Chemical Warfare Program
By God, spare us your evil. Pick up your goods and
leave. We do not need an atomic bomb. We have the dual chemical. Let them
take note of this. We have the dual chemical. It exists in Iraq.1
1 Saddam speaking about the Israeli, US, and
UK intelligence services and Iraqs development of binary CW munitions
in a speech on 2 April 1990. (Foreign Broadcast Information Service 021329
Evolution of the Chemical Warfare Program
Command and Control
Infrastructure—Research and Development
Chemical Munitions—Searching Military Depots and Caches
A. IIS Undeclared Research on Poisons and
Toxins for Assassination
B. Al Muthanna Chemical Weapons Complex
C. The Iraqi Industrial Committee
D. Tariq Company’s Activities
E. Al-Abud Network
F. Detailed Preliminary Assessment of Chemical
G. Chemical Warfare and the Defense of Baghdad
H. Summary of Key Findings at Captured Enemy
Ammunition Consolidation Points
I. Review of 24 Iraqi Ammunition Supply Points
Saddam never abandoned his intentions to resume a CW effort when
sanctions were lifted and conditions were judged favorable:
- Saddam and many Iraqis regarded CW as a proven weapon against an enemy’s
superior numerical strength, a weapon that had saved the nation at least
once already—during the Iran-Iraq war—and contributed to deterring the
Coalition in 1991 from advancing to Baghdad.
While a small number of old, abandoned chemical munitions have
been discovered, ISG judges that Iraq unilaterally destroyed its undeclared
chemical weapons stockpile in 1991. There are no credible indications
that Baghdad resumed production of chemical munitions thereafter, a policy
ISG attributes to Baghdad’s desire to see sanctions lifted, or rendered
ineffectual, or its fear of force against it should WMD be discovered.
- The scale of the Iraqi conventional munitions stockpile, among other
factors, precluded an examination of the entire stockpile; however,
ISG inspected sites judged most likely associated with possible storage
or deployment of chemical weapons.
Iraq’sCW program was crippled by the Gulf war and the legitimate
chemical industry, which suffered under sanctions, only began to recover
in the mid-1990s. Subsequent changes in the management of key military
and civilian organizations, followed by an influx of funding and resources,
provided Iraq with the ability to reinvigorate its industrial base.
- Poor policies and management in the early 1990s left the Military
Industrial Commission (MIC) financially unsound and in a state of almost
- Saddam implemented a number of changes to the Regime’s organizational
and programmatic structures after the departure of Husayn Kamil.
- Iraq’s acceptance of the Oil-for-Food (OFF) program was the foundation
of Iraq’s economic recovery and sparked a flow of illicitly diverted
funds that could be applied to projects for Iraq’s chemical industry.
The way Iraq organized its chemical industry after the mid-1990s
allowed it to conserve the knowledge-base needed to restart a CW program,
conduct a modest amount of dual-use research, and partially recover from
the decline of its production capability caused by the effects of the
Gulf war and UN-sponsored destruction and sanctions. Iraq implemented
a rigorous and formalized system of nationwide research and production
of chemicals, but ISG will not be able to resolve whether Iraq intended
the system to underpin any CW-related efforts.
- The Regime employed a cadre of trained and experienced researchers,
production managers, and weaponization experts from the former CW program.
- Iraq began implementing a range of indigenous chemical production
projects in 1995 and 1996. Many of these projects, while not weapons-related,
were designed to improve Iraq’s infrastructure, which would have enhanced
Iraq’s ability to produce CW agents if the scaled-up production processes
- Iraq had an effective system for the procurement of items that Iraq
was not allowed to acquire due to sanctions. ISG found no evidence that
this system was used to acquire precursor chemicals in bulk; however
documents indicate that dual-use laboratory equipment and chemicals
were acquired through this system.
Iraq constructed a number of new plants starting in the mid-1990s
that enhanced its chemical infrastructure, although its overall industry
had not fully recovered from the effects of sanctions, and had not regained
pre-1991 technical sophistication or production capabilities prior to
Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF).
- ISG did not discover chemical process or production units configured
to produce key precursors or CW agents. However, site visits and debriefs
revealed that Iraq maintained its ability for reconfiguring and ‘making-do’
with available equipment as substitutes for sanctioned items.
- ISG judges, based on available chemicals, infrastructure, and scientist
debriefings, that Iraq at OIF probably had a capability to produce large
quantities of sulfur mustard within three to six months.
- A former nerve agent expert indicated that Iraq retained the capability
to produce nerve agent in significant quantities within two years, given
the import of required phosphorous precursors. However, we have no credible
indications that Iraq acquired or attempted to acquire large quantities
of these chemicals through its existing procurement networks for sanctioned
In addition to new investment in its industry, Iraq was able to monitor
the location and use of all existing dual-use process equipment. This
provided Iraq the ability to rapidly reallocate key equipment for proscribed
activities, if required by the Regime.
- One effect of UN monitoring was to implement a national level control
system for important dual-use process plants.
Iraq’s historical ability to implement simple solutions to weaponization
challenges allowed Iraq to retain the capability to weaponize CW agent
when the need arose. Because of the risk of discovery and consequences
for ending UN sanctions, Iraq would have significantly jeopardized its
chances of having sanctions lifted or no longer enforced if the UN or
foreign entity had discovered that Iraq had undertaken any weaponization
- ISG has uncovered hardware at a few military depots, which suggests
that Iraq may have prototyped experimental CW rounds. The available
evidence is insufficient to determine the nature of the effort or the
timeframe of activities.
- Iraq could indigenously produce a range of conventional munitions,
throughout the 1990s, many of which had previously been adapted for
filling with CW agent. However, ISG has found ambiguous evidence of
Saddam’s Leadership Defense Plan consisted of a tactical doctrine
taught to all Iraqi officers and included the concept of a “red-line”
or last line of defense. However, ISG has no information that
the plan ever included a trigger for CW use.
- Despite reported high-level discussions about the use of chemical
weapons in the defense of Iraq, information acquired after OIF does
not confirm the inclusion of CW in Iraq’s tactical planning for OIF.
We believe these were mostly theoretical discussions and do not imply
the existence of undiscovered CW munitions.
Discussions concerning WMD, particularly leading up to OIF, would
have been highly compartmentalized within the Regime. ISG found no credible
evidence that any field elements knew about plans for CW use during Operation
- Uday—head of the Fedayeen Saddam—attempted to obtain chemical weapons
for use during OIF, according to reporting, but ISG found no evidence
that Iraq ever came into possession of any CW weapons.
ISG uncovered information that the Iraqi Intelligence Service (IIS)
maintained throughout 1991 to 2003 a set of undeclared covert laboratories
to research and test various chemicals and poisons, primarily for intelligence
operations. The network of laboratories could have provided an
ideal, compartmented platform from which to continue CW agent R&D
or small-scale production efforts, but we have no indications this was
planned. (See Annex A.)
- ISG has no evidence that IIS Directorate of Criminology (M16) scientists
were producing CW or BW agents in these laboratories. However, sources
indicate that M16 was planning to produce several CW agents including
sulfur mustard, nitrogen mustard, and Sarin.
- Exploitations of IIS laboratories, safe houses, and disposal sites
revealed no evidence of CW-related research or production, however many
of these sites were either sanitized by the Regime or looted prior to
OIF. Interviews with key IIS officials within and outside of M16 yielded
very little information about the IIS’ activities in this area.
- The existence, function, and purpose of the laboratories were never
declared to the UN.
- The IIS program included the use of human subjects for testing purposes.
ISG investigated a series of key pre-OIF indicators involving the
possible movement and storage of chemical weapons, focusing on 11 major
depots assessed to have possible links to CW. A review of documents, interviews,
available reporting, and site exploitations revealed alternate, plausible
explanations for activities noted prior to OIF which, at the time, were
believed to be CW-related.
- ISG investigated pre-OIF activities at Musayyib Ammunition Storage
Depot—the storage site that was judged to have the strongest link to
CW. An extensive investigation of the facility revealed that there was
no CW activity, unlike previously assessed.
Evolution of the Chemical Warfare Program
Over a period of twenty years, beginning with a laboratory operated
by the intelligence services, Iraq was able to begin and successfully
undertake an offensive CW program which helped ensure the Regime’s internal
and external security. By 1984, Iraq was operating a number of CW agent
production plants, producing hundreds of tons of a range of weaponized
agents annually, for use against external and internal enemies of the
Regime. The program was supported by a complex web of international procurement,
R&D, weaponization and indigenous precursor production efforts. Iraq
fired or dropped over 100,000 chemical munitions against Iranian forces
and its own Kurdish population during the Iran-Iraq war and then later
to help put down the Shi’a rebellion in March 1991.
- Iraq became the first nation to use a nerve agent on the battlefield
when it used Tabun munitions against Iran in 1984.
- During the Iran-Iraq war, CW use helped the Iraqis turn back Iranian
human-wave attacks when all other methods failed, buying time for Iraqi
forces to regroup and replenish. Iraq again used CW successfully to
help crush the popular revolt in 1991.
- By 1991, Iraq had amassed a sizable CW arsenal, comprising thousands
of short range rockets, artillery shells, and bombs, and hundreds of
tons of bulk agent. It also had produced 50 nerve agent warheads for
the 650 km-range al Husayn missile.
- Despite the provisions of UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 687
in April 1991, which called for Iraq to disarm, Iraq initially chose
to retain CW weapons, precursors and associated equipment, making false
declarations to the UN. Even when Iraq claimed to have complied with
UNSCR 687 and its successors, Saddam retained components vital to restarting
a CW program.
Regime Strategy and WMD Timeline
For an overview of Iraqi WMD programs and policy choices, readers
should consult the Regime Strategy and WMD Timeline chart, enclosed as
a separate foldout and in tabular form at the back of Volume I. Covering
the period from 1980-2003, the timeline shows specific events bearing
on the Regime’s efforts in the BW, CW, delivery systems and nuclear realms
and their chronological relationship with political and military developments
that had direct bearing on the Regime’s policy choices.
Readers should also be aware that, at the conclusion of each volume
of text, we have also included foldout summary charts that relate inflection
points—critical turning points in the Regime’s WMD policymaking—to particular
events/initiatives/decisions the Regime took with respect to specific
WMD programs. Inflection points are marked in the margins of the body
of the text with a gray triangle.
The Early Years, 1960-1980: A Slow Start
The Chemical Corps and Al-Hasan Ibn-al-Haytham Research Foundation
Iraq’s interest in CW began in the early 1960s and escalated in
response to a perceived threat from Iran and Israel to comprehensive CW
research program by the mid-1970s. The Regime initially sent a
number of Iraqi officers abroad for training in nuclear, biological and
chemical defense. These officers later formed the nucleus of the Iraqi
Chemical Corps, established in 1964.
- In 1971, a cadre of Chemical Corps officers sought authorization to
synthesize small quantities of CW agents (mustard, Tabun, and CS) for
familiarization and the experience, according to Iraq’s Currently Accurate
Full and Complete Declaration (CAFCD) submitted to the UN in December
2002. The Iraqi General Staff approved the request, and laboratories
were built for the Chemical Corps at al-Rashad near Baghdad.
