British dossier on Iraq

Evidence against Saddam Hussein's regime, compiled by the British government

24 September 2002


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Forewordby Tony Blair, the Prime Minister

The document published today is based, in large part, on the work of the joint intelligence committee (JIC). The JIC is at the heart of the British intelligence machinery. It is chaired by the Cabinet Office and made up of the heads of the UK's three intelligence and security agencies, the Chief of Defence Intelligence and senior officials from key government departments.

For over 60 years the JIC has provided regular assessments to successive Prime Ministers and senior colleagues on a wide range of foreign policy and international security issues.

Its work, like the material it analyses, is largely secret. It is unprecedented for the Government to publish this kind of document. But in light of the debate about Iraq and weapons of mass destruction (WMD), I wanted to share with the British public the reasons why I believe this issue to be a current and serious threat to the UK national interest.

In recent months, I have been increasingly alarmed by the evidence from inside Iraq that despite sanctions, despite the damage done to his capability, despite the UN Security Council Resolutions expressly outlawing it, and despite his denials, Saddam Hussein is continuing to develop WMD, and with them the ability to inflict real damage upon the region, and the stability of the world.

Gathering intelligence inside Iraq is not easy. Saddam's is one of the most secretive and dictatorial regimes in the world. So I believe people will understand why the agencies cannot be specific about the sources, which have formed the judgements in this document, and why we cannot publish everything we know.

We cannot, of course, publish the detailed raw intelligence. I and other ministers have been briefed in detail on the intelligence and are satisfied as to its authority. I also want to pay tribute to our intelligence and security services for the often extraordinary work that they do.

What I believe the assessed intelligence has established beyond doubt is that Saddam has continued to produce chemical and biological weapons, that he continues in his efforts to develop nuclear weapons, and that he has been able to extend the range of his ballistic missile programme. I also believe that Saddam will now do his utmost to try to conceal his weapons from UN inspectors.

The picture presented to me by the JIC has become more not less worrying. It is clear that, despite sanctions, the policy of containment has not worked sufficiently well to prevent Saddam from developing these weapons.

I am in no doubt that the threat is serious and current, that he has made progress on WMD, and that he has to be stopped.

Saddam has used chemical weapons, not only against an enemy state, but against his own people. Intelligence reports make clear that he sees the building up of his WMD capability, and the belief overseas that he would use these weapons, as vital to his strategic interests, and in particular his goal of regional domination.

And the document discloses that his military planning allows for some of the WMD to be ready within 45 minutes of an order to use them.

I am quite clear Saddam will go to extreme lengths, indeed has already done so, to hide these weapons and avoid giving them up.

In today's inter-dependent world, a major regional conflict does not stay confined to the region in question. Faced with someone who has shown himself capable of using WMD, I believe the international community has to stand up for itself and ensure its authority is upheld.

The threat posed to international peace and security, when WMD are in the hands of a brutal and aggressive regime like Saddam's, is real. Unless we face up to the threat, not only do we risk undermining the authority of the UN, whose resolutions he defies, but more importantly and in the longer term, we place at risk the lives and prosperity of our own people.

The case I make is that the UN resolutions demanding he stops his WMD programme are being flouted; that since the inspectors left four years ago he has continued with this programme; that the inspectors must be allowed back in to do their job properly; and that if he refuses, or if he makes it impossible for them to do their job, as he has done, the international community will have to act.

I believe that faced with the information available to me, the UK Government has been right to support the demands that this issue be confronted and dealt with. We must ensure he does not get to use the weapons he has, or get hold of the weapons he wants.

Executivesummary: The indictment of Iraq's Saddam

1. Under Saddam Hussein, Iraq developed chemical and biological weapons, acquired missiles allowing it to attack neighbouring countries with these weapons and persistently tried to develop a nuclear bomb. Saddam has used chemical weapons, against Iran and against his own people. Following the Gulf War, Iraq had to admit all this. And in the ceasefire of 1991, Saddam agreed unconditionally to give up his weapons of mass destruction.

2. Much information about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction is already in the public domain from UN reports and from Iraqi defectors. This points clearly to Iraq's continuing possession, after 1991, of chemical and biological agents and weapons produced before the Gulf War. It shows Iraq has refurbished sites formerly associated with the production of chemical and biological agents. And it indicates Iraq remains able to manufacture these agents, and use bombs, shells, artillery rockets and ballistic missiles to deliver them.

3. An independent and well-researched overview of this public evidence was provided by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) on 9 September. The IISS report also suggested Iraq could assemble nuclear weapons within months of obtaining fissile material from foreign sources.

4. As well as the public evidence, significant additional information is available to the Government from secret intelligence sources, described in more detail in this paper. This intelligence cannot tell us about everything. But it provides a fuller picture of Iraqi plans and capabilities. It shows Saddam Hussein attaches great importance to possessing weapons of mass destruction, which he regards as the basis for Iraq's regional power. It shows he does not regard them only as weapons of last resort. He is ready to use them, including against his own population, and is determined to retain them, in breach of United Nations Security Council resolutions (UNSCR).

5. Intelligence also shows Iraq is preparing plans to conceal evidence of these weapons, including incriminating documents, from renewed inspections. And it confirms that despite sanctions and the policy of containment, Saddam has continued to make progress with his illicit weapons programmes.

6. As a result of the intelligence we judge that Iraq has:

  • Continued to produce chemical and biological agents;

  • Military plans for the use of chemical and biological weapons, including against its own Shia population. Some of these weapons are deployable within 45 minutes of an order to use them;

  • Command and control arrangements in place to use chemical and biological weapons. Authority ultimately resides with Saddam Hussein. (There is intelligence that he may have delegated this authority to his son Qusai);

  • Developed mobile laboratories for military use, corroborating earlier reports about the mobile production of biological warfare agents;

  • Pursued illegal programmes to procure controlled materials of potential use in the production of chemical and biological weapons programmes;

  • Tried covertly to acquire technology and materials which could be used in the production of nuclear weapons;

  • Sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa, despite having no active civil nuclear power programme that could require it;

  • Recalled specialists to work on its nuclear programme;

  • Illegally retained up to 20 al-Hussein missiles, with a range of 650km, capable of carrying chemical or biological warheads;

  • 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, beyond the limit of 150km imposed by the United Nations;

  • 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 UN;

  • 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;

  • Pursued illegal programmes to procure materials for use in its illegal development of long range missiles;

  • Learnt lessons from previous UN weapons inspections and has already begun to conceal sensitive equipment and documentation in advance of the return of inspectors.

7. These judgements reflect the views of the joint intelligence committee (JIC). More details on the judgements and on the development of the JIC's assessments since 1998 are set out in Part 1 of this paper.

8. Iraq's weapons of mass destruction are in breach of international law. Under a series of UN Security Council resolutions, Iraq is obliged to destroy its holdings of these weapons under the supervision of UN inspectors. Part 2 of the paper sets out the key UN Security Council resolutions. It also summarises the history of the UN inspection regime and Iraq's history of deception, intimidation and concealment in its dealings with the UN inspectors.

9. But the threat from Iraq does not depend solely on the capabilities we have described. It arises also because of the violent and aggressive nature of Saddam Hussein's regime. His record of internal repression and external aggression gives rise to unique concerns about the threat he poses. The paper briefly outlines in Part 3 Saddam's rise to power, the nature of his regime and his history of regional aggression. Saddam's human rights abuses are also catalogued, including his record of torture, mass arrests and summary executions.

10. The paper briefly sets out how Iraq is able to finance its weapons programme. Drawing on illicit earnings generated outside UN control, Iraq generated illegal income of some $3bn [£1.93bn] in 2001.

PARTONE: Chapter 1: The role of intelligence

1. Since UN inspectors were withdrawn from Iraq in 1998, there has been little overt information on Iraq's chemical, biological, nuclear and ballistic missile programmes. Much of the publicly available information about Iraqi capabilities and intentions is dated. But we also have available a range of secret intelligence about these programmes and Saddam Hussein's intentions. This comes principally from the United Kingdom's intelligence and analysis agencies - the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), the Security Service, and the Defence Intelligence Staff (DIS). We also have access to intelligence from close allies.

