Powell to present biological weapons photographs to U.N.

Tuesday, February 4, 2003

WASHINGTON -- Secretary of State Colin Powell will present photographs of mobile biological weapons installations and transcripts of overheard Iraqi conversations to convince allies that Saddam Hussein has potent arsenals in defiance of U.N. disarmament demands, an administration official said Monday.

Powell sifted through classified U.S. intelligence on Monday to choose what he will make public on Wednesday to the U.N. Security Council. He is expected to display the photographs and refer to transcripts, an official told The Associated Press.

The chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., said he expected the evidence to show details of a transfer of technology from other countries and the relocation of weapons systems within Iraq.

"He can go into a level of detail with respect to the present maintenance of the stock that he hasn't gone into before," Hunter said in an interview.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain rallied anew to support the United States. "Show weakness now and no one will ever believe us when we try to show strength in the future," he said.

As the administration sought to expand its network of potential coalition partners, Powell met with the king of Bahrain, Sheik Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa, who then called on Vice President Dick Cheney and planned to see President Bush at the White House.

Bahrain, which provides a base for the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet, was the target of long-range Scud missiles fired by Iraq in the 1991 Gulf War that reversed Iraq's annexation of Kuwait. Pro-government newspapers reported Sunday that the Arab nation was deploying Patriot missile batteries to counter any possible long-range missile threats.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said in Moscow there was no need for another Security Council resolution on Iraq but he would not rule one out -- as Bush said he was not doing, either.

"The inspectors need to tell us what more they need from Iraq, what else can be demanded of Iraq so their works could be more effective," Putin said.

His statement suggested that Russia could be imposing more pressure on Baghdad, even though it favors a political solution.

Russia and France, both of whom have veto power in the Security Council, are prime targets for Powell, who said in an article published Monday by The Wall Street Journal that "we will not shrink from war if that is the only way to rid Iraq of its weapons of mass destruction."

Defiant Iraq

From Baghdad, though, came another rhetorical blast of defiance. Parliament speaker Saadoun Hammadi told a group of European legislators, "American aggression will end up in a catastrophe for them. They will incur casualties beyond their imagination."

Bush again took the measure of Saddam's "brutal regime."

"If the dictator does not disarm, if he doesn't get rid of his weapons of mass destruction, then the United States will lead a coalition to disarm him," Bush said, repeating an oft-made threat.

At the Pentagon, a defense official said a fourth Navy aircraft carrier would be sent to the Persian Gulf. The USS Theodore Roosevelt, was likely to head toward the Gulf within several days, the official said.

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