- By 1974, this initial effort had failed, and the IIS stepped in and
founded the Al Hasan Ibn al-Haithem Research Foundation. The IIS funded
Al Hasan, whose cover was as part of the Ministry of Higher Education
and Scientific Research. Iraq’s various intelligence services remained
involved, directly and indirectly, in CW and related activities for
- Al Hasan personnel were drawn from academia and the Chemical Corps.
Al Hasan expanded with the construction of new laboratories in Baghdad
and the selection of a new production site 60 kilometers northwest of
Baghdad, later to be known as Al Muthanna. Al Hasan’s mission was to
research the synthesis and production of CW agents. It had limited success
producing gram quantities of mustard, Tabun, CS and organophosphate
pesticides like Malathion and parathion.
Iraq later declared that the work at Al Hasan was suspended in 1978 and
the organization liquidated for failure to achieve its objectives, as
well as for mismanagement and fraud.
- General Amer al-Sa’adi found that Al Hasan had made insufficient progress
toward the goal of production. Having failed, a Presidential Decree
dissolved Al Hasan.
That same year, the former head of the Chemical Corps, BG Nizar al-Atar,
claims he submitted a five-year plan to the Ministry of Industry and Minerals
for a CW program that included the production of weapons, and some work
By the end of 1979, a reorganized Chemical Corps used the expanded
al-Rashad site to produce CW agents, ostensibly for the testing of CW
defensive gear and detection equipment. The Chemical Corps, reinforced
by many of the former Al Hasan staff, was also surveying the technical
literature for information on the production of the nerve agents, Sarin
and Tabun, research, which laid the groundwork for their nerve agent production
Full Capability, 1981-1991: Ambition
Foundation of the Al Muthanna State Establishment
Once committed, Iraq spent large amounts of money and resources
on its CW program (see Figure 1). The
outbreak of war with Iran in 1980 and Iraq’s failure to attain a speedy
victory appear to have been the impetus for the Ministry of Defense’s
launch of its industrial-scale, comprehensive, strategic CW
program—code-named Research Center 922 or Project 922—on June 8, 1981.
The objective was to produce CW agents—mustard, Tabun, Sarin, and VX,
chemical munitions, and white phosphorus (WP) munitions. (See Annex B.)
- Project 922 covered research and development for all aspects of CW,
production of CW agents and precursors, filling of CW munitions, storing
of chemical munitions and agents, and acquiring sufficient technical
expertise to construct and maintain production lines.
- The project also included BW R&D after 1985 and pesticide R&D
from 1984 to 1987.
Agent Production Begins and Al Muthanna State Establishment Takes
Project 922 subsumed the Chemical Corps al-Rashad CW efforts and their
site 60 km northwest of Baghdad. Within months of its inception, Project
922 began construction at the site on what was to become Iraq’s main CW
production and research center. West German businesses, using East German
designs, supervised the creation of what was at the time the world’s most
modern and best-planned CW facility under the cover of pesticide production.
- Construction activity between 1982 and 1983 was intense. Iraq’s foreign
contractors, including Karl Kolb with Massar for reinforcement, built
five large research laboratories, an administrative building, eight
large underground bunkers for the storage of chemical munitions, and
the first production buildings.
Iraq had acquired sufficient expertise during the 1970s, despite fraud
and failure by Al Hasan, to begin agent production immediately on completion
of the first pilot-scale production line in the early 1980s. For example,
85 tons of mustard agent were produced at al-Rashad from 1981 to 1982.
After Project 922 came on line, both facilities produced agent.
- 150 tons of mustard were produced in 1983.
- About 60 tons of Tabun were produced in 1984.
- Pilot-scale production of Sarin began in 1984.
Work at the Project 922 site did not pass unnoticed:
- During the summer of 1985, Iranian F-4 aircraft attacked the Samarra’
- This was followed in October 1986 with a SCUD attack.
As a result, Iraq moved a significant portion of its Roland Air Defense
System to the Samarra’ area to protect the project.
As production increased, Baghdad recognized that its dependence on foreign
suppliers for precursors was a program weakness and took immediate steps
towards self-reliance for precursor production. Iraq made plans to build
three precursor production plants, starting in 1985, near the town of
Fallujah, 50 kilometers west of Baghdad.
- Iraq began constructing Fallujah I, II and III between 1986 and 1988
to produce precursors.
The decision to construct the precursor production plants was the
beginning of a significant commitment of resources to a long-term CW program.
In 1987, Husayn Kamil, assisted by Amer al-Sa’adi, created the
MIC and renamed the CW complex the Al Muthanna State Establishment
MSE Redefines “Dual-Use”
The term “dual-use” refers to resources that have both WMD and legitimate
civilian or conventional military applications. MSE pursued legitimate
industrial projects in addition to CW agent production, particularly
after the end of the Iran-Iraq war. Pesticide and pharmaceutical research
took place at Al Muthanna alongside CW development, often involving
the same people.
- The German firm Karl Kolb described the production plants it
built as “general multi-purpose pilot plants,” providing Iraq with
plausible deniability regarding the plants and distancing Karl Kolb
from being implicated in contributing to WMD programs.
- Pesticide research and development was a secondary responsibility
for MSE. Post-1988, MSE unsuccessfully attempted to purchase a pesticide
production plant from a number of leading companies worldwide, in
order to expand its background knowledge in organophosphorous production.
- Between 1989 and 1990, during which time Iraq interrupted CW
production because there was no longer an immediate need for agent,
the MSE CW infrastructure produced civilian goods, including shampoos,
disinfectants, and simple pesticides.
Early Weaponization: Simple Solutions
Against the background of the Iran-Iraq war and the pressure to halt
the Iranians, Al
Muthanna took every available shortcut in developing chemical weapons.
To avoid the
delays of developing indigenous delivery systems, Iraq purchased conventional
bombs from Spain that easily could be modified for CW fill. Later, using
reverse-engineering, Al Muthanna built the infrastructure to manufacture
its own weapons.
- According to Iraq’s declaration to the UN in 1996, from 1981 to 1984
Iraq purchased 40,000 artillery shells, and 7,500 bomb casings from
various countries that were to be modified for delivery of CW.
- Iraq also declared that by 1989, it had manufactured 10,000 CW bomb
casings and 18,500 rocket warheads, all reverse engineered from imported
CW—A Permanent and Pivotal Strategic Weapon
The work underway at Al Muthanna State Enterprise by the late 1980s
was an indication Saddam intended Iraq’s CW effort to be a significant,
large-scale program. From its inception, MSE’s Research and Development
(R&D) Directorate investigated a broad assortment of agents. Iraqi
CW scientists understood that they would gain the greatest battlefield
impact by developing a range of CW agents with different characteristics
for different situations.
- MSE’s R&D Directorate had individual departments dedicated to
the development of mustard agents, nerve agents, and psychomimetic compounds
according to Iraq’s declaration to the UN in 1996. Reporting from various
sources indicates Iraq investigated more than 40 potential CW compounds.
believed Iraqi WMD capabilities had played a central role in the winning
of the Iran-Iraq war and were vital to Iraq’s national security strategy.
- Iraq became the first nation to use nerve agent on the battlefield
when it used Tabun against Iran in 1984. By the end of the Iran-Iraq
war, Iraq had used over 100,000 chemical munitions against Iranian human
wave attacks and its own Kurdish population.
- By 1991, Iraq had amassed a sizeable CW arsenal and hundreds
of tons of bulk agent. Iraq had also produced nerve agent warheads for
the 650 km al-Husayn missile.
Reflecting those perceptions, and in a bid to create a strategic
deterrent, MSE turned immediately after the Iran-Iraq war to a strategy
for maintaining an offensive CW capability in peacetime. With
the end of the war in August 1988, MSE stopped CW agent production, and
focused on production of marketable products while continuing research
to improve production techniques, agent purity, and shelf life, although
it restarted production in 1990.
- Al Muthanna’s CW nerve agents contained impurities that affected agent
stability and thus limited the shelf life of stored filled munitions
and bulk agent. This had not mattered during the Iran-Iraq War, when
Iraq was using agent as fast as it could produce it, but given Iraq’s
intent to use chemical weapons as a strategic deterrent, some stockpiling
A speech by Saddam on 2 April 1990 publicly identified Iraq’s CW
research and production efforts in anticipation of the next war. Saddam
claimed Iraq had a binary agent capability, an assertion that caught MSE
scientists off guard, according to Iraqi declaration corroborated by documents
the UN discovered at Al Muthanna.
- In less than a month after Saddam’s speech, Iraq restarted its CW
production lines, tested CW warheads for al Husayn missiles, and reverse-engineered
special parachute-retarded bombs. [According to the FFCD, Iraq did not
import any aerial bombs in 1990.]
Muthanna filled the al-Husayn warheads and aerial bombs with a binary
nerve agent component. These weapons were accompanied by Jerry
cans containing the second component, a chemical that, when mixed with
the weapons’ contents, produced nerve agent. This was the mix-before-flight
Iraqi ‘binary’ system. Iraq deployed 1,000 binary bombs and 50 al-Husayn
warheads—binary and unitary—by August 1990.
- In the subsequent first Gulf war, it is assessed that Saddam believed
that the deployment of CW, and the delegated authority to use them,
contributed to the US not driving on to Baghdad.
The Decline, 1991-1996
Destroying Iraqi Weapons
During the Gulf war in early 1991, Coalition Forces destroyed or extensively
damaged most of Iraq’s CW infrastructure, including many of the agent
and precursor production facilities at Al Muthanna. Then, in April 1991,
the UN adopted Security Council Resolution 687, which established a ceasefire
in the Gulf war.Iraq was required to verifiably disarm as a prerequisite
to lifting of the oil embargo imposed by UNSCR 660 of August 1990.
Examples of Known Iraqi Use of CW
The war with Iran ended in August 1988. By this time, seven UN specialist
missions had documented repeated use of chemicals in the war. According
to Iraq, it consumed almost 19,500 chemical bombs, over 54,000 chemical
artillery shells and 27,000 short-range chemical rockets between 1983
and 1988. Iraq declared it consumed about 1,800 tons of mustard gas,
140 tons of Tabun, and over 600 tons of Sarin. Almost two-thirds of
the CW weapons were used in the last 18 months of the war. Examples
of CW use by Iraq:
|Use in Iran-Iraq war, 1983-1988
August 1983 Haij Umran
||Mustard , fewer than 100 Iranian/Kurdish casualties
October-November 1983 Panjwin
||Mustard, 3,000 Iranian/Kurdish casualties
February-March 1984 Majnoon Island
||Mustard, 2,500 Iranian casualties
March 1984 al-Basrah
||Tabun, 50-100 Iranian casualties
March 1985 Hawizah Marsh
||Mustard & Tabun, 3,000 Iranian casualties
February 1986 al-Faw
||Mustard & Tabun, 8,000 to 10,000 Iranian casualties
December 1986 Um ar-Rasas
||Mustard, 1,000s Iranian casualties
April 1987 al-Basrah
||Mustard & Tabun, 5,000 Iranian casualties
October 1987 Sumar/Mehran
||Mustard & nerve agent, 3,000 Iranian casualties
March 1988 Halabjah& Kurdish area
||Mustard & nerve agent, 1,000s Kurdish/Iranian casualties
April 1988 al-Faw
||Mustard & nerve agent, 1,000s Iranian casualties
May 1988 Fish Lake
||Mustard & nerve agent, 100s or 1,000s Iranian casualties
June 1988 Majnoon Islands
||Mustard & nerve agent, 100s or 1,000s Iranian casualties
July 1988 South-central border
||Mustard & nerve agent, 100s or 1,000s Iranian casualties
Use in Southern Iraq against the Popular Uprising, 1991
March 1991, an-Najaf - Karbala area
||Nerve agent & CS, Shi’a casualties not known.
