- October 3 - Dr. David Kay's interim report goes a long way in validating the work of the UN weapons inspectors and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Despite substantially less funding and fewer officials, the inspectors were very effective in destroying nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs.
The 1,400-strong Iraq Survey Group (ISG) set up by the CIA in post-conflict Iraq this summer has already spent $300 million. A further request for $600 million has been included by the Bush administration to fund another six to
nine months of work for the ISG to finalize its conclusions. The $900
million price tag being shouldered alone by the U.S. taxpayers is more than ten times the cost of the ($80 million) UN weapons inspection operation in Iraq. Furthermore, the U.S. pays less than a quarter of the UN costs, sharing the burden with the rest of the world's countries.
In fact, the CIA effort is costing the U.S. nearly twice the IAEA's global budget of $490 million in 2002.
The numbers of personnel in Iraq under the UN were also a fraction of the number of ISG officials there today. The UN Special Commission operational in Iraq from May 1991 to December 1998 consisted of 80 members and 6 IAEA experts. At its peak, the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspections Commission, created in December 1999 and led by Dr Hans Blix, included 215 officials in Iraq, 10 in Cyprus and 70 in New York City.
"The huge disparity between financial funds and numbers of officials from the UN in Iraq and the ISG is incredible," said Don Kraus, Executive Director of Campaign for UN Reform. "It is surprising that the UN inspectors managed to perform such an excellent job despite the lack of resources, and under international pressure they continuously faced while carrying out their work.
"In comparison to conditions encountered by the UN inspectors under the Hussein regime, the ISG now has open access to the country and yet it is still going to take a year for Kay to finalize the report. I hope the Bush administration has finally realized its folly in pressuring the UN inspectors earlier this year to produce results after only three months of being in Iraq. Rather than spending another $600 million on this project, the U.S. should promote the reengagement of UN weapons inspectors as part of the new Security Council resolution being negotiated in New York."
Don Kraus is also the Co-Chair of the Washington, DC based working group, the Partnership for Effective Peacekeeping and the Vice President of the Center for UN Reform Education.
The Campaign for United Nations Reform is a membership-based advocacy organization dedicated to building a more effective and democratic United Nations system through education, lobbying, and electioneering.