Ballistic missiles - retained stock
Department, 12 September 2002, p.10, sourcing UNSCOM final report:
"Discrepancies identified by UNSCOM in Saddam Hussein's declarations
suggest that Iraq retains a small force of Scud-type missiles and an undetermined
number of launchers and warheads."
UK dossier, 24
September 2002, p.6: "illegally retained up to 20 al-Hussein
missiles, with a range of 650km, capable of carrying chemical or biological
24 September 2002, p.28: "According to intelligence, Iraq has
retained up to 20 al-Hussein missiles, in breach of UN Security Council
Resolution 687. These missiles were either hidden from the UN as complete
systems, or re-assembled using illegally retained engines and other components."
of Defense, 8 October 2002 (slides 23 and 26): 7 to 20 SCUD-Type missiles,
45 to 70 missile warheads, and 15,000 to 20,000 rockets are unaccounted
October 2002, p.18: "Iraq never fully accounted for its existing
missile programs. Discrepancies in Baghdad's declarations suggest that
Iraq retains a small force of extended-range Scud-type missiles and an
undetermined number of launchers and warheads."
Powell, 5 February 2003: "numerous intelligence reports over
the past decade from sources inside Iraq indicate that Saddam Hussein
retains a covert force of up to a few dozen Scud-variant ballistic missiles.
These are missiles with a range of 650 to 900 kilometers."
Evaluation. The claims about a retained stock of ballistic
missiles seem unlikely. According to UNSCOM, by 1997, 817 out of
Iraq's imported 819 Scud-B ballistic missiles had been certifiably
destroyed. This finding was endorsed by UNSCOM commissioners in
of November 1997 (para.7). On the worst-case assumption that
Iraq has salvaged some of the parts for these missiles and has reconstructed
them since 1998, even Charles Duelfer - former US Deputy Assistant
Secretary of State, deputy head of UNSCOM and strong proponent of
an invasion of Iraq - has provided an estimate of only 12 to 14
missiles held by Iraq.
There remain questions about Iraq's retained missile engines and
warheads. Iraq produced 121 Scud-type warheads, and UNSCOM did not
manage to find remnants of approximately 25 of them. Iraq also developed
7 engines, it claims, for training purposes, and states that these
engines were destroyed in July 1991. UNSCOM was unable to verify
this claim, but inspectors have yet to analyse the fragments Iraq
claims were found from the destruction of these engines on 4 August
Ballistic missiles - rebuilt facilities
(a) al-Mamoun (65km southwest of Baghdad)
Department, 12 September 2002, p.10: "At their al-Mamoun facility,
the Iraqis have rebuilt structures that had been dismantled by UNSCOM
that were originally designed to manufacture solid propellant motors
for the Badr-2000 missile program."
24 September 2002, p.30: "Iraq has managed to rebuild much
of the missile production infrastructure destroyed in the Gulf War and
in Operation Desert Fox in 1998. New missile-related infrastructure
is also under construction. Some aspects of this, including rocket propellant
mixing and casting facilities at the al-Mamoun Plant, appear to replicate
those linked to the prohibited Badr-2000 programme (with a planned range
of 700-1000km) which were destroyed in the Gulf War or dismantled by
UNSCOM. A new plant at al-Mamoun for indigenously producing ammonium
perchlorate, which is a key ingredient in the production of solid propellant
rocket motors, has also been constructed. This has been provided illicitly
by NEC Engineers Private Limited, an Indian chemical engineering firm
with extensive links in Iraq, including to other suspect facilities
such as the Fallujah 2 chlorine plant. After an extensive investigation,
the Indian authorities have recently suspended its export licence, although
other individuals and companies are still illicitly procuring for Iraq."
October 2002, pp.21-22: "At the Al-Mamoun Solid Rocket Motor
Production Plant and RDT&E Facility, the Iraqis, since the December
1998 departure of inspectors, have rebuilt structures damaged during
the Gulf war and dismantled by UNSCOM that originally were built to
manufacture solid propellant motors for the Badr-2000 program. They
also have built a new building and are reconstructing other buildings
originally designed to fill large Badr-2000 motor casings with solid
propellant. Also at al-Mamoun, the Iraqis have rebuilt two structures
used to "mix" solid propellant for the Badr-2000 missile.
The new buildings - about as large as the original ones - are ideally
suited to house large, UN-prohibited mixers. In fact, the only logical
explanation for the size and configuration of these mixing buildings
is that Iraq intends to develop longer-range, prohibited missiles."
October 2002, p.22: "The Iraqis have completed a new ammonium
perchlorate production plant at Mamoun that supports Iraq's solid propellant
missile program. Ammonium perchlorate is a common oxidizer used in solid
propellant missile motors. Baghdad would not have been able to complete
this facility without help from abroad."
Brought up by State
Department, 19 December 2002: "Iraq has disclosed manufacturing
new energetic fuels suited only to a class of missile to which it does
not admit. [..] Why is the Iraqi regime manufacturing fuels for missiles
it says it does not have?"
