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

Review of Intelligence on Weapons of Mass Destruction Report of a Committee of Privy Counsellors

Lord Butler of Brockwell KG GCB CVO (Chair),
Right Honourable Sir John Chilcot GCB,
Right Honourable Ann Taylor MP,
Right Honourable Michael Mates MP,
Lord Inge KG GCB DL

Ordered by the House of Commons to be printed 14th July 2004



204. In the period from 1996 to the withdrawal of United Nations inspectors in December 1998, the JIC continued to assess that, because of the inherent uncertainties, Iraq might retain variously "a small number", "a handful" or "some" ballistic missiles. While UNSCOM concluded in 1997 that all but two Scud missiles acquired by Iraq from the Soviet Union had been accounted for, this did not cover some other indigenously produced missiles which Iraq claimed to have destroyed. We have observed in this context remarks attributed to Ambassador Ekeus (Executive Chairman of UNSCOM, 1991-1997) that a number of Iraqi missiles, put variously in the range 6-25, remained unaccounted for. We have also noted information from one intelligence source in 1998 suggesting that Iraq retained sufficient complete missiles and components to allow it to assemble up to 16 missiles in total.


© 2004 The Butler Review

SCUDWATCH NOTE: Lord Butler's review does not consider any evidence borne of the efforts of the UNSCOM inspection processes post-1997; nor of UNMOVIC and British Intelligence's direct official and unofficial discussions with Iraqi governmental delegations and individuals at any point prior to the March 2003 Invasion of Iraq.

Genesis of the 6-25 missile figure

1. References to the 6-16 figure.


12:35 P.M. EST WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 29, 1997

MR. EKEUS: On the missile, I don't want to give numbers. You recall that when I was asked to, so to say, not -- to give a presentation to Sam Nunn's committee in Senate, I said six to 16. This was just to give a broad framework. As you know, in December we had in the meeting between Tariq Aziz and myself in Baghdad devoted especially to counting the missiles, and we went out, so to say -- we went away from our normal principles. Normally we -- (inaudible word) -- from Iraq to make its presentation and we verify the correctness; but we turned the table upside down and said, all right, we are prepared to show why we have come to these conclusions that there is a number of missiles, and we would like to hear the reaction on it.

"Just last week, Rolf Ekeus, who heads the U.N. team monitoring the Iraq's weapons programs, told the Security Council that Baghdad was refusing to cooperate with efforts to confirm it has destroyed missile engines the government contends it dismantled in 1991. Ekeus was in Baghdad Monday seeking to export the remains of the missile engines to verify that Iraq did not a demolish dummies or duds."

"The U.N. mission believes that Iraq may be hiding six to 16 long-range missiles and still has not explained satisfactorily the whereabouts of all the materiel it acquired for biological and chemical weapons."

Center for Nonproliferation Studies
460 Pierce Street, Monterey, CA 93940, USA
Telephone: +1 (831) 647-4154; Fax: +1 (831) 647-3519
E-mail:; Web:


The Nonproliferation Review/Fall 1996

3/20/96 UNSCOM Chief Rolf Ekeus told a U.S. Senate subcommittee that UNSCOM suspected Iraq was hiding between six and 16 Scud SSMs on trucks that move between military installations. According to U.N. sources, the missiles were 650 km-range al-Hussein SSMs which can carry 300 kg warheads. According to Ekeus, UNSCOM's five confrontations with Iraqi authorities over gaining access to certain facilities in 3/96 can be explained by Baghdad's desire to keep the missiles concealed. Ekeus said that although senior Iraqi officials had informed him that all of Iraq’s missiles and warheads had been destroyed, no documents existed to prove this, and U.N. inspectors had not been allowed to verify the remains.

Christopher Bellamy, Independent, 3/23/96 (6266).

Arms Control Today, 3/96, p. 28 (6266).

R. Jeffrey Smith, Washington Post, 3/21/96, pp. A1, A28 (6266).

Washington Times, 3/21/96, p. A15 (6258).

20 March 1996

In a testimony before a Senate sub-committee, Rolf Ekeus says that Iraq may have up to 16 missiles armed with biological warheads hidden on trucks that could be moved quickly.

- "Weapons Inspector: Iraq May be Hiding Biological-Warhead Missiles,"
Washington Times,
21 March 1996, p. A15.

