The first OPCW chief, who tried to bring Iraq and Libya into the organization, told RT how US foreign policy hawk John Bolton threatened him over his refusal to resign prior to the 2003 Iraq War.
Jose Bustani, the first director-general of the global chemical weapons watchdog Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), sat down with RT and revealed how John Bolton, a Bush-era official and now Donald Trump’s pick for National Security Adviser, bulldozed the way for the 2003 Iraq invasion.
Bustani, a Brazilian diplomat, led the organization from 1997 until 2002, when he was ousted after falling out of favor with the US. At the time, he was trying to convince Iraq and Libya to join the organization, meaning that the two countries would have been obliged to dispose of all chemical weapons if they had any.
He said that according to reliable intelligence he had as director-general, “it was obvious that during the first Iraq War everything had been destroyed [by Iraq],” and there was “nothing left for Iraq to be accused of possessing chemical weapons.”
In 2001, OPCW inspectors examined Iraqi facilities, and it was “a successful operation,” after which Bustani’s informal dialogue with the Iraqis and Libyans about joining the organization made a breakthrough, he recalled.
But diplomatic efforts and peacemaking did not sit well with Washington, because “they had plans already to take some action – military action – against Iraq,” Bustani claims. Shortly afterwards, the Bush administration began to aggressively lobby for his removal, and it became “a tragic story” for him, he said.
“I got a phone call from John Bolton – it was first time I had contact with him – and he said he had instructions to tell me that I have to resign from the organization, and I asked him why,” Bustani told RT. “He said that [my] management style was not agreeable to Washington.”
He resolutely refused to resign, only to see Bolton again at OPCW headquarters in The Hague several weeks after the phone conversation. “He came to my office and said: ‘You have to resign and I give you 24 hours, this is what we want. You have to leave, you have to resign from your organization, director-general.'”