This page has been archived, and may no longer be up to date

War on Iraq

Background - April 10, 2006
Greenpeace opposed the war on Iraq.

Girl standing outside the Al-Majidat school for girls next to the Tuwaitha nuclear facility. Greenpeace found levels of radioactivity up to 3000 times higher than background levels at the school.

We don't believe war is the answer to ridding the world of Weapons of Mass Destruction and this is one of the reasons why we took particular issue with the war on Iraq. We joined with people all over the world in months of global action to promote a non-violent solution to the conflict in Iraq.

We believed the war was more about oil than about effectively dealing with weapons of mass destruction. It has resulted in devastating human and environmental consequences, and set a dangerous (not to mention illegal) precedent.

Though the occupying forces were quick to secure Iraqi oil fields, they neglected to safeguard dangerous nuclear material. Now that material has made its way to homes and schools.Weapons of mass destruction, the alleged reason for the war in the first place, were never found.

Uranium and other nuclear materials stored under UN control in Iraq until the fall of Saddam Hussein have been stolen and local residents are reportedly displaying symptoms of radiation poisoning. Six weeks after the occupying forces took control of the country, the US finally conceded that the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), could return to assess what has been stolen at part of one site, Tuwaitha. Yet the IAEA has been refused access to the nearby population or to other sites it wants to visit, in contravention of UN resolutions.

We went to Iraq in June 2003 with a small, specialist team to examine the local environment and to assess the extent of any nuclear contamination. The team took samples of soil and water for laboratory analysis and conducted on-site monitoring with specialist radiation detection equipment. While the extent of the Greenpeace radiological survey will not be comprehensive, it will provide some idea of the true level of risk to the people of the area and to the environment.

We are calling for a full assessment of the situation at Tuwaitha and other nuclear sites in Iraq:

  • The Iraqi government must ask the IAEA to remain in Iraq with an unrestricted mandate to test as well as document all nuclear sites.
  • The Iraqi government must ask the IAEA to oversee an urgent medical and environmental assessment of the impact of the radioactive material that has spread in the local community - a practice that would be standard in any other country and circumstance.
  • A hunt for all the industrial radio active isotopes in Iraq must be conducted urgently as these are all potential dirty bombs.

Categories