Following the withdrawal of United Nations inspectors, the paper stressed the importance of an effective, in-country arms control regime:
An important tool of containment has hitherto been a reasonably effective in-country arms control regime. . . . External controls and sanctions can constrain,t hough not eradicate,the importation of military and dual-use materials . . . extern al monitoring has serious limitations . . . and would be less of a constraint on Saddam than an intrusive in-country regime. Moreover,it would be unable to pursue disar mament, and thus offer no realistic prospect of being able to give Iraq a clean bill of health as required by the UNSCRs before sanctions can be lifted.
Finally, the paper, after considering humanitarian and other policy issues, concluded that the policy of containment should be sustained, on the grounds that:
However difficult it may be to sustain a policy of containment,it is not clea r what the alternatives would be. To simply walk away from the problem would be an admission of failure,and leave Saddam free to pose once more a major threat to regiona l s e c u r i t y a n d B r i t i s h i n t e r e s t s . O n t h e o t h e r h a n d , a p o l i c y o f t r y i n g t o t o p p l e S a d d a m would command no useful international support. . . .
Containment,therefore,remains the only usable option for achieving our objectives. If Iraq complied with UNSCRs,we should then lift sanctions. .
policy . . If,on
the other hand,Iraq does not co-operate with the UN (let alone comply with t he UNSCRs),we face the prospect of indefinite containment from outside Iraq, based
on sanctions,external monitoring and control,and the threat of military
Saddam seeks to threaten his neighbours or reconstitute his WMD capabilities.
IRAQ’S NUCLEAR WEAPONS PROGRAMME
A substantial JIC assessment on Iraq’s nuclear weapons capabilities in December 2000 sustained the JIC’s prior assessment that:
Iraq still lacks fissile material and the infrastructure to make it. With trade sanctions but no UN monitoring,we judge that it would be difficult in these circumstan ces for Iraq to build a nuclear weapon. It would take at least five years,probably lo nger,and only in the context of evading sanctions and foreign assistance,for Iraq t o make such a weapon; . . .
[JIC, 1 December 2000]
The JIC noted, however, that:
Iraqi entities,some formerly associated with its nuclear programme,see k dual use equipment that could be used in association with a centrifuge programme . . .
Unconfirmed intelligence indicates Iraqi interest in acquiring uranium . . . [JIC, 1 December 2000]