BAGHDAD – Concerns are growing that high-precision equipment in Iraq that could be used to make nuclear weapons has been "systematically" disappearing, and may present a new proliferation risk.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has told the UN Security Council of the "widespread and apparently systematic dismantlement" of buildings in Iraq that once housed key dual-use items. Because UN inspectors have been all but barred from Iraq since March 2003, they must rely primarily on satellite imagery to track the missing equipment
Among them are precision milling and turning machines and electron-beam welders that before the war were tagged with IAEA seals and monitored to ensure that they were not used for an illicit weapons program.
Analysts say the missing equipment could be useful to a nation or terrorist group bent on building a nuclear bomb. The fact that it's now unaccounted for also raises questions about the quality of protection of such sensitive sites by US-led forces in Iraq.
Now clearly the invasion of Iraq has been a strategic failure.