Saddam's Secrets

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9780006531135: Saddam's Secrets

The dramatic and dangerous inside story of the UN Special Commission’s continuing search for Iraq’s secret nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and the cat-and-mouse tactics used by Iraq in a political and military game that threatens to turn into renewed war at any moment.

Evidence that forced Iraq to admit that it had built biological weapons before, during and after the Gulf War.

The author, Tim Trevan, was a key British participant (from 1992 to 1995) in UNSCOM’s investigation of Iraqi chemical and biological sites. In his gripping narrative, he shows how UNSCOM dealt with Iraq’s devious, despotic regime: the early frustrations encountered because of Iraq’s lying and obstruction, the personal and professional qualities the inspectors had to develop, the techniques and technologies they employed, the personal difficulties and dangers of the job, their ingenuity in tackling problems.

The book also shows how the Commission maintained support in a divided UN Security Council long enough to achieve success, despite the ceaseless stream of international crises unleashed by Iraq to try and break the Commission.

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Review:

Modern diplomacy has aspects that the classic era never allowed for, among them the concept of states whose defeat in war means that they can be forbidden certain weapons which the victorious power possesses and that their adherence to international weapons treaties can be policed. Tim Trevan is both a British diplomat and an expert on biological warfare, and was seconded to the UN Special Commission for Iraq in the aftermath of the Gulf War. He is not concerned with the ethics of the matter, simply with the job of ensuring that Iraq neither develop nuclear, biological and chemical weapons, nor retain any it already possesses. He explains in some detail how dual use remains a constant issue--it is possible with the correct expertise to use a plant for brewing nine months a year and for growing anthrax the rest; he establishes the case that Iraq obstructed the investigations of the commission and that the punitive actions of Operation Desert Fox were justified. What this is not is a completely objective account which weighs the allegations of extra-curricular intelligence work made against some members of the commission; it is a highly competent, but partial, brief by a prosecutor and essential reading.

From the Back Cover:

The timely and gripping inside story of one of the most dramatic and dangerous detective investigations in international history, told by a leading participant: how the UN weapons inspectors uncovered Iraq’s clandestine nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programmes and exposed the culture of deceit at the heart of Saddam Hussein’s regime.

In a lucid and authoritative narrative that begins with the creation of the UN Special Commission for Iraq (UNSCOM) out of the ashes of the Gulf War, Tim Trevan – a British expert on biological warfare and strategist and spokesman for the Commission – describes the cat-and-mouse tactics employed against a master of brinkmanshipand a merciless opponent who had not hesitated to use chemical weapons against both Iran and his own Kurdish people. The UNSCOM inspectors were faced with Iraqi stonewalling, intimidaatio, obstruction and death threats; yet, under their formidable Swedish chairman Rolf Ekeus, they devised a strategy to defeat Iraq’s repeated attempts to divide the Security Council, and set up a foolproof monitoring system which, if maintained, would detect Iraqi efforts at rebuilding its banned weapons programme.

Aided by superior intelligence information, new sensor technology, infrared satellite imagery, the help of high-level Iraqi defectors and their own unswerving dedication, the inspectors succeeded to a very large extent in nailing Iraq’s lies. Yet, as the author warns, Iraq remains today a menace to international peace and security as it continues to claim deceitfully that it is fully complying with the 1991 ceasefire terms. This book is an invaluable guide to one of the most threatening conflicts of the late twentieth century.

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