Evaluation. The allegation from the UK dossier that an
Indian firm, NEC Engineers Private Ltd, provided a plant for producing
ammonium perchlorate has been strongly disputed by the
firm in question. A review is contained in this
article from the Asian Times. It appears that the trial of
Rajiv Dhir, the general manager of the firm, for violating India's
export controls is ongoing. However, the company's manager denies
that his firm even has the capacity to produce the chemical in
UNMOVIC have confirmed that Iraq did rebuild casting chambers
for missiles that UNSCOM had dismantled (eg on 16
al-Mamoun has subsequently been inspected by UNMOVIC teams of
missile inspectors on 31
December 2002, on 3,
January 2003, and 1,
(b) al-Mutasim, also known as Taj al-Ma'arik
October 2002, p.21: "The Al-Mutasim Solid Rocket Motor and
Test Facility, previously associated with Iraq's Badr-2000 solid-propellant
missile program, has been rebuilt and expanded in recent years. The
al-Mutasim site supports solid-propellant motor assembly, rework, and
testing for the UN-authorized Ababil-100, but the size of certain facilities
there, particularly those newly constructed between the assembly rework
and static test areas, suggests that Baghdad is preparing to develop
systems that are prohibited by the UN."
|Evaluation. al-Mutasim's rocket production facilities,
based 60km south of Baghdad, were inspected by "an experienced
UNMOVIC missile specialist" on 12 December 2002. See the IAEA
/ UNMOVIC joint press
statement. Further inspections occurred on 15
December 2002, and 14,
19 and 21
January 2003. Latest inspections took place on 5,
February 2003. For an assessment of Ababil-100, see the analysis
Ballistic missiles - al-Samoud and Ababil-100 (al-Fatah)
Department, 12 September 2002, p.10: "Iraq continues work on
the al-Samoud liquid propellant short-range missile (which can fly beyond
the allowed 150 kilometers). The al-Samoud and the solid propellant Ababil-100
appeared in a military parade in Baghdad on December 31, 2000, suggesting
that both systems are nearing operational deployment."
UK dossier, 24
September 2002, p.6: "Iraq has [..] started deploying its al-Samoud
liquid propellant missile, and has used the absence of weapons inspectors
to work on extending its range to at least 200km, which is beyond the
limit of 150km imposed by the United Nations" (reiterated at p.27).
UK dossier, 24
September 2002, p.6: "Iraq has [..] started producing the solid-propellant
Ababil-100, and is making efforts to extend its range to at least 200km,
which is beyond the limit of 150km imposed by the United Nations"
(reiterated at p.27).
October 2002, p.19: "The al-Samoud liquid propellant SRBM and
the Ababil-100 solid propellant SRBM, however, are capable of flying beyond
the allowed 150km range. Both missiles have been tested aggressively and
are in early deployment."
Department, 19 December 2002: "Iraq claims that flight-testing
of a larger diameter missile falls within the 150km limit. This claim
is not credible."
House, January 2003, p.5: "Iraq claims that its designs
for a larger diameter missile fall within the UN-mandated 150km limit.
But Dr. Blix has cited 13 recent Iraqi missile tests which exceed the
Powell, 5 February 2003: "We know from intelligence and Iraq's
own admissions that Iraq's alleged permitted ballistic missiles, the al-Samoud
II and the Al-Fatah, violate the 150-kilometer limit established by this
Council in Resolution 687."
Department, 27 February 2003: "Iraq admitted that multiple
test flights of the al-Samoud 2 and al-Fath Ballistic Missiles exceeded
the 150 kilometer limit set by the UN, but falsely declared that these
missile systems comply with UN requirements. UNMOVIC declared al-Samoud
2 prohibited and should be destroyed."
Evaluation. Iraq incorporated into its declaration of 7
December 2002 its claims about the status of these new projects.
According to Hans Blix, Executive Chairman of UNMOVIC, in his notes
for briefing the Security Council of 19 December 2002:
"In the missile area, there is a go[o]d deal of information
regarding Iraq's activities in the past few years. As declared
by Iraq, these are permitted activities, which will be monitored
by UNMOVIC to ensure that they comply with the relevant Council
resolutions. A series of new projects have been declared that
are at various stages of development. They include a design for
a new liquid oxygen/ethanol propellant engine and replacement
of guidance systems for several surface-to-air missiles. These
projects will need to be investigated and evaluated by UNMOVIC."
As the declaration is not in the public realm, it is impossible
to assess the material that Iraq has provided. However, it seems
that the claim of the State Department (19 Dec 02) and White House
in response to Iraq's dossier is incorrect: Iraq has admitted that
the range of both al-Samoud II and al-Fatah in test
flights has exceeded the 150km limit.
"In the missile area, Iraq has declared the development
of a missile known as the Al Samoud, which uses components from
an imported surface-to-air missile. A variant of the Al Samoud,
with a larger diameter (760 mm) than the standard version (500
mm) has been declared. [...] In the latest update of the semi-annual
monitoring declarations, Iraq has declared that in 13 flight tests
of the Al Samoud the missile has exceeded the permitted range.
