UNSCOM - Report to the Security Council - 25 January 1999

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REPORT : DISARMAMENT

1. The present report is intended to address those disarmament issues under relevant Security Council resolutions for which the Special Commission is responsible. It comprises four main parts:

record and methodology;

priority issues in disarmament;

three annexes providing the status of verification of Iraq's proscribed weapons programmes; and

an annex on actions by Iraq to obstruct disarmament;

Record and methodology

2. Paragraphs 8 and 9, in section C of resolution 687 (1991), provide that Iraq shall agree to the "destruction, removal, or rendering harmless, under international supervision of" the following:

Missiles:

all ballistic missiles with a range greater than 150 kilometres;

all related major parts;

all repair and production facilities;

For both chemical weapons and biological weapons:

all weapons;

all stocks of agents;

all related subsystems;

all related components;

all research, development, support and manufacturing facilities.

3. For the conduct of this work, the resolutions of the Council established a three-step system: full disclosure by Iraq; verification of those disclosures by the Commission; destruction, removal, or rendering harmless, under international supervision, of all proscribed weapons, materials and facilities.

4. From the inception of the relevant work, in 1991, Iraq's compliance has been limited. Iraq acknowledges that, in that year, it decided to limit its disclosures for the purpose of retaining substantial prohibited weapons and capabilities.

5. Actions by Iraq in three main respects have had a significant negative impact upon the Commission's disarmament work:

Iraq's disclosure statements have never been complete;

contrary to the requirement that destruction be conducted under international supervision, Iraq undertook extensive, unilateral and secret destruction of large quantities of proscribed weapons and items;

it also pursued a practice of concealment of proscribed items, including weapons, and a cover up of its activities in contravention of Council resolutions.

6. Historical references made in this report to the relationship between the Commission and Iraq are for the sole purpose of describing the environment in which the Commission's disarmament work took place and its impact on the accounting for proscribed weapons.

7. The Commission's work has taken five main forms:

evaluation and analysis of Iraq's declarations;

inspections of relevant sites in Iraq;

interviews of Iraqi personnel connected to proscribed weapons programmes;

seeking access to and study of relevant Iraqi documentation;

seeking assistance from Member States, particularly through the provision of relevant information, as required of them by the Security Council.

8. As has been reported to the Council, over the years, and as has been widely recognized, notwithstanding the very considerable obstacles placed by Iraq in the way of the Commission's work, a great deal has been achieved in: verifying Iraq's frequently revised declarations; accounting for its proscribed weapons capabilities; and in destroying, removing or rendering harmless substantial portions of that capability. A complete and detailed record of the Commission's disarmament work in Iraq would be considerably more voluminous than the three weapons related Annexes to this report.

9. Those Annexes focus on the material balances of proscribed weapons, major components and agents - and in some cases production equipment and facilities - as defined in paragraphs 8 and 9 of resolution 687 (1991). It must be pointed out that in many instances the data given in the Annexes rests on an acceptance of Iraq's basic declarations. The Annexes provide a material balance and an accounting of the totals declared by Iraq. This does not imply that the accuracy of the declared total has itself been verified, in all cases.

10. The Annexes do not cover in depth other obligations of Iraq under the relevant resolutions, such as with respect to full disclosure of research, development, know-how and procurement in the respective weapons areas. Although progress has been made in the verification of these obligations, many have not been resolved. For example, the Commission awaits responses from a number of Governments in order to be able to verify Iraq's declarations on its foreign procurement for its proscribed weapons programmes.

11. In the BW area, the report has to cover all elements of Iraq's biological warfare programme as Iraq's declaration in this area cannot, in its totality, be verified by the Commission as being full, final and complete. For this reason it is not possible to present a material balance in this area when there is no firm basis for either side of such a balance.

