06 May 2002
Text: Libya, Syria, Cuba Need Scrutiny for Weapons Programs, U.S. Says
(State's Bolton addresses WMD threats at Heritage Foundation) (4220)
In addition to North Korea, Iraq and Iran -- President Bush's "axis of
evil," Libya, Syria and Cuba are states that also must be scrutinized
for programs of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), the State
Department's top arms control and nonproliferation official says.
Speaking at the Heritage Foundation in Washington May 6, John Bolton
said the United States needs to look beyond a country's "formal
subscription to international counterterrorism conventions or its
membership in multilateral regimes" in defending itself against the
WMD threat. The under secretary of state for arms control and
international security, Bolton said this is one of four fundamental
conclusions that must be made in light of today's changed security
The other three conclusions are that the United States must:
-- Keep WMD out of terrorist hands
-- Support international dialogue on weapons of mass destruction and
encouraging countries to educate their publics about the WMD threat.
-- Continue to exercise strong leadership in multilateral forums and
taking whatever steps are necessary to protect and defend our
interests and eliminate the terrorist threat.
Bolton noted the problems caused by the noncompliance of Iraq, North
Korea and Iran with international agreements designed to prevent the
development and spread of WMD programs and the means to deliver them.
But he also singled out Libya, Syria and Cuba for special mention.
Libya, Bolton said, continues its longstanding pursuit of nuclear
weapons and its biological warfare program, as well as its goal of
reestablishing its offensive chemical weapons ability. Libya also
continues to pursue equipment, materials, technology and expertise for
ballistic missiles from foreign sources, he said.
Syria not only has a chemical weapons program, but also is pursuing
the development of biological weapons and has missiles and a
missile-development program, Bolton said.
As for Cuba, the United States believes it has "at least a limited
offensive biological warfare research-and-development effort," Bolton
said. Cuba has also provided dual-use technology to other rogue states
that could support biological warfare programs, he said.
Following is the text of Bolton's speech, as prepared for delivery:
Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security
John R. Bolton
The Heritage Foundation
May 6, 2002
Beyond the Axis of Evil: Additional Threats from Weapons of Mass
Thank you for asking me here to the Heritage Foundation. I'm pleased
to be able to speak to you today about the Bush Administration's
efforts to combat the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
The spread of weapons of mass destruction to state sponsors of
terrorism and terrorist groups is, in my estimation, the gravest
security threat we now face. States engaging in this behavior -- some
of them parties to international treaties prohibiting such activities
-- must be held accountable, and must know that only by renouncing
terrorism and verifiably forsaking WMD can they rejoin the community
The New Security Environment
Eight months into the war on terror, the United States and its
partners have made great strides. We have helped the Afghan people
overthrow an oppressive, terrorist-harboring regime in Afghanistan,
foiled terrorist plots in places such as Germany, Yemen, Spain and
Singapore, and stanched the flow of funds that allowed al-Qaida's
schemes to come to fruition. We have captured the number-three man in
al-Qaida, and will bring him to justice. And this is just the
The attacks of September 11 reinforced with blinding clarity the need
to be steadfast in the face of emerging threats to our security. The
international security environment has changed, and our greatest
threat comes not from the specter of nuclear war between two
superpowers, as it did during the Cold War, but from transnational
terrorist cells that will strike without warning using weapons of mass
destruction. Every nation -- not just the United States -- has had to
reassess its security situation, and to decide where it stands on the
war on terrorism.
In the context of this new international security situation, we are
working hard to create a comprehensive security strategy with Russia,
a plan President Bush calls the New Strategic Framework. The New
Strategic Framework involves reducing offensive nuclear weapons,
creating limited defensive systems that deter the threat of missile
attacks, strengthening nonproliferation and counterproliferation
measures, and cooperating with Russia to combat terrorism. It is based
on the premise that the more cooperative, post-Cold War relationship
between Russia and the United States makes new approaches to these
Accordingly, President Bush has announced that the United States will
reduce its strategic nuclear force to a total of between 1,700 and
2,200 operationally deployed strategic nuclear warheads over the next
ten years. President Putin has made a similarly bold and historic
decision with respect to Russian strategic nuclear forces.
