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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iraq Survey Group Final Report


Desire . . . Dominance and Deterrence Through WMD

Saddam’s Role in WMD Policy

Saddam’s centrality to the Regime’s political structure meant that he was the hub of Iraqi WMD policy and intent. His personalized and intricate administrative methods meant that control of WMD development and its deployment was never far from his touch (see the “Excerpts from a Closed-Door Meeting” inset). His chain of command for WMD was optimized for his control rather than to ensure the participation of Iraq’s normal political, administrative or military structures. Under this arrangement, the absence of information about WMD in routine structures and the Iraqi military’s order of battle would not mean it did not exist. Even so, if WMD existed, its absence from Iraqi military formations and planning when war was imminent in 2003 would be hard to explain.

As with past use, Saddam would have rigorously and personally controlled the relevant formations, and have had sole release authority. Saddam’s doctrine in the Iran-Iraq war was to separate WMD control from the military’s leadership, but to have its use available (and controlled by security agencies) if military operations required it.

The defense ministry and the senior military staffs formulated national war plans, but according to Staff Gen. Sultan Hashim Ahmad Al Ta’i, the former Minister of Defense, these organizations did not incorporate WMD in their planning, training, and supply systems during the Iran-Iraq war. Sultan’s recollection, however seems thin given the likely degree of planning and training necessary for the extensive use of CW by both sides during the conflict.

  • During and after the late 1990s, the few times Saddam evidently asked about the potential of certain Iraqi WMD options suggest he was not consistently focused on this issue. He asked ad hoc questions about feasibility of reconstituting programs and confined his confidences to hinting that Iraq might reconstitute WMD after sanctions. While he may have said he had the desire, no source has claimed that Saddam had an explicit strategy or program for the development or use of WMD during the sanctions period. Given the sensitivity of the subject, however, to share such thinking with anybody but a few close associates would have been out of character for Saddam. This lack of a formal statement would chime with his autocratic style of governance—especially given past experience with UN inspections searching for documents.
  • Saddam spoke often in one-to-one sessions with first Husayn Kamil and later ?Abd-al-Tawab ?Abdallah Al Mullah Huwaysh on research and industrial issues supporting WMD. There are no indications that Saddam issued detailed written instructions to either individual to direct WMD work, as was the practice in the 1980s when the programs were highly active.
  • There are multiple references, however, to Saddam ordering the MIC to pursue military technology “pet projects” he had received from other government agencies, individual scientists, or academics. Often the projects’ proponents had exaggerated their technical merits to obtain Saddam’s backing. Desperate to find and exploit any potential military advantage, Saddam would direct the projects for further research and development. However, none of these projects involved WMD.

Saddam’s rationale for the possession of WMD derived from a need for survival and domination. This included a mixture of individual, ethnic, and nationalistic pride as well as national security concerns particularly regarding Iran. Saddam wanted personal greatness, a powerful Iraq that could project influence on the world stage, and a succession that guaranteed both. Saddam sought the further industrialization of Iraq, held great hopes for Iraqi science, and saw himself as the liberator of Palestine. His vision was clearest—and seemingly most achievable—in terms of leaving Iraq militarily strong, within appropriate borders and safe from external aggressors, especially Iran. WMD was one of the means to these interrelated ends.

Saddam felt that any country that had the technological ability to develop WMD had an intrinsic right to do so. He saw WMD as both a symbol and a normal process of modernity. Saddam’s national security policy demanded victory in war, deterrence of hostile neighbors (including infiltration into Iraq), and prestige and strategic influence throughout the Arab world. These concerns led Iraq to develop and maintain WMD programs.

  • Saddam sought foremost personal and Regime survival against several foreign and domestic enemies. At the same time, he sought to restoreIraq’s regional influence and to eliminate sanctions.
  • In particular, Saddam was focused on the eventual acquisition of a nuclear weapon, which Tariq ?Aziz said Saddam was fully committed to acquiring despite the absence of an effective program after 1991.

What Saddam Thought: The Perceived Successes of WMD

The former Regime viewed the four WMD areas (nuclear, chemical, biological, and missiles) differently. Differences between the views are explained by a complex web of historical military significance, level of prestige it afforded Iraq, capability as a deterrent or a coercive tool, and technical factors such as cost and difficulty of production. We would expect to see varying levels of attention to the four programs and varying efforts to prepare for, or engage in, actions to restart them.

Saddam concluded that Iraq’s use of CW prevented Iran, with its much greater population and tolerance for casualties, from completely overrunning Iraqi forces, according to former vice president Ramadan. Iraq used CW extensively in the Iran-Iraq war (1980-88) to repel the Iranian army.

  • Iraq suffered from a quantitative imbalance between its conventional forces and those of Iran.
  • Saddam’s subordinates realized that the tactical use of WMD had beaten Iran. Even Taha Yasin Ramadan, one of Saddam’s more independent-minded underlings, acknowledged that the use of CW saved Iraq during ground fighting in the Iran-Iraq war.
  • Saddam announced at the end of the war that the Iranian army’s backbone had been shattered by the war, according to the presidential secretary. Saddam stated that Iran would be unable to confront Iraq for a decade. Political divisions in Iran, weaknesses in Iranian military capabilities, and Iran’s inability to sustain long-term offensive operations also reduced the risk of attack, according to the former chief-of-staff.
  • Hamid Yusif Hammadi, former Secretary of the President and presidential office director (1982-1991), said that after the Iran-Iraq War, Saddam was intoxicated with conceit. He believed he was unbeatable. He spoke of this to the Iraqi Government officials and to visiting dignitaries from other Arab countries.”

Iraq’s Use of CW in 1991 Against Internal Unrest

The former Regime also saw chemical weapons as a tool to control domestic unrest, in addition to their war-fighting role. In March 1991, the former Regime used multiple helicopter sorties to drop CW-filled bombs on rebel groups as a part of its strategy to end the revolt in the South. That the Regime would consider this option with Coalition forces still operating within Iraq’s boundaries demonstrates both the dire nature of the situation and the Regime’s faith in “special weapons.”