12. Three basic points about this disarmament record need to be made. First, the overall period of the Commission's disarmament work must be divided into two parts, separated by the events following the departure from Iraq, in August 1995, of Lt. General Hussein Kamal. This which resulted in the provision to the Commission of an extensive cache of documents on Iraq's prohibited programmes. These documents and subsequent disclosures by Iraq indicated that, during the first four years of its activities, the Commission had been very substantially misled by Iraq both in terms of its understanding of Iraq's proscribed weapons programmes and the continuation of prohibited activities, even under the Commission's monitoring. Positive conclusions on Iraq's compliance reported to the Council previously by the Commission had to be revised. They were conclusions generally based on accepting Iraq's declarations at face value. Analysis of the new material shaped the direction of the Commission's subsequent work including the emphasis on: obtaining verifiable evidence including physical materials or documents; investigation of the successful concealment activities by Iraq; and, the thorough verification of the unilateral destruction events.

13. Secondly, the Commission has been obliged to undertake a degree of forensic work which was never intended to be the case. This was derived, virtually exclusively, from Iraq's inadequate disclosures, unilateral destruction and concealment activities. These actions, all of which were contrary to the resolutions, made the Commission's work more difficult and, in many cases, continued even after 1995. Had this behaviour not occurred, a far less searching inquiry by the Commission would have been necessary. The work of verification of Iraq's declarations would have and should have been far easier and should have been able to be undertaken far more quickly than has proven to be the case. Such concerted obstructions naturally raise the question of why Iraq has carried out these activities.

14. Thirdly, these overall circumstances have meant that, in spite of the years that have passed and the extensive work that has been undertaken, it has not been possible to verify, fully, Iraq's statements with respect to the nature and magnitude of its proscribed weapons programmes and their current disposition.

15. With respect to this latter point, two comments are apposite. First, Iraq's current claims that; it has fulfilled all of its disarmament obligations in each weapons area; ceased concealment policies and actions; and, that it has neither proscribed weapons nor the ability to make them are not able to be verified.

16. Secondly, documents or records available in Iraq in which relevant details of its proscribed programmes and actions are set out: production and acquisition records; records of disposition of weapons; and, records of claimed destruction, relevant policy decisions and decisions on termination of concealment, would be invaluable in helping to close remaining gaps and achieve acceptable confidence in Iraq's declarations. The Security Council recognised these two aspects in resolution 707 (1991) when it demanded Iraq provide immediate and unconditional access to, inter alia, records, and, demanded that Iraq cease attempts to conceal prohibited materials.

17. In response to the Commission's requests for relevant documents, Iraq has repeatedly claimed that they no longer exist or cannot be located, a claim which often has been shown to be false, either because inspection activities have in fact located precisely such documents or because Iraq has reversed its stated position and then produced relevant documents. The Commission briefed the Council on its assessment of the existence and importance of documents in June 1998. The Commission has assessed that the documents provided in August 1995 were only selected categories of documents were provided and that other categories were retained by Iraq. It remains the Commission's strong view that, under the present circumstances, relevant documentation exists in Iraq and that provision of such documentation is the best hope for revealing the full picture, as required by the relevant resolutions.

18. On certain other occasions, Iraq has not claimed that documents sought by the Commission do not exist but has stated instead that they are not relevant to the Commission. The judgement of relevance of any given document is for the Commission, not Iraq, to make, as has been recognized by the Security Council.

19. In August 1998, Iraq declared that unless the Commission could demonstrate that Iraq retained prohibited items, then it must declare that Iraq had fully implemented its obligations under section C of resolution 687. This is contrary to the system established by the Council which imposed upon Iraq the obligation of full disclosure and upon the Commission the duty to verify those disclosures. Were a reversal of these obligations to be accepted, the possibility of serious error would be high as it is Iraq which controls access to the most fundamental information. The Commission remains convinced that Iraq has the capacity to provide credible information thus allowing the Commission to have confidence in an accurate declaration, when it is provided.