2. Intelligence rarely offers a complete account of activities that are designed to remain concealed. The nature of Saddam's regime makes Iraq a difficult target for the intelligence services. Intelligence, however, has provided important insights into Iraqi programmes and Iraqi military thinking. Taken together with what is already known from other sources, this intelligence builds our understanding of Iraq's capabilities and adds significantly to the analysis in the public domain. But intelligence sources need to be protected, and this limits the detail that can be made available.

3. Iraq's capabilities have been regularly reviewed by the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC), which has provided advice to the Prime Minister and his colleagues on the developing assessment, drawing on all available sources. Part 1 of this paper includes some of the most significant views reached by the JIC between 1999 and 2002.

Joint Intelligence Committee

The JIC is a cabinet committee with a history dating from 1936. It brings together the heads of the three intelligence and security agencies (Secret Intelligence Service, Government Communications Headquarters and the Security Service), the Chief of Defence Intelligence, senior policy makers from the Foreign Office, the Ministry of Defence, the Home Office, the Treasury and the Department of Trade and Industry and representatives from other government departments and agencies as appropriate. The JIC provides intelligence assessments to the Prime Minister, other ministers and senior officials on foreign policy and international security issues. It meets each week in the Cabinet Office.

PARTONE: Chapter 2: Iraq's Programmes: 1971-1988

1. Iraq has been involved in chemical and biological warfare research for over 30 years. Its chemical warfare research started in 1971 at a small, well-guarded site at Rashad to the north-east of Baghdad. Research was conducted there on a number of chemical agents including mustard gas, CS and tabun. Later, in 1974 a dedicated organisation called al-Hasan Ibn al-Haitham was established. In the late 1970s plans were made to build a research and commercial-scale production facility in the desert some 70km (42 miles) north west of Baghdad under the cover of Project 922. This was to become Muthanna State Establishment, also known as al-Muthanna, and operated under the front name of Iraq's State Establishment for Pesticide Production. It became operational in 1982-83. It had five research and development sections, each tasked to pursue different programmes. In addition, the al-Muthanna site was the main chemical agent production facility, and it also took the lead in weaponising chemical and biological agents including all aspects of weapon development and testing, in association with the military. According to information, subsequently supplied by the Iraqis, the total production capacity in 1991 was 4,000 tonnes of agent per annum, but we assess it could have been higher. Al-Muthanna was supported by three separate storage and precursor production facilities known as Fallujah 1, 2 and 3 near Habbaniyah, north-west of Baghdad, parts of which were not completed before they were heavily bombed in the 1991 Gulf War.

Effects of chemical weapons

Mustard gas is from a liquid agent, which gives off a hazardous vapour, causing burns and blisters to exposed skin. When inhaled, mustard damages the respiratory tract; when ingested, it causes vomiting and diarrhoea. It attacks and damages the eyes, mucous membranes, lungs, skin and blood-forming organs.

Tabun, sarin and VX are nerve agents, VX being the most toxic. They damage the nervous system, producing muscular spasms and paralysis. As little as 10 milligrams of VX on the skin can cause rapid death.

2. Iraq started biological warfare research in the mid-1970s. After small-scale research, a purpose-built research and development facility was authorised at al-Salman, also known as Salman Pak. This is surrounded on three sides by the Tigris river and situated some 35km south of Baghdad. Although some progress was made in biological weapons research at this early stage, Iraq decided to concentrate on developing chemical agents and their delivery systems at al-Muthanna. With the outbreak of the Iran-Iraq War in the early 1980s, the biological weapons programme was revived. The appointment of Dr Rihab Taha in 1985 to head a small biological weapons research team at al-Muthanna helped to develop the programme. At about the same time plans were made to develop the Salman Pak site into a secure biological warfare research facility. Dr Taha continued to work with her team at al-Muthanna until 1987 when it moved to Salman Pak, which was under the control of the Directorate of General Intelligence. Significant resources were provided for the programme, including construction of a dedicated production facility (Project 324) at al-Hakam. Agent production began in 1988 and weaponisation testing and later filling of munitions was conducted in association with the Muthanna State Establishment. From mid-1990, other civilian facilities were taken over and some adapted for use in the production and research and development of biological agents. These included:

  • Al-Dawrah Foot and Mouth Vaccine Institute, which produced botulinum toxin and conducted virus research. There is some intelligence to suggest that work was also conducted on anthrax;

  • Al-Fudaliyah Agriculture and Water Research Centre where Iraq admitted it undertook aflatoxin production and genetic engineering;

  • Amariyah Sera and Vaccine Institute, which was used for the storage of biological agent seed stocks and was involved in genetic engineering.

Effects of biological agents

Anthrax is a disease caused by the bacterium Bacillus anthracis. Inhalation anthrax is the manifestation of the disease likely to be expected in biological warfare. The symptoms may vary, but can include fever and internal bleeding. The incubation period for anthrax is one to seven days, with most cases arising within two days of exposure.

Botulinum toxin is one of the most toxic substances known. The first symptoms of poisoning may appear as early as one hour post-exposure or as late as eight days after exposure, with the incubation period between 12 and 22 hours. Paralysis leads to death by suffocation.

Aflatoxins are fungal toxins, which are potent carcinogens. Most symptoms take a long time to show. Food products contaminated by aflatoxins can cause liver inflammation and cancer. They can also affect pregnant women, leading to stillborn babies and children born with mutations.

Ricin is derived from the castor bean and can cause multiple organ failure, leading to death within one or two days of inhalation.

3. By the time of the Gulf War, Iraq was producing very large quantities of chemical and biological agents. From a series of Iraqi declarations to the UN during the 1990s we know that by 1991 they had produced at least:

  • 19,000 litres of botulinum toxin, 8,500 litres of anthrax and 2,200 litres of aflatoxin and were working on a number of other agents;

  • 2,850 tonnes of mustard gas, 210 tonnes of tabun, 795 tonnes of sarin and cyclosarin, and 3.9 tonnes of VX.

4. Iraq's nuclear programme was established under the Iraqi Atomic Energy Commission in the 1950s. Under a nuclear co-operation agreement signed with the Soviet Union in 1959, a nuclear research centre, equipped with a research reactor, was built at Tuwaitha, the main Iraqi nuclear research centre. The research reactor worked up to 1991. The surge in Iraqi oil revenues in the early 1970s supported an expansion of the research programme. This was bolstered in the mid-1970s by the acquisition of two research reactors powered by highly enriched uranium fuel and equipment for fuel fabrication and handling. By the end of 1984 Iraq was self-sufficient in uranium ore. One of the reactors was destroyed in an Israeli air attack in June 1981 shortly before it was to open; the other was never completed.

5. By the mid-1980s the deterioration of Iraq's position in the war with Iran prompted renewed interest in the military use of nuclear technology. Additional resources were put into developing technologies to enrich uranium as fissile material (material that makes up the core of a nuclear weapon) for use in nuclear weapons. Enriched uranium was preferred because it could be more easily produced covertly than the alternative, plutonium. Iraq followed parallel programmes to produce highly enriched uranium (HEU), electromagnetic isotope separation (EMIS) and gas centrifuge enrichment. By 1991 one EMIS enrichment facility was nearing completion and another was under construction. However, Iraq never succeeded in its EMIS technology and the programme had been dropped by 1991. Iraq decided to concentrate on gas centrifuges as the means for producing the necessary fissile material. Centrifuge facilities were also under construction, but the centrifuge design was still being developed. In August 1990 Iraq instigated a crash programme to develop a single nuclear weapon within a year. This programme envisaged the rapid development of a small 50-machine gas centrifuge cascade to produce weapons-grade HEU using fuel from the Soviet research reactor, which was already substantially enriched, and unused fuel from the reactor bombed by the Israelis. By the time of the Gulf War, the crash programme had made little progress.

Effect of nuclear detonation

A detonation of a 20-kiloton nuclear warhead over a city might flatten an area of approximately 3 square miles. Within 1.6 miles of detonation, blast damage and radiation would cause 80% casualties, three-quarters of which would be fatal. Between 1.6 and 3.1 miles from the detonation, there would still be 10% casualties.

6. Iraq's declared aim was to produce a missile warhead with a 20-kilotonne yield and weapons designs were produced for the simplest implosion weapons. These were similar to the device used at Nagasaki in 1945. Iraq was also working on more advanced concepts. By 1991 the programme was supported by a large body of Iraqi nuclear expertise, programme documentation and databases and manufacturing infrastructure. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported that Iraq had:

  • Experimented with high explosives to produce implosive shock waves;

  • Invested significant effort to understand the various options for neutron initiators;

  • Made significant progress in developing capabilities for the production, casting and machining of uranium metal.

