Iraq Missile-Related Issues

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August 11, 2008

Examples of Problems

Special Warheads

As in many other cases, the main problems in the warhead area relate to the unilateral destruction. I will illustrate the problems in the commission’s verification with two examples:

The unilateral destruction of special warheads
Hiding of special warheads before the unilateral destruction
Iraq has been changing its declarations to match emerging finding[s]. Iraq has recently admitted that in 1992, it had tampered with evidence of the unilateral destruction of 45 declared special warheads. This was done by seeding remnants of conventional warheads at the declared sites of the unilateral destruction of special warheads. Until February 1998, Iraq was providing its statements of the material balance of special warheads using falsified evidence.

Example: the P3 site at Nibai

Instead of providing full disclosure, Iraq has been adjusting its declarations to match new findings (table).

Initially, the P3 site was not identified by Iraq as a site of unilateral destruction of special warheads.

When a few pieces of special warheads were found at P3 in August 1997, Iraq came up with the ‘farmer’ story: a farmer dug up remnants of special warheads at one site, carried them a kilometer away and reburied them two meters deep at the P3 site.

In February 1998, Iraq admitted that P3 was a separate destruction site.

Iraq’s declaration of March 1998 for P3: 10 CW; current findings: 15 special warheads, most probably BW lab analysis will help to determine the agent fill of the destroyed warheads.

The commission is waiting for a new declaration that would fit with available findings. This time, we expect Iraq to support its new declaration with documentary evidence.

Hide Sites

Hide sites are the places that Iraq itself declared to the commission where it had been hiding proscribed missile operational assets after the adoption of resolution 687 in April 1991. Some of Iraq’s declarations were verified as correct, others continue to pose verification problems.

Examples of the problematic sites:

Falujah site

Iraq declared in 1997 that 10 CW warheads had been excavated at Falujah, brought to Nibai on 10 July (4:00 AM) and destroyed at P3.

The imagery displayed does not support this declaration as no excavation activity was evident at Falujah on 11 July 1991–i.e. after the declared removal of warheads from this site.

Where were these warheads actually hidden?

Tigris Canal site

Iraq declared in 1997 that 15 BW warheads stored at this site had been transported away on 7 July 1991 for decontamination at another location.

The imagery displayed shows that warheads were removed from the hide site some 10 days before the declared date.

Why were they removed? Where did they go?

Basic questions: Should the commission accept incorrect declarations? Why would Iraq provide inaccurate declarations?

Lack of realism in the declarations complicates the verification work. Such issues need to be resolved by Iraq to allow the Commission to report with confidence on Iraq’s compliance.

Missile Propellants

SCUD missiles use two main propellants: TMI85 and AK271. These are SCUD specific components not dual purpose items. Iraq has never admitted that it had manufactured these propellants, nor that it had retained them for non-proscribed missile activities or for use in its civilian industry.

Conflicting Iraqi actions and declarations on destruction of SCUD propellants:

Iraq declared in 1991-1992 that the propellant tanks at the destruction site were empty. Then during discussions of the propellant material balance, it changed its declaration to the effect that nearly half of them had been full of propellants.

Iraq is not providing the inventory document on the declared destruction of propellants.

Iraq’s declaration [on] unilateral destruction [of propellants] is unsubstantiated. Should the Commission accept an inaccurate declaration?

The solution is simple:

Iraq should provide a documentary record of propellant destruction.

Iraq should provide full disclosure of the unilateral destruction of proscribed missile propellants.

The solution is simple and quick. A failure to resolve the issue will complicate compliance assessment as the only reason to retain these proscribed propellants is for use in proscribed engines.

Taji Hide Site

Iraq declared in 1997 that 30 conventional warheads had been hidden in 5 pits at this site.

Iraq stated that all of the warheads had been excavated from this site and destroyed unilaterally not later than 17 July 1991. This could be confirmed indirectly by the displayed imagery.

However, additional imagery shows that excavation work at this declared hide site continued after 12 August 1991 and that items had been removed from the hide site after the declared end of the unilateral destruction in mid July 1991.

Where are these items now?

Indigenous Missile Production Capabilities

Following the successful development of the Al Hussein from imported SCUD missiles, Iraq undertook to produce indigenously these missiles. Iraq procured, through importation, the necessary components, production equipment and tooling. In early 1990, Iraq established a production goal of 200 missiles. Iraq intended to eventually produce 1000 missiles, per its declarations.

By April 1991, Iraq had made significant progress in its indigenous production efforts. Since 1995, Iraq has declared that it successfully manufactured and tested virtually all major components for its indigenous missiles with the exception of gyroscopes. Iraq had contracts for the foreign procurement of gyroscopes. It also retained some original imported gyroscopes until the last quarter of 1995. Iraq has declared that it conducted 12 static tests and four flight tests of indigenously produced engines. Several of these tests were successful.


Iraq has acknowledged that, until August 1995, it undertook efforts to conceal the extent of its success in the indigenous production of missiles. This is another example of Iraq’s attempt to protect its most advanced capabilities in the proscribed areas. For these purposes, Iraq falsified declarations of its manufacture and testing of indigenously manufactured engines, misrepresented the purpose and use of production machinery in order to spare it from destruction, and under reported the quantities of imported components. Additionally, Iraq stated that it chose the method of unilateral destruction to conceal specifically both the acquisition or manufacture of certain components and success that the programme had achieved.

Iraq has declared that additional efforts were taken, even after its declaration of the unilateral destruction in March of 1992, to secretly excavate and further destroy components to conceal these programmes. Many critical components, tools and documents were diverted from the unilateral destruction and retained.

