The question as to whether or not Iraq actually used chemical weapon-loaded Scud missiles during the 1991 Gulf War is still an open one. Further to this, there still remain outstanding questions about the claims that Iraq possessed illegally-retained Scud Missiles in the period prior to the 2003 Invasion of Iraq. There is no complete record to draw upon and no one organisation has ever been seen to have compiled an exhaustive and comprehensive analysis.
- A review by a former member of the Dhahran Scud Watchers Club
From Iraq's WMD > Delivery Systems:
(Highlighting as original)
Since the early 1970s, Iraq has consistently sought to acquire an effective long-range weapons delivery capability, and by 1991 Baghdad had purchased the missiles and infrastructure that would form the basis for nearly all of its future missile system developments. The Soviet Union was a key supplier of missile hardware and provided 819 Scud-B missiles and ground support equipment.
Iraq's experiences with long-range delivery systems in the Iran/Iraq war were a vital lesson to Iraqi President Saddam Husayn. The successful Iraqi response to the Iranian long-range bombardment of Baghdad, leading to the War of the Cities, probably saved Saddam.
By 1991, Iraq had successfully demonstrated its ability to modify some of its delivery systems to increase their range and to develop WMD dissemination options, with the Al Husayn being a first step in this direction. The next few years of learning and experiments confirmed that the Regime's goal was for an effective long-range WMD delivery capability and demonstrated the resourcefulness of Iraq's scientists and technicians.
Iraq failed in its efforts to acquire longer-range delivery systems to replace inventory exhausted in the Iran/Iraq war. This was a forcing function that drove Iraq to develop indigenous delivery system production capabilities.
Desert Storm and subsequent UN resolutions and inspections brought many of Iraq's delivery system programs to a halt. While much of Iraq's long-range missile inventory and production infrastructure was eliminated, Iraq until late 1991 kept some items hidden to assist future reconstitution of the force. This decision and Iraq's intransigence during years of inspection left many UN questions unresolved.
Coalition airstrikes effectively targeted much of Iraq's delivery systems infrastructure, and UN inspections dramatically impeded further developments of long-range ballistic missiles.
It appears to have taken time, but Iraq eventually realized that sanctions were not going to end quickly. This forced Iraq to sacrifice its long-range delivery force in an attempt to bring about a quick end to the sanctions.
After the flight of Husayn Kamil in 1995, Iraq admitted that it had hidden Scud-variant missiles and components to aid future reconstitution but asserted that these items had been unilaterally destroyed by late 1991. The UN could not verify these claims and thereafter became more wary of Iraq's admissions and instituted a Regime of more intrusive inspections.
The Iraq Survey Group (ISG) has uncovered no evidence Iraq retained Scud-variant missiles, and debriefings of Iraqi officials in addition to some documentation suggest that Iraq did not retain such missiles after 1991.
Evolution of Iraq's Delivery Systems
Throughout its recent history, Iraq has consistently sought to maintain an effective long-range weapons delivery capability, beginning with its acquisition of Scud missiles in the 1970s and 80s and subsequent modifications to increase their range. After expelling the UN inspectors in 1998, the Regime authorized the development of longer-range delivery systems, demonstrating its commitment to acquiring these potential WMD delivery platforms.
After Desert Storm, the international community learned that Iraq had developed CW and BW warheads for Al Husayn missiles, was pursuing a nuclear weapon for delivery by ballistic missile, and had pursued development of a UAV for CW/BW delivery. WMD delivery was a central role for Iraq's missile and UAV systems.
During the UNSCOM inspection years (1991-1998), Iraq embarked on a number of delivery system programs that helped retain the expertise and infrastructure needed to reconstitute a long-range strike capability, although ISG has no indication that was the intent.
After OIF, ISG found evidence for several new long-range delivery system designs, but has not found evidence for new WMD payloads for these, or any, delivery systems.
