Excerpts from "The Death Lobby. How the West Armed Iraq"
Kenneth R. Timmerman - Published by Houghton Mifflin Company - Boston/New York/London 1991
Posted to Web October 16, 2002
The existential threat that Iraq now poses to Israel and the West is all the more horrifying in light of the West's direct involvement in arming Iraq. The following 3 excerpts from the book
"The Death Lobby. How the West Armed Iraq" have relevance to the case of Jonathan Pollard, and provide a clear and stunning snapshot of how the current situation in Iraq was created.
Excerpt Number One: Page 154 to Page 157
Large Pentagon supplier, SNIA developed a special solid-fuel propellant for Condor I in a contract dated 1981. When queried about the sale, a SNIA spokesman acknowledged the contribution to Condor."But this was not our own rocket fuel. We bought this propellant from the Baker-Perkins Company in Saginaw, Michigan." (12)
The French defense electronics firm Sagem, already heavily involved in direct military sales to Iraq, supplied inertial guidance systems for the Condor. In West Germany, MAN and Wegmann sold tractor-erector vehicles for use as mobile launchers. In Sweden, the automotive and aerospace conglomerate Saab-Scania contributed the cabs.
By the time the Iraqis joined the program in 1984, the MBB design team, working through Consen and directly for the Argentine air force, was ironing out the final details on the one-stage solid-fuel missile, Condor I. Now they were getting ready to hit the export market. (13)
Amer-al-Saadi and Amer Rashid maintained a close working relationship for nearly a decade. Although al-Saadi was in charge of the missile programs, his background as a chemist was of no use I ballistics, guidance, or systems engineering. This is where Amer Rashid made his contribution; he could take one glance at a gyroscope and figure out how to make it guide a ballistic missile. Together, the two Amers scrutinized the performance of the Argentine-German project.
Condor I was a good beginning, they told the Argentineans. But for Iraq to be interested, the missile would have to have a much longer range, say, five times the 150-kilometer reach of Condor I. Long enough to hit Tehran, Amer Rashid said pointedly. Or Tel-Aviv, al-Saadi added.
That will take money, said Colonel Luis Guerrero, who had been head of the Condor project since the end of the Falklands War. After some quick calculations, he said Condor I could be transformed into the second stage of a larger rocket if they developed the first-stage booster to extend the range. They could probably use the liquid-fuel booster, something like the Soviet SCUD-B. But there was a problem, Guerrero added. Large purchases of missile technology by Argentina and Iraq would attract attention from the United States and, especially, Great Britain, since the extended-range Condor would be capable of reaching the Falkland Islands.
Fine, the two Amers responded. Iraq would participate in the Condor project through an Egyptian friend, Field Marshal Abu Ghazaleh, who was then serving as Egypt's minister of defense. The new missile, Condor II, would be developed as a joint Argentine-Egyptian project. This would calm British fears, since the missile was designed for export only, and would reassure the Americans because the Egyptians were their ally. Iraq would stay on the sidelines and provide the necessary funds - and, Amer Rashid added to himself, siphon off every bit of technology it could. And so, on February 15, 1984, the Egyptian Ministry of Defense signed a contract with one of the Consen group companies, IFAT, company documents show, for a turnkey production plant to manufacture the rocket engines and for design and development of a 1,000-kilometer-range ballistic missile. Condor II was about to take off.
Kicking the Condor project into high gear required some creative management. The Consen group was reorganized, and a host of front companies in different countries set up to hide the trail of missile technologies headed for Egypt, and to disguise the Iraqi funding that was behind the project.
