Iraq Survey Group Final Report
Aluminum Tube Investigation
Baghdad’s interest in high-strength, high-specification aluminum tubes—dual-use items controlled under Annex 3 of the Ongoing Monitoring and Verification Plan as possible centrifuge rotors—is best explained by its efforts to produce 81-mm rockets. ISG conducted numerous interviews related to Iraq’s interest in acquiring these tubes—information that regularly pointed toward similar tubes being used in the Nasser-81 ground-to-ground rocket system.
- Postwar interviews included prominent figures from Iraq’s pre-1991 centrifuge effort, including its director, the project manager for rotor manufacture, other former staff, as well as the head of the overall nuclear weapons program. ISG also interviewed numerous officials directly involved in the 81-mm rocket effort and Iraq’s Military Industrialization Commission (MIC). None of these officials admitted to any intended end use of the tubes beyond rockets.
Although ISG also uncovered inconsistencies that raise questions about whether high-specification aluminum tubes were really needed for such a rocket program, these discrepancies are not sufficient to show a nuclear end use was planned for the tubes. For example, ISG has found technical drawings that show the 81-mm rocket program had a history of using tubes that appear to have fallen short of the standard demanded in procurement attempts in the years before the war. Iraq also accepted lower-quality, indigenously produced aluminum tubes for 81-mm rockets in the months before the war despite continued foreign procurement attempts for high-specification tubes.
- ISG believes that bureaucratic momentum made it difficult to abandon the perceived need for high-specification tubes from abroad. These foreign pursuits probably also were affected by a lack of sufficient indigenous manufacturing capabilities—an effort Iraq reportedly began only in mid-2002—the high cost of that production, and pressure of the impending war.
- Efforts to press the Iraqis on other inconsistencies in individual recollections on history, production, questionable engineering practices, or accomplishments also did not produce statements to link the tubes to any effort other than 81-mm rockets.
Elements of ISG Investigation
ISG investigated key indicators that suggested a possible centrifuge end use for the tubes—questioning that revealed plausible explanations for use of the tubes in 81-mm rockets, notably:
- Purported high-level interest in aluminum tubes by Saddam and Iraq’s Deputy Prime Minister—a potential indicator of a program of national importance, such as a centrifuge program.
- Possible association of Iraqi nuclear entities with the tubes it sought to procure—reporting suggestive of a nuclear end-user.
- Tube characteristics and shipping requirements—reporting that showed the tubes were subject to nuclear controls and seemed to be over specified for conventional rockets.
- Iraqi effort to indigenously manufacture tubes for an 81 mm-rocket program and its continued effort to acquire tubes with higher specifications.
- Alleged Iraqi interest in 84-mm tubes—a size that would have been inconsistent with the 81-mm rocket program.
In the course of this investigation, ISG did not uncover evidence of a program to design or develop an 81-mm aluminum rotor centrifuge. Other sections of ISG nuclear report describe findings concerning equipment and materials that could have supported a renewed centrifuge effort.
Purported High-Level Interest in Aluminum Tubes
ISG has found that high-level Iraqi interest in aluminum tubes appears to have come from efforts to produce 81-mm rockets, rather than a nuclear end use. Multiple reports indicate Dr. Huwaysh was keenly interested in high-strength, high-specification aluminum tubes for rocket production. Dr. Huwaysh attributes his pursuit of 81-mm rockets to the delivery of some launchers to the military shortly after he became the head of MIC in 1997. As a result, Dr. Huwaysh claims he was bound by requests from the Minister of Defense to produce rockets for those launchers—a task he regularly pressed on MIC leadership at quarterly meetings.
- Dr. Huwaysh’s advocacy of 81-mm rockets appears to explain why he sought the delivery of items that were probably sample aluminum tubes. In early 2002, Dr. Huwaysh sought two shipments of high-strength aluminum from an Iraqi procurement firm in Syria.
