Saddam Tried to Bribe WMD Inspectors

A report in the London Telegraph says that Saddam Hussein offered a $2 million bribe to UN weapons inspectors to falsify their reports on his WMD programs. Rather odd given that, as everyone knows, Saddam had no interest in WMDs and the U.S. only invaded because of the o-i-i-i-i-l.

Saddam’s $2m offer to WMD inspector

Saddam Hussein’s regime offered a $2 million (£1.4 million) bribe to the United Nations’ chief weapons inspector to doctor his reports on the search for weapons of mass destruction. Rolf Ekeus, the Swede who led the UN’s efforts to track down the weapons from 1991 to 1997, said that the offer came from Tariq Aziz, Saddam’s foreign minister and deputy. Mr Ekeus told Reuters news agency that he had passed the information to the Volcker Commission. “I told the Volcker people that Tariq [Aziz] said a couple of million was there if we report right. My answer was, ‘That is not the way we do business in Sweden.’ ”

A clean report from Mr Ekeus’s inspectors would have been vital in lifting sanctions against Saddam’s regime. But the inspectors never established what had happened to the regime’s illicit weapons and never gave Iraq a clean bill of health.

The news that Iraq attempted to bribe a top UN official is a key piece of evidence for investigators into the scandal surrounding the oil-for-food programme. It proves that Iraq was offering huge sums of cash to influential foreigners in return for political favours.

And not everyone involved was from Sweden.

FILED UNDER: Iraq War, United Nations
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. kenny says:

    Did anyone actually claim that saddam had “no interest” in WMDS after 1991 ?

    The fact is that saddam had no capability.
    Which is a big difference.

  2. likwidshoe says:

    What do you mean “Saddam had no capability [of WMDs]” kenny? He was bribing and paying off the UN inspectors. Why would he bribe the UN inspectors and UN officials if he “had no capability”? He had scientists under his belt. He had the cooperation of neighbor countries. And we all know his history.

  3. Clint Lovell says:

    I gather we are supposed to be surprised by this revelation?

    The only thing that would surprise me out of this whole sorry mess is that if it turns out Kofi didn’t personally take money from the Saddamizer.

    His kid traded on his name and position and now we find out his nephew did too.

    When are we going to say enough is enough and kick these leeches out of our country and out of our lives forever?

  4. kenny says:

    What do you mean “Saddam had no capability [of WMDs]”

    What i meant was that Saddam had,post 1991, no capability to produce WMD’s. He had an interest in producing them (thus the claimed bribes) but no means of doing so.
    I was commenting on james comment about “as everyone knows, Saddam had no interest in WMDs and the U.S. only invaded because of the o-i-i-i-i-l.”
    as I don’t believe anyone ever claimed that saddam didn’t want to (re)acquire wmds.

  5. Daniel says:

    One of the main problems here is that people still misunderstand the term “WMD”, which was a deliberate ploy by Dubyah to overemphesize Saddam’s abilities.

    The fact is that the weapons inspections DID work, and they worked precisely because the inspectors were allowed to do their jobs. Not by Saddam, of course, but by the UN Security Council.

    The argument was never “Did Saddam ONCE have weapons that could hurt people” but “Is Saddam an immediate threat to our country or allies?” and of course, the answer was no.

    The answer was no because the weapons he DID have were destroyed and we know he had no factories to produce new ones. People are very ignorant about weapons and how they’re produced and assume that EVERY country has the same facilities that we do, for some strange reason. The fact that Condi Rice could speak about a smoking gun being a nuclear cloud over NY should have made EVERY American do the same thing that I did- immediately go “WHAT? How would he deliver a payload? What a crock.” But people think that missles all have 20,000 mile ranges, apparently.

    1500+ soldiers died under the guise of stopping Saddam from doing us harm, even though we knew for a fact that he could not do any.

    Even if it WASN’T oil, shouldn’t that piss a few people off? How do you Bush supporters that supposedly support our troops sleep at night knowing that you were lied to and yet you voted him in again?

    I guess it doesn’t matter what you DO as long as you tell the American people that you’re a swell guy.

  6. zz says:

    The containment policy was a failure because it was destined to put the US in harms way indefinitely. What is the probablity of 9/11 occurring if the US had simply walked away from containment and allowed Saddam to run amok in the ME during the 90s? It’s significantly lower. Whether you like it to admit it or not, containment policies are intimately intertwined with al Qaeda’s grievances against the US, regardless of whether Saddam provided any sort of aid to al Qaeda. Sure containment kept Saddam at bay, but a containment policy that leads to over 3000 dead Americans over the course of a decade as a side effect is a failed containment policy. A containment policy ought to have an order of magnitude fewer casualties than a regime change policy, and at the rate we are going, we will certainly meet that criteria.

  7. Hal says:

    Right. . . A guy with a third rate army who was barely able to keep Iran off his butt and had is ass soundly kicked in Kuwait and who’s straight in the cross hairs of Israel was a major threat to the US because he was trying to bribe people to get the UN off his back.

    I swear y’all are raving paranoid lunatics.

  8. likwidshoe says:

    Hal spits out, “I swear y’all are raving paranoid lunatics.”

    So what are you saying? That Saddam wasn’t a threat? Excuse me for suggesting that you’re a little insane for suggesting that.