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The Iraqi Program:

The Iraqi biological weapons program became know to the world after the forced inspections of Iraqi weapons facilities by UN inspectors (UNSCOM) after the Gulf war.

After the Gulf war, Iraq stated that, in the Government had adopted a policy to acquire biological weapons in 1974. In 1975, a research and development biological weapons program was established under the Al Hazen Ibn Al Haytham Institute at a site located in Al Salman. The work was poorly directed. Coupled with a lack of appropriate facilities and equipment, it was said the Institute achieved little and it closed in 4 years.

The work however was continued by Muthanna State Establishment, which was Iraq's primary chemical weapons facility as well. The program again shifted to Al Salman when the biological weapons program began to hinder the progress of the chemical weapons program at Muthanna.



Please click on the images to view larger versions.

1) One of the buildings of the Al-Hakam facility after most of the complex was destroyed by UNSCOM inspectors.
2) Iraqi fermenters at the Al-Hakam complex (UNSCOM photo)
3) A UNSCOM team examining a chemical weapons missile warhead somewhere in Iraq. (UNSCOM photo)


In order to set up a dedicated facility for Biological weapons research, the Iraqis in 1988 set up a new site at a location now known as Al Hakam. The project was given the designator "324". It was at this site that the most advanced Iraqi research on Biological weapons was carried out. It was the primary manufacturing centre of the Iraqi program until the Gulf war began.

The Iraqis did not limit their research to Anthrax and botox. The other agents under research included Cl. Perfringens (the agent which causes gas gangrene), Alfatoxin (a highly carcinogenic fungal product) and ricin (a plant product that causes bleeding in the lungs or haemmorhagic pneumonia when inhaled).

After Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, weaponization of biological warfare agents began on a large scale at Muthanna. Artillery bombs were selected as the delivery means for these weapons. After the war, it was found that  100 bombs were filled with botulinum toxin, 50 with anthrax and 16 with aflatoxin. In addition, 25 Al Hussein warheads, to be fitted on top of the scud missiles, were filled with biological agents.


All in all, after the Gulf war, Iraq declared :

1) 19,000 litres of concentrated botulinum toxin
2) 8,500 litres of concentrated anthrax
3) 2,200 litres of concentrated aflatoxin

After the forced UNSCOM inspection of Iraqi weapons facilities, most of these facilities were either sealed off or placed under heavy surveillance. Hence, the Iraqi biological program is virtually over now. However, even the US senate research service admits that it is quite possible that Iraq has hidden some biological warheads and missiles for future use.


Image: UNSCOM inspectors installing security cameras at the Al-Hakam complex. (UNSCOM photo)