Medical Capabilities Study Republic of Iraq (C)
Subject: Medical Capabilities Study Republic of Iraq (C)
A Defense S&T Intelligence Study
Defense Intelligence Agency
Armed Forces Medical Intelligence Center
Medical Capabilities Study - Republic of Iraq
The topography of Iraq is characterized by broad plains covering
about 90 percent of the country, rugged highlands in the
northeast, and numerous lakes and marshlands along the Tigris and
Euphrates Rivers. The wet areas provide ideal habitats for many
disease vectors and are a considerable obstacle to vehicular
movement, thus complicating the provision of medical care. Large
areas of the marshlands are only accessible by boat.
The climate generally is hot and dry throughout the summer with
wet, mild to cool winters. Mean annual rainfall is 10 to 17
centimeters. Mean daily temperatures range from about 38 to 43ĄC
in summer and from 13 to 24 C in winter. Dust storms and
sandstorms occur occasionally and may promote or aggravate
respiratory and ophthalmic ailments.
The standard of living in Iraq is among the lowest in the Middle
East. Migration to urban areas has taxed medical facilities and
utilities. More than one-half of the population of Iraq receives
water from open, polluted water sources. Water in Baghdad is
treated, but pollution occurs during distribution; therefore,
water should be treated prior to consumption. Government
inspection and sanitary standards for food are lax.
Diseases with the highest short-term (less than 15 days) impact on
military operations include diarrheal diseases, enteric protozoal
diseases, sandfly fever, typhoid and paratyphoid fevers, malaria,
meningococcal meningitis, arboviral fevers, sexually transmitted
diseases (STDs), acute respiratory infections, and cholera.
Diseases with incubation periods generally longer than 15 days
include viral hepatitis, leishmaniasis, and schistosomiasis. Other
diseases endemic to the indigenous population include zoonoses,
vectorborne diseases, and other infectious diseases (trachoma,
intestinal helminthic infections, and tuberculosis). Among the
indigenous population, malnutrition is a major problem, especially
[ (b)(1) sec 1.3(a)(4) ]
Iraq has an offensive chemical and biological warfare (CBW)
capability, but has little CBW medical defensive capability.
In addition to the key judgments provided above, the following
summarizes key medical intelligence as of mid-January 1991 in
support of Desert Shield/Desert Storm operations:
Iraqi forces in the Kuwaiti theater of operations are experiencing
significant medical problems (diarrhea, skin disease, heat stroke,
malnutrition, and dehydration) as the result of poorly distributed
and supported forward medical assets, inadequate rations of food
and water, and deplorable sanitary conditions.
[ (b)(1) sec 1.3(a)(4) ]
Environmental Health Factors
The terrain in the Republic of Iraq consists primarily of broad
plains (covering about 90 percent of the country), a small area of
rugged highlands in the northeast, and numerous lakes and marshes
along the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers (primarily from Baghdad to
the Persian Gulf). The marshlands and areas along the rivers are
subject to seasonal flooding and provide breeding sites for
various disease vectors, including mosquitoes and the snail hosts
of schistosomiasis. Contamination of water supplies by flooding
increases the spread of water-borne diseases. The southwestern and
southern part of the country are desert areas. The northeastern
medical highlands near the borders with Turkey and Iran range from
hills to barren serrated mountain summits rising more than 3,650
meters in elevation. In most areas, helicopters would be required
for patient evacuation. Damaging earthquakes occur in the north-
eastern two-thirds of the country, but they are not common. Minor
seismic activity is more common; damage to medical facilities
could result from landslides in the northeastern highlands.
Iraq has very dry, extremely hot, nearly cloudless summers (May
through October) and mild to cool, moderately cloudy winters
(December through March). About 65 percent of the annual
precipitation occurs in winter. Temperatures as high as 49ĄC and
as low as -11ĄC have been recorded (Table 1). The hot, dry climate
contributes to heat injuries. During winter, freezing temperatures
occur in the northeastern highlands. Occasional dust storms and
sandstorms, which occur more frequently in summer, increase the
incidence of respiratory and ophthalmic diseases. Dust and sand
penetrate equipment, and can render it inoperable in a short time.