7. Prior to the Gulf War, Iraq had a well-developed ballistic missile industry. Many of the missiles fired in the Gulf War were an Iraqi modified version of the Scud missile, the al-Hussein, with an extended range of 650km. Iraq had about 250 imported Scud-type missiles prior to the Gulf War plus an unknown number of indigenously produced engines and components. Iraq was working on other stretched Scud variants, such as the al-Abbas, which had a range of 900km. Iraq was seeking to reverse- engineer the Scud engine with a view to producing new missiles. Recent intelligence indicates that it may have succeeded at that time. In particular, Iraq had plans for a new Scud-derived missile with a range of 1200km. Iraq also conducted a partial flight test of a multistage satellite launch vehicle based on Scud technology, known as the al-Abid. Also during this period, Iraq was developing the Badr-2000, a 700-1,000km range two-stage solid propellant missile (based on the Iraqi part of the 1980s Condor-2 programme run in co- operation with Argentina and Egypt). There were plans for 1,200-1,500km range solid propellant follow-on systems.

Scud missiles

The short-range mobile Scud ballistic missile was developed by the Soviet Union in the 1950s, drawing on the technology of the German V-2 developed in the Second World War.

For many years it was the mainstay of Soviet and Warsaw Pact tactical missile forces and it was also widely exported. Recipients of Soviet-made Scuds included Iraq, North Korea, Iran and Libya, although not all were sold directly by the Soviet Union.

The use of chemical and biological weapons

8. Iraq had made frequent use of a variety of chemical weapons during the Iran-Iraq War. Many of the casualties are still in hospitals suffering from the long-term effects of numerous types of cancer and lung diseases. In 1988 Saddam also used mustard and nerve agents against Iraqi Kurds at Halabja in northern Iraq. Estimates vary, but according to Human Rights Watch up to 5,000 people were killed.

9. Iraq used significant quantities of mustard, tabun and sarin during the war with Iran resulting in more than 20,000 Iranian casualties. A month after the attack on Halabja, Iraqi troops used more than 100 tonnes of sarin against Iranian troops on the al-Fao peninsula. Over the next three months Iraqi troops used sarin and other nerve agents on Iranian troops, causing extensive casualties.

The attack on Halabja

On Friday 17 March 1988 the village of Halabja was bombarded by Iraqi warplanes. The raid was over in minutes. Saddam Hussein used chemical weapons against his own people. A Kurd described the effects of a chemical attack on another village:

"My brothers and my wife had blood and vomit running from their noses and their mouths. Their heads were tilted to one side. They were groaning. I couldn't do much, just clean up the blood and vomit from their mouths and try in every way to make them breathe again. I did artificial respiration on them and then I gave them two injections each. I also rubbed creams on my wife and two brothers."(From 'Crimes Against Humanity' Iraqi National Congress.)

10. From Iraqi declarations to the UN after the Gulf War we know that by 1991 Iraq had produced a variety of delivery means for chemical and biological agents including more than 16,000 free-fall bombs and more than 110,000 artillery rockets and shells. Iraq also admitted to the UN Special Commission (Unscom) that it had 50 chemical and 25 biological warheads available for its ballistic missiles.

The use of ballistic missiles

11. Iraq fired over 500 Scud-type missiles at Iran during the Iran-Iraq War at both civilian and military targets, and 93 Scud-type missiles during the Gulf War. The latter were aimed at Israel and coalition forces stationed in the Gulf region.

12. At the end of the Gulf War the international community was determined that Iraq's arsenal of chemical and biological weapons and ballistic missiles should be dismantled. The method chosen to achieve this was the establishment of Unscom to carry out intrusive inspections within Iraq and to eliminate its chemical and biological weapons and ballistic missiles with a range of more than 150km. The IAEA given the job of abolishing Iraq's nuclear weapons programme. Between 1991 and 1998 Unscom succeeded in identifying and destroying very large quantities of chemical weapons and ballistic missiles as well as associated production facilities. The IAEA also destroyed the infrastructure for Iraq's nuclear weapons programme and removed key nuclear materials. This was achieved despite a continuous and sophisticated programme of harassment, obstruction, deception and denial (see Part 2). Because of this Unscom concluded by 1998 that it was unable to fulfil its mandate. The inspectors were withdrawn in December 1998.

13. Based on the Unscom report to the UN Security Council in January 1999 and earlier Unscom reports, we assess that when the UN inspectors left Iraq they were unable to account for:

  • Up to 360 tonnes of bulk chemical warfare agent, including 1.5 tonnes of VX nerve agent;

  • Up to 3,000 tonnes of precursor chemicals, including approximately 300 tonnes which, in the Iraqi chemical warfare programme, were unique to the production of VX;

  • Growth media procured for biological agent production (enough to produce more than three times the 8,500 litres of anthrax spores Iraq admits to having manufactured);

  • More than 30,000 special munitions for delivery of chemical and biological agents.

14. The departure of Unscom meant that the international community was unable to establish the truth behind these large discrepancies and greatly diminished its ability to monitor and assess Iraq's continuing attempts to reconstitute its programmes.

PARTONE: Chapter 3: The current position: 1998-2002

1. This chapter sets out what we know of Saddam Hussein's chemical, biological, nuclear and ballistic missile programmes, drawing on all the available evidence. While it takes account of the results from UN inspections and other publicly available information, it also draws heavily on the latest intelligence about Iraqi efforts to develop their programmes and capabilities since 1998. The main conclusions are that:

  • Iraq has a usable chemical and biological weapons capability, in breach of UNSCR 687, which has included recent production of chemical and biological agents;

  • Saddam continues to attach great importance to the possession of weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles which he regards as being the basis for Iraq's regional power. He is determined to retain these capabilities;

  • Iraq can deliver chemical and biological agents using an extensive range of artillery shells, free-fall bombs, sprayers and ballistic missiles;

  • Iraq continues to work on developing nuclear weap-ons, in breach of its obligations under the Non- Proliferation Treaty and in breach of UNSCR 687. Uranium has been sought from Africa that has no civil nuclear application in Iraq;

  • Iraq possesses extended-range versions of the Scud ballistic missile, in breach of UNSCR 687, capable of reaching Cyprus, eastern Turkey, Tehran and Israel. It is also developing longer-range ballistic missiles;

  • Iraq's current military planning specifically envisages the use of chemical and biological weapons;

  • Iraq's military forces are able to use chemical and biological weapons, with command, control and logistical arrangements in place. The Iraqi military are able to deploy these weapons within 45 minutes of a decision to do so;

  • Iraq has learnt lessons from previous UN weapons inspections and is already taking steps to conceal and disperse sensitive equipment and documentation in advance of the return of inspectors;

  • Iraq's chemical, biological, nuclear and ballistic missiles programmes are well-funded.

Chemical and biological weapons

Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) Assessment: 1999-2002

2. Since the withdrawal of the inspectors, the JIC has monitored evidence, including from secret intelligence, of continuing work on Iraqi offensive chemical and biological war-fare capabilities. In the first half of 2000, the JIC noted intelligence on Iraqi attempts to procure dual-use chemicals and on the reconstruction of civil chemical production at sites formerly associated with the chemical warfare programme. Iraq had also been trying to procure dual-use materials and equipment which could be used for a biological warfare programme. Personnel known to have been connected to the biological warfare programme up to the Gulf War had been conducting research into pathogens. There was intelligence that Iraq was starting to produce biological warfare agents in mobile production facilities. Planning for the project had begun in 1995 under Dr Rihab Taha, known to have been a central player in the pre-Gulf War programme. The JIC concluded that Iraq had sufficient expertise, equipment and material to produce biological warfare agents within weeks using its legitimate biotechnology facilities.

3. In mid-2001, the JIC assessed that Iraq retained some chemical warfare agents, precursors, production equipment and weapons from before the Gulf War. These stocks would enable Iraq to produce significant quantities of mustard gas within weeks and of nerve agent within months. The JIC concluded that intelligence on Iraqi former chemical and biological warfare facilities, their limited reconstruction and civil production pointed to a continuing research and development programme. These chemical and biological capabilities represented the most immediate threat from Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. Since 1998, Iraqi development of mass destruction weaponry had been helped by the absence of inspectors and the increase in illegal border trade, which was providing hard currency.