Documents prepared by the Consen group, explaining its "global reach" to potential clients, give an unusual insight into the shadowy world of the missile business. The lead company, Consen SA, received direct design and technical support from MBB. In addition, it had cooperation agreements with Wegmann and Man in West Germany, SNIA BpD in Italy, Bofors in Sweden, and Sagem in France, the documents show. (14) No fewer than ten wholly owned subsidiaries were listed as members of Consen's international purchasing network, whose principal goal was to funnel sophisticated missile technology to the Condor design and production teams now in Egypt and Iraq. In Monaco there was Consen S. A. M. and Consen Investment, which helped with the money flow. In Zug (home of many mailbox companies) , Consen operated with three affiliates, Condor Projekt AG, IFAT Corporation (Institute for Advanced Technology) , and Desintec AG. Desintec was put out of commission almost immediately, when it was caught trying to buy rocket nozzles for the Condor from a California company in 1984. IFAT, which provided the conduit to the Egyptian Ministry of Defense, owned othercompanies and served as a procurement office in the United States.
In Salzburg, Austria, Consen owned Delta Systems and Delta Consult GmbH. Delta hired many of the engineers who would later travel to Iraq. (At one point, Delta Consult was reported to have 150 electronics and computer specialists in Iraq. ) These engineers, former employees of MBB and other defense contractors in Germany, Austria, and Italy, were paid salaries of up to $19,000 per month, to work in Iraq on the missile projects. (15) In the Channel Island of Jersey, Consen owned Transtechno ltd. , which gave it an opening into Great Britain . In Munich it ran yet another procurement front called GPA. Finally, in Cordoba, Argentina, Consen had bought out an engineering firm called Intesa SA, which was restructured as a joint venture with the technical agency of the Argentine air force. In Buenos Aires, Consen owned a second engineering firm called Consultech SA, run by an enterprising young engineer, Dario Humberto Oddera and a thirty-four-year-old businessman, Roberto Antonio Colla. Consultech helped to import high-tech from Europe by organizing the needed End-Use Certificates and other paperwork from the Argentine government. From there equipment could be re-exported to Egypt or to Iraq without a care, where the missile assembly plants were to be built.
It was an extraordinary example of international cooperation. Its aim was to provide Iraq - the only participant determined enough to actually build the missile - with a weapon capable of wreaking mass destruction upon its neighbors, its enemies. [Justice4JP: emphasis added]
The Egyptians called their version of the project Badr 2000, suggesting that the new missile's range was 2,000 kilometers, or around 600 miles) . But the Iraqis were not content to let theirEgyptian friends pursue such a strategic project alone; Amer Rashid had no intention of relying on promises, even contractual ones, that were outside his direct control. So at the same time he and Amer al-Saadi joined the Condor II project as silent partners providing development funds, they launched a far-ranging, international effort to bring the same technology home to Iraq. They called it Project 395. The plan was to lay the foundations for an entire ballistic missile manufacturing industry in Iraq. Long range was absolutely crucial. For the missiles to win Saddam's approval, they had to be capable of reaching Israel.
Saddam's doomsday project was complex and expensive. But with credit from the United States to put food on the table of ordinary Iraqis, Saddam felt confident that he could free up the necessary funds. Without that billion-dollar-per-year aid, the Iraqi leader would have been less likely to go ahead. For by 1984, he was spending some $14 billion on new weapons each year, fully one-half of his gross domestic product. (16)
The Saad General Establishment belonged to the State Organization for Technical Industries (SOTI) , which supervised Iraq's growing defense industry.
At SOTI, Amer Rashid and Amer al-Saadi were assisted in the procurement of unconventional technologies by the foreign branches of the Iraqi secret service, the Mukhabarat, which until December 1983 was run with an iron fist by Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti. His successor, Dr. Fadil Barrack, was a professional intelligence officer "in the business of naming people and making lists." (17) He also knew a few things about corporate law and appears to have assisted the two Amers in their effort to purchase strategic companies in Europe to get access to restricted military technology and hardware.
