Iraq’s Biological Weapons and Israel

(September 30, 2004)

Excerpts from the Iraq Survey Group Report (Duelfer Report):

Saddam himself exercised control over Iraq's BW arsenal, and he was prepared to use it against U.S. and allied forces in the event of war. At a meeting in early January 1991, he identified the targets for the BW weapons. Israel was to be first and all Israeli cities were targets, but he ordered that strikes concentrate on Tel Aviv. U.S. forces were to be targets if they attacked with unconventional forces. He also identified Riyadh and Jeddah as targets. In a transcript of discussions held at the time, Saddam ordered the use of the more persistent (presumably anthrax) BW agents: "we want the long term, the many years kind."

Iraq's BW infrastructure emerged from that conflict (1991 Gulf War) damaged, but not destroyed, and in the wake of the war the regime tried to preserve what it could of its BW program. Aiming to leave open the option of restarting BW activities once UN inspections were over and sanctions were lifted, Baghdad attempted to remove all possible signatures of its past offensive activities. Simultaneously, Iraq undertook a significant denial and deception effort intended to conceal from the UN the true nature, scope, and ultimate objectives of the program. By 1995, these efforts had failed, and Iraq admitted its offensive program, leading in 1996 to the destruction, at Saddam's orders and under UN supervision, of most of Iraq's BW physical infrastructure.

Saddam continued to see the utility of WMD. He explained that he purposely gave an ambiguous impression about possession as a deterrent to Iran. He gave explicit direction to maintain the intellectual capabilities. As UN sanctions eroded there was a concomitant expansion of activities that could support full WMD reactivation. He directed that ballistic missile work continue that would support long-range missile development. Virtually no senior Iraqi believed that Saddam had forsaken WMD forever. Evidence suggests that, as resources became available and the constraints of sanctions decayed, there was a direct expansion of activity that would have the effect of supporting future WMD reconstitution.

Dr. Bilal told ISG, "Al Hakam was kept as potential for the BW program in the future." He described that they decided they must do everything to preserve it and stated that the entire bioinsecticide and SCP effort at Al Hakam was a "100% cover story" created by 'Amir Rashid. Dr. Rihab also stated that the intent to produce the SCP and bioinsecticide at Al Hakam was "to cover the equipment." ISG judges that in the wake of Desert Storm and destruction of much of the BW effort, Iraq's strategic objective was to give the appearance of cooperating with UNSCOM while preserving the intellectual capital amassed in prior years on BW.

Source: Comprehensive Report of the Special Advisor to the DCI on Iraq’s WMD, Langley, VA: CIA, (September 30, 2004)