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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

062596_cia_63704_63704_01.txt
Subject: CW USE IN IRAN-IRAQ WAR
Not Finally Evaluated Intelligence
TO FACILITATE ELECTRONIC ACCESS, THIS DOCUMENT HAS BEEN
REFORMATTED TO ELIMINATE INFORMATION THAT DOES NOT PERTAIN
TO GULF WAR ILLNESS ISSUES OR THAT IS CLASSIFIED. A COPY OF
THIS REDACTED DOCUMENT, IN ORIGINAL FORMAT, IS AVAILABLE ON
REQUEST.
COUNTRY:  IRAQ/IRAN
SUBJ:  IRAQI STRATEGY AND TACTICS IN THE USE OF CHEMICAL
WEAPONS DURING THE IRAN-IRAQ WAR
DOI:  1986-1988
DURING THE IRAN-IRAQ WAR, IRAQI FORCES
APPEARED TO HAVE NO SOPHISTICATED STRATEGIC OR TACTICAL PLAN FOR
THE EMPLOYMENT OF CHEMICAL WEAPONS SYSTEMS. THE IRAQIS DID
EMPLOY CHEMICAL WEAPONS UNDER TWO TYPES OF CIRCUMSTANCES: TO
REPEL IRANIAN FORCES AFTER IRGC UNITS HAD MADE IMPORTANT
ADVANCES AGAINST IRAQI FORCES OR INTO IRAQI TERRITORY, AND TO
PREPARE AN AREA FOR AN IRAQI OFFENSIVE. BY THE END OF THE WAR,
IRAQ USED CHEMICAL WEAPONS FREQUENTLY, AND IRAQ'S USE OF
CHEMICAL WEAPONS WAS LIMITED ONLY BY WIND AND WEATHER CONDITIONS
AND THE ABILITY TO DELIVER CHEMICAL MUNITIONS ON TARGET.
2. AFTER IRAN HAD CAPTURED TERRAIN OR APPEARED TO BE MAKING
AN IMPORTANT ADVANCE IRAQ WOULD SATURATE THE AREA WITH CHEMICAL
MUNITIONS. THIS WAS DONE WITH LITTLE APPARENT REGARD FOR THE
SAFETY OF IRAQ'S OWN TROOPS WHO WERE IN OR NEAR THE CHEMICALLY
CONTAMINATED AREA. FOLLOWING A CHEMICAL ATTACK, IRAQ NORMALLY
INITIATED IMMEDIATE CONVENTIONAL OFFENSIVE OPERATIONS TO RETAKE
CAPTURED AREAS.
3. SIMILARLY, IRAQI OFFENSIVES WERE FREQUENTLY PRECEDED BY
AN IRAQI CHEMICAL ATTACK IN THE AREA TO BE ASSAULTED BY IRAQI
FORCES. THE PURPOSE, WOULD BE TO "SOFTEN" THE AREA FOR A
CONVENTIONAL ATTACK WHICH WOULD FOLLOW SHORTLY AFTER THE INITIAL
CHEMICAL PREPARATION. FOLLOWING THE CHEMICAL ATTACK, IRAQI
FORCES WOULD WAIT FOR FAVORABLE WIND CONDITIONS AND FOR THE
EFFECTS OF CHEMICAL AGENTS TO DIMINISH BEFORE MOVING INTO A
CHEMICAL CONTAMINATED AREA. USUALLY A PERIOD OF BETWEEN 30
MINUTES AND ONE HOUR WAS NEEDED BEFORE A CHEMICAL CONTAMINATED
AREA BECAME SAFE FOR IRAQI FORCES TO ENTER. IRAQI FORCES WERE
WELL EQUIPPED WITH BOTH PROTECTIVE MASKS AND CHEMICAL PROTECTIVE
OVERGARMENTS.          TO TAKE NOTHING
AWAY FROM THE RUTHLESSNESS OF THE IRAQIS,
IRAQ'S RELATIVE DISREGARD FOR THE SAFETY OF ITS
OWN TROOPS IN THE USE OF CHEMICAL MUNITIONS MAY HAVE BEEN PARTLY
BASED ON IRAQ'S ASSUMPTION THAT ITS OWN UNITS WOULD BE ABLE TO
DON PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT WHICH WOULD PROTECT THEM FROM THE
EFFECTS OF TOXIC CHEMICAL AGENTS. REGARDLESS OF IRAQ'S
RATIONALE, LARGE NUMBERS OF IRAQ'S OWN TROOPS WERE KILLED OR
INJURED DURING IRAQI CHEMICAL ATTACKS.
4. THE PRINCIPAL LIMITATIONS TO IRAQ'S USE OF CHEMICAL
WEAPONS SYSTEMS IN A GIVEN BATTLEFIELD SITUATION WERE
UNFAVORABLE WIND AND WEATHER CONDITIONS AND IRAQ'S ABILITY TO
DELIVER CHEMICAL MUNITIONS ON TARGET. IRAQ USED CHEMICAL
WEAPONS DURING ALL SEASONS OF THE YEAR. THE ONLY WEATHER
CONDITION WHICH PREVENTED IRAQ FROM USING CHEMICAL WEAPONS WAS
RAIN WHICH DISSIPATED THE EFFECT OF THE CHEMICAL AGENTS, BUT WAS
UNUSUAL IN THE ARID REGION WHERE MUCH OF THE WAR WAS FOUGHT. IF
IRAQI VILLAGES OR FORCES LAY IN THE DIRECTION OF THE WIND AND
COULD BE EFFECTED BY AN IRAQI ATTACK ON A NEARBY AREA, IRAQI
FORCES WOULD WAIT FOR THE WIND TO DIMINISH OR CHANGE DIRECTION
BEFORE LAUNCHING A CHEMICAL ATTACK.
5. IRAQ USED MORTARS, ARTILLERY, HELICOPTERS AND FIXED-WING
AIRCRAFT TO DELIVER CHEMICAL MUNITIONS. ONE LIMITATION ON
IRAQ'S USE OF CHEMICAL WEAPONS WAS THE DISTANCE OF ATTACKING
IRAQI FORCES FROM AREAS TO BE ATTACKED AND WHETHER THOSE UNITS
POSSESSED THE EQUIPMENT NECESSARY TO DELIVER CHEMICAL
MUNITIONS. FOR EXAMPLE, IF IRANIAN FORCES WERE OUT OF MORTAR
RANGE AND ARTILLERY WAS UNAVAILABLE, IRAQI FORCES WERE UNABLE TO
USE CHEMICAL WEAPONS.
6.          WHEN IRAQ FIRST BEGAN
USING CHEMICAL WEAPONS SYSTEMS CIRCA 1985-1986, THEIR USE WAS
UNUSUAL AND SPORADIC. GRADUALLY, CHEMICAL WEAPONS WERE USED
MORE OFTEN AND BY THE END OF THE WAR CHEMICAL WEAPONS WERE USED
COMMONLY. DURING THE LATTER STAGES OF THE WAR, IRAQ APPARENTLY
USED CHEMICAL WEAPONS WHENEVER IT WAS CONSIDERED TACTICALLY
APPROPRIATE          IRAQ WAS
NOT AT ALL CONSTRAINED IN ITS USE OF CHEMICAL WEAPONS, AND THE
FACT THAT THE USE OF CHEMICAL WEAPONS VIOLATED INTERNATIONAL
NORMS WAS NOT A FACTOR IN IRAQ'S BATTLEFIELD DECISION MAKING
PROCESS TO EMPLOY THEM.
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