Several Iraqi officials also commented on Saddam’s potential interest in rockets. One official indicates Dr. Huwaysh told MIC engineers that Saddam asked him to make 81-mm rockets. But this link between the tubes and Saddam remains uncorroborated, even by Dr. Huwaysh.
- Ja’far Diya’ Ja’far, the head of Iraq’s pre-1991 nuclear weapons program and most recently a Presidential Science Advisor, has offered somewhat conflicting accounts regarding Saddam’s awareness of the aluminum tubes. While discussing 81-mm rockets, Ja’far claimed Saddam was very interested in aerial weapons. Ja’far has also stated, however, this rocket program was unimportant and that work, including procurement, was known only to lower-level officials. Ja’far—whose debriefing accounts have been known to vary—also doubted Saddam understood the technical specifications of the tubes.
Other interest by senior officials in the 81-mm rocket can be traced to around 1984, when Husayn Kamil reportedly approved a proposal to reverse-engineer and build the weapon system. The proposal, made by an Iraqi Army Aviation officer was based on the premise that it was too expensive to continue importing 81-mm rockets from Italy.
Possible Association of Iraqi Nuclear Entities With the Tubes
The limited information found by ISG that ties Iraqi nuclear entities to the tubes also appears related to the 81-mm rocket program. A 6 March 2003 letter from the Iraqi National Monitoring Directorate (NMD) to the IAEA’s Iraq Nuclear Verification Office (INVO) notes that the Iraqi Atomic Energy Commission (IAEC) conducted material composition testing on a sample aluminum tube in early 2001. According to that letter given to ISG, the Rashid State Company—one of the entities involved in 81-mm rocket production—obtained the sample tube through the Ahmed Al-Barrak Bureau, an import/export firm in Baghdad.
- The tube tested by the IAEC reportedly measured 900 mm in length and 81 mm in diameter—a size consistent with prewar procurement attempts. The Rashid State Company requested other physical property tests, but the IAEC did not have capabilities to do the work.
A leading Iraqi nuclear expert measured the tubes to answer questions posed by the IAEA, but ISG has found no indication that this represented interest by Iraq in the tubes for centrifuge applications. In the months before the war, Ja’far Diya’ Ja’far admits calling on a leading technical figure in the former centrifuge effort, Dr. Faris ‘Abd Al-Aziz Al-Samarrai, to measure dimensional variances on several 81-mm rockets. Multiple officials interviewed by ISG confirm Aziz’s work for Ja’far to address questions from IAEA inspectors about the tubes.
- Nonetheless, the letter to the IAEA incorrectly claims that measurements of rockets made with the original pre-1991 tubes met the higher specifications for tubes set by the 2000 committee.
Ja’far’s study for the IAEA inspectors apparently acknowledged it was possible to make a centrifuge from the tubes, although he thought doing so was impractical. Ja’far thought the IAEA officials agreed with his assessment but notes they did not make a definitive statement on the utility of the tubes for centrifuges. Ja’far thought the size of the rocket tubes would cause the enrichment output to be far lower than the centrifuge design Iraq had pursued as of 1991. ‘Abd Al-Baqi Rashid Shiya, a former Director General of the Rashid State Company and a key figure in the 81-mm rocket program, told ISG that he informally heard that Ja’far and Al-‘Aziz determined that the tubes could not be used for centrifuges.
- In his postwar debriefings, Ja’far also opined that using 81-mm rockets as a cover story for a centrifuge program would not have been very useful because Iraq had difficulties importing any goods. Ja’far also told debriefers that developing an indigenous carbon-fiber filament winding capability would have been much more useful if Iraq intended to resume a centrifuge effort.
Dr. Mahdi Shukur Al ‘Ubaydi, the head of the pre-1991 centrifuge program, similarly did not consider it reasonable that Iraq could have pursued a centrifuge program based on 81-mm aluminum tubes. Al ‘Ubaydi believes that, besides himself, the only Iraqis capable of assessing the suitability of aluminum tubes for centrifuge use were Jamal Ja’far, Dr. Farid Bashir Yusef, and Dr. Makki Kadhim Rashid—the latter two having fled Iraq years before the war. Al ‘Ubaydi assessed that no one in Iraq could have redesigned the centrifuge to use an 81-mm aluminum rotor.
