071596_cia_72569_72569_01.txt
Subject: STABILITY OF IRAQ'S CW STOCKPILE

Not Finally Evaluated Intelligence







TO FACILITATE ELECTRONIC ACCESS, THIS DOCUMENT HAS BEEN

REFORMATTED TO ELIMINATE INFORMATION THAT DOES NOT PERTAIN

TO GULF WAR ILLNESS ISSUES OR THAT IS CLASSIFIED. A COPY OF

THIS REDACTED DOCUMENT, IN ORIGINAL FORMAT, IS AVAILABLE ON

REQUEST.







STABILITY OF IRAQ'S CHEMICAL WEAPONS STOCKPILE







IRAQ HAS A SIZEABLE CW STOCKPILE, AT LEAST SOME OF WHICH CAN SURVIVE

SEVERAL YEARS OF STORAGE.



IRAQ'S MUSTARD, THE CW AGENT MOST USED IN THE WAR WITH IRAN, IS

QUITE STABLE; MUCH OF IT SHOULD REMAIN EFFECTIVE FOR SOME TIME.



THE UNITARY FORM OF IRAQ'S SARIN - ITS PRINCIPAL NERVE AGENT - HAD

A RELATIVELY SHORT SHELF LIFE DURING THE WAR WITH IRAN.



THE IRAQIS HAVE BEEN WORKING ON THIS PROBLEM:



THEY HAVE TRIED TO INCREASE UNITARY SARIN SHELF LIFE BY IMPROVING

THE PURITY OF THE PRECURSOR CHEMICALS AND REFINING PRODUCTION

PROCESSES.



THEY HAVE DEVELOPED AND TESTED BINARY NERVE AGENT ROUNDS FOR

ARTILLERY SHELLS AND BINARY MISSILE WARHEADS AS WELL.







CIA BELIEVES THAT BY NOW IRAQ HAS EITHER INCREASED THE SHELF LIFE OF

UNITARY SARIN OR PRODUCED LARGE QUANTITIES OF BINARY MUNITIONS.







PROBLEMS WITH SHELF LIFE







DURING THE WAR WITH IRAN, IRAQ USED LARGE

QUANTITIES OF CHEMICAL WEAPONS AGAINST

IRANIAN GROUND FORCES. THE PRINCIPLE

AGENTS USED WERE THE BLISTER AGENT

MUSTARD AND THE NONPERSISTENT NERVE

AGENT SARIN. THE NONPERSISTENT NERVE

AGENT TABUN AND THE PERSISTENT NERVE

AGENT GF WERE ALSO USED.



DESPITE THE GENERAL SOPHISTICATION OF

IRAQ'S CW PRODUCTION INFRASTRUCTURE,

SOME OF IRAQ'S CHEMICAL AGENTS HAD A

SHORT SHELF LIFE, MOSTLY OWING TO IMPURITIES

IN THE PRECURSOR CHEMICALS. CIA BELIEVES

THAT SOME SARIN HAD A SHELF LIFE OF ONLY A

FEW WEEKS.







IN

1989 THE IRAQIS DESTROYED 40 OR MORE TONS

OF SARIN THAT HAD DECOMPOSED.





EFFORTS TO LENGTHEN SHELF LIFE



IRAQ HAS TRIED TO SOLVE THIS PROBLEM IN TWO

WAYS. FIRST, IT ATTEMPTED, WITH FOREIGN

ASSISTANCE, TO IMPROVE THE SHELF-LIFE OF ITS

UNITARY SARIN BY INCREASING, THE PURITY OF

THE PRECURSOR AND INTERMEDIATE CHEMICALS

AND-REFINING PRODUCTION PROCESSES.



