No WMDs found in Iraq

US weapons inspector David Kay has said no weapons of mass destruction have been found in Iraq.

    David Kay was a former UN weapons inspector in Iraq

    The news will come as a blow to US President George Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair who based their case for war against Iraq on the "imminent threat" from Saddam Hussein's weapons programmes.

    And it was met with anger on Thursday from anti war campaigners who have always doubted the existence of WMD's in Iraq.

    "We have not found at this point actual weapons," the expert said

     after briefing Congress on the work of his team in

    Iraq since the war that brought down Saddam Hussein.

    But he added that, "At this point, we have found substantial

    evidence of an intent of senior level Iraqi officials, including

    Saddam, to continue production at some future point in time of

    weapons of mass destruction."

    No weapons

    He said the findings did not mean the United States had

    concluded there were no weapons.

    Kay said experts in the Iraq Survey Group that he heads had

    found "a large body of continuing activities and equipment that were

    not declared to the UN inspectors when they returned in November of

    last year."

    This included "substantial equipment and activities in the

    chemical and biological area, a much more substantial activity in

    the missile area".

    According to Kay, Saddam's regime was carrying out "a very

    full-scale programme" that would have extended the range of its

    missiles beyond 1000km, capable of reaching

    Cairo and Riyadh from Iraqi territory.

    Surprises

    Kay estimated it would take between six and nine more

    months to give a firm indication of the state of the Iraqi weapons

    programme.

    "Believe me, if I wanted to go into business, I would go into

    the metal detection business in Iraq. I think for 100 years they

    will be digging up the relics of Saddam's empire that are buried

    over the country."

    He added: "My advice to everyone is still don't be surprised by

    surprises in Iraq."

    Washington-based Nihad Awad, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said: "The US based its argument for war solely on the WMD issue. This news shows that the evidence was either fabricated or the public was misled.

    "The Americans, along with the British, took unilateral action against the will of the international community. These findings expose the neo-Con agenda and the misguided doctrine of preemptive strikes.

    "There's no point in dragging this out. The Americans should come clean and admit they've made a mistake. Why are they prolonging this process ... to fabricate evidence?"

    Speaking to Aljazeera.net, he added: "Once the final evidence comes out I am sure British and American voters will be watching closely and take note.

    "Lots of governments in the world have intent to produce biological and chemical weapons but if we use that as a basis to invade countries then there will never be peace in the world."

    SOURCE: AFP


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