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Iraq Report: December 23, 2002


23 December 2002, Volume 5, Number 42

NOTE TO READERS:
The next issue of the "RFE/RL Iraq Report" will appear on 2 January 2003.

UN, U.S. COMMENT ON IRAQI DECLARATION... The UN Security Council member-states met on 19 December to discuss the content of the Iraqi declaration of weapons of mass destruction, which was submitted to UN inspectors on 7 December. The United States criticized the Iraqi declaration. Speaking to reporters, U.S. Ambassador John Negroponte said, "This clearly shows that Iraq has spurned its last opportunity," adding, "It fails to address scores of questions pending since 1998, it seeks to deceive when it says Iraq has no ongoing weapons of mass destruction programs," AP reported. Secretary of State Colin Powell, speaking from Washington, called the declaration "a catalogue of recycled information and flagrant omissions," AP reported.

Speaking to reporters at the UN, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Muhammad el-Baradei said, "We still need much more cooperation from Iraq in terms of substance, in terms of providing evidence to exonerate themselves that they are clean from weapons of mass destruction and I think that's a challenge both for them and for us. If they come with additional information, then our task will be much shorter, much easier, our conclusion will be much more credible." He added, "Iraq has been opening doors to us. Iraq has been giving us immediate access to sites. However, we have not gotten what we need in terms of additional evidence. And clearly, we're going through our detailed analysis of the report. We will go back to Iraq, we will ask lots of questions, we will expect that we'll get answers and, hopefully, additional evidence." UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) head Hans Blix added, "An opportunity was missed in the declaration to give a lot of evidence. Well, they can still provide it, and I hope they'll provide it to us early, but it would have been better if it had been in the declaration."

Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's science adviser, Amir al-Saadi, responded to the charges during a press conference in Baghdad, saying, "We do not expect both Dr. Blix and Dr. el-Baradei to say that there is anything new in our declaration of the past program. However, the new part, which is written in Arabic, requires translation, and it's not just a straightforward translation, it's a technical translation, which requires time and accuracy. That has not -- as far as we know -- has not been completed."

A 19 December Reuters report said that among the items missing from the declaration are two Scud missiles, 50 mustard gas shells, 150 aerial bombs "that at one time were filled with either anthrax or other biological agents," and 200 tons of chemicals used to make the VX nerve agent, as well as warheads with traces of VX. (Kathleen Ridolfo)

...AFTER IAEA CHIEF SAYS HE HAS NO EVIDENCE OF NUKES. IAEA chief Muhammad el-Baradei told Cairo-based "Al-Ahram" that his organization has no evidence that Iraq resumed its nuclear program following the withdrawal of UN inspectors from Iraq in 1998. In an interview published on 18 December, al-Baradei said that he would tell the UN Security Council on 19 December that Iraq has stressed it has no atomic weapons and has not undertaken activities currently banned under international agreements and UN resolutions. El-Baradei said his report will be a preliminary one, adding, "in general, so far, there has been no sign indicating that these facilities are any different from what they were in 1998."

The IAEA chief said that his organization was, however, provided information by other states on Iraq's nuclear program. He told "Al-Ahram" that the IAEA is waiting for additional information from these states. Al-Baradei said that inspectors will continue with inspections, and said, "There is a great deal of work to verify that the Iraqi declaration was complete and accurate as required and does not contain any ambiguous points." (Kathleen Ridolfo)

IRAQI PRESIDENT'S HALF-BROTHER ESCAPES INDICTMENT IN SWITZERLAND. The London-based "Sunday Times" reported on 15 December that Swiss authorities allowed Barzan Tikriti to return to Iraq in October despite a request by the London-based human rights group Indict that he be prosecuted for war crimes. Tikriti is the half-brother of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein; his daughter is married to Saddam's son, Uday. Tikriti is a former Iraqi ambassador to Switzerland who previously served as director-general of the Iraqi Mukhabarat intelligence agency. An Indict dossier presented evidence to Swiss authorities 15 months ago that claimed that Tikriti "had pulled out fingernails, thrown boiling water over prisoners, beaten them with cables, and administered electric shocks," the "Sunday Times" reported. The dossier also detailed the 1980 torture and death of Professor Muhammad Bakr al-Sadr, a Shiite mullah, who was "murdered with a nail that was pushed through his head." Other charges against Tikriti include the disappearance of thousands of males aged 14-70 from one tribe in northern Iraq; and statements reportedly documenting one mass grave containing up to 350 men near Kirkuk, some of whom were reportedly shot by Tikriti. "A total of 3,500 to 8,000 are believed to have been killed," the "Sunday Times" reported. (Kathleen Ridolfo)