These are selected uses only. Numerous other smaller scale CW attacks
initially chose not to fully declare its CW weapons and infrastructure,
a decision usually attributed to Husayn Kamil and implemented by senior
personnel including his senior deputy, Amer al-Sa’adi.
- Anticipating that inspections would be an ineffective and short-lived
inconvenience, Iraqi leaders decided in early April 1991 to hide significant
components of the CW program, including weapons, precursors, and equipment.
- Following a particularly invasive IAEA inspection in late-June 1991,
Saddam ordered Dr. Mahmud Faraj Bilal, former deputy of the CW program,
to destroy all hidden CW and BW materials, according to an interview
with Bilalafter OIF.
evidence indicates Iraq destroyed its hidden CW weapons and precursors,
but key documentation and dual-use equipment were retained and
were later discovered by inspectors.
For the next five years, Iraq maintained the hidden items useful
for a CW program restart but did not renew its major CW efforts out of
fear the UN sanctions would not be removed. UN sanctions severely limited
Iraq’s financial resources. Raw materials, precursors, equipment, and
expertise became increasingly scarce. The crippling of Iraq’s CW infrastructure
by the war, and the subsequent destruction and UN monitoring of much of
the remaining materials and equipment limited Iraq’s ability to rebuild
or restart a CW program.
- The effects of sanctions reverberated throughout the scientific community
and affected all aspects of industry within Iraq. Many scientists were
underemployed or had access to neither research and production materials
nor professional development.
August 1995, shortly after Iraq revealed its production of bulk BW agent,
Saddam’s son-in-law and head of Iraq’s WMD programs, Husayn Kamil, fled
the country. Saddam made a decision at that time to declare virtually
all hidden information and material they felt was significant on Iraq’s
programs, turning over WMD documentation, including 12 trunks of CW documents.
- The documentation turned over by Iraq, allegedly hidden by Husayn
Kamil, included results of Iraqi research material up to 1988 that indicated
more extensive research on VX than previously admitted.
- The documents also included papers related to new agent research,
mix-in-flight binary munitions development, and previously undisclosed
involvement of other organizations in CW research.
ISG believes that none of these events weakened Saddam’s resolve
to possess a robust CW capability. Baghdad believed its need for chemical
weapons was justified, based on its fear of hostilities with Iran and
Israel. The Regime, we judge, was also motivated by an unstated desire
to elevate its status among Arab nations. ISG believes that Saddam deferred
but did not abandon his CW ambitions.
- Saddam implied, according to the former Presidential Secretary,
that Iraq would resume WMD programs after sanctions in order to restore
the “strategic balance” within the region and, particularly, against
- Saddam was fascinated by science and by the possibilities it offered
for enhancing his military power base. He felt that possessing the technological
capability to develop WMD conferred the intrinsic right on the country
to do so, according to a former senior Iraqi official.
- In the 1990s, the Regime actively sought to achieve scientific excellence
in Iraq through a series of administrative measures, but years of isolation
from the international academic community and a lack of successful domestic
research left Iraq’s scientific infrastructure in decay.
- According to an Iraqi academic scientist, Saddam issued an edict in
1993-1994 that all Iraqi universities address problems encountered in
the military and industrial sectors. This marked a departure from past
practice where the government denied such work to universities.
- Following this order, Iraqi research universities were required to
become self-funding. MIC projects accounted for much of the research
funding during this time, according to a leading university scientist.
- Saddam encouraged open forums for competition among scientists through
committees and other programs, and he personally awarded top scientists
for exceptional work in technical fields. Saddam became personally involved
in the direction of some of these programs, but many lacked unified
planning or direction for research, and few were successful, according
Following Husayn Kamil’s defection, Saddam took steps to better
manage Iraqi industry, and with the creation of the Iraqi Industrial Committee
(IIC) in September 1995, the stage was set for a renewal of Iraq’s chemical
industry. The IIC coordinated a range of projects aimed at developing
an indigenous chemical production capability for strategically important
chemicals that were difficult to import under UN sanctions, according
to reporting. (See Annex C.)
Recovery and Transition, 1996-2003
Iraq’sCW program was crippled by the Gulf war and the legitimate
chemical industry, which suffered under sanctions, and only began to recover
in the mid-1990s. Subsequent changes in the management of key military
and civilian organizations, followed by an influx of funding and resources,
provided Iraq with the ability to reinvigorate its industrial base. Iraq’s
acceptance of the UN OFF program in 1996 was the foundation of Iraq’s
economic recovery and sparked a flow of illicitly diverted funds.
Iraq’s chemical industry surged in the late 1990s, when more financial
resources became available to the Regime. Although Iraq still lagged behind
its pre–Gulf war capabilities, it was able to divert a portion
of its revenue to purchase new plants and renovate existing ones to renew
its basic chemical industry.
- Iraq was successful in procuring, constructing, and commissioning
a complete state-of-the-art chemical facility for ammonium perchlorate
through the Indian company NEC. Ammonium perchlorate is a key chemical
for missile propellants.
- Iraq began refurbishing, and in some cases expanding, existing chemical
facilities with foreign assistance. For example, the Al Tariq complex
renovated its chlorine and phenol lines and restarted them in March
2000, according to reporting.
Between 1996 and 2003, the IIC coordinated large and important projects
for the indigenous production of chemicals.
- A written order from Saddam established the National Project for Pharmaceuticals
and Pesticides (NPPP). NPPP focused on the synthesis of drugs and pesticides,
for which Iraq in the past relied heavily on foreign suppliers.
- The IIC examined over 1,000 chemicals for initial R&D
to determine the feasibility of scaled-up production. ISG notes that
two chemicals on this list were compounds that are consistent with an
experimental VX pathway.
- The process for vetting the 1,000 chemicals for economic feasibility
and large-scale production was intensive and formalized. The IIC leadership
built in several layers of review, research, and justification before
compounds were selected for scale-up, raising further suspicion
about the three compounds, particularly dicyclocarbodiimide (DCC)—a
dehydrating agent that can be used as a VX stabilizer
- Dr. Ja’far Dhia Ja’far, and IIC member, could not recall which projects
were accepted for scale-up but he knew that some compounds were dual-use
and declarable to the UN, and that the National Monitoring Directorate
(NMD) did not declare all of the chemicals.
Reports of an unexplained discovery of VX traces on missile warhead
fragments in April 1997 led to further tension between UNSCOM and Iraq.
The uneasy relationship escalated with the discovery of the ‘Air Force
Document’ (see RSI chapter) in July 1998, which indicated further Iraqi
deception and obfuscation over its CW disclosures. Iraq’s
anger about these two major issues was a contributing factor to Saddam’s
decisions to suspend cooperation with UNSCOM and IAEA.
- The lack of inspectors allowed further dual-use infrastructure
to be developed. The lack of effective monitoring emboldened Saddam
and his illicit procurement activities.
Concurrently, Iraq continued to upgrade its indigenous manufacturing
capability, pursuing glass-lining technology and manufacturing its own
- Reporting indicates that research being conducted by State Establishment
for Heavy Engineering Equipment (SEHEE)—Iraq’s primary fabrication plant—beginning
in 1999 was geared towards developing a process for glass lining steel
reactors, making them corrosion resistant. SEHEE was focused on making
cheaper, longer-lasting vessels, and reducing reliance on stainless
- Documents recovered by ISG indicate that two teams, including one
from the Al Majid Company had developed multipurpose controllers for
typical chemical production by January 2003.
As the chemical industry began to recover, former CW scientists
remained employed, primarily at Al Tariq Company (see Annex F), on a range
of issues of interest to the UN and which Iraq claimed were part of its
industrial chemical or defensive NBC interests. We have not been
able to confirm that any of these efforts were connected to chemical agent
- Scientists from the former CW program formulated agent simulants such
as concentrated Malathion, a pesticide, and locally manufactured a copy
of a system to disperse the simulant in 2001 and 2002.
There is an extensive, yet fragmentary and circumstantial body
of evidence suggesting that Saddam pursued a strategy to maintain a capability
to return to WMD production after sanctions were lifted by preserving
assets and expertise. In addition to preserved capability, we
have clear evidence of his intent to resume WMD production as soon as
sanctions were lifted. All sources suggest that Saddam encouraged compartmentalization
and would have discussed something as sensitive as WMD with as few people
- Huwaysh claimed that in 1999 Saddam asked how long it would take to
build a production line for CW agents. Huwaysh tasked four officials
to investigate, and they responded that experts could readily prepare
a production line for mustard within six months. VX and Sarin production
were more complicated and would take longer. Huwaysh relayed this answer
to Saddam, who never requested follow-up information. An Iraqi CW expert
separately estimated Iraq would require only a few days to start producing
mustard—if it were prepared to sacrifice the production equipment.
As the reality of the UN’s impending return sank in, Iraq rapidly
initiated steps to prepare for inspectors. Committees and groups were
formed to ensure sites and key scientists were ready to receive the inspectors.
- As had often occurred in the past, individual scientists, heads of
departments and security officials examined their plans of work for
items or documents that would be subject to inspections. In every relevant
location in Iraq, to some extent, normal work was disrupted in the effort
to ensure Iraq was not suspected of undertaking proscribed activities.
- According to a senior chemist at the MIC, Huwaysh in October 2002,
issued an order—the same order issued several times in the past—which
held scientists personally responsible for any materials, equipment,
or other prohibited items found by the UN.
- Vice President Taha Ramadan chaired a meeting of over 400 scientists
before the inspectors returned, threatening scientists with dire consequences
if the inspectors found anything that interfered with Iraq’s progress
towards the lifting of sanctions.
- When inspections resumed, foreign experts were hidden from the inspection
In the final days of his Regime, Saddam continued to pursue efforts
to enhance Iraq’s industrial base, with plans underway for the construction
of a multipurpose chemical plant, and nine oil refineries in Southern
and Northern Iraq. The plans for this chemical plant were the result of
years of the IIC’s efforts to coordinate research into the indigenous
production of chemicals.
- The Ministry of Industry and Minerals (MIM) owned a plot of land west
of Baghdad that it set aside for construction of this multipurpose production
facility, which was designed to produce a year’s supply of 100 chemicals
using only 10 independent pilot-scale production lines. (For more information,
see Iraq’s Infrastructure: Production Capability).
- Construction was scheduled to begin in March 2003, but was halted
just prior to OIF. The plant would have provided Iraq with an indigenous
multi-purpose production facility capable of producing large quantities
of chemicals, in a relatively short time.
Command and Control
Preamble: Muddling Through After the Gulf War
ISG believes that two of Saddam’s primary goals after the war were
to recover economically from war damage and to retain Iraq’s capability
to reconstitute its WMD program after sanctions were lifted or became
ineffectual, inspections were removed, and the threat of force abated.
During the Gulf war in early 1991, Coalition Forces destroyed
or extensively damaged most of Iraq’s CW infrastructure, including the
agent and precursor production facilities at Al Muthanna. Given the Iraqi
government’s possession of CW data and production experience, the preservation
of intellectual capital would be key to the eventual restoration of a
post-sanctions CW program, and the Regime took explicit steps to ensure
the preservation of its body of CW scientists.
