Saddam Tried to Build Nuclear ICBM
By Stewart Stogel
In a wide-ranging comprendium on Saddam Hussein's secret weapons programs, the U.N. Monitoring, Observation, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) reveals that in late 1989, Saddam's military launched a modified Scud missile that could have carried a nuclear warhead.
In a document released on Thursday, UNMOVIC states:
"In its only test flight on Dec. 5, 1989, the Al Abid space launch vehicle flew for about 45 seconds before encountering (an unidentified) problem. This space launch vehicle consisting of five Scud engines for its first stage had the potential to deliver a payload, including nuclear, to an intercontinental range."
The issue of Iraqi nuclear missiles had been periodically raised by Russian authorities when it became known that the Al Abid missile had the potential of reaching Moscow.
The missile was also believed capable of reaching as far west as Paris.
Iraq's deputy prime minister, Tariq Aziz, repeatedly waved off Western concerns about the missile program. Now, it has become clear that such concerns were justified.
The 1,160-page report to be examined by the U.N. Security Council on Friday is likely to be the last by the U.N. inspectors. The U.S. and the UK intend to introduce a resolution to disband the inspection unit.
Down from more than 300 personnel, the remaining 34 UNMOVIC staffers had spent most of their time these days analyzing docuements they had impounded before Saddam was overthrown in 2003.