Iraq and WMD’s

Posted: 30th November 2009 by Scott @ The Right of a Nation in Iraq

Here is some old information:

Many opponents of the current war in Iraq use the claim that Iraq never had WMDs as proof that one of our main reasons for going to war was based on faulty information. They base their claims on the fact that we have found no stockpiles of WMDs in Iraq (though we have found evidence and samples of WMDs on multiple occasions).

The evidence of Iraq’s WMDs and WMD programs becomes clear after reading the reports from the UN inspectors up until the time that they left the country in 1998. This is the same information that was used as the basis for military action taken by Bill Clinton and supported (and urged) by a large number of Democrats in the late 1990′s.  This information from late 1998 is important because it indicates the status of Iraq’s WMD program at the point that the UN inspectors left the country.  From 1998 to 2002, no one was monitoring Iraq.  If these UN reports are to be believed, it would appear that Iraq indeed did have WMDs in the run-up to the war in 2003.  To declare otherwise would be to suggest that Iraq unilaterally decided to destroy all of their weapons while under no monitoring or pressure to do so.

Here are some excerpts from the UNSCOM Final Compendium as presented in 1999.   (full text available here, dated 1/25/99 –

  • From the inception of the relevant work, in 1991, Iraq’s compliance has been limited. Iraq acknowledges that, in that year, it decided to limit its disclosures for the purpose of retaining substantial prohibited weapons and capabilities.
  • Actions by Iraq in three main respects have had a significant negative impact upon the Commission’s disarmament work:
    • Iraq’s disclosure statements have never been complete;
    • contrary to the requirement that destruction be conducted under international supervision, Iraq undertook extensive, unilateral and secret destruction of large quantities of proscribed weapons and items;
    • it also pursued a practice of concealment of proscribed items, including weapons, and a cover up of its activities in contravention of Council resolutions.
  • The October 1998 meeting of international experts convened by the Commission concluded that “the existence of VX degradation products conflicts with Iraq’s declarations that the unilaterally destroyed special warheads had never been filled with any chemical warfare agents. The findings by all three laboratories of chemicals known to be degradation products of decontamination compounds also do not support Iraq’s declarations that those warhead containers had only been in contact with alcohols.”
  • In addition, the Commission’s investigations showed that, despite repeated attempts, Iraq had not provided the true locations of the hiding, immediately prior to the declared unilateral destruction, of at least half of the special warheads including abovementioned 15 BW warheads. Iraq’s continuous inability to disclose hide sites of the special warheads has also prevented the Commission from verification of the declared unilateral destruction of the special warheads.
  • In July 1998 during an inspection the Commission found a document which detailed the consumption of special munitions by Iraq in the 1980s. Iraq took the document from the Chief Inspector and did not return it to the Commission despite demands by Security Council that it do so. The figures in this document indicate serious discrepancies with Iraq’s declarations on the expenditure of CW-munitions in the 1980s. According to this document, Iraq consumed about 6,000 chemical aerial bombs less than it is stated in its declarations. This invalidates the starting point of the Commission’s accounting for chemical weapons which remained in 1991. The provision by Iraq of this document together with clarifications of the discrepancies is required to increase the degree of confidence with respect to Iraq’s declarations of chemical weapons which remained in Iraq in 1991 and their disposition.
  • Iraq declared that 550 shells filled with mustard had been “lost” shortly after the Gulf War. To date, no evidence of the missing munitions has been found. Iraq claimed that the chemical warfare agents filled into these weapons would be degraded a long time ago and, therefore, there would be no need for their accounting. However, a dozen mustard-filled shells were recovered at a former CW storage facility in the period 1997-1998. The chemical sampling of these munitions, in April 1998, revealed that the mustard was still of the highest quality. After seven years, the purity of mustard ranged between 94 and 97%. Thus, Iraq has to account for these munitions which would be ready for combat use.
  • The degree of verification achieved is not satisfactory. Iraq declared that it had produced a total of 3.9 tonnes of VX. Iraq provided documents on production in 1988, but failed to provide verifiable evidence for its activities in 1990. Iraq also denies that it weaponized VX. Sampling by the Commission of special warheads has thrown significant doubt upon this claim.
  • One hundred and ninety-seven pieces of glass CW production equipment were removed by Iraq from its prime CW facility prior to the Commission’s arrival in 1991 and were repeatedly moved in shipping containers between several facilities throughout Baghdad until 1996. This production equipment from two of 20 shipping containers was destroyed under the Commission’s supervision in 1997. To ensure that all CW production equipment removed from the CW facility has been accounted for, the Commission requested Iraq to provide its clarifications on their movement. Iraq presented such clarifications in July 1998. Field verification is still required to increase the degree of confidence that all equipment has been accounted for.
  • Since the adoption of Security Council resolution 687 (1991) in April 1991 and until July 1995, Iraq denied that it had had any proscribed biological warfare (BW) activities. Based on the results of its inspection and verification activities, the Commission assessed and reported to the Council in its report of April 1995, that Iraq had not provided an account of its proscribed biological programme nor accounted for materials and items that may have been used or acquired for such a programme. The Commission stated that with Iraq’s failure to account for the use of these items and materials for legitimate purposes, the only conclusion that can be drawn is that there is a high risk that they had been purchased and used for a proscribed purpose – acquisition of biological warfare agent. Iraq was provided with evidence collected by the Commission. On 1 July 1995, Iraq, for the first time, acknowledged that it had had an offensive BW programme but still denied any weaponization. Subsequently, in August 1995, after the departure from Iraq of Lt. Gen. Hussein Kamel Hassan, Iraq admitted that it had weaponized BW agents and deployed biological weapons for combat use.
  • Since August 1995, Iraq has submitted a number of “Full, Final and Complete Disclosures” (FFCD) of its declared BW programme. These declarations have been assessed by the Commission and by international experts as incomplete, inadequate and containing substantial deficiencies.
  • Finally, it needs to be recognised that Iraq possesses an industrial capability and knowledge base, through which biological warfare agents could be produced quickly and in volume, if the Government of Iraq decided to do so.

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