Iraq was trying to get uranium from Niger.
A scam and a sham
"As reported Monday in the Financial Times, however, senior European intelligence officials now say, "Illicit sales of uranium from Niger were being negotiated with five states including Iraq at least three years before the U.S.-led invasion" in 2003. This isn't exactly news. A 2002 British dossier on Iraq's weapons programs asserted the same thing, while providing evidence that an inquiring Iraqi official had visited Niger in 1999. In a follow-up story, the Financial Times reports, "three European intelligence services were aware of possible illicit trade in uranium from Niger between 1999 and 2001. Human intelligence gathered in Italy and Africa more than three years before the Iraq war had shown Niger officials referring to possible illicit uranium deals with at least five countries, including Iraq." The other countries were North Korea, Iran, Libya and China."