SYRIAN PRESIDENT DISCUSSES PIPELINE... Syrian President Bashar al-Asad has acknowledged that his country reopened a pipeline in November 2000 between Syria and Iraq. "We announced over a year ago that we have begun our tests to pump oil from Iraq to Syria," al-Asad told "The Times" of 13 December. "This pipeline is almost 50 years old. The maintenance and experimental process has shown the pipeline to be technically poor and ineffective," he said. "Since this pipeline is old, we have announced that we will build a new one." Construction of the new pipeline "will take place with the cooperation of several European firms," he added. "The talks are in progress and the project will certainly be in conformity with the UN resolutions." According to timesonline.co.uk, the pipeline runs from Kirkuk in northern Iraq to Banias in Syria. (Kathleen Ridolfo)

...AS INTELLIGENCE INDICATES NEW PIPELINE IN OPERATION. Meanwhile, intelligence reports indicate that a new pipeline connecting the Ein Zalah oil field in northern Iraq to the Suwaydiyah oil field in northeast Syria began operating two months ago and is pumping some 60,000 barrels per day, according to timesonline.co.uk on 16 December. "Sixty thousand barrels a day over a period of 12 months is estimated to be worth about $500 million," "The Times" reported.

Syrian President Al-Asad arrived in London on 15 December for talks with British Prime Minister Tony Blair. His trip marked the first time a Syrian leader has formally visited the United Kingdom. Al-Asad told timesonline.co.uk on 13 December that the leaders would discuss Iraq as well as Syria's role in the UN Security Council. In addition, he said bilateral cooperation on administrative development, educational exchanges, technological development, and the privatization of Syrian banks would be discussed. (Kathleen Ridolfo)

BULGARIAN AUTHORITIES ARREST IRAQI ARMS DEALER. Bulgarian authorities arrested Sahib Abd-al-Amir al-Haddat, an Iraqi national suspected of arms smuggling, at Sofia's airport on 25 November, BTA reported, citing the German weekly "Der Spiegel" of 14 December. Al-Haddat was arrested on the basis of an outstanding international warrant issued by German authorities and will be extradited to Germany. (Ulrich Buechsenschuetz)

IRAQI OPPOSITION CONFERENCE HIGHLIGHTS. Iraqi opposition groups met in London from 14-17 December to reach a political consensus on the future of Iraq. Early reports indicated that the various opposition groups were, for the most part, able to set aside their differences for the greater good of Iraq. Conference participants agreed on a list of 49 officials who should face war crimes charges, "and others who should be granted amnesty," AP reported on 15 December. Conference spokesman Hamid al-Bayati from the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq told AP, "This committee will issue a general amnesty and start national reconciliation after regime change in Iraq." Iraqi leaders listed for trial include President Hussein and his sons Uday and Qusay, Revolutionary Command Council Vice Chairman Izzat Ibrahim al-Duri, and Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan.

Participants issued a political declaration on 16 December calling for a "democratic, parliamentary, pluralistic, and federal state" in Iraq, AFP reported the next day. The declaration calls for the participation of all Iraqi ethnic groups in a post-Saddam Hussein government, including the safeguarding of the Turkomen, Chaldean, and Assyrian communities. It recognized the Kurds' "right to self-determination under international law" and respect for the current autonomous arrangements in Iraqi Kurdistan, AFP reported. The declaration also supported the addition of peshmerga (Kurdish fighters) to a new Iraqi army following liberation. It further called for the Iraqi opposition to play a primary role in ousting the regime and rejects "any form of occupation of, local or foreign military rule in, or foreign mandate over" Iraq, according to AFP.

A separate document on the transitional period would call for a limited interim stage of two years, to be followed by elections. The declaration also called for equality of citizens before the law, freedom of religion, freedom of expression, demonstration, and political pluralism, a separation of powers, and Islam as the state religion, "Al-Hayat" reported on 16 December.

But, the most important item on the agenda of the 300-delegate conference was the formation of a leadership committee, which some participants indicated would serve as the nucleus of a transitional authority. Iraqi opposition members concluded the nearly four days of talks in London on 17 December by naming a "Follow-up and Coordination Committee" comprising leading opposition figures, AFP reported. This key committee will "liaise between the various groups and represent them in talks with world and regional leaders," London's "The Independent" reported on 16 December. Hamid al-Bayati of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), told "The Independent" that Shiite Islamists would have 33 percent of the seats on the committee, while Kurds would get 25 percent, Arabs 66 percent, Turkomen 6 percent, and the Assyrians 3 percent.

