Saddam Hussain pretended he has somethig up his sleeve

But his full cooperation with the international community would have made the the war in Iraq pretty unlikely. The invasion began five year ago on March 20, 2003. Saddam Hussain pretended he has somethig up his sleeve

Questions:

1. One of the main rationales for war was the presence of WMD in Iraq. It is known that at some points in the past, Saddam really had some chemical weapons.  If he had some WMD in the past, where do you think did they disappear and when? Was it before the war or even earlier in the past?

2. Before the war there was a common understanding that at least some WMD are hidden in Iraq but nothing was found. If the intelligence of the clandestine services wasn’t accurate, what was the mistake? What was the biggest failure of the secret services?

3. In case Saddam would change his mind and started to cooperate fully with the international community, do you think that would make the war less possible?

Answers:

Stephen Biddle, Senior Fellow for Defense Policy , Council on Foreign Relations

1. Saddam clearly had chemical weapons in the 1990s (and he actually used some of them against the Kurds). But all Iraqi chemical weapon stocks were apparently destroyed years before the 2003 invasion. There is no evidence that any were hidden or removed – they were deliberately destroyed.

2. There were many problems in the US intelligence community that contributed to their failure to report this destruction. But a particularly important one was a desire to avoid making the same mistake they made in 1991, when they UNDERestimated Saddam’s WMD progress and were quite embarrassed when postwar inspections showed just how much further Saddam had gotten than they had reported. Saddam then went to great lengths to conceal his subsequent destruction of his WMD arsenal (he wanted Iran to believe he still had them in order to deter Tehran), and the intelligence community, faced with the resulting ambiguity, overcompensated in the other direction and overestimated what he had the second time around.

3. If Saddam had cooperated fully it would have made it very difficult for the Bush Administration to justify the invasion, and this would have made an American invasion much less likely. But by demonstrating to all that he really had no WMD, such cooperation would have increased the risk of invasion by Iran (or so Saddam thought).

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