Introduction: UNSCOM and the future of WMD verification

Posted: 22nd July 2021

By Henrietta WilsonFilippa Lentzos, July 21, 2021

Many people will remember Colin Powell’s historic speech to the UN Security Council describing Iraq’s mobile production facilities for making biological weapons. Many will also remember that shortly after this, in March 2003, George W. Bush and Tony Blair went to war against Iraq on the basis of these “biological weapons factories on wheels and on rails”[1] and Iraq’s illicit nuclear and chemical weapons—only to later find that these claims were incorrect, that the intelligence had been misrepresented,[2]and that, in fact, Iraq did not have any weapons of mass destruction (WMD). This revelation—that there were no WMD despite intelligence findings to the contrary—has come to dominate collective consciousness. Yet, it overlooks the long and complicated history of Iraq’s acquisition and use of outlawed weapons and overshadows the work of international inspectors who successfully uncovered and destroyed these weapons in the decade leading up to 2003.

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