The "shamal,"a strong, hot, persistent northwest wind, occurs most
often in summer and frequently is accompanied by dust storms,
especially in the southern part of the country. Dust storms would
hamper air support for evacuation missions.
The standard of living in Iraq is among the lowest in the Middle
East. The movement of large numbers of rural migrants to the
cities has over taxed available housing, increased the number of
slum areas, placed further demands on already inadequate medical
facilities, and overburdened available health care personnel.
Huts, constructed on vacant lots by the migrants, house an average
of six persons in a single room. Lacking sufficient water, sewage
disposal, and sanitary facilities, such quarters represent a major
health hazard for the inhabitants and the community alike. These
overcrowded and unsanitary living conditions significantly
contribute to the transmission of communicable diseases.
TEMPERATURE Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct
Mean daily maximum (-C) 15 18 23 28 34 40 43 43
39 33 24 17
Mean daily minimum ( C) 3 6 9 14 20 24 27 26
22 17 11 7
Mean total (mm) 23 23 23 15 10 <1 <1 <1 <1 3
FIRST LIGHT 0640 0622 0549 0508 0436 0424 0435 0458 0521 0542
LAST LIGHT 1744 1812 1835 1858 1922 1942 1941 1915 1835 1755 1727
(Mean civil twilight, local standard time)
Housing in the rural areas consists principally of tents and mud-
and-reed huts. Nomads live in tents and are not exposed to the
diseases which are widespread in the urban areas; however, their
personal hygiene practices are poor, and they rely on tribal
remedies for illnesses and injuries. Communal use of eating and
drinking utensils is practiced throughout the country, further
promoting the spread of gastroenteric diseases. Livestock live
with or close to humans, a situation which promotes the
transmission of zoonotic diseases.
Iraqis in rural areas traditionally have regarded illness as a
manifestation of divine will or as the work of evil spirits.
Suffering from illness and injury is endured as an inevitable and
normal condition rather than a temporary suspension of good
health. Villagers rarely seek medical treatment if they are able
to follow a regular daily work routine. Hospitals are regarded as
places of suffering and death and are entered only as a last
resort. Villagers usually go to a local "holy man," known for his
wisdom and piety, or to a bonesetter. Belief in the curative
qualities of charms and amulets is nearly universal. Charms and
amulets are used to ward off malevolent spirits and provide
protection against the "evileye," believed to be the principal
cause of disease. Special therapeutic powers are ascribed to mud
and dust gathered from holy places. Mud is caked and applied over
wounds; dust scraped from the mud cakes is mixed with water and
taken for internal ailments. Cauterization is widely used by
traditional practitioners to treat pain, tumors, and sprains, and
to stop hemorrhages. A burning rag is used to make small circular
or cross-shaped scars on the site of the affliction. The meat of
roasted hedgehogs is fed to children to cure their diseases and to
expectant mothers to cure ailments accompanying pregnancy. Typhoid
and malaria are treated with various herb teas. Water pipes,
sometimes containing medicinal herbs, are smoked for treatment of
syphilis. Persons bitten by snakes are treated with human or snake
saliva mixed with sugar. Measles are treated by wrapping the
individual in a loose red gown.
