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March 11, 2005
Saddam's Bribery

The London Telegraph reports that former UN weapons inspector Rolf Ekeus received and turned down a $2 million bribe offer from Saddam Hussein in the mid-1990s. Ekeus told Reuters that the bribe came through Tariq Aziz, who now sits in US and Iraqi custody awaiting trial for selling Iraqis out in a similar manner:

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. ...

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.

This, of course, represented the tip of the iceberg, as Nile Gardiner of the Heritage Foundation notes. Saddam's entire reign rested on bribes and kickbacks, especially during the sanctions years. Even if the Swedes didn't do business that way, the French, Germans, Russians, and many others stood ready to conduct business Saddam-style, as the Oil-For-Food program proved. Coincidentally or not, that corruption started in earnest after Ekeus' departure from the scene.

This brings up another, more serious question. If Saddam didn't have the WMD ... why did Tariq Aziz offer Ekeus $2 million for a clean bill of health? Wouldn't just have been easier to produce the documentation demonstrating his innocence or allow for complete inspections, as the UN demanded?

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at March 11, 2005 9:05 PM

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» Only Two Million Dollars? from Shane Raynor
Captain Ed wonders why Iraq tried to bribe the chief UN weapons inspector in the mid 1990's if it didn't have anything to hide. I wonder why Saddam was such a cheapskate. Two million bucks to bribe a UN official [Read More]

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So Saddam wasn't so clean about the state of his weapons programs after all. Saddam & his band of thugs attempted to bribe a UN weapons inspector by dangling $2 million to doctor WMD reports. [Read More]

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Here's what I Ripped and Read in my Podcast today: Neither Saddam nor anyone else can therefore be surprised that the international community decided to call the former Iraqi Ba'athist regime on that bluff. Captain Ed at The Captains Quarte... [Read More]

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