Officials concluded on the basis of this analysis that: In sum,despite the considerable difficulties,the use of overriding force in a ground campaign is the only option that we can be confident will remove Saddam and bring Iraq back into the international community.
We have drawn out from amongst the paper’s conclusions four factors in implementing this policy relevant to intelligence and its use, to which the policy-making community returned repeatedly in the following twelve months and to which we therefore return in the rest of this Chapter:
The value of increasing the pressure on the Iraqi regime, through tougher containment, stricter implementation of sanctions and a military build-up.
The importance of the United Nations dimension, in particular getting inspectors back into Iraq, noting that a refusal to admit inspectors, or their admission and subsequent frustration which resulted in an appropriate finding by the Security Council, would provide a basis for military action.
In that context, the justification for any military action in terms of international law. We cover this at Section 5.7.
The importance of presentational activity on Iraq’s breaches (and other issues) to persuade other members of the United Nations Security Council as well as domestic audiences of the case for action to enforce disarmament.
IRAQ’S PROHIBITED PROGRAMMES
The JIC produced in parallel a ‘status report’ on Iraq’s nuclear, biological, chemical and ballistic missile programmes. It warned in the text (although not in the Key Judgements) that:
Intelligence on Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and ballistic missile programmes is sporadic and patchy. Iraq is also well practised in the art of deception,such as concealment and exaggeration. A complete picture of th e various programmes is therefore difficult. But it is clear that Iraq continues to pursue a policy of acquiring WMD and their delivery means. Intelligence indicates that planning to reconstitute some of its programmes began in 1995. WMD programmes were then given a further boost in 1998 with the withdrawal of UNSCOM inspectors.
[JIC, 15 March 2002]
On Iraq’s nuclear weapons programme, the JIC noted that:
Iraq is pursuing a nuclear weapons programme. But it will not be able to indigenously produce a nuclear weapon while sanctions remain in place,unless suitable fissile material is purchased from abroad.
[JIC, 15 March 2002]