- Al ‘Ubaydi stated that Iraq was able to quickly develop its pre-1991 centrifuge program because of the raw intelligence of Jamal, Farid, Makki, and himself—an underestimation, we believe, of the contribution of technology, designs, and expertise provided by a few experts from the European uranium enrichment consortium, URENCO. Nonetheless, Al ‘Ubaydi stated it still took Iraq 2.5 years to understand the working design it obtained from abroad.
- Al ‘Ubaydi assessed that redesigning a centrifuge by scaling it up or down in size would have been a completely different task, and he would have hesitated “a million times” before attempting to do so. Al ‘Ubaydi opined that a renewed effort would more likely build on this earlier work with URENCO-type machines and utilize carbon fiber.
- Another official from the former centrifuge program similarly told ISG that Iraq lacked the necessary expertise to design a centrifuge using 81-mm diameter high-strength aluminum tubes. The official noted Iraq’s prewar expert in centrifuge modeling left the country around 1996 and now most likely is a university instructor. The same source describes other losses of personnel with one colleague having left to work in private industry while a third moved to a MIC center.
ISG also has not found a nuclear connection that influenced the evolution of the design or tolerances for the 81-mm tubes. According to reporting, ‘Arif Kaddur Al-Kubaysi, former al Fatah Director of Engineering Affairs and lead 81-mm rocket designer, freely set the design of the metal parts of the rocket as he saw fit. This reporting claimed no one changed any specifications for the aluminum tube rocket body after 2000—notably not Ja’far Diya’ Ja’far, ‘Abd-al-Tawab Huwaysh, ‘Abd Al-Baqi Rashid Shiya, or Faris ‘Abd Al-Aziz Al-Samarrai.
ISG found only one former nuclear official connected—the connection may be coincidental—to the design of the 81-mm rocket. As the former head of al Qa’Qaa’, Sinan Rasim Sa’id reportedly was involved in developing propellant for the rocket—one of the alleged underlying causes of the inaccuracy of the weapon.Prior to 1991, reporting indicates Sa’id helped maintain electrical equipment for the electromagnetic isotope separation (EMIS) and centrifuge uranium enrichment efforts.
Tube Characteristics and Shipping Requirements
ISG’s investigation into why Iraq sought aluminum tubes with such high specifications before the war—a key factor that raised concerns that the Regime had restarted a centrifuge effort—has uncovered plausible but not always consistent accounts that link the tubes to 81-mm rockets. Multiple officials involved with the Iraqi rocket program claim that the tight specifications on the aluminum tubes were driven by efforts to improve the accuracy of this barrage-type weapon. These sources report that in 2000, Dr. Huwaysh formed a committee to set final rocket specifications and address problems with its accuracy.
Varied Reactions to the Tube Seizure in 2001
ISG has uncovered mixed and sometimes conflicting reactions by Iraqi officials to the June 2001 seizure of high-strength aluminum tubes—items reportedly stopped based on concerns the tubes violated sanctions and nuclear export controls. Ja’far told debriefers that the seizure did not capture his attention because he thought the tubes simply were stopped as a result of sanctions.He claims he was not aware of any MIC inquiries in the wake of that seizure to suggest the tubes were intended for centrifuge use and deemed foreign government claims in 2002 that the tubes were suitable for centrifuges as insignificant. He also claims he did not become concerned about centrifuge allegations until early 2003 when the issue arose in the United Nations Security Council.
- Ja’far’s reported efforts to gather information in early 2003 to deal with IAEA inspectors from Faris Aziz and others seem to be the extent of his concerns with the tubes prior to the war. ISG believes that Ja’far is a likely candidate to have known of renewed nuclear work—had any been under way—given his preeminent role as the head of the pre-1991 nuclear weapons program.