In the early 1970s, Iraq embarked on a determined path to acquire a robust delivery system capability, and by 1991 Iraq had purchased the missiles and infrastructure that would form the basis for nearly all of its future missile system developments. The Soviet Union was a key supplier of missile systems in Iraq's bid to establish a liquid-propellant ballistic missile force. Other countries played significant roles in the establishment of related infrastructure. The Iran-Iraq War was a key spur to these missile system developments. In particular, Iraq needed to achieve longer range missiles. Iran could strike Iraqi cities with Scuds, but Iraq could not strike Tehran with similar-range systems.
After signing contracts with the Soviet Union in 1972, Iraq between 1974 and 1988 received 819 Scud-B missiles; 11 MAZ-543 transporter-erector-launchers; and other ground support equipment, propellants, and warheads.
In 1984, Iraq, Egypt, and Argentina signed an agreement (amended in 1985 and 1987) to produce the BADR-2000 - a solid-propellant boosted two-stage ballistic missile with range capabilities up to 750 km. By 1989 deliveries fell so far behind schedule that the agreement, was canceled. However, before Iraq terminated the agreement it received missile designs, two large solid-propellant mixers, and other infrastructure.
In 1987, unable to attack Tehran directly during the Iran-Iraq war using standard Scud-B missiles, Iraq performed a simple modification to produce the Al Husayn with a 650-km range and reduced payload mass. At first, producing one Al Husayn missile required three Scud airframes, but this rapidly evolved to a one-for-one ratio allowing recovery of previously consumed missiles.
In 1987, Iraq successfully demonstrated its ability to both modify some of its delivery systems to increase their range and to develop crude WMD dissemination options by 1990, with the Al Husayn being a first step in this direction.
Iraq invaded Kuwait in August 1990 and, in the ensuing Desert Storm, used Al Husayn and Al Hijarah missiles against targets in Israel and Saudi Arabia.
In 1990, Iraq successfully designed and tested crude "special" CW or BW agent-filled warheads for the Al Husayn missile. Serial production occurred between August and September 1990 producing a stockpile of CBW warheads.
Desert Storm and subsequent UN resolutions and inspections brought many of Iraq's delivery system programs to a halt. While much of Iraq's missile inventory and production infrastructure was eliminated, Iraq kept some Scud variant missiles hidden to assist future reconstitution of the force until the end of 1991. This decision, coupled with the unilateral destruction of WMD, and Iraq's intransigence during the inspection years left many questions unresolved for the UN. Baghdad's prime objective was to rid Iraq of sanctions, which would enable Iraq to develop its delivery system programs at a quicker pace and to make their systems more accurate. Iraq's fear of Iran's growing military strength and Baghdad's concern that inspections would expose its weaknesses to Iran led Baghdad to obfuscate the inspection process.
United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 687 prohibited Iraq from developing or possessing any ballistic missiles with a range in excess of 150 km - a restriction reinforced by subsequent resolutions—and established an organization called the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM) with the mandate to police these restrictions. In the summer of 1991, UNSCOM oversaw the destruction of 48 Al Husayn missiles, 50 warheads, 6 MAZ-543 launchers and 2 Al Nida' launchers.
After the flight of Husayn Kamil, Saddam's son-in-law and head of the weapons programs of the Military Industrialization Commission (MIC), Iraq in 1995 admitted that it had intentionally concealed two Scud-type missiles and associated equipment from the UN until late 1991 to prevent their destruction so that they could be used in the future to reconstitute the force. The Iraqi government declared it unilaterally destroyed these items, but the UN could not completely verify those claims and became much more wary of Iraq’s admissions and instituted a regime of more intrusive inspections.
Husayn Kamil was the key to the delivery system development process being closely involved in the appointments of key personnel and even run-of-the-mill design reviews. His flight from Iraq effectively ended all work on long-range missiles until 1998.