In Iraq, 97 percent of the population is Muslim (60 percent Shia
and 37 percent Sunni), and 3 percent is Christian or other
religions. There are no religions objections to surgery or the
destruction of animal vectors of disease, but there are religious
objections to postmortems. The reluctance to donate blood, even to
save the life of a relative, is based on superstition rather than
Water-- More than one-half of the population of Iraq receives its
water from rivers, reservoirs, irrigation canals, drainage
ditches, and open wells. These sources are polluted by human and
animal wastes, washing, bathing, and watering animals. The
incidence of some infectious diseases is directly attributable to
these unsanitary practices. The remainder of the population is
served by piped water systems in urban areas and by itinerant
water vendors in small towns and villages. Water carried in tin or
skin containers is contaminated by the time it reaches the
consumer. Some major waterways, especially the broad, shallow
Shatt al Arab (the joining point of the Tigris and Euphrates
Rivers), have favorable breeding conditions for the mosquito
vectors of malaria. Periodic flooding of rivers contaminates water
supplies and causes an increase in the incidence of disease. The
use of known poisons and toxins to control fungi on foodstuffs and
to control insects in residential areas also contributes to
The Tigris and Euphrates Rivers and their tributaries serve as
water sources for Baghdad and some major provincial towns. Irbil
and As Sulaymaniyah, located in the northern mountains, have
adequate supplies of spring water. In Al Basrah, Mosul, and
Karkuk, the water is stored in elevated tanks and is chemically
treated before distribution. In Baghdad, the water is filtered,
chlorinated, and piped into homes or to communal fountains located
throughout the city. Due to widespread contamination during
delivery and storage, all water, even treated water, should be
considered nonpotable and subject to reliable testing prior to
Water quality is becoming a severe problem in the Shatt al Arab
River, which supplies water to the capital city of Baghdad and the
southern city of Al Basrah. Further complicating Iraq's water
problems is Turkey's plan to divert major portions of the
Euphrates River at its source in Turkey for a massive
hydroelectric and agricultural project.
Food-- Sanitary precautions and practices in food storage,
handling, and preparation are inadequate. Perishable foods are
exposed to sun and insects. Most meat preparation takes place
outside of the slaughterhouses, usually in unsanitary
surroundings. Night soil is used for fertilizer. Grains often are
mixed with dirt, and facilities are not available for cleaning.
Failure to clean and unsanitary handling of fruits and vegetables
before marketing preclude the safe consumption of these items.
Picking, sorting, and packing of dates are carried out without
proper sanitary inspection, and dates are not washed to remove
insecticides. Fresh fish are displayed for sale in the open, where
they are handled by shoppers; stale fish also are sold.
Enforcement of sanitary standards is hindered by a shortage of
trained inspectors and lack of public concern.
Sewage/Waste Disposal-- Modern sewage and waste disposal systems
are installed only in Iraq's larger cities. The remainder of the
country relies on cesspools, pit privies, septic tanks, and other
unsophisticated disposal methods. Cesspools and septic tanks are
common in many urban areas, including larger cities. Cesspools and
septic tanks are emptied periodically by contractors and their
contents are dumped at city outskirts or used as fertilizer.
Public buildings have toilet facilities, but the septic tanks
which serve them often empty into nearby canals, causing pollution
and creating a serious health hazard. A survey conducted in
commercial and residential sections of Al Basrah, for example,
revealed considerable rodent infestation, caused primarily by the
disposal of waste into canals through unscreened pipes. Waste
disposal facilities in rural areas are nearly nonexistent. Pit
privies are used in some small towns and villages, but their use
is not widespread and maintenance is poor. Indiscriminate
defecation and dumping of garbage are common practices. Animal
dung is a common source of fuel.
Hashish (marijuana), heroin, and opium are the principal drugs
abused in Iraq. The government considers drug addiction a minor
problem because of the small number of addicts in the country.
Alcoholism, although not a major problem, occurs. The Medical
(Center for the Treatment of Alcoholism and Drug Dependence has
been established as a unit of the Ibn Rashid Hospital for
Psychiatric Medicine. National health regulations allow both
voluntary and involuntary admission to this facility as well as to
other health care establishments throughout the country that are
capable of dealing with alcoholism and drug dependence.
