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Factors Deterring Iraqi Use of Chemical Weapons

Filename:0618rpt.91m


[    b.2.    ]
RESPOND TO [   (b)(2)   ]
PASS TO THE ITF OPS OFFICER
12 MAR 91 1240 [   (b)(6)   ]

Factors Deterring Iraqi Use of Chemical Weapons

1. PURPOSE:  To provide [   (b)(2)   ] an assessment of why 
chemical weapons were not used by Iraq during the war.

2. MAJOR POINTS:  Iraq's restraint with chemicals cannot be 
completely evaluated without a full accounting of the plans 
made by the Iraqi military and political leadership in 
preparation for the war, and the execution of those plans. 
Intelligence information on this subject remains limited. The 
following estimates the influence of several factors which may 
have been the basis for a decision not to use chemical weapons 
(CW).

Factor 	Major Factors	Other Factors

Leadership Miscalculations	X
Speed of Coalition Advance	X
Denial of C3I	X
Retaliation	X
Destruction of Production	X
Retention of High Level Control	X
Attritted Delivery Capability		X
Interdiction of Supply Routes		X
Poor Weather		X
Destruction of Storage		X

3 . DISCUSSION

(U) Leadership Miscalculations

 The most likely reason CW were not used during the war was 
that they were not available. To date, we have no evidence 
that CW were deployed to the KTO. Reasons for this were 
fundamental miscalculations by the Iraqi leadership regarding 
how the coalition would prosecute the war, and how effectively 
the Iraqis would respond. Expecting the coalition forces to 
fight like the Iranians, it appears the Iraqis felt they would 
have days or even weeks to move CW into the KTO once the war 
began. Given the above, it is likely the Iraqis miscalculated 
coalition speed of advance, the degree to which their air 
force and artillery assets would be attritted, and the degree 
to which their ability to resupply would be degraded.

(U) Speed of Coalition Advance	

 The speed and violence of the coalition advance, which 
reached its objectives deep inside Iraq in only four days, was 
a major factor in precluding chemical use. Iraqi forces were 
constantly off balance, and coalition air supremacy made 
effective concentration of artillery for use against coalition 
ground forces virtually impossible.

 Iraq never took the military initiative during the DESERT 
STORM operation, and was constantly on the defensive. 
Coalition forces prevented Iraq from repeating the success it 
had enjoyed with CW during the Iran-Iraq War.

(U) Denial of C3I

Iraq's C3 system was heavily damaged by coalition bombing. In 
addition, Iraqi commanders could not control their forces in 
part because of a complete failure of their intelligence 
system to evaluate the developing situation. The immediate 
establishment of allied air superiority denied Iraq 
information on the disposition of coalition forces, making 
fire planning practically impossible. The limited information 
available may have resulted in a decision not to disperse 
chemicals within theater until the ground battle began and 
coalition force dispositions became better defined.

(U) Retaliation

Iraq likely believed that both Israel and the coalition had 
chemical and nuclear weapons, and would use them if provoked. 
Iraq quickly realized that these weapons could be delivered 
anywhere in Iraq. This impression was reinforced by public 
statements by allied and Israeli leaders, and probably led 
Iraq to conclude the consequences of any chemical attack would 
be severe.

(U) Destructlon of Productlon

Destruction of Iraqi CW production likely had a significant 
effect on a decision not to use chemicals. The chemicals made 
earlier by Iraq may have deteriorated in storage, or Iraq may 
have miscalculated that their defenses would allow them time 
to produce and deploy chemicals later in the conflict. The 
loss of their production facilities would have prevented their 
making agent as needed, which was their practice during the 
Iran-Iraq war.

(U) Retention of High-Level Control

It is also likely that Saddam Husayn retained personal control 
of CW during the war, in order to allow a more complete 
evaluation of the military situation. However, the speed of 
the ground offensive, together with C3 problems, may have made 
this retention a significant factor, since release of 
chemicals would then have been more complicated and slower. It 
could be that mistrust of any units but Republican Guard 
forces was a factor in this high level retention.

(U) Other Factors

Other factors that inhibited Iraq's use of CW included 
attrition of their delivery capability, interdiction of 
supplies, weather, and destruction of storage. The coalition 
air campaign eliminated Iraq's preferred means of chemical 
delivery, its air force, and made timely supply of ammunition
impossible. The air campaign also destroyed all known and 
suspect CW storage in Iraq. During the brief ground campaign, 
the weather was unfavorable for chemical use.

Prepared by: [   (b)(6)   ]


 



 

 



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