Similarly, the head of Iraq’s pre-1991 centrifuge program reportedly had no knowledge of a nuclear connection to the aluminum tubes until the issue surfaced months before Operation Iraqi Freedom. According to interrogation interviews, he was not part of Ja’far’s review for inspectors, and he was not tasked to consider the suitability of the aluminum tubes for centrifuges. Reportedly Al ‘Ubaydi said he learned the tubes were destined for a rocket program in late 2002 when Dr. Amir Al-Sa’di, a Presidential Advisor, queried him if the pre-1991 centrifuge program had used aluminum.
- Al ‘Ubaydi reportedly learned from Jamal Ja’far, a technical expert from the pre-1991 centrifuge program, that aluminum could be used in magnetic-bearing centrifuges—and passed this point to Sa’di.
Dr. Huwaysh, however, claims he took several actions in the wake of the 2001 seizure—one of many claims he makes that are inconsistent with other debriefing accounts.Dr. Huwaysh indicates that it was the procurement front company that first informed MIC that the tubes were stopped because of centrifuge concerns. Dr. Huwaysh then claims he asked Al ‘Ubaydi to investigate and received word in early 2002 from Hussam Muhammad Amin, the head of Iraq’s National Monitoring Directorate that Al ‘Ubaydi concluded the tubes could be used for centrifuges. Dr. Huwaysh then claims he ordered ‘Abd Al-Baqi Rashid Shiya, then Director General of the Al-Rashid State Company, to find an alternate metal—not subject to nuclear export controls—that would still be strong enough to make the motor cases for the 81-mm rockets.
- Dr. Huwaysh adds that he trusted Baqi to change the alloy and did not confirm the order was followed.When shown a copy of a 2003 fax from a procurement company that specified the prohibited alloy, Dr. Huwaysh adamantly claimed it was a mistake, as Baqi would never have disobeyed his order.
Baqi claims that Dr. Huwaysh did not ask him to make any changes after the capture of the tubes during the summer of 2001, adding that other key rocket program officials would have known of such a modification if it had been ordered.Baqi reportedly heard indirectly that Dr. Huwaysh did not think the tubes were suitable for centrifuges and that news reporting in this regard was mistaken.
- Engineer Abd Al-Baqi Rashid Shiya, then Director General of the al Rashid State Company, led the 17-member committee, supported by his deputy and head of the National Monitoring Directorate (NMD) at al Rashid, Sa’ad Ahmad Mahmud. NMD head Lt. Gen. Husam Amin also participated, ostensibly due to his rocket engineering expertise, as did Arif Kaddori Atawi Al-Kubaysi, the lead engineer for the 81-mm rocket program. (See inset on insights.)
- The committee reportedly completed its work in September 2000, concluding that inconsistencies between rockets resulted in variations in range and accuracy—a problem they chose to address, in part, by reducing mass differences between rockets and components by tightening specifications. The committee also reportedly considered propellant-related problems and quality-control issues.
Comments From the Head of the “2000 Committee”
ISG interviews with ‘Abd Al-Baqi Rashid Shiya revealed insights into the thinking of the 2000 Committee, which he led in an attempt to improve the accuracy of the 81-mm rocket. Baqi claims that the 2000 committee noticed that the engineering drawings for the 81-mm rocket had undergone many ad hoc revisions over the years, changes ostensibly made to ease its manufacture. Baqi told postwar debriefers that one goal of the 2000 committee was to return the 81-mm rocket to its original Italian-based design by setting new specifications for imported tubes—an unrealistic goal given that Iraq had made changes in the late 1980s that affected propellant performance and lifetime.
