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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Not Finally Evaluated Intelligence
Iran-Iraq: Chemical Warfare CONTINUES
Key Judgments
Information available
as of October 1986
was used in this report.
Reliable reporting indicates that Iraq has used lethal chemical weapons
(CW) against Iran numerous times since its first use of the blister agent
mustard in August 1983. More recently, Iraq 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 be-
lieve 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 un-
likely 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
Iran-Iraq: Chemical
Warfare Continues
The Forecast: Continuation of the Same
We believe Iraq will continue to wage chemical
warfare as it has in the past because Baghdad recog-
nizes that chemical weapons (CW) can create signifi-
cant numbers of casualties. The Iraqi use of these
weapons is unlikely to be a MAJOR FACTOR IN THE
outcome of the war, however.
Iraq to use INCREASINGLY Greater amounts of agent per
attack in an effort to keep Iranian losses high. Iraq's
continually growing agent production capacity, par-
ticularly of nerve agents, will support such a strategy.
Furthermore, Baghdad's increasing experience with
chemical weapons use should marginally improve its
tactical employment of chemical weapons.
          Iraq intends to continue and,
in fact, to expand its CW agent production capability
          The Iraqis are becoming more sophisti-
CATED AND SELF-RELIANT in their CW agent research and
production efforts. Iraq probably has now made suffi-
cient progress in its chemical weapons program to
render it relatively immune to foreign trade restric-
tions. US and Western nations' efforts to embargo
Western precursor chemicals probably slowed the
Iraqi chemical warfare program somewhat and im-
posed greater costs, but these efforts have not, and
probably will not, curtail its progress. Most produc-
tion equipment is in place, Iraq Is using numerous
front companies and friendly           states to circum-
vent tHe Western embargoes on precursor chemicals.
Moreover, even if the Western embargoes were effec-
tive and IraQ's ability to procure supplies in Western
EUROPE WERE ENDED, we believe Iracl would turn to
          FOR SUPPLIES of
all required chemicals
Of significant concern to us are Iraq's long-range
intentions regarding its agent production capacity.
The production units on line or undergoing installa-
tion provide Iraq a substantial potential to supply
chemical warfare agents and technology; however, we
judge it unlikely under the current regime in Iraq.
The increasing number of nations in the Middle East
and elsewhere that possess CW capabilities suggests
that chemical weapons may once again be integrated
into conventional weapons arsenals and that their use
may become viewed as politically acceptable.
Conventional Use of Chemical Warfare
Iraq's Learning Curve
Iraq has used lethal chemical weapons--primarily in
response to Iranian offensive actions--since August
1983. (Iraq had also used tear gas several times during
1982.) In August 1983 Baghdad used a limited
amount of mustard against Iranians in northern Iraq
          extensive use of mus-
tard in November of that year caused several hundred
Iranian casualties and was instrumental in stopping
an Iranian attack. Iraq subsequently employed mus-
tard and the nerve agent tabun during the early 1984
Iranian offensive and again during the March 1985
offensive. The 17 March 1984 use of tabun was the
first use anywhere of nerve agents in a conventional
battle. Both mustard and tabun were used by Iraq in
the Val Fair 8 and 9 offensives, which began in
February 1986 (see inset)
Iraq's use of chemical warfare has reflected its overall
defensive strategy. It has employed chemical agents
during Iranian ofFensiVes           and in support
of Iraqi counterattacks. Chemical weapons have been
used against Iran's frontline troops to disrupt attacks
during the initial stages of battle. Subsequent use
against frontline and rear-area troop concentrations
caused casualties that stressed Iranian evacuation
capabilities and generally hindered Iranian support
We have not been able to derive any indicators of
impending CW use.