- Many former employees of Al Muthanna were deployed to Al Tariq and
worked there until OIF.
- In some cases, CW experts were diverted to companies within the IIC
or the MIM, according to interviews with multiple sources after OIF.
Others were assigned to be instructors at chemical schools for defensive
Of the approximately 200 former CW scientists—about 60 of whom
are considered key CW experts from the Al Muthanna years—ISG attempted
to contact close to 150 to determine their activities since 1991 and any
efforts by the Regime to utilize their skills for CW-related efforts.
ISG was able to identify initiallocation information for approximately
130 individuals, many of whom were not able to contacted.
- Based on locations, employment, and availability, ISG experts were
able to speak to nearly 30 former key-CW scientists, none of whom claimed
to have been involved in CW-related activities after 1991 or to know
any individuals suspected of involvement in such work.
- With the exception of one instance, when former VX expert Imad Husayn
Al-Ani was apporached by ‘Uday’s officer in 2003 with a request to make
chemical agent, no other scientists claimed they had been contacted
by Regime officials requesting assistance in CW work.
ISG Strategy To Evaluate Whether Iraq’s Chemical Industry Infrastructure
ISG’s strategy for assessing the capabilities of Iraq’s chemical
infrastructure to support a CW program was based on a systematic evaluation
of four components necessary to maintain such a program: raw material,
equipment, expertise and Regime intent. During its investigations, ISG
seized documents, conducted several site visits and interviewed high-ranking
technocrats, former CW scientists, and prominent Iraqi academics to
determine the extent, breadth, and coordination of Regime directed dual-use
infrastructure development and chemical research and production.
- To determine the availability of expertise required to contribute
to a large-scale CW effort, ISG exploited sites, interviewed former
CW scientists and analyzed documents on government-sponsored research.
- ISG searched for chemistry technology necessary for production
of key CW precursors, such as processes involving phosphorous and
- ISG used various historical intelligence reporting, open-source
materials, and interviews with Iraqi scientists, and site visits to
investigate Iraq’s chemical laboratories and industries, and information
about Iraq’s CW agent production experts from 1991 to OIF.
- Chemical plants that used or produced phosphorus compounds were
a priority because Iraq’s ability to quickly recover a nerve agent
production capability was dependent on its access to phosphorus-based
Overall, ISG’s efforts to uncover information on CW-germane research,
development and infrastructure were complicated by uncooperative detainees,
threats to some sources and extensive looting and burning of documents
Iraq Could Maintain CW Competence With Relative Ease
The issue of retaining scientists in Iraq was a Regime policy. However,
given the command economy in Iraq, which offered limited possibilities
for work at private chemical companies, it is not surprising that most
key personnel from the former CW program remained employed in the government
chemical sector. Former CW scientists became heavily involved in rebuilding
Iraq’s industrial infrastructure, and some experts were directed to work
projects within various military organizations.
- Saddam instructed Directors General of Iraqi companies and other state
entities to prevent key scientists from the pre-1991 WMD program from
leaving the country, according to Dr. Ja’far Dhia Ja’far.
Iraqi scientists and engineers could maintain a minimal CW production
proficiency without engaging in CW-related R&D and production because
they were already experienced in key CW agent production processes. Largely
based on data available in previously published technical literature,
Iraq had sufficiently developed processes to produce nerve, blister, and
- For instance, Iraqi research on VX started in 1985 with a literature
survey on the preparation and production methods of VX. Based on their
literature review, the best and easiest method was chosen for the preparation
of VX agent, according to Iraq’s CW Full, Final, and Complete Disclosure
(FFCD) to the UN.
- Iraq’s CW agent purity, formulation, and production standards in the
1980s program—although inferior to Western standards with the exception
of its high-grade mustard—were “good enough” to produce harmful agent
proven successful during previous use.
Inadequacies in Iraq’s pre-1991 CW program were probably caused
by limited equipment and inferior precursor chemicals. Iraq could procure
the materials to address these problems if sanctions were lifted, intrusive
inspections removed, and threat of force abated.
- In the case of VX, which Iraq claimed it abandoned because of lack
of success at large-scale production according to Iraq’s FCCD, the scientists
eventually became well aware of the factors resulting in unstable, poor
quality (low purity) VX. (see discussion on VX in production section).
- These factors included low purity and instability of precursors, reaction
temperature control, inadequate vacuum systems, and inadequate size
of separation vessels.
Infrastructure—Research and Development
Reflecting the importance the Regime attached to industrial and scientific
progress and aiming to recover from the war with Iran, Baghdad undertook
in the mid 1990s a centralized, national effort to coordinate Iraqi industrial
activities. By the late 1990s, fueled by resources available through the
Oil-for-Food program, that effort underlay a specific initiative aimed
at boosting the capabilities of Iraqi pesticide and pharmaceutical industries,
including the capability to manufacture dual-use chemicals. Although ISG
found no direct evidence linking dual-use chemical production to an active
or latent CW program, research and development on types of specific chemicals
linked to Iraq’s CW program raises concerns about the legitimacy of Iraq’s
Prior to 1991, Iraq’s national research and development (R&D) capability
was limited in scope, and efforts were largely concentrated in state establishments
such as the Al Muthanna State Establishment (MSE) and at the university
- Iraq’s industrial sector had limited capabilities for research, primarily
because it had typically purchased turnkey facilities for industrial
production from abroad.
After the Gulf war, Iraq’s ability to conduct R&D stagnated, and
the majority of MSE scientists were deployed to operate factories or manage
critical infrastructure problems caused by the war. The universities had
no formal national R&D role and continued to operate their departments
in a self-directed, isolated style.
- The effects of sanctions and the prevailing international situation
devastated the research community, preventing the intellectual capital
of Iraq from participating in normal academic interaction.
In the 1994 timeframe, Saddam issued an edict that all Iraqi universities
address problems experienced in the military and industrial sectors, according
to an Iraqi academic scientist. Prior to this, universities were not obligated
to conduct applied research for either sector.
In subsequent years, and in part triggered by the surge of state funding
from the OFF program, Iraq was able to begin implementing Saddam’s edict
and utilizing the intellectual capital of Iraq to help solve some of the
shortages which had plagued Iraq’s industrial and military sectors.
- An upturn in the economy after years of sanctions allowed Iraq to
reevaluate its research efforts and initiate a series of projects to
enhance its industrial base.
Creation of the Iraqi Industrial Committee
Saddam ordered the creation of the Iraqi Industrial Committee (IIC)
in September 1995 to coordinate Iraqi industrial activities after Husayn
Kamil fled the country according to documents. After the defection,
Saddam assumed the role of Prime Minister as well as president of Iraq,
and began attending the weekly ministers meetings. He ordered the establishment
of the IIC and a similar Economic Committee to prevent the weekly meetings
from becoming too detailed, according to interviews with Huwasyh.
- The RCC issued a decree formally setting up the Industrial Committee
and charged it to deal with all scientific, technical, and industrial
matters affecting the entire Iraqi industrial sector, according to interviews
with Huwaysh and Ja’far.
- Ja’far indicated that the IIC commissioned a program aimed at developing
an indigenous production capability for strategically important chemicals
for domestic consumption that were difficult to import under UN sanctions
The IIC’s membership included the heads of Iraq’s military and
civilian industrial ministries and sectors:
- Members included the Head of MIC, the Minister of Industry and Minerals
(MIM), the Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research (MHESR),
the Minister of Oil, and the Iraqi Atomic Energy Commission (IAEC),
according to multiple reports.
- Saddam appointed Minister of Oil Amer Rashid as the first IIC chairman,
and he was followed by the Minister of Higher Education and Scientific
Research Abd Al-Khaliq al-Ghafur in 1996 or early 1997. Abd al-Tuwab
Huwaysh later assumed the role of chairman of the IIC—as well as being
a Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq, according to documents signed by Huwaysh
and other reporting.
- Dr. Ja’far, as the Senior Advisor to the President, was appointed
as an independent member of the IIC. He was neither subordinate to a
ministry nor to the IIC chairman—instead he reported directly to Saddam’s
personal Secretary, Abd Hamid Mahmud, according to interviews with Dr.
Ja’far. Ja’far also was made chairman of the Research and Development
Committee and the Technology Transfer Committee, which was later subordinated
to the IIC.
The Power of the IIC
ISG judges that the IIC had significant influence over Iraq’s chemical
infrastructure, industry, and research, even though it had not been constituted
with that aim in mind. In effect, the IIC was the driving force behind
an extensive, centralized national infrastructure improvement effort apparently
focused on developing the pesticide and pharmaceutical industries and
improving self-sufficiency, based on interviews with IIC officials and
- The IIC actively allocated research in Iraq, including work at universities,
state companies and government research centers. Government ministry
research resources, including the MIC’s, were distributed by the IIC
according to official reporting.
- The MHESR was the primary channel for recommending industrial research
to universities and educational research centers in Iraq, according
to the same reporting. However, the Ministry could not dictate to universities
what type of research to conduct—instead, universities chose their own
research based on their capabilities, according to different official
Source Note: Principal source for IIC activity—Dr.
Ja’far Dhia Ja’far
Interviews with Dr. Ja’far Dhia Ja’far provide the basis of the
majority of information ISG has obtained on key IIC projects such as
the National Project for Pharmaceuticals and Pesticides (NPPP) and the
National Project for Active Chemical Materials, and their execution.
Dr. Ja’far was founder of the Iraqi nuclear program, Director of the
Office of the Presidential Advisor, and Chairman of the IIC’s Research
and Development and Technology Transfer Committees. A very capable technocrat,
Dr. Ja’far had unparalleled access as Director and supervisor of the
NPPP and Chair of IIC’s Research & Development Committee, which
had oversight responsibilities for chemical research. Dr. Ja’far indicated
he had near total control over the implementation of the NPPP. Much
of Dr. Ja’far’s information has been corroborated by documents and other
officials including high-ranking employees from MIC and MHESR.
The IIC’s Master Plan for Self-Reliance: The List of 1,000 Chemicals
IIC placed greater emphasis on the synthesis of active chemical
compounds than on novel R&D, because Iraq was highly dependent on
foreign supplies of these materials for production of pharmaceuticals
and pesticides. Several ad hoc panels drawn from the IIC’s Research and
Development Committee selected the final “List” of approximately 1,000
chemicals for initial R&D to assess the feasibility of scaled up production.The
feasibility research was referred to as “phase 1”. According to an Iraqi
academic scientist, around 15 items on the List of 1,000 chemicals were
so-called “first order emergency” or top priority compounds. There were
also second-order emergency compounds and a third-order tier.
The IIC distributed the final list of chemicals to Iraq’s industrial
Ministries, State companies, research centers, and universities, and instructed
these organizations to bid on research contracts for the chemical research
and development projects for which they were best equipped to complete.
IIC’s Research and Development Committee identified the entities best
suited for each project and awarded the contracts.
The IIC’s Program for the Indigenous Production of Chemicals appears
to have evolved into a nation-wide, pan-industry, pan-academia merit-based
competition for project ideas and project implementation. According to
official reporting, the work stimulated by the IIC’s Technology Transfer
Committee, a committee involved in promoting private-sector and university
research, was scientifically credible and was selected on merit.Progress
on the Program for the Indigenous Production of Chemicals was largely
limited to economic feasibility studies and small scale laboratory research,
until approximately early 1999, according to Ja’far.