The committee is scheduled to meet in Iraqi Kurdistan in mid-January, according to Iraqi National Congress (INC) head Ahmad al-Chalabi. Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) chief Jalal Talabani told AFP that the committee's main base would be "in the liberated part of Iraq." Al-Sharif Ali Bin al-Hussein of the Constitutional Monarchy Movement said on 17 December that the purpose of the committee is to follow up on the decisions of the London opposition conference and to coordinate plans to "secure a free democratic future in Iraq," Al-Jazeera reported. "It will act as a connecting link between the Iraqi people and opposition and the countries concerned with the Iraqi question," al-Hussein added.

Conference participants also said the committee was not designed along ethnic or religious lines, contrary to charges made by some participants and observers. "It was very difficult to satisfy the 400 people or 40 parties and organizations that participated in the conference," Sadiq al-Musawi of the Constitutional Monarchy Movement told Al-Jazeera. "It was difficult to include everybody in the committee. However, we promised them...that this is not the final number." PUK leader Talabani said that "all Iraqi citizens, irrespective of their religion, sect, and ethnic origins, should effectively contribute to the central Iraqi rule," Al-Jazeera reported.

The names of the committee's members are posted on the INC website (http://www.inc.org.uk). Just three of the 65 committee members are women. AFP reported on 17 December that opposition members later decided to increase the 65-member team to 75. Hamid al-Bayati of SCIRI told AFP that this decision was made to placate groups who felt underrepresented. The committee will coordinate among the various opposition groups and represent them internationally.

Mas'ud Barzani, head of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), called for national reconciliation in his closing remarks at the Iraqi opposition conference in London, the Irbil-based "Brayati" newspaper reported on 18 December. In his speech, Barzani urged Iraqis to look to forgiveness instead of revenge and put the interests of the Iraqi nation above all else, respecting the rule of law. Barzani added, "Although I consider all the victims of the Iraqi people as my own family members -- be it the victims of Halabjah and Anfal, and all those who have been annihilated all over Iraq -- I [myself] lost 37 members of my family and 8,000 members of my tribe. However, for the sake of supreme interests of the people and the homeland, we have discarded the issue of revenge. We urge all the other sides to look to the future with tolerance and away from hatred and revenge, and consider the supreme interest of Iraq and its peace. Let only the law deal with perpetrators." (Kathleen Ridolfo)

END NOTE
TRACKING INSPECTIONS, Part II

By Kathleen Ridolfo

The following is a daily account of the inspections being carried out by the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). For more information see: http://www.rferl.org/specials/iraq-inspec/

12 DECEMBER: The Iraqi Foreign Ministry issued a statement on the activities of UNMOVIC inspectors for 12 December, Iraq TV reported. A team of 13 inspectors visited the Arab Company for Antibiotics Industry (ACAI), which the ministry described as a joint Arab company operating in Iraq that is affiliated with the Arab Company for Drug Industries and Medical Appliances (ACDEMA), located 25 kilometers southeast of Baghdad. The ministry said that the company "carries out scientific, technical, and industrial activities and conducts tests on drug products and antibiotics, including syrup, injections, and capsules. The company is subject to biological monitoring and presents biannual declarations." It was reported that the company is closed on Thursdays and Fridays, but inspectors checked the areas for which keys were available and looked through the windows of other facilities at the site. A second team of eight inspectors checked a "site for testing missile activities," 125 kilometers north of Baghdad. UNMOVIC confirmed in a 12 December statement that ACAI is a "pharmaceutical plant engaged in the formulation and packaging of antibiotics." The statement added that although the plant was not operating on 12 December, the inspection team was able to inspect all buildings to "verify the declaration."

A team of 17 UNMOVIC inspectors returned to the Ibn Sina Company north of Baghdad and questioned the director general on the company's activities since 1998, according to the Iraqi Foreign Ministry statement. The team then searched the company's facilities and computer files, and "scrutinized the declarations on the chemical equipment and material of dual usage, and the declarations on biological material that are subject to the monitoring system. The Foreign Ministry also noted that a telecommunications group went to the Al-Rashid airport where the telecommunications tower was permanently installed.

The Ibn Sina Company was also revisited by a team of three IAEA inspectors. The Foreign Ministry reported that the company specializes in researching industrial chemistry and "the manufacture of organic and nonorganic primary material needed for local industry." It also provides "chemical analysis" to universities and scientific centers. The ministry reported that Ibn Sina was visited by previous inspectors from the earlier UN Special Commission (UNSCOM) and has provided biannual declarations. The team checked equipment and their tags. The ministry said the inspection provided "conclusive evidence on the falsity of Tony Blair's allegations" against Iraq. Another team comprising two inspectors arrived at Ibn Sina soon after the first team and conducted a radiation check of "all facilities and roads in the company." UNMOVIC stated that the two teams visited Ibn Sina (formerly known as Tarmiya) "to conduct a follow-up visit to this former uranium enrichment plant" and to inspect production and laboratory facilities, "including a car-borne Gamma survey" of the site.

