U.N. weapons inspector Demetrius Perricos gave a closed-door briefing to the Security Council yesterday, a copy of which was obtained by the Associated Press. The briefing revealed that “[t]wenty engines from banned Iraqi missiles were found in a Jordanian scrap yard along with other equipment that could be used for weapons of mass destruction.” The materials apparently were sold by Iraqis as scrap metal.
The AP elaborates:
The U.N. team that found the 20 engines was following up on an earlier discovery of a similar Al Samoud 2 engine in a scrap yard in the Dutch port of Rotterdam. Perricos said inspectors also want to check in Turkey, which has also received scrap metal from Iraq.
The discoveries raise questions about the fate of material and equipment that could be used to produce biological and chemical weapons as well as banned long-range missiles.
Perricos told the council that the 20 SA-2 missile engines were discovered when U.N. experts visited “relevant scrap yards” in a visit to Jordan last week. The U.N. team also discovered some processing equipment with U.N. tags – which show it was being monitored – including heat exchangers, and a solid propellant mixer bowl to make missile fuel, he said. It also discovered “a large number of other processing equipment without tags, in very good condition.”
Banned weapons, and the equipment for making them, have been turning up all over–Sudan and Jordan, as well as Iraq. Now it appears that such materials are so plentiful that they are showing up as scrap metal. Yet it is an article of faith in the press that Iraq had no WMD programs. Or “stockpiles,” or wherever the goal posts are today. Yet for reasons I can’t fathom, the administration appears to be going along with the media spin. I don’t get it.