- The Presidential Diwan reviewed and approved the final list and allocated
approximately one million dinars (approximately $US 500) per project
(note—in 1998, $1 is 2000 dinars). The IIC only planned to select a
fraction of the 1,000 chemicals for scale-up after the review and recommendation
process was complete.
- Studies included requirements for infrastructure, equipment, manpower,
and chemical precursors, according to different reporting.
Dual-Use Chemicals on the List of 1,000 Chemicals
Past Iraqi use of three of these chemicals—thionyl chloride, thiourea,
and DCC—in its former VX program raises questions about their legitimacy.
Thionyl chloride and thiourea were used in a VX production route that
resulted in a product with higher purity for the Iraqis which we assess
could have been successfully stabilized with DCC. However, we found no
information linking this research to a CW program.
- Imad Husayn al Ani, Iraq’s former program director for VX, stated
in an interview in 2003 that plans to produce thiourea and DCC, both
of which he was unaware, indicated unequivocally that the Regime intended
to reconstitute the V-series nerve agent program.
- ISG has been unable to establish why thiourea and DCC were considered
strategic chemicals. There were no constraints on Iraq’s importation
of thiourea and no identified industrial products or processes in Iraq
that require DCC for their manufacture. In addition, Mosul University
had not determined the economic benefit of producing DCC.
- All three compounds were, however, part of Iraq’s former VX program.
Two of the compounds are directly applicable to an experimental VX synthesis
route which yielded higher purities for Iraq than the two main VX production
routes which it declared
- Thionyl chloride is a chlorinating agent used by Iraq in its former
CW program. Iraq could have selected alternative chlorinating agents
for production that are not controlled for importation or production
for legitimate manufacturing purposes.
ISG does not believe that the scale-up project extended beyond
feasibility studies prior to OIF, and we are unsure of Iraq’s intended
use thionyl chloride (SOCl2) given its many industrial uses and potential
industrial value. A letter from the Office of the Presidential Advisor
indicated that as of September 2002, the office had not yet received a
report on pilot-scale research projects for 14 chemicals, including thionyl
chloride.Thionyl chloride, a controlled CW precursor that Iraq had used
as a chlorinating agent in its sulfur mustard and nerve agent production
processes up until 1990, was part of the program for the indigenous production
of chemicals. The IIC tasked the Jaber Bin Hayan State Company
between 1996 and 1998 to research the small-scale production of thionyl
chloride, according to reporting. According to official reporting, thionyl
chloride production was reported to Iraq’s National Monitoring Directorate.
- After Jaber Bin Hayan in 1998 achieved its objective of reaching 99.99
percent purity on the 50 milliliter scale, the company was charged in
2001 with outlining the feasibility of pilot-scale production—approximately
1,000 kilograms—according to official reporting and documents recovered
from a MIC hard drive.
- The same former CW official believed that Jaber Bin Hayan otherwise
would have been an odd choice, mainly because its facilities and equipment
are ill-suited to produce thionyl chloride compared to other MIC and
MIM companies. The official opined that Jaber Bin Hayen was tasked because
it employed two chemists who had worked on thionyl chloride at Al Muthanna
in the pre-1991 CW program.
- Reportedly, the thionyl chloride project was meant to support pharmaceutical
DCC was on the UN Good’s Review List, but is not restricted under the
Chemical Weapons Convention Schedules of Chemicals or the Australia Group
international export control Regimes, and is available on the international
commercial market. ISG assessed the Iraqi domestic market for DCC was
small at the time of OIF.
- Mosul University accepted the DCC tasking from the IIC in July 1998,
according to a Mosul University report to the IIC sent in 2001. Other
reporting discussed their research results in synthesis and purification
- ISG discovered documents at the offices of the IIC in September 2003—which
had been subjected to military action, looting, burning and deliberate
destruction—outlining Iraq’s intent to investigate production of DCC.
- According to a former high-ranking employee of the MHESR, the inclusion
of DCC among the List of 1,000 chemicals for the IIC was common knowledge.
He claimed that DCC is used in the synthesis of various compounds, and
the scientists working on it would not be aware of its utility as a
VX stabilizer even thought it was described as a potential VX stabilizer
in the Iraqi Chemical Warfare FFCD.
Iraqis themselves differ over the economic rationale for DCC. DCC
has several industrial uses as a dehydrating agent and acid scavenger
and is used in the industrial production of peptides. A former Iraqi CW
scientist familiar with legitimate lab-scale uses of DCC in the production
of pharmaceuticals was not aware of a commercial reason for the use of
large amounts in Iraq. However, Dr. Bilal, the former head of R&D
for the CW program, stated that DCC was a dehydrating agent and thus would
have applications in the pharmaceutical industry.
DCC did not move beyond laboratory research because Iraq did not
have the raw materials to produce it, according to former high ranking
employees of the MIC and MHESR. However, ISG recovered documents from
the Technology Transfer Office that suggest DCC was planned by Al Majid
State Company for later production.
- In late 2002, the IIC asked the MIC if they had any companies capable
of producing DCC. Al Basel, Ibn Sina, al-Qa Qa’a, Al Tariq, Jaber Bin
Hayan, and Al Kindi all claimed they could not produce DCC with the
materials they had on hand, according to a senior chemist from the MIC.
- The Al Majid State Company was ready to transfer University of Mosul,
Chemistry Department’s “cyclohexanol carbon 2 Aymayid” precursor project
to formal production even though no economic benefit had been determined,
according to final research evaluation documents from Dr. Ja’far’s office.
ISG believes the “cyclohexanol carbon 2 Aymayid” is an odd notation
or translation of N,N-dicylohexylcarbodiimide (DCC).
- These documents also indicate that a precursor chemical in the DCC
production process investigated by Mosul University and Baghdad University—cyclohexylamine
—was researched for production.
- Of the three suspect compounds mentioned here, DCC was the only one
included in the set of Process Flow Diagrams (PFDs) provided by the
Al Majid State Company for potential scale-up in the multi-purpose plant.
This could be an indication of Iraq’s intent to produce DCC at a large
scale, although we have no detailed information revealing the actual
Iraq’s Declared Work With VX Nerve Agent
Iraq began research on VX in the 1980s but failed to declare
any production or attempts to produce VX until August 1995. In its
1996 declaration, Iraq claimed to have unsuccessfully attempted large-scale
VX production by two routes, and admitted researching two additional,
experimental routes between 1984 and 1990.
- Iraq initially declared production of 0.26 tons of VX, then modified
its declaration several times to reach a total of 3.9 tons produced
at Al Muthanna with available pilot-scale equipment. Iraq denied large-scale
VX production or weaponization.
- The two routes it claimed only to have researched, also known
as Routes C and D, provided higher purity and yield than the two main
routes, A and B. We judge that Iraq would have been more likely to
continue work on one of these two routes.
- DCC and other dehydrating agents cannot stabilize low purity
(<90%) VX for long term storage.
Iraq claims not to have pursued routes C and D, primarily because
it did not have access to key precursors and did not retain any prior
stocks that would have been necessary to produce VX.
- Iraq claimed to the UN that thiourea was unavailable or too expensive,
but thiourea is not controlled and is available on the open market
for relatively low prices.
- Iraq claimed to have conducted minimal research into route C,
but according to UNSCOM reporting, Iraq conducted over 100 experiments
on route C.
- Iraq had plans to procure a thiourea and nitrogen plant, both
which are necessary for VX production via route C, according to UNSCOM
ISG during its investigation of the IIC program for strategic
large-scale production noted three compounds—thionyl chloride, thiourea,
and DCC—with direct applications to the Route C VX production process.
The table below shows that this route, which utilizes two of the
three chemicals for production, can address prior Iraqi deficiencies
in VX purity and stability if yield and purity can be maintained in
production scale synthesis.
routes investigated by Iraq
|| Route A
|| Route B
|| Route C
|| Route D
| Starting reactant
| Couple with
| Source of sulfur
| Binary possible?
| Scale of declared production
|| Research only
|| Research only
| * DCC and other
dehydrating agents cannot stabilize low purity (<90%) VX for
long term storage.
Thiourea is a readily available commodity chemical not normally
associated with CW agent production. It is used in the synthesis of dyes,
flame retardants, pesticides and pharmaceuticals. However, thiourea was
used by Iraq in successful synthesis of VX prior to the Gulf war.
- Methyl thiouracil, a thyroid medicine which requires thiourea for
its synthesis, was a project under the NPPP according to documentary
Considering that thionyl chloride and thiourea are two of the precursors
needed to synthesize VX using Iraq’s investigative pathway and that DCC
could potentially stabilize the product of this synthetic route, ISG believes
Iraq’s interest in these chemicals is suspicious. However, we note that
these three compounds are a small part of the larger, more difficult organophosphorous
synthesis component of VX production.
Chemicals From the List Move Toward Production
Although ISG has multiple HUMINT and documentary reports on the
Program for the Indigenous Production of Chemicals and the NPPP, we have
found no evidence that any of the programs reached a commercial production
phase prior to OIF. Dr.Ja’far Dhia Ja’far could not recall which
projects were accepted for scale-up or the intended end-users, but he
also knew some of the compounds were dual-use and declarable to the UN
and that the NMD did not declare all of the chemicals.
- The Technology Transfer Committee awarded two contracts for the preparation
of Process Flow Diagrams (PFDs) for the production plant required to
produce the 100 strategically important chemicals to the IAEC and to
the Al Majid Chemical Engineering Center in 2002.
Al Maijd and IAEC engineers designed a plant that could produce
a year’s supply of each of the 100 chemicals using only 10 independent
pilot-scale production lines.The engineers supplied Ja’far with
process flow diagrams (PFDs) and piping and instrumentation diagrams (P&IDs)
for a plant.
- Reportedly, the conceptual designs were given to Ja’far in late 2002.
- Each production line was to be designed so that it was capable of
producing multiple chemicals with only minor reconfiguration.
The multipurpose design is particularly interesting in the context of
a statement made by General Faiz Abdullah Shahine—the last known director
of the CW program—at a conference in 1989 or 1990 examining the future
direction of Al Muthanna that “we cannot have a reactor for each unit.
Even in the drug industry, they tend towards the multipurpose reactors.
God willing, we will have 6 to 10 units… we must work in a manner compatible
with our potentials.”
Improving economic conditions and better management led to a revival
in the industry’s fortunes by the latter half of the 1990s. Although they
still lagged behind pre-war capacity, the Regime envisioned further expansion
in the new century and on the eve of OIF, Iraq had some capability to
restore chemical weapons production.
Iraq’s CW infrastructure suffered a severe blow during Desert Storm,
and under subsequent UN sanctions and UN inspections. The entire industrial
sector for years endured shortages of raw materials, infrastructure decay
and declining production. Iraq’s residual CW infrastructure was under
intense scrutiny by the UN, which set up additional controls to monitor
or destroy remaining materials and equipment.
- In 1991, the majority of CW production sites suffered extensive bomb
damage, but many filled munitions, bulk agent and precursors remained
on site under the control of the Regime.
