Washington Targets Chirac and ElBaradai

The Americans are sitting tight on the extremely valuable Iraqi intelligence archives discovered at Iraqi intelligence headquarters in Baghdad and at sub-departments of Saddam’s clandestine machine never before known to exist. The only data released are a few leaks to the British media calculated to help prime minister Tony Blair stand up to anti-war campaigners at home and around Europe.
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From this treasure trove, America has distributed to its war allies some materials relevant to their national security. But no decision has been taken as to the disposition of documents attesting to the clandestine ties of collaboration maintained with the Saddam regime by a whole range of foreign government and public office-holders, academics, media figures, financiers and industrialists the world over, many deeply involved in sanctions-busting. By and large, Washington is not inclined to bare these secrets or make use of them at the moment, except in some notable cases. One is French president Jacques Chirac; another is the head of the International Atomic Energy Commission in Vienna, Dr. Mohammed ElBaradai, who led the nuclear weapons inspection in Iraq before the war.
mg class=”picture” src=”/dynmedia/pictures/Phassan1.jpg” align=”right” border=”0″>In addition, the administration has secretly handed over to various Middle East and Persian Gulf governments the names of ministers and public figures who were handsomely rewarded by Saddam Hussein for supporting his case in deliberations at the United Nations, other international bodies and inter-Arab forums. Washington was given to understand that these public officials would be held to account by their governments. This process has started quietly in Qatar and Jordan, where our intelligence sources expect overnight resignations of senior cabinet members.
DEBKA-Net-Weekly has been reliably informed that the nature of the relationships the French president and members of his family wove with Saddam Hussein and members of his regime is due to be revealed quite soon, drawing on the materials in the secret Iraqi files. Some sources say that the ties linking the two families were deep and ramified. Their exposure is likely to raise a storm.
As for Dr. ElBaradai, our sources report that, even before the Iraqi archives were examined, Washington had compiled a dossier on the chief nuclear inspector from discoveries made in the course of crises over the North Korean and Iranian nuclear weapons programs.
US officials are holding to the public position that more time is needed to turn up Saddam’s arsenal of forbidden weapons. However, last week, Syria handed over two key scientists who ran Iraq’s bio weapons programs, Dr Hudah Salih Mahdi Ammash, the anthrax expert and Dr. RihabTaha – “Dr. Germ”, as well as her husband the “Missile Man”, Gen. Amir Muhammed Rasheed. These scoops must have given the Americans much of the information they were after on the nature and locations of the weapons of mass destruction. However, Washington is now waiting for President Bashar Assad to respond to the ultimatum secretary of state Colin Powell slapped down last Saturday in Damascus. He was put on notice to report on the arsenal’s whereabouts in Lebanon after he removed this hot potato from Syria. Only then, will the Bush administration decide how to handle the information accumulated.
In the meantime, US officials believe they have sufficient grounds for demanding Dr. ElBaradai’s removal and have already set this process in motion. According to DEBKA-Net-Weekly‘s Washington sources, their preferred candidate for his replacement in Vienna is Prince Hassan of Jordan, brother and former crown prince of King Hussein and uncle of King Abdullah. We have learned that senior representatives of the Bush administration have interviewed the prince in London and Amman and obtained his consent to the appointment, which has also been endorsed by the king.
The Hashemite prince lacks scientific qualifications for the job, but the Bush administration have concluded that scientists, however eminent, are not much use for stemming the proliferation of nuclear weapons – a shortcoming manifested in the last two years in the cases of North Korea and Iran. Washington is ready to try out an experienced statesman before the spread of dangerous nuclear capabilities gets out of hand. Action against nuclear proliferation has risen to the top of the Bush administration’s order of priorities.
The new director’s first task will be to disperse the IAEA’s ruling council which is held responsible for obstructing rather than advancing inspection mechanisms. Hassan’s appointment will undoubtedly strengthen Washington’s control over the commission. It will also enhance the kingdom’s international standing, its reward for unreservedly supporting and taking part in the American war against the Saddam regime in Iraq.

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