4. In the past six months, the JIC has confirmed its earlier judgements on Iraqi chemical and biological warfare capabilities and assessed that Iraq has the means to deliver chemical and biological weapons.

Recent intelligence

5. Subsequently, intelligence has become available from reliable sources which complements and adds to previous intelligence and confirms the JIC assessment that Iraq has chemical and biological weap-ons. The intelligence also shows that the Iraqi leadership has been discussing a number of issues related to these weapons. This intelligence covers:

  • Confirmation that chemical and biological weapons play an important role in Iraqi military thinking:intelligence shows that Saddam attaches great importance to the possession of chemical and biological weapons which he regards as being the basis for Iraqi regional power. He believes that respect for Iraq rests on its possession of these weap-ons and the missiles capable of delivering them. Intelligence indicates Saddam is determined to retain this capability and recognises Iraqi political weight would be diminished if Iraq's military power rested solely on its conventional military forces;

  • Iraqi attempts to retain its existing banned weapons systems:Iraq is already taking steps to prevent UN weapons inspectors finding evidence of its chemical and biological weapons programme. Intelligence indicates Saddam has learnt lessons from previous weapons inspections, has identified possible weak points in the inspections process and knows how to exploit them. Sensitive equipment and papers can easily be concealed and in some cases this is already happening. The possession of mobile biological agent production facilities will also aid concealment efforts. Saddam is determined not to lose the capabilities that he has been able to develop further in the four years since inspectors left;

  • Saddam's willingness to use chemical and biological weapons:intelligence indicates that as part of Iraq's military planning Saddam is willing to use chemical and biological weapons, including against his own Shia population. Intelligence indicates that the Iraqi military are able to deploy chemical or biological weapons within 45 minutes of an order to do so.

Chemical and biological agents: Surviving stocks

6. When confronted with questions about the unaccounted stocks, Iraq has claimed repeatedly that if it had retained any chemical agents from before the Gulf War they would have deteriorated sufficiently to render them harmless. But Iraq has admitted to Unscom to having the knowledge and capability to add stabiliser to nerve agent and other chemical warfare agents which would prevent such decomposition. In 1997, Unscom also examined munitions which had been filled with mustard gas prior to 1991 and found they remained very toxic and showed little sign of deterioration.

7. Iraq has claimed all its biological agents and weapons have been destroyed. No convincing proof of any kind has been produced to support this claim. In particular, Iraq could not explain large discrepancies between the amount of growth media (nutrients required for the specialised growth of agent) it procured before 1991 and the amounts of agent it admits to having manufactured. The discrepancy is enough to produce more than three times the amount of anthrax allegedly manufactured.

Chemical agent: production capabilities

8. Intelligence shows Iraq has continued to produce chemical agent. During the Gulf War a number of facilities which intelligence reporting indicated were directly or indirectly associated with Iraq's chemical weapons effort were attacked and damaged. Following the ceasefire, Unscom destroyed or rendered harmless facilities and equipment used in Iraq's chemical weapons programme. Other equipment was released for civilian use either in industry or academic institutes, where it was tagged and regularly inspected and monitored, or placed under camera monitoring, to ensure it was not being misused. This monitoring ceased when Unscom withdrew from Iraq in 1998. But capabilities remain and, although the main chemical weapon production facility at al-Muthanna was completely destroyed by Unscom and has not been rebuilt, other plants formerly associated with the chemical warfare programme have been rebuilt. These include the chlorine and phenol plant at Fallujah 2 near Habbaniyah. In addition to their civilian uses, chlorine and phenol are precursor chemicals which contribute to the production of chemical agents.

9. Other dual-use facilities, capable of being used to support the production of chemical agent and precursors, have been rebuilt and re-equipped. New chemical facilities have been built, some with illegal foreign assistance, and are probably fully operational or ready for production. These include the Ibn Sina Company at Tarmiyah, which is a chemical research centre. It undertakes research, development and production of chemicals previously imported but not now available and which are needed for Iraq's civil industry. The director general of the research centre is Hikmat Na'im al-Jalu who, prior to the Gulf War, worked in Iraq's nuclear weapons programme and after the war was responsible for preserving Iraq's chemical expertise.

10. Parts of the al-Qa'qa' chemical complex damaged in the Gulf War have also been repaired and are operational. Of particular concern are elements of the phosgene production plant at al-Qa'qa'. These were severely damaged during the Gulf War, and dismantled under Unscom supervision, but have since been rebuilt. While phosgene does have industrial uses it can also be used by itself as a chemical agent or as a precursor for nerve agent.

11. Iraq has retained the expertise for chemical warfare research, agent production and weaponisation. Most of the personnel previously involved in the programme remain in country. While Unscom found a number of technical manuals (so called "cook-books") for the production of chemical agents and critical precursors, Iraq's claim to have unilaterally destroyed the bulk of the documentation cannot be confirmed and is almost certainly untrue. Recent intelligence indicates Iraq is still discussing methods of concealing such documentation to ensure it is not discovered by any future UN inspections.

The problem of dual use facilities

Almost all components and supplies used in weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programmes are dual use. Any major petrochemical or biotech industry, as well as public health organisations, will have legitimate need for most materials and equipment required to manufacture chemical and biological weapons. Without UN weapons inspectors it is very difficult therefore to be sure about the true nature of many of Iraq's facilities.

Iraq has, for example, built a large new chemical complex, Project Baiji, in the desert of north-west Iraq at al-Sharqat. The site is a former uranium enrichment facility which was damaged during the Gulf War and rendered harmless under supervision of the IAEA. Part of the site has been rebuilt, with work starting in 1992, as a chemical production complex. Despite the site being far away from populated areas it is surrounded by a high wall with watchtowers and guarded by armed guards.

Intelligence reports indicate that it will produce nitric acid which can be used in explosives, missile fuel and in the purification of uranium.

Biological agent: production capabilities

12. We know from intelligence that Iraq has continued to produce biological warfare agents. As with some chemical equipment, Unscom destroyed only equipment that could be directly linked to biological weapons production. Iraq also has its own engineering capability to design and construct biological agent-associated fermenters, centrifuges, sprayer dryers and other equipment and is judged to be self-sufficient in the technology required to produce biological weapons. The experienced personnel who were active in the programme have largely remained in the country. Some dual-use equipment has also been purchased, but without monitoring by UN inspectors Iraq could have diverted it to their biological weapons programme. This newly purchased equipment and other equipment previously subject to monitoring could be used in a resurgent biological warfare programme. Facilities of concern include:

  • The Castor oil production plant at Fallujah: this was damaged in UK/US air attacks in 1998 (Operation Desert Fox) but has been rebuilt. The residue from the castor bean pulp can be used in the production of the biological agent ricin;

  • The al-Dawrah foot and mouth disease vaccine institute: [this] was involved in biological agent production and research before the Gulf War;

  • The Amariyah Sera and Vaccine Plant at Abu Ghraib: Unscom established that this facility was used to store biological agents, seed stocks and conduct biological warfare associated genetic research prior to the Gulf War. It has now expanded its storage capacity.

13. Unscom established that Iraq considered the use of mobile biological agent production facilities. In the past two years, evidence from defectors has indicated the existence of such facilities. Recent intelligence confirms the Iraqi military have developed mobile facilities. These would help Iraq conceal and protect biological agent production from military attack or UN inspection.

Chemical and biological agents: Delivery means

14. Iraq has a variety of delivery means available for both chemical and biological agents. These include:

  • Free-fall bombs: Iraq acknowledged to Unscom the deployment to two sites of free-fall bombs filled with biological agent during 1990-91. These bombs were filled with anthrax, botulinum toxin and aflatoxin. Iraq also acknowledged possession of four types of aerial bomb with various chemical agent fills including sulphur mustard, tabun, sarin and cyclosarin;

  • Artillery shells and rockets: Iraq made extensive use of artillery munitions filled with chemical agents during the Iran-Iraq War. Mortars can also be used for chemical agent delivery. Iraq is known to have tested the use of shells and rockets filled with biological agents. More than 20,000 artillery munitions remain unaccounted for by Unscom;

  • Helicopter and aircraft-borne sprayers: Iraq made studies of 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 area;

  • Al-Hussein ballistic missiles (range 650km): Iraq told Unscom it filled 25 warheads with anthrax, botulinum toxin and aflatoxin. Iraq also developed chemical agent warheads for al-Hussein. Iraq admitted producing 50 chemical warheads for al-Hussein which were intended for the delivery of a mixture of sarin and cyclosarin. But technical analysis of warhead remnants show traces of VX degradation product which indicate some additional warheads were filled with VX;

  • Al-Samoud/Ababil-100 ballistic missiles (range 150km-plus): it is unclear if chemical and biological warheads have been developed for these systems, but given the Iraqi experience on other missile systems, we judge that Iraq has the technical expertise for doing so;

  • ;L-29 remotely piloted vehicle programme: 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) potentially capable of delivering chemical and biological agents over a large area.