In early 1984, the Saad General Establishment signed contract number 16/1/84 with Gildemeister projecta of Bielefeld, West Germany, a wholly owned subsidiary of the German machine-tool manufacturer Gildemeister AG, or GIPRO. The contract called for the design, construction, and fitting out of an entire missile research, development, and testing center just outside the northern Iraqi city of Mosul. The project was called Saad 16. The Saad General Establishment was building other military factories, such as Saad 13, the French-built electronics plant. Each factory was given a number; the prefix " Saad" denoted a military facility. Saad 16 set the Iraqis back some $253 million, and some accounts allege that the total cost of the missile program reached $950 million. (18)
To disguise the military nature of the project, Gildemeister dressed it up as a "university research" complex. In documents submitted to export licensing authorities, Gildemeister insisted that Saad 16 comprised "laboratories and workshops comparable to facilities at universities, technical education establishments [*Jonathan Pollard comments: Anyone looking at pictures of this facility would know immediately that it had absolutely nothing to do with "university research". It was huge, and was literally cocooned within a special security zone involving multiple wire fences, beams, pill boxes, tanks, air defense units, and a full regiment of Republican Guards, None of this information was shared with Israel.]
Excerpt Number 2: Pages 250 and 251
The French refusal to deliver the fighters may have been the straw that broke the Iraqi camel's back. Amer al-Saadi, the father of Iraq's ballistic missile program, offered a cool, self-confident appraisal of this difficult period during an interview in Baghdad. "The real lesson we have learned is to rely on ourselves. When we wanted things that we could not obtain from the outside for one reason or another, we made them ourselves. I am personally grateful to many of the no's we received from our arms suppliers. This made us insist, and concentrate our efforts. This was certainly the case with ballistic missiles."
Just about every military program that had been under way in Iraq was dramatically accelerated in 1987. Funding for the Sakr-80 in Egypt, a joint program to develop a solid-fuel artillery rocket based on a French design, was increased. The Iraqis told the German and Austrian contractors building Saad 16 to expedite their work. They placed large orders with German companies to complete the poison gas complex at Al-Fallujah and to expand the gas works at Samarra. Carlos Cardoen of Chile was hired to build a factory for his cluster bombs, designated Saad 38. An American company - GTE Valenite, a Royal Oak, Michigan - supplied $4.5 million worth of carbide-tipped machine tools for this plant, listing the end-user on their Department of Commerce license application (which was granted) as the Huteen State Establishment. Cardoen also contracted to build a $60 million production line code-named April 7, to build pyrotechnic fuses for the cluster bombs and perhaps for fuel-air explosive warheads. (2)
Rush orders for the Iraqi military industries were flying around the world. Perhaps no one came under more pressure than Ekkehard Schrotz, the new director of the Consen group. Schrotz and his colleagues were told to step up acquisition of critical solid-fuel missile technology from Argentina, West Germany, the United States - wherever and however they could find it. The United States and its allies were going to close the door on sales of sensitive missile technology by ratifying the Missile Technology Control Regime, and the Iraqis were determined to get the horse out of the barn before that door closed.
Saddam's determination did not go unnoticed, and the United States' claims of ignorance about Iraq's missile and chemical weapons programs have a disingenuous ring. In late 1986, for instance, the Israelis were so worried about developments at Saad 16, the military research center outside Mosul, that they sent RF-4 reconnaissance aircraft over the site, one of which the Iraqis claimed to shoot down. (3) Israeli intelligence officials repeatedly warned the United States about the buildup of Iraq's military industries. But in some cases they were passing on information already known to the CIA, the State Department, and the White House. [*Jonathan Pollard comments: Although I had provided Israel with weekly reports concerning the status of the Saad 16 weapons manufacturing complex starting in the Spring of 1984, the DoD and CIA repeatedly assured the Israelis that it was merely a small scale civilian industrial project!In other words, the Americans were actually helping the Iraqis to disseminate their cover story. As one can well imagine, the Israelis were horrified when they got their first look at what was really going on in Mosul. I don't know what scared them more though, the size of the Iraqi undertaking or the implication of the American lies.]
Jonathan Pollard, a satellite photography analyst for the naval Intelligence Service, was arrested and condemned to life imprisonment for having passed to Israel KH-II satellite photographs of Iraqi military factories. For providing Israel with an "early warning" of Iraq's chemical and ballistic missile research, he was tried for treason in 1987. [*J4JP Note: No! Jonathan Pollard was never indicted, tried or convicted of treason. See the Facts Page. ] "The problem," he wrote in a letter subsequently published by the "Wall Street Journal," lay in the fact that many of the photos I turned over to the Israelis were of a number of Iraqi chemical weapons manufacturing plants which the Reagan administration did not want to admit existed. . ." The photos I gave Israel,"Pollard wrote, "would have jeopardized the administration's policy of callous indifference towards this issue, in that they constituted hard, irrefutable proof that Iraq was indeed engaged in the production and widescale use of chemical weapons. What the administration was really concerned about was being placed in a position where it would have to admit that it had tacitly condoned the creation of an Iraqi chemical weapons manufacturing capability." (4) In fact, as careful analysis of the export licenses awarded U.S. companies selling high-tech goods to Iraq would show, the Department of Commerce, the State Department, and the White House knew exactly what the Iraqis were up to. And they decided to let them steam ahead.
Within the close-knit German community in Baghdad, once word got out that more weapons plants were to be built to upgrade Iraq's SCUD missiles, German manufacturers tripped over each other to snatch up the contracts. Trade figures supplied to the OECD in Paris show a dramatic rise in German exports to Iraq from 1987 to 1988, now that Saddam's ire over West German business with Iran had subsided. In four key areas - chemicals, manufactured goods, heavy machinery, and machine-tool controllers and scientific instruments - West Germany more than doubled its sales to Iraq.
Excerpt Number 3: Pages 301 to 307
Saddam Hussein's best friend in France, Jacques Chirac, was roundly trounced in a bid for the French presidency in May 1988, and one month later was replaced as prime minister by the Socialist Michel Rocard. The Iraqi lobby lost one of its most powerful, but it gained a new one in the exchange.
Jean-Pierre Chevenement, the black sheep of the French Socialist party, headed its most extreme left-wing faction. He had resigned once from an earlier government over disagreements with President Francois Mitterand. But Mitterand preferred to have Chevenement nearby, where he could keep an eye on him. So when the new government was announced in June, Chevenement became defense minister.
Chevenement was an old friend of the dictator of Baghdad. In 1985 he founded the France-Iraqi Friendship Society, along with an apologist for the ultra-right National Front party. In France. As defense minister, Chevenement did his best to reopen the arms pipeline to Baghdad, which had slowed to a trickle during the previous year because of Iraq's mounting financial difficulties. Chevenement played a key role in convincing the reluctant finance minister, Pierre Beregovoy, to approve financing for the Tulip and Jacinthe helicopter contracts that had been signed but left hanging by the Chirac government - and that was only the beginning.
Dessault's Hugues de l'Estoile, Thomson-CSF's Rene Anastaze, Matra's Jean-Luc Lagadere, and Aerospatiale's Henri Martre needed no one to explain to them the importance of Chevenement's arrival at the crucial defense position. The pro-Iraq lobby had a firm friend in a high place, someone who had the president's ear.
A C-130 military transport plane left Washington, D.C., on June 10, 1988, on its way to Egypt. On board were nine drums of embargoed chemicals, purchased by Abdelkader Helmy and Jim Huffman from companies around the United States. Huffman had changed the labels on the containers and made sure the airway bills disguised the true nature of the shipment. Helmy had provided fraudulent invoices to cover the goods, so they could pay the shipping agent his commission.
Unknown to either of them, a U.S. Customs officer had tracked the cargo to a warehouse in Maryland, where it was stored before the final leg of the journey to Egypt. He took samples of the chemicals contained in the nine drums. When the results came in a few days later, all doubts were off. Helmy, Huffman, and officials at the Egyptian embassy in Washington were conspiring to smuggle U.S. technology to an Arab ballistic missile project, as were taps and earlier surveillance operations by Customs had suggested. To keep them from succeeding, Customs launched Operation Ali Baba, using undercover agents in Maryland, Ohio, and California.