Federation of American Scientists

Ekeus estimated, for example, that between six and 16 SCUD missiles are not yet accounted for, although he conceded that some outside experts believe the figure may be much higher than that.

21 March 1996

UNSCOM suspects Iraq has hidden between 6 and 16 ballistic missiles, with warheads containing lethal nerve agents or germ weapons, which are capable of reaching Israel, Kuwait, or Saudi Arabia. According to Rolf Ekeus, UN investigators believe the medium-range missiles are probably stored on Iraqi trucks and shuttled between military installations to prevent their discovery.

--Jeffrey R. Smith, "Iraq Is Hiding 6 to 16 Scuds, U.N. Suspects,"
The Washington Post, 21 March 1996, p. A1; in Proquest,

(For reference:)

During an interview in Jordan, Wafiq al-Samarrai, former chief of Iraq's Security Services, said that Iraq still possessed 40 Scud missiles that could be fitted with chemical, suspected weapon sites. UNSCOM Chief Rolf Ekeus said there was "a high probability" that Baghdad was concealing items the commission is "convinced still exist" in Iraq.

Barbara Crossette, New York Times, 6/13/96, p. A8 (6337).

Date: Mon, 6 May 1996 19:59 -0400
From: The White House (Publications-Admin@WhiteHouse.Gov)
Subject: 1996-05-06 President Letter to Congress on Iraq
Keywords: President, Economy, Energy, Foreign, International-Cooperation, International-Economy, World-Order,
International-Security, Letter, Middle-East-North-Africa, Security, Topical-Remarks
Message-Id: 19960506235953.3.Mail-Server@CLINTON.AI.MIT.EDU
Document-ID: pdi://


Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release May 6, 1996


May 4, 1996

Dear Mr. Speaker: (Dear Mr. President:)
Consistent with the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution (Public Law 102-1), and as part of my effort to keep the Congress fully informed, I am reporting on the status of efforts to obtain Iraq's compliance with the resolutions adopted by the U.N. Security Council.

The Government of Iraq remains far from compliance with its obligations under applicable Security Council resolutions. The U.N. Special Commission (UNSCOM) Chairman Ekeus remarked recently in Washington that Iraq may be hiding up to 16 SCUD missiles, possibly armed with biological warheads. Iraqi officials blatantly violated Security Council resolutions in March when they repeatedly obstructed UNSCOM officials attempting to search buildings in Baghdad for weapons of mass destruction material. Iraqi officials may have removed or destroyed incriminating material during the delay. In a report released on April 11, UNSCOM expressed its concern that Iraq may still be engaged in weapons activities prohibited under Security Council Resolution 687. Iraq continues to evade its duty to return looted Kuwaiti property and help account for hundreds of civilians who disappeared in Kuwait during the occupation. Iraq still provides refuge for known terrorists. The Security Council took all these factors into account in maintaining sanctions without change at its March 8 review.

1 July 1996

Rolf Ekeus states at a news conference in Kuwait City that Iraq may conceal between 6 and 16 long-range ballistic missiles capable of delivering conventional, biological and chemical warheads.

--"Iraq May Have 16 Banned Missiles,"
The Washington Times, 2 July 1996, p. A12;

UPI, 1 July 1996, in
"UN Inspections to Step up Iraq Activities,"
Executive News Service, 2 July 1996;

Kuna (Kuwait), 1 July 1996, in
"Kuwait: Rolf Ekeus Says Iraq Still Possesses Long-Range Missiles,"
FBIS-NES-96-128, 1 July 1996;

Sulayman Al-'As'usi, MBC Television (London), 1 July 1996, in
"Kuwait: Ekeus Sets Conditions For Lifting Iraqi Embargo,"
FBIS-NES-96-128, 1 July 1996;

Al-Quds Al-'Arabi (London), 2 July 1996, p. 15, in
"Iraq: Ekeus Missile Claim Said Part of U.S. Plan to
Starve Iraqis,"
FBIS-NES-96-129, 2 July 1996;

Reuters, 1 July 1996, in
"Iraq May Still Be Hiding Prohibited Arms-Ekeus,"
Executive News Service, 2 July 1996;

Reuters, 1 July 1996, in
"Iraq May Have Up To 16 Banned Long-Range Missiles,"
Executive News Service, 2 July 1996;

Reuters, 1 July 1996, in
"Iraq May Have up to 16 Banned Missiles-U.N. Official,"
Executive News Service, 2 July 1996.