Chemical and biological warfare: Command and control

15. The authority to use chemical and biological weapons ultimately resides with Saddam but intelligence indicates he may have also delegated this authority to his son, Qusai. Special Security Organisation (SSO) and Special Republican Guard (SRG) units would be involved in the movement of any chemical and biological weapons to military units. The Iraqi military holds artillery and missile systems at corps level throughout the armed forces and conducts regular training with them. The directorate of rocket forces has operational control of strategic missile systems and some multiple launcher rocket systems.

Chemical and biological weapons: Summary

16. Intelligence shows Iraq has covert chemical and biological weapons programmes, in breach of UN Security Council resolution 687 and has continued to produce chemical and biological agents. Iraq has:

  • Chemical and biological agents and weapons from pre-Gulf War stocks and more recent production;

  • The capability to produce the chemical agents mustard gas, tabun, sarin, cyclosarin, and VX capable of producing mass casualties;

  • A biological agent production capability and can produce at least anthrax, botulinum toxin, aflatoxin and ricin. Iraq has also developed mobile facilities to produce biological agents;

  • A variety of delivery means available;

  • Military forces, which maintain the capability to use these weapons with command, control and logistical arrangements in place.

PARTTWO: History of UN Weapons Inspections

1. During the 1990s, beginning in April 1991 immediately after the end of the Gulf War, the UN Security Council passed a series of resolutions establishing the authority of Unscom and the IAEA to carry out the work of dismantling Iraq's arsenal of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons programmes and long-range ballistic missiles. These reso- lutions were passed under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, which is the instrument that allows the UN Security Council to authorise the use of military force to enforce its resolutions.

UN Security Council resolutions relating to weapons of mass destruction

UNSCR 687, April 1991: It created the UN Special Commission (Unscom) and required Iraq to accept, unconditionally, "the destruction, removal or rendering harmless, under international supervision" of its chemical and biological weapons, ballistic missiles with a range greater than 150km, and their associated programmes, stocks, components, research and facilities.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) was given the job of abolishing Iraq's nuclear weapons programme. Unscom and the IAEA must report that their mission has been achieved before the Security Council can end sanctions. They have not yet done so.

UNSCR 707, August 1991: Stated that Iraq must provide full, final and complete disclosure of all its programmes for weapons of mass destruction and provide unconditional and unrestricted access to UN inspectors.

For more than a decade Iraq has been in breach of this resolution. Iraq must also cease all nuclear activities of any kind other than civil use of isotopes.

UNSCR 715, October 1991: Approved plans prepared by Unscom and the IAEA for the ongoing monitoring and verification (OMV) arrangements to implement UNSCR 687. Iraq did not accede to this until November 1993. OMV was conducted from April 1995 to 15 December 1998, when the UN left Iraq.

UNSCR 1051, March 1996: This resolution stated that Iraq must declare the shipment of dual-use goods, which could be used for mass destruction weaponry programmes.

2. As outlined in UNSCR 687, Iraq's chemical, biological and nuclear weapons programmes were also a breach of Iraq's commitments under:

  • The 1925 Geneva Protocol, which bans the use of chemical and biological weapons;

  • The Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention, which bans the development, production, stockpiling, acquisition or retention of biological weapons;

  • The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which prohibits Iraq from manufacturing or otherwise acquiring nuclear weapons.

3. UNSCR 687 obliged Iraq to provide declarations on all aspects of its weapons of mass destruction programmes within 15 days and accept the destruction, removal or rendering harmless under international supervision of its chemical, biological and nuclear programmes, and all ballistic missiles with a range beyond 150km. Iraq did not make a satisfactory declaration within the specified timeframe. Iraq accepted the UNSCRs and agreed to co-operate with Unscom. The history of the UN weapons inspections was characterised by persistent Iraqi obstruction. Unscom and the IAEA were given the remit to designate any locations for inspection at any time, review any document and interview any scientist, technician or other individual and seize any prohibited items for destruction.

Iraqi non-co-operation with the Inspectors

4. The former chairman of Un-scom, Richard Butler, reported to the UN Security Council in January 1999 that in 1991 a decision was taken by a high-level Iraqi government committee to provide inspectors with only a portion of its proscribed weapons, components, production capabilities and stocks. Unscom concluded that Iraqi policy was based on the following actions:

  • To provide only a portion of extant weapons stocks, releasing for destruction only those that were least modern;

  • To retain the production capability and documentation necessary to revive programmes when possible;

  • To conceal the full extent of its chemical weapons programme, including the VX nerve agent project; to conceal the number and type of chemical and biological warheads for proscribed long-range missiles;

  • And to conceal the existence of its biological weapons programme.

5. In December 1997 Richard Butler reported to the UN Security Council that Iraq had created a new category of sites, "Presidential" and "sovereign", from which it claimed that Unscom inspectors would henceforth be barred. The terms of the ceasefire in 1991 foresaw no such limitation. However, Iraq consistently refused to allow inspectors access to these eight Presidential sites. Many of these so-called "palaces" are in fact large compounds that are an integral part of Iraqi counter-measures designed to hide the weapons material.

Iraq's policy of deception

Iraq has admitted to Unscom to having a large, effective, system for hiding proscribed material including documentation, components, production equipment and possibly biological and chemical agents and weapons from the UN. Shortly after the adoption of UNSCR 687 in April 1991, an Administrative Security Committee was formed with responsibility for advising Saddam on the information that could be released to Unscom and the IAEA. The committee consisted of senior Military Industrial Commission scientists from all of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programmes. The Higher Security Committee of the Presidential Office was in overall command of deception operations. The system was directed from the very highest political levels within the Presidential Office and involved, if not Saddam himself, his youngest son, Qusai. The system for hiding proscribed material relies on high mobility and good command and control. It uses lorries to move items at short notice and most hide sites appear to be located close to good road links and telecommunications. The Baghdad area was particularly favoured. In addition to active measures to hide material from the UN, Iraq has attempted to monitor, delay and collect intelligence on UN operations to aid its overall deception plan.


6. Once inspectors had arrived in Iraq, it quickly became apparent that the Iraqis would resort to a range of measures (including physical threats and psychological intimidation of inspectors) to prevent Unscom and the IAEA from fulfilling their mandate.

7. In response to such incidents the President of the Security Council issued frequent statements calling on Iraq to comply with its disarmament and monitoring obligations.

Iraqi obstruction of UN weapons inspection teams

  • Firing warning shots in the air to prevent IAEA inspectors from intercepting nuclear-related equipment (June 1991);

  • Keeping IAEA inspectors in a car park for four days and refusing to allow them to leave with incriminating documents on Iraq's nuclear weapons programme (September 1991);

  • Announcing that UN monitoring and verification plans were "unlawful" (October 1991);

  • Refusing Unscom inspectors access to the Iraqi Ministry of Agriculture. Threats were made to inspectors who remained on watch outside the building. The inspection team had reliable evidence that the site contained archives related to proscribed activities;

  • In 1991-92 Iraq objected to Unscom using its own helicopters and choosing its own flight plans. In January 1993 it refused to allow Unscom the use of its own aircraft to fly into Iraq;

  • Refusing to allow Unscom to install remote-controlled monitoring cameras at two key missile sites (June-July 1993);

  • Repeatedly denying access to inspection teams (1991-December 1998);

  • Interfering with Unscom's helicopter operations, threatening the safety of the aircraft and their crews (June 1997)


8. Iraq denied that it had pur- sued a biological weapons programme until July 1995. In July 1995, Iraq acknowledged that biological agents had been produced on an industrial scale at al-Hakam. Following the defection in August 1995 of Hussein Kamil, Saddam's son- in-law and former Director of the Military Industrialisation Commission, Iraq released more than 2 million documents relating to its mass destruction weaponry programmes and acknowledged that it had pursued a biological programme that led to the deployment of actual weapons. Iraq admitted producing 183 biological weapons with a reserve of agent to fill considerably more.

