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GlobalSecurity.org In the News

St. Louis Post-Dispatch (Missouri) March 31, 2003

(Graphic Only) Subterranean Saddam

By The Charlotte Observer



Graphic , Chart , Map , Illustration - SUBTERRANEAN SADDAM

Reports from intelligence officials indicate the likelihood thatSaddam Hussein has retreated to one of many underground complexes,either in Baghdad or possibly in his hometown of Tikrit. The palacecomplex at Tikrit - Saddam's largest and most elaborate - is believedto be the dictator's favorite. Here's a look at what may lieunderneath the Tikrit site based on satellite photos, military andcivilian reports and other related information sources:

* Satellite image of the Tikrit site in 1995 shows it mostly undeveloped.

* By 2002 the site had been developed extensively.

Saddam's presidential sites share many similarities. The palacesand guest houses are surrounded by ancillary support and securitybuildings. Many sites, including Tikrit, also include nearby farms andrural retreats for VIPs.

Saddam's shell game
According to U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Saddam hasdeveloped mobile WMD capabilities. Rumsfeld has also said the Iraqidictator has "vast underground networks and facilities" and is using"sophisticated denial-and-deception techniques."

Site diagram is a generalization based on satellite photos.
Artificial lakes
Underground connections?

The numerous villas and palaces may be connected by hidden tunnelsand passageways

Tikrit, like many of Saddam's compounds, has artificial lakes edgedby villas and palaces. Some reports indicate the lakes are placedabove tunnels used for storage and production of weapons of massdestruction (WMD).

Ear-popping rides on elevators, reported by visitors, indicate thebunker entrance is at least 100 feet deep.

Elevators from palace
Air intake
Outer shell is designed to withstand a direct hit from 2,000 kg ofTNT or a nuclear blast from 2 km away.
Tungsten support rods
Giant steel springs designed to cushion bombing attacks
The living quarters are said to be luxurious and include bedroomsfor Saddam and each of his three wives.
Targeted for attack
Tikrit, along with most of Saddam's other palaces and undergroundcomplexes, has already been bombed in the war.

Tikrit's underground bunker
What lies beneath Saddam's presidential palace at Tikrit isshrouded in uncertainty. This diagram is based on a number of writtenand verbal reports detailing Tikrit and other current and formerpalaces. It presents a general picture of what these undergroundbunkers may contain and how they are constructed.
1 - Several visitors have reported meeting Saddam in a red-tiledreception hall that had only one hallway leading to the bunkerentrance.
2 - Multiple air supply vents lead to an elaborate series of filtersand baffles designed to block radioactive substances, poisons and nerve agents.
3 - An outer shell of reinforced concrete that is several yards thicksurrounds a 5-story inner structure cushioned against blasts by giant steel springs.
4 -Inner structure contains living quarters, high-tech communicationscenter, closed-circuit water supply, self-contained power supply plusfood and provisions for about 100 people.
5 - Tunnels connecting to an underground network are equipped withblast doors and designed to sever in response to a severe externalshock.

Some intelligence information shows that Saddam and key Baath Partyofficials may have moved their offices and families to a subterraneancomplex near Kirkuk. The site was originally built as a storagefacility for nuclear bombs and explosives.

Location of another of Saddam's underground complexes
(see map at bottom).

Sources: GlobalSecurity.org, Defense Watch, Washington Post, Washington Times, ABC News, CBS News, National Journal

Copyright 2003, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Inc.