According to Baqi, the committee checked all the parts of the rocket and found that unwanted dispersion was caused by problems with the nozzle and the nonalignment of the propellant, nozzle, and motor case—a slightly different cause than the mass differences noted by other officials. Baqi also described that the committee examined problems with the propellant, manufactured by the Al-Qa’ Qaa’ State Company, because this would occasionally cause rockets to explode during flight. The committee reportedly concluded these misfirings were caused by pitting of the tubes—probably a reference to corrosion marks caused by improper storage—and problems with the insulator between the propellant and the tube. Baqi also claimed that the launcher was not a significant part of the rocket’s scatter problems—a conclusion also reached by the 2000 Committee.
- A separate source associated with the rocket program claimed the 81-mm rocket accuracy was adversely impacted by a number of factors—some resulting from its conversion from an air-to-ground into a ground-to-ground system. This source claimed that down-range accuracy problems were caused by a lack of initial velocity, instabilities from the ground launch platform, and insufficient design features that would have produced more spin.
- This source also claimed the quality of Iraqi propellant adversely affected the range of the 81-mm rocket. Iraq reportedly modified its 81-mm rocket propellant in 1988 or 1989 when Amir Al-Sa’di, then Director of the MIC, commissioned a group at al Qa’ Qaa’ to examine why some Italian-made rockets prematurely exploded. The group discovered droplets of nitroglycerine formed on the propellant inside the rocket body, causing the malfunction. By modifying the propellant, Iraq increased rocket shelf life from 1 to roughly 5 years but at the cost of consistent propellant performance that affected accuracy.
Baqi claims he was not alone on the 2000 committee in questioning why the military wanted the 81-mm rocket, adding that the 107-mm rocket was easier to produce, had fewer parts, and a bigger warhead. Baqi notes the lead production engineer and Kubaysi as two of the 2000 committee members who shared his views that it was a bad idea for Iraq to make the 81-mm surface-to-surface rocket by attempting to copy the Italian air-to-surface rocket. Baqi claimed many engineers wanted to end the 81-mm rocket program in favor of the 107-mm rockets.
- Baqi echoed claims by Dr. Huwaysh that the military apparently wanted the 81-mm rocket because they already had launchers for them. Additionally, Baqi noted quality control was a general problem with the 81-mm rocket program.
- Reporting indicated that the 81-mm rocket program should have been canceled because other rockets in Iraq’s arsenal were capable of fulfilling its role and posed fewer problems.According to this reporting, the nominal 9.5-kilometer range of the 81-mm rocket could be covered by the 107-mm and 122-mm systems with ranges of 1-8 kilometers and 5-20 kilometers, respectively. According to reporting, many military officers were opposed to the 81-mm rocket system, but they allegedly were overruled by more senior leadership. According to reporting, the 81-mm rocket suffered about twice as much scatter as the 122-mm rockets Iraq produced.
- The lead design engineer also reportedly sought to reduce the total allowed mass variation between rockets to 300 grams out of 8.5 kilogram total weight, with only 150 grams allocated to differences stemming from metal parts.Reportedly, pressure testing confirmed that trimming wall mass from the rocket tubes did not adversely affect the strength of the tube.
Reporting indicates the shipping requirements originated from recommendations by Dr. Sami Ibrahim of the Baghdad University of Technology, who investigated why the aluminum tubes, purchased from Germany in the 1980s for the 81-mm rocket program, corroded when stored outdoors at Tho Al-Fiqar.
- Ibrahim concluded that the unanodized German tubes corroded from a galvanic reaction made possible by stacking the tubes horizontally in direct contact with each other and outdoors. Ibrahim reportedly noticed other unanodized 7075 alloy aluminum tubes also stored outdoors since 1989 at Tho Al-Fiqar, a flow-forming facility. These tubes were stored upright and separated from each other with nylon mesh—factors that influenced his recommendations on how to prevent tube corrosion.
Baqi’s requirements seem to have grown out of a desire to avoid angering Dr. Huwaysh, who reportedly was upset when he saw the corroded tubes at Tho Al-Fiqar during a visit in 1998. Iraq also took a further precaution of reanodizing aluminum parts after machining to ensure that no further corrosion would occur.