Documentary evidence reveals that Iraq received all of its Scud missiles deliveries from the Soviet Union. The documents also account for the disposition of Iraq's Scud force. This information, apparently never provided to the UN, suggests Iraq did not have Scud-variant missiles after 1991, resolving a key question for the international community.
Resolving the Retained Scud-Variant Missile Question
ISG acquired information suggesting that after 1991 Iraq did not possess Scud or Scud-variant missiles. Interviews with several former high-level Iraqi officials, visits to locations where missiles were reportedly hidden, and documents reportedly never disclosed to the UN, all appear to confirm that Iraq expended or destroyed all of the 819 Scud missiles it acquired from the Soviet Union.
A recently exploited document contains information on all of the 819 Scud missiles imported from the Soviet Union with a break down by serial number of their disposition. This document - reportedly never shared with the UN, although the contents had been discussed with UN officials - provides an Iraqi analysis for the discrepancies in the accounting for its Scud missiles to the UN. A partial translation of the document can be found in the Delivery Systems Annex.
Husam Muhammad Amin Al Yasin, the former director of the National Monitoring Directorate (NMD), admitted to knowing about the retention of two missiles for reverse-engineering but said the missiles were destroyed in 1991.
According to Hazim 'Abd-al-Razzaq Ayyubi Al Shihab, the former commander of the Surface-to-Surface Missile (SSM) Forces, the only retained Scud-variant missiles were destroyed in 1991. Two missiles that were to be used for reverse engineering were unilaterally destroyed by December 1991. Hazim claimed that no other Scud missiles or equipment were retained.
A few former high-level Regime officials have provided conflicting information regarding the retention of Scud-variant missiles. Further questioning has not resolved these conflicts. Additionally, ISG has investigated several reports from sources of unknown credibility concerning the locations of Scud missiles, but we have not found evidence at those locations to support these claims.
'Abd-al-Tawab 'Abdallah Al Mullah Huwaysh, the head of MIC and Deputy Prime Minister, stated that he had been convinced that Iraq had retained two to four Scud-variant missiles as a result of a 2002 conversation with Qusay Saddam Husayn. Huwaysh described Qusay's irritation with 'Amir Muhammad Rashid Al 'Ubaydi, the former Minister of Oil then charged with resolving the Scud material balance, who had pestered Qusay over the difference in Scud materiel balance between UNMOVIC and Iraq. Huwaysh then commented that he knew nothing about the location of the missiles or their status and that his opinion was based on Qusay's reaction. However, Huwaysh speculated that a highly restricted area near the so-called "Khanaqin triangle" would have been an ideal location to hide these missiles, since the Special Republican Guard (SRG) controlled the area. Huwaysh was unable to provide any confirmatory evidence to his claim.
ISG believes that the balance of credible reporting and documentary evidence suggests that, after 1991, Iraq no longer possessed Scud-variant missiles. Though some former high-level officials offer speculation and suspicions that Iraq has retained Scud-variant missiles, exhaustive investigation by ISG has not yielded evidence supporting these claims.
From Iraq's WMD > Delivery Systems > Annex A:
The data in this Annex are complementary to and in support of the material found in the Delivery Systems Report and as such should be referenced only in conjunction with that Report. Items in this Annex address specific topics that are presented in the Report but include greater detail or additional data, and provide more information to support the contentions and arguments in the main text.
1.1 Scud Missile Material Balance
Documentation recovered by ISG appears to be an Iraqi attempt to account for its Scud missiles. This material reportedly was never disclosed to the UN. The documentation includes the serial numbers for all 819 Scud missiles Iraq received from the Soviet Union between 1972 and 1988, contract numbers, and the disposition of these missiles broken down by serial number. Also included are two figures: the first entitled "Inventory Account of Used Rockets Provided by Russia (Declaration)" represents the Scud missile account as given to the UN; the second figure entitled "Inventory Account of Used Rockets Provided by Russia (Facts)" is, according to the engineer, the most accurate accounting for Iraq's Scud missiles. The numbers in this second figure vary from the numbers Iraq disclosed in its 2002 Currently Accurate Full, and Complete Declaration (CAFCD) to the UN, and the explanation for the discrepancy in the numbers is provided in these documents. According to the source of this information, these documents represent the full story on Scud missile material balance. This material was most likely prepared to support a presentation at the Technical Evaluation Meetings (TEMs) held in Baghdad in early 1998.
