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

• Iraqi President Saddam Hussein indicated that Iraq would use the full weight of its ready missile force following his January 20th 1991 radio broadcast:

"The response of Iraq will be on a larger scale, using all the means and potential that God has given us and which we have so far only used in part."

• Iraqi President Saddam Hussein stated that he would issue orders to "the concerned people" to use WMD as evidenced by the released tape recording transcript as contained in the Iraq Survey Group Final Report of September 30th 2004:

"I will issue a letter, signed by me, listing the commands and the alternative plans and probabilities of this mission, which should be followed literally."

• Numerous chemical alarms sounded throughout North Eastern Saudi Arabia during the following days.

• Former Royal Air Force Corporal Richard Turnbull told the House of Commons Defence Select Committee in 1995 that his detection equipment indicated the presence of chemical agents at Dhahran on the night of January 20th/21st 1991:

"On the night of 20/21 January 1991 a Scud missile was intercepted by a Patriot missile over Dharran (sic) airfield and the warhead exploded on landing 400-500 yds from our position. Within seconds all the pre-positioned NAIADs and our CAMs were sounding the alarm."

• James Tuite III, of the US Department of Veterans' Affairs Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses Expert Panel, told Lord Lloyd's independent public inquiry into Gulf War Illnesses (held in London in 2004) that 14,000 chemical agent alarms were employed with US forces, and that on average they had sounded two or three times per day each:

"They went off two or three times a day per alarm during the air war, which is more than 1,200,000, 1,700,000."

• The embedded press contingent reporting the 1991 conflict from within Saudi Arabia operated under strict censorship guidelines which spelled out twelve categories of information that they should not publish. These included the effectiveness of enemy countermeasures and the vulnerabilities of US forces.

• NBC incident desk logs drawn up during the 1991 conflict were lost, supposedly when there were placed near an area designated for the shredding and destruction of unwanted records.

• Significant questions surrounding Iraqi claims that it had unilaterally destroyed all remaining Scud missile stocks during the summer of 1991 remained current throughout the period of UNSCOM, UNMOVIC and ISG inspections.

• Iraq admitted that it could not account for nine chemically capable 'special' warheads at the Warhead Technical Evaluation meeting held UNSCOM officials in Baghdad on February 6th 1998.

• The 'official' counts of Scud missiles used by Iraq during the 1991 conflict vary between sources, with 86 or 88 missiles (at targets?) often quoted, an admission of the consumption of 93 missiles by Iraq, a DoD account of 97 missiles detected, and an account of 102 missile launches being the highest figure currently seen.

• There are contradictions and discrepancies concerning Scud missile attacks in the available contemporaneous documentation. Some contemporaneous documentation is heavily redacted or is not available. Examples of these situations are the CIA's daily spot reporting for January 20th and 21st 1991 and US Space Command's records of detected Scud missile launches in 1991. FOI requests have revealed that the UK's British Forces Middle East war diaries for the 1991 Gulf War period are currently 'lost'.

• The UNMOVIC reports - 'The Cluster Document - UNRESOLVED DISARMAMENT ISSUES - IRAQ'S PROSCRIBED WEAPONS PROGRAMMES - 6 March 2003' and 'DRAFT WORK PROGRAMME - 17 March 2003' both state:

"Although UNSCOM reported that all but two of the 819 declared imported Scud-B combat missiles had been "effectively" accounted for, the stated consumption of some missiles could not be independently verified. This was the case for 14 Scud-B missiles as targets in a missile interception project. While such use is supported by some documentation contained in the so-called Scud files, it is questionable whether Iraq would have really used, what were at that time, valuable operational assets in the pursuit of such a project. Furthermore, available data could only corroborate a very small number of declared missile launches at that time. It cannot be excluded that Iraq retained a certain numbers of the missiles. The additional information Iraq provided on 8 February 2003 on the missile interception project does not resolve the outstanding questions.


"Iraq purchased Scud missiles with conventional (high explosive) warheads. Iraq used several missiles in testing that did not require the use of a warhead. UNSCOM did not find any indigenously produced warheads that had been filled with high explosive, but did find some that had been filled with agent. The foregoing suggests that all of Iraq's indigenously produced warheads had been intended for special purposes."

The following is the warhead material balance taken from Iraq's declarations of 1998 and published in United Nations document S/1999/94 dated 29th January 1999:




If the above (highlighted) UNMOVIC contention is correct, then Iraq declared the use of 6 'special' indigenously produced warheads during the 1991 Gulf conflict.

The 'Cluster Document' further states:

"In order to address the broader question of the existence of a possible Scud-type missile force, Iraq should provide specific documentation in support of its declarations. An example would be the two reports written by the missile force commander on 30 January 1991 and in May 1991 that, on the basis of Iraq's own declarations and outside information, are known to exist. The first report could help clarify the state of the combat missile force at the end of the Gulf War. The second report could allow clarification of the status of the missile force just after the adoption of resolution 687 (1991). Iraq should also provide technical documentation concerning the interception missile project in order to support its declaration on the use of Scud-B missiles as targets in the project. The provision of the two diaries that relate to the unilateral destruction of the proscribed missile propellants should also be provided. Iraq's most recent response to UNMOVIC's request on these matters provides no further clarification."

For reference:

• The Iraq Survey Group final report includes previously unseen information ostensibly prepared for Iraq by its National Monitoring Directorate in support of its 12,000 page Full and Final Complete Declaration about Scud missiles and their associated warheads, which the CIA/ISG has taken at face value, as they seemingly have no further information with which to contend the Iraqi accounting claims. Much of the previous work previously done by UNSCOM and UNMOVIC has not been referred to or taken into account. The ISG report makes reference to the 43-45 special warheads as highlighted above in the 1998 warhead material balance, but not to the declared 196-200 and recovered or accounted for 170-180 figures relating to indigenous warhead production (creating a potential total imbalance of as many as 16-30 modified warheads), nor to the possibility that any of the 24 still-missing conventional warheads might have been indigenously converted into special warheads.

For reference: