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Senate Armed Services Committee

March 19, 2002


. . .

Let me turn now to Iraq. Saddam has responded to our progress in Afghanistan with a political and diplomatic charm offensive. Since the turn of the year he has hinted at the possible return of inspectors, allowed the UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights to visit Baghdad, and had his Foreign Minister meet with UN Secretary General Annan-for the first time in over a year-to discuss resolutions pertaining to Iraq.

. . .

Saddam has carefully cultivated neighboring states, drawing them into economically dependent relationships in hopes of further undermining their support for the sanctions. The profits he gains from these relationships provide him the means to reward key supporters and, more importantly, to fund his pursuit of WMD. His calculus is never about bettering or helping the Iraqi people.

Let me be clear: Saddam remains a threat. He is determined to thwart UN sanctions, press ahead with weapons of mass destruction, and resurrect the military force he had before the Gulf war. Today, he maintains his vise grip on the levers of power through a pervasive intelligence and security apparatus, and even his reduced military force-which is less than half its pre-war size- remains capable of defeating more poorly armed internal opposition groups and threatening Iraq's neighbors.

As I said earlier, we continue to watch Iraq's involvement in terrorist activities. Baghdad has a long history of supporting terrorism, altering its targets to reflect changing priorities and goals.

It has also had contacts with al-Qa'ida. Their ties may be limited by divergent ideologies, but the two sides' mutual antipathy toward the United States and the Saudi royal family suggests that tactical cooperation between them is possible-even though Saddam is well aware that such activity would carry serious consequences.

. . .

Iraq continues to build and expand an infrastructure capable of producing WMD. Baghdad is expanding its civilian chemical industry in ways that could be diverted quickly to CW production.

We believe it also maintains an active and capable BW program; Iraq told UNSCOM it had worked with several BW agents.

We believe Baghdad continues to pursue ballistic missile capabilities that exceed the restrictions imposed by UN resolutions. It may also have retained the capability to deliver BW or CW agents using modified aircraft or other unmanned aerial vehicles.

We believe Saddam never abandoned his nuclear weapons program. Iraq retains a significant number of nuclear scientists, program documentation, and probably some dual-use manufacturing infrastructure that could support a reinvigorated nuclear weapons program. Baghdad's access to foreign expertise could support a rejuvenated program, but our major near-term concern is the possibility that Saddam might gain access to fissile material.

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