The greatest range achieved was 183 kilometres."
Hans Blix, notes
for briefing the Security Council of 19 December 2002
On 27 January 2003, Blix reported:
"During my recent meeting in Baghdad, we were briefed on
these two programmes. We were told that the final range for both
systems would be less than the permitted maximum range of 150
km. These missiles might well represent prima facie cases of proscribed
systems. The test ranges in excess of 150 km are significant,
but some further technical considerations need to be made, before
we reach a conclusion on this issue. In the mean time, we have
asked Iraq to cease flight tests of both missiles."
As part of the evidence-collection, on 12 December an UNMOVIC -
IAEA joint press statement recorded
the following test:
"An UNMOVIC team attended a test launch of a short-range
ballistic missile being developed by Iraq. The test took place
at a test range approximately 200 km west of Baghdad. The missile
is a modified version of a missile already owned by Iraq. The
missile range falls within that allowed under the UN resolutions.
The UNMOVIC team was able to examine the missile before launch
to verify its configuration."
UNMOVIC have not disclosed the specific missile programme, but
is presumably the Ababil-100 (otherwise known as al-Fatah) programme,
as this missile (unlike al-Samoud) is a modified version of the
artillery rocket with a 100km range that was designed before the
A further test was conducted on 9
January 2003: "An UNMOVIC missile team witnessed a static
test firing of the Al Samoud missile engine late in the afternoon
yesterday, 9 January, after the morning test was postponed for technical
reasons." Further static tests were conducted on 12
January and 23
February 2003. No further details were disclosed in either case.
February 2003, Blix confirmed that the al-Samoud II was indeed
capable of exceeding 150km, and was therefore proscribed. The Iraqi
government seemed to have accepted the discontination of this programme,
including the tagging of al-Samoud missiles on 16
February 2003 to allow the detection of their movement. Inspections
of facilities used in the production of al-Samoud have continued,
and on 18,
February 2003 the missiles were tagged.
On 21 February, Blix confirmed in a letter that al-Samoud II missiles
and associated items were considered proscribed, and he listed a
number of items, including all al-Samoud II missiles and warheads,
fuel and oxidizer, 380 SA-2 missile engines, and all engine components
associated with this SA-2 engine that needed to be destroyed.
On 27 February 2003, Iraq sent a letter to UNMOVIC, which stated
to the UNMOVIC spokesman - "that they agree in principle
to the UNMOVIC request to start destroying the Al Samoud 2 missiles
and other associated items by the first of March." Technical
discussions were held on 28 February to ensure that UN inspectors
could guide and supervise the destruction of the missiles, their
components and associated systems.
The process of destruction began on 1
March 2003, with four al-Samoud II missiles and a casting chamber
destroyed on that day. Warheads and the second casting chamber were
destroyed on 3
March. On 4
March, UNMOVIC reported that "Now the two casting chambers
are considered totally destroyed." A missile launcher and engines
were also destroyed on 4
March. By 17
March, 72 missiles out of a total of about 120 had been destroyed,
together with 47 warheads, as
well as two casting chambers, two launchers, 5 engines, tools
and special equipment to produce the al-Samoud II engine, computer
software to launch the missile, small components, and several propellant
The progress in the destruction of al-Samoud II missiles was noted
by Hans Blix in his 7
March 2003 statement to the Security Council:
"The destruction undertaken constitutes a substantial measure
of disarmament - indeed, the first since the middle of the 1990s.
[...] Until today, 34 Al Samoud 2 missiles, including 4 training
missiles, 2 combat warheads, 1 launcher and 5 engines have been
destroyed under UNMOVIC supervision. Work is continuing to identify
and inventory the parts and equipment associated with the Al Samoud
2 programme. Two 'reconstituted' casting chambers used in the
production of solid propellant missiles have been destroyed and
the remnants melted or encased in concrete."
Ababil-100 (now known as al-Fatah)
This rocket has also come under UNMOVIC scrutiny as a result of
Iraq's admission that it exceeds the 150km range. Iraq declared
on 7 December that in 33 tests of its unguided version, 8 of them
had flown between 150km and 161km. On 6 March 2003, UNMOVIC reported
that the final assessment of its status had not yet been made, as
more evidence needed to be collected ("Unresolved
Disarmament Issues", pp.15, 38).
Ballistic missiles - al-Rafah / Shahiyat liquid propellant
engine static test stand
October 2002, p.19: "The Al-Rafah-North Liquid Propellant Engine
Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation (RDT&E) Facility is Iraq's
principal site for the static testing of liquid propellant missile engines.
Baghdad has been building a new test stand there that is larger than the
test stand associated with al-Samoud engine testing and the defunct Scud
engine test stand. The only plausible explanation for this test facility
is that Iraq intends to test engines for longer-range missiles prohibited
under UNSCR 687."