Iraq May Have 16 Banned Missiles

Washington Times, 7/2/96, p. A12

"On 7/1/96, UNSCOM Chief Rolf Ekeus told a news conference in Kuwait City that Iraq may be concealing between six and 16 long-range ballistic missiles capable of delivering conventional, biological, or chemical warheads. Ekeus said Iraq claimed it destroyed the missiles in 1991, but had failed to provide evidence proving this.[1] According to Ekeus, UNSCOM was concerned that Iraq continued to conceal prohibited items and to give the commission false information. Ekeus emphasized that UNSCOM will increase its scrutiny of Iraq if Baghdad does not cooperate." [1]

"During his visit to Kuwait, Ekeus met with the Emir of Kuwait, Jabir al- Ahmad al-Sabah, Prime Minister Sa'd al-'Abdallah al-Sabah, and several other officials, to discuss recent developments concerning Iraq's WMD program." [2]

Supporting Sources:

[1] Kuna (Kuwait), 7/1/96; in FBIS-NES-96-128, 7/1/96,
"Kuwait: Rolf Ekeus Says Iraq Still Possesses Long-Range Missiles."

[2] Sulayman al-'As'usi, MBC Television (London), 7/1/96;
in FBIS-NES-96- 128, 7/1/96, "Kuwait: Ekeus
Sets Conditions For Lifting Iraqi Embargo."

[3] Al-Quds Al-'Arabi (London), 7/2/96, p. 15; in FBIS-NES-96-129, 7/2/96,
"Iraq: Ekeus Missile Claim Said Part Of U.S. Plan To Starve Iraqis."

[4] Reuter, 7/1/96; in Executive News Service, 7/2/96,
"Iraq May Still Be Hiding Prohibited Arms-Ekeus."

[5] Reuter, 7/1/96; in Executive News Service, 7/2/96,
"Iraq May Have Up To 16 Banned Long-Range Missiles."

[6] Reuter, 7/1/96; in Executive News Service, 7/2/96,
"Iraq May Have Up to 16 Banned Missiles-U.N. Official."

'Iraq may be hiding up to 16 modified SCUD missile with chemical and biological warheads....Mr. Ekeus' team believe between six and sixteen missiles are probably being concealed.'

- 'The Independent', March 23rd 1997

"This raises the question of the 6-16 Scuds--those are the numbers used by UNSCOM, I think at least by Rolf Ekeus, in 1996 or 1997. Of those remaining Al Hussein missiles, we don't know how many are operational. It is quite possible that in transporting them around the country, they may no longer be operational." (Michael Eisenstadt, Senior Fellow, The Washington Institute for Near East Policy - June 14-15, 2001.)

2. References to the 18-25 figure.

18 December 1996

Rolf Ekeus reports to the UN Security Council that he believes Iraq retains "a significant number of operational missiles, which could constitute a complete missile force," including support equipment, rocket launchers, fuel, and a command system to "make a missile force of significance." Inspectors suspect that there may be as many as 18 to 25 Iraqi missiles unaccounted for, an increase from their previous estimation of 16 missiles.

--Anthony H. Cordesman and Arleigh A. Burke,
"Iraqi Military Forces Ten Years after the Gulf War,"
Center for Strategic Studies, August 2000, p.81;

(For reference:)


• Ekeus reported on December 18, 1996 that Iraq retained missiles, rocket launchers, fuel, and command system to "make a missile force of significance". UNSCOM reporting as of October, 1997 is more optimistic, but notes that Iraq, "continued to conceal documents describing its missile propellants, and the material evidence relating to its claims to have destroyed its indigenous missile production capabilities indicated in might has destroyed less than a tenth of what it claimed"


• Iraq claims to have manufactured only 80 missile assemblies, 53 of which were unusable. UNSCOM claims that 10 are unaccounted for.