Available data suggest that Iraq's declaration of its unilateral destruction to the UN was assembled from eyewitness accounts rather than by matching up serial numbers. The Regime officials who participated in this effort supposedly interviewed more than 100 army personnel and other individuals who saw or claimed to have seen the disposition of the Scud missiles at some time. The method in which this information was derived was susceptible to error and, as such, should likely not have been forwarded to the UN as the official position.
Figure 2 reportedly contains Iraq's most accurate accounting for its Scud missiles. The figures in the chart are supported by the serial numbers contained in some of the other documents. The total number of missiles listed in the accounting is 816 vice 819, and an explanation was attempted, shown in the following inset.
ISG assesses that the accounting for missiles 853648 and 866417 is still incomplete.
The 3 Missing Scud Missiles
ISG derived the following information from recovered documents. This explanation was part of the overall effort to provide the most accurate accounting for Scud missiles, which the UN has reportedly not seen.
Engine for Missile Serial Number 853667. Engine serial number 85366, was used to replace engine 878426 in a flight test on 28 December 1990. According to the source's diary, remnants of engine 878426 appeared in debris of Iraq's unilaterally destroyed missiles, and tests of these remnants indicated that the engine had never been fired. Engine 878426 had been given to Project 144/2 for use in an Al Husayn, but, confusingly, the diary records that the engine was also used in the December test. 878426 had in fact been unilaterally destroyed, which is why forensic tests of the remnants showed that the engine had never been fired.
Engine for Missile Serial Number 853648. The warhead for the engine with serial number 853648 appeared under serial number 8507101 in 1992 as part of the unilaterally destroyed debris, but, when the debris was rechecked in 1996, they were unable to locate this item again and was therefore considered unaccounted for.
Engine for Missile Serial Number 866417. In 1992 among the remnants of the unilaterally destroyed material, a nozzle was encountered, which had an illegible serial number. The number read 8-2-16. The number was thought to be 852016 or 8552216; however, missiles with these serial numbers were never delivered to Iraq. As with the previous engine, this nozzle was not found among the debris when it was rechecked in 1996. A document recovered from Project 144/2 noted that engine 866417 was present for modification for the Al Husayn.
Below is the breakdown for all 819 SCUD-B missiles according to the year of delivery and serial number. This information is reflected in Figure 2.
1.2 Scud Warhead Material Balance
ISG has collected an official National Monitoring Directorate (NMD) document, dated 12 December 1997, on the expenditure of Scud warheads imported from the Soviet Union, which differs from the figures provided in the 1996 Full, Final, and Complete Disclosure (FFCD). These FFCD data are also repeated in the 2002 CAFCD. The NMD document is most likely part of that organization's effort to reconcile the material for imported Scud warheads. Although unable to verify information, ISG judges that this is a factual accounting for the 819 Scud warheads Iraq imported from the Soviet Union.
As with the data in for missile consumption (Section 1.1), this material was most likely prepared to support a presentation at the Warhead Technical Evaluation Meeting (TEM) held in Baghdad between the 1st and 6th February 1998.
Following the acceptance of UNSCR 687, Iraq was forced to destroy its remaining inventory of Scud missiles, warheads, and related equipment. Iraq had imported 819 warheads from the Soviet Union and had succeeded in producing warheads indigenously. During the period of warhead destruction, the distinction between the imported warheads and the indigenously produced warheads became unclear, and thus a full and accurate accounting for the destruction of imported and indigenously produced Scud warheads has never been reconciled.