- Vital materials were unavailable or unaffordable, and neglected plants
deteriorated while productivity declined. Electricity and water remained
unreliable, which impacted on the ability to run chemical production
- The UN set up the Chemical Destruction Group, which operated in Iraq
from 1992-1994, tasked with the job of destroying the bulk agent, filled
munitions, and precursors left over from the former program. Remaining
process equipment was tagged and monitored, as was all dual-use process
equipment throughout Iraq.
- By 1994, Iraq’s capability to produce CW at Al Muthanna was completely
destroyed, along with Iraq’s supply of chemical precursors.
An improving economy in 1997—due in part to the OFF Program—and
better management at MIC led to improvement in the chemical industry,
especially in production output. MIC and companies within other
Ministries continued to develop, expand, and renovate the chemical infrastructure,
and by 2001, Iraq believed it had proven its ability to defy sanctions
and revive itself, according to an Iraqi economics media report.
- In 1998, the MIM began rehabilitating Al-Furat State Company for Chemical
Industries’ chlorine plant, employingtechnical teams and engineers from
its own companies. According to the Iraqi economic media report, key
parts for the plant that were previously imported now could be produced
- Also in 1998, the State Enterprise for Petrochemical Industries set
up a chlorine plant for water purification, according to Iraqi press
Iraq continued to upgrade its indigenous manufacturing capability,
pursuing glass-lining technology and manufacturing its own multipurpose
controllers. Beginning in 1999, the Baghdad State Enterprise Heavy
Engineering Equipment (SEHEE) fabrication plant initiated a research effort
to develop a process for glass lining carbon steel reactors, making them
- SEHEE’s research was designed to boost company profits, make cheaper,
longer-lasting vessels, and reduce reliance on stainless steel. Al-Qa
Qa’a State Company, at that time, requested SEHEE fabricate a 2.5 meter
diameter, 2 meter tall glass-lined reactor (large-scale) for use in
nitric acid production, according to reporting.
- SEHEE was successful at lining small-scale vessels, but failed in
its efforts to glass-line vessels at a larger scale. An inadequate furnace
probably contributed to the failure at the larger scale, according to
reports from two different sources.
- Two teams from IAEC and Al Majid Company by January 2003 had developed
multipurpose controllers for typical chemical production, according
to documents obtained by ISG.
Starting in 2000, production of nitric acid, plastics, chlorine,
and phenol was increased.
- Iraq’s capacity to produce nitric acid tripled between 1998 and 2003.
- Plastics production increased by 125 percent in 2000, meeting production
goals that were set for 2002. The Al Majid Company was also planning
a new production line for PVC, according to Iraqi press reports.
- In March 2000, Iraq restarted chlorine and phenol production at the
Al Tariq’s Fallujah plants—also known as the Habbaniyah facilities,
Iraq’s key pre-1991 precursor production sites –based on reporting.
(See Annex F—Al Tariq Company’s Activities.)
A steady increase in spending and improvements to the industrial
sector continued throughout 2001. Additional inorganic chemical facilities
were constructed and other plants were renovated.
- Iraq built a sulfuric acid plant equipped with corrosion resistant
equipment in a separate and isolated building at al-Qa Qa’a.
- MIM planned to initiate rehabilitation of Al-Furat State Company for
Chemical Industries’ sulfuric acid plant expecting to double its production,
according to an Iraqi economics media report.
- Iraq constructed a separate nitric acid production facility at Karbala,
which was completed shortly before OIF.
Iraq’s revitalization of its chemical industry continued up until
OIF, and Saddam had ambitious plans for improvements well beyond 2003.
With foreign assistance, Iraq renovated its nitric acid plant at al-Qa
Qa’a, which was plagued by corrosion problems, creating a bottleneck for
Iraq’s munitions production.
- In 2002, Iraq made a number of improvements to the nitric acid plant
at al-Qa Qa’a with equipment, materials and expertise obtained from
Russia, Yugoslavia, Belarus, and Ukraine, according to Dr. Ja’far. For
example, corroded compressors were replaced with new compressors, which
had better, corrosion-resistant rotors.
- According to the same reporting, MIM also supervised the construction
of a pilot plant for acetaminophen at the Baghdad Plant for Medical
Gases. The plant was designed to produce paracetamol from nitrobenzene,
but it only produced a small quantity of low quality material pre-OIF.
- According to 2003 reporting, there were plans for the construction
of nine oil refineries to be built by either MIC or MIM in Southern
and Northern Iraq under the control of MIC.
State of Chemical Industry at OIF—Limited Break-Out Capability
Definition. “Breakout Capability”: ISG considers a CW breakout
capability to be the capacity of Iraq to de novo produce and field militarily
significant CW rapidly. ISG considered a range of break-out scenarios
applicable to Iraq and its capabilities existing in 2002. An example of
a breakout scenario would be wartime or imminent threat-precipitated production
of dubious quality, low-stability agents for immediate use. A breakout
capability could be deliberately developed during peacetime or improvised
in response to a threat.
Though on an upward trend since the late 1990s, Iraq’s chemical
industry was still not up to pre–Gulf war capacity as of OIF. Technical
problems and poor maintenance of aging equipment throughout the 1990s
resulted in many chemical plants, including ethylene and chlorine production
plants, operating at less than half capacity despite the improvements
to the chemical industry.
- A country-wide chlorine shortage, for instance, caused a lack of PVC
production at the Az Zubayr plant, which was detrimental to Iraq’s economy
and downstream chemical processing.
- Plants within Iraq that still produced chlorine suffered from corroded
condensers, and were only able to produce aqueous chlorine. Iraq, prior
to OIF, imported anhydrous chlorine gas from China, with the permission
of the UN, for use within its chemical and sewage treatment industries.
- Formalene and phenol, both ostensibly produced indigenously, were
imported by the resin facility north of Baghdad because of a lack of
consistent, quality supply from local producers.
ISG judges that the longstanding intent of the Regime was to restart
WMD production once UN sanctions were lifted. Based on an investigation
of facilities, materials, and production outputs, ISG also judges that
Iraq had a break-out capability to produce large quantities of sulfur
mustard CW agent, but not nerve agents.
- Iraq declared to the UN an experimental sulfur mustard production
route from locally available chemicals—sulfur, chlorine, and ethylene,
all of which Iraq had access to at the time of OIF (see Figure 2).
- Iraq retained the necessary basic chemicals to produce sulfur mustard
on a large-scale, but probably did not have key precursors for nerve
agent production. With the importation of key phosphorus-based precursors,
Iraq could have produced limited quantities of nerve agent as well.
- Mustard production could have started within days if the necessary
precursor chemicals were co-located in a suitable production facility;
otherwise production could have started within weeks. Nerve agent production
would have taken much longer, because of the complexity of the process,
according to Dr. Mahmud Faraj Bilal, a senior Iraqi scientist and CBW
expert, and the lack of advanced phosphorus precursors in country. Bilal
believed a covert offensive CW program was unlikely because the program
would require 400-500 witting personnel.
|Sulfur Mustard process and key chemicals/
associated Iraqi facilities.
|Ethylene + Chlorine (aq)
|Chloroethanol + Na2S
|Thiodiglycol + HCl
Iraq at OIF possessed a large range of corrosion-resistant production
equipment, tagged and monitored by UNMOVIC, and procured for civilian
purposes by non-CW associated facilities. However, ISG did not encounter
any production units specifically configured to produce key precursors
or CW agents.
- Iraq also possessed declarable equipment for chemical production,
which it had not declared to the UN. During ISG operation, a complete
process hall containing stainless steel reaction vessels of up to 3m3
for theextraction of purity of essence of plant material was discovered
at Samarra’ Drug Industries.
By cannibalizing production equipment from various civilian chemical
facilities, it would have been possible for Iraq to assemble a CW production
plant. Alternatively, equipment that was less suitable could have been
reconfigured at an existing site and used for short-term limited production.
Iraq had improvised and jury-rigged equipment in the past.
- According to Dr. Bilal, Iraq’s hypothetical break-out mustard production
could be achieved by using equipment that could be sacrificed, instead
of relying on specially lined vessels.
- In an interview, MIC director Huwaysh said that Iraq would have been
willing to use systems that would be disposed of after a few production
Phosphorus Chemistry in Iraq
Because ISG did not find any phosphorus chemistry applicable
to nerve agents at an industrial scale in Iraq, we judge that Iraq could
not have produced nerve agents without imports of key phosphorus compounds.
Why does the indigenous production of nerve agent depend on phosphorus
The backbone and toxicity of both G and V-series nerve agents is
based on the phosphorus-carbon bond. Creating this bond utilizes trimethyl
phosphite (CH3O)3P—used in most phosphorus-based agents. Other phosphorus
containing compounds, such as phosphoric acid and phosphates used in
fertilizer production, are not suitable for forming the necessary P-C
What evidence of phosphorus did ISG find in Iraq?
ISG investigated four production areas suspected of conducting
- The al-Qaim Superphosphate Plant was suspected by ISG
of possible production of highly reactive phosphorus compounds. An
ISG site visit revealed that by design, the plant could not be used
for this purpose. At al-Qaim SPP, phosphate rock was crushed and converted
into phosphoric acid. Superphosphate was then produced from the acid
and sold on the local market.
- The Al Tariq Company was suspected of producing pesticides,
a process that usually consumes similar precursors and employs similar
chemical reactions as nerve agents. However, an ISG site visit and
a series of interviews with Al Tariq employees revealed that the company
imports concentrated pesticides (expensive and unsuitable for nerve
agent production) for dilution, formulation, and re-sale in Iraq.
- The Qubaysah White Phosphorus Production Facilitywould
have provided Iraq with the capability to convert phosphate rock into
a potential nerve agent precursor. However, according to reporting
the facility was never fully completed, and no equipment was installed,
according to ISG analysis and a military reconnaissance mission.
- Hutin Munitions Production and Storage Facility: ISG discovered
numerous barrels (over 3,000 gallons) of white phosphorus and munitions
assembly lines, which we judge were intended for the production of
white phosphorus illumination rounds. This white phosphorus, probably
imported and declared by Iraq in 2002, could have been used to produce
some nerve agent precursors on a laboratory scale.
Chemical Process Development and Engineering in Iraq
ISG examined a range of documents obtained for Iraq’s key engineering
design center which show that Iraqi chemical manufacturers followed
process development engineering practices that are very similar to international
convention. This is not surprising given the legacy of British oil
production and refining in Iraq.
The plant designs and process plans of MIC and MIC subcontractors
essentially conformed to the international norm, based on analysis of
seized documents. MIC projects for“Triethylamine Process Scale-up”,
“Xylidene Production Plans” and a fuming sulfuric acid (oleum) plant
all demonstrated Iraqi engineering capability.
- MIC used AutoCAD software for many of its designs. Process modeling
and some PFD’s appear to have been produced using ChemCAD software.
- A chart taken from the Sa’ad Center (see Figure
4) outlines the planning and building of a proposed oleum plant.
Although it handwritten, it is the same engineering strategy used
by most global corporations.
- The IIC and the MIC often tasked universities to prepare these
initial technical reports, feasibility studies and drawings, steps
A-C, as seen with the List of 1,000 Chemicals. The work Mosul University
did in its report “Preparation of N,N-Dicyclohexyl Carbodiimide” is
an example of a typical early-end feasibility study.