In preparation for the summit meeting in Moscow and St. Petersburg
later this month, we have been working closely with the Russians to
embody the reductions in offensive warheads into a legally binding
document that will outlast the administrations of both presidents. We
are also working to draft a political declaration on the New Strategic
Framework that would cover the issues of strategic offensive and
defensive systems, nonproliferation and counterproliferation. We are
optimistic that we will have agreement in time for the summit in
Moscow, May 23rd to 25th.
Strengthening the U.S.-Russian relationship has been a priority of the
Bush Administration, even prior to the September 11 attacks. In the
current security climate, cooperation with Russia becomes even more
important, so that we can work together to combat terrorism and the
spread of weapons of mass destruction, which threaten both our
Preventing Terrorism's Next Wave
President Bush believes it is critical not to underestimate the threat
from terrorist groups and rogue states intent on obtaining weapons of
mass destruction. As he said on the six-month anniversary of the
attacks, "Every nation in our coalition must take seriously the
growing threat of terror on a catastrophic scale -- terror armed with
biological, chemical, or nuclear weapons." We must not doubt for a
moment the possible catastrophic consequences of terrorists or their
rogue state sponsors who are willing to use disease as a weapon to
spread chemical agents to inflict pain and death, or to send
suicide-bound adherents armed with radiological weapons on missions of
Every nation must commit itself to preventing the acquisition of such
weapons by state sponsors of terrorism or terrorist groups. As
President Bush said: "Our lives, our way of life, and our every hope
for the world depend on a single commitment: The authors of mass
murder must be defeated, and never allowed to gain or use the weapons
of mass destruction." To this end, we use a variety of methods to
combat the spread of weapons of mass destruction, including export
controls, missile defense, arms control, nonproliferation and
In the past, the United States relied principally on passive measures
to stem proliferation. Arms control and nonproliferation regimes,
export controls, and diplomatic overtures were the primary tools used
in this fight. But September 11th, the subsequent anthrax attacks, and
our discoveries regarding al-Qaida and its WMD aspirations has
required the U.S to complement these more traditional strategies with
a new approach. The Bush Administration is committed to combating the
spread of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons, missiles, and
related equipment, and is determined to prevent the use of these
deadly weapons against our citizens, troops, allies, and friends.
While diplomatic efforts and multilateral regimes will remain
important to our efforts, we also intend to complement this approach
with other measures, as we work both in concert with likeminded
nations, and on our own, to prevent terrorists and terrorist regimes
from acquiring or using WMD.
In the past, we looked at proliferation and terrorism as entirely
separate issues. As Secretary Powell said in his Senate testimony
April 24, "There are terrorists in the world who would like nothing
better than to get their hands on and use nuclear, chemical or
biological weapons. So there is a definite link between terrorism and
WMD. Not to recognize that link would be foolhardy to the extreme."
America is determined to prevent the next wave of terror. States that
sponsor terror and pursue WMD must stop. States that renounce terror
and abandon WMD can become part of our effort. But those that do not
can expect to become our targets. This means directing firm
international condemnation toward states that shelter -- and in some
cases directly sponsor -- terrorists within their borders. It means
uncovering their activities that may be in violation of international
treaties. It means having a direct dialogue with the rest of the world
about what is at stake. It means taking action against proliferators,
middlemen, and weapons brokers, by exposing them, sanctioning their
behavior, and working with other countries to prosecute them or
otherwise bring a halt to their activities. It means taking
law-enforcement action against suspect shipments, front companies, and
financial institutions that launder proliferator's funds. And it
requires, above all, effective use, improvement, and enforcement of
the multilateral tools at our disposal -- both arms control and
nonproliferation treaties and export control regimes.
The Problem of Noncompliance
Multilateral agreements are important to our nonproliferation arsenal.
This administration strongly supports treaties such as the Treaty on
the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), the Chemical Weapons
Convention [CWC], and the Biological Weapons Convention. But in order
to be effective and provide the assurances they are designed to bring,
they must be carefully and universally adhered to by all signatories.
Therefore, strict compliance with existing treaties remains a major
goal of our arms control policy.
This has been our aim in particular with the Biological Weapons
Convention (BWC). In 1969, President Nixon announced that the United
States would unilaterally renounce biological weapons. The U.S.
example was soon followed by other countries, and by 1972 the BWC was
opened for signature. This international treaty, to which more than
140 countries are parties, prohibits the development, production,
stockpiling, acquisition or retention of biological and toxin weapons.
