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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Al Haytham

Iraq is actively pursuing missile-related activities that were covered by the long-term monitoring plan, to include the establishment of a dedicated missile research and design center north-west of Baghdad. This facility, known as the Ibn Al Haytham Missile Research and Design Center, was established by Iraq on 04 April 1992 as the main center for research and design activity in Iraq involving ballistic missiles not prohibited by resolution 687 (1991).

The Ibn Al Haytham Missile Research and Design Center said to be near the Taji military complex north of Baghdad, although the precise location remains somewhat obscure.

The great physicist, mathematician, and astronomer Abu Ali Muhammad bin al-Hasan bin al-Haytham (Latin Alhazen) was (354-429/965-1039) was born in Basra. Originally appointed to a civil post at Basra, he was consumed by the desire to learn mathematics and philosophy, for which he could not get spare time in his post. He feigned madness and was dismissed as a result from the post. He left Basra and proceeded to Egypt, where he had been invited by the Fatimid Imam al-Hakim. He spent the last 19 years of his life in scientific research at al-Azhar university, composing over 200 books on mathematics, astronomy, physics, philosophy and medicine. The most celebrated is the "Kitab al-Manazir" (treatise on optics), the first comprehensive treatise on optics in the world.

This Center is involved not only in the maintenance of existing permitted missile systems, but also in the design of new missile systems, including the Ababil 100 with a range close to 150 kilometers. The Center employed many of the scientists and technicians who were involved in the proscribed ballistic missile programs prior to the Gulf War and adoption of resolution 687 (1991).

In the absence of Iraq's acknowledgement of resolution 715 (1991), which delayed long-term monitoring efforts across the whole spectrum of Iraqi missile-related activities, interim monitoring of the Ibn Al Haytham Center was initiated by the UN Special Commission to track Iraqi ballistic missile programmes to ensure that no proscribed activity was taking place. The first interim monitoring team, IMT1a, was sent into Iraq on 25 January 1993, where it spent eight weeks investigating the work of the Ibn Al Haytham Center. The focus of the IMT1a mission was in the area of liquid propulsion systems and related technologies.

Based upon the results of IMT1a, the Commission dispatched to Iraq a new team of interim monitors, IMT1b, to relieve IMT1a on 27 March 1993. The purpose of the team was mainly to investigate and assess Iraq's capabilities to produce solid propellant missile systems and to establish the relationships between the various facilities involved in such activities within the Military Industrialization Corporation. It conducted its activities over a 52-day period 27 March to 17 May 1993, centered around 2 facilities: the Al Rasheed Factory, comprising the 3 plants, and the Al Qa'qaa' Establishment. In addition, the team visited the Ibn Al Haytham Research Center, the focus of the previous monitoring team's activities, and other sites related to missile research and development in and around Baghdad.

In October 1995 UN and US officials accused Iraq of covertly purchasing accelerometers and gyroscopes, special metals and machine tools from firms in Russia and Europe. Iraq admitted obtaining some of the materials to support its Ibn al-Haytham missile facility and two similar sites, but asserted that the materials were intended for the manufacture of short- range missiles.

Iraq continues to expand the missile production facility at Ibn Al Haytham -- used to support its authorized missile programs. Two new fabrication buildings at the facility are spacious enough to house the construction of large ballistic missiles. Baghdad's claim that the buildings at Ibn al Haytham are intended to be computer and administrative facilities is inconsistent with the facility's inherent size and capacity.

Many of the targets attacked in the December 1998 Desert Fox raids were industrial sites associated with Iraq's missile program, including one in the Taji military complex north of Baghdad and the nearby Ibn al-Haytham missile research center. Defense Department officials claimed these strikes had delayed Iraq's missile program one to two years, but flight tests of the Al Samoud missile resumed as early as May 1999.

Iraq continued to expand the missile production facility at Ibn Al Haytham -- used to support the allowed Ababil-100 and Samoud anti-aircraft missile modification programs.

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Page last modified: 24-07-2011 04:43:13 ZULU