Figure 4 illustrates a portion
of the total design package (Items A-S) for the oleum plant. These drawings
and plans are not merely academic steps to optimize a given process.
In many multi-step chemical manufacturing processes, minimal and safe
operational performance would require most of these development steps,
even for small scale facilities that have the capability to switch between
- Less corrosion resistant equipment could be used for most, if not
all, CW agent chemical processes. However such equipment would wear
out fairly quickly when used for some of the chemical processes involved
in the agent production, according to UNMOVIC.
Figure 3 shows a two-ton bulk storage
cylinder found in the underground pilot plant at Al Muthanna. The storage
container had been modified in the 1980s into a reactor vessel probably
for mustard production. This item escaped UNSCOM-directed destruction.
What is “corrosion resistant” equipment? “Corrosion resistant”
is a term usually applied to equipment where all the surfaces that come
into direct contact with the reagents are made of high nickel alloys,
titanium alloys, tantalum alloys, ferrosilicons, ceramic or glass—all
highly corrosion resistant to specific materials. Corrosion resistant
equipment is commonly used in fluorinating reactions, such as Sarin and
soman production, within a CW program, and for chemical processes requiring
heat and chlorinating agents such as the manufacture of mustard and nerve
agents. Most commercially available materials used in the manufacture
of chemical production equipment have some degree of corrosion resistance.
Iraq’s capability to produce CW munitions on a large scale ended
with Desert Storm. However, Iraq retained the ability to retool existing
factories to produce new munitions, and would have relied on basic fabrication
techniques to weaponize agent if it had chosen to do so.
- Most of the Iraqi modifications for chemical delivery consisted of
simple machining and/or welding of aluminum or steel.
- Although much of the Iraqi infrastructure to fill CW munitions was
destroyed, the technology was basic and we judged it could be quickly
- The performance of the modified weapons was usually sub-optimal by
Western standards, reflecting the simplicity—or crudeness—of Iraqi design
approaches. However, the performance was usually good enough to meet
Suspect Munitions Activities
A number of unusual and unexplained items found at Taji ammo depot could
have been used for either conventional or CW weaponization. All Iraqi
CW weaponization experts who were asked by ISG were unfamiliar with these
items, and although they could have been intended for CW delivery, the
items represented crude prototypes and concept components that were found
at a non–Al Muthanna bunker.
- In January 2003, UNMOVIC found several suspect items at the Taji ammunition
depot, including six unfilled CW 122mm rocket warheads and munitions
base plates of varying sizes.
- A number of scientists who were involved with Iraq’s CW weaponization
projects did not recognize the 76mm, 115mm and 183mm base plates, shown
to them in photographs. They speculated that these base plates could
have been used for CW munitions.
- A former Iraqi CW munitions researcher offered a dissenting opinion
by claiming the thread type on the base plates would not be sufficient
to keep the munitions from leaking. Furthermore he claimed that the
183mm base plate found could not have been for a chemical munitions
because Iraq did not work on munitions this large.
- No other significant munitions components of these sizes have been
found to date. ISG therefore is unable to satisfactorily to conclude
the munitions type and caliber.
In September 2003, a senior official at the Al Nu’man cluster bomb
production facility gave ISG a 3.5-liter CW submunitions he claimed had
been held by a factory worker in his private residence to keep it from
being looted. The Al Nu’man facility historically had been involved in
attempts to develop chemical capable submunitions, which had been a focus
of Iraqi pre–Desert Storm munitions development work.
Disposition of CW Munitions Post-1991
ISG expended considerable time and effort investigating longstanding
Iraqi assertions about the fate of CW munitions known to have been in
Baghdad’s possession during the Gulf war. We believe the vast majority
of these munitions were destroyed, but questions remain concerning hundreds
of CW munitions.
Since May 2004, ISG has recovered dozens of additional chemical munitions,
including artillery rounds, rockets and a binary Sarin artillery projectile
(see Figure 5). In each case, the recovered
munitions appear to have been part of the pre-1991 Gulf war stocks, but
we can neither determine if the munitions were declared to the UN or if,
as required by the UN SCR 687, Iraq attempted to destroy them. (See Annex
- The most significant recovered munitions was a 152mm binary Sarin
artillery projectile which insurgents had attempted to use as an improvised
- ISG has also recovered 155mm chemical rounds and 122mm artillery rockets
which we judge came from abandoned Regime stocks.
The 1991 Decision To Destroy Undeclared Weapons
An IAEA inspection led by Dr. David Kay in late June 1991 triggered
Iraq’s decision to unilaterally destroy the undeclared weapons that had
been concealed from the UN, according to multiple senior Iraqi officials.
Dr. Kay’s inspection team was blocked from sites in Abu Ghurayb
and Fallujah. The Iraqis fired warning shots over the inspectors’ heads,
but Dr. Kay and his group brought back video tapes and photos that indicated
Iraq was hiding undeclared uranium enrichment equipment from the inspectors.
- Dr. Kay’s inspection and the international uproar surrounding it caused
consternation and a measure of panic in the Regime’s leadership, particularly
Husayn Kamil, and Saddam appointed a high-level committee headed by
Deputy Prime Minister Tariq ‘Aziz to deal with inspection matters, according
to multiple sources.
- A senior Iraqi scientist who directed the destruction of chemical
and biological munitions contends that the decision to destroy the hidden
materials was made at the end of June 1991. David Kay’s inspection and
the ensuing controversy prompted Iraqi concerns about renewed war with
the United States, according to Dr. Mahmud Firaj Bilal. Amir Rashid
contacted Dr. Bilal and ordered that all hidden chemical and biological
munitions be destroyed within 48 hours. When Bilal responded that this
was impossible, Rashid directed that Bilal use the resources of the
Iraqi Air Force and the surface-to-surface missile force to accomplish
the task. Dr. Bilal gathered his colleagues from Al Muthanna State Establishment,
went to the locations of the stored munitions, and began the destruction.
- Iraq declared some of the unilateral destruction–missiles and chemical
munitions–to UNSCOM in March 1992 but continued to conceal the destruction
of the biological weapons program.
Iraq Unilateral Weapons Destruction in 1991
Iraq completed the destruction of its pre-1991 stockpile of CW by the
end of 1991, with most items destroyed in July of that year. ISG judges
that Iraq destroyed almost all prohibited weapons at that time.
- ISG has obtained no evidence that contradicts our assessment that
the Iraqis destroyed most of their hidden stockpile, although we recovered
a small number of pre-1991 chemical munitions in early to mid 2004.
- These remaining pre-1991 weapons either escaped destruction in 1991
or suffered only partial damage. More may be found in the months and
Post-OIF Insurgent Attempts to Tap Chemical Resources
A group of insurgents began a nascent CW effort without CW scientists
or industrial-scale chemical supplies. After OIF, a group of insurgents—referred
to as the al-Abud network—assembled key supplies and relevant expertise
from community resources to develop a program for weaponizing CW agents
for use against Coalition Forces. The al-Abud network in late 2003 recruited
a Baghdad chemist—who lacked the relevant CW expertise—to develop chemical
agents. The group sought and easily acquired from farmers and local
shops chemicals and equipment to conduct CW experiments. An investigation
of these CW attempts suggests that the al-Abud network failed to produce
desired CW agents, however it remains unclear whether these failures
derive from a lack of available precursors or insufficient CW expertise.
Destruction of Chemical Munitions, Bulk Agent, and Precursors
ISG interviewed Dr. Mahmud Firaj Bilal, the Iraqi scientist who supervised
the destruction of Iraq’s undeclared chemical munitions, along with a
number of Iraqi higher officials who were knowledgeable of the weapons
destruction. Although other sources have corroborated parts of Dr. Bilal’s
account, ISG’s understanding of Iraq’s chemical and biological warfare
agent unilateral destruction is heavily dependent on Dr. Bilal’s information,
which is a weakness in our analysis. Nevertheless, as with Iraq’s long
range missiles, we obtained a reasonably coherent account of the disposition
of the CW munitions, though we were not able physically to verify the
story. The UN has, however, verified some of it.
- Iraq likely destroyed all 20 concealed CW Al Husayn missile warheads
in the summer of 1991, according to Dr. Bilal based on UN-sponsored
excavations. All were “binary” GB/GF nerve agent warheads filled with
a mixture of isopropanol and cyclohexanol and MPF.
- Al Muthanna had dispersed approximately 1024 CW R-400 bombs along
various Iraqi airbases. Iraq did not declare some of these to the UN
and unilaterally destroyed them in situ. The UN holds these as accounted
for, although they were unaware that a small percentage of them were
used on the Shia in March 1991 according to multiple sources.
- Iraq disposed of 1.5 tons of spoiled bulk VX nerve agent at the Al
Muthanna State Establishment dumpsite.
- Dr. Bilal also stated that Iraq destroyed the following chemical agent
- 157 tons of the VX precursor phosphorus pentasulfide (P2S5) destroyed
by mixing it with soil at Saqlawiyah, northwest of Fallujah. UNSCOM-sponsored
excavations accounted for about this amount.
- 55 tons of the VX precursor choline destroyed at Qasr al-‘ashiq
- 10 tons of the mustard precursor thiodiglycol destroyed by burning
at Saqlawiyah. This precursor was never declared to the UN and had
been stored in the city of Samarra’. When the rest of the unilateral
destruction took place, no one remembered this stock until a month
after the rest of the chemical destruction. This realization triggered
- Al Muthanna State Establishment gave cyclohexanol, isopropanol,
and isopropylamine to various industries for use as solvents.
- Iraq also destroyed a quantity of empty aerial bombs intended for
CW use and empty 122-mm CW rockets.
- Bilal insisted that Iraq’s CW “Full, Final, and Complete Declaration”
is completely accurate regarding the unilateral destruction of CW munitions.
UNSCOM had verified or accepted some of what Bilal said about munitions
destruction, but other parts of the story remain unverified.
- Iraq presented supporting documents on the unilateral destruction
of 527 R-400 CW bombs and UNSCOM observed remnants of bombs consistent
with the declared quantity.
- When considered with the number of declared BW Al Husayn warheads
(25), the total number of undeclared “special warheads” was 45. In the
period from 1992 to 1998, UNSCOM recovered and accounted for remnants
of 43-45 special warheads. In 1997-1998, UNSCOM recovered the remnants
of three additional training warheads. Iraq provided supporting documents
on the overall accounting for special warheads and on the unilateral
destruction of 45 warheads. We cannot be sure, however, that there were
only 45 “special” warheads in Iraq’s inventory.
- UNSCOM was not able to verify the quantity of VX destroyed, nor were
they able to verify the destruction of all VX precursor chemicals.
- UNSCOM was not able to verify the destruction of unfilled 250 gauge
aerial bombs, unfilled R-400 aerial bombs, and unfilled 122-mm rockets.
The destruction years ago of the bulk of Iraq’s CW munitions not withstanding,
ISG remains concerned about the status and whereabouts of hundreds of
CW artillery rounds. Previous assertions that the munitions were all destroyed
have been undermined by reporting that the munitions remain intact in
an unknown location.
