February 20, 1998
The Wisdom Fund

Iraq's Arsenal Dwarfed by Israel's
Weapons of Mass Destruction

WASHINGTON, DC -- "No other country is in the same league in military spending as the United States," reports the the Center for Defense Information. And based upon statistics provided by the CDI, no country in the Middle East has more weapons of mass destruction than Israel. And no other country in the world has escaped scrutiny of its nuclear arsenal as has Israel.

The U.S. $265 Billion military budget request for 1998 is five and one-half times that of the second largest spender, Russia. According to CDI: "It is nearly eighteen times as large as the combined spending of the seven countries often identified by the Pentagon as our most likely adversaries (North Korea, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Sudan and Cuba)", and the United States and its close allies spend far more than the rest of the world combined. They spend more than thirty-three times as much as the seven potential "enemies" combined!"

"For 45 years of the Cold War we were in an arms race with the Soviet Union. Now it appears we're in an arms race with ourselves," says Admiral Eugene Carroll, Jr., U.S. Navy (Ret.), Deputy Director CDI. The chart above, based upon the CDI data base, shows world military budgets. Expenditures are used in a few cases where official budgets are much lower than actual spending.

As for countries possessing nuclear weapons CDI estimates the following strategic and non-strategic weapons: China (434), France (482), India (60+?), Israel (100+?), Pakistan (15-25?), Russia (13,200-20,200), United Kingdom (200), United States (15,500). CDI takes these total figures from Leonard Spector, Tracking Nuclear Proliferation. Estimates of Israel's nuclear weapons by others are as high as 400 warheads. Reports have also surfaced that Israel is working jointly with the U.S. on a neutron bomb. Israel has not signed the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Iraq has, and there is no evidence that it has nuclear weapons.

CDI says, "The highly capable and well-equipped Israeli air force would more than suffice in the nuclear weapons delivery role, particularly with U.S.-supplied aircraft such as the F-4E and F-16. However, Israel has also produced ballistic missiles, against which its potential enemies have no defense. The Jericho I suffices for its immediate adversary of Syria, and the Jericho II brings the entire Middle East under Israel's range, particularly Iran. The Shavit space-launch booster could also be adapted to a long-range nuclear delivery role, and given the decision, Israel would be able to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile."

The U.N. inspectors in Iraq have found no evidence that Iraq has missiles with a capability greater than the 90 miles permitted by the Gulf War ceasfire agreement. At the CNN televised meeting in Columbus, Ohio on February 18, Secretary of State Madeleine Allbright stated, "UNSCOM has uncovered and destroyed more of those deadly weapons than were demolished during the entire Gulf War."

Secretary Allbright also said in Columbus, Iraq "has fired these missiles against four of his neighbors -- Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Iran and Israel." She is talking here of the scuds for which there is no evidence that any are left in Iraq's arsenal.

Defense Secretary William Cohen, holding up a picture taken of an Iraqi mother and child killed by Iraqi nerve gas stated: "This is what I would call Madonna and child Saddam Hussein-style." Has he forgotten the pictures of the charred remains of the women and children gassed and burned in Waco, Texas, by the U.S. government?

Has Secretary Cohen forgotten that the U.S. backed Iraq in its use of gas in the war with Iran? Robert Fisk, the British journalist who has covered the Middle East for years, wrote in the London based The Independent, February 13: "The French had sold Saddam Mirage jets. The Germans had provided him with the gas that had me almost wretching on the train from Ahwaz. The Americans had sold him helicopters for spraying crops with pesticide (the "crops", of course, being human beings). The British gave Saddam bailey bridges. And I later met the Cologne arms dealer who flew from the Pentagon to Baghdad with US satellite photos of the Iranian front lines - to help Saddam kill more Iranians."

As for Iraq's remaining chemical and biological weapons Alan P. Zelicoff, technical adviser to the U.S. delegation to the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention, states in The Washington Post, January 8, 1998, that inspections are "costly and probably self-deceptive" because "in just a few days or weeks, biological weapons can be manufactured in militarily significant quantities in a site no larger than a house." Furthermore, the U.S. itself has "advocated two useful measures for the BTWC: investigations if there are unusual outbreaks of disease (such as occurred in the Sverdlovsk anthrax outbreak of 1979) and similar on-site inspections if a party to the convention alleges that biological weapons have been used." If this is what the U.S. has advocated at the BTWC, why not apply this to Iraq?

Secretaries Allbright, Cohen, National Security Advisor Berger, and the media portray Israel as the helpless victim, and Iraq as a world threat. It is Israel's weapons of mass destruction that threaten the countries of the Middle East, and fuel the arms race. Israel's "1981 bombing of Iraq's Osirak nuclear research facility near Baghdad, . . . with U.S.-made warplanes and direct U.S. assistance helped radicalize Iraq," writes former U.S. Congressman Paul Findley in Deliberate Deceptions.

At the February 18 meeting in Columbus, CNN moderator Judy Woodruff said "former President Carter, was quoted yesterday as saying that up to a hundred thousand innocent Iraqi civilians could be killed." Will bombing Iraq help bring peace to the Middle East? We think not. A principled, honest assessment of the security needs of the entire Middle East region will move us in the right direction.

--- Israel's Secret Weapon, BBC Correspondent, March 17, 2003

back button