Invertebrates and Vertebrates
Tables II and III list poisonous invertebrates and vertebrates in
Common Name/Scientific Name
Medical Importance/Antivenin Availability
Both S. morsirans and S. subspinipes are found in tropical and
subtropical regions. S. valida has been specifically reported in
the Mediterranean region, north and east Africa, and west Asia and
should be expected in Iraq. All are essentially nocturnal, lying
concealed during the day in holes in the ground, under stones,
bark, logs, and fallen leaves. Their instinct when emerging into
daylight is to escape to the dark.
Human deaths after Scolopendra envenomation are rare and the data
for fatalities appear weak against exact analysis. Venom generally
produces only local effects (burning, swelling, and necrosis)
without serious consequences. Greatest threat is to infants and
children. No antivenin is available.
Found in hill regions and valleys under rocks, stones, loose bark
of trees, and around human habitation in gardens, old buildings,
garages, cellars, and under houses.
A. australis is among the most dangerous to man. Its sting
produces intense local pain, and significant swelling, but effects
are principally systemic; a powerful neurotoxin with convulsant
action. Mortality rate is high. *LIPM: "Scorpion"; PAST-ALG:
Reported in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria, and Iraq. Inhabits desert
and semidesert regions, burrowing under rocks, stones, etc.
Frequents human habitation. Nocturnal hunter. Stings occur more
often at night and when the weather is stormy, temperature is
elevated, and wind is hot.
Venom is neurotoxic with convulsant action. Venom is devoid of all
blood coagulating activity. Effects are principally systemic.
Vomiting generally is the first sign that nerve centers have been
attacked by the toxin; in such cases, prognosis is poor. Average
interval between envenomation and death is 2 to 20 hours. A
characteristic of scorpion poisoning is the sudden reappearance of
respiratory problems within 12 hours after an apparent recovery
with complete disappearance of symptoms. *LIPM: "Scorpion"
(Latrodectus mactans tredecirnguttatus)
In Iraq, the Latrodectus species are found mainly outdoors, unlike
species found in North America, which are somewhat urbanized. Webs
are found near the ground in wheat fields, corn fields, along
borders of trenches, and in hollow trees. These spiders are not
aggressive and appear rather sedentary. Females become aggressive
when caring for their egg sacs or their young. Most bites occur
when man violently interferes with the spider.
This spider's venom is neurotoxic in action, affecting chiefly the
spinal cord. The bite often is unperceived, and local symptoms are
hardly visible. An early pain in the lymph nodes follows after 10
to 60 minutes. The most prominent symptom is intense pain in the
lower back, abdomen, and thighs. Profuse sweating. muscle spasms,
and salivation are characteristic. Several deaths have been
SOURCES OF ANTIVENIN
LIPM: Lister Institute of Preventive Medicine, Elstree, Herts WD
6 3AX, England
PAST-ALG: Institut Pasteur d'Algerie, rue Docteur Laveran,
Common Name/Scientific Name
Saw-scaled viper, carpet viper, Egyptian saw-scale viper (Echis
carinatus; Figure 1) (Echis pyramidium) Subspecies: Echis
pyramidium (Egypt, western coast of Arabian peninsula) Echis
carinatus sochureki (Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Central Asia)
Identification--Category I. Average length, 0.4 to 0.6 meters.
Head short, distinctly wider neck. Snout is blunt. Body moderately
slender to stout, slightly flattened dorso-ventrally. Tail short,
rather abruptly tapered, constitutes 8 to 11 percent of total body
length. A light, trident or arrow-shaped mark usually seen on top
of head, pale stripe from eye to angle of mouth. Dorsal ground
color light buff or tan, to olive brown or chestnut, with median
row of 28 to 36 whitish spots having dark edges; sides have
narrow, undulating, white lines; dorsal portions of loops usually
more conspicuous then ventral. Belly white to pale pinkish brown,
stippled with dark gray; chin and throat white.
Distribution/habitat--Range extends from West Pakistan through
Afghanistan, Iran, iraq, the Arabian peninsula, into North Africa.
Snake is very abundant and inhabits most of desert and dry areas
of these countries. Can be found far from any water source. Is
found in almost barren rocky and sandy desert, and dry scrub
forests, from seacoast to an elevation of about 1,800 meters.
