Scott Ritter: If Israel uses nuclear weapons it will be destroyed
The former chief UN weapons inspector made his comments in a “Globes” interview.
By Gil Tamari, Washington
Former chief UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter sharply criticized US President George W. Bush’s intention to attack Iraq. “I don’t fear Iraq, but I fear US policy toward Iraq,” said Ritter in an interview that will be published in the upcoming “Globes” weekend supplement.
“Saddam Hussein does not constitute a threat to our [US] national security. He is a terrible man, a brutal dictator who represses his people, but that is not a sufficient reason to sacrifice the lives of American soldiers. Until we have proof that Saddam is threatening US national security, there should be no talk of war.”
Ritter says the talk about a possible Israeli retaliation with non-conventional weapons was very dangerous, and the use of such weapons could lead to Israel’s destruction. “There is no better way to ensure Israel’s destruction than its use ! of nucle ar weapons,” said Ritter.
“The moment Israel uses its nuclear card, Arab countries will not stop until they get the Bomb and drop it on Israel. If you think a nuclear bomb on Baghdad will prevent Iran from dropping a nuclear bomb on Tel Aviv, you’d better think again.”
Ritter believes that the way to prevent Iraq from getting weapons of mass destruction is through an effective inspections regime and not regime change.
Commenting on Israel’s concerns about an Iraqi attack, Ritter said, “The idea that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction and would use them against Israel has been disproved. Israel knows exactly the degree to which Iraq’s arms have been dismantled. Israeli intelligence estimated in 1998 that Iraq had no more weapons of mass destruction and that the arms inspection regime was an effective tool.
“Even Israel ought to prefer that inspectors return to Iraq, so that weapons will continue to be dismantled. Dismantlement serves Israel’s security interests far more than war. Such a war would be the first step in US aggression that will ignite instability throughout the Middle East. There is no greater threat to Israel than regional instability, which would bring Islamic fundamentalism to power in moderate countries.”
Ritter attaches great importance to Friday’s UN Security Council resolution. “It makes it clear to Iraq that the international community is united in its demand to allow inspectors to return.” However, Ritter says, “I am bothered by the US interpretation of the resolution. I am convinced that the Bush administration is determined on regime change in Iraq, and they see the Security Council resolution as a tool that will lead to a military blow. I fear that the administration will use the inspectors as an excuse to go to war.”
It should be pointed out that Scott Ritter acknowledged, in an interview with CNN on September 13 this ! year, th at he received $400,000 in funding from a US citizen of Iraqi origin for a documentary film he made about Iraq. Allegations have been brought that the provider of the finance for the film is a Saddam Hussein sympathizer. Ritter himself denies any link between the financing of the film and Saddam Hussein.
Published by Globes [online] - on November 10, 2002