I arrived in New York in the bitter-cold April of 1994. UNSCOM’s chair, Ambassador Rolf Ekéus, had asked for Swedish assistance on the chemical side, and I had signed up. My main task when I first arrived was to produce a database of the production equipment used within Iraq’s chemical weapons program. I was struck by the easygoing atmosphere and the very qualified and diverse competence that was present at UNSCOM’s headquarters on the 31st floor of the UN Secretariat high-rise. Rolf Ekéus had evidently succeeded in creating a well-functioning organization of mainly civilian experts on weapons of mass destruction (WMD) from a wide range of specialties and nationalities. To me, and to many of my colleagues, UNSCOM became the perfect training ground for the complex, sensitive, and partly secretive profession of weapons inspector.
By the time I left UNSCOM in 1998, I had carried out two chemical weapons missions in Iraq as chief inspector (CW33 and CW41) and one biological weapons mission as chief inspector (BW69).
The Bulletin elevates expert voices above the noise. But as an independent, nonprofit media organization, our operations depend on the support of readers like you. Help us continue to deliver quality journalism that holds leaders accountable. Your support of our work at any level is important. In return, we promise our coverage will be understandable, influential, vigilant, solution-oriented, and fair-minded. Together we can make a difference.