The Iraqis were pressing the Egyptians to deliver the missile nose cones, so the Egyptians put the squeeze on Helmy, who became nervous. In one conversation intercepted by U.S. Customs agents, he berated Abdel Rahin al-Gohary at the Egyptian embassy in Washington for failing to understand the sensitivity of the embargoed rocket technology that Helmy had been asked to ship. Al-Gohary, whose job was to procure U.S. weapons for the Egyptian armed forces, asked Helmy whether he had secured the proper export permits and invoices. - a perfectly normal request coming from an officer who had daily dealings with the Pentagon on U.S.-approved arms sales. Then he told Helmy that it could take one or two years to get the "full fifteen tons" of his strange materials and equipment to Egypt. A complete transcript of the exchange was submitted by the prosecution at Helmy's trial.
Helmy: Sir, the minister, he wants these items to get there by all means, and this is what I was informed about. And then they told us that you, Sir, can place these items on board the plane that leaves to Egypt every day, always.
Al-Gohary: Every day??!!!
Helmy: Maybe every week.
Al-Gohary: Every month. Once every month.
Helmy then picked up the phone and complained to Egyptian Defense Minister Abu Ghazaleh's office about al-Gohary's attitude. In a call to Colonel Ahmed Khairat, who supervised the missile technology procurement team for Abu Ghazaley, Helmy explained the dangers he was incurring by contributing to the scheme."I told [al-Gohary] those items are not easy to buy normally. We were able to acquire [them] through our own personal ways which require us to store it in two separate warehouses en route, so that no one could tell where it is going. So if this matter becomes known I shall be in great trouble. You should understand that in one single minute I could be thrown in jail here and my children will never see me again!. . . He should realize that very sensitive things are involved, especially things like antennas."
Helmy and Huffman had ordered telemetry antennas from an American company, Vega Precision Laboratories, to transmit flight information from the missile back to its base during flight. They had also ordered large quantities of maraging steel, a corrosion-resistant nickel-steel alloy used in making gas centrifuges for uranium enrichment as well as rocket motor parts.
Another sensitive commodity needed for the missile project was carbon phenolic fabric, which the Iraqis were seeking to manufacture flexible rocket nozzles, which could improve the missile's accuracy. Huffman ordered 426 pounds of the fabric, called MX-4926, from a company called Fiberite in California. When Fiberite shipped the fabric to Huffman's warehouse in Ohio on June 9, 1988, the four cardboard containers were all clearly stamped with notices stating that the contents were subject to U.S. export controls. After several discussions with the Egyptians in Washington, Huffman called Helmy and told him they would pack the special fabric in one wooden crate and mark it "Air Force Club" before shipping it on to the Egyptian Embassy's freight forwarder in Maryland, hoping in this way to get it through Customs without attracting attention. Wish us luck. Haven't gone to jail yet," Huffman said.
But he and Helmy were close. Fiberite had gotten suspicious, and before shipping the material to Huffman's warehouse had called the U.S. Customs office in Cleveland, which agreed to deliver the goods to Huffman as part of a sting operation. In the following days, Customs agents looked on as Huffman and his son loaded the fabric into the wooden crate, changed the labels, and effaced the export control notices. Before the crate left the warehouse in Shelby, Ohio, Customs knew exactly where it was headed, and why.
The next Egyptian military C-130 was to leave Washington on June 25. At the insistence of Abu Ghazaleh, room was made on the plane for the carbon phenolic fabric and rocket fuel ingredients that Huffman and Helmy had managed to acquire. But when Huffman and Helmy arrived at the airport to make sure their cargo was safely placed on board, Customs agents arrested them on the spot.
For his efforts to aid the Iraqi missile program, Egyptian Defense Minister Abu Ghazaleh lost his job. Helmy and Huffman were sentenced to four years in jail - nothing compared to the life sentence imposed on Jonathan Pollard for warning Israel of the menace the Iraqi weapons programs posed.
