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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Fallujah II / Habbaniyah II

Baghdad continuously rebuilt and expanded dual-use infrastructure that it could divert quickly to CW production. The best examples were the chlorine and phenol plants at the Fallujah II facility. Both chemicals have legitimate civilian uses but also are raw materials for the synthesis of precursor chemicals used to produce blister and nerve agents. Chlorine, for example, can be used to make mustard gas as well as to purify water. Iraq had three other chlorine plants that had much higher capacity for civilian production; these plants and Iraqi imports were more than sufficient to meet Iraq's civilian needs for water treatment. Of the 15 million kg of chlorine imported under the UN Oil-for-Food Program since 1997, Baghdad used only 10 million kg and has 5 million kg in stock, suggesting that some domestically produced chlorine has been diverted to such proscribed activities as CW agent production.

Fallujah II was one of Iraq's principal CW precursor production facilities before the Gulf war. In the last few years the Iraqis upgraded the facility and brought in new chemical reactor vessels and shipping containers with a large amount of production equipment. They expanded chlorine output far beyond pre-Gulf war production levels-capabilities that can be diverted quickly to CW production. Iraq sought to purchase CW agent precursors and applicable production equipment and tried to hide the activities of the Fallujah plant.

Before the Gulf War Iraq depended on importing-specialized equipment-and some chemicals to purify its water supply, most of which is heavily mineralized and frequently brackish to saline. Chlorination normaly is accomplished during several stages of purification, including the inital treatment stage to prevent the equipment from liming and to kill pathogens just prior to storing the fully treated water. The chlorine used in most plants is either sodium hypochlorite, a liquid, or calcium hypochlorite, a powder. If they are equipped with injectors, low-capacity plants can use chlorine gas directly. At the time of the Gulf War, Iraq's plant in Fallujah and the PC-I petrochemical plant at Basrah produced sodium hypochlorite and, as a by-product, caustic soda, which was used to adjust the PH of water supplies. Normally, both locations produced relatively small quantities of chlorine for industrial and some municipal use; chlorine for municipal supplies also was imported. [SOURCE: IRAQ WATER TREATMMENT VULNERABILITIES DIA WASHINGTON DC - 22 JAN 91]

Since the early stages of "oil for food", provisions had been made to import chlorine to Iraq. Chlorine's import was technically no more nor less difficult than the import of anything else that was not on the "green lists" established under Security Council Resolution 1284: a single dissenting opinion by any member of the Iraq Sanctions Committee would stop it. A report by the International Committee of the Red Cross (February, 2000) stated: "Since then [the Gulf War], money and spare parts have not been available to repair sewage works and purification plants, which are often working at reduced capacity, or not at all. This has led to an overall deterioration in the quality and quantity of drinking water and the rapid spread of infectious disease, such as cholera." There were insufficient amounts of chlorine for water purification and insufficient electrical equipment and power to run the water and sewage plants. Chlorine was imported only in limited quantities through the United Nations Resolution 986 Oil-for-Food program. However, by late 2000 the main problem with delivering clean drinking water was not the problem of purifying it in a plant.

Fallujah II chlorine and phenol plants

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Imagery of Fallujah II / Habbaniyah II
Click on the small image to view a larger version

Overview of the Middle East with Iraq in the center

Fallujah Chemical Weapons Plants, Iraq

Tactical Pilotage Chart with NIMA CIB imagery overlayed showing the general location of the three Fallujah CW plants

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

Fallujah II as of 1995. The facility is barely visible in this CIB image

An Ikonos browse image of Fallujah II as of April 20, 2001

Digital Globe browse imagery of Fallujah II as of June 4, 2002. The Digital Globe browse imagery is compressed more than the Ikonos browse, reducing target detection and interpretability

A comparison of the three chemical weapons facilities

Overview of Fallujah II. The facility occupies 68 acres and is protected by a 3 kilometer security fence, an inner wall, an entry contol point, and two guard towers; one at each end of the facility

Of the three facilities, Fallujah II appears to be the only one with clearly identifiable chemical processing equipment

It is not possible to determine only from visible imagery whether the chemicals being processed here are for civilian or military use

Hyperspectral imagery or other MASINT technologies might be able to identify chemical effluent from the facility

These four building measure 20 X 60 meters and are similar to those found at Fallujah III

Shipping containers and other debris litter this facility

Overview of adminstrative buildings and support area

Close-up of the square-shaped administrative building and support area

Dumping ground north of Fallujah II. Chemicals and toxic waste have probably been disposed here, which will prove difficult and costly to clean up

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