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axis of evil' teaming up

  1. GEOSTRATEGY-DIRECT INTELLIGENCE BRIEF
    'Axis of evil' teaming up?
    U.S., UK concerned about N. Korea possibly selling missiles to Saddam

    Posted: February 13, 2003
    5:00 p.m. Eastern

    Britain and the United States are concerned that Iraq has secretly purchased intermediate-range missiles from North Korea, reports Geostrategy-Direct, the online intelligence newsletter.

    While neither London nor Washington has reported hard evidence of a North Korean missile sale to Baghdad, Western diplomatic sources said North Korea has intensified contacts with Iraq regarding military sales over the last 18 months.

    Pyongyang has discussed the sale of No-Dong intermediate-range missiles with other countries in the Middle East, including Egypt, Iran, Libya and Syria. The key concern is whether Iraq has already obtained such missiles from North Korea.

    "The question boils down to, has Iraq managed to smuggle one or several No-Dongs to Iraq," a diplomatic source said. "That could change the Iraqi threat from being regional to international."

    Both Britain and the United States have concluded that Iraq has limited missile capability. Intelligence reports assert that Iraq will not have intermediate-range capability before 2007.

    But a report on missile defense released last week by the British parliament's Select Committee on Defense warns that those assessments do not take into account the surprise of a No-Dong missile in Iraqi hands. The report, quoting a British Defense Ministry study, said North Korea seeks to sell No-Dong missiles to clients throughout the Middle East.

    Iraq "would probably not be able to produce a longer-range missile with a range of over 1,000 kilometers before 2007, and while such a missile could target British interests in Cyprus it could not be used against mainland UK," the House of Commons report said.

    "The MoD's analysis warns, however, that this prognosis could be rapidly invalidated were Iraq to acquire missiles or technology from North Korea," the report states.

    The British parliamentary report was issued after the committee returned from the United States for talks with the Bush administration on missile defense. The United States has asked London for use of the British air force base at Fylingdales for an early-warning radar to detect missile launches from Iran, Iraq or Libya. The committee said it supports the U.S. request.

    On Feb. 5, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell told the United Nations Security Council that Iraq has developed and produced medium-range missiles and is working on intermediate-range missiles. Powell said this includes the development of liquid-fuel missiles with a range of up to 1,200 kilometers.

    "While inspectors destroyed most of the prohibited ballistic missiles, numerous intelligence reports over the past decade from sources inside Iraq indicate that Saddam Hussein retains a covert force of up to a few dozen Scud-variant ballistic missiles," Powell said. "These are missiles with a range of 650 to 900 kilometers."

    "North Korea has the technology needed to develop ballistic missiles of intercontinental range," the report stated. "A particular cause for concern is the fact that North Korea appears to be willing to sell its missiles to any country prepared to pay for them. Were a country in the Middle East or North Africa to acquire a complete long-range ballistic missile system, a capability to target the UK accurately could emerge within the next few years."

    The report lists Iran, Iraq, Libya and Syria as possessing current or potential long-range missile capability. The committee warns that North Korea could become an imminent missile threat to Britain if Pyongyang successfully develops the Taepo Dong-2 missile with an estimated range of 8,600 kilometers.






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