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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

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SUBJECT: Middle East Postcrisis Issues (U) Number 1

. Military/Scientific and Technical Issues.

. Political/Internal Stability Issues.

. Economic, industrial issues.

This edition will focus primarily on Iraqi military and political developments and postwar reconstruction. Future editions will highlight other key regional military, economic and political concerns.

Articles in this issue include information as of 22 march 1991.

Each classified title and heading has been marked properly. Those unmarked are unclassified.

Questions and comments conerning this publicaton should be referred to (b.6.)


Iraq's Chemical Warfare Capability: Lack of Use During the War

The major factors that precluded Iraqi chemical warfare use were fear of Coalition retaliation and fundamental miscalculations the Iraqi leadership made regarding how the Coalition would prosecute the war and how effectively Iraqi forces could respond.

DIA has no evidence that chemical werpons were deployed to the Kuwaiti Theater of Operations (KTO). Iraq probably feared Coalition retaliation and most likely believed that both Israel and the Coaltion would use chemical or nuclear weapons if provoked by Iraqi chemical attacks. Baghdad probably concluded that, since these weapons could be delivered anywhere in Iraq, the consequences of any chemical attack would be too severe to justify CW use; this may have led to an early decison not to use chemicals.

Equally likely, the Iraqis believed that they would have days or even weeks to move chemical weapons into the KTO once the war began. Thus, the Iraqis miscalculated the Coalition speed of advance; the degree to which their Air Force, artillery assets, and surface-to-surface missile systems would be attrited; and the degree to which their resupply capability would be degraded. The Coalition air campaign dominated Iraq's preferred means of chemical delivery (its Air Force) and made timely ammunition supply impossible. The air campaign also destroyed all known and suspected CW storage in Iraq.

In addition, Coalition bombing heavily damaged Iraq's command, control, communications, and intelligence (C3I) system. Iraqi commanders could not control their forces, in part because of an intelligence system failure ot evaluate the developing situation. Allied air superiority established at the start of the air campaign denied Iraq informaiton on Coalition force dispositons, making fire planning practically impossible. The limited information available may have resulted in a decision not to disperse chemicals within the theater until the ground battle became better defined.

Destruction of Iraqi chemical weapon production facilities quite likely swayed the decision not to use chemicals. Chemical agents Iraq had produced earlier might have deteriorated in storage, or Iraq might have miscalculated that its defenses would allow it time to produce and deploy chemicals later in the conflict. Loss of its production facilities would have prevented Iraq from making agents as needed, which was the practice during the Iran-Iraq war.

Also likely, Saddam Husayn probably retained personal control of CW during DESERT STORM to allow more complete military evaluations. In such a case, the speed of the Coalition ground offensive together with C3I problems would have complicated and slowed chemical release further.

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