  • All but two of Iraq’s provinces in 1991 were in open revolt and the Regime was worried. The fall of Karbala deeply affected key decision-makers. According to a former senior member of the CW program, the Regime was shaking and wanted something “very quick and effective” to put down the revolt.
  • In the early morning of 7 March 1991 an unidentified Iraqi requested permission to use “liquids” against rebels in and around An Najaf. Regime forces intended to use the “liquid” to defeat dug-in forces as part of a larger assault.
  • Husayn Kamil, then Director of MIC, ordered senior officials in the chemical weapons program to ready CW for use against the revolt. His initial instruction was to use VX. When informed that no VX was available he ordered mustard to be used. Because of its detectable persistence, however, mustard was ruled out and Sarin selected for use.
  • On or about 7 March 1991, R-400 aerial bombs located at the Tamuz Airbase were readied for use. Al Muthanna State Establishment (MSE) technicians mixed the two components of the Iraqi “binary” nerve agent system inside the R-400s. Explosive burster charges were loaded into the bombs and the weapons assembled near the runway.
  • Helicopters from nearby bases flew to Tamuz, were armed with the Sarin-laden R-400s and other conventional ordnance. Dozens of sorties were flown against Shi’a rebels in Karbala and the surrounding areas. A senior participant from the CW program estimates that 10 to 20 R-400s were used. Other reporting suggests as many as 32 R-400s may have been dropped. As of March 1991, about a dozen MI-8 helicopters were staged at Tamuz Airbase.
  • MI-8 helicopters were used during the Iran-Iraq war to drop chemical munitions, according to an Iraqi helicopter pilot.
  • Following the initial helicopter sorties, the senior chemical weapons program officer overseeing the operation received an angry call from Husayn Camel’s office. The caller said the attacks had been unsuccessful and further measures were required. The R-400s were designed for high-speed delivery from higher altitude and most likely did not activate properly when dropped from a slow-moving helicopter.
  • As an alternative to the R-400s, the Al Muthanna State Establishment began filling CS (tear gas) into large aerial bombs. Over the next two weeks helicopters departed Tamuz Air Base loaded with CS-filled bombs. One participant estimated that more than 200 CS filled aerial bombs were used on rebel targets in and around Karbala and Najaf.
  • Trailers loaded with mustard-filled aerial bombs were also transported to the Tamuz Air Base. A participant in the operation stated that mustard gas was not used on the rebels because of the likelihood of discovery by the Coalition. According to the source, the mustard filled bombs were never unloaded and were not used.
  • Reports of attacks in 1991 from refugees and Iraqi military deserters include descriptions of a range of CW and improvised poisons used in the areas around Karbala, Najaf, Nasiriyah, as well as Basrah.

Saddam concluded that missile strikes on Tehran, late in the Iran-Iraq war, along with the Al Faw ground offensive had forced Iran to agree to a cease-fire, according to the former Minister of Military Industrialization.

  • Saddam’s logic was that the “war of the cities”—when Al Husayn missiles were fired at Iranian targets from February to April 1988—had shown that Tehran was more vulnerable to missiles because its population density was greater than Baghdad’s. Thisgave Iraq a strategic incentive to maintain ballistic-missile capabilities.
  • According to Saddam, Iraq accelerated its missile development after Iran demonstrated the range capability of its imported ballistic missiles in the 1980s. Saddam said missile technology had been important to Iraq because Iraq could build its own ballistic missiles whereas Iran could not.

Saddam saw Iraq’s nuclear program as a logical result of scientific and technical progress and was unconvinced by the notion of non-proliferation. He considered nuclear programs a symbol of a modern nation, indicative of technological progress, a by-product of economic development, and essential to political freedom at the international level (what he described as “strategic balance”). He wanted nuclear weapons to guarantee his legacy and to compete with powerful and antagonistic neighbors; to him, nuclear weapons were necessary for Iraq to survive. Saddam wished to keep the IAEC active and his scientists employed and continuing their research. “I,” maintained Saddam, “am the Godfather of the IAEC and I love the IAEC.” In a captured audio tape, Saddam said in a conversation (of unknown date) with Tariq ?Aziz and other unidentified senior officials:

This conversation was very useful. We have had a look at the international situation, and arrange (present tense) our present and future steps during these studies. I believe that the USA is concentrating on the Far East, and all of the areas of South East Asia, for two main reasons—Korea and Pakistan. The existence of the nuclear weapons in other countries makes the USA and Europe get worried. Having nuclear weapons in these areas, with their economic situation known by the US, gives these countries a chance to face the European countries and the Americans. A long time ago economic recovery existed in only in two areas of the world. In the last fifteen years Japan appears to have improved itself to what they see now. Not only Japan but all of these countries have developed economically. When it appears that there are nuclear weapons in Korea others will be allowed, under the doctrine of “self defense and balance of power,” to create the same industry. As a result, when South Korea or Japan decides to create nuclear weapons they won’t need a long time to produce it. The money and the weapons will be in an area outside Europe and the USA. At the same time there will be more pressure on China to stop their [South Korea or Japan’s] nuclear experiments. When nuclear centers are allowed in different places this pressure will decrease, and China will have the chance to develop its nuclear programs with less pressure from USA and Europe. As a result, as it was previously with China, with the high technology, will put the USA and Europe in the situation we mentioned before: they will be worried about their international trading and their international effect. This is what the USA is interested in.

Excerpts from a Closed-Door Meeting Between Saddam and Senior Personnel, January 1991

The Iraqi Regime routinely, almost obsessively, engaged in the recording of its high level meetings, not in the conventional documentary form of more ordinary bureaucracies, but by way of audio and videotapes. Despite the highly secret and sensitive nature of CBW, even discussions in this area are known to have been recorded in this manner. Below is an example of an audio recording recovered by ISG, probably made during the second week of January 1991. Saddam and senior officials move from making routine, even jocular, small talk about ceremonial clothing, to engaging in a detailed discussion of chemical and biological weapons. The following are excerpts from a conversation lasting a quarter of an hour between Saddam, director of the MIC Husayn Kamil Hasan al Majid, Iraqi Air Force Commander Muzahim Sa’b Hasan Muhammad Al Masiri, and, at least, one other senior official in which they discuss the prospect for WMD attacks on Saudi and Israeli cities (see Annex D “Saddam’s Personal Involvement in WMD Planning” for the complete meeting transcript).

Begin Transcript:

Speaker 2: Sir, the design of the suit is with a white shirt and a collar (neck line) like dishdasha.

Saddam: Then my design is right.

Husayn Kamil and Speaker 2: Absolutely right, sir . . .

Saddam: I want to make sure that—close the door please (door slams)—the germ and chemical warheads, as well as the chemical and germ bombs, are available to [those concerned], so that in case we ordered an attack, they can do it without missing any of their targets?

Husayn Kamil: Sir, if you’ll allow me. Some of the chemicals now are distributed, this is according to the last report from the Minister of Defense, which was submitted to you sir. Chemical warheads are stored and are ready at Air Bases, and they know how and when to deal with, as well as arm these heads. Also, some other artillery machines and rockets (missiles) are available from the army. While some of the empty “stuff” is available for us, our position is very good, and we don’t have any operational problems. Moreover, in the past, many substantial items and materials were imported; now, we were able to establish a local project, which was established to comply with daily production. Also, another bigger project will be finalized within a month, as well as a third project in the coming two to three months that will keep us on the safe side, in terms of supply. We, Sir, only deal in common materials like phosphorus, ethyl alcohol and methyl (interrupted) . . .

