ME and Ophelia

Saturday, January 10, 2004

Iraq said it had destroyed all its chemical weapons

BBC News reports that Danish troops have found dozens of mortar shells in southern Iraq which could contain chemical weapons according to initial tests. The 36 120mm mortar rounds appeared to have been buried for at least 10 years. All showed traces of blister gases, a group of chemical compounds which include mustard gas.

US officials confirmed the apparent find and said the weapons were probably left over from the 1980-88 war on Iran. "Most were wrapped in plastic bags, and some were leaking."

The former regime of Saddam Hussein used blister agents against Iranian soldiers during the Iran-Iraq war. Chemical weapons were also used to kill about 5,000 Kurds in the northern city of Halabja in 1988.

Before the US-led war to overthrow Saddam Hussein, Iraq said it had destroyed all its chemical weapons, but the alleged continuing threat from weapons of mass destruction were cited by the US and UK leaders as a key reason for the war.

Further reading in my 17 November, 2003 post: Take The Long View: President Bush's critics should be heard but not appeased. History will vindicate him.
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Readers have their say

A few weeks ago, BBC News online asked its readers: What is your reaction to Saddam Hussein's capture? How should he be dealt with? Where should he be tried?

The debate is now closed. These comments reflect the balance of opinion received.

# posted by Ingrid J. Jones @ 1/10/2004
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