A third UNMOVIC inspection team visited the Al-Nida State Company outside Baghdad. Al-Nida is an "affiliate" of the State Military Industrialization Organization and specializes in manufacturing molds for the industrial sector and railways, as well as "spare parts" for pharmaceutical factories, according to the Iraqi Foreign Ministry. The site is subject to monitoring and was bombed in 1993 and 1998, the ministry stated. The group also toured the nearby Al-Khazin site, which specializes in providing electrical engineering designs to the industrial and electricity sectors. It then visited the Al-Zawra Company, located nearby, which manufactures electronic boards for the electricity and industrial sectors. UNMOVIC stated that the inspection of Al-Nida ("an engineering facility") and Al-Zawra ("an electronics fabrication facility") was made to "review the activities and personnel at these sites since 1998 and to review the disposition and use of dual-purpose machine tools and equipment formerly known to the IAEA."

A fourth and fifth group of 11 UNMOVIC inspectors split into two vehicles headed in different directions from their hotel and met at the Al-Mutasim factory, 75 kilometers south of Baghdad. The factory belongs to the Al-Rashid State Company and specializes in testing the engines of limited-range missiles "according to Security Council resolutions." The ministry noted that it is a declared site and was visited by UNSCOM in the past. The teams reportedly conducted environmental sampling of water and soil, among other things. UNMOVIC described the Al-Mutasim site as a missile plant on the grounds of the former Al-Athear nuclear facility. Inspectors visited new and destroyed "former" nuclear buildings. UNMOVIC added that one of its specialists assisted in observing rocket production facilities at the site. UNMOVIC said it also visited the Al-Hittin firing range to inventory equipment previously monitored by the IAEA.

UNMOVIC reported that its team attended a test launch of a short-range ballistic missile. The launch took place at an undisclosed location, some 200 kilometers outside Baghdad. "The missile is a modified version of a missile already owned by Iraq," UNMOVIC stated.

13 DECEMBER: UNMOVIC inspectors toured the Communicable Diseases Control Center in Baghdad on 13 December, the Iraqi Foreign Ministry stated. The center is run by the Health Ministry and listed as a "new" site on the Iraqi declaration list. According to a joint UNMOVIC and IAEA press statement, there were reported difficulties during the visit due to the fact that Friday is the Muslim holy day and the center was closed. The statement said: "The site had only one guard and a duty officer, who is an assistant technician. The duty officer did not have the keys to the rooms and could not locate the central key holder. The team then decided to tag seals on several rooms they wanted to inspect later." The Iraqi Foreign Ministry acknowledged the difficulties, but stated, "The inspection team made a tour of all locations."

A second UNMOVIC team of 14 inspectors visited the Al-Mussayib Pesticide Store, which sells ready-to-use pesticides. The Iraqi Foreign Ministry did not comment on the inspection of this site. But, UNMOVIC reported, "On request, the National Monitoring Directorate brought two facility representatives with keys to all buildings and rooms."

The Foreign Ministry reported that an IAEA team of three inspectors took water, grass, and mud samples in the town of Al-Swaira, near the Al-Swaira Bridge on the Tigris River, as well as the Al-Kaed River and in the town of Al-Mussayib near the "new bridge" on the Euphrates River. The Iraqi National Monitoring Directorate took samples at the same time "for a reference in case of need." The IAEA confirmed that its inspectors took water, sediment, and vegetation samples at "three Major Iraq Surface Water Drainage Basins of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers" south of the 33rd parallel.

The Iraqi Foreign Ministry reported that four inspectors made "radioactive measures" by vehicle along the Al-Qanat highway, the Abu Ghareeb highway to the Al-Ackhadrae districts and its substreets to 14 Ramadan Street and its substreets. The IAEA confirmed that a team conducted a "wide-area gamma survey of the Baghdad area."

A team of 12 inspectors revisited the Ibn Al-Haiyth site of the Al-Karama State Company, which is owned by the Iraqi Military Industrialization Organization (MIO) and is located "near Baghdad Gate," according to the Foreign Ministry. The site produces "parts of missiles" within the UN permitted ranges and is subject to monitoring. One group of inspectors blocked the entrance to the site, while a second group questioned an Iraqi official. A third group toured the site. The IAEA confirmed an inspection of the Al-Karama Sumud missile factory but did not give details.

