pursued a biological programme that led to the deployment of actual weapons.
Iraq admitted producing 183 biological weapons with a reserve of agent to fill
Inspection of Iraq's biological weapons programme
In the course of the first biological weapons inspection in August 1991, Iraq
claimed that it had merely conducted a military biological research
programme. At the site visited, al Salman, Iraq had removed equipment,
documents and even entire buildings. Later in the year, during a visit to the
al Hakam site, Iraq declared to UNSCOM inspectors that the facility was
used as a factory to produce proteins derived from yeast to feed animals.
Inspectors subsequently discovered that the plant was a central site for the
production of anthrax spores and botulinum toxin for weapons. The factory
had also been sanitised by Iraqi officials to deceive inspectors. Iraq continued
to develop the al Hakam site into the 1990s, misleading UNSCOM about its
Another key site, the Foot and Mouth Disease Vaccine Institute at al Dawrah
which produced botulinum toxin and probably anthrax was not divulged as
part of the programme. Five years later, after intense pressure, Iraq
acknowledged that tens of tonnes of bacteriological warfare agent had been
produced there and at al Hakam.
As documents recovered in August 1995 were assessed, it became apparent
that the full disclosure required by the UN was far from complete.
Successive inspection teams went to Iraq to try to gain greater understanding
of the programme and to obtain credible supporting evidence. In July 1996
Iraq refused to discuss its past programme and doctrine forcing the team to
withdraw in protest. Monitoring teams were at the same time finding
undisclosed equipment and materials associated with the past programme. In
response, Iraq grudgingly provided successive disclosures of its programme
which were judged by UNSCOM and specially convened international panels
to be technically inadequate.
In late 1995 Iraq acknowledged weapons testing the biological agent ricin,
but did not provide production information. Two years later, in early 1997,
UNSCOM discovered evidence that Iraq had produced ricin.
9. Iraq tried to obstruct UNSCOM's efforts to investigate the scale of its biological
weapons programme. It created forged documents to account for bacterial
growth media, imported in the late 1980s, specifically for the production of
anthrax, botulinum toxin and probably plague. The documents were created to
indicate that the material had been imported by the State Company for Drugs
and Medical Appliances Marketing for use in hospitals and distribution to local
authorities. Iraq also censored documents and scientific papers provided to the
first UN inspection team, removing all references to key individuals, weapons
and industrial production of agents.