In the 5 January 1999 Compendium, UNSCOM assessed that Iraq had
not adequately accounted for 550 mustard-filled artillery rounds it claimed
to have lost. This issue first surfaced in 1996 because of discrepancies
in Iraq’s accounting of weapons holdings, and was investigated but not
resolved by UNSCOM (see the January 1999 UN compendium for details). ISG
conducted extensive interviews with high- and mid-level Iraqi officials
to determine the final disposition of the 550 mustard-filled rounds—which
would be highly toxic, even now—cited by the UN as an unresolved disarmament
issue, and found inconsistencies in the story among witting high-level
officials. Most officials recounted the story of accidental destruction
in a fire in Karbala, reporting provided to the UN after Iraq’s investigation
of this issue prior to 1998, while the former MIC director, Huwaysh, claims
the rounds were retained for future use.
- In a 7 August 2003 debriefing, Huwaysh said that as of early 2003,
all 550 mustard rounds were kept by the SRG at Suwayrah, probably the
former location of the II RG Corps Headquarters, just north of the Shaykh-Mazar
- According to Huwaysh, the matter was discussed by the Higher Committee
on Monitoring Inspections and a decision was made to declare the shells,
which was done just prior to OIF.
- Amir Rashid admitted that the Higher Committee discussed the shells
in February or March 2003. Rashid said the discussion focused on the
connection between the burned mustard shells at the Fallujah proving
ground and other shells that reportedly burned on a trailer near Karbala
after the 1991 Gulf War.
- General Hussam Amin did not remember any discussions of Suwayrah and
mustard shells. According to Amin, in early 2003, General ‘Amir Al Sa’adi
explained to him that the mustard shells were destroyed on the trailer
Iraq had not adequately addressed VX production and weaponization
activities—a point on which Iraq’s denials were contradicted by UNSCOM
findings. ISG investigations into Iraq’s work with VX reveals
that Iraq did weaponize VX in 1988, and dropped 3 aerial bombs filled
with VX on Iran. The bombs, originally declared to be part of a storage
stability trial, were in fact dropped on an undisclosed Iranian location
Chemical Munitions—Searching Military Depots and Caches
Reflecting pre-OIF intelligence assessments that Iraq had stockpiled
hundreds of tons of chemical weapons, ISG expended considerable time and
expertise searching for extant CW munitions. ISG inspected
ammunition supply points identified from preliminary analysis of the ‘red-line’
theory–including sites in proximity to units possibly equipped with chemical-capable
weapons and in proximity to suspected decontamination activity.
- ISG exploited munitions at captured enemy ammunition (CEA) depots
established by Coalition Forces after OIF to serve as repositories for
ammunition captured throughout the country.
- Teams also investigated other suspect locations identified prior to
OIF as suspect CW locations, in particular 11 depots at which possible
CW movement and storage activity was assessed to have taken place in
the late 2002-2003 timeframe.
- Overall, only a modest fraction of rounds were identified for exploitation.
The sites had been subject to looting during and after OIF, bombing
of military installations during the war, and detonation of large numbers
of rounds by Coalition Forces.
- Although only a fraction of Iraq’s total munitions inventory was identified
and exploited for CW rounds, a review of high-priority facilities, munitions
caches, and locations identified prior to OIF as suspect CW storage
or transfer sites, did not reveal caches of CW weapons.
Investigating Ammunition Supply Points
ISG’s investigation of Iraq’s ammunition supply points—ammunition
depots, field ammunition supply points (FASPs), tactical FASPs, and other
dispersed weapons caches—has not uncovered any CW munitions.
ISG investigation, however, was hampered by several factors beyond our
control. The scale and complexity of Iraqi munitions handling, storage,
and weapons markings, and extensive looting and destruction at military
facilities during OIF significantly limited the number of munitions that
ISG was able to thoroughly inspect.
- ISG technical experts fully evaluated less than one quarter of one
percent of the over 10,000 weapons caches throughout Iraq, and visited
fewer than ten ammunition depots identified prior to OIF as suspect
- The enormous number of munitions dispersed throughout the country
may include some older, CW-filled munitions, and ISG cannot discount
the possibility that a few large caches of munitions remain to be discovered
ISG began its search for Iraqi chemical weapons by identifying
a set of facilities from the nearly 1,000 sites at which Iraq stockpiled
or deployed munitions. ISG obtained from CENTCOM a database of
104 ASPs identified within the assessed “Red Line” surrounding Baghdad
(see Annex G, for details on the ‘Red Line Theory’). This list
was narrowed down to 26 sites using two main criteria (see Figure
- Reporting of a suspect CW decontamination vehicle, a “Samarra’ ” type
water truck in proximity to the ASP—at the time the targets were selected,
the presence of these vehicles was regarded as indicators of CW-related
- An artillery unit capable of firing 122mm multiple-rocket launcher
(MRL) or 155mm CW rounds, also in proximity of the site.
The ASPs of the Republican Guard Al Madinah, Al Manawrah, Baghdad, and
Hammurabi Divisions were of highest priority because of the units’ trusted
status and location during the combat phase of OIF. Exploitation of the
26 ASPs began with a thorough
review of all reporting
the facilities to discern the status and change in the site during and
after OIF , in order to narrow the list of sites to be visited.
- Reporting revealed 16 of the 26 sites were either empty, destroyed,
or contained unidentified material withan imagery signature inconsistent
with CW. One site was found to be a duplicate location under a different
name and another was removed for lack of evidence. Teams from ISG visited
the remaining eight sites.
- ISG investigation of eight ASPs turned up a wealth of different Iraqi
munitions including artillery shells, and rockets. However, we did not
locate any CW filled artillery.
Types of ASPs
ASPs can be divided into three different classes: (1) Ammunition
Depot, (2) Field Ammunition Supply Point (FASP), and (3) Tactical FASP
(TFASP). Sites vary depending on permanence of structures and proximity
to forward deployed units.
- Ammunition Depots are permanent structures located far from the
forward lines. They are fenced and guarded with hardened bunkers as
well as revetments for open storage. Depots are designed to supply
munitions to a large number of different units and as a result contain
a wide variety of ammunition types.
- FASPs are usually permanent structures as well. As with depots,
they are usually fenced and guarded and may contain bunkers or revetments.
FASPs are meant to serve a smaller number of units and will maintain
a limited mixture of munitions. In US Army terminology, they would
be equivalent to Ammunition Transfer Points, or ATPs.
- TFASPs are semi-permanent structures in close proximity to the
units that require the munitions. They may be fenced or bermed and
contain mostly open storage in revetments. TFASPs function as the
immediate supply point for a limited number of units and retain only
the munitions required for those units. In US Army terminology, a
TFASP would be equivalent to a cache.
Investigating Captured Enemy Ammunition Points (CEA Consolidation
ISG capitalized on efforts by Coalition Forces in December 2003
to begin a program to consolidate captured Iraqi weapons into seven pre-identified
Captured Enemy Ammunition (CEA) Depots (see Figure
7). As of mid-September 2004, Coalition Forces have reviewed
and cleared a total of 10,033 weapons caches dispersed throughout the
country, destroying a total of 243,045 tons of munitions. This represents
only part of Iraq’s pre-OIF munitions inventory, and only a fraction of
these were checked by ISG technical experts for signs of chemical agent
fill. (See Annex H.)
Many of the rounds were destroyed at their original cache locations or
at a CEA depot; however, ISG technical experts have been working with
CEA officials to evaluate munitions that were returned to consolidation
points for storage or later destruction.
- ISG reviewed CEA inventory lists for chemical-capable projectiles,
rockets, missiles, or bombs, and conducted missions to the consolidation
points to X-ray, catalogue, and analyze specific rounds for CW signatures.
No CW munitions were found at these sites as of September 2004.
- ISG teams also sought unique munitions identified by CEA as new shipments
arrived onsite. No significant findings were reported.
ISG estimates that CEA visits allowed us to review at most about
10 percent of Iraqi munitions. As of 15 September 2004, CEA
has identified a total of 10,049 caches (a cache is considered
a collection of munitions in any quantity) throughout Iraq. The breakdown
of their activities follows:
- To date, 10,033 caches have been cleared with a total of 405,944 tons
of munitions delivered to the CEA points, an average of about 40 tons
of munitions per cleared cache. Of that total, 243,045 tons of
munitions have been destroyed, and 162,899 tons remain at the
CEA points for future destruction.
- 16 caches remain outstanding, containing an estimated total of 6,068
tons, an average of 380 tons per cache.
- ISG conducted CEA visits at about a two-per-month rate in early 2004
and it is estimated that ISG experts reviewed about 50,000-75,000 tons
of munitions—about 12 to 18 percent of the grand total of 412,012 existing
- In addition to the CEA process, a large number of munitions were destroyed
between OIF and late 2003, when CEA instituted its process. Officials
at CEA have been highly efficient in destroying as much as 25,000 tons
of munitions per month.
- Recent data indicate that the grand total will continue to grow. Over
the six-week period from the end of July to mid-September, CEA discovered
an additional 291 caches with a total of 105,028 tons of munitions—cache
discoveries continued to the time of writing. CEA estimates a total
of 600,000 tons of munitions is the total tonnage, including munitions
destroyed during OIF and scattered about the countryside. ISG believes
this number is fairly uncertain, and could go considerably higher in
the future as new caches are discovered. We regard 600,000 as a lower
limit on total munitions. Using this number, we estimate we visited
about 8-12 percent (in round numbers, 10 percent), or less of the total
Iraqi munitions stocks.
Although ISG only inspected a small fraction of the Iraqi munitions,
we remain confident that we have not destroyed chemical munitions in the
process of destroying Iraqi weapons.
- The US military has high confidence that the destruction process has
thus far proceeded safely, with no release of chemicals connected with
- The amount of inspections ISG was able to carry out was consistent
with the resources available, and the safety factors involved in carrying
out the inspections of munitions facilities.
In addition to the ASPs and CEA sites, ISG undertook a systematic
effort to review and investigate a series of depots that factored prominently
in pre-OIF assessments of possible CW transshipment activity in the 2002-2003
timeframe. Several studies, based primarily on imagery Analysis
at that time concluded that Iraq probably deployed CW munitions from depots
to ammunition supply points throughout Iraq as part of ongoing preparations
for war. The original list of 11 sites at which activity had been noted
was narrowed to two main depots for intensive ISG investigation, including
site visits, technical assessments, and personal interviews.
- Imagery analysis observed indication of ammunition movement Iraq in
2002. Analysis of specific activity—at the 11 depots—raised increased
analytic scrutiny and prompted a review of munitions transshipment signatures
- The key indicators to identify suspect CW munitions movement and storage
included the presence of special guards, vehicles assessed to be decontamination
trucks, cargo vehicles, and the grading of top soil near suspect bunkers.
ISG began an investigation of the 11 major depots by reviewing
imagery reporting of the sites to determine feasibility for site exploitations
and by subsequent site visits and identification of individuals and military
officials who had previously worked there. ISGanalysis revealed
that most of the sites were destroyed or looted during or shortly after
OIF, and the military officers who worked there proved difficult to locate.
- ISG conducted an in-depth investigation of the Al-Musayyib Storage
Depot—assessed prior to OIF to have the strongest indicators of
CW movement—in an attempt to understand the nature of suspect CW transshipment
activity there between 1998 and 2002. (See Annex H for a detailed account).
- Reporting indicated the presence of a suspect CW decontamination vehicle
at the Miqdadiyah Depot north of Baghdad and prompted an ISG
operation to recover two vehicles for exploitation.
- The remaining sites were not visited because indicated looting and
destruction that prevented the discovery of any munitions remaining