Tho Al-Fiqar also seems to have set other specifications for the rocket program that were not directly addressed by the 2000 Committee in its procurement specification document.According to a former official in the 81-mm rocket program, the Tho Al-Fiqar specifications document was prepared to assist procurement officials in acquiring high-strength aluminum tubes. In that document, the lead production engineer reportedly set an artificially tight specification of 0.05 mm for eccentricity—one of the properties related to uniform tube wall thickness. Tho Al-Fiqar officials insisted on the specification—twice as tight as the 0.1 mm reportedly actually needed—to ensure that imported tubes would pass military quality-control requirements after the tubes were machined.
- The lead design engineer has also claimed that he determined the maximum value for eccentricity of the raw aluminum tubes as needing to be between 0.05 mm and 0.1 mm.
With the reported exception of latitude given to the Director General of Tho Al-Fiqar to further tighten tolerances, few changes reportedly were made to the imported tube requirements specified by the 2000 Committee. According to an official from the Iraqi rocket program, no one was permitted to loosen the specification set by the 2000 Committee. However, the lead production engineer reportedly had the authority to further tighten specifications in order to ensure that usable parts were received from vendors. Otherwise the parts received might not meet the requirements stated in the pertinent procurement documents.
- The latitude reportedly available to the lead production engineer could explain why Iraq tightened the eccentricity specification on the tubes in early 2002—an action viewed at the time to be unnecessary for a rocket program. Tight eccentricity specifications reportedly were needed to pass military quality-control inspection—a check that could not be overruled by production personnel, according to reporting.
- Reporting indicates the hardness requirement for the nozzle was one of the few changes made after the committee completed its work, adding there were no other changes to the metal part specifications, including the rocket motor tube.
Indigenous Tube Manufacture—A Possible Sign Baghdad Did Not Need High-Specification Tubes
Frustrated by its inability to import tubes, Iraq began indigenous production efforts in mid-2002 that ultimately raise questions about whether high-specification tubes really were needed for rockets. Dr. Huwaysh reportedly formed a committee in May or June of 2002 to study how to indigenously produce tubes for 81-mm rockets. One report indicates the committee—led by the heads of the al Nida and Tho Al-Fiqar State Companies—considered using the extruder at the Ur Establishment in Nasiriyah and two flow-forming machines at Tho Al-Fiqar to produce tubes.This committee conducted its work while foreign procurement attempts continued as well as indigenous manufacture of rockets using corroded tubes.
- Efforts to extrude tubes reportedly failed after four to six weeks despite assistance from the Badr and al Shahid State Companies and the University of Technology in Baghdad—including Dr. Sami Ibrahim.Multiple reports indicate the Ur extrusion press was too weak to handle high-strength 7075 T6 alloy. An effort by Badr to develop a special tool for the press reportedly ended with the war.
- Accounts differ on those responsible for developing the flow-forming techniques that successfully produced about 50 tubes per day through continuous operations at Tho Al-Fiqar. One piece of information credits the University of Technology and the 2002 Committee for developing the necessary heat treatment procedures while another indicates that the Director General of the al Nida State Company devised the production process. MIC reportedly envisioned the Sabah Nisan (Seventh of April) Company would make forgings for future operations, but this plan also was interrupted by the war.
The indigenous effort to produce tubes in the last months before the war resulted in production and handling standards that fell short of those required for the imported tubes. Reporting indicates that the lead production engineer gave Dr. Huwaysh some sample flow-formed tubes in late September or October 2002, noting that the production process was costly and time consuming. The lead production engineer also indicated that the best possible tolerance achievable on the outer diameter of flow-formed tubes was 81 + 0.2 / -0.1 mm—a figure that falls short of the requirements set for imported tubes. Another source indicates these aluminum tubes reportedly were flow-formed to a diameter of about 82.5 mm then machined to their final dimensions. To accommodate for the limitations in flow-forming technology, a separate, looser set of technical specifications reportedly were produced for indigenously produced rocket bodies (see Table 5).