Behavior--Nocturnal during hot dry weather, occasionally diurnal
in cool weather. Limited data suggest that most bites occur during
day. Snake is arboreal; will climb into bushes to height of 2
meters or more and bask during early morning. During cooler
weather suns in the open, but is found more frequently under rocks
or in mounds of dead plant stalks. Can bury itself in sand with
only head exposed above ground. Is very alert, irritable, and
aggressive. Hunts prey almost entirely at night, but may hunt by
day in cool weather. Usually tries to escape when encountered, but
has been reported to chase victims aggressively. Sometimes moves
with sidewinding motion. Assumes defensive figure 8 coil when
encountered, rubbing inflated loops of body together to produce a
distinctive rasping sound. Has considerable reach for small snake,
can strike quickly, repeatedly.
Risk--Venom highly toxic. Snake is involved in many snakebite
incidents and fatalities almost everywhere throughout its range;
is considered to be most dangerous snake in world because of its
venom toxicity and high population densities, often in rural
agriculture areas. Also is extremely short-tempered, aggressive,
will strike without provocation.
Clinical symptoms--Venom hemorrhagic; contains both coagulant
and anticoagulant components. Central nervous system damage may
result from hemorrhages. Victims experience local pain and
swelling, often associated with local hematoma In a few cases,
necrosis may develop in affected area. Systemic affects include
decreased blood pressure; fever; bleeding tendencies from
gastrointestinal tract, mucous membranes, venipuncture sites,
muscles, subcutaneous tissues; hematuria
*ANTIVENIN: Antivenin apparently effective only if prepared from
venoms of same geographic taxonomic group.
BEHR: "Near and Middle East", "North and West Africa"
IRAN: Poly-specific, "Echis" antivenin
PAST: "Pasteur Ipser Afrique, "Antirept Pasteur"
TASH: "Monovalent (Echis carinatus)", "Polyvalent (Naja and
Poisonous Vertebrates (continued)
Common Name/Scientific Name
Levantine viper, mountain adder, desert adder, blunt-nosed viper
or Kufi, Levant viper, Levantine adder, Levative viper, true adder
(Vipera lebetina; Figure 3) Subspecies: Vipera lebetina (Cyprus)
Vipera lebetina euphratica (Iraq, Iran) Vipera lebetina obtusa
(Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Syria, Israel, Lebanon) Vipera
lebetina turanica (Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan)
Identification--Category II. Large, up to 1.6 meters long;
females larger than males. Has no horn, no shields; fangs very
large. Scale pattern consists of rosettes with light centers;
intensity of margination may merge into wavy band, lateral spots
more distinct than dorsal patterns. Coloration is gray, gray-
brown, or yellowish with gray underside in females. Tail pinkish
brown, tapers abruptly.
Distribution/habitat--Found throughout most of Asia Minor and
east to Pakistan. Found mostly in dry, rocky, mountainous areas
between 1,000 and 2,200 meters elevation.
Behavior--Normally placid during day, but quite alert and will
strike quickly. Occasionally aggressive at night. Is terrestrial,
but can be found in bushes.
Risk--Risk to man high. A dangerous snake of major medical
Clinical symptoms--Venom contains hemorrhagic factors,
proteolytic enzymes, L-amino oxidase, phospholipase, coagulation
accelerator, coagulation inhibitor. Clinical signs/symptoms
include free bleeding from punctures, immediate burning local
pain. Swelling occurs promptly around bite site, spreads
centrally. Swelling often accompanied by discoloration of skin and
ecchymosis. Blood-filled or serum-filled vesicles appear within a
few hours. Early systemic symptoms also include weakness,
faintness, sweating, thirst, nausea, vomiting, and frequently,
diarrhea. Pain along lymphatics, swelling of regional lymph nodes
BEHR: "Europe", "Near & Middle East", "North and West Africa"
TASH: Monovalent "Vipera lebetina", Polyvalent
IRAN: Monospecific "Vipera lebetina"
PAST: Antirept Pasteur"
Poisonous Vertebrates (continued)
Common Name/Scientific Name
Black snake, Innes's cobra, desert black snake, Innes's snake,
desert cobra, Walter Innes's snake, "happeter hashshahor"
(Hebrew), Sinai cobra (Walternessia aegypti; Figure 4) Subspecies:
Identification--Category II. Average length 0.9 to 1.1 meters;
maximum length slightly more than 1.2 meters. Moderately slender.
