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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

111296_cia_93674_93674_01.txt
SUBJECT: IRAN-IRAQ: CHEMICAL WARFARE CONTINUES
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.
IRAN-IRAQ: CHEMICAL WARFARE CONTINUES
SINCE 1983 CHEMICAL WEAPONS (CW) HAVE BEEN USED
SPORADICALLY IN KEY SITUATIONS IN THE IRAN-IRAQ
WAR, AND WE BELIEVE THEIR USE WILL CONTINUE.
ALTHOUGH BOTH NATIONS NOW POSSESS CHEMICAL WEAPONS,
IRAQ'S CW CAPABILITY IS FAR SUPERIOR TO THAT OF
IRAN.
RELIABLE REPORTING INDICATES THAT IRAQ HAS USED LETHAL
CHEMICAL WEAPONS (CW)AGAINST IRAN NUMEROUS TIMES SINCE IT
FIRST USE OF THE BLISTER AGENT MUSTARD IN AUGUST 1983. MORE
RECENTLY, IRAQ HAS USED CW, INCLUDING NERVE AGENTS,
THROUGHOUT THE FEBRUARY-MARCH 1986 IRANIAN OFFENSIVES,
CAUSING IRAN TO SUFFER ABOUT 8,000 CW-RELATED CASUALTIES.
ALTHOUGH CW USE IN THESE OFFENSIVES HAS BEEN HEAVIER THAN IN
PREVIOUS YEARS, IT HAS HAD A LESS DEFINITIVE EFFECT ON THE
COURSE OF BATTLE. THIS DECREASE IN EFFECTIVENESS HAS
RESULTED FROM:
POOR TACTICAL EMPLOYMENT.
LESSENED ELEMENT OF SURPRISE
INCREASED IRANIAN PREPAREDNESS.
POSSIBLE PROBLEMS WITH MUNITIONS, AGENTS, AND
DELIVERY TECHNIQUES.
IRAQ HAS NOT YET MASTERED THE TACTICAL USE OF CHEMICAL
WEAPONS, AND WE BELIEVE ITS PROFICIENCY IN USING THESE
WEAPONS WILL IMPROVE ONLY MARGINALLY WITH INCREASED
EXPERIENCE. DESPITE THE HEAVY USAGE, THESE CHEMICAL WEAPONS
HAVE NEITHER STOPPED THE IRANIAN ADVANCE NOR ENSURED A
SUCCESSFUL IRAQI COUNTERATTACK. WE DOUBT THAT THEIR USE WILL
BE A MAJOR FACTOR IN DECIDING THE OUTCOME OF THE WAR.
IRAQ NOW POSSESSES ONE OF THE LARGEST CHEMICAL WEAPONS
INVENTORIES IN THE MIDDLE EAST AND HAS THE PRODUCTION
CAPACITY IN PLACE TO INCREASE ITS STOCKPILE SIGNIFICANTLY
OVER THE NEXT FEW YEARS. THESE CAPABILITIES PROVIDE IRAQ A
SUBSTANTIAL POTENTIAL TO SUPPLY OTHERS WITH CHEMICAL WARFARE
AGENTS AND TECHNOLOGY. WE BELIEVE, HOWEVER, THAT THE CURRENT
REGIME IN IRAQ IS UNLIKELY TO BECOME A SUPPLIER, BUT THE 
POTENTIAL TO DO SO REMAINS.
BECAUSE THE POLITICAL COSTS OF CONTINUED CW USE HAVE BEEN SO
SMALL, WE DOUBT THAT IRAQ WILL ABANDON ITS USE OF CHEMICAL
WEAPONS IN THE FORESEEABLE FUTURE. FURTHERMORE, IRAQ
PROBABLY HAS NOW MADE SUFFICIENT PROGRESS IN ITS CHEMICAL
WEAPONS PROGRAM TO RENDER IT RELATIVELY IMMUNE TO THE FOREIGN
TRADE RESTRICTIONS. US AND WESTERN NATIONS' EFFORTS TO 
EMBARGO WESTERN PRECURSOR CHEMICALS HAVE NOT, AND PROBABLY
WILL NOT, CURTAIL IRAQ'S CW PROGRESS.
END OF MESSAGE
1.5 (c)
93674-96374

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