14 DECEMBER: A team of 22 chemical inspectors returned to Al-Qa'qa State Company, which "produces materials for conventional military industries" according to the Foreign Ministry. Inspectors visited the Tariq plant and questioned the director before checking production units and tagged equipment, the ministry stated. UNMOVIC stated that the chemical team inspected two facilities at Al-Qa'qa, a high concentrated (oleum) sulphuric acid plant and all storage facilities in the main storage area. It added that equipment and chemicals at the site were verified.

A UNMOVIC biological team of 24 inspectors went to the Atomic Energy Organization site at Al-Tuwaythah. There, inspectors visited the agriculture department, the biology department, the "mushroom" building, the dairy building, the site for producing pesticides and protein, the "site for spiral worm research," and the soil research unit, the ministry stated. Inspectors also visited the environmental department and the chemistry and "medicinal preparations department" and checked tagged equipment.

A team of four biological inspectors returned to the Communicable Diseases Control Center to inspect dual-use equipment.

A UNMOVIC team of 14 inspectors returned to the Al-Sumud Factory (MIO), which "specializes in mechanical operations." Inspectors questioned the director and searched computer rooms and buildings at the site, checking tagged equipment, the ministry stated. UNMOVIC reported that Al-Sumud began operating in 1999, and manufactures major components and is the final assembly location of Al-Sumud missiles.

A group of 11 UNMOVIC inspectors went to the Al-Fatah Company in Baghdad (MIO), which specializes in research and development on solid propellant missiles and rockets that were previously constructed at the Al-Kadhimiya plant.

A group of four IAEA inspectors went to the Al-Nasr State Company, 30 kilometers north of Baghdad, which the ministry says specializes in "mechanical industries." The inspectors examined seals on equipment. There, the group visited the Dhu Al-Faqar factory belonging to the Al-Rashid State Company to examine machines there, the ministry stated. Environmental samples were taken from the Al-Nasr and Dhu Al-Faqar companies. An IAEA group returned to Dhu Al-Faqar later in the day to inquire about aluminum tubes and the quantities made at the factory, the ministry stated. UNMOVIC identified the Dhu Al-Faqar factory as being previously involved in Iraq's centrifuge project. It added that various waste streams were sampled at the Al-Nasr and Dhu Al-Faqar sites.

The IAEA inspectors then proceeded to the Al-Sumud State Company and the Al-Nasr al-Azim (Great Victory) Company. "Inspections into the disposition and use of dual-purpose machine tools were carried out," UNMOVIC stated.

Another group of inspectors visited Al-Tahaddi State Company, which specializes in "high voltage electric works," according to the Foreign Ministry. IAEA inspectors carried out a radiation survey there, before surveying the area from Al-Rashad to Al-Sha'b, the ministry stated.

A group of six inspectors went to the Hittin State Company located 50 kilometers south of Baghdad, which belongs to the MIO. Inspectors sealed a warehouse at the company. Inspectors then returned to the Al-Quds State Company to inspect buildings there. The Foreign Ministry added that inspectors went to the Al-Mahawil warehouse to "ascertain the nature of some materials that are subject to monitoring."

A team of seven inspectors visited the Al-Shahid State Company in Al-Fallujah, owned by the MIO. Inspectors made a "field visit" there and carried out a radiation survey, and took "samples from various places," the ministry stated. UNMOVIC reported that Al-Shahid "is involved in the manufacture of nonferrous alloys, particularly copper and has a power supply greater than 10 MW." It added that the site was involved in the Electromagnetic Isotope Separation (EMIS) program before 1991.

15 DECEMBER: A team of UNMOVIC inspectors visited the Institute of Plasma and Vaccination belonging to the Iraqi Ministry of Health, the Foreign Ministry reported. The institute produces "some kinds of human vaccinations, several chemical diagnoses, and several medical instruments to identify tuberculosis and typhoid fever," the ministry stated. The team split into two groups, one checking instruments and previously tagged machines. The other group visited the "storage of waste materials, fuel...chemical materials, and...the imported vaccinations," the Foreign Ministry stated.

Meanwhile, IAEA inspectors went to the Umm Al-Marik Company, 20 kilometers south of Baghdad, belonging to the MIO. Inspectors questioned the assistant manager about buildings constructed after 1998 and visited workshops. It also inquired about the stages of producing the 81-millimeter missile. Inspectors also checked machines that were imported by Iraq after 1998. UNMOVIC stated that Al-Marik "was previously involved in the Electromagnetic Isotope Separation (EMIS) program prior to 1991." IAEA inspectors also went to the Al-Qadissiya Company where they visited several plants and workshops, as well as checked equipment against declarations, according to the Foreign Ministry. UNMOVIC reported that Al-Qadissiya is a facility that provides engineering support to the military. The inspectors then went to the Badr General Company (MIO) and visited the factory and a mold plant, the ministry stated. UNMOVIC stated that the Badr Company was previously involved in the centrifuge program prior to 1991. All three sites are said to have "dual-use" machine tools by the UN.

