now so crucial to his plans that she sits beside his son.

Dr Ammash was trained by the father of Iraq's bio-warfare programme, Nassir al-Hindawi, and has been president of Iraq's microbiological society - a group which was alleged to be a front for the production of weapons. …

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