While the vast majority of the BWC's parties have conscientiously met
their commitments, the United States is extremely concerned that
several states are conducting offensive biological weapons programs
while publicly avowing compliance with the agreement. To expose some
of these violators to the international community, last November, I
named publicly several states the U.S. government knows to be
producing biological warfare agents in violation of the BWC.
Foremost is Iraq. Although it became a signatory to the BWC in 1972
and became a State Party in 1991, Iraq has developed, produced, and
stockpiled biological warfare agents and weapons. The United States
strongly suspects that Iraq has taken advantage of more than three
years of no U.N. inspections to improve all phases of its offensive BW
[biological weapons] program. Iraq also has developed, produced, and
stockpiled chemical weapons, and shown a continuing interest in
developing nuclear weapons and longer-range missiles.
Next is North Korea. North Korea has a dedicated, national-level
effort to achieve a BW capability and has developed and produced, and
may have weaponized, BW agents in violation of the Convention. Despite
the fact that its citizens are starving, the leadership in Pyongyang
has spent large sums of money to acquire the resources, including a
biotechnology infrastructure, capable of producing infectious agents,
toxins, and other crude biological weapons. It likely has the
capability to produce sufficient quantities of biological agents for
military purposes within weeks of deciding to do so, and has a variety
of means at its disposal for delivering these deadly weapons.
In January, I also named North Korea and Iraq for their covert nuclear
weapons programs, in violation of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.
This year, North Korea did not meet congressional certification
requirements because of its continued lack of cooperation with the
International Atomic Energy Agency, its failure to make any progress
toward implementing the North-South Joint Denuclearization Declaration
as called for under the Agreed Framework, and for proliferating
long-range ballistic missiles. Finally, we believe that North Korea
has a sizeable stockpile of chemical weapons [CW], and can manufacture
all manner of CW agents.
Then comes Iran. Iran's biological weapons program began during the
Iran-Iraq war, and accelerated after Tehran learned how far along
Saddam Hussein had progressed in his own program. The Iranians have
all of the necessary pharmaceutical expertise, as well as the
commercial infrastructure needed to produce -- and hide -- a
biological warfare program. The United States believes Iran probably
has produced and weaponized BW agents in violation of the Convention.
Again, Iran's BW program is complemented by an even more aggressive
chemical warfare program, Iran's ongoing interest in nuclear weapons,
and its aggressive ballistic missile research, development, and flight
President Bush named these three countries in his State of the Union
address earlier this year as the world's most dangerous proliferators.
"States like these, and their terrorist allies," he said, "constitute
an axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world. By seeking
weapons of mass destruction, these regimes pose a grave and growing
Beyond the axis of evil, there are other rogue states intent on
acquiring weapons of mass destruction -- particularly biological
weapons. Given our vulnerability to attack from biological agents, as
evidenced recently in the anthrax releases, it is important to
carefully assess and respond to potential proliferators. Today, I want
to discuss three other state sponsors of terrorism that are pursuing
or who have the potential to pursue weapons of mass destruction or
have the capability to do so in violation of their treaty obligations.
While we will continue to use diplomatic efforts and multilateral
regimes with these countries, it is important to review the challenges
we face and to underline the issues that these states must address. As
the president has said, "America will do what is necessary to ensure
our nation's security. We'll be deliberate. Yet time is not on our
side. I will not wait on events while dangers gather. I will not stand
by as peril draws closer and closer."
First, Libya. There is no doubt that Libya continues its longstanding
pursuit of nuclear weapons. We believe that since the suspension of
U.N. sanctions against Libya in 1999, Libya has been able to increase
its access to dual-use nuclear technologies. Although Libya would need
significant foreign assistance to acquire a nuclear weapon, Tripoli's
nuclear infrastructure enhancement remains of concern. Qaddafi hinted
at this in a recent (25 March) interview with Al-Jazirah when he said,
"We demanded the dismantling of the weapons of mass destruction that
the Israelis have; we must continue to demand that. Otherwise, the
Arabs will have the right to possess that weapon."
Among its weapons of mass destruction programs, Libya -- which is not
a party to the CWC -- continues its goal of reestablishing its
offensive chemical weapons ability, as well as pursuing an indigenous
chemical warfare production capability. Libya has produced at least
100 tons of different kinds of chemical weapons, using its Rabta
facility. That facility closed down after it was subject to media
scrutiny, but then re-opened as a pharmaceutical plant in 1995.