Unilateral Destruction

Iraq intentionally chose methods for the unilateral destruction of components and tooling for its indigenous production efforts which would frustrate the Commission’s efforts to discover or account for these materials. Iraq has declared that most of the materials were collected from destroyed facilities and separated into groups of usable and damaged items. The damaged items were generally melted in foundries and the resulting ingots sent to scrap yards. The usable components were retained and then reportedly destroyed by exploding them and burying the remnants. The gyroscope components were destroyed by disposal in rivers or canals. A full accounting of these gyroscope components has never been provided. Following Iraq’s declaration of the unilateral destruction in 1992, Iraq secretly recovered destroyed components from burial sites and sent them for melting in foundries or disposal in rivers. Iraq has declared that most documents related to the production or disposal of these items were destroyed.


The Commission’s efforts to verify Iraq’s destruction of proscribed components have included the use of interviews, discussions, document searches and technical assessments of Iraq’s statements and declarations. These methods were complicated by Iraq’s changing declarations. The Commission has established that by late 1990 Iraq had the capability to indigenously manufacture a limited number of proscribed missiles. One Iraqi document records that the Army had possessed seven Iraqi manufactured Al Hussein missiles. Iraq claims that they were training missiles and that they had been destroyed unilaterally. Although thousands of pieces of unilaterally destroyed imported missiles had been recovered, no component from these Iraqi manufactured missiles were found. Iraq now claims that it had secretly removed them from the debris at the destruction site.

The Commission also attempted to establish a material balance of the imported and manufactured critical components for proscribed missile production. For example, the Commission attempted to verify Iraq’s declarations of the unilateral destruction of components for its engine programme at a site near Tikrit called Al Alam. Of an estimated 100 tonnes of material declared to be destroyed at this site, only 12 tonnes could be accounted for. This verification finding resulted in Iraq providing a new statement, in late 1997, concerning the re-excavation of these items in April or May of 1992 and their further destruction by melting.

Following its efforts to verify the destruction at Al Alam, the Commission undertook to account for the estimated mass of material which should have been melted. In March 1992, the Commission attempted to locate all of the ingots of materials which should have been the result of five different melting events related to the unilateral destruction.

Of an estimated 200 tonnes of material, only 50 tonnes could be verified. Iraq then stated that some of the proscribed material had been diverted for disposal in rivers and canals. To date, the Commission has been unable to verify this declaration.

By way of illustration of the complexity of the verification process, I will focus on the destruction of materials at Al Alam. Iraq has declared that, in July 1991, it sent 10 semi-trailers of undamaged components for its indigenous missile engine production to the Tikrit area for concealment from the Commission. After a week of hiding it was allegedly decided to destroy the components from 9 of these semi- trailers by explosion and burial at the Al Alam site. The tenth semi- trailer was diverted from the destruction for retention and concealment at the Farm near Baghdad. Following its declaration of the unilateral destruction in March 1992, Iraq allegedly re-excavated the Al Alam site and secretly removed all “assembled” components in order to conceal its achievements in the indigenous production of missiles. These re-excavated components were taken for melting. The remaining components were shown to the Commission in May 1992, but nothing of the concealment activities were declared. As the Commission has attempted to verify Iraq’s declarations, Iraq has continued to modify them.

Actions for Closure

It is unlikely that all critical components for Iraq’s indigenous production programme can be completely accounted for by excavation or recovery activities. As such, the provision of documents such as monthly status reports, quality control records, inventory documentation and destruction certificates are needed to resolve this issue technically.

Extended Length Warhead Canisters

On a separate issue, the Commission has requested Iraq’s explanation of the presence of extended length warhead shipment canisters during the last half of 1990. The Commission’s concern is that this may represent an undeclared activity to modify proscribed warheads. The Commission first raised this issue with Iraq in 1995. Iraq has consistently denied the existence of extended length warhead shipment canisters, including in its letter dated 14 May 1998. Can the Commission accept such a statement?

The facts:

Iraq has modified originally imported warheads as well as has indigenously produced some.

The indigenously produced warheads that were delivered to the Army were mainly for the delivery of chemical or biological agents.

The issue:

In order to be able to ascertain that all Al Hussein missile warheads have been destroyed, including those filled with CW/BW agents, international missile experts at the TEM [Technical Evaluation Meeting] found it necessary to verify first the reference figure: how many warheads were left in Iraq at the end of the Gulf War.

Indigenous Warhead Production


Iraq’s Full Final Complete Declaration does not provide solid evidence for the verification of the declared total warhead production, its nature and its timing.

Accounting of warheads might be contested if there is not enough confidence in the total number of warheads to be accounted for.

Iraq has attempted to set an upper limit of its total indigenous production by referring to its declaration of imported U-rings.

Due to the absence of practically any supporting documentation to confirm the declared figure of indigenous production of warheads, the international group of experts at the TEM attempted, based on discussions with Iraqi experts, to conduct an evaluation of Iraq’s pre-war industrial warhead production capabilities and limitations

Main TEM result:

Unsatisfactory level of verification.

Follow-up actions from the TEM

Accounting of U-rings

Provision by Iraq of written explanation, however, without any supporting evidence.

Actions Required to Close this Remaining Issue:

To resolve this outstanding issue the international group of experts at the TEM believes that additional efforts should be made to obtain Iraq s warhead production records. During the TEM, Iraqi experts were requested to fill a production planning chart. This chart has been completed but it still needs to be supported with documents (such as quality control acceptance documents for produced or modified warheads and completed work orders, original production records, administrative orders, workshop activity reports).

Without such supporting documentation, no solid evidence could be obtained to prepare an objective technical evaluation. Without such evidence experts are unable to verify the declared warhead production, including the total number of warheads produced indigenously. . . .

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