Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Mohamed El Baradei Returns to Iraq

IAEA head returns to complete his mission, which had been so rudely interrupted by Bush's bombs:

Agence France-Presse quotes ElBaradei as saying the IAEA's return "is an absolute necessity, not to search for weapons of mass destruction, but to draft the final report on the absence of WMDs in Iraq so that the international community can lift the [remaining] sanctions on Iraq." The director general also stated that inspectors "will complete the mission [the UN had] assigned to them before the invasion."

But what's this?  Remember reports earlier this month concerning the removal of uranium from Iraq by the US of A?  Looks like that action may have violated international law:

Questions have also been raised about the legality of last month's transfer of low-grade uranium and other radioactive materials, airlifted from Iraq to the United States.

Confirming the transfer in a July 6 statement, the US Department of Energy asserted the mission was "consistent with [US] authorities and relevant United Nations Security Council Resolutions."

However, the Associated Press reports that an unnamed UN official questioned the legality of the move, saying the nuclear material belonged to Iraq and was under the control and supervision of the IAEA. The United States did not notify the UN Agency of the transfer until June 30, after the joint effort between the US departments of Defense and Energy was completed and the materials secured at undisclosed locations in the United States.

''The American authorities just informed us of their intention to remove the materials, but they never sought authorization from us,'' IAEA official Gustavo Zlauvinen told the AP. 

IRAQ UPDATE:  Saddam's lawyers say that their client has suffered a stroke:

"Our information is that he's in very poor health. We understand from the International Committee of the Red Cross that our client has had a brain scan to discover how badly he has been affected by the stroke. We believe he could die because of his health problems."

Who knows if this is true.  Ahmed Chalabi's nephew Salem has not allowed Saddam's lawyers to visit him, so perhaps they hope some additional attention will help them to gain access to their client.  I can think of at least one president and one prime minister who may hope that Saddam never has his day in court.