Jordanian role in Iraq arms 'ignored': Warning on weapons deal dismissed as 'irrelevant'
Wednesday 20 October 1993
The Scott inquiry heard yesterday how military intelligence and secret service reports dating back to 1985 warning that Jordan was helping Baghdad acquire military equipment in breach of United Nations sanctions were ignored by Foreign Office officials.
The officials successfully fought to keep Jordan's name off a 1991 government list to identify countries believed to be involved in the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
Simon Fuller, of the Foreign Office's Near East and North Africa department (Nenad), dismissed the reports as 'irrelevant'. He claimed that they failed to prove the Jordanian government 'irrefutably connived in or turned a blind eye to' the Iraqi diversions.
The intelligence reports described how Jordan acted as a 'front' for the Iraqi military procurement network. As many as 100 companies were set up in Jordan to buy defence equipment for Iraq which it was banned from buying direct. One document detailed 21 new contracts, the majority destined for Baghdad. Another reported Iraqi attempts to intimidate a Jordanian into purchasing spares for their air force.
Lord Justice Scott put it to Mr Fuller that the attitude of Nenad was to discount intelligence 'unless it was of a nature that practically found a smoking gun in hand'. Mr Fuller claimed that apart from two isolated cases there were no instances of British-made armaments reaching Iraq through Jordon.
Mr Fuller denied their concern was to protect relations with Jordon rather than prepare an accurate list. He said: 'There was very serious concern that serious public criticisms should not be made against Jordan unless they were both necessary and justified.
'It is not about being nice to old friends. There is an element of that and I'm not ashamed about it.' He said it was about dealing with a country whose position between Iraq and Israel meant it was strategically vital. Jordan was going through 'an extremely difficult time' when the 'dangers of instability could hardly be over-estimated' he said.
If evidence existed that the Jordanian government had diverted chemical weapons to Iraq the Foreign Office would have acted, he said.
Intelligence reports presented to a Cabinet Office meeting in November 1991 revealed that chemicals used in manufacturing explosives were obtained by Iraq via Jordan.
- 1 Belgium fan Axelle Despiegelaere lands L'Oreal campaign after World Cup viral photo
- 2 Why I'm on the brink of burning my Israeli passport
- 4 Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
- 5 Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country
Scottish independence: Scots of Corby take matters into their own hands in mock referendum - and deliver overwhelming verdict
Protesters fight to save Arturo, the polar bear sweltering in baking hot zoo
Fry ‘criticises Operation Yewtree in dinner party rant’ calling for tougher laws to deter false sex abuse allegations
Supermoon 2014 in pictures: Moon appeared bigger and brighter at the weekend
Saharan remains may be evidence of first race war, 13,000 years ago
Sustained immigration has not harmed Britons' employment, say government advisers
War is war: Why I stand with Israel
Even when it brutalises one of its own teenage citizens, America is helpless against Israel
Socialist Worker called to apologise over ‘vile’ article saying Eton schoolboy Horatio Chapple's death is ‘reason to save the polar bears’
Emergency data law: David Cameron plots to bring back snoopers’ charter
NUT strike: David Cameron announces crackdown on strike action ahead of mass industrial action
competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client who are a leading publisher in...
competitive: Progressive Recruitment: A leading marketing agency is currently ...
£35000 - £45000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Software En...
£40000 - £45000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Software Tea...