Inspection of Iraq's biological weapons programme

In the course of the first biological weapons inspection in August 1991, Iraq claimed that it had merely conducted a military biological research programme. At the site visited, al-Salman, Iraq had removed equipment, documents and even entire buildings.

Later in the year, during a visit to the al-Hakam site, Iraq declared to Unscom inspectors that the facility was used as a factory to produce proteins derived from yeast to feed animals. Inspectors subsequently discovered that the plant was a central site for the production of anthrax spores and botulinum toxin for weapons. The factory had also been sanitised by Iraqi officials to deceive inspectors. Iraq continued to develop the al-Hakam site into the 1990s, misleading Unscom about its true purpose.

Another key site, the Foot and Mouth Disease Vaccine Institute at al-Dawrah, which produced botulinum toxin and probably anthrax, was not divulged as part of the programme. Five years later, after intense pressure, Iraq acknowledged that tens of tonnes of bacteriological warfare agent had been produced there and at al-Hakam.

As documents recovered in August 1995 were assessed, it became apparent that the full disclosure required by the UN was far from complete. Successive inspection teams went to Iraq to try to gain greater understanding of the programme and to obtain credible supporting evidence. In July 1996 Iraq refused to discuss its past programme and doctrine, forcing the team to withdraw in protest. Monitoring teams were at the same time finding undisclosed equipment and materials associated with the past programme. In response, Iraq grudgingly provided successive disclosures of its programme, which were judged by Unscom and specially convened international panels to be technically inadequate.

In late 1995 Iraq acknowledged weapons-testing the biological agent ricin, but did not provide production information. Two years later, in early 1997, Unscom discovered evidence that Iraq had produced ricin.

9. Iraq tried to obstruct Un-scom's efforts to investigate the scale of its biological weapons programme. It created forged documents to account for bacterial growth media, imported in the late 1980s, specifically for the production of anthrax, botulinum toxin and probably plague. The documents were created to indicate that the material had been imported by the State Company for Drugs and Medical Appliances Marketing for use in hospitals and distribution to local authorities. Iraq also censored documents and scientific papers provided to the first UN inspection team, removing all references to key individuals, weapons and industrial production of agents.

10. Iraq has yet to provide any documents concerning production of agent and subsequent weaponisation. Iraq destroyed, unilaterally and illegally, some biological weapons in 1991 and 1992, making accounting for these weapons impossible. In addition, Iraq cleansed a key site at al-Muthanna, its main research and development, production and weaponisation facility for chemical warfare agents, of all evidence of a biological programme in the toxicology department, the animal-house and weapons filling station.

11. Iraq refused to elaborate further on the programme during inspections in 1997 and 1998, confining discussion to previous topics. In July 1998 Tariq Aziz personally intervened in the inspection process, stating that the biological programme was more secret and more closed than other mass destruction weaponry programmes. He also played down the significance of the programme. Iraq has presented the biological weapons programme as the personal undertaking of a few misguided scientists.

12. At the same time, Iraq tried to maintain its nuclear weapons programme via a concerted campaign to deceive IAEA inspectors. In 1997 the IAEA Director General said the IAEA was "severely hampered by Iraq's persistence in a policy of concealment and understatement of the programme's scope".

Inspection achievements

13. Despite the conduct of the Iraqi authorities towards them, both Unscom and the IAEA action team have valuable records of achievement in discovering and exposing Iraq's biological weapons programme and destroying very large quantities of chemical weapons stocks and missiles as well as the infrastructure for Iraq's nuclear weapons programme.

14. Despite Unscom's efforts, following the effective ejection of UN inspectors in December 1998 there remained a series of significant unresolved disarmament issues. In summarising the situation in a report to the UN Security Council, the Unscom chairman, Richard Butler, indicated that:

  • Contrary to the requirement that destruction be conducted under international supervision "Iraq undertook extensive, unilateral and secret destruction of large quantities of proscribed weapons and items";

  • And Iraq "also pursued a practice of concealment of proscribed items, including weapons, and a cover-up of its activities in contravention of Council resolutions".

Overall, Mr Butler declared that obstructive Iraqi activity had had "a significant impact upon the Commission's disarmament work".

UNSCOM and IAEA achievements

UNSCOM surveyed 1,015 sites in Iraq, carrying out 272 separate inspections. Despite Iraqi obstruction and intimidation, UN inspectors uncovered details of chemical, biological, nuclear and ballistic missile programmes.

Major Unscom/IAEA achievements included:

  • the destruction of 40,000 munitions for chemical weapons, 2,610 tonnes of chemical precursors and 411 tonnes of chemical warfare agent;

  • the dismantling of Iraq's prime chemical weapons development and production complex at al-Muthanna and a range of key production equipment;

  • the destruction of 48 Scud-type missiles, 11 mobile launchers and 56 sites, 30 warheads filled with chemical agents, and 20 conventional warheads;

  • the destruction of the al-Hakam biological weapons facility and a range of production equipment, seed stocks and growth media for biological weapons;

  • the discovery in 1991 of samples of indigenously produced highly enriched uranium, forcing Iraq's acknowledgement of uranium enrichment programmes and attempts to preserve crucial components of its prohibited nuclear weapons programme;

  • the removal and destruction of the infrastructure for the nuclear weapons programme, including the al-Athir weaponisation/testing facility

Withdrawal of the inspectors

15. By the end of 1998 Unscom was in direct confrontation with the Iraqi Government, which was refusing to co-operate. The United States and the United Kingdom had made clear that anything short of full co- operation would make military action unavoidable. Mr Butler was requested to report to the UN Security Council in December 1998 and stated that, following a series of direct confrontations, coupled with the systematic refusal by Iraq to co-operate, Unscom was no longer able to perform its disarmament mandate. As a direct result on 16 December the weapons inspectors were withdrawn. Operation Desert Fox was launched by the US and the UK a few hours afterwards.

Operation Desert Fox (16-19 December 1998)

Operation Desert Fox targeted industrial facilities related to Iraq's ballistic missile programme and a suspect biological warfare facility as well as military airfields and sites used by Iraq's security organisations, which are involved in its weapons of mass destruction programmes. Key facilities associated with Saddam's ballistic missile programme were significantly degraded.

The situation since 1998

16. There have been no UN-mandated weapons inspections in Iraq since 1998. In an effort to enforce Iraqi compliance with its disarmament and monitoring obligations, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 1284 in December 1999. This established the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (Unmovic) as a successor organisation to Unscom and called on Iraq to give Unmovic inspectors "immediate, unconditional and unrestricted access to any and all areas, facilities, equipment, records and means of transport". It also set out the steps Iraq needed to take in return for the eventual suspension and lifting of sanctions. A key measure of Iraqi compliance would be full co- operation with UN inspectors, including unconditional, imme- diate and unrestricted access to any and all sites, personnel and documents.

17. For the past three years, Iraq has allowed the IAEA to carry out an annual inspection of a stockpile of nuclear material (depleted natural and low-enriched uranium). This has led some countries and Western commentators to conclude erroneously that Iraq is meeting its nuclear disarmament and monitoring obligations. As the IAEA has pointed out in recent weeks, this annual inspection does "not serve as a substitute for the verification activities required by the relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council".

18. Dr Hans Blix, the executive chairman of Unmovic, and Dr Mohammed El-Baradei, the Director General of the IAEA, have declared that in the absence of inspections it is impossible to verify Iraqi compliance with its UN disarmament and monitoring obligations. In April 1999 an independent UN panel of experts noted that "the longer inspection and monitoring activi- ties remain suspended, the more difficult the comprehensive implementation of Security Council resolutions becomes, increasing the risk that Iraq might reconstitute its proscribed weapons programmes".

  • 19. The departure of the inspectors greatly diminished the ability of the international community to monitor and assess Iraq's continuing attempts to reconstitute its chemical, biological, nuclear and ballistic missile programmes.

PARTTHREE: Iraq under Saddam Hussein

1. The republic of Iraq is bounded by Turkey, Iran, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria and the Persian Gulf. Its population of around 23 million is ethnically and religiously diverse. Approximately 77 per cent are Arabs. Sunni Muslims form around 17 per cent of the Arab population and dominate the government. About 60 per cent of Iraqis are Shias and 20 per cent are Kurds. The remaining 3 per cent of the population consists of Assyrians, Turkomans, Armenians, Christians and Yazidis.