Saddam: what is it doing with you, I need these germs to be fixed on the missiles, and tell him to hit, because starting the 15th, everyone should be ready for the action to happen at anytime, and I consider Riyadh as a target . . .

Husayn Kamil: (door slams) Sir, we have three types of germ weapons, but we have to decide which one we should use, some types stay capable for many years (interrupted).

Saddam: we want the long term, the many years kind . . .

Husayn Kamil: . . . There has to be a decision about which method of attack we use; a missile, a fighter bomb or a fighter plane.

Saddam: With them all, all the methods . . . I want as soon as possible, if we are not transferring the weapons, to issue a clear order to [those concerned] that the weapon should be in their hands ASAP. I might even give them a “non-return access.” (Translator Comment: to have access to the weapons; to take them with them and not to return them). I will give them an order stating that at “one moment,” if I ?m not there and you don’t hear my voice, you will hear somebody else’s voice, so you can receive the order from him, and then you can go attack your targets. I want the weapons to be distributed to targets; I want Riyadh and Jeddah, which are the biggest Saudi cities with all the decision makers, and the Saudi rulers live there. This is for the germ and chemical weapons . . . Also, all the Israeli cities, all of them. Of course you should concentrate on Tel Aviv, since it is their center.

Husayn Kamil: Sir, the best way to transport this weapon and achieve the most harmful effects would come by using planes, like a crop plane; to scatter it. This is, Sir, a thousand times more harmful. This is according to the analyses of the technicians (interrupted) . . .

Saddam: May God help us do it . . . We will never lower our heads as long as we are alive, even if we have to destroy everybody.

Iraq began a nuclear program shortly after the Ba’thists took power in 1968. The program expanded considerably in 1976 when Saddam purchased the Osirak reactor from France, which was destroyed by an Israeli air strike in 1981. Saddam became very concerned about Iran’s nuclear weapons program late in the Iran-Iraq war and accelerated Iraq’s nuclear weapons research in response, according to Vice President Ramadan. Massive funds were allocated to develop infrastructure, equipment, scientific talent, and research. By January 1991, Iraq was within a few years of producing a nuclear weapon.

Coalition bombing during Desert Storm, however, significantly damaged Iraq’s nuclear facilities and the imposition of UN sanctions and inspections teams after the war further hobbled the program. It appears Saddam shifted tactics to preserve what he could of his program (scientific talent, dual-use equipment, and designs) while simultaneously attempting to rid Iraq of sanctions.

In comparison to Iraq’s nuclear and CW programs, the BW program was more dependent upon a smaller body of individual expertise. Iraq’s BW program began in the 1970s under President Ahmad Hasan Al Bakr. Scientists conducted research into fundamental aspects of bacteria, toxins, and viruses, emphasizing production, pathogenicity, dissemination and storage of agents, such as Clostridium botulinum, spores of Bacillus anthracis, and influenza. Despite investing considerable effort in this first attempt, Iraq’s BW program faltered. In 1979, after Saddam assumed the Presidency, Iraq reorganized its CW and BW effort. Iraq rebuilt and expanded the infrastructure for BW research between 1979 and 1985, but undertook little work on military applications, aside from assassination-related research for the IIS (see Annex B “Iraq’s Intelligence Services” for additional information).

At the height of the Iran-Iraq war in 1985, the Regime revitalized the BW program. A new BW group was recruited and research began on gas gangrene and botulinum toxin. In 1986, the Regime developed a 5-year plan leading to weaponization of BW agents. By early 1990, Iraq was methodically advancing toward the addition of a BW component to its WMD arsenal. In April 1990, Husayn Kamil gave orders to weaponize BW as quickly as possible and by August 1990, when Iraq invaded Kuwait, the BW program had moved into high gear to field BW-filled weapons. By the time of the Desert Storm, Iraq had a BW program that included production of large quantities of several agents—anthrax, botulinum toxin, Clostridium perfringens, aflatoxin, and small quantities of ricin. Iraq successfully weaponized some of these agents into ballistic missiles, aerial bombs, artillery shells, and aircraft spray tanks.

The Coalition destroyed all of Iraq’s known BW facilities and bombed some of the suspect BW sites during the 1991 Gulf war. After the Desert Storm, the Regime fabricated an elaborate cover story to hide the function of its premiere BW production facility at Al Hakam, while at the same time it continued to develop the sites potential. The UN suspected but could not confirm any major BW agent production sites until Iraq partially declared its BW program prior to the departure of Husayn Kamil in 1995. Iraq eventually owned up to its offensive BW program later that year and destroyed the remaining facilities in 1996 under UN supervision. From 1994 until their departure at the end of 1998, and from late 2002 until the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom, UN inspectors monitored nearly 200 sites deemed to have some potential use in a BW program. Iraq’s actions in the period up to 1996 suggest that the former Regime intended to preserve its BW capability and return to steady, methodical progress toward a mature BW program when and if the opportunity arose. After 1996, limited evidence suggests that Iraq abandoned its existing BW program and that one Iraqi official considered BW personnel to be second rate, heading an expensive program that had not delivered on its potential (see the BW chapter for additional information).

What Saddam Thought: External Concerns

Saddam viewed Iraq as “underdeveloped” and therefore vulnerable to regional and global adversaries. Senior Regime members generally ranked Tehran first and Tel Aviv as a more distant second as their primary adversaries, but no Iraqi decision-maker asserted that either country was an imminent challenge between 1991 and 2003. Late during this period, Saddam became concerned about the growing military imbalance between Iran and Iraq; Iran was making significant advances in WMD while Iraq was being deprived of the opportunity to maintain or advance its WMD capacity. He also privately told his top advisors, on multiple occasions, that he sought to establish a strategic balance between the Arabs and Israel, a different objective from deterring an Iranian strategic attack or blunting an Iranian invasion.

  • According to ?Abd Hamid Mahmud, Saddam “desired for Iraq to possess WMD, nuclear, biological, and chemical because he always said that he desired for balance in the Middle East region.” Saddam said this was because there were other countries in the area that possessed such weapons, like Israel, and others on the way to possession, like Iran.


Saddam believed that WMD was necessary to counter Iran. He saw Iran as Iraq’s abiding enemy and he sought to keep it in check. Saddam was keenly aware that, in addition to the potential of invasion, Iranian infiltrators could cause internal unrest. Therefore, the orientation of most Iraqi ground forces toward the Iranian border remained unchanged throughout the sanctions period. Saddam argued Iraqi WMD development, while driven in part by the growth of Iranian capabilities, was also intended to provide Iraq with a winning edge against Iran.

