- Iraq has secretly built chemical weapons
plants in Sudan, transferred nuclear materials to Algeria, and sent a dozen
of its top scientists to develop a biological warfare complex in Libya.
- U.S. airstrikes cannot eliminate Saddam
Hussein's weapons of mass destruction for the simple reason that Iraq has
smuggled many of them to other Arab countries for safekeeping.
- That is the conclusion of a draft report
by the U.S. House of Representatives Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional
Warfare which was obtained by U.S. News & World Report magazine.
- The report -- based on American, German,
and Israeli intelligence -- says that Iraq has secretly built chemical
weapons plants in Sudan, transferred nuclear materials to Algeria, and
sent a dozen of its top scientists to develop a biological warfare complex
- The Clinton administration has dispatched
three aircraft carriers to the Persian Gulf and is now building international
support for a military strike to punish Saddam Hussein for defying United
Nations weapons inspectors.
- But "no bombing campaign against
Iraq, and even an occupation of that country for that matter, is capable
of destroying the hard core of Saddam Hussein's primary WMD [weapons of
mass destruction] development and production programs,'' the congressional
report states. "The reason is that under current conditions these
programs are run outside of Iraq -- mainly in Sudan and Libya, as well
as Algeria (storage of some hot nuclear stuff).''
- The transfer of Iraq's nuclear, biological,
and chemical weapons technology began even before the Gulf War. As Saddam
Hussein realized that the coalition led by the United States was going
to bomb his country in 1991, he hastily smuggled know-how, equipment, and
key materials to his close allies. And the smuggling has continued right
up to the present.
- In March/April 1991, Iraqi Deputy Prime
Minister Tariq Aziz got permission from Sudan's president, Umar al-Bashir,
to move about 400 Scud missiles and chemical weapons to Sudan for "safekeeping.''
At the same time, Iraq smuggled nuclear materials, documents, and weapons
parts -- including 27.5 pounds of highly-enriched uranium-235 -- to Sudan
via Jordan using diplomatic mail privileges. For example, barrels of uranium
were hidden in a truck marked "furniture'' that went from the Sudanese
Embassy in Iraq to Khartoum, the capital of Sudan, in January 1992.
- Since Sudan has no nuclear facilities,
most of the nuclear materials were later shipped to a Chinese-built research
reactor in the Algerian town of Ain Oussera, where they are still being
stored, according to the report.
- In 1995, Iraq and Sudan jointly built
a plant to produce choking mustard gas near Wau in southwestern Sudan.
The chemical weapons plant is located in a former fruit factory staffed
by Iraqi technicians. The gas has been used at least twice by the Sudanese
government against the rebel Sudanese People's Liberation Army in southern
- In May 1996, the Iraqis and Sudanese
tested chemical agents in the desert, and residents got sick when winds
shifted suddenly and carried residues into the city of Omdurman.
- Last year, Sudan and Iraq completed a
far more sophisticated chemical weapons plant along the Blue Nile in the
Kafuri region north of Khartoum. The plant is believed to have begun test
runs of nerve agents and is producing 122mm and 152mm artillery shells
as well as rocket and tactical missile warheads. Iraqi intelligence agents
recruited experts from Egypt, Croatia, Bulgaria, and Russia to help with
the plant according to the report.
- The Iraqis also built a chemical weapons
plant at the Yarmook Industrial Complex in the Mayu area south of Khartoum
using German-made machines acquired by Iraqi intelligence and smuggled
via Bulgaria. Computers were purchased in France. The site includes a mosque,
medical clinic, and guest houses for foreign experts from Iraq and Iran.
It even has a special farm to keep the "guests'' well fed on fresh
milk, vegetables, and dates.
- In 1995, the congressional report says,
Iraq signed a secret agreement to provide Libyan leader Muammer Qadhafi
with experts on ballistic missiles. Iraq also sent nuclear fuel and specialists
to work on nuclear weapons development at a secret site in Sidi Abu Zurayq,
in the desert about 240 miles southwest of Tripoli.
- Since the mid-1990s, Iraqi agents have
been buying sensitive technology in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland,
then diverting it to Libya. Late last year, Iraq sent some of its top experts
in chemical weapons to the Libyan chemical weapons facility inside a mountain
at Tarhunah, 40 milies southeast of Tripoli.
- About a dozen Iraqi scientists involved
in biological weapons research arrived in Libya at the beginning of this
year. They are helping the Libyans develop a new biological warfare complex
under the guise of a medical facility called General Health Laboratories.
This secret program, codenamed Ibn Hayan, is aimed at producing bombs and
missile warheads filled with deadly anthrax and botulism agents, according
to the report.