Barbara Crossette, "U.N. Says Iraq May Be Hiding More Missiles Than Suspected,"
The New York Times, 19 December 1996, p. A5, in Proquest, (;

Anthony Goodman, Reuters, 18 December 1996, in
"UN Believes Iraq Still Has 'Missile Force,'"
Executive News Service, 27 December 1996;

Michael Theodoulou, "UN Chief Says Iraq Arms Trip Failed,"
The Times (Online), 12 December 1996, (;

UPI, 18 December 1996, in
"Iraq Gives No Account of Missing Missiles,"
Executive News Service, 18 December 1996;

Anthony Goodman, Reuters, 4 December 1996, in
"UN's Ekeus to Check On Missiles During Iraq Trip,"
Executive News Service, 4 December 1996;

Leon Barkho, Reuters, 11 December 1996, in
"Iraq, UN Freeze Dispute over Missile Engines,"
Executive News Service, 11 December 1996;

"Iraq Likely Has Hidden Missiles, Inspector Says," The Washington Times, 19 December 1996, p. A13.

The Arms Control Association

Arms Control Today
January/February 1997

UNSCOM Head Says Iraq Has Operational' Missile Force

Howard Diamond

Ekeus' assessment, offered during a January 29 luncheon speech sponsored by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, indicates that Baghdad may have an operational force of between 18 and 25 Scud or Scud variant missiles.

29 January 1997

Rolf Ekeus estimates that Iraq possesses 18 to 25 Scud, or Scud variant, missiles.

--Howard Diamond, "UNSCOM Head Says Iraq Has Operational' Missile Force,"
Arms Control Today (January/February 1997),

Finally, and most importantly, UNSCOM recently concluded that Iraq has an operational SCUD capability -- including support vehicles, launchers, fuel, and operational missiles -- and that Baghdad has many more operational SCUDs than the 6-16 that UNSCOM previously believed it possessed.

Carnegie Endowment for International Peace


In late 1997, UNSCOM believed that Iraq may have been hiding a residual missile force of 18 to 25 indigenously produced Al Husayn missiles, which could be armed with biological or chemical warheads.

While the UNSCOM inspectors confirmed in April 1992 that most of Iraq's remaining Scud-based missile force had been eliminated, the clandestine character of Iraq's destruction of the 85 missiles showed that Iraq was desperately trying to preserve missiles and missile components.

In December 1995, UNSCOM reported that some elements in Iraq's final missile declaration were still unaccounted for, including ten missile engine systems that Iraq claimed it had destroyed. UNSCOM also was not satisfied that it had accounted for the number of indigenously produced warheads and of "such major components for operational missiles as guidance and control systems, liquid propellant fuels and ground support equipment." A third gap was incomplete Iraqi declarations on the relationship of the missile program to past activities in the chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons areas.

Carnegie Endowment for International Peace



In late 1997, UNSCOM believed that Iraq may have been hiding a residual missile force of 18 to 25 indigenously produced Al Hussein missiles, which could be armed with biological or chemical warheads.


Iraqi missile program controversies persisted through 1996; UNSCOM reported in October that "in the missile area, Iraq still has not fully accounted for all proscribed weapons, items, and capabilities." UNSCOM Chairman Ekeus told the U.S. Senate in March 1996 that Iraq seemed to be hiding at least 6, and maybe as many as 16, indigenously produced Al Husayn missiles. A month later, a Pentagon report rekindled the dispute with UNSCOM over the accounting of Iraq's missiles, stating: "The United States believes Iraq has hidden a small number of mobile launchers and several dozen Scud-type missiles produced before Operation Desert Storm (emphasis added)." In December 1996, UNSCOM officials indicated that they believed that 18 to 25 missiles, along with support equipment, were still being hidden - enough, in the words of Ambassador Ekeus, "to constitute a complete missile force." (92)


(92) "Iraq Likely Has Hidden Missiles, Inspector Says,"
Washington Times, December 19, 1996; Barbara Crossette,

"UN Says Iraq May Be Hiding More Missiles Than Suspected,"
New York Times, December 19, 1996.

DoD News Briefing

Mr. Kenneth H. Bacon, ASD (PA)
Tuesday, Feb. 4, 1997 - 2 p.m.

The UN sanctions against Iraq prohibit it from building missiles. We know, and UNSCOM has reported this in the past, that we believe they are hiding as many as 18 to 25 SCUD missiles in Iraq. This is against the sanctions.

DoD News Briefing Mr. Kenneth H. Bacon, ASD (PA)
Tuesday, Feb. 4, 1997 - 2 p.m.

Roughly 18 - 25 SCUD missiles still remain unaccounted for and the destruction of warheads of mass destruction has never been verified.