20. Notwithstanding the fundamental sources of difficulty described above, and building on both its past achievements and the substantial body of knowledge of Iraq's proscribed programmes the Commission assembled, in June of 1998, and indicated, first to the Security Council and then to Iraq, what it believed to be the remaining priority issues in disarmament, in particular as regards proscribed weapons. This reflected the Commission's understanding of the desire of the Council to focus on selected important parts of the requirements of its resolutions. The methodology used in drawing up this list was to focus on unaccounted proscribed weapons and to set aside other aspects such as fully verifying production capacities, research activities, etc. Satisfactory resolution of the specific "priority issues" would make it easier to conclude that other unverified elements were of lesser substantive importance. Conversely, the inability of Iraq to satisfy these issues would point to more ominous explanations for other unverified parts of Iraq's declarations. Whether these other parts will ultimately be addressed is an open question, but one which has a direct bearing upon confidence in future monitoring.

PRIORITY ISSUES

21. In the view of the Commission, a correct understanding of the nature of the list of priority issues is essential. It should rest on the following considerations.

22. First, these remaining issues must be resolved as they are the necessary conditions for an acceptable material balance in each of the three weapons areas for which the Commission is responsible.

23. Secondly, it should be noted that, even if full resolution was able to be made of these priority issues, this would not mean that there had been a full accounting of all of the proscribed materials and activities listed in paragraphs 8 and 9 of section C of resolution 687 (1991), as summarized in paragraph 2 of this report. However, their full accounting would considerably increase the level of confidence of the Commission's overall verification.

24. Thirdly, if the priority issues are not able to be satisfactorily resolved, then it is likely that the settlement of so-called non-priority outstanding issues will assume a greater importance in achieving confident verification.

25. Finally, the implications of not achieving a credible resolution of the priority disarmament issues needs to be considered, both with respect to the assessment of Iraq's compliance, as well as its implications for the system of ongoing monitoring and verification.

Priority issues in the missile area

Proscribed Missile Warheads

Special Warheads

26. Analysis at the laboratories designated by the Commission has detected the presence of degradation products of nerve agents, in particular VX, on a number of warhead remnants which had been excavated at the sites of the unilateral destruction. The October 1998 meeting of international experts convened by the Commission concluded that "the existence of VX degradation products conflicts with Iraq's declarations that the unilaterally destroyed special warheads had never been filled with any chemical warfare agents. The findings by all three laboratories of chemicals known to be degradation products of decontamination compounds also do not support Iraq's declarations that those warhead containers had only been in contact with alcohols." Clarification by Iraq of these issues as recommended by the meeting would allow the Commission to make a determination whether or not the current assessment of the quantity of special warheads identified amongst the remnants excavated, accounts for all special warheads declared to have been produced by Iraq and provides for the verification of their unilateral destruction.

27. The Commission found that Iraq's explanations on procedures and methods of unilateral destruction of the special warheads were, in general, plausible. In one aspect related to the destruction of BW warheads, the Commission, after consulting a group of international experts, assessed that Iraq's declaration that 15 warheads had been destroyed simultaneously conflicted with physical evidence collected at the declared location of their unilateral destruction. This finding indicated that not all BW warheads had been destroyed at the same time as claimed by Iraq and that Iraq had retained some BW warheads after the date of the declared July 1991 unilateral destruction. Obviously, any retained warheads after the declared destruction date would be an indication that not all proscribed missiles for such warheads were destroyed as claimed by Iraq. The discrepancies between Iraq's declarations and the physical evidence collected need to be resolved. In addition, the Commission's investigations showed that, despite repeated attempts, Iraq had not provided the true locations of the hiding, immediately prior to the declared unilateral destruction, of at least half of the special warheads including abovementioned 15 BW warheads. Iraq's continuous inability to disclose hide sites of the special warheads has also prevented the Commission from verification of the declared unilateral destruction of the special warheads.

