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CHEMICAL AND BIOLOGICAL WARFARE IN THE KUWAIT THEATER OF OPERATIONS; IRAQ'S CAPABILITY AND POSTURING (U) Filename:0147pgv.00d CHEMICAL AND BIOLOGICAL WARFARE IN THE KUWAIT THEATER OF OPERATIONS; IRAQ'S CAPABILITY AND POSTURING (U) KEY JUDGMENTS Iraq maintains the most extensive chemical and biological warfare capability in the Third World. Baghdad's forces have a range of chemical agents and delivery means, as well as the experience and training needed to use chemical weapons effectively. Biological weapons have only been developed recently. Iraq is likely to use CW as an integral part of tactical operations to protect key political, military, or economic strategic areas. One such area is the northern portion of the Kuwait Theatre of Operations (KTO). At present, Iraq is not prepared to launch an offensive against allied forces in Saudi Arabia supported by chemical weapons. Iraq is prepared to defend some strategic assets in the KTO with chemical weapons including the Rumailah oil field and Warbah and Bubiyan Islands in response to an attack in southern Kuwait. The effectiveness of long-range chemical weapons against deep targets is unpredictable. We believe Iraq calculates chemical use against these targets, especially from aircraft, as an unacceptable risk. Iraq is assessed to have some biological delivery capability. The use of BW weapons by Iraq would probably be strategic, prior to the initiation of hostilities. [ (b)(1) sec 1.3(a)(4) ] (U) Iraq's CBW Capabilities Chemical Agents (See Table 1.) Iraq's CW agents used in the war with Iran include the persistent blister agent mustard, the semipersistent nerve agents tabun (GA) and GF, and the nonpersistent nerve agent sarin (GB). After the war, Iraq investigated and may have subsequently produced small amounts of the persistent nerve agent VX. The nerve agent soman (GD) and the psychochemical BZ may also be under development, and Iraq may have an interest in cyanide agents and phosgene oxime. Iraq has produced chemical agents impregnated on a carrier material, usually a fine dust. These dusty agents, are disseminated as a dry aerosol and may be difficult to detect. They can cause casualties more rapidly than the agent alone and have the ability to penetrate semi-permeable protective suits under certain conditions. In 1984, Iraq used weapons containing a dust impregnated with mustard against Iran. Iraq has the technology to develop dusty forms of nerve agents and possibly other toxic materials, but we do not believe they have done so. Biological Weapons Iraq has developed anthrax and botulinum toxin as biological agents. Other agents such as staphylococcal enterotoxin, clostridium and cholera may also have been investigated. (U) Chemical Weapons Iraq has a variety of chemical weapons systems available (See Table 2.) Biological Weapons Iraq is assessed to have weaponized anthrax and botulinum toxin. The type and number of weapons or dissemination systems Iraq has are not known. Candidate systems include cluster bombs, missile warheads and spray systems. (U) Binary Weapons In April 1990, Saddam Husayn announced that Iraq had binary chemical weapons. DIA assesses that Iraq has produced at least some binary weapons, most likely containing agent GB or GF. VX, an agent under development, is also a candidate for a binary configuration. Iraq's unitary chemical stockpile is assessed to have low agent purity and therefore limited storage life; this is an especially serious problem for their nerve agents. Since the component chemicals in binaries are easier to purify than finished chemical agent due to their lower toxicity, binaries would help extend the shelf life of Baghdad's CW stocks. Binary fills simplify production and storage of chemical munitions, but binary rounds deliver relatively less agent per round than unitary ammunition. (U) CBW Delivery Baghdad used several means of chemical delivery in the war with Iran: aerial bombs, air-to-surface rockets, artillery and mortar rounds, and multiple rocket launchers (MRL). After the war, Iraq added cluster bombs and missile warheads to its arsenal. Iraq also increased the size of the MRL warhead, tripling its agent content. Iraq is the only country known to have helicopter rockets with chemical fills. Chemical Tactics Iraqi forces made effective use of their chemical superiority in the final offensives in the war with Iran. During the spring 1988 campaigns, Iraq had carefully rehearsed its scheme for attacks against Iranian offensives. The Iraqi battle plans called for use of chemicals against selected targets. Using chemicals at advantageous times, forward targets were neutralized using nonpersistent nerve agent, while deeper targets were saturated with persistent agents. Since Iran had only limited protective means, these attacks were often effective. Also, there was no credible threat of Iranian retaliation with chemical weapons. Prior to these 1988 offensive uses, Iraqi chemical attacks were not as effective due to inexperience which was manifested in a poor choice of weather conditions and improper weapons delivery. While Iraq used chemicals often, their effectiveness was also reduced by restrictive control of the weapons. When chemical release authority was delegated to field commanders later in the war, the effectiveness of chemical attacks improved. Biological Tactics There is no reliable information on how Iraq might use their BW weapons. The most suitable way to use these weapons is in a clandestine manner prior to the outset of hostilities. The incubation period of hours to days that occurs between the initial exposure and illness or death make BW an unreliable tactical weapon. BW does have the potential to Case injury and death to a large population over widely dispersed