  • Saddam considered WMD as the only sure counterbalance to an enemy developing WMD of its own. He said Iran was the main concern because it wanted to annex southern Iraq. Saddam said US air strikes were less of a worry than an Iranian land attack.
  • Ramadan thought WMD programs might only be suspended for a short period of time in order to normalize Iraq’s relations with the international community, and would have to be resumed if no substitute counterbalance to Iran was forthcoming.
  • Saddam and the Quartet discussed Iran many times, according to officials close to Saddam. Both ?Aziz and Huwaysh have stated in interviews that Saddam’s main focus was the danger from Iran.
  • Iran attacked a Mujahiddin è Khaliq (MEK) facility in April 2001 with more than 60 missiles. Earlier strikes on MEK targets had occurred in November 1994 and June 1999, but Iran had only fired a small number of rockets.

Saddam was very concerned about Iranian military production capabilities, particularly its nuclear weapons program, according to former Vice President Ramadan. A Ministry of Defense conference concluded in January 2003 that Iranian WMD posed a looming menace to Iraq and the region, according to a sensitive source. Attended by 200 senior officers, the conference discussed Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons, acquisition of suitable delivery systems, and possession of missiles capable of carrying CW or BWwarheads over a range of 1,000 kilometers. Saddam believed that Iran had benefited from the breakup of the former Soviet Union by gaining access to WMD as well as conventional technologies.

Iraqi military troops trained with the expectation that Iran would use CW if Iran invaded. If Iraq came under chemical or biological attack, the army would attempt to survive until the international community intervened. Tariq ?Aziz also expressed hope that the close UN monitoring of Iraq might force international intervention in this scenario. Saddam felt that the United States would intervene to protect oilfields, according to a former senior Iraqi official.

A former Corps commander stated that Saddam believed the next war would be fought in a chemical environment with heavy reliance upon missiles. Iraq assumed that Iran could manufacture CW and would use it, according to a former senior Iraqi intelligence officer. The Iraqis had identified Iranian nuclear and chemical facilities as well as 240 factories in Iran that they assessed produced missile components.

Between 1998 and 2003, Iraqi leaders determined that Tehran was more of a long-term danger than an imminent one because of deficiencies in Iranian readiness and morale when compared against Iraqi training and preparedness. Some Iraqis also believed the international community would halt if not deter an Iranian invasion. Saddam accordingly decided to use diplomacy as his primary tool against Iran, but he never wielded it successfully. Iraq really had no coherent policy on how to deal with Tehran after Desert Storm, although, from the Iraqi point of view, the immediate risk was deemed to be low.

  • According to the former Iraqi Army Chief-of-Staff (COS), Iran would have difficulty conducting a large surprise attack because Iraq would detect the extensive mobilization required for it. Iraqi forward observers would detect Iranian troops as they assembled along probable invasion corridors.
  • Iraqi units were at least as good as their Iranian counterparts. The former Iraqi Army COS said Iran enjoyed quantitative—not qualitative—ground superiority, according to the former defense minister. Although sanctions would have had a major impact, Iraqi forces arrayed along the border could survive the first two echelons of an Iranian invading force without resorting to WMD. After that they would be overrun.
  • One senior Regime official, however, said that although the Iranian threat was real, Saddam exaggerated it. Iraq considered Iran a historical enemy with desires for Iraqi territory.

Iraqi Intelligence Collection Against Iran

Iraq’s intelligence services collected foreign intelligence on Iran and relayed the raw reporting to Saddam via his presidential secretary. The government tightly controlled dissemination of material. This raw intelligence that went to Saddam would not necessarily be shared even with the deputy prime minister or military.

  • The National Security Committee, the body thatcoordinated Iraq’s intelligence services, advised the vice president in October 2001 that Iran would remain Iraq’s foremost enemy and that the Iranians would rely heavily on missiles in a future war, according to captured documents.
  • IIS conducted extensive collection operations against Iran, according to a former IIS senior officer and various captured documents. Intelligence collection as a whole targeted Iran’s weapons programs, its nuclear program, economic issues, and international relations. Human intelligence sources were the primary means of intelligence collection against Iran, supported by signals intelligence conducted by the IIS Directorate for Signals Intelligence (M17).
  • IIS had assigned 150 officers to work the Iranian target, according to a former senior IIS officer. The IIS relied heavily on the MEK and independent assets in every province to monitor Iranian military and WMD developments. The Iraqis also studied Jane’s publications for information on foreign weapons systems. One senior officer spotlighted how important the Internet was to their understanding of general threat capabilities.
  • DGMI maintained over 10,000 files on Iranian order of battle, including 3,000 photographs, according to a former intelligence officer. Intelligence reports with detailed, tactical information about Iranian infiltration attempts also were forwarded directly to Saddam, according to captured documents.
  • The RG and Air Force provided detailed air order of battle information for Israel and Iran, according to captured Iraqi documents. The documents assessed probable Israeli Air Force tactics against Iraqi forces. Although much of this information could be obtained from open sources, it is significant that Iraq could “mine” it and apply it to military planning.
  • Iraqi intelligence collected on the Iranian nuclear program in 2001, but did not contradict Iranian claims that their reactors being used for peaceful purposes, according to the former deputy director of the IIS. Regardless, Iraq assumed Iran was attempting to develop nuclear weapons. IIS assets often passed along open source information as if it were intelligence, allowing disinformation to reach the upper levels of the former Regime. Iraqi leaders acknowledged Iran’s advantages in population, income, and access to international arms markets—especially as Iraq’s former ally Russia began to arm Iran.


“There can never be stability, security or peace in the region so long as there are immigrant Jews usurping the land of Palestine,” Saddam Husayn, Baghdad TV political discussion, 17 January 2001

Saddam’s attitude toward Israel, although reflecting defensive concerns, was hostile. Saddam considered Israel the common enemy of all Arabs and this mirrored the attitudes of the Arab street in their opposition to a Zionist state. Moreover, it was reported that he considered himself the next Salah-al-Din (Saladin) with a divine mission to liberate Jerusalem. This was a tactic to win popular support in countries like Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan. He was aware of his prestige as a champion of Palestine against Israel and consistently called for the liberation of Palestine from the “river to the sea” and warned that any Arab ruler who abandoned the Palestinians would “pay a heavy price.” In February 2001, he said publicly:

“When we speak about the enemies of Iraq, this means the enemies of the Arab nation. When we speak about the enemies of the Arab nation, we mean the enemies of Iraq. This is because Iraq is in the heart, mind, and chest of the Arab nation,”

Saddam implied, according to the former presidential secretary, that Iraq would resume WMD programs after sanctions in order to restore the “strategic balance” within the region. Saddam was conscious of Israel’s WMD arsenal and saw Israel as a formidable challenge to Arab interests. Israel appeared to be a rival that had strategic dominance because it possessed WMD and the ability to build relations with countries neighboring Iraq, such as Turkey and Iran, which could destabilize Iraq from within using the Shi’a or Kurds. Iraq faced a more focused risk of air and missile strikes from Israeli strategic forces, rather than a ground attack. According to a former senior official, Israel’s bombing of Iraq’s Osirak nuclear reactor spurred Saddam to build up Iraq’s military to confront Israel in the early 1980s. Other Iraqi policy makers stated they could otherwise do little to influence Israel. Saddam judged Israel to be a lesser adversary than Iran because Israel could not invade Iraq, according to former Vice President Ramadan.

