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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Fallujah / Habbaniyah

Habbaniyah consists of three identical facilities. Fallujah I, located 58 km WNW of Baghdad, was in the late stages of construction at the time of the Gulf War. The facility, intended to support the Muthanna site, contained multi-purpose production plants. These production areas were all destroyed by bombing in 1991. The intended products of this site remain unclear, but may be connected with the VX program.

Confusingly, Fallujah I is Habbaniyah III, while Fallujah III and is Habbaniyah I [fortunately, Fallujah II is Habbaniyah II]. Some analysts at the US DOE would term this the Tharthar complex, with the sites numbered in the Fallujah sequence, but this nomenclature is not widely emulated.

In 1994, Iraq presented to UNSCOM its intentions concerning the reuse of dual-use chemical production equipment in civilian projects, such as the production of phenol and aniline. The Iraqi Ministry of Chemical Industry intended to make use of the infrastructure of the former chemical weapons-related areas at Fallujahs 1, 2 and 3 by establishing a chemical centre for the production of general chemicals and fine chemicals. Production would be at a rate of several hundred to some thousand tonnes per year. A very preliminary evaluation by UNSCOM of this intended use of the equipment was that it seemed reasonable. UNSCOM had the possibility to trace the whereabouts of the production equipment. [S/1994/750]

Since the Gulf war, Iraq has rebuilt key portions of its chemical production infrastructure for industrial and commercial use, as well as its missile production facilities. It has attempted to purchase numerous dual-use items for, or under the guise of, legitimate civilian use. This equipment-in principle subject to UN scrutiny-also could be diverted for WMD purposes. Following Desert Fox, Baghdad again instituted a reconstruction effort on those facilities destroyed by the US bombing, to include several critical missile production complexes and former dual-use CW production facilities. In addition, it appears to be installing or repairing dual-use equipment at CW-related facilities. Some of these facilities could be converted fairly quickly for production of CW agents.

According to Hans von Sponeck, the UN humanitarian aid coordinator for Iraq from 1998-2000, "al-Fallujah, a pesticide and herbicide manufacturing unit in the western desert, [is] today defunct and beyond repair. The UN concluded that [al-Fallujah] had been involved in ... the production of materials for chemical warfare.... Al-Fallujah was partially destroyed in 1991 during the Gulf war and again in December 1998, during Operation Desert Fox. In between a UN disarmament team disabled all facilities in any way related to weapons of mass destruction there, including the castor oil production unit. My visit this month disclosed beyond any doubt that the castor oil unit was inoperable. Remnants of other production facilities are used to manufacture herbicides and pesticides for plant protection and household use." [Manchester Guardian Weekly July 31, 2002]

On 28 August 2002, Western reporters were taken to one of the Fallujah facilities. The visit to the Falluja-3 plant came during a diplomatic offensive Iraq to muster international opposition to a US attack. According to a report filed by CNN's James Martone, "What we saw were warehouses, I would say three-fourths empty. What we did see on the ground, boxes of things like rat poison was one item that an official there showed us. There were pesticides that farmers use, they said, in their crops. They said that this plant, which was established in '87, has always been used for pesticides. They said that when the U.N. UNSCOM, the weapons inspectors were in Iraq, that they visited it on numerous occasions, and we even saw UNSCOM stickers to that effect." [CNN DAYBREAK, 05:00 August 28, 2002 ]

According to news reports in February 2001, the German Federal Intelligence Service (BND) estimates that since the end of UN weapons inspections, the number of Iraqi sites involved in chemicals production has increased from 20 to 80. Of that total, the BND reportedly believes that as many as twenty may be involved in making weapons.

In September 2002, the US Government reported that Iraq was seeking to purchase chemical weapons agent precursors and applicable production equipment, and was making an effort to hide activities at the Fallujah plant, which was one of Iraq's chemical weapons production facilities before the Gulf War. At Fallujah and three other plants, Iraq had chlorine production capacity far higher than any civilian need for water treatment, and the evidence indicates that some of its chlorine imports were being diverted for military purposes.

As of late September 2002, the Castor Oil Production Plant at Fallujah was still a facility of concern, according to the British Dossier Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction. The facility had been damaged in UK/US air attacks in 1998 during Operation Desert Fox but had been rebuilt. The residue from the castor bean pulp can be used in the production of the biological agent ricin.

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Fallujah / Habbaniyah

Tactical Pilotage Chart with NIMA CIB imageryoverlayed showing the three Fallujah CW plants in relation to the towns of Fallujah, and Al Habbaniyah

Comparison of the Fallujah I, II, and III

Tharthar 1, Tharthar2, Tharthar 3

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Page last modified: 24-07-2011 04:44:39 ZULU