Although production of chemical agents reportedly has been halted, CW
production at Rabta cannot be ruled out. It remains heavily dependent
on foreign suppliers for precursor chemicals, technical expertise, and
other key chemical warfare-related equipment. Following the suspension
of U.N. sanctions in April 1999, Libya has reestablished contacts with
illicit foreign sources of expertise, parts, and precursor chemicals
in the Middle East, Asia, and Western Europe.
Conversely, Libya has publicly indicated its intent to join the CWC.
While our perceptions of Libya would not change overnight, such a move
could be positive. Under the CWC, Libya would be required to declare
and destroy all chemical weapons production facilities and stockpiles,
make declarations about any dual-use chemical industry, undertake not
to research or produce any chemical weapons, and not to export certain
chemicals to countries that have not signed the CWC. Libya would also
be subject to challenge inspections of any facility, declared or not.
Significantly for predictive purposes, Libya became a State Party to
the BWC in January 1982, but the U.S. believes that Libya has
continued its biological warfare program. Although its program is in
the research-and-development stage, Libya may be capable of producing
small quantities of biological agent. Libya's BW program has been
hindered, in part, by the country's poor scientific and technological
base, equipment shortages, and a lack of skilled personnel, as well as
by U.N. sanctions in place from 1992 to 1999.
Libya is also continuing its efforts to obtain ballistic
missile-related equipment, materials, technology, and expertise from
foreign sources. Outside assistance -- particularly Serbian, Indian,
North Korean, and Chinese -- is critical to its ballistic missile
development programs, and the suspension of U.N. sanctions in 1999 has
allowed Tripoli to expand its procurement effort. Libya's current
capability probably remains limited to its Scud B missiles, but with
continued foreign assistance it may achieve an MRBM [medium-range
ballistic missile] capability -- a long desired goal -- or
extended-range Scud capability.
Although Libya is one of seven countries on the State Department's
list of state sponsors of terror (1) the U.S. has noted recent
positive steps by the Libyan government that we hope indicate that
Tripoli wishes to rejoin the community of civilized states. In 1999,
Libya turned over two Libyans wanted in connection with the bombing of
Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, for trial in the
Netherlands. In 2001, it condemned the September 11 attacks publicly
and signed the 12 terrorist conventions listed in U.N. Security
Council Resolution 1273. And, as I have already mentioned, Libya has
also announced its intention to accede to CWC.
However, as I have also said, words are not enough. The key is to see
clear, hard evidence that Libya will, in fact, live up to the public
standards it has set for itself. Libya can make a positive gesture in
this regard by fulfilling its obligations under WMD treaties and
becoming a party to the CWC. Moreover, Libya must honor the relevant
U.N. Security Council Resolutions relating to the resolution of Pan Am
103, arguably the worst air terrorist disaster prior to September 11.
Libya has yet to comply fully with these resolutions, which include
accepting responsibility and paying compensation. It is past time that
Libya did this.
The United States also knows that Syria has long had a chemical
warfare program. It has a stockpile of the nerve agent sarin and is
engaged in research and development of the more toxic and persistent
nerve agent VX. Although Damascus currently is dependent on foreign
sources for key elements of its chemical warfare program, including
precursor chemicals and key production equipment, we are concerned
about Syrian advances in its indigenous CW infrastructure which would
significantly increase the independence of its CW program. We think
that Syria has a variety of aerial bombs and Scud warheads, which are
potential means of delivery of deadly agents capable of striking
Syria, which has signed but not ratified the BWC, is pursuing the
development of biological weapons and is able to produce at least
small amounts of biological warfare agents. While we believe Syria
would need foreign assistance to launch a large-scale biological
weapons program right now, it may obtain such assistance by the end of
Syria has a combined total of several hundred Scud B, Scud C and SS-21
SRBMs [short-range ballistic missiles], It is pursuing both solid- and
liquid-propellant missile programs and relies extensively on foreign
assistance in these endeavors. North Korean and Russian entities have
been involved in aiding Syria's ballistic missile development. All of
Syria's missiles are mobile and can reach much of Israel, Jordan, and
Turkey from launch sites well within the country.
