Friday, August 26, 2016

1st Crack In Sec of State Powell’s 2003 UN Presentation On Iraq

(National Security Archive)
On February 5, 2003 Secretary of State Colin Powell made his famous presentation to the United Nations Security Council laying out the U.S. case against Iraq. Powell had been the main advocate within the Bush administration to go to the international body to build up support for the United States’ Iraq strategy.

One section of Powell’s speech focused upon Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and his cooperation with the Kurdish Salafi group Ansar al-Islam. Powell claimed that Zarqawi was working with Ansar at a camp in Iraq’s Kurdistan to develop poison. Powell showed a satellite picture of the base in Khurmal. The problem was that Ansar didn’t run that camp. It was under a group called Komaleh Islami, which had ties with the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK). While it would take months to discredit Powell’s presentation after the invasion of Iraq, this part of his claims was questioned the day he appeared at the U.N. It foreshadowed the faulty intelligence that so much of the American case against Saddam was based upon.


Chivers, C.J. “Kurds Puzzled by Report of Terror Camp,” New York Times, 2/6/03

International Crisis Group, “Radical Islam In Iraqi Kurdistan: The Mouse That Roared,” 2/7/03

McGeary, Johanna, “Dissecting The Case,” Time, 2/10/03

Powell, Colin, “A Policy of Evasion and Deception,” United Nations, 2/5/03

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