The Iraqis have not always used their chemical
weapons with great effectiveness. They have used
them when the wind was blowing toward their own
units and during daylight hours when the Iranians
were more likely to be alert. Moreover, because Iran's
major offensive successes usually have occurred dur-
ing the raiNy season, Iraq invariably has had to use its
chemical weapons during unfavorable weather
Relying On aerial bombs as its primary means of
delivery has also caused Iraq problems (see inset.) For
reasons of personal security, Iraqi pilots often have
not dropped enough chemical agent at any one time
and place to be militarily effective. In addition, in the
past Iraqi President Saddam Husayn personally dic-
tated tactics, thereby inspiring Iraqi pilots to avoid
loss of their aircraft by dropping their bombs from
high altitudes, particularly over well-defended troop
concentrations. In mid-1986, however, Iraqi pilots
began to fly lower and take more risks in their normal
bombing missions, and this approach may carry over
to chemical attacks.
Reliable information indicates that Iraq's tactics mAy
call for use of more than one agent at a time. Iranian
victims have claimed simultaneous delivery of differ-
ent sizes aND colors of chemical bombs, presumably
with different agent fills. Some Western medical
personnel believe tHe symptoms of the victims support
simultaneous exposure to two or more different
agents. The UN investigating team confirmed that
mustard agent (shown by chemical analysis to be 95
percent pure) and tabun were used in the Val Fajr 8
and 9 offensives.
Utility Assessment: A Mixed Result
Despite the success of Iraq's initial use of chemical
warfare during battles in 1983 and its gradually
increasing familiarity with using chemical weapons,
the effectiveness of its chemical attacks has been
decreasing. This decrease has resulted from:
- Poor tactical employment.
- The lessened element of surprise.
- Increased Iranian preparedness.
- Possible technical problems with munitions, agents,
and delivery techniques that the Iraqis are only now
beginning to correct.
For example, despite heavy usage during the Val Fair
offensives--we estimate 100 or more metric tons--
chemical weapons neither stopped the Iranian ad-
vance nor ensured a successful Iraqi counterattack.
Nonetheless, the use of chemical weapons has had a
major impact on the character of the war.
decontamination, by ambulance, helicopter, aircraft,
or other available meanS. A           Iranian
reports that, while evacuating CW casualties from an
attack in March, the           Pilots wore protective
masks but not protective suits. In this instance none of
the evacuation team were alleged to have been affect-
ed by the chemical agent, nor was any effort made to
Decontaminate the helicopters. This fact indicates a
low level of contamination or possibly the use of a
nonPersistent agent.
CW Production Capabilities: Developing Apace
Iraq: Independent and Sophisticated
Iraq probably now possesses the largest chemical
weapons capability in the Middle East and has the
capacity to increase its stockpile significantly over the
next few years. This has been accomplishED despite
Western diplomatic pressure and economic sanctions
against acquisition of requisite materials.
Analysis           and modeling of
Iraq's production facility lead us to estimate that Iraq
is currently producing at least 6 tons per day of the
blister agent mustard, between 1 and 2 tons per day of
the nerve agent tabun, and limited amounts of the
nerve agent saRin. In addition, it is researching pro-
duction of the nerve agents soman, VG, and VX, AND
the psyChochemicals BZ and EA3443.
Iraq's CW production facility is near the town of
Samarra, northwest of Baghdad. Over the past year,
four new CW agent production facilities were coM-
pleted at the SamaRrA complex. These facilities prob-
ably are for the production of mustard, tabun, and
possibly saRin. However, they could also be used for
small-scale production of soman, VX, EA3443, or BZ.
We assess that Iraq is developing the capability to
produce indigenously key precursor chemicals and
equipment from raw materials that are not uniquely
associated with CW. This capability would effectively
circumvent any actions--except a total embargo--
designed to constrain the Iraqi CW production pro-
CW Depots: Growing in Capacity
Iraq has increased its CW munition storage capability
substantially over the last six years.
          eight new CW storage bunkers were completed
adjacent to the Samarra' production facility during
1983. The eight bunkers have a total floorspace of
about 4,000 square meters and serve as Iraq's main
CW depot. Each bunker could store at least 200
500-kilogram bombs. In addition, a new generation of
16 bunkers will expand Iraq's capability to store CW
munitions At six airfields and at three ammunition
storage depots that are strategically located through-
out the country.
The only bunker completed to date is at Tallil airfield
in southern Iraq. Finished in early 1986,
           The bunker at Tallil has over
500 square METERS OF FLOOR SPACE and could store about
200 500-kilogram bombs.