The United States

Saddam did not consider the United States a natural adversary, as he did Iran and Israel, and he hoped that Iraq might again enjoy improved relations with the United States, according to Tariq ?Aziz and the presidential secretary. Tariq ?Aziz pointed to a series of issues, which occurred between the end of the Iran-Iraq war and 1991, to explain why Saddam failed to improve relations with the United States: Irangate (the covert supplying of Iran with missiles, leaked in 1986), a continuing US fleet presence in the Gulf, suspected CIA links with Kurds and Iraqi dissidents and the withdrawal of agricultural export credits. After Irangate, Saddam believed that Washington could not be trusted and that it was out to get him personally. His outlook encouraged him to attack Kuwait, and helps explain his later half-hearted concessions to the West. These concerns collectively indicated to Saddam that there was no hope of a positive relationship with the United States in the period before the attack on Kuwait.

Although the United States was not considered a natural adversary, some Iraqi decision-makers viewed it as Iraq’s most pressing concern, according to former Vice President Ramadan. Throughout the 1990s, Saddam and the Ba’th Regime considered full-scale invasion by US forces to be the most dangerous potential threat to unseating the Regime, although Saddam rated the probability of an invasion as very low. Throughout the UNSCOM period, Iraqi leaders extended a number of feelers to the United States through senior UNSCOM personnel offering strategic concessions in return for an end to sanctions. The stumbling block in these feelers was the apparent Iraqi priority on maintaining both the Saddam Regime and the option of Iraqi WMD.

  • In a custodial debriefing, Saddam said he wanted to develop better relations with the US over the latter part of the 1990s. He said, however, that he was not given a chance because the US refused to listen to anything Iraq had to say.
  • In 2004, Charles Duelfer of ISG said that between 1994 and 1998, both he and UNSCOM Executive Chairman Rolf Ekeus were approached multiple times by senior Iraqis with the message that Baghdad wanted a dialogue with the United States, and that Iraq was in a position to be Washington’s “best friend in the region bar none.”

While Iran was a more enduring enemy, after 1991, the temporary challenge from the United States posed a more immediate danger. Those who had detailed information about US capabilities also concluded there was little Iraq could do to counter a US invasion. Iraqi military commanders who did perceive the risk of invasion realized that the imbalance in power between Iraq and the United States was so disparate that they were incapable of halting a US invasion. Even if Iraq’s military performed better during Operation Iraqi Freedom, Iraq would only have increased the number of Coalition casualties without altering the war’s outcome, according to the former defense minister.

Saddam failed to understand the United States, its internal or foreign drivers, or what it saw as its interests in the Gulf region. Little short of the prospect of military action would get Saddam to focus on US policies. He told subordinates many times that following Desert Storm the United States had achieved all it wanted in the Gulf. He had no illusions about US military or technological capabilities, although he believed the United States would not invade Iraq because of exaggerated US fears of casualties. Saddam also had a more pessimistic view of the United States. By late 2002 Saddam had persuaded himself, just as he did in 1991, that the United States would not attack Iraq because it already had achieved its objectives of establishing a military presence in the region, according to detainee interviews.

  • Saddam speculated that the United States would instead seek to avoid casualties and, if Iraq was attacked at all, the campaign would resemble Desert Fox.
  • Some Iraqi leaders did not consider the United States to be a long-term enemy, but many knew little about the United States and less about its foreign policy formulation. Former advisors have also suggested that Saddam never concluded that the United States would attempt to overthrow him with an invasion.

Saddam, however, portrayed the United States and Israel as inseparable and believed Israel could not attack Iraq without permission from the United States. In February 2001, Saddam stated in a television broadcast, “The United States and Israel are one thing now . . . the rulers of the United States have become a toy in the hands of the Zionist octopus, which has created the midget Zionist entity at the expense of Arabs in occupied Palestine.” In May of the same year he stated, “We will draw the sword against whoever attacks us and chop off his head.” Saddam directed the Iraqi media “to highlight the motive of the covetous [US] leadership that succumbs to the wishes of Zionism” and “seeks to establish an artificial homeland at the Arabs’ expense.” Ramadan noted that the Regime considered Israel to be an extension of the danger posed by the United States.

Iraq’s Limited Intelligence on US Military Operations

Iraq derived much of its understanding of US military capabilities from television and the Internet, according to the former DGMI director. Iraq obtained only limited information about US military capabilities from its own intelligence assets, although they closely monitored the US buildup in Kuwait.

  • The army staff prepared a comprehensive study on how US attacks against Iraq might unfold in 2002, according to captured documents. The assessment evaluated the size, composition, and probable disposition of US forces and identified the US aircraft carriers immediately available to attack Iraq.
  • The DGMI provided the Higher Military College an assessment about how the US XVIII Airborne Corps might attack Iraq, according to captured documents. The Al Bakr University was using this information in computer modeling and war gaming.
  • Iraq collected reliable tactical intelligence against US forces in Kuwait and even knew when Operation Iraqi Freedom would start, according to a former field-grade Republican Guard officer. One senior officer spotlighted how important the Internet was to their understanding of general threat capabilities.