- Reporting also indicates indigenously produced tubes were also handled differently than those that would have been imported. Between flow-forming steps indigenously manufactured tubes reportedly were shipped in ordinary wooden boxes or simply stacked for storage—a sharp contrast to the packaging and anodization requirements demanded by the 2000 Committee for imported tubes.The same reporting also indicates the tubes also reportedly were not individually wrapped or separated from each other and were sometimes positioned horizontally—again contrary to the 2000 Committee recommendations.
In late 2002, the lead production engineer informed Dr. Huwaysh that the indigenously produced flow-formed tubes could be used without affecting rocket performance—a significant shift from the 2000 Committee findings and one that the MIC director reportedly accepted. The lead production engineer reportedly passed this view to Dr. Huwaysh in a meeting attended by lead engineer Kubaysi, another member of the 2000 Committee.
- Reporting also indicates indigenously manufactured flow-formed tubes were successfully used in flight tests completed at the end of 2002 with the Iraqi Army approving the looser specification design in January 2003.
Iraq’s Interest in Steel Rocket Body Tubes
About a year before Iraq reportedly began its effort to indigenously produce aluminum tubes, the head of Tho Al-Fiqar reportedly explored the option of making 81-mm steel bodies for rockets instead. Baqi claims that he approved a proposal from the lead production engineer to study steel for the 81-mm rocket body as Iraq was struggling to import aluminum tubes. The lead production engineer reportedly delivered his proposal after a few months, but Baqi rejected it as it would have required almost a complete redesign of the rocket. Baqi claims he did not raise the issue with the lead production engineer again and that no 81-mm steel rockets were produced.
- Separate information confirms that Baqi rejected the notion of steel tubes for an 81-mm rocket on the basis that the modification was too significant for Dr. Huwaysh to accept. This reporting claims, however, that Baqi asked the lead production engineer to restart his work around 2002 because of the difficulties in acquiring aluminum tubes. The lead production engineer reportedly was insulted by Baqi’s previous rejection, and refused to do the work.
- This reporting indicates that, around 2002, the lead production engineer produced some flow-formed steel tubes for use in 81-mm rocket bodies. The lead production engineer reportedly found the steel bodies weighed too much and the effort halted.
A summary of Iraqi tube linear dimension specifications showing tighter specifications required after 2000 compared to those accepted for use from indigenous production in 2003. A second outer diameter specification for the indigenously produced flow-formed tube covers a 30.5-mm length on either end of the tube where the Iraqis allowed the tube diameter to significantly increase. Information on the imported German tubes—taken from an Iraqi quality-control document captured by ISG—provides figures inconsistent with Iraqi claims that it measured these tubes in 2003 and found them to be tighter than the 2000 Committee specifications.For comparison, the specifications of the Italian rocket that the Iraqis reverse-engineered is included.
Despite relaxed standards for indigenously produced tubes and increased international attention on the prospect of a renewed nuclear program, Baghdad continued to pursue high-specification aluminum tubes from abroad.According to reporting, in late 2002 or early 2003, the lead production engineer provided a representative of the Syrian-based Awad Amora Company with the same high-specification requirements for tubes as had been used with other prospective suppliers.Separate reporting confirms the Awad Amora procurement attempt, noting that Sa’ad Ahmed Mahmoud, the NMD representative at the Al-Rashid State Company, was told by MIC in 2003 to contact the company.
- Sa’ad also reportedly told the director of the NMD, General Husam Muhammad Amin about the ongoing procurement attempt. Amin reportedly became nervous about this continued effort to acquire goods subject to the nuclear controls under Annex 3 of UN Resolution 1051 and raised his concerns with Dr. Huwaysh.Nonetheless, the Awada Amora deal was still being negotiated at the time the war started, according to the reporting—a point ISG can independently confirm through captured documents.
- Dr. Huwaysh is the lone dissenter again in describing the events surrounding the dealings with Awad Amora, claiming the open bid was probably issued in 2002, not 2003.