areas. (U) Current Deployment Iraq is prepared to use chemical weapons in some parts of the KTO. Iraq has concentrated its CW support activity in that portion of the KTO where the Republican Guards and supporting artillery are deployed. Based on the current defensive posture of Iraqi ground forces, any near term Iraqi chemical attack in the KTO would most likely occur in response to an allied incursion into an area of strategic importance to Iraq. Accordingly, Iraq has been doing CW training and establishing decontamination stations in critical locations to support chemical weapons use in defense of strategic areas. (U) Ground Forces Iraqi disposition in Kuwait is to defend on successive lines from the Saudi border to the northern portion of Kuwait. Disposition of ground and air forces indicates that the northern area, including the Rumailah oil field and Warbah and Bubiyan islands will be the final defensive line. The disposition of CW units and instances of CW-related activity show that Iraq has prepared an area in Southeastern Iraq/Northern Kuwait which coincides with this line. The assessment that Iraq is likely to use CW in this area is based on the presence of GFC units, emphasis on CW training, CW training sites, and deployment of preferred systems for chemical delivery. Republican Guards, probably Iraq's most experienced units in conducting combat operations with chemical weapons, have been deployed in the northern KTO. Numerous instances of CW training and chemical unit field deployments have also been noted in these areas. Chemical munitions may already be fielded with these units; if not, they could be supplied with chemical ammunition quickly. Iraq regards its 155mm artillery as the weapon of choice for ground force delivery of CW due to its extended range of about 38-40 km. Over half of the 155mm artillery battalions in the KTO are located within Republican Guard Assembly areas and near decontamination sites. Authority for initial offensive or defensive use of CW probably rests with Saddam Husayn; however, during the Iran-Iraq war authority for ground force CW employment was subsequently delegated to individual Corps Commanders. The Republican Guard Forces Command (RGFC) would probably be the first corps level organization to receive this authority and likely has integrated CW into operational plans. Iraqi chemical capabilities along the Iraq-Turkey-Syria border have also been improved. One decontamination site has been located in this area. CW training for units in this area as well as other chemical-related activity along the Turkish border suggest a high degree of readiness to operate in a chemically contaminated environment in order to protect to the northern border. At present Iraq does not have significant force deployments, extensive CW capable artillery systems, or other CW assets in the north and, therefore, is much less prepared to conduct CW operations there than in the KTO. (U) Air Force CW-related activity at airfields and at CW bunkers near airfields indicates that Iraq has prepared for air delivery of chemical weapons. Since the start of the current crisis CW-related activity, air-delivery systems, and chemical bunkers have been noted at the following airfields: H3, Mosul, Qayarrah West, Kirkuk, Al Taqqadum, Tallil, Ubaydah bin Al Jarrah, and Shuaybah (a helicopter base). For an air delivered CW attack in the KTO, Iraq would likely stage aircraft from Tall iI and An Nasiriyah because of their proximity to the front. Prior to a chemical attack during the Iran-Iraq War, stake-bed trucks, special canisters and crates, and decontamination vehicles handled chemical munitions at special bunkers and airfields. Once use of CW had been authorized, the munitions were loaded onto CW-capable aircraft, primarily Fitters and HIP helicopters. This activity has not yet been noted at any of the above airfields. (U) Missiles DIA believes Iraq has chemical warheads for its modified SCUD-B short range ballistic missiles (SRBM). Due to the poor accuracy and limited chemical payloads of the missiles they have only limited military effectiveness. However, they could be used as terror weapons against civilian population centers. Chemical-related activity has been noted near SCUD launch sites at H2 in Western Iraq and at the two launch positions northwest of Al Basrah in Southern Iraq. (U) Logistics DIA believes that most of Iraq's chemical munitions remain in Iraq. Few indicators of chemical weapons deployment have been observed in the KTO. The special storage bunkers used to store chemicals at other locations in Iraq have not been established in Kuwait. The Ras Al Qulayah naval base has a decontamination unit and an associated decontamination site, and the Al Jaber airfield has some hardened hangarettes. If Iraq deploys chemicals to the KTO, these sites could be storage or staging areas for chemical munitions. Recently, some CW decontamination trenches have been prepared in Kuwait. There are also indications that some chemical defense units may have deployed to Kuwait at key points in the Iraqi defensive scheme. (U) Likelihood of CW use Iraqi use of chemical weapons against the allied forces in Saudi Arabia or Israel is less likely than was the continued use of these weapons during the war with Iran. The allied forces have significantly greater military capabilities than Iran had during the Iran-Iraq war. Before initiating chemical warfare, Iraq must consider several factors: quality of opposing forces, uncertainty of results, reliability of supply, and possible retaliation. Compared with the poorly trained and equipped Iranian troops, Iraq now faces forces with effective chemical protective equipment and training. Iraqi intelligence has concluded that allied force protective measures are ineffective, however. During the Iran-Iraq