Saddam’s handling of Iraq’s response to the 9/11 attacks probably reflects a lack of understanding of US politics and may explain why Baghdad failed to appreciate how profoundly US attitudes had changed following September 2001. Saddam’s poor understanding of US attitudes contributed to flawed decision-making, according to Tariq ?Aziz. According to ?Abd-al-Tawab ?Abdallah Al Mullah Huwaysh, Saddam rejected advice from his cabinet to offer condolences after the attacks:

  • Ministers discussing the attacks recommended that Iraq should issue an official statement condemning the terrorists and offering condolences to the people of the United States, despite American hostility toward Iraq.
  • Saddam refused on the grounds that he could not extend official condolences, given the hardships the Iraqi people had suffered at the hands of the US Government—without any US apology. Saddam was happy after the 11 September 2001 attacks because it hurt the United States, according to Tariq ?Aziz, and he declined to issue any statements of condolence.
  • Saddam’s response dissatisfied most ministers, who saw the catastrophe as being beyond state-to-state relations. They feared that official Iraqi non-reaction would associate Baghdad with Al Qa’ida. Moreover, they perceived that the net result of the attack would align the United States against Islam and the Arabs.
  • Saddam dismissed these concerns, but he authorized Tariq ?Aziz to pursue a “people to people” program by privately expressing condolences individually to a few US officials.
  • Iraq’s media was unique among Middle Eastern services in praising the attackers, according to the Foreign Broadcast Information Service.

Former Iraqi officials concluded, time and time again, that the threat inherent in their WMD arsenal and weapons delivery systems helped preserve Saddam’s Regime.

  • In April 1990, Saddam threatened “by God, we will make fire eat up half of Israel, if it tried [to strike] against Iraq.” Saddam’s statement was part of a lengthy speech in which he denied having a nuclear weapons program. His warning might have been meant to deter Israel from preemptively attacking an industrial facility, which manufactured electrical capacitors alleged to be used in the trigger of a nuclear device, as it had done when it struck the Osirak reactor in June 1981.
  • Prior to Desert Storm, Saddam threatened to use missile- and aircraft-delivered chemical and biological munitions to deter Israel and the coalition from attacking Iraq or at worst unseating the Regime. Former Iraqi officials concluded the threat inherent in their WMD arsenal and delivery systems helped preserve the Regime when Coalition Forces did not invade Baghdad in 1991.
  • Saddam’s public and private statements in 1990 and 1991 reveal that Iraq envisioned using WMD against Israel and invading Coalition Forces under certain conditions. Iraq later declared to UNMOVIC inspectors that just prior to the Gulf war it dispersed CBW munitions to selected airfields and other locations. This included 75 “special warheads” for the Al Husayn missile deployed at four sites, with the warheads and missile bodies stored separately. Iraq told UNMOVIC these weapons were only to be used in response to a nuclear attack on Baghdad, and that the government had delegated retaliatory authority to field commanders. (See “Excerpts from a Closed Door Meeting” inset below for additional information).
  • Public statements, intensified research and development, production, weaponization, and dispersal of WMD suggest that Saddam sought the option of using WMD strategically before and during Desert Storm. He hoped to prolong the war with the United States, expecting that the US population would grow war-weary and stop the attack.
  • Saddam announced on the eve of the ground campaign that the Al Husayn missile was “capable of carrying nuclear, chemical and biological warheads.” He warned that Iraq “will use weapons that will match the weapons used against us by our enemy, but in any case, under no circumstances shall we ever relinquish Iraq.” He explained that “Iraq” included territory extending from “Zakho in the north to the sea in the south, all of Iraq.”
  • Saddam warned in a statement to the press in February 1993 “any attempt to strike against our scientific or military installations will be confronted with a precise reaction.” He also used a Quranic citation he rarely used “God be my witness that I have delivered the message.” He used a similar construct in a July 1990 warning to Kuwait.

WMD Possession—Real or Imagined—Acts as a Deterrent

The Iran-Iraq war and the ongoing suppression of internal unrest taught Saddam the importance of WMD to the dominance and survival of the Regime. Following the destruction of much of the Iraqi WMD infrastructure during Desert Storm, however, the threats to the Regime remained; especially his perception of the overarching danger from Iran. In order to counter these threats, Saddam continued with his public posture of retaining the WMD capability. This led to a difficult balancing act between the need to disarm to achieve sanctions relief while at the same time retaining a strategic deterrent. The Regime never resolved the contradiction inherent in this approach. Ultimately, foreign perceptions of these tensions contributed to the destruction of the Regime.

  • Saddam never discussed using deception as a policy, but he used to say privately that the “better part of war was deceiving,” according to ?Ali Hasan Al Majid. He stated that Saddam wanted to avoid appearing weak and did not reveal he was deceiving the world about the presence of WMD.
  • The UN’s inconclusive assessment of Iraq’s possession of WMD, in Saddam’s view, gave pause to Iran. Saddam was concerned that the UN inspection process would expose Iraq’s vulnerability, thereby magnifying the effect of Iran’s own capability. Saddam compared the analogy of a warrior striking the wrist of another, with the potential effect of the UN inspection process. He clarified by saying that, despite the strength of the arm, striking the wrist or elbow can be a more decisive blow to incapacitate the entire arm; knowledge of your opponents’ weaknesses is a weapon in itself.

Saddam’s Prioritization of Getting Out From Under Sanctions

Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait on 2 August 1990 led to the imposition of comprehensive and mandatory trade and financial sanctions under UNSCR 661 of 6 August 1990. These sanctions remained in place after the military ceasefire on 28 February 1991. The “Political Ceasefire” incorporated in UNSCR 687 of 3 April 1991 explicitly linked Iraq’s WMD disarmament to Iraq’s right to resume oil exports. Withdrawal of wider sanctions was made dependent on this step.

Saddam continually underestimated the economic consequences of his actions. His belief that sanctions would prove ineffective led him to conclude he could avoid WMD disarmament. (Saddam may have been encouraged in this belief by a miss-appreciation of the relative effectiveness of sanctions against the apartheid regime in South Africa.) As early as 1992, however, Saddam began to form a more sober impression of the power of sanctions and their deleterious effect on Iraq.

The compounding economic, military, and infrastructure damage caused by sanctions—not to mention their effect on internal opinion in Iraq—focused Saddam by the mid-90s on the need to lift sanctions before any thought of resuming WMD development could be entertained. Saddam’s proximate objective was therefore lifting sanctions, but efforts had to be compatible with preservation of Regime security.

While it appears that Iraq, by the mid-1990s, was essentially free of militarily significant WMD stocks, Saddam’s perceived requirement to bluff about WMD capabilities made it too dangerous to clearly reveal this to the international community, especially Iran. Barring a direct approach to fulfillment of the requirements of 687, Iraq was left with an end-run strategy focusing on the de facto elimination of sanctions rather than the formal and open Security Council process.

  • In the late 1990s, Saddam realized he had no WMD capabilities but his ego prevented him from publicly acknowledging that the Iraqi WMD program was ineffective, according to the former Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research Humam ?Abd-al-Khaliq ?Abd-al-Ghafur. He added that Saddam never talked openly about bluffing in regard to WMD.