The Foreign Ministry reported that a second group of IAEA inspectors took water, soil, and plant samples from the following areas: Al-Rustumia Station (waste water treatment plant), around the Diahla Bridge (Diahla River), and at the Atomic Energy Agency.

A third group of IAEA inspectors visited the Glass and Ceramic Company belonging to the Ministry of Industry. They asked the director about the company, its employees and their education levels, research and development activities, and about people who previously worked in the nuclear program. Inspectors also asked about the company's relationship with Al-Anbar University before checking documents and touring the facilities. They also conducted a radioactive survey. The group then proceeded to the Al-Ramadi Silo of the General Seeds Company, 100 kilometers west of Baghdad, to inspect the Glass and Ceramic Company. Inspectors ran a radioactivity survey in Al-Ramadi, UNMOVIC stated. The IAEA team also went to the Golden Sinbula Company, which produces farinha. The Foreign Ministry describes it as a gristmill owned by a private company. Inspectors toured the mill and checked for radioactivity.

A 12-member UNMOVIC team visited the Al-Mutasim plant belonging to the Al-Rashid State Company. The team split into three groups to inspect all workshops and buildings, the Foreign Ministry reported. They also asked about the plant's activities and its role in producing the Ababil, Al-Nida, Al-Fatah, and Al-Ra'ad missiles. The ministry stated, "They are special missiles for monitoring purposes of 150 kilometers." Inspectors also inquired about newly constructed buildings and about missiles that had stickers (presumably tagged by UNSCOM) removed "for maintenance purposes," according to the ministry. UNMOVIC stated that Al-Mutasim is a solid-rocket plant located 90 kilometers west of Baghdad and "carries out the final assembly of the Ababil and Al-Fatah solid propellant rockets. Additionally, static test firings of these motors are conducted here."

A second UNMOVIC group went to the Al-Taqar (also owned by Al-Rashid) plant. The Foreign Ministry stated, "It is a special plant for producing and accumulating missiles of variable ranges." Inspectors checked the machines and manufactured parts, as well as all buildings and storage areas. A UNMOVIC statement said that the factory, located 40 kilometers northwest of Baghdad, "is concerned with the manufacture of mechanical parts for several solid propellant rockets."

A team of chemical inspectors returned to the Al-Qa'qa State Company. One group of inspectors visited the "Al-Karnek Acid" plant, according to the ministry. They questioned the director of the plant on research and development, and the structure of the Al-Samud plant. Another group visited the Al-Khalid plant, which specializes in producing bombs. They inquired as to the quantity of production "and the parties that benefit from them," the ministry stated. A group also visited the "concentrated acid unit" to inquire about production, as well as the area that stores raw materials. UNMOVIC reported that inspectors at the Al-Qa'qa State Company updated information on selected facilities there, including a sulfuric acid plant, and an explosives-production plant and storage areas. UNMOVIC stated that the inspection focused on a new production unit that was built after 1998.

16 DECEMBER: Fifty-five UNMOVIC and IAEA inspectors visited 13 sites on 16 December, according to a statement by the Iraqi Foreign Ministry. A group of nine IAEA inspectors visited the Hittin State Company, a subsidiary of the MIO located 50 kilometers south of Baghdad. Inspectors questioned the general director of the company regarding aluminum pipes manufactured there and conducted a gamma survey of the facilities. They also took a sample of aluminum, the Foreign Ministry stated. Inspectors verified all machines and equipment that were listed in the Iraqi declarations to the UN. The same team inspected the Iskandariyah Foundry and State Enterprises for Mechanical Industries at Hittin, where they took environmental samples, inspected machine tools, and conducted a radiological survey, UNMOVIC reported.

The group then proceeded to the Al-Quds State Company, which it inspected on 7 December with UNMOVIC. According to the statement, the inspectors "made general visits to the company's facilities" and took samples of wastewater, drinking water, and soil. Inspectors then traveled to the State Company for Mechanical Industries, a subsidiary of the Industry and Minerals Ministry that is located 50 kilometers south of Baghdad. It specializes in "mechanical industries and the production of tractors and their accessories," according to the Foreign Ministry. Inspectors "visited all the main sites to verify the old and recently imported machines and equipment. It conducted a radiological survey with portable equipment."