Conventional warheads

28. The full and verifiable accounting for proscribed missile conventional warheads remains outstanding in the verification of the premise that Iraq has not retained any holding of proscribed missiles and that all proscribed missiles and their warheads indeed had been destroyed. Issues related to remnants of warheads that have not been recovered, but which have been declared by Iraq as unilaterally destroyed (some 25 imported warheads and some 25 Iraqi manufactured warheads), remain unresolved in the accounting of proscribed warheads that Iraq claimed to have destroyed unilaterally. Iraq has not provided a definite explanatory statement for the Commission to be able to determine the reasons why no remnants to account for some 50 warheads declared as unilaterally destroyed, were recovered.

Proscribed Single-Use Liquid Missile Propellant

29. The full accounting for imported proscribed missile propellants is outstanding. Any retention of such propellants would be an indication that not all proscribed missiles were destroyed as claimed by Iraq. The propellants at issue are used exclusively for such proscribed missiles only. Documents, including an inventory list on their declared unilateral destruction, requested by the Commission, have not been made available by Iraq to support its declaration on the quantities (over 500 tonnes) of proscribed propellants it claims to have destroyed unilaterally.

Proscribed Indigenous Missile Production

Complete missiles

30. An inventory of proscribed missiles that Iraq declared as destroyed unilaterally contained a reference to seven indigenously produced missiles which were in possession of the Army in 1991. No remnants which could prove such destruction, have been recovered. The Commission has not been able to verify the nature and destruction of these missiles and repeatedly requested Iraq to confirm, through physical evidence, the declared unilateral destruction of these seven missiles. The verification in this area is considered essential as it might involve operational missiles produced indigenously by Iraq. The November 1997 Emergency Session of the Commission determined that the accounting for these seven missiles was one of the priority requirements.

Major components

31. It should be noted that due to the methods used by Iraq for the declared unilateral destruction and lack of supporting documentation made available by Iraq, the verifiable material balance of major proscribed components for indigenous missile production could not be established, or that this work would take a prolonged period of time. Iraq is required to provide, inter alia, unambiguous physical evidence of the unilateral destruction of combustion chamber/nozzle assemblies for indigenously produced missiles and documentary evidence sufficient for complete accounting of all indigenously produced major missile parts and for verification of their unilateral destruction.

Priority issues in the chemical weapons area

Material Balance of Chemical Munitions

Expenditure of chemical munitions in the 1980s

32. In July 1998 during an inspection the Commission found a document which detailed the consumption of special munitions by Iraq in the 1980s. Iraq took the document from the Chief Inspector and did not return it to the Commission despite demands by Security Council that it do so. The figures in this document indicate serious discrepancies with Iraq's declarations on the expenditure of CW-munitions in the 1980s. According to this document, Iraq consumed about 6,000 chemical aerial bombs less than it is stated in its declarations. This invalidates the starting point of the Commission's accounting for chemical weapons which remained in 1991. The provision by Iraq of this document together with clarifications of the discrepancies is required to increase the degree of confidence with respect to Iraq's declarations of chemical weapons which remained in Iraq in 1991 and their disposition.

550 Artillery shells filled with Mustard

33. Iraq declared that 550 shells filled with mustard had been "lost" shortly after the Gulf War. To date, no evidence of the missing munitions has been found. Iraq claimed that the chemical warfare agents filled into these weapons would be degraded a long time ago and, therefore, there would be no need for their accounting. However, a dozen mustard-filled shells were recovered at a former CW storage facility in the period 1997-1998. The chemical sampling of these munitions, in April 1998, revealed that the mustard was still of the highest quality. After seven years, the purity of mustard ranged between 94 and 97%. Thus, Iraq has to account for these munitions which would be ready for combat use. The resolution of this specific issue would also increase confidence in accepting Iraq's other declarations on losses of chemical weapons which it has not been possible to verify.