Saddam's rise to power

Saddam Hussein was born in 1937 in the Tikrit district, north of Baghdad. In 1957 he joined the Baath Party.

After taking part in a failed attempt to assassinate the Iraqi President, Abdul Karim Qasim, Saddam escaped, first to Syria and then to Egypt. In his absence he was sentenced to 15 years' imprisonment.

Saddam returned to Baghdad in 1963 when the Baath Party came to power. He went into hiding after the Baath fell from power later that year.

He was captured and imprisoned, but in 1967 escaped and took over responsibility for Baath security. Saddam set about imposing his will on the party and establishing himself at the centre of power.

The Baath Party returned to power in 1968. In 1969 Saddam became Vice-Chairman of the Revolutionary Command Council, Deputy to the President, and Deputy Secretary General of the Regional Command of the Baath. In 1970 he joined the party's National Command and in 1977 was elected assistant secretary general.

In July 1979, he took over the Presidency of Iraq. Within days, five fellow members of the Revolutionary Command Council were accused of involvement in a coup attempt. They and17 others were summarily executed.

2. Public life in Iraq is nominally dominated by the Baath Party. But all real authority rests with Saddam and his immediate circle. Saddam's family, tribe and a small number of associates remain his most loyal supporters. He uses them to convey his orders, including to members of the government.

3. Saddam uses patronage and violence to motivate his supporters and to control or eliminate opposition. Potential rewards include social status, money and better access to goods. Saddam's extensive security apparatus and Baath Party network provides oversight of Iraqi society, with informants in social, government and military organisations. Saddam practises torture, execution and other forms of coercion against his enemies, real or suspected. His targets are not only those who have offended him, but also their families, friends or colleagues.

The Iraqi Baath party

The Baath Party is the only legal political party in Iraq. It pervades all aspects of Iraqi life. Membership, which is about 700,000, is necessary for self-advancement and confers benefits from the regime.

4. Saddam acts to ensure that there are no other centres of power in Iraq. He has crushed parties and ethnic groups, such as the communists and the Kurds, which might try to assert themselves. Members of the opposition abroad have been the targets of assassination attempts conducted by Iraqi security services.

Saddam Hussein's security apparatus

Saddam relies on a long list of security organisations with overlapping responsibilities. The main ones are:

  • The Special Security Organisation oversees Saddam's security and monitors the loyalty of other security services. Its recruits are predominantly from Tikrit;

  • The Special Republican Guard is equipped with the best available military equipment. Its members are selected on the basis of loyalty to the regime;

  • The Directorate of General Security is primarily responsible for countering threats from the civilian population;

  • The Directorate of General Intelligence monitors and suppresses dissident activities at home and abroad;

  • The Directorate of Military Intelligence's role includes the investigation of military personnel;

  • The Saddam Fidayeen, under the control of Saddam's son Uday, has been used to deal with civil disturbances;

  • Army officers are an important part of the Iraqi government's network of informers. Suspicion that officers have ambitions other than the service of the President leads to immediate execution. It is routine for Saddam to take pre-emptive action against those who he believes might conspire against him.

Internal Repression - the Kurds and the Shias

6. Saddam has pursued a long-term programme of persecution of the Iraqi Kurds, including through the use of chemical weapons. During the Iran-Iraq war, Saddam appointed his cousin, Ali Hasan al-Majid, as his deputy in the north. In 1987-88, al-Majid led the "Anfal" campaign of attacks on Kurdish villages. Amnesty International estimates that more than 100,000 Kurds were killed or disappeared during this period.

Repression and control: some examples

  • A campaign of mass arrests and killing of Shia activists led to the execution of the Ayatollah Baqir al-Sadr and his sister in April 1980.

  • In 1983, 80 members of another leading Shia family were arrested. Six of them, all religious leaders, were executed.

  • ;A massive chemical weapons attack on Kurds in Halabja town in March 1988 killed 5,000 and injured about 10,000 more.

  • A large number of officers from the Jabbur tribe were executed in the early 1990s for the alleged disloyalty of a few of them.

7. After the Gulf War in 1991 Kurds in the north of Iraq rose up against Baghdad's rule. In response the Iraqi regime killed or imprisoned thousands, prompting a humanitarian crisis. More than a million Kurds fled into the mountains and tried to escape Iraq.

8. Persecution of Iraq's Kurds continues, although the protection provided by the northern no-fly zone has helped to curb the worst excesses. But outside this zone the Baghdad regime has continued a policy of persecution and intimidation.

9. The regime has used chemical weapons against the Kurds, most notably in an attack on the town of Halabja in 1988 (see Part 1 Chapter 2 paragraph 9). The implicit threat of the use of chemical weapons against the Kurds and others is an important part of Saddam's attempt to keep the civilian population under control.

10. The regime has tried to displace the traditional Kurdish and Turkoman populations of the areas under its control, primarily in order to weaken Kurdish claims to the oil-rich area around the northern city of Kirkuk. Kurds and other non-Arabs are forcibly ejected to the three northern Iraqi governorates, Dohuk, Arbil and Sulaimaniyah, which are under de facto Kurdish control. According to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR) Special Rapporteur for Iraq, 94,000 individuals have been expelled since 1991. Agricultural land owned by Kurds has been confiscated and redistributed to Iraqi Arabs. Arabs from southern Iraq have been offered incentives to move into the Kirkuk area.

11. After the 1979 revolution that ousted the Shah in Iran, Saddam intensified a campaign against the Shia Muslim majority of Iraq, fearing that they might be encouraged by the new Shia regime in Iran.

12. On 1 March 1991, in the wake of the Gulf War, riots broke out in the southern city of Basra, spreading quickly to other cities in Shia-dominated southern Iraq. The regime responded by killing thousands. Many Shia tried to escape to Iran and Saudi Arabia.

13. Some of the Shia hostile to the regime sought refuge in the marshland of southern Iraq. In order to subjugate the area, Saddam embarked on a large-scale programme to drain the marshes to allow Iraqi ground forces to eliminate all opposition there. The rural population of the area fled or were forced to move to southern cities or across the border into Iran.

Saddam Hussein's Wars

14. As well as ensuring his absolute control inside Iraq, Saddam has tried to make Iraq the dominant power of the region. In pursuit of these objectives he has led Iraq into two wars of aggression against neighbours, the Iran-Iraq war and the invasion of Kuwait.

15. With the fall of the Shah in Iran in 1979, relations between Iran and Iraq deteriorated sharply. In September 1980 Saddam renounced a border treaty he had agreed with Iran in 1975 ceding half of the Shatt al-Arab waterway to Iran. Shortly thereafter, Saddam launched a large-scale invasion of Iran. He believed he could take advantage of the state of weakness, isolation and disorganisation he perceived in post-revolutionary Iran. He aimed to seize territory, including that ceded to Iran a few years earlier, and to assert Iraq's position as a leader of the Arab world. Saddam expected it to be a short, sharp campaign. But the conflict lasted eight years. Iraq fired over 500 ballistic missiles at Iranian targets, including major cities.

Opposition to Saddam during the Iran-Iraq war

During the war Saddam's security apparatus ensured any internal dissent or opposition was quickly eliminated. In 1982 he quickly purged a group within Iraq's ruling clique which had suggested that the war might be brought to an end more quickly if Saddam stood down.

16. It is estimated that the Iran-Iraq war cost the two sides a million casualties. Iraq used chemical weapons extensively from 1984. Some 20,000 Iranians were killed by mustard gas and the nerve agents tabun and sarin, all of which Iraq still possesses. The UN Security Council considered the report prepared by a team of three specialists appointed by the UN secretary general in March 1986, following which the President made a statement condemning Iraqi use of chemical weapons. This marked the first time a country had been named for violating the 1925 Geneva Convention banning the use of chemical weapons.

17. The cost of the war ran into hundreds of billions of dollars for both sides. Iraq gained nothing. After the war, Saddam resumed his previous pursuit of primacy in the Gulf. His policies involved spending huge sums of money on military equipment. But Iraq was burdened by debt incurred during the war and the price of oil, Iraq's only major export, was low.