Efforts To Lift Sanctions

As part of his efforts to escape sanctions, Saddam launched a vigorous campaign to shape international opinion. The Regime drew attention to everything from poor sanitation to the absence of electric power; the main effort, however, focused on the impact of sanctions upon children, especially those under five years of age. Sanctions did indeed have an enormous impact upon Iraq, and Saddam’s campaign utilized and amplified that impact. The campaign eventually involved everyone from ministers of the Iraqi Government to journalists around the world, humanitarian groups, and UN officials.

  • The London Observer amplified a BBC2 documentary which aired in 2002 and exposed Saddam’s tactics. “Small coffins, decorated with grisly photographs of dead babies and their ages—’three days’, ?four days’, written useful for the English-speaking media—are paraded through the streets of Baghdad on the roofs of taxis, the procession led by a throng of professional mourners.” There is only one problem, the program observes: because there are not enough dead babies around, the Regime prevents parents from burying infants immediately, as is the Muslim tradition, to create more powerful propaganda. An Iraqi taxi driver interviewed on the program observed, “They would collect bodies of children who had died months before and been held for mass processions.” A Western source visited an Iraqi hospital and, in the absence of his “minder,” was shown “a number of dead babies, lying stacked in a mortuary, waiting for the next official procession.”

Saddam used Iraq’s oil resources, in what Baghdad perceived to be a moderately successful attempt, to undermine and remove UN sanctions. Iraq’s proven oil reserves are assessed to be second only to those of Saudi Arabia, with estimates ranging from 90.8 to 147.8 billion barrels (the most common is 112.5 billion barrels). The former Regime played its “oil card” in two distinct ways: first, Saddam either stopped or reduced oil exports to increase upward pressure on world oil prices. Iraq successfully used this tactic from November 1999 through the spring 2000. Second, Saddam attempted to link the interests of other nations with those of Iraq through the allocation of OFF oil and trade contracts, which were granted to companies whose governments were willing to exercise their influence within the Security Council to lift sanctions. This effort also included the award of oil contracts to individuals and groups willing to use their influence with their governments to encourage policies favorable to removing sanctions.

Buying Your Way Out

As a way of generating international support, the Regime gave to others an economic stake in the Regime’s survival; an example of this is the curious cash disbursement to a senior member of Russian Intelligence.

  • According to ?Abd Hamid Mahmud Al Khatab Al Nasiri, the Secretary of the President, Tariq ?Aziz and the Iraqi Ambassador to Russia, ?Abbas Al Kunfadhi, arranged the payment of 15-20 million USD to a female colonel in the Russian Intelligence Service. She wanted ?Aziz to accommodate the companies nominated by the Russian Intelligence. Saddam was approached with this issue by ?Aziz during or after the Council of Ministers’ meeting. Later, Saddam called ?Abd and told him to expect a call from Tariq ?Aziz to authorize the payment and channel it through Muhib ?Abd-al-Razzaq, the director of the accounting office of the Presidential Diwan. The payments were made in installments rather than a lump-sum over every six months starting on or about 20 September 2002.

The condition of international oil markets after the adoption of OFF in 1996 enabled Saddam to use his oil resources in disputes with UN Sanctions Committee 661, and he did so until other oil producing nations began to cope with his tactics. Saddam intended to use the threat of higher oil prices, or market uncertainty (volatility), to influence UN decision-making toward the removal of sanctions. He was initially successful, but he could not sustain pressure on oil markets, in part because he could not always time his threats to when the balance between world supply of and demand for oil would favor upward pressure on prices. Second, oil-producing states eventually started to adjust their production and exports to lessen the impact of Saddam’s tactics. As a result, Saddam had far less effect than he wished or intended.

  • Saddam stopped oil exports in November-December 1999 in an effort to prevent the passage of UNSCR 1284, which called for sanctions renewal. Oil prices increased slightly more than a dollar a barrel between November and December and by almost a dollar between December 1999 and January 2000 (see Figure 2). Nevertheless, UNSCR 1284 was adopted.
  • Saddam reduced Iraqi oil exports from January through March 2000 in an effort to force the delivery of spare parts held up by UN Committee 661. The price of a barrel of oil increased from $23 in December 1999 to $27 in March. The UN released the parts, Saddam started exporting, and the cost of a barrel of oil fell to $22 in April.
  • When the United States and United Kingdom announced plans in June 2001 to impose “smart sanctions,” Saddam once more stopped exporting oil to halt the effort. This time, however, the price of a barrel of oil declined to $23 in July from a price of $25 in May. Saddam restarted exporting the following month, August.
  • The Iraqi Presidential Council in September 2000 received a staff paper proposing that Iraq threaten to withdraw oil from the OFF program to induce upward pressure on world oil prices. The paper claimed that this would compel the United States and United Kingdom to remove their objections to contracts being held up in UN Committee 661. The paper also assumed that there was insufficient excess capacity among oil producing nations to counter Iraq’s move. The Council, however, disagreed and did not approve the proposal.
  • In addition, Saddam introduced a “surcharge” on Iraqi oil exports in September 2000. The UN objected to the surcharge because it would give Iraq more money than it was authorized under the OFF program. Attempting to defeat the UN’s objections, Saddam once again stopped oil exports in December, and between December 2000 and January 2001 oil increased by 3 dollars a barrel but thereafter declined. Saddam restarted oil exports but the surcharge stayed in place, although “under the table.”

Figure 1. Average oil price per year (1973-2003).

The former Regime also used Iraq’s oil resources to seek diplomatic support for the lifting or easing of sanctions. According to Rashid, in early 1997 Foreign Minister ?Aziz and Vice President Ramadan approached him to propose selling oil only to those who were “friendly” toward the former Regime. By “friendly,” Rashid said that ?Aziz and Ramadan meant “those nations that would help [Iraq] get sanctions lifted or individuals who were influential with their government leaders and who could persuade them to help get sanctions lifted.” Saddam ordered the proposal be undertaken.

  • Saddam gave preferential treatment to Russian and French companies hoping for Russian and French support on the UN Security Council. (See the Regime Finance and Procurement chapter for additional information.)

Figure 2. Average oil price by month (1999-2001).

Figure 3. OPEC oil production (1973-2003).

Iraq’s Surcharge on Oil and Regime Decision Making

The description of the surcharge episode by the former Minister of Oil, ?Amir Muhammad Rashid Al ?Ubaydi, while a detainee, provides an interesting example of the Regime’s decision-making process.

In the autumn of 2000 the talk of a surcharge began. Saddam never asked me about the surcharge. He talked to a group of sycophants who simply told him he had a great idea. Huwaysh would make a recommendation and Saddam would follow him blindly. Huwaysh suggested 10 percent [suggesting 10 percent of the oil company’s profit margin]. I never attended a meeting and without me it was not a proper meeting. Ramadan formed a committee to determine how to divert some fixed part of the buyer’s profit margin to the Iraqi Government. The idea was supported by both Ramadan and ?Aziz. They finally agreed on 10 percent a barrel.