Color glossy black, possibly with brownish tinge. High gloss helps
distinguish this species from duller Naja haje. Males' tails
longer, heads and hoods wider than females'. Hood usually not
apparent. Head small, not distinct from neck. Tail short.
Distribution/habitat--Found in: desert areas of northern Egypt,
near Nile; the Sinai; along Red Sea coast; the Negev region,
southern Israel; western Jordan; Syria; Iraq; Iran. In Saudi
Arabia, found in interior plateau east of hills and mountains
along Red Sea coast; along Persian Gulf coast near Bahrain; not
found in ar-Rub al-Khali, ad-Dahna, an-Nafud, other lifeless
desert areas. Also present in Kuwait. Probably present in similar
regions of Iraq, but not found in Mesopotamia region. In Iran,
found in desert hills of Khuzistan, in foothills of Zagros
Mountains at elevations up to 1,000 meters. Primarily a desert
species, ranges into adjoining grassland plains or foothills.
Seldom found in damp areas. Reports of snake's presence in Lebanon
Behavior--Nocturnal, spends much time underground. Eyesight poor.
Can be very aggressive. When molested, threatened, or provoked,
will hiss violently, strike (generally with closed mouth). Can
strike at distances two-thirds its body length. Does not spread a
hood or maintain an upright stance.
Risk--Risk moderate, but can be dangerous. Venom highly toxic, but
bite victims in Israel, although requiring hospitalization, have
recovered without specific antivenin treatment. Only one effective
antivenin known to be available.
Clinical symptoms--Venom strongly neurotoxic inhibits blood
clotting, causes little local hemorrhage. Symptoms include local
pain, swelling, fever, general weakness, headache, vomiting.
SAIMR: "Polyvalent" (Possibly effective)
*SOURCES OF ANTIVENIN
BEHR: Behringwerke AG D3550 Marburg (Lahn), Postfach 167,
Germany, Telephone: (06421)39-0, Telefax: (06421)66064, Telex:
HAFF: Haffkine Bio-pharmaceutical Corporation, Parel, Bombay,
IRAN: Institut d'Etat des Serums et Vaccins Razi, P.O. Box
656, Tehran, Iran
KASA: Central Research Institute Kasauli (Simla Hills),
PAST: Institut Pasteur Production, 3 Boulevard Raymand
Poincare, 92430-Marnes la Coquette, France, Telephone: (1)
18.104.22.168, Telex: PASTVAC206464F
PAST-ALG: Institut Pasteur d'Algerie, rue Docteur Laveran,
ROGO: Rogoff Medical Institute, Beilinson Medical Center, Tel
SAIMR: South African Institute for Medical Research, P.O. Box
1038, Johannesburg, 2000, South Africa, Telephone: 724-1781,
TASH: Research Institute of Vaccine and Serum, Ministry of
Public Health, UI. Kafanova 93, Taskent, USSR
Chemical and Biological Warfare
Medical Aspects of Chemical Warfare (CW)
Iraq is known to have employed the nerve agents GA (tabun), GB
(sarin), and GF, the blister agents, sulfur mustard and "dusty
mustard" (mustard on a silicate carrier). While the nerve agents
kill large numbers of soldiers on the battlefield, the sulfur
mustard agents, because there is no antidote, tied up vast
resources and created the majority of CW hospitalized casualties.