The Iranian collapse at Fao that April led to a string of defeats in June and July. The Iraqis' extensive use of chemical weapons totally demoralized the Iranians. The Iraqis recaptured Majnoon and Fish Lake, then pushed the Iranians out of parts of Iraqi Kurdistan they had seized in fighting the year before. In early July Iraqi troops stormed across the border, capturing 1,000 square kilometers of Iranian territory. The Iranians were so terrified of the advancing shock troops and their chemical weapons that they simply abandoned their equipment without a fight and fled. The Iraqis seized 570 artillery pieces and 1,478 armored vehicles, including more than 150 tanks. The booty was so extensive it took them weeks just to haul it back across the border.
As the Iraqis plundered Iran's heavy equipment, Ayatollah Khomeini called his closest advisors for a council of war. They argued that it was time to throw in the towel, before the Iraqis seized major cities in the west of the country. For the ageing ayatollah, making peace with Saddam Hussein was as bitter as drinking "a cup of poison."But he had no choice. On July 20, Khomeini gave in. One month later a UN ceasefire put a tentative end to eight years of war.
The day the ceasefire went into effect, Saddam wheeled around and unleashed his forces in the biggest attack he had ever launched against Iraq's Kurdish population. Some 60,000 troops, including three crack Republican Guard divisions, were given orders to devastate Kurdish towns and villages in the north. Their aim was to drive as many Kurds as possible out of the country, finishing off the work begun the year before. Dozens of villages were bulldozed into the ground.
The August 1988 offensive against the Kurds also marked Saddam's most extensive use of chemical weapons against his own population. Eyewitness reports, collected by UN observers and a team of Senate Foreign Relations Committee staffers, who interviewed Kurdish refugees in early September, provided unequivocal evidence of gas attacks. Saddam's air force dropped chemical bombs from Soviet-built fighters. Iraqi army aviation used Swiss-built Pilatus PC-7 and PC-9 trainers equipped with hard points for carrying chemical bombs. On August 28, one group of 300 Kurdish and Christian refugees was gassed as they attempted to flee across the border into Turkey. In this attack, eyewitnesses say the Iraqis used a new type of helicopter. The descriptions they gave matched that of the BO-105, which MBB in West Germany continued to sell to Iraq through various fronts, ostensibly for "civilian" purposes. Indeed, the Kurds were civilians, and the helicopters were just spraying them with insecticide. (13)
Not long afterward, MBB officially requested a license to export an additional twenty helicopters to the Iraqi police, but was turned down by the West German authorities. Eager to make the sale nevertheless, MBB delivered the choppers via a front company in London. The deal remained a secret until a West German peace group, the Society for Threatened Peoples, broke into an MBB warehouse near Munich in September 1990. The peace activists photographed documents on a large shipment of helicopter spares, which they had been tipped was on its way to Iraq. The equipment included advanced avionics gear made by a German defense electronics contractor, Becker Aviation.
As Saddam was gassing the Kurds, business went on as usual. In May, only two months after the massacre at Halabja, the U.S.-Iraq Business Forum held a symposium for business leaders interested in investing in Iraq;they were warmly encouraged to intensify their cooperation with Baghdad by A. Peter Burleigh, the assistant secretary of state in charge of northern Gulf affairs. Meanwhile, the Commerce Department continued to approve high-tech exports to Iraqi weapons plants and establishments. A review of licenses approved in the eight months following Halabja shows deliveries of virus cultures, fungi, and protozoa to the Iraqi Atomic Energy Agency, and deliveries of dual-use electronics gear and machine tools to the Saad 16 missile design center, the Badr bomb plant, the Saddam missile factory, the Salahuddin and Mansour defense electronics factories, and the Taji weapons complex.