Systemic problems such as bureaucratic inefficiencies and fear of senior officials seem to have played a significant role in the history of the 81-mm rocket and probably influenced why Iraq persisted in its effort to seek tubes with high specifications. Reporting suggests Dr. Huwaysh exhibited a rigid managerial style. For example, on hearing that the lead production engineer had succeeded in producing 50 tubes a day by continuously operating the two flow formers at Tho Al-Fiqar, Huwaysh reportedly insisted the production be doubled. The stress of working on the flow-forming project ordered by Dr. Huwaysh reportedly caused the Tho Al-Fiqar Director General to have a heart attack. Dr. Huwaysh also insisted on final approval of any changes to the rocket design after the 2000 Committee issued its results. Reportedly, the staff of Al-Fiqar feared Dr. Huwaysh’s anger if modifications caused rocket failures.
- Fear of senior officials also traces back to the origins of the 81-mm rocket program in 1984 when Army officials reportedly were loath to challenge the decision by Husayn Kamil, then Saddam’s son-in-law and head of MIC, to reverse-engineer and produce the weapon. Reporting indicates the Iraqi Army actually wanted 81-mm rockets for helicopters because they preferred the existing 122-mm and 107-mm rockets for ground-to-ground use.
- Reporting also reveals how the results of the 2000 Committee may have been influenced by a need to avoid problems with Dr. Huwaysh. One report claims the committee focused on specification and material problems to gain time to solve production problems at manufacturing facilities.Another report indicated Dr. Huwaysh wanted results quickly from the 2000 Committee; therefore, they did not attempt in-depth, detailed engineering analyses of rocket scatter. Instead, this report noted that the committee tightened some design specifications based only on the notion that doing so would improve rocket performance—a questionable engineering practice.
- Another report from the rocket program notes that many of the changes made by the 2000 Committee did not make technical sense, as members were simply tightening specifications in order to appear effective in addressing problems. The lead design engineer also told debriefers that rocket assembly was plagued by a lack of personal integrity, as people were more concerned with avoiding punishment or achieving quotas. The lead design engineer also claimed engineers and scientists would often make false claims or inflate their results in order to garner favor with Dr. Huwaysh.
- Fear of being held responsible for the cost of rejected tubes, components, or rockets also reportedly affected the lead production engineer and his decision to tighten tube specifications for the rocket program. A reportedly such punitive accountability practices were common for engineers or managers in Iraq when projects failed. With the high number of procured tubes involved, the cost to reimburse MIC would be excessive, probably leading to individuals being imprisoned until the debt could be repaid.
- Timing also could have affected why Iraq continued to use the tight specification requirements when dealing with Awad Amora. The acceptance testing by the Iraqi Army occurred around the same time that the Awad Amora deal was being broached—probably too soon for the new technical drawings from the flow-forming work to be forwarded to prospective foreign suppliers.
Iraqi Interest in 84-mm Tubes
ISG has been unable to corroborate reporting that suggested Baghdad sought 84-mm-diameter tubes—a diameter that would be too large for the 81-mm rocket launcher and a possible sign that Iraq intended some other nonrocket use for high-strength aluminum tubes. Information from a foreign government service received in mid-2004 indicates that the potential supplier was asked about supplying 84-mm diameter tubes—a change that would have resulted in a 3-mm increase in outer diameter as compared to the 81-mm size consistent with earlier purchase attempts. We have investigated this report further, and the connection with Iraq is unclear, as is the intended use of the 84-mm tubes.
A captured document reveals that Iraq already had 500 tons of 120-mm-diameter 7075 aluminum shafts at the Huteen State Establishment—stock that ISG believes Iraq could have used to produce tubes even larger than 84 mm if it intended to renew its centrifuge program. Reporting indicates Iraq imported 120 mm and 150-mm-diameter 7075 aluminum shafts before sanctions were imposed in 1990. Iraq had been using the material in the months before the 2003 war to support the Tho Al Fiqar flow-forming operations related to the 81-mm rocket program.
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