A second group of three IAEA inspectors on 16 December visited the Sa'd State Company in Karradat Maryam (Baghdad), where they met with the director and "toured all sections, including the administrative, financial, and computer departments, and visited the Al-Rafidayn Bank branch at the site," according to the Foreign Ministry statement. UNMOVIC noted that Sa'd State Company is an engineering firm involved in design work, construction, and commissioning of projects.

A third group of inspectors returned to the Al-Qa'qa Company. The Foreign Ministry did not provide details of the inspection. The group later visited the Al-Musayyib Ammunition Store to inspect 81-millimeter rockets. The Foreign Ministry said the rockets "have a range of 10 km and are fired from rocket launchers" made from aluminum pipes manufactured by the Hittin State Company. The inspectors also returned to the Al-Mutasim Factory to inspect mechanical and assembly workshops. Inspectors then went to the Hittin test range to perform a test launch of an 81-millimeter rocket. UNMOVIC stated that these four sites "work as a unit in the Iraqi military armaments structure to produce and test munitions." Inspectors monitored the production of "small rockets" according to UNMOVIC.

A UNMOVIC team of 13 chemical inspectors visited the Al-Nasr Al-Azim (Great Victory) Company in Baghdad, which is an affiliate of the MIO. Inspectors checked tagged equipment and toured the company's workshops, vehicles, and various departments, according to the Foreign Ministry. UNMOVIC says Al-Nasr Al-Azim was formerly known as the Heavy Engineering State Company, a main processing equipment production facility.

A second team of seven biological inspectors visited Baghdad University's Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology Institute in Al-Jadiriyah. The ministry reported that inspectors "asked the dean of the institute about the goals of the institute, even though it has only recently been instituted and has been declared in the latest Iraqi declaration." Inspectors also toured rooms and laboratories at the institute, "photographed the machines, equipment and books found in the library," and checked a computer. UNMOVIC stated that the institute is a new site that is involved in training, teaching, and research in biotechnology and genetic engineering.

Inspectors then returned to the Health Ministry's Serum and Vaccines Institute in Al-Amiriyah to examine "storage-inventory cards" and, according to UNMOVIC, "seek clarifications from the former director of the institute. Inspectors also took samples and physical inventory, UNMOVIC stated.

A team of 10 UNMOVIC inspectors visited the Dhat Al-Sawari State Company, which belongs to the Industry and Minerals Ministry and is located 20 kilometers north of Baghdad, to question a company representative and tour "a dairy plant, a pipes plant, a warehouse, and a drinking-water station" at the site. The Iraqi Foreign Ministry noted, "The group interrupted its visit to the site and did not visit the other plants, for the site is within the jurisdiction of the Chemical Team and not the Missile Team." UNMOVIC specified that it visited the Taji Fiberglass production plant at Dhat Al-Sawari, adding, "When last inspected in 1998, the fiberglass plant employed very few people. Today it employs over 200 people. The plant is principally involved in the production of fiberglass tubing."

A group of eight UNMOVIC inspectors did, however, visit the Sa'd State Company, where they questioned the director-general about the company's activities and its affiliate centers, its budgets, and "the designs it prepares and the parties that benefit from these designs." The group then toured the facility, reviewed documents and drawings, and checked three computers. IAEA inspectors assisted in the inspection. The company "includes a number of personnel from the former nuclear weapons program organization Petrochemical Complex-3 (PC-3)," UNMOVIC stated.

17 DECEMBER: In the biggest day of inspections thus far, 77 inspectors visited eight sites in Iraq on 17 December, according to the Iraqi Foreign Ministry. An IAEA team of 15 inspectors visited the Jabir bin Hayyan Factory, 30 kilometers north of Mosul, to conduct a radiological survey. Inspectors also took "various samples," the Foreign Ministry reported. A second team of two inspectors went 30 kilometers west of Baghdad to the Al-Radwan General Company, which manufactures casings, to inspect equipment. They then visited the Al-Ubur General Company, which "specializes in providing maintenance of machines and equipment." Inspectors inquired about the factory's manufacture of the "Al-Jihad machine." All three companies belong to the MIO. UNMOVIC inspectors had not reported on their inspections at the time of the press release.

A group of 12 UNMOVIC biological inspectors visited the Ninawa Pharmaceutical Company north of Mosul, where they checked the Iraqi declarations against equipment, as well as videotaped the site. They also requested drawings of the site and questioned management. A second team of nine inspectors returned to the Biotechnology Department at Baghdad University in Al-Jadiriyah. Inspectors questioned the department head, checked declarations against equipment, toured the laboratories, and "requested the titles of post-graduate research studies." Inspectors also returned to the Genetic Engineering Institute to request the site's "coordinates." A team of 18 inspectors returned to the Chlorine Factory at the Al-Tariq State Company to verify declarations and check marked devices and chemical materials, the Foreign Ministry reported.

