The Washington Times

CIA report lists Iraqi violations of U.N.-banned arms

April 11, 2003
Section: NATION

Page: A16


President Saddam Hussein's Iraq had expanded work on long-range missiles banned under United Nations sanctions and continued last year to develop nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, the CIA stated in a report made public yesterday.

"Iraq has managed to rebuild and expand its missile development infrastructure under sanctions," said the CIA's semiannual report to Congress on international arms proliferation covering the first six months of 2002.

"Iraqi intermediaries have sought production technology, machine tools, and raw materials in violation of the arms embargo," said the report, which was written before military operations began in Iraq last month.

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said Wednesday that a key mission of U.S. forces in Iraq will be to find out how Saddam obtained banned weapons, material and expertise. U.S. forces have found some banned missiles but so far no chemical, biological or nuclear arms.

The report also said Iraq rebuilt key chemical weapons facilities and, during the first half of 2002, continued to develop biological weapons.

As for conventional weapons, the CIA said Iraq in 2002 continued to buy advanced conventional arms, equipment and technology, despite the decade-old U.N. arms embargo.

"A thriving gray arms market and porous borders have allowed Baghdad to acquire smaller arms and components for larger arms, such as spare parts for aircraft, air defense systems, and armored vehicles," the report said.

The Iraqis also were able to buy dual commercial and military products through the U.N.-sponsored oil-for-food program, the report said.

"In light of Iraq's growing industrial self-sufficiency and the availability of mobile or possible covert facilities, we are concerned that Iraq is again producing [biological warfare] agents," the report said.

New missile-production facilities include plants for missiles and components, including a solid-propellant plant at al-Mamoun.

"Baghdad would not have been able to complete this facility without help from abroad," the report said, without identifying which countries were involved.

However, the report noted that in August 1995, Iraq attempted to buy missile-guidance systems originally made for Russian submarine-launched ballistic missiles. The effort showed "Baghdad has been pursuing proscribed, advanced, long-range missile technology for some time," the report said.

The report also said Iraq is developing a multistage medium-range missile with a range of up to 1,860 miles and a Badr-2000 missile with a range of up to 620 miles.

As for its short-range al-Samoud 2 missiles and the al-Fatah missile, the report said both missiles were flight-tested to ranges beyond those permitted under U.N. sanctions, which limited Iraq from building missiles with ranges of more than 93 miles.

Iraq fired at least 15 missiles at Kuwait since March 20, but all but three were knocked out by U.S. Patriot antimissile systems. One missile was an antiship cruise missile that landed near a shopping center but caused no injuries. Two others were allowed to fall harmlessly in unpopulated areas.

Also, work carried out at Iraq's al-Rafah-North Liquid Propellant Engine Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation Facility revealed that a new test stand was built.

"The only plausible explanation for this test facility is that Iraq intends to test engines for longer-range missiles prohibited under U.N. [Security Council Resolution] 687," the report said.

Iraq also has expanded and rebuilt its Al-Mutasim Solid Rocket Motor and Test Facility, which was used in the past to develop the Badr-2000 solid-propellant missile, the report said.

A third site, the Al-Mutasim missile plant, is working on rocket motors "but the size of certain facilities there, particularly those newly constructed between the assembly rework and static test areas, suggests that Baghdad is preparing to develop systems that are prohibited by the U.N." sanctions.

As for nuclear development, the report said Iraq has maintained a "cadre of nuclear scientists and technicians, its program documentation, and sufficient dual-use manufacturing capabilities to support a reconstituted nuclear weapons program."

Iraq expanded its international trade in recent years and was able to gain "growing access to nuclear-related technology and materials and potential access to foreign nuclear expertise," the report stated.

The report noted worries about Iraq's recent attempt to buy thousands of high-strength aluminum tubes.

"All intelligence experts agree that Iraq is seeking nuclear weapons and that these tubes could be used in a centrifuge enrichment program," the report said.