We expect that the next Iraqi chemical bunkers to be
completed--probably within the next six months--
will be two bunkers at AL Kut airfield and one bunker
each at the Ash Shu'aybah and Nasiriyah ammuni-
tion depOts. Completion estimates for the remaining
seven bunkers are difficult because of the sometimes
lengthy periods of inactivity at the sites.
          Only within the last year have the
bunkers at H-3 appeared to be externally complete
and separately secured; the road network to the
bunkers is also coMPLETE.
As early as 1982           analysis indicated that
storage of chemical munitions probably was limited to
one bunker at the Karbala' ammunition depot. Subse-
quent reporting suggests the presence of an additional
one or two bunkers at the Kirkuk and Sulaymaniyah
ammunition depots. While we have no confirmation
that CW munitions are stored at the southern forward
ammunition depot located at Tall al Lahm, we con-
clude that CW munitions must be stored there be-
cause of the heavy use of CW by Iraqi ground troops
in the south.
Chemical Agents and Field Employment
In general the amount of agent delivered determines
the extent of contamination and the number of casu-
alties. The persistenCy of the specific agent varies
depending on the type of munition used and the
weather conditions. In all cases, given sublethal doses
of an agent, incapacitation will occur to varying
Blister Agents
Blister agents are primarily used to cause medical
casualties. They may also be used to restrict use of
terrain, to slow movements, and to hamper use of
material and installations. These agents affect the
eyes and tungs and blister the skin. Sulfur mustard
and lewisite are TWo examples of blister agents. Most
blister agents are inSidious in action; there is little or
no pain at the time of exposure except with lewisite,
which causes immediate pain on contact.
Mustard is preferred over lewisite because lewisite
hydrolyzes very rapidly exposure to atmospheric
moisture to FOrm a nonvolatile solid. This conversion
lowers the vapor hazard from contaminated terrain
and decreases the effectiveness of the agent through
clothing. Lewisite is less persistent than mustard;
however, persistency of both agents becomes very
short under humid conditions.
Blood Agents
Blood agents are absorbed into the body primarily by
breathing. They prevent the normal utilization of
oxygen by the cells and cause rapid damagE to body
tissues. Blood agents such as hydrogen cyanide (AC)
and cyanogen chloride are highly volatile and in the
gaseous state dissipate rapidly in air. Because of
their high volatility, these agents are most effective
when surprise can be achieved against troops who do
not have masks or are poorly trained in mask
discipline. In addition, blood agents are ideally suit-
ed for employment on terrain that the user hopes to
occupy within a short time. Blood agents rapidly
degrade the mask filter's effectiveness. Therefore,
these agents could be used in combination with other
agents in an attempt to defeat the mask's protective
Nerve Agents
Nerve agents such as sarin (GB) and tabun (GA) are
members of a class of compounds that are more
Lethal and quicker acting than mustard. They are
organophosphorus compounds that inhibit action of
the enzyme cholinesterase. In suFFIcient concentra-
tion, the ultimate effect of these agents is paralysis of
the respiratory musculature and subsequeNt death.
Nerve agents are extremely rapid acting aNd may be
absorbed through the skin or through the respiratory
tract: Exposure to a lethal dose may cause death
within as LIttle as 15 minutes. These gases are used
when immediate casualties are desired and to create
a short-term respiratory hazard on the battlefield.
Bombs: The Preferred Delivery System
According to an Iraqi MIG-23 pilot, bombs are
dropped in a random pattern from an altitude of
3,000 to 4,000 meters. Examination of bomb craters
          showed them to
be 4 meters in diameter and 2 to 3 meters deep, with
debris spread over a 20- to 30-meter radius. Mustard
droplets were detected at distances of I00 to 200
meters from the craters.
In addition to bombs, Baghdad has chemical artillery
shells for its 82-mm and 120-mm mortars and its
130-mm, 152-mm, and I55-mm guns. Furthermore,
Iraq probably has the capability to deliver chemicals
with 122-Mm rockets. Mustard agent has been deliv-
ered by all of these systems, while tabun has been
delivered by aerial bombs only.

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