Department, 12 September 2002, p.10: "The al-Rafah-North facility
is Iraq's principal site for testing liquid propellant missile engines.
Iraq has been building a new, larger test stand there that is clearly
intended for testing prohibited longer-range missile engines."
UK dossier, 24
September 2002, p.6: "Iraq has [..] constructed a new engine
test stand for the development of missiles capable of reaching the UK
Sovereign Base Areas in Cyprus and NATO members (Greece and Turkey), as
well as all Iraq's Gulf neighbours and Israel"
UK dossier, 24
September 2002, p.29: "Intelligence has confirmed that Iraq wants
to extend the range of its missile systems to over 1000km, enabling it
to threaten other regional neighbours. This work began in 1998, although
efforts to regenerate the long-range ballistic missile programme probably
began in 1995. Iraq's missile programmes employ hundreds of people. Satellite
imagery has shown a new engine test stand being constructed, which is
larger than the current one used for al-Samoud, and that formerly used
for testing SCUD engines which was dismantled under UNSCOM supervision.
This new stand will be capable of testing engines for medium range ballistic
missiles (MRBMs) with ranges over 1000km,which are not permitted under
UN Security Council Resolution 687. Such a facility would not be needed
for systems that fall within the UN permitted range of 150km. The Iraqis
have recently taken measures to conceal activities at this site. Iraq
is also working to obtain improved guidance technology to increase missile
UK dossier, 24
September 2002, p.30: "Iraq might achieve a missile capability
of over 1000km within 5 years".
Powell, 5 February 2003 [displaying slide
35: al-Rafah liquid engine test facility in Iraq]: "Iraq has
programs that are intended to produce ballistic missiles that fly over
1,000 kilometers. One program is pursuing a liquid fuel missile that would
be able to fly more than 1,200 kilometers. [...] Iraq has built an engine
test stand that is larger than anything it has ever had. Notice the dramatic
difference in size between the test stand on the left, the old one, and
the new one on the right. Note the large exhaust vent. This is where the
flame from the engine comes out. The exhaust vent on the right test stand
is five times longer than the one on the left. The one of the left is
used for short-range missiles. The one on the right is clearly intended
for long-range missiles that can fly 1,200 kilometers. This photograph
was taken in April of 2002. Since then, the test stand has been finished
and a roof has been put over it so it will be harder for satellites to
see what's going on underneath the test stand."
Evaluation. This site has been repeatedly inspected, beginning
November 2002. Recent inspections include those of 4
The relevant excerpt of the UNMOVIC
/ IAEA report of 21 January 2003 read:
"Another missile team traveled to the Shahiyat Test Facility,
about 100 km north of Baghdad, to verify that this site was still
Dr Blix made this point explicit in his briefing
to the Security Council on 14 February 2003:
"The experts also studied the data on the missile engine
test stand that is nearing completion [...]. So far, the test
stand has not been associated with a proscribed activity."
Ballistic missiles - imports
UK dossier, 24
September 2002, p.30: "Intelligence makes it clear that Iraqi
procurement agents and front companies in third countries are seeking
illicitly to acquire propellant chemicals for Iraq's ballistic missiles.
This includes production level quantities of near complete sets of solid
propellant rocket motor ingredients such as aluminium powder, ammonium
perchlorate and hydroxyl terminated polybutadiene.There have also been
attempts to acquire large quantities of liquid propellant chemicals such
as Unsymmetrical Dimethylhydrazine (UDMH) and diethylenetriamene. We judge
these are intended to support production and deployment of the al-Samoud
and development of longer-range systems."
October 2002, p.22: "Iraqi intermediaries have sought production
technology, machine tools, and raw materials in violation of the arms
embargo. [...] In August 1995, Iraq was caught trying to acquire sensitive
ballistic missile guidance components, including gyroscopes originally
used in Russian strategic nuclear SLBMs, demonstrating that Baghdad has
been pursuing proscribed, advanced, long-range missile technology for
some time. Iraqi officials admitted that, despite international prohibitions,
they had received a similar shipment earlier that year."
Powell, 5 February 2003: "UNMOVIC has also reported that Iraq
has illegally imported 380 SA-2 rocket engines."
The Iraqi government does seem to have admitted that they managed
to import missile parts in violation of the sanctions regime. The
SA-2 missile engines are stored at Ibn Al Haytham. According to
Hans Blix, Executive Chairman of UNMOVIC, in his notes
for briefing the Security Council of 9 January 2003,
"Iraq, in the [7 December 2002] Declaration, has declared
the import of missile engines and raw material for the production
of solid missile fuel. This import has taken place in violation
of the relevant resolutions regulating import and export to Iraq.
Inspections have confirmed the presence of a relatively large
number of missile engines, some imported as late as 2002. We have
yet to determine the significance of these illegal imports relating
to the specific WMD-mandate of UNMOVIC."
February 2003, UNMOVIC inspectors tagged the SA-2 missile engines,
so that any illicit use could be detected. The process of destruction
of these engines began in early March 2003, as recounted above (in
the discussion of al-Samoud II missiles). By 9
March 2003, 5 engines had been destroyed.