18. By 1990 Iraq's financial problems were severe. Saddam looked at ways to press the oil-producing states of the Gulf to force up the price of crude oil by limiting production and waive the £25bn that they had loaned Iraq during its war with Iran. Kuwait had made some concessions over production ceilings. But Saddam blamed Kuwait for over-production. When his threats and blandishments failed, Iraq invaded Kuwait on 2 August 1990. He believed that occupying Kuwait could prove profitable.

Abuses by Iraqi forces in Kuwait

  • Robbery and rape of Kuwaitis and expatriates;

  • Summary executions;

  • People dragged from their homes and held in improvised detention centres;

  • Amnesty International has listed 38 methods of torture used by the occupiers. These included beatings, breaking of limbs, extracting finger and toenails, inserting bottle necks into the rectum, and subjecting detainees to mock executions;

  • Civilians arrested for "crimes" such as wearing beards.

19. Saddam also sought to justify the conquest of Kuwait on other grounds. Like other Iraqi leaders before him, he claimed that, as Kuwait's rulers had come under the jurisdiction of the governors of Basra in the time of the Ottoman Empire, Kuwait should belong to Iraq.

20. During its occupation of Kuwait, Iraq denied access to the Red Cross, which has a mandate to provide protection and assistance to civilians affected by international armed conflict. The death penalty was imposed for relatively minor "crimes" such as looting and hoarding food.

21. In an attempt to deter military action to expel it from Kuwait, the Iraqi regime took hostage several hundred foreign nationals (including children) in Iraq and Kuwait and prevented thousands more from leaving, in direct contravention of international humanitarian law. Hostages were held as human shields at a number of strategic military and civilian sites.

22. At the end of the Gulf War, the Iraqi army fleeing Kuwait set fire to more than 1,160 Kuwaiti oil wells with serious environmental consequences.

23. More than 600 Kuwaiti and other prisoners of war and missing persons are unaccounted for. Iraq refuses to comply with its UN obligation to account for the missing. It has provided sufficient information to close only three case-files.

Abuse of human rights

4. This section draws on reports of human rights abuses from authoritative international organisations, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.

25. Human rights abuses continue within Iraq. People continue to be arrested and detained on suspicion of political or religious activities or often because they are related to members of the opposition. Executions are carried out without due process of law. Relatives are often prevented from burying the victims in accordance with Islamic practice. Thousands of prisoners have been executed.

Human rights: abuses under Saddam Hussein

  • 4,000 prisoners were executed at Abu Ghraib prison in 1984.

  • 3,000 prisoners were executed at the Mahjar prison between 1993 and 1998.

  • About 2,500 prisoners were executed between 1997 and 1999 in a "prison cleansing" campaign.

  • 122 male prisoners were executed at Abu Ghraib prison in February/ March 2000. A further 23 political prisoners were executed there in October 2001.

  • In October 2000, dozens of women accused of prostitution were beheaded without judicial process. Some were accused for political reasons.

  • Women prisoners at Mahjar are raped by their guards.

  • Methods of torture include using electric drills to mutilate hands, pulling out fingernails, knife cuts, sexual attacks and "official rape".

  • Prisoners at the Qurtiyya prison in Baghdad and elsewhere are kept in metal boxes the size of tea chests. If they do not confess they are left to die.

26. Saddam has issued a series of decrees establishing severe penalties for criminal offences. These include amputation, branding, cutting off ears, and other forms of mutilation. Anyone found guilty of slandering the President has their tongue removed.

Human Rights: mistreatment in Abu Ghraib prison

Abdallah, a member of the Baath Party whose loyalty became suspect was imprisoned for four years at Abu Ghraib in the 1980s. On the second day of his imprisonment, the men were forced to walk between two rows of five guards each to receive their containers of food. While walking to get the food, they were beaten by the guards with plastic telephone cables. They had to return to their cells the same way, so that a walk to get breakfast resulted in 20 lashes. According to Abdallah: "It wasn't that bad going to get the food, but coming back the food was spilt when we were beaten." The same procedure was used when the men went to the bathroom. On the third day, the torture continued. "We were removed from our cells and beaten with plastic pipes. This surprised us, because we were asked no question. Possibly it was being done to break our morale," Abdallah said. The torture escalated to 16 sessions daily. The treatment was organised and systematic. Abdallah was held alone in a 3x2-metre room that opened on to a corridor. "We were allowed to go to the toilet three times a day, then they reduced the toilet to once a day for only one minute. I went for four years without a shower or a wash."

He also learnt to cope with the deprivation and the hunger that accompanied his detention. "I taught myself to drink a minimum amount of water because there was no place to urinate. They used wooden sticks to beat us and sometimes the sticks would break. I found a piece of a stick, covered with blood, and managed to bring it back to my room. I ate it for three days. A person who is hungry can eat anything. Pieces of our bodies started falling off from the beatings and our skin was so dry that it began to fall off. I ate pieces of my own body.

"No one, not Pushkin, not Mahfouz, can describe what happened to us. It is impossible to describe what living this day to day was like. I was totally naked the entire time. Half of the original groups [of about thirty men] died. It was a slow type of continuous physical and psychological torture. Sometimes, it seemed orders came to kill one of us, and he would be beaten to death". (Source: Human Rights Watch)

Saddam Hussein's family

27. Saddam's son Uday maintained a private torture chamber known as the Red Room in a building on the banks of the Tigris disguised as an electricity installation. He created a militia in 1994 which has used swords to execute victims outside their homes. He has personally executed dissidents, for instance in the Shia uprising at Basra after the Gulf War.

28. Members of Saddam's family are also subject to persecution. A cousin of Saddam, Ala Abd al-Qadir al-Majid, fled to Jordan from Iraq citing disagreements with the regime over business matters. He returned to Iraq after the Iraqi ambassador in Jordan declared publicly that his life was not in danger. He was met at the border by Tahir Habbush, head of the directorate of general intelligence (the Mukhabarat), and taken to a farm owned by Ali Hasan al-Majid. At the farm Ala was tied to a tree and executed by members of his immediate family who, following orders from Saddam, took it in turns to shoot him .

29. Some 40 of Saddam's relatives, including women and children, have been killed. His sons-in-law Hussein and Saddam Kamil defected in 1995 and returned to Iraq from Jordan after the Iraqi government announced amnesties for them. They were executed in February 1996.

Human rights - individual testimony

In December 1996, a Kurdish businessman from Baghdad was arrested outside his house by plainclothes security men. Initially his family did not know his whereabouts and went from one police station to another inquiring about him. Then they found out that he was being held in the headquarters of the General Security Directorate in Baghdad. The family was not allowed to visit him. Eleven months later the family was told by the authorities that he had been executed and that they should go and collect his body. His body bore evident signs of torture. His eyes were gouged out and the empty eye sockets filled with paper. His right wrist and left leg were broken. The family was not given any reason for his arrest and execution. However, they suspected that he was executed because of his friendship with a retired army general who had links with the Iraqi opposition outside the country and who was arrested just before his arrest and also executed.(Source: Amnesty International)

"...I saw a friend of mine, al-Shaikh Nasser Taresh al-Sa'idi, naked. He was handcuffed and a piece of wood was placed between his elbows and his knees. Two ends of the wood were placed on two high chairs and al-Shaikh Nasser was being suspended like a chicken. This method of torture is known as al-Khaygania [a reference to a former security director known as al-Khaygani]. An electric wire was attached to al-Shaikh Nasser's penis and another one attached to one of his toes. He was asked if he could identify me and he said 'this is al-Shaikh Yahya'. They took me to another room and then after about 10 minutes they stripped me of my clothes and a security officer said 'the person you saw has confessed against you'. He said to me: 'You followers of [Ayatollah] al-Sadr have carried out acts harmful to the security of the country and have been distributing anti-government statements coming from abroad.' He asked if I have any contact with an Iraqi religious scholar based in Iran who has been signing these statements. I said: 'I do not have any contacts with him' ... I was then left suspended in the same manner as al-Shaikh al-Sa'idi. They attached an electric wire on my penis and the other end of the wire is attached to an electric motor. One security man was hitting my feet with a cable. Electric shocks were applied every few minutes and were increased. I must have been suspended for more than an hour. I lost consciousness. They took me to another room and made me walk even though my feet were swollen from beating ... They repeated this method a few times."(Source: Amnesty International, testimony from an Iraqi theology student from Saddam City)