CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Showdown Iraq: Interview With Tim Trevan
Aired November 11, 2002 - 12:17 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CAROL LIN, CNN ANCHOR: Assuming everything does go as planned and on schedule, the U.N. weapons inspectors are allowed back into Baghdad, what kind of cooperation can they really expect?
Well, for our "One-on-One" segment, we're joined by Tem Trevan, a former weapons inspector.
Good afternoon, Tim -- thanks for being here.
TIM TREVAN, AUTHOR, "SADDAM'S SECRETS": Good afternoon.
LIN: You know what it's like to be there. You know the sorts of stalling tactics that the Iraqis have used in the past. And yet, the tone seems to be very different revolving out of Baghdad. All expectations are, is that Iraq will agree to these very tough terms by the U.N. resolution. Do you think that they're up to the task, and they're going to live up to their promise?
TREVAN: Well, the history is that Iraq always agrees to terms when its back is really against the wall, and thereafter, tries to backslide. I think the first real test is going to be the declarations, which are due 30 days after the resolution was adopted. That's December 8.
LIN: Which they have to -- they have to detail, right? Their stocks of weapons?
TREVAN: And they have to detail -- exactly. The current stocks of weapons and the past programs, and that will be a real test, because the experts in the IAEA and UNMOVIC will be pouring through those very carefully to see whether all of the unaccounted-for items are accounted for in these new declarations, and whether there are any surprises that they didn't know about.
LIN: But you've got this massive troop buildup. There's construction going on in Kuwait for a big military operation. It's very clear that the United States and, in fact, united with the U.N. Security Council, will back this resolution with its full force. What's in it for Saddam Hussein?
TREVAN: Well, what's in it for him is, if he complies, then all the wind is taken out of the sails for war, because he will have done what the U.N. has asked him to do. And then, sanctions should be lifted, and he should be -- Iraq should be brought back into the international community.
However, past history shows that he's unlikely to actually comply, and he's probably likely to seek to appear to be complying, while actually backsliding as much as he can.
LIN: All right, in this pile of paperwork that they're going to be getting, in theory, once the Iraqis accept this resolution, how is it that they can try to dodge and hide what they actually have? Because the U.N. inspectors have detailed notes of what it is that they had, and what it is that they're looking for.
TREVAN: Yes, the main things they're looking for is a full account of the VX program -- VX is a nerve agent program, a chemical weapon -- and of the biological weapons program. But the problem is, it can boil down to the situation where it's simply the inspectors' word from their analysis vs. the Iraqi word that, no, we got rid of everything, but we can't prove it.
LIN: There will be some battle of words developing over the paperwork and the inspectors haven't even hit the ground yet.
TREVAN: Exactly. And so, it can boil down to a discussion in the Council of, well, Iraq hasn't been proven guilty vs. well, Iraq hasn't proven itself innocent. And I would imagine that shortly after December 8, there's going to be a debate in the Council on the inspectors' analysis of the declarations, before we even get into the inspections.
LIN: Let's say, they do get to the inspections, and they actually hit the ground. What are the kinds of stalling tactics that you've seen in the past?
TREVAN: Well, certainly, the first thing is, the Iraqis will try to do is to assess from whose on the inspection team what they're looking for and where they're going to go. And then, try and sanitize those sites before anyone gets there.
LIN: How do they sanitize it?
TREVAN: Move things out, scrub them clean.
LIN: But aren't there traces of elements still there?
TREVAN: Well, for example, one of the machines used in the biological weapons program had been scoured, cleaned, before the inspectors arrived once. So, there were no traces left of anything that had being done inside that machine.
LIN: You're not very optimistic, are you, that this is going to work?
TREVAN: I believe technically, the inspectors are up against an incredibly difficult task this time out, because whatever Iraq has bought since the Gulf War has been from suppliers who know what they've been doing is illegal. So, they're not going to cooperate with the inspectors. That had been one of our biggest sources of information in the past -- the cooperation of suppliers.
LIN: All right, well, hence, we're seeing this big troop buildup in the Gulf region, as many as 250,000, and a possible war in February if this doesn't resolve itself.
LIN: Thank you very much, Tim Trevan. Let's hope for the best, though, in the meantime.
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