According to the NMD accounting (Tables 1 & 2), Iraq fired 87 imported warheads and six indigenously produced warheads (presumably concrete warheads for the Al Hijarah missiles) during the 1991 Gulf War. In the 1996 FFCD and the CAFCD, Iraq declared that it had fired 88 imported warheads and 5 indigenously produced Al Hijarah warheads. This leaves a discrepancy of one imported warhead.
In the 1996 FFCD and the CAFCD, the Iraqis declared that they unilaterally destroyed 119 imported warheads. This NMD document shows only 118 had been destroyed.
The disagreement between the numbers provided in the 1996 FFCD and the CAFCD, and this NMD document for the "special" CBW warheads destroyed by the Chemical Destruction Group, (CDG), is the largest. During this destruction of warheads, an accurate accounting for the number of imported versus indigenously produced warheads was never achieved.
From Iraq's WMD > Biological Warfare:
Detailed Accounting of Iraq's Al Husayn Missile "Special" Warheads
According to Iraqi declarations and Dr. Mahmud Farraj Bilal, Iraq had produced 75 "special" Al Husayn warheads, including 50 chemical warheads, and 25 biological warheads.
In April 1991, Iraqi initially declared to the UN only 30 warheads - all of them chemical. Iraq destroyed these under UNSCOM supervision. Of the 30 CW warheads:
16 contained unitary Sarin (GB) nerve agent
14 contained the cyclohexanol/isopropanol mixture that was the basis for Iraq's "binary" GB/GF nerve agent. The methylphosphonic difluoride (DF) component for these warheads was also destroyed.
In addition to these 30 declared chemical warheads, Iraq initially concealed 20 undeclared chemical warheads from UNSCOM, which it destroyed in the summer of 1991. All were "binary" warheads filled with a mixture of cyclohexanol and isopropanol.
After Husayn Kamil fled Iraq in August 1995, Iraq clarified that the 75 Al Husayn warheads actually consisted of 50 chemical and 25 biological warheads. Of the 25 biological warheads, Iraq declared and Dr. Bilal believes that:
5 contained "Agent B" - anthrax spores
16 contained "Agent A" - botulinum toxin
4 contained "Agent C" - aflatoxin
To verify Iraq's claims, UNSCOM sampled remnants of warheads destroyed at An Nibai and found traces of anthrax in containers of seven distinct missile warheads. In response, Iraq changed its account of BW warheads. Dr. Bilal clarified that no one knew for certain the number of warheads filled with a given agent because the Iraqis kept no records of the filling operation.
Of the 45 "special" warheads that were unilaterally destroyed by Iraq, UNSCOM recovered and accounted for remnants of 43-45.
The Al Husayn warhead "material balance" is thus:
75 Total "special" warheads produced by Iraq
30 Destroyed under UNSCOM supervision
20 "Binary" CW warheads unilaterally destroyed at An Nibai
25 Deactivated BW warheads unilaterally destroyed at An Nibai
45 Total warheads unilaterally destroyed
75 Total "special"warheads destroyed
© 2004 CIA/ISG
Scudwatch note: The ISG report contains scant details about previous UNSCOM and UNMOVIC concerns about some Scud missile and warhead issues. There is no mention of the questions that remained about the combat armament of Missile Unit 223, and whilst the 1998 Baghdad Warhead Technical Evaluation Meeting is noted in the text, no accord is given to the Iraqi admissions acknowledged at that meeting. Also, the National Monitoring Directorate (NMD) document, which was never seen by UNSCOM or UNMOVIC, accounts for six as opposed to five indigenously produced warheads as being fired during the 1991 Gulf War, but does not in any way clarify the situation as to whether these were 'special' or conventional weapons. The discrepancy of one imported warhead noted above is related to internal Iraqi accounting differences and is not relevant to the overall Iraqi warhead deficit. UNSCOM questions about the possible existence of seven indigenous missiles and UNMOVIC questions about fourteen training missiles (or a similar number of missiles being used in an interception project) are not addressed at all.