A UNMOVIC team of nine inspectors visited the recently declared Oxidizer Production Plant of the Al-Rayah Center, the Foreign Ministry reported. UNMOVIC stated that the plant, located 50 kilometers northwest of Baghdad, comprises "a small plant engaged in the production of fuel and oxidizer for missiles, such as the Volga/SA-2 and the Al-Sumud." A second group of 11 inspectors visited the Al-Amin Factory in Al-Fallujah, 70 kilometers west of Baghdad. UNMOVIC reported that the factory "produces the motor cases and nozzle housings for the Al-Fatah and Al-Abour missiles," and employs 165 people. Both teams toured the sites and questioned management. UNMOVIC also reported that it inspected the Fallujah II site.

18 DECEMBER: Some 70 Inspectors visited 12 sites on 18 December, the Iraqi Foreign Ministry reported. The ministry also observed that some of the sites visited (i.e. Nasr State Company) had been accused in British Prime Minister Tony Blair's and the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency's (CIA) reports on Iraq of carrying out banned activities related to weapons of mass destruction.

IAEA inspectors visited the Saidiya Specialized Institute for Engineering Industries (SIEI) in Baghdad on 18 December, according to an Iraqi Foreign Ministry statement. Three inspectors verified the Institute's semiannual report and checked the seal on one machine before moving to the Al-Fida State Company, which specializes in hydroelectric operations. It is part of the Iraqi Military Industrialization Organization (MIO). After checking the machines and touring the company, the inspectors visited the Vehicles Manufacturing Company (called the Daura Industrial Engine Factory by UNMOVIC) belonging to the Ministry of Industry and Minerals in Baghdad. The inspectors toured the plant and inspected machinery. A joint UNMOVIC/IAEA statement acknowledged the inspections, but did not elaborate.

A second group of 15 inspectors continued work in Mosul, visiting the Saddam Dam, where they inspected a water storage station and buildings on the site. Inspectors then proceeded to the Al-Jazeera (Island) Irrigation Project of the Ministry of Irrigation. Inspectors reviewed pumping operations and took swabs. Finally, inspectors visited the Al-Rimah "project" belonging to the MIO, the ministry stated. Inspectors also went to the Al-Ra'ikiyah gas plant. Radiological surveys were conducted at every site inspected in Mosul, the Foreign Ministry reported. The UNMOVIC/IAEA statement did not comment on the Mosul inspections.

A team of four UNMOVIC inspectors visited the Al-Saqlawiyah/Aqarquq destruction dump north of Baghdad on 18 December, the Foreign Ministry reported. UNMOVIC called the site a "former destruction area for gyroscope parts," and said that about 3.5 kilometers along both sides of the river were inspected.

A second group of six inspectors visited a "military site" where "destroyed missiles" are stored. Inspectors checked warehouses and photographed the "sheds and roofed galleries" that store destroyed weapons, the ministry reported. UNMOVIC said the site is that of the former Taji Project 144, located 50 kilometers northwest of Baghdad. It called the site "a location where prohibited missile items were previously excavated and are now stored."

A team of 12 chemical inspectors visited the Modern Paints Company in Al-Za'faraniyah, south of Baghdad. The company belongs to a joint public/private sector, according to the ministry, and manufactures "all kinds of paints." The UNMOVIC briefing noted that this previously inspected site had not been included in the recent Iraqi declaration. "The site comprises several production buildings, stores and supporting facilities, and mainly uses imported chemicals," UNMOVIC reported.

A team of 18 chemical, biological, and missile inspectors returned to the Nasr State Company for Mechanical Industries located 30 kilometers north of Baghdad. Inspectors toured workshops "specialized in the manufacture of strips, frames and oil tanks [a plant for manufacturing steel structures], as well as the foundry and the moulds plants." UNMOVIC confirmed that all key buildings were inspected and "a number of tagged dual-use items of equipment were identified."

A team of 12 biological inspectors visited the departments of Biological Sciences, Chemistry, and Mechanical Engineering at Mosul University, where it checked the Iraqi declarations and verified the tagged and marked equipment. Inspectors took two bacterial samples from one lab. Inspectors then went to the Mosul Yeast Factory, which is an affiliate of the Ministry of Industry and Minerals, to check and verify declarations. UNMOVIC did not comment on the visit to Mosul University but acknowledged inspection of the yeast factory.

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