War, Iraq used its air superiority to deliver bombs on virtually any target. In the Desert Shield situation, allied air defenses and air superiority will make delivery by Iraqi aircraft difficult at best. Deep targets could be attacked by missiles, but such attacks would be of questionable reliability due to limited payloads and accuracy. The generally poor quality of chemical agent in Iraq's arsenal will probably reduce the reliability of Iraq's chemical attacks. Iraq is trying to improve agent quality by introducing binary weapons into their inventory, but the extent of this substitution for unitary munitions is unknown. If CW production facilities are destroyed, Iraq could be forced into a decision to use their deployed chemical weapons quickly before losing a chemical option. On the other hand, they might conserve use of CW until a crucial need existed. Due to the poor quality of at least some of their chemical stocks, Iraq could be forced into a "use it or lose it" situation with their chemical. Chemical use against the allied forces would risk retaliation in kind. Syria, Egypt and the United States have chemical arsenals, and could retaliate with chemicals. The United, Kingdom has threatened a nuclear response to chemical attacks. [ (b)(1) sec 1.3(a)(5) ] Use of biological agents, if confirmed and traced to Iraq, could lead to severe retaliation. (U) Possible Targets Airbases, supply centers or assembly areas in Saudi Arabia could be targets for chemical attacks. Such attacks would have a low probability of halting military operations, however. Iraq would face a determined, capable air defense system which would make it difficult to achieve reliable delivery of aerial bombs. The only reliable means of penetrating these defenses would be the use of missiles. However, Iraq's missiles are inaccurate, and have limited agent payloads; launching enough missiles to assure commanders that airbase operations could be halted or reduced could not be done with the present number of Iraqi missile launchers. This problem is most severe for the extended range Al Husayn and Al Abbas missiles. A variant of an all-out attack on an airbase would be launching a few missiles at the base in an attempt to force use of protective ensembles. This less certain course could result in a lower level of activity at the airbase, reducing sortie rates and overall effectiveness of airbases defenses. Such a tactic could make the base more vulnerable to a later attack since the personnel manning the base would suffer a significant degradation of long and short term performance through heat stress as well as undetermined psychological effects. Special forces attacks using chemicals or possibly biological agents are another means of introducing these agents against targets in the rear area. Terrorists use of chemicals against civilian or military targets could be a more likely way to employ chemicals. Such use might be difficult to trace to Iraqi origins. Iraq has threatened to use terrorism against Western forces and may calculate that such use is an acceptable risk. Supply of chemical or possibly biological agents to terrorists could be part of Iraq's strategy. (U) OUTLOOK Iraq is expected to retain its significant chemical and biological capability, and will likely attempt to improve its capability to deliver both chemical and biological agents. As a result of Iraq's use of chemicals in the war with Iran, Baghdad recognizes the utility of chemical arsenal. Since their BW arsenal is a new development, the probable effectiveness of biological weapons cannot be assessed. While Iraq has shown that it can use chemicals effectively, use of chemicals against allied forces in Saudi Arabia or against Israel is not certain. Compared to Iran, the allied forces in Saudi Arabia are much better prepared to cope with chemical attacks. Also, the threat of allied force retaliation with conventional, chemical or nuclear weapons will have to be an important consideration in Iraqi war planning for chemical strikes. Iraq is not prepared to launch an offensive supported by chemical weapons at this time against allied forces in Saudi Arabia. Their force disposition and deployment will to be changed significantly to support such a course. DIA assesses that chemical attacks against deep targets in Saudi Arabia have only limited changes of success as long as air defense systems, protective training and discipline are maintained in a high state of readiness. The Iraqi chemical arsenal will have to achieve further improvements in weapons accuracy and performance to assure Baghdad's commanders that chemical attacks are advantageous. The recent introduction of biological weapons into Iraq's arsenal is difficult to assess. The potential of biological weapons to cause death and injury is greater than that of chemical weapons due to their greater toxicity and lethality. However, the agents Iraq has selected for weaponization are most suitable for strategic use prior to the outset of hostilities. At present, Iraq is not ready to take advantage of any vulnerabilities created by a biological attack, and is therefore unlikely to use these weapons. [ (b)(6) ] TABLE 1 IRAQ-CHEMICAL AGENTS (U) AGENT STATUS TYPE PERSISTENCE Mustard Confirmed Vesicant Persistent Sarin Confirmed Nerve Nonpersistent Tabun Confirmed Nerve Semipersistent GF Confirmed Nerve Semipersistent Dusty Mustard Confirmed Vesicant Nonpersistent VX Probable Nerve Persistent Soman Possible Nerve Semipersistent * Dusty Mustard is a dissemination means, not a different agent. This material is a chemical agent impregnated on a carrier material. The persistence of dusty mustard depends on the carrier's physical characteristics, while its toxity is a result of the mustard agent on the dust.
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