Delivery of chemical and biological weapons
Department, 12 September 2002, p.9: "Iraq has not accounted for
at least 15,000 artillery rockets that in the past were its preferred
vehicle for delivering nerve agents.."
October 2002: "Iraq has not accounted for 15,000 artillery rockets
that in the past were its preferred means for delivering nerve agents,
nor has it accounted for about 550 artillery shells filled with mustard
24 September 2002, p.16: "we assess that when the UN inspectors
left Iraq they were unable to account for [...] over 30,000 special munitions
for delivery of chemical and biological agents."
Department, 19 December 2002: "There is no adequate accounting
for nearly 30,000 empty munitions that could be filled with chemical agents.
Where are these munitions?"
Department, 19 December 2002: "In January 1999, the UN
Special Commission reported that Iraq failed to provide credible evidence
that [...] 400 biological weapon-capable aerial bombs had been lost or
destroyed. [...] Again, what is the Iraqi regime trying to hide by not
providing this information?" (partially repeated in White
House, January 2003, p.6).
House, January 2003, p.6: "There is no adequate accounting
for nearly 30,000 empty munitions that could be filled with chemical agents.
If one of those shells were filled with the nerve agent Sarin, which Iraq
is known to have produced, it would contain over 40,000 lethal doses."
Powell, 26 January 2003: "What happened to nearly 30,000
munitions capable of carrying chemical agents? The inspectors can only
account for only 16 of them. Where are they? It's not a matter of ignoring
the reality of the situation. Just think, all of these munitions, which
perhaps only have a short range if fired out of an artillery weapon in
Iraq, but imagine if one of these weapons were smuggled out of Iraq and
found its way into the hands of a terrorist organization who could transport
it anywhere in the world."
Bush, 28 January 2003: "U.S. intelligence indicates that
Saddam Hussein had upwards of 30,000 munitions capable of delivering chemical
agents. Inspectors recently turned up 16 of them -- despite Iraq's recent
declaration denying their existence. Saddam Hussein has not accounted
for the remaining 29,984 of these prohibited munitions. He's given no
evidence that he has destroyed them."
Powell, 5 February 2003: "Saddam Hussein has never accounted
for [...] 30,000 empty munitions [...]"
Evaluation: Artillery shells and Iraq's munitions have a
very limited range, and could only be considered a threat to Iraq's
own citizenry and those within a few kilometres of Iraq's borders.
However, inspections have demonstrated that Iraq has retained at
least a small number of chemical warheads. Artillery projectiles
are not suitable for use with biological agents.
Iraq declared that it had imported 85,000 empty 155mm projectiles
before August 1990. 70,000 were filled with chemical agents (mostly
mustard), and of these Iraq declared that 54,000 were used between
1984 and 1988. Out of the remainder, UNSCOM destroyed 12,792 mustard
155mm projectiles in the period 1992-94, as it stated in its report
of January 1999 (Appendix II, para.11). Iraq stated that it
converted the unfilled projectiles to conventional munitions in
the period from 1992-93. This claim seems to have been endorsed
by UNSCOM, as UNMOVIC reported in "Unresolved
Disarmament Issues" (6 March 2003), p.54:
"Iraq declared that it had unilaterally converted approximately
15,500 empty 155-mm artillery projectiles, purchased for chemical
warfare use, into conventional high explosive munitions in 1992-93.
UNSCOM attempted to verify the disposition of these munitions
and found approximately 1,800 of these projectiles at the Babylon
Ammunition Depot. UNSCOM was satisfied with its findings and did
not pursue the matter further."
The 122mm chemical warheads were a major element in Iraq's
programme prior to 1991. Iraq declared that it produced or purchased
over 100,000 such warheads. Many of these were used in the Iran-Iraq
war, and 14,000 warheads were handed over the UNSCOM for destruction
(as stated in UNSCOM's report
of January 1999, Appendix II, para.11). Iraq claimed that the
remaining 26,000 warheads were destroyed either unilaterally or
in bombing during the Gulf War. The extent of destruction of 122mm
rocket warheads was confirmed by UNSCOM:
"In 1991, two locations were seen by UNSCOM where rockets
had been destroyed. Evidence of many destroyed rockets was found
[..]. In the period 1991-1998, remnants of about 4,000 rockets
were recovered and accounted for by UNSCOM. [...] Completely destroyed
hangers where rockets had been destroyed were seen by UNSCOM.
Evidence of many destroyed rockets was found. Accounting for the
remnants was not possible due to the extent of the destruction.
[..] In 1995, documentary evidence was provided by Iraq that 36,500
rockets had been stored at a facility destroyed during the Gulf
war. [..] Remnants of 11,500 rockets destroyed through demolition
were seen by UNSCOM. Accounting was not possible due to the state
of destruction. [..] UNSCOM was presented with ingots declared
to be from the melting of 15,000 rockets. The material presented
could not be assessed as adequate for proper verification."
of January 1999, Appendix II, para.11
In all of these cases, UNSCOM - despite being able to verify the
large-scale destruction of rocket warheads - was not able to quantify
that destruction. As such, attempts to put a number to the number
of rocket warheads that Iraq may still possess are problematic.
January 2003, an UNMOVIC multidisciplinary team visited the
Ukhaider Ammunition Storage Area (170km southwest of Baghdad), and
found "11 empty 122 mm chemical warheads and one warhead that
requires further evaluation. The warheads were in excellent condition
and were similar to ones imported by Iraq during the late 1980s."
Further samples were taken from the 12th warhead on 18
January 2003. Both this warhead and the storage building are
under IAEA seal.
Iraq also declared 4 more items at al-Taji munitions stores on
January 2003, and these were inspected on 21
January 2003. UNMOVIC discovered another single empty warhead
February 2003, and "an empty 122 mm Al Burak chemical warhead
and an empty plastic chemical agent canister" on 9
February 2003, at al-Taji Ammunition Depot. The warheads were
tagged and secured, and samples have been taken for analysis. Reports
say that the range of the rockets for these warheads is 6 miles,
they are all Sakr-18 warheads.
In subsequent interviews, the UNMOVIC Executive Chairman provided
more details on the find:
"These things were laying in boxes. They had never been
opened. They were covered by bird droppings, so they'd been there
for some time. But they had never been opened, actually, and they
were in excellent conditions. They were from pre-1990, so at the
time when they were able to have these things legally. But of
course, they should have been properly declared and, in fact,
Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer, 19 January 2003.
He also seems to have warned against attributing too much significance
to this find:
"He warned against over-dramatising the discovery last Thursday
of 12 warheads, saying none had produced 'any evidence' of containing
traces of lethal chemicals. 'We haven't found a gun but a little
bit of smoke... we must not forget that these were empty things
and in all likelihood they never had anything in them.'"
will not be pushed into war by US' - Blix", The Observer
(London), 19 January 2003.
Hans Blix also corrected his earlier assessment that the warheads
had been found in a new storage area:
"You recall that when we were here last time there had been
a finding of 12 empty chemical warheads of 122 mm [...]. I should
comment in the margin that when we made a statement about this
we did say that we believed they were stored in new bunkers and
therefore we must conclude that they were moved there after 1991.
After further study we should correct that statement that where
they were stored was not new. I'd like to stand corrected on behalf
of my Commission in that regard."
Conference, 9 February 2003
The site at which the warheads were found, the Ukhaider Ammunition
Storage Area, is a well-known storage site for Iraq's permitted
artillery, and is frequently searched by inspectors. According to
Raymond Zilinskas, a former UNSCOM biological weapons inspector
and consultant to the US Department of State and the US Department
of Defense (and director of the Chemical and Biological Weapons
Nonproliferation Program, Monterey Institute of International Studies):
"If there are depots with millions of rounds of artillery
shells for conventional use and one box of artillery shells for
chemical use, it would be easy to miss. It could have fallen between
Los Angeles Times, 17 January 2003, reprinted here.
Furthermore, it appears that the 12 rockets found at Ukhaider were
not part of a significantly larger stock that could still be uncovered:
"A Commission of Inquiry has been set up by Iraq to investigate
why these warheads were stored at these sites or whether any more
such warheads or other proscribed munitions are stored at other
locations in Iraq. According to a document from the Commission,
which was handed over to UNMOVIC in February 2003, the 12 warheads
were part of a batch of less than 20 warheads received by Al Muthana
in 1989 for training and reverse engineering purposes."
Disarmament Issues" (6 March 2003), p.54.
The same report records that the "Sealed casings containing
some of the rocket warheads were dated April 1988", and that
the liquid found in one of the warheads "was found to be water
contaminated by hydrogen sulphide, which seems to be consistent
with the fact that coloured water was used for trial purposes to
simulate a CW agent." (p.55).
bombs. Iraq claims to have destroyed its aerial bombs in the
summer of 1991. UNSCOM was not able to account for 300 to 350 R-400
and R-400A bombs (R-400A bombs are R-400 bombs that have had
an internal epoxy coating to carry biological agents). It is these
bombs that are referred to by the State Department on 19 December
2002 as "400 biological weapon-capable aerial bombs",
though the numbers appear to have been exaggerated. It should be
noted that the reason that UNSCOM was not able to account for some
of the bombs was as follows:
"UNSCOM found that the accounting for some of the unilaterally
destroyed bombs was not possible given the hazardous conditions
created by the method of destruction."
Disarmament Issues" (6 March 2003), p.46.
On 19 February 2003, Iraq began to excavate Al Aziziya Range (100km
southwest of Baghdad), the site of the purported destruction of
bombs that had been filled with biological agents, claiming that
the material was no longer so dangerous. It was visited by UNMOVIC's
biological team from 25
February. In the news
update of 26 February, UNMOVIC gave the following description:
"An UNMOVIC biological team returned to the Al Aziziyah
Range, where excavations of the R400 aerial bombs were under way.