R-400 Aerial Bombs

34. Among 1,550 R-400 bombs produced by Iraq, more than 1,000 bombs were declared as destroyed unilaterally by Iraq, including 157 bombs stated as having been filled with biological warfare agents. The accounting for about 500 bombs unilaterally destroyed has not been possible due to the state and extent of their destruction. In order to bridge the gap, the Commission asked Iraq to provide documentation on the disposition of the parachute tail sections of R-400 bombs. The accounting for these components would enable the Commission to verify the maximum number of R-400 bombs, which Iraq could have produced. Though this would not solve the specific issue of the quantity and composition of BW bombs, including allocation of BW agents, it may facilitate the final accounting for the chemical R-400 bombs. Iraq presented the information sought on the disposition of tail sections but field inspection activities are still required to verify the full accounting for these weapons.

Accounting for the Production of the Chemical Warfare Agent VX

35. The degree of verification achieved is not satisfactory. Iraq declared that it had produced a total of 3.9 tonnes of VX. Iraq provided documents on production in 1988, but failed to provide verifiable evidence for its activities in 1990. Iraq also denies that it weaponized VX. Sampling by the Commission of special warheads has thrown significant doubt upon this claim. Iraq needs to provide verifiable evidence and clarifications to support its declarations on the production and weaponization of VX. Technical meetings with the Iraqi specialists and field verification are required.

Material Balance of CW-Production Equipment

36. One hundred and ninety-seven pieces of glass CW production equipment were removed by Iraq from its prime CW facility prior to the Commission's arrival in 1991 and were repeatedly moved in shipping containers between several facilities throughout Baghdad until 1996. This production equipment from two of 20 shipping containers was destroyed under the Commission's supervision in 1997. To ensure that all CW production equipment removed from the CW facility has been accounted for, the Commission requested Iraq to provide its clarifications on their movement. Iraq presented such clarifications in July 1998. Field verification is still required to increase the degree of confidence that all equipment has been accounted for.

Priority issues in the biological weapons area

37. Since the adoption of Security Council resolution 687 (1991) in April 1991 and until July 1995, Iraq denied that it had had any proscribed biological warfare (BW) activities. Based on the results of its inspection and verification activities, the Commission assessed and reported to the Council in its report of April 1995, that Iraq had not provided an account of its proscribed biological programme nor accounted for materials and items that may have been used or acquired for such a programme. The Commission stated that with Iraq's failure to account for the use of these items and materials for legitimate purposes, the only conclusion that can be drawn is that there is a high risk that they had been purchased and used for a proscribed purpose - acquisition of biological warfare agent. Iraq was provided with evidence collected by the Commission. On 1 July 1995, Iraq, for the first time, acknowledged that it had had an offensive BW programme but still denied any weaponization. Subsequently, in August 1995, after the departure form Iraq of Lt. Gen. Hussein Kamel Hassan, Iraq admitted that it had weaponized BW agents and deployed biological weapons for combat use.

38. Since August 1995, Iraq has submitted a number of "Full, Final and Complete Disclosures" (FFCD) of its declared BW programme. These declarations have been assessed by the Commission and by international experts as incomplete, inadequate and containing substantial deficiencies. They were not accepted as a full account of the scale and the scope of Iraq's BW programme. This refers in particular to weaponization of produced BW agents, bulk BW agent production and acquisitions for the BW programme.

39. In the Commission's view, Iraq has not complied with requirements of the relevant Security Council resolutions on the disclosure of its biological warfare programme. A full, complete and verifiable disclosure of all its biological weapons activities needs to be presented by Iraq.

40. Because Iraq has failed to disclose fully, the scope and nature of its BW programme, the priority issue in this weapons area involves the whole scope of the BW programme. This means that Iraq must furnish a complete and verifiable disclosure as a matter of absolute first priority. The Commission would then need to assess and verify that disclosure.

41. Finally, it needs to be recognised that Iraq possesses an industrial capability and knowledge base, through which biological warfare agents could be produced quickly and in volume, if the Government of Iraq decided to do so.