SECOND, IT BEGAN TO DEVELOP BINARY

CHEMICAL WEAPONS. IN A BINARY MUNITION,

THE TWO PRECURSOR CHEMICALS ARE STORED

SEPARATELY AND ONLY MIXED TO FORM THE

CHEMICAL AGENT IMMEDIATELY BEFORE OR

WHEN THE ROUND IS IN FLIGHT. THUS, THE

SHELF LIFE OF THE AGENT BECOMES IRRELEVANT;

MOREOVER, THE MUNITION IS SAFER TO HANDLE

AND STORE. BY 1990 IRAQ HAD SUCCESSFULLY

TESTED 155-MM ARTILLERY SHELLS AND OTHER

BINARY MUNITIONS AND LAUNCHED A BALLISTIC

MISSILE WITH A BINARY WARHEAD AS WELL.







CIA HOLDS THAT THE STOCKS OF SARIN MAY

REMAIN VIABLE WELL BEYOND MARCH. CIA

ANALYSTS BELIEVE THAT THE SHELF LIFE PROBLEM

WAS ONLY TEMPORARY AND THAT THE IRAQIS

CAN NOW PRODUCE UNITARY AGENTS OF

SUFFICIENT QUALITY BY ADDING A STABILIZER OR

IMPROVING THE PRODUCTION PROCESS.







CIA ALSO BELIEVES THAT A SUBSTANTIAL

PORTION OF IRAQ'S NERVE AGENT STOCKPILE

NOW CONSISTS OF BINARY CHEMICAL WEAPONS

WHICH WOULD NOT BE SUBJECT TO

DEGRADATION.







 IMPLICATIONS FOR DESERT STORM



THE SHORT SHELF LIFE OF IRAQ'S NERVE AGENTS

WAS NOT A PROBLEM DURING THE WAR WITH

IRAN, BECAUSE IRAQ'S CW MANUFACTURING

FACILITIES WERE ABLE TO PRODUCE LARGE

QUANTITIES OF AGENT SHORTLY BEFORE IT WAS TO

BE USED IN BATTLE. NOW, HOWEVER, DAMAGE

TO MOST OF IRAQ'S KNOWN CW PRODUCTION

FACILITIES IS LIKELY TO HAVE DECREASED ITS

ABILITY TO COME UP WITH FRESHLY MADE

BATCHES OF CW MUNITIONS ON DEMAND.



CIA BELIEVES THAT IRAQ HAS RETAINED SOME

PRODUCTION CAPABILITY BY MOVING SOME OF

THE ORIGINAL PRODUCTION UNITS (UNIVERSAL

PLANTS) FROM SAMARRA TO UNKNOWN SITES

JUST AFTER THE INVASION OF KUWAIT. THEY

STATE THAT THESE PLANTS ARE SMALL, EASILY

MOVED, AND COULD BE RAPIDLY REASSEMBLED

AND MADE OPERATIONAL.







A DURABLE STOCKPILE





WHETHER OR NOT SARIN STOCKS REMAIN VIABLE

OVER THE LONG TERM, ALL BELIEVE THAT IRAQ

HAS A SIZEABLE CW STOCKPILE THAT IS

DURABLE ENOUGH TO SURVIVE SEVERAL YEARS OF

STORAGE IF NOT DESTROYED BY COALITION

FORCES.



WE ESTIMATE THAT IRAQ HAD A STOCKPILE OF

AT LEAST 1,000 TONS OF CW AGENTS AT THE

BEGINNING OF THE CONFLICT WITH THE

COALITION FORCES. WE BELIEVE THE PRINCIPAL

COMPONENTS OF THE STOCKPILE ARE MUSTARD

AND NERVE AGENTS.







WE ESTIMATE THAT THE PORTION OF IRAQ'S

MUSTARD STOCKS THAT WAS FRESH AT THE TIME

OF THE INVASION OF KUWAIT WOULD RETAIN ITS

EFFECTIVENESS FOR SOME TIME BEYOND ANY

LIKELY DURATION OF CONFLICT WITH COALITION

FORCES.







CIA BELIEVES THAT LITTLE IF ANY

MUSTARD WAS CARRIED OVER FROM THE END OF

THE WAR WITH IRAN.







1.5(C)

72569-72569
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