In addition to Libya and Syria, there is a threat coming from another
BWC signatory, and one that lies just 90 miles from the U.S.
mainland-namely, Cuba. This totalitarian state has long been a
violator of human rights. The State Department said last year in its
Annual Report on Human Rights Practices that "the government continued
to violate systematically the fundamental civil and political rights
of its citizens. Citizens do not have the right to change their
government peacefully. Prisoners died in jail due to lack of medical
care. Members of the security forces and prison officials continued to
beat and otherwise abuse detainees and prisoners.... The government
denied its citizens the freedoms of speech, press, assembly and
Havana has long provided safe haven for terrorists, earning it a place
on the State Department's list of terrorist-sponsoring states. The
country is known to be harboring terrorists from Colombia, Spain, and
fugitives from the United States. We know that Cuba is collaborating
with other state sponsors of terror.
Castro has repeatedly denounced the U.S. war on terrorism. He
continues to view terror as a legitimate tactic to further
revolutionary objectives. Last year, Castro visited Iran, Syria and
Libya -- all designees on the same list of terrorist-sponsoring
states. At Tehran University, these were his words: "Iran and Cuba, in
cooperation with each other, can bring America to its knees. The U.S.
regime is very weak, and we are witnessing this weakness from close
But Cuba's threat to our security often has been underplayed. An
official U.S. government report in 1998 concluded that Cuba did not
represent a significant military threat to the United States or the
region. It went only so far as to say that, "Cuba has a limited
capacity to engage in some military and intelligence activities which
could pose a danger to U.S. citizens under some circumstances."
However, then-Secretary of Defense William Cohen tried to add some
balance to this report by expressing in the preface his serious
concerns about Cuba's intelligence activities against the United
States and its human rights practices. Most notably, he said, "I
remain concerned about Cuba's potential to develop and produce
biological agents, given its biotechnology infrastructure...."
Why was the 1998 report on Cuba so unbalanced? Why did it underplay
the threat Cuba posed to the United States? A major reason is Cuba's
aggressive intelligence operations against the United States, which
included recruiting the Defense Intelligence Agency's senior Cuba
analyst, Ana Belen Montes, to spy for Cuba. Montes not only had a hand
in drafting the 1998 Cuba report but also passed some of our most
sensitive information about Cuba back to Havana. Montes was arrested
last fall and pleaded guilty to espionage on March 19th.
For four decades Cuba has maintained a well-developed and
sophisticated biomedical industry, supported until 1990 by the Soviet
Union. This industry is one of the most advanced in Latin America, and
leads in the production of pharmaceuticals and vaccines that are sold
worldwide. Analysts and Cuban defectors have long cast suspicion on
the activities conducted in these biomedical facilities.
Here is what we now know: The United States believes that Cuba has at
least a limited offensive biological warfare research-and-development
effort. Cuba has provided dual-use biotechnology to other rogue
states. We are concerned that such technology could support BW
programs in those states. We call on Cuba to cease all BW-applicable
cooperation with rogue states and to fully comply with all of its
obligations under the Biological Weapons Convention.
America is leading in the fight to root out and destroy terror. Our
goals are to stop the development of weapons of mass destruction and
insure compliance with existing arms control and nonproliferation
treaties and commitments, which the Bush Administration strongly
supports, but experience has shown that treaties and agreements are an
insufficient check against state sponsors of terrorism. Noncompliance
can undermine the efficacy and legitimacy of these treaties and
regimes. After all, any nation ready to violate one agreement is
perfectly capable of violating another, denying its actual behavior
all the while.
And so I close with four fundamental conclusions. First, that global
terrorism has changed the nature of the threat we face. Keeping WMD
out of terrorist hands must be a core element of our nonproliferation
Second, the administration supports an international dialogue on
weapons of mass destruction and encourages countries to educate their
publics on the WMD threat. We must not shy away from truth-telling.
Third, the administration will not assume that because a country's
formal subscription to U.N. counterterrorism conventions or its
membership in multilateral regimes necessarily constitutes an accurate
reading of its intentions. We call on Libya, Cuba, and Syria to live
up to the agreements they have signed. We will watch closely their
actions, not simply listen to their words. Working with our allies, we
will expose those countries that do not live up to their commitments.
Finally, the United States will continue to exercise strong leadership
in multilateral forums and will take whatever steps are necessary to
protect and defend our interests and eliminate the terrorist threat.
(1) "Patterns of Global Terrorism 2000," U.S. Department of State,
April 30, 2001.
(Distributed by the Office of International Information Programs, U.S.
Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)
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