Lead Iraq Weapons Seeker ‘To Quit’

The man leading the US hunt for biological, chemical and nuclear weapons in Iraq is to resign, according to reports. The loss of David Kay is being interpreted by many analysts as signalling the end of the major effort to discover any hidden weapons.

A number of observers now believe it is unlikely that any weapons of mass destruction (WMD) existed. However, officials from the US administration maintain that if Kay does leave, it would have no impact on the ongoing work of the Iraq Study Group he heads.

According to The Washington Post, Kay has told administration officials that he plans to leave before the completion of the ISG’s final report, expected in autumn 2004. He may even leave before the next interim report in February.

Kay has cited personal reasons for resigning, the paper says. But in recent weeks he has softened his line on the probability of finding banned WMD. He is said to be frustrated that some of the ISG’s 1400 staff were reallocated to counter-insurgency duties in Iraq in October.
Paul Rogers, at the Department of Peace Studies at Bradford University, UK, thinks Kay’s planned departure is significant: “My reading is that it’s a serious part of downgrading the whole procedure. I think it’s highly unlikely that anything will be found.”

Shifting Stance
Soil Samples
Courtesy Josh Kirby