Fair-ish and Balanced-ish
Sunday, September 14, 2003
Consquences of the War on Iraq
Seeing that the UK ISC report on Iraqi WMD is currently a popular discussion topic (more specifically, would war lead to an increased or decreased chance of the spread of WMD to terrorist groups) on The Eye of the Beholder, Southerly Buster and The Road to Surfdom here are the relevent passages from the report:
The 27 November 2002 intelligence update reported that although there was no
intelligence to indicate that Iraq had considered using chemical and biological agents in
terrorist attacks, it could not rule out the possibility.
In their assessment International Terrorism:War with Iraq, dated 10 February 2003, the JIC reported that there was no intelligence that Iraq had provided CB materials to al-Qaida or of Iraqi intentions to conduct CB terrorist attacks using Iraqi intelligence officials or their agents. However, it judged that in the event of imminent regime collapse there would be a risk of transfer of such material, whether or not as a deliberate Iraqi regime policy. The JIC assessed that al-Qaida and associated groups continued to represent by far the greatest terrorist threat to Western interests, and that threat would be heightened by military action against Iraq.
The JIC assessed that any collapse of the Iraqi regime would increase the risk of
chemical and biological warfare technology or agents finding their way into the hands of terrorists, not necessarily al-Qaida.
We discussed this risk with the Prime Minister, who said:
“One of the most difficult aspects of this is that there was obviously a danger that
in attacking Iraq you ended up provoking the very thing you were trying to avoid.
On the other hand I think you had to ask the question, ‘Could you really, as a result
of that fear, leave the possibility that in time this developed into a nexus between
terrorism and WMD in an event?’. This is where you’ve just got to make your judgement about this. But this is my judgement and it remains my judgement and I suppose time will tell whether it’s true or it’s not true.”
These paragraphs were mentioned in the conclusion of the report where the following was noted:
The JIC assessed that any collapse of the Iraqi regime would increase the risk that
chemical and biological warfare technology or agents finding their way into the
hands of terrorists, not necessarily al-Qaida. The Prime Minister was aware of this.
He believed that there was an alternative risk of leaving a possible nexus between
terrorism and WMD and made his judgement accordingly.