In July, Bechtel won a consulting contract potentially worth $1 billion with Hussein Kamil's Ministry of Industry to design and eventually build a new petrochemicals complex near Al Musayib, south of Baghdad. Hussein Kamil and Amer al-Saadi planned to use the complex, called PC-2, to produce mustard gas precursors [*Jonathan Pollard comments:This was the commercial plant whose transfer was backed by Caspar Weinberger in 1985, despite its clear military purpose.]And ethylene oxide, the latter for fuel-air explosives and rocket propellants. Later that year the Commerce Department sponsored an exhibit of U.S. high-tech equipment at the Baghdad Trade Fair, proclaiming that Iraq was wide open to U.S. business now that the war with Iran was over.
For once, it was the State Department - or at least, some officials at State - that expressed reservations about Saddam's activities. In an interview in Washington only days before the news of Saddam's latest Kurdish campaign broke, Peter Burleigh's top assistant, Lawrence Pope, predicted that Saddam would use his victory against Iran as a pretext to turn against the Kurds."We can anticipate some fireworks soon in remote areas, far from public eyes," he said."It's going to be a mess, and we are concerned. We will have to criticize Saddam's behavior toward the Kurds. Saddam's human rights record is the biggest damper on better U.S. Iraqi relations."
When the brutality of Saddam's August campaign became apparent, however, the State Department did nothing. Instead, senators Jesse Helms and Claiborne Pell sent a team from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to investigate. Larry Pope quietly agreed to cooperate and set the staffers up with the head of the Political Section at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Haywood Rankin.
Rankin, a career Foreign Service officer, had just spent four years in Syria. He spoke Arabic and knew many Iraqi Kurdish leaders personally. Working in total secrecy, he managed to ferry the Senate investigators into Iraqi Kurdistan without arousing the suspicion of the Baghdad government. Peter Galbraith, who led the Senate team, did not mention Rankin's help in the published version of their report. Instead, he thanked some State Department officials based in Turkey, who helped conduct interviews on the Turkish side of the border.
The Senate report, published in October 1988, provided a grisly account of Saddam's use of poison gas against his own people. It also raised the question why the United States government, which knew what Saddam was doing in great detail, did nothing whatsoever to qualify its support for the Iraqi despot. Iraq had won the war with Iran, and U.S. allies in the region no longer ran the risk of being overrun by a radical Islamic regime. And yet the United States' backing of Saddam not only continued, it intensified, with active aid from the Commerce Department and political support from the State Department.
"This lack of international response has encouraged Iraq to make more extensive use of chemical weapons," the Senate report argued. If Saddam Hussein cared little about global public opinion, "the Iraqis do understand more direct forms of pressure. As it seeks to rebuild after eight years of warfare, Iraq will be looking to Western loans, to Western commercial credits, and to Western technology. Sanctions that affected Iraq's ability to borrow or to import Western goods, including technology, could make the price of continued chemical weapons use and of continuing the slaughter in Iraqi Kurdistan unacceptably high. This is particularly true since Iraq's most recent use of chemical weapons is totally unrelated to the struggle for national survival against Iran."
Following the staff report, the Senate passed the Prevention of Genocide Act of 1988, which it tacked onto more comprehensive legislation intended to impose sanctions on Iraq. Predictably, the Reagan administration reacted by stating that the proposed legislation was "premature."
The very threat of sanctions, however, was enough to get the pro-Iraq lobby up in arms. In October 1988, Marshall Wiley of the U.S.-Iraq Business Forum picked up his pen to lobby President Reagan against the Senate bill. He chose to write his letter on Forum stationery, which listed the organization's impressive roster of Fortune 500 members. It was a none-too-subtle hint of whose interest he was defending."We fully understand and agree with your desire to limit the use of chemical weapons," Wiley wrote. However, he urged the president to oppose sanctions against Iraq because they "would have the opposite effect."As Wiley explained in a subsequent interview, "We didn't like the idea of sanctions because they were unilateral. They only affected the United States. Sanctions would have had no effect on Iraqi behavior. But they would have shifted business away from the U.S. to other exporters."
"The Death Lobby. How the West Armed Iraq" contains graphic representations of Iraqi weapons plants which figured prominently in the Israeli operation Pollard was engaged in. A copy is available from the J4JP office.