What happened? The professionals (France, Italy, Spain, Russia) refused to buy from us. [The effect of the surcharge was to remove Iraqi oil from the market.] However, the individuals with whom we were trading had contracts with the trading companies. I went to the trading companies to get them to share their profit margin with us. They refused. Saddam was very critical of my efforts but I didn’t care if I lost my job.

A new committee was formed. This committee included the sycophants and the “genius.” When I went to the meeting I brought the three top experts from SOMO. They told the committee that it was impossible to do more than 10 cents a barrel. Nevertheless, the committee recommended 50 cents. What happened? They stopped buying from us. Our exports were about 2.2 to 3.1 mbd over the time period in question.

After two weeks I went to Saddam and got him to lower the price to 40 cents. Our exports rose about 30%. The companies put pressure on SOMO to lower the price.

A third meeting was held. I participated together with SOMO. ?Aziz and Ramadan supported me, but they were afraid to speak up. Finally we decided on 30 cents a barrel selling to the US and 25 cents a barrel selling to Europe.

Now the problem became how to explain the situation to OPEC. We couldn’t tell them about the surcharge because it was illegal. Of course we thought the oil was Iraq’s and we could do what we wished with it. But that was not the international situation.

This situation remained through part of 2002. I decided to fight. No one was lifting Iraqi oil. I talked to Foreign Minister ?Aziz and he pointed out that we had lost all our friends. So we finally went back to 10 cents a barrel for the last part of 2002.

Overall, we lost $10,000,000 in exports.

Iraq’s Relationship With Russia

The former Iraqi Regime sought a relationship with Russia to engage in extensive arms purchases and to gain support for lifting the sanctions in the UNSC. Saddam followed a two-pronged strategy to pursue weapons capability while also coping with sanctions imposed following invasion of Kuwait. The Regime continued to import weapons and technical expertise, while seeking diplomatic support for lifting/easing sanctions. Iraq sought to tie other countries’ interests to Iraq’s through allocating contracts under the OFF program and entering into lucrative construction projects to be executed once sanctions had been lifted. At best, the Iraqi strategy produced mixed results. Russian commercial interests provided a motivation for supporting Iraq; Russian political and strategic interests set limits to that support.

  • March 1997: Russian Energy and Fuels Minister Rodinov went to Baghdad to discuss a $12 billion deal in an effort to build economic relations with Iraq. The deal was signed and was scheduled to begin once sanctions were lifted.
  • 1999: A Russian delegation traveled to Iraq to provide expertise on airframes and guidance systems for missiles.
  • Under OFF, 32 percent of the Iraqi contracts went to Russia.

Iraqi attempts to use oil gifts to influence Russian policy makers were on a lavish and almost indiscriminate scale. Oil voucher gifts were directed across the political spectrum targeting the new oligarch class, Russian political parties and officials. Lukoil, a Russian oligarch-controlled company received in excess of 65 million barrels (amounting to a profit of nearly 10 million dollars); other oligarch companies such as Gazprom and Yukos received lesser amounts; the Liberal Democratic Party leader Zhirinovsky was a recipient, as was the Russian Communist party and the Foreign Ministry itself, according to Iraqi documents. (See Oil Voucher Allocations within the Regime Finance and Procurement chapter for additional information.)

  • In 1991, only 15 of Iraq’s 73 discovered fields had been exploited. Development of these reserves in the post-sanctions period would provide the former Regime with greater leverage in the world oil market. Accordingly, Iraq entered into lucrative oil exploration and exploitation contracts. The lion’s share of these contracts went to Russian companies. For example, Lukoil received a $4 billion contract in 1997 to develop the second Qurna field, and in April 2001 Zarubezhchneft and Tatneft received a contract worth $11.1 billion to drill in three Iraqi oil fields. In 2002, a contract was negotiated—but not signed—for Russian firms to begin exploration of several Iraqi oil fields over a ten-year period. Execution of these contracts was to commence during sanctions and be fully implemented once sanction had been lifted. Iraq hoped these contracts would provide Russia, and other nations, with a significant economic interest in pushing for the removal of sanctions.

Iraq’s Relationship With France

The former Iraqi Regime sought a relationship with France to gain support in the UNSC for lifting the sanctions. Saddam’s Regime, in order to induce France to aid in getting sanctions lifted, targeted friendly companies and foreign political parties that possessed either extensive business ties to Iraq or held pro-Iraqi positions. In addition, Iraq sought out individuals whom they believed were in a position to influence French policy. Saddam authorized lucrative oil contracts be granted to such parties, businesses, and individuals.

  • In 1988, Iraq paid 1 million dollars to the French Socialist Party, according to a captured IIS report dated 9 September 1992. ?Abd-al-Razzaq Al Hashimi, former Iraqi ambassador to France, handed the money to French Defense Minister Pierre Joxe, according the report. The IIS instructed Hashimi to “utilize it to remind French Defense Minister, Pierre Joxe, indirectly about Iraq’s previous positions toward France, in general, and the French Socialist party, in particular”.
  • ?Aziz says he personally awarded several French individuals substantial oil allotments. According to ?Aziz, both parties understood that resale of the oil was to be reciprocated through efforts to lift UN sanctions, or through opposition to American initiatives within the Security Council.
  • As of June 2000, Iraq had awarded short term contracts under the OFF program to France totaling $1.78 billion, equaling approximately 15 percent of the oil contracts allocated under the OFF program. (See the Regime Finance and Procurement chapter.)

The IIS flagged two groups of people to influence French policy in the UNSC: French Governmental officials and influential French citizens. IIS documents recovered by ISG identify those persons of interest, to include ministers and politicians, journalists, and business people. On 25 January 2004, the Baghdad periodical Al Mada published a list of names of companies, individuals and other groups that received oil allocations from the former Regime under the auspices of the OFF program. These influential individuals often had little prior connection to the oil industry and generally engaged European oil companies to lift the oil, but were still in a position to extract a substantial profit for themselves. Individuals named included Charles Pascua, a former French Interior Minister, who received almost 11 million barrels; Patrick Maugein, whom the Iraqis considered a conduit to Chirac (which we have not confirmed), who received 13 million barrels through his Dutch-registered company, Michel Grimard, founder of the French-Iraqi Export Club, who received over 5.5 million barrels through Swiss companies and the Iraqi-French Friendship Society, which received over 10 million barrels. The French oil companies Total and SOCAP received over 105 million and 93 million barrels, respectively (see Oil Voucher Allocations of the Regime Finance and Procurement chapter for additional information).


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