Iraq has chemical defense units throughout its military. Functions
include CW casualty decontamination, medical triage, evacuation
(primarily via ambulance). To prevent contamination of medical
personnel, casualties are decontaminated with hot water showers at
V-shaped trenches prior to entering medical aid stations.
Iraq has purchased, or is trying to obtain CW pretreatment and
treatment drugs (such as pyndostigmine, diazepam, atropine),
toxogonin autoinjectors, amyl nitrite and sodium thiosulfate. Iraq
probably does not have sufficient supplies of CW antidotes and
treatment drugs to deploy a sufficient number of standard CW first
aid kits. [ (b)(1) sec 1.3(a)(4) ]
Iraqi Biological Warfare (BW) Capabilities
The fully mature Iraqi BW program is the most extensive in the
Middle East. Anthrax and botulinum toxin have been produced in
military deployable quantities and are assessed to have been
weaponized, although specific delivery systems have not been
The BW program is generously funded and is comprised of an
adequate technical infrastructure with sufficient technical,
expertise, materiel, and manpower. Additionally, the program
maintains a well organized procurement program and is fully
supported by Saddam Hussein.
Intelligence indicates that the Iraqis had an interest in
developing biological weapons since 1965. In addition to chemical
weapons, Iraq considered the development of BW agents for use
against the Kurds and Israelis in the early 1970s. After the start
of the Iran/Iraq war, the program increased in scale and priority.
Following the war the program accelerated.
Since the late 1970s, the Iraqi BW program has procured
commercially available materiel from foreign sources for the
military through front companies such the State Establishment for
Pesticide Production and the Technical Materials Importation
Division. Further, Iraq has successfully used legitimate
scientific research facilities and their national Pharmaceutical
industry to acquire not only state-of-the-art foreign
biotechnology equipment but also foreign consultants, technicians,
and other expertise for their BW program.
The Iraqis maintain dedicated facilities for the research,
development, production, and storage of BW agents. Construction
of BW facilities has accelerated since the late 1970s. The primary
military-administered BW research, development and storage complex
is located at Salman Pak approximately 31 kilometers southeast of
Baghdad. Structures at this highly secured site include a
biological containment level 3/4 (BL3/4) building to safeguard
against the most highly hazardous biological material, four
climate controlled hardened munitions type storage bunkers, with
two bunkers having refrigeration units indicating storage of
temperature sensitive biological material, and a possible
fermentation plant. Additional facilities supporting the BW
program include a fermentation production plant at Taji, located
in the northwestern suburbs of Baghdad; two facilities at Abu
Ghurayb; the pharmaceutical facility at Samarra; and a classified
biotechnological laboratory located at the Iraqi Atomic Energy
Commission facility at Tuwaitha.
Agents in inventory and likely weaponized by Iraq include Bacillus
anthracis bacteria and botulinum toxin. Microbial media sufficient
for the production of billions of human lethal doses of anthrax
bacteria and botulinum toxin and vacuum equipment for the drying
of agents necessary to produce micron size particles for optimal
weaponization have been acquired by Iraq.
Suspect agents in various stages of development include Vibrio
cholerae, Staphylococcus enterotoxin, Clostridium perfingens
bacteria or its toxin, and Yersinia pestis (plague bacteria).
Although specific agents have been identified, the possibility
that the Iraqis have or are developing other agents cannot ruled
Specific delivery systems for BW agents have not been identified.
However, most of conventional munitions and missiles that could be
used for the delivery of chemical agents can be used for
biological agents. Possible delivery systems include vehicle
transportable aerosol generators, submunitions, cluster bombs,
spray tanks for high performance aircraft, artillery shells, and
possibly warheads for Scud missiles.
The Iraqi BW defense program is patterned after that of the
Soviets and uses much of the same type of equipment. Although the
need for immunizations has been recognized by the Iraqis, we
assess that they have been unable to immunize on a large scale.
The Iraqi Medical Service would be rapidly overwhelmed in the
event of a BW attack and is not capable of handling a mass
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