Iraq claims that these bombs filled with biological agents had
been unilaterally destroyed in 1991. The team observed the excavation
of a pit and inspected excavated munitions and fragments. UNMOVIC
also conducted an aerial survey of the site."
On both 27
February, "Additional fragments of R-400 bombs were identified"
(similarly, on 2
March). The contents of these bomb fragments were subject to analysis
March 2003. A full account was provided by Hans Blix in his
March 2003 statement to the Security Council:
"To date, Iraq has unearthed eight complete bombs comprising
two liquid-filled intact R-400 bombs and six other complete bombs.
Bomb fragments were also found. Samples have been taken. The investigation
of the destruction site could, in the best case, allow the determination
of the number of bombs destroyed at that site. It should be followed
by a serious and credible effort to determine the separate issue
of how many R-400 type bombs were produced. In this, as in other
matters, inspection work is moving on and may yield results."
Other aerial bombs. Between
1983 and 1990, UNSCOM estimated that Iraq produced or procured some
30,000 aerial bombs, used to disseminate chemical or biological
agents. UNSCOM supervised the destruction of 12,000 of these bombs,
as well as the aerial bomb production plant.
There are two residual areas of uncertainty. Firstly, it is unclear
how many of these aerial bombs were used in the Iran-Iraq war (1980-88).
The above discussion
on the Air Force document indicates that the staus of over 6500
aerial bombs remains unresolved. Secondly, UNSCOM was not able to
confirm that 2000 bombs were destroyed in a fire accident, as Iraq
Department, 12 September 2002, p.8, sourcing Proliferation: Threat
and Response; Department of Defense (January 2001): "The Department
of Defense reported in January 2001 that Iraq has continued to work on
its weapons programs, including converting L-29 jet trainer aircraft for
potential vehicles for the delivery of chemical or biological weapons."
24 September 2002, p.22: "helicopter and aircraft borne
sprayers:Iraq carried out studies into aerosol dissemination of biological
agent using these platforms prior to 1991. UNSCOM was unable to account
for many of these devices. It is probable that Iraq retains a capability
for aerosol dispersal of both chemical and biological agent over a large
24 September 2002, p.23: "we know from intelligence that
Iraq has attempted to modify the L- 29 jet trainer to allow it to be used
as an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) which is potentially capable of delivering
chemical and biological agents over a large area."
October 2002, p.2: "Baghdad's UAVs - especially if used for delivery
of chemical and biological warfare (CBW) agents - could threaten Iraq's
neighbors, US forces in the Persian Gulf, and the United States if brought
close to, or into, the US Homeland."
October 2002, p.22: "Immediately before the Gulf war, Baghdad
attempted to convert a MiG-21 into an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to
carry spray tanks capable of dispensing chemical or biological agents.
UNSCOM assessed that the program to develop the spray system was successful,
but the conversion of the MiG-21 was not. More recently, Baghdad has attempted
to convert some of its L-29 jet trainer aircraft into UAVs that can be
fitted with chemical and biological warfare (CBW) spray tanks, most likely
a continuation of previous efforts with the MiG-21. Although much less
sophisticated than ballistic missiles as a delivery platform, an aircraft
- manned or unmanned - is the most efficient way to disseminate chemical
and biological weapons over a large, distant area. Iraq already has produced
modified drop-tanks that can disperse biological or chemical agents effectively.
Before the Gulf war, the Iraqis successfully experimented with aircraft-
mounted spray tanks capable of releasing up to 2,000 liters of an anthrax
simulant over a target area. Iraq also has modified commercial crop sprayers
successfully and tested them with an anthrax simulant delivered by helicopters."
Department, 19 December 2002: "Iraq denies any connection
between UAV programs and chemical or biological agent dispersal. Yet,
Iraq admitted in 1995 that a MIG-21 remote-piloted vehicle tested in 1991
was to carry a biological weapon spray system. Iraq already knows how
to put these biological agents into bombs and how to disperse biological
agent using aircraft or unmanned aerial vehicles. Why do they deny what
they have already admitted? Why has the Iraqi regime acquired the range
and auto-flight capabilities to spray biological weapons?" (partially
repeated in White
House, January 2003, p.6).
Powell, 5 February 2003: "Iraq has been working on a variety
of UAVs for more than a decade. [...] This effort has included attempts
to modify for unmanned flight the MiG-21 and, with greater success, an
aircraft called the L-29. However, Iraq is now concentrating not on these
airplanes but on developing and testing smaller UAVs such as this. UAVs
are well suited for dispensing chemical and biological weapons. There
is ample evidence that Iraq has dedicated much effort to developing and
testing spray devices that could be adapted for UAVs. And in the little
that Saddam Hussein told us about UAVs, he has not told the truth. One
of these lies is graphically and indisputably demonstrated by intelligence
we collected on June 27th last year. According to Iraq's December 7th
declaration, its UAVs have a range of only 80 kilometers. But we detected
one of Iraq's newest UAVs in a test flight that went 500 kilometers nonstop
on autopilot in the racetrack pattern depicted here. Not only is this
test well in excess of the 150 kilometers that the United Nations permits,
the test was left out of Iraqs December 7th declaration. The UAV
was flown around and around and around in this circle and so that its
80-kilometer limit really was 500 kilometers, unrefueled and on autopilot
-- violative of all of its obligations under 1441 [...]. Iraq could use
these small UAVs which have a wingspan of only a few meters to deliver
biological agents to its neighbors or, if transported, to other countries,
including the United States."
