posted on Feb, 13 2003 @ 11:16 AM
NY Times Story
UNITED NATIONS, Feb. 12 ó A panel of arms experts convened by United Nations weapons inspectors has confirmed that a missile Iraq has developed
exceeds range limits set by the Security Council.
The panel's conclusion will add fuel to the United States' argument that Iraq is defying Security Council disarmament resolutions, and it is likely
to deepen the discord here over whether to go to war against Iraq or allow inspections to continue, as several critical Council nations insist.
In an atmosphere of tension, Germany, France and Russia surprised the United States today by laying plans for an open meeting of Council foreign
ministers on Friday to hear the report of the chief weapons inspectors, Hans Blix and Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei.
In Washington, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell said the Council was "reaching a moment of truth" with the meeting on Friday and confirmed that he
"Nobody wants war, but sometimes it's necessary when you need it to maintain international order," he said.
Pentagon officials asserted today that Iraqi forces had moved explosives into the southern part of the country in preparation for blowing up bridges,
bursting dams and igniting oil fields in a strategy to slow an American attack. The officials said the tactic would impede an allied effort to provide
emergency food and relief to millions of Iraqi civilians.
Military officials said they detected suspicious movements of explosives by rail and other means in recent days, and interpreted it as part of a
strategy by President Saddam Hussein to create havoc in the opening moments of a war. Top American commanders say their war plan includes measures to
prevent or mitigate Iraqi sabotage and will not hinder their assault, but some senior officers have expressed doubts privately.
The panel of independent missile experts at the United Nations reached its conclusion on Iraq's Al Samoud 2 missiles after meetings Monday and
Tuesday in New York. The panel, including one American, was convened by Mr. Blix to provide additional technical support in analyzing the missile.
Mr. Blix has already told the Council that the missiles, with a range of about 180 kilometers, or 114 miles, appeared to be a "prima facie" case of
a violation by Iraq of the range limit of 150 kilometers, or about 90 miles, established by the Council. The missiles have already been given to the
Iraqi armed forces, he said. The panel did not reach a conclusion about a second missile, Al Fatah, but said it required further study.