Iraq's Arsenal of Weapons of Mass Destruction
Scott Ritter: Endgame
(Ritter was chief weapon inspector
for UNSCOM until 1998)
SIMON & SCHUSTER
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New York, NY 10020
Copyright @ 1999 by
The Iraqis maintain, at a minimum, the
capability to conduct active research and development in the field of gaseous
centrifuge enrichment and the weaponization of a nuclear device.
Iraq has retained a considerable nuclear
weapon manufacturing production base, much being done under monitoring,
some on a small scale (in and around Baghdad):
(for more details see David Kay, "Iraqi
Inspections: Lessons Learned", Eye on Supply: Feb. 10, 1993, Monterey
Institute of International Studies, 1997)
numerous declared and undeclared dual-use
machine tools which have been dispersed among a wide variety of enterprises
several vital undeclared instruments
capable of carrying out machining operations essential for nuclear weapons
despite the official termination of
the nuclear weapons program, the vast majority of its intellectual infrastructure
remains in place.
Iraq has retained critical centrifuge-enrichment
capability in operation possibly since mid-1994.
Undeclared uranium feedstocks are also
thought to be retained.
Iraq has retained components relating
to the most recent weapons design, which have not been turned over to the
IAEA. These components may be complete enough for assembly into several
weapons, lacking only the highly enriched uranium core. They can be moved
in a small convoy of three to five vehicles.
With the exception of the secret machine
tool centers, storage requirements for the retained infrastructure are
The secret centers could operate from
a fixed location about the size of one to two warehouses.
A retained weapon is likely to be more
mobile, moving from one hide site to the next every several days or weeks.
A special fleet of dedicated vehicles would be required for this.
Retained components are either installed
in a secret workshop, or stored in a secure warehouse, either on trucks
or in a manner that could be rapidly loaded on vehicles should the situation
Documents supporting a retained nuclear
program would fill a small room, and could be carried in ten to fifteen
CHEMICAL WEAPONS (CW)
Iraq has capability to produce, weaponize
(into artillery, aerial bombs, 150 - 600 km range missiles), store, and
employ chemical weapons.
Information indicates only smallscale
ongoing production. To produce ten tons of agent, the Iraqis would need
200 to 300 tons of precursors.
Producing CW agent requires documentation
administration, coordination and direction
Supporting documentation required for
a covert CW program includes
designs for converting existing civilian
chemical production facilities (fertilizer plants, pesticide plants, petrochemical
Such records could be concealed in a
half-dozen or so metal footlockers, transported in one light truck, or
the trunks of a few Mercedes sedans.
not accounted for hundreds of tons of
precursor chemical material used in manufacturing nerve agents
produced 1. - 4. in binary form (conducive
to safe, long-term storage and delivery by artillery).
not accounted for at least 2 complete
production lines associated with CW agent production known to have been
delivered to Iraq before the Gulf War.
received a CW production facility, disguised
as pesticide production plant, in 1994 - 1995, according to UNSCOM information
(23 such shipments to Iraq).
not fully accounted for one of two mobile
CW munitions filling stations acquired before the war.
declared destruction of a CW filling
plant at Muthanna State Establishment that is suspect.
procured thousands of empty munitions
casings from Italy (SNIA-BPD) and Spain (ITESA) not immediately declared
to UNSCOM much of which were destroyed in the 1991 unilateral destruction,
violating UN mandate.
The equipment for the two chemical agent
production lines that remain unaccounted for could be
The Polish pesticide production plant
may have been carried in at least two dozen vehicles.
transported in fifteen to twenty trucks
to evade targeting by weapons inspectors as well as by the U.S. military,
hidden underground or underwater,
installed within weeks, and
produce chemical agents in less than
The filling plant could be carried
in 1 - 4 standard metallic shipping (ISO) containers.
BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS (BW)
see also Gabriele Kraatz-Wadsack,
ehemalige UN-Chefinspekteurin, ''Die
Waffen-Inspekteure können abschrecken'', 6.Sept.2002 ï 7:50 Uhr:
Das Land habe damals
The Iraqis have at least the capability
to produce, weaponize, store, and employ biological weapons. This activity
appears to revolve around the maintenance of the capability to produce
agent using civilian biological laboratories, as well as making use of
retained equipment that is outside UNSCOM's control.
produziert und in Waffensysteme abgefüllt, außerdem ein
zu Atemlähmung führt. Daneben habe es auch ein großes
Biological agent for military use is
relatively simple to produce.
There is reason to believe that the
Iraqis possess a mobile BW agent production facility, consisting of three
to five semi-trailers, containing fermentors and processing equipment.
The equipment for use in these mobile facilities probably came from the
Italian OLSA company and the Swiss firm Chemap.
There are also numerous biological weapons
projects known to have existed in Iraq before the Gulf War and never declared
Iraq has the capability to produce its
own mobile BW agent drying and grinding facility, able to be mounted inside
a single semi-trailer. Together with the mobile agent production facility,
this would give Iraq a significant and difficult-to-detect BW agent production
has probably retained several Al-Hussein
warheads filled with a dry BW agent, probably anthrax.
undertook a program, either to produce
new agents, or test agents that was retained from pre-Gulf War stocks.
The biggest problem in assessing Iraq's
remaining biological weapons capability lies in its refusal to discuss
this matter fully with UNSCOM, significantly hindering any understanding
of Iraq's past and present capabilities. Real concern exists that Iraq
desires to retain a large-scale biological agent production capability.
After the Hussein Kamal defection revealed the existence of such a capability,
at the Al Hakam facility, it was destroyed by UNSCOM.
Because of the dual-use nature of
biology, innocent sounding civilian projects can be readily converted into
BW production (for details see the following two papers by J. Tucker "Monitoring
and Verification in a Noncooperative Environment: Lessons from the U.N.
Experience in Iraq" and "Verification
Provisions of the Chemical Weapons Convention and Their Relevance to the
Biological Weapons Convention").
Of related interest: Gabriele
biologische Waffenarsenal des Irak, Deutschlandfunk, Forschung Aktuell,
UNSCOM has reported hints that Iraq
is disguising its BW program as serving solely civilian purposes.
Iraqi BW experts were in Russia to buy
a facility with a 50,000-liter capacity, twenty times the Al Hakam figure.
The Russian firm involved was Biopreparat, a longtime Soviet BW conglomerate.
A senior Russian scientist claiming knowledge of the transaction, Ken Alibek,
has indicated that the plant was specially configured for BW applications.
All of Iraq's retained BW material could
be carried in fewer than ten 35-ton trucks, and three to five semi-trailers.
They could be stored mounted in their vehicles, inside a warehouse, or
buried underground. The supporting documents for this program could be
easily kept in a single sedan-sized. vehicle.
Deployment: BALLISTIC MISSILES
Iraq retains a limited operational capability
for using long-range (i.e. over 150 kilometers) ballistic missiles.
Iraq has an active ballistic missile
research and development and manufacturing capability that was extensively
bombed during Operation Desert Fox.
Al-Samoud missile, a Scud clone with
a stated range of less than 150 kilometers,
At present probably unable to produce
from scratch ballistic missiles of a prohibited range, Iraq can reconfigure
its current manufacturing base and, within 6 months, produce long-range
missiles based on the Al-Samoud.
It can also produce up to twenty-five
Al-Hussein missiles assembled from components, engines, and guidance and
control sets from the pre-Gulf War programs (six to ten 35-ton trucks).
The supporting documents for this program
could be easily stored in a single truck, transported in the back of a
sedan, or carried by several trusted personnel.
Iraq is currently working on improving
manufacturing capabilities for guidance and control systems (it recently
tried to purchase an entire guidance and control production plant from
Iraq has procured high precision computer-controlled
machine tools for use in its missile production plants.
The missiles in operational standby
status could be transported on three to four 35-ton trucks.
Operational warheads and guidance and
control equipment could be transported on three to four additional 35-ton
There should be two to four fuel trucks,
two or four more oxidizer vehicles.
The Security Council, 27 January 2003:
Executive Chairman of UNMOVIC, Dr. Hans Blix
Version: January 31, 2003
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