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Friday 11th July


The search for weapons of mass destruction has become a national obsession. The war against Iraq brought the downfall of the dictator Saddam Hussein.  However the elusive chemical, biological and nuclear weapons have still not been unearthed. Many people who supported the war are now asking; where is the evidence for these weapons?


Ron Manley is a renowned expert in chemical weapons. He worked at the Ministry of Defence for over than thirty years, primarily developing effective measures to defend against chemical weapons. He was seconded to the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM) between 1991 and 1994, where he was directly responsible for the destruction of Iraq's chemical weapons.

Speaking on the Today Programme, he was surprised that despite his years of experience, the government chose not contact him before pressing ahead with military action. The UN nuclear inspectors were sent into Iraq in November 2002, but failed to uncover any illicit weapons material. Mr Manley isn't surprised the inspectors didn't detect the banned weapons, as he now questions the existence of  any significant stocks of chemical materials in Iraq.


There have been several different bodies working in Iraq over the years, investigating their W.M.D programs. The chief inspectorate is UNSCOM. They were set up on the 3rd of April 1991 by the UN to investigate Iraq's chemical, biological and ballistic capabilities. The nuclear aspect of Iraq's weapons has been investigated by the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency).

Since the end of the war in May 2003, UNSCOM and the IAEA haven't been invited to restart full inspections. Instead, the investigations into WMD are now carried out by the Iraq Survey Group. This group is made up of British and American experts. They are now examining sites across Iraq, as well as interviewing scientists, truck drivers and anyone else who they hope may lead them to hidden evidence of a weapons program.

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