Department, 27 February 2003: "Iraq has denied any connection
between its Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) Programs and chemical or biological
agent dispersal, despite a previous admission and has failed to turn over
all of its UAVs to the UN. From a truck in Iraq, its small UAVs can reach
Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, or Israel. From a ship, one can reach New York,
Paris, London, Berlin, or Beijing".
Evaluation. The two items of concern are remotely piloted
vehicles (RPVs), which are controlled from an external guidance
system, and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), which fly autonomously
to pre-programmed targets. UNMOVIC has claimed that UAVs and RPVs
with a range greater than 150km are proscribed (in its 6
March 2003 working document, pp.14-15). The basis for this claim
is unexplained: only ballistic missiles with a range of greater
than 150km are prohibited under Security
Council Resolution 687 (1991), para.8(b); and all UAVs are listed
as items that must be declared (not destroyed) in Security
Council Resolution 1441 (2002), para.3. There do not appear
to be any resolutions or statements of the Security Council which
indicate that a specific range of UAVs are prohibited.
The claims about Iraq's UAVs originate from an occasion in 1998
when small Czech-built L-29 training jets were spotted at Iraq's
Talil airbase in 1998. A British defence official invoked the possibility
that if these drones were flown at low altitudes under the right
conditions, a single drone could unleash a toxic cloud engulfing
several city blocks. He labelled them "drones of death". The hyperbole
is misleading: even if Iraq has designed such planes, they would
not serve their purpose, as drones are easy to shoot down (as the
US has itself found: see the Chicago
Tribune, 2 March 2003). A simple air defence system would be
enough to prevent the drones from causing damage to neighbouring
countries. The L-29 has a total range of less than 400 miles: it
would be all but impossible to use it in an attack on Israel. The
only possibility for their use against western targets would be
their potential deployment against invading troops.
The CIA report of October 2002 and Secretary Powell's statement
of 5 February 2003, quoted above, invoke the possibility that these
drones could cause widespread suffering in the US if they were transported
to the US. How Iraq could possibly transport planes fitted with
a mechanism for dispensing chemical or biological agents into the
US is left unexplained, and the explanation provided by the State
Department on 27 February 2003 - delivery by ship - lacks credibility,
given the extensive monitoring of ships leaving from Iraq's port.
Iraq has admitted engaging in various UAV and RPV projects since
the 1980s, including:
- the modification of Mirage F-1 drop-tanks for the dispersion
of biological warfare agents in 1990-91, producing three modified
drop-tanks as well as one prototype drop-tank. Iraq claims that
the drop tanks were destroyed in mid-1991. UNSCOM verified the
remains of the three modified tanks, but did not find the dissemination
devices. One of these was presented to UNSCOM in April 1998. UNSCOM
was not able to find evidence for the destruction of the modified
- the modification of the Mirage F-1 drop-tanks for use on a MiG-21
fighter aircraft, which would be remotely piloted. Iraq claims
that this programme was terminated in April 1991.
- the development of aerosol generators for use on a modified
crop dusting helicopter, from July 1987-Sept 1988. Iraq handed
over to UNSCOM various items related to this project in March
- the conversion of the L-29 aircraft into a RPV as part of al-Baia'a
project, declared by Iraq in July 1998 as used for air defence
training. The range of craft was designed as 30km. The project
began in November 1995. In its 7 December 2002 declaration, Iraq
claimed that this project was discontinued due to lack of parts
In its 7 December 2002 declaration, Iraq did not mention the development
of any new UAVs, but referred to the development of two RPVs (Musaryara
20 and Musaryara 30) with a range of 100km, as well as continuing
work on smaller RPVs with a range less than 30km. UNMOVIC (in its
March 2003 working document, p.59) has also stated that there
may be signs that Iraq has developed a chemical weapons drop-tank
that it has not declared, and that the rationale presented for why
Iraq did not convert more drop-tanks into use for biological agents
- the shortage of suitable valves - is unconvincing.
Iraq's facilities in producing RPVs and UAVs have been repeatedly
inspected. Most recently, UNMOVIC biological teams have on 4
March inspected the Ibn Fernas Centre in northern Baghdad; and
March inspected the Samarra East Airfield (about 90km north
of Baghdad), used for the flight-testing of RPVs. On 6 March 2003,
that another drone, with a wingspan of 7.45m, was also under development;
this item was under investigation to determine if its range exceeded
Disarmament Issues", p.14).
Key post-war readings: