Books & Publications
by Iran Brief publisher Kenneth R. Timmerman
Click here to read biographical information
June 29, 1993
"Iraq's Nuclear Weapons Capability and IAEA Inspections in Iraq," Joint hearing before the Subcommittees on Europe & the Middle East and International Security, International Organizations and Human Rights of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, House of Representatives, One Hundred Third Congress, First Session, June 29, 1993.
US Government Printing Office 71-404 CC
Washington, DC, 1993
June 21, 1993
The Honorable Tom Lantos
Chairman, Subcommittee on International Operations, International Organizations, and Human Rights, of the Committee on Foreign Affairs
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Mr. Chairman: At your direction, I have prepared this staff report on the current status of Iraq's weapons manufacturing capability.
While UN Council Resolution 687, which Iraq accepted, obligated the Baghdad government to renounce all production, stockpiling, and use of unconventional weaponry, Iraq has rebuilt many of the weapons plants damaged during the Allied air campaign, and has resumed the production of a very wide range of conventional weaponry. Iraq has also succeeded in in returning to service most of the tanks, artillery, and combat aircraft damaged during Desert Storm. If unchecked, the Gulf could face the threat of renewed Iraqi agression during this administration.
In addition to published reports, mainly from the Iraqi press, information for this report was gathered from personal interviews with UN Special Commission staff in New York, with inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, and from a trip to Jordan in April 1992, prior to my joining the subcommittee staff. Other interviews were conducted in Paris with French government officials, with German Customs officials in Cologne, and with German export authorities in Bonn and Eschborn. At no time during the preparation of this report did the author have access to classified material.
Some of the information on Iraqi procurement networks was developed by Jules Kroll, president of Kroll Associates, a private financial investigative firm on Wall Street under contract to the Kuwaiti government to identify hidden Iraqi assets abroad. For material on Crescent Petroleum, I am indebted to British journalist Alan George. My colleague Dennis Kane, of the House Banking committee staff, has generously made available some of the vast documentation he gathered while investigating the Atlanta branch of Italy's state-owned Banca Nazionale del Lavoro (BNL).
In addition, I would like to gratefully acknowledge the assistance of Kenneth Katzman and Zachary Davis of the Congressional Research Service.
The conclusions drawn in this report are my own, and do not necesarily reflect the views of the Committee on Foreign Affairs or any member thereof.
Kenneth R. Timmerman
June 29, 1993
The scope of Iraq's weapons industry was largely unknown before the invasion of Kuwait1. More than forty major weapons-manufacturing complexes were built during the 1980s, most of which are beyond the scope of the UN inspections. Many have already started operating again. Little or no attention has been paid to these activities by Congress or the press.
Saddam's son-in-law and cousin, Hussein Kamil al-Majid, who was the driving force behind the military industrialization of Iraq before Desert Storm, was officially rehabilitated in February 1992 after a brief fall from grace. He is once again in charge of the weapons industries. His principal technical assistants, Lt. Gen. Amir Hammoudi Al-Saadi (now Minister of Industry and Minerals), and Lt. Gen. Amir Rashid al-Ubaidi, continue to occupy positions of prominence. Both are men of vision, and are extremely gifted in managerial skills. They are assisted by a large number of experienced weapons designers and production technicians.
Iraq announced in January 1992 that it had already repaired and tooled up more than 200 factory buildings associated with various military production lines2. On May 4, 1992, Lt. Gen. Amir Al-Saadi announced that "more than 50 establishments" of the former Ministry of Industry and Military Industrialization had been put back into commission, using equipment taken out of the weapons plants and hidden before Desert Storm.3
Among those facilities that have been "thoroughly reconstructed," accorded to inspection reports by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) are the notorious Saad 16 ballistic missile research and development center near Mosul, and the Al Rabiya plant in Zaafarniyah, which was bombed by Allied warplanes on Jan. 17, 1993.4
Iraq has already reactivated many of its black market procurement networks to acquire spare parts for conventional weapons-manufacturing facilities. Once United Nations sanctions are lifted, Iraq will be free to procure most of what it needs on the open market, to complete any gaps in technology.
Speaking before the Washington Institute for Near East Policy on March 24, 1993, the Chairman of the UN Special Commission for the Disarmament of Iraq (UNSCOM), Ambassador Rolf Ekeus, said he believed Iraq fully intended to restore its military industrial base. "The capabilities are there, the supply system including banks and payments is there. The day the oil embargo is lifted, Iraq will get all the cash and that will be a great concern... With the cash, the suppliers, and the skills they will be able to re-establish all the weapons programes," Ekeus said. "It may grow up like mushrooms after the rain."5
It should be emphasized that Iraq's success in rebuilding its military-industrial base has occured despite the most rigorous international economic sanctions imposed on any nation since World War II, and despite intrusive inspections of certain weapons facilities by UNSCOM and the IAEA .
Iraq's industrial purchases from the West in the 1985 through 1989 ran to $14.2 billion - excluding armament. The vast majority of this equipment went into Iraqi weapons plants and has not been found by the UN Special Commission. It was purchased either directly by the Ministry of Industry and Military Industrialization (MIMI), which was run by Saddam Hussein's son-in-law, Hussein Kamil Hasan, or by entities directly reporting to that ministry.
Production equipment found in Iraqi nuclear weapons plants has been catalogued in part by the IAEA. Some has been placed under seal to prevent further use; other production tools have been slated for future monitoring, to ensure Iraq does not use them for its weapons of mass destruction. Only a handful of state-of-the-art tools and application-specific fixtures have actually been destroyed, however. The IAEA argues that Iraq should be allowed to retain production equipment that has a potential civilian use, since Iraq's nuclear weapons program has been fully dismantled. Chief IAEA inspector, Maurizio Zifferero, has been arguing for months that Iraq's nuclear program "stands at zero now."6 Few independent experts agree with this sanguine assessment. Indeed, even IAEA director general, Hans Blix, has expressed his scepticism. In a discussion before a non-proliferation study group in Paris on May 26, 1993, Blix acknowledged that Iraq has refused to allow the IAEA to establish permanent monitoring of its nuclear facilities.
Throughout the 1980s, West Germany was Iraq's largest supplier of high-technology, with sales totalling $4.243 billion during the 1985-1989 period, or four times the level of U.S. sales.
Iraqi purchases in Germany included:
$2.4 billion worth of heavy machinery and transportation equipment
$1.3 billion worth of manufactured goods
$425 million worth of chemicals, and
$114 million worth of controlling instruments.7
The vast majority of this equipment is still missing.
Iraq's extensive purchase of mainframe, mini-supercomputers and process control systems provides an eloquent case of the type of supplier information the UN Special Commission would require in order to better identify and dismantle Iraqi unconventional weapons programs.
It is widely acknowledged today in scientific circles that advanced computers give the edge to Third World countries such as Iraq, who seek to develop a nuclear device without going through the costly and political perilous process of a nuclear test. Using high-speed computers and graphics work stations, it is now possible to simulate a nuclear blast, thus allowing design improvements to be developed in a matter of months that used to require long and arduous live testing. The UN nuclear inspectors discovered documents in Iraq which proved beyond a doubt that Iraq was using mainframe computers in precisely this way, and had gone through five major design upgrades of a nuclear explosive device, without undertaking a live nuclear test.
Most is known about U.S. high-tech exports to Iraq, although the United States was bottom on the list of Iraq's Western suppliers (a situation set to change had Iraq not invaded Kuwait). This is because intense pressure from the press and Congress forced the U.S. government to release detailed lists of export licenses requests for Iraq. An analysis of Department of Commerce records shows that in the United States alone, Iraq received a total of 354 export licenses for computers and advanced scientific analysis equipment from May 1985 through August 1990, worth a total of $113,760,714.
Of these licenses, at least 157, worth $57,792,275, were for advanced computing systems. The most widely selling item were VAX machines from Digital Equipment Corp. Other frequently sold items included high-speed oscilloscopes, radio-spectrum analyzers, integrated circuits, gas chromatography equipment, spectrophotometers, and a wide range of electronics manufacturing and test equipment. All were used in Iraqi weapons plants, many in the manufacture of ballistic missiles and in nuclear weapons research and development. Typical purchasers were the Iraqi Ministry of Industry, the Ministry of Defense, and weapons establishments including Saad, Huteen, Badr, and Nassr.
Of the 157 computers, Iraq has acknowledged to possessing a single IBM 370 mainframe - just one - located at the Thuwaitha nuclear research center. When the 8th UN nuclear inspection team demanded in writing a full accounting of all mainframe computers Iraq had purchased for use in its nuclear weapons program, this was the full text of the answer they received:
"The Computer Office at Tarmiya was initially designed to accommodate the option of a large computer (mainframe). Due to the special circumstances in operating individual separators [ie, calutrons for uranium enrichment], it was discovered through experience that the best condition would be to connect the separators to small dedicated computers. After achieving the steady operating conditions for the separators, the small computers would have been connected through a network located in the above-mentioned office. This approach was adopted at Tarmiya. It also applies to the design of the Computer Office at Ash-Sharqat, although computers were never introduced at this site.
"At the Al Thuwaitha site, the large computer was an IBM-370; in addition there were a number of personal computers (PCs) including IBM PS/2. The approach adopted at Al Tuwaitha was to use the computer capability available in the country when needed in addition to the above-mentioned computers." [8th IAEA inspection report, p 13].
Iraq's consistent refusal to provide detailed supplier information is one of the most daunting problems facing the UN inspection teams. Without detailed lists of equipment, suppliers, and the Iraqi purchasers, they have been hard put to penetrate the sophisticated shell game Iraq has been playing since April 1991, when the first inspections began, to hide its unconventional weapons capabilities. In some cases, they do not even have the necessary data to ask the Iraqis the right questions.
On Feb 12, 1992, UN inspectors demanded to visit computer centers in Baghdad, where they discovered six mainframe computers made by Digital Equipment Corp, IBM, and Hewlett Packard Three machines had been purchased by the Scientific Research Council (SRC), a procurement front run by Lt. General Amer Rashid al-Ubaidi. Iraq had never admitted to possessing any of them.
Two of Iraq's major computer suppliers deserve to be singled out, since the scope of their deliveries puts them in a case all by themselves.
Hewlett Packard received 57 licenses to export computer systems to Iraq from the United States, worth $3,147,608, from 1984 until 1990. HP systems can be found throughout the Iraqi nuclear weapons program, at Thuwaitha, at the Saad 16 research and development center, and at a variety of heavy engineering complexes that were manufacturing parts of uranium enrichment centrifuges and calutrons. Hewlett Packard maintained an office in Baghdad throughout most of the 1980s, and was a major exhibitor in the yearly Baghdad international trade fair.
The second company, International Computer Systems Ltd, was established in 1986 in the UK by a Jordanian of Palestinian origin, Esam Samarra. ICS received 49 export licenses from the Department of Commerce in the United States to sell computers to Iraq, worth $16,377,132, in addition to extensive sales it made directly from Britain. Samarra currently owns 70% of ICS.
ICS serves as a distributor/front for Digital Equipment Corp (DEC) VAX and MiniVAX computers, which have proven their worth to weapons designers the world over. It is no accident that ICS's clients were primarily Iraqi weapons establishments, including: Nassr, Saad 16, the Scientific Research Council, the Ministry of Industry and Military Industrialization, and the State Establishment for Heavy Engineering Industries (SEHEE), which was deeply involved in the manufacture of centrifuges and calutrons for uranium enrichment.
Esam Samarra subsequently set up a service company to maintain DEC computers in Iraq, called Computer and Communication Services Company (CCS), located in Amman, Jordan. Samarra told the author of this report during an interview in his Amman office in April 1992 that he had also been selling Iraq data systems made by McDonnell Douglas Computer Systems.
ICS was a major purveyor of VAX workstations to Iraq, importing equipment from the United States and from Great Britain, depending on where licenses could be obtained. It should be noted that during this same period (1985-1990), DEC only applied directly for four U.S. export licenses for Iraq.
Machine-tools are the basic building blocks for any heavy industry, and are particularly critical for the weapons industry. Because of this, machine-tool sales were carefully regulated throughout the 1970s and 1980s by the Coordinating Committee for Multilateral Export Controls (COCOM), an informal group of NATO partners which attempted to prevent the sale of strategic technologies to the Soviet Union and its allies. In many countries, machine-tool exports required an export license regardless of the destination, because of the COCOM controls. This led Iraq to devise a particularly ingenious method for sidestepping controls, which has since become one of the hallmarks of Iraq's secret network.
In 1987, as plans to build an atomic weapon accelerated dramatically, the Iraqis decided to purchase a Western machine-tool manufacturer, Matrix-Churchill, as a means of securing unlimited supplies of advanced machine-tools and as Iraq's principal partner for establishing its own machine-tool industry. Matrix Churchill was purchased through a web of front companies controlled directly by Baghdad. The main procurement front was the London-based Technology and Development Group (TDG), run by Safa Habobi, a former director of the giant Taji weapons complex.
Once it became an Iraqi company, Matrix Churchill used its subsidiary in Solon, Ohio as a front to procure additional controlled technologies in the United States.
Key documents detailing the construction by Matrix Churchill and an American composite materials manufacturer, Glass International Incorporated, were uncovered during the investigation of the Atlanta branch of the Banca Nazionale del Lavoro, conducted by the House Banking Committee. The ceramic and glass fiber plant was used by Iraq for the manufacture of uranium enrichment centrifuge rotors and possibley for missile nose cones. None of this production equipment has been found by the UN Special Commission during its inspections in Iraq, although shipping documents and plant progress reports show that deliveries were virtually complete by July 1990. The plant appears to have functioned as a stand-alone unit at the Taji weapons complex in the northern suburbs of Baghdad, according to corporate site drawings.
Similarly, little work has been done to date on the very large volume of industrial purchases by Iraq from Japan, Yugoslavia, China, and East European countries such as Czechoslovakia. Sources in Prague, for instance, indicate that Czech state enterprises had a hand in Iraqi chemical weapon plants, while the IAEA has identified a Czech company as the source of the HMX explosives found at that were to be used in constructing nuclear bomb cores.
A declassified U.S. Army intelligence document, obtained by privately funded Nuclear Control Institute in Washington, reveals that China was suspected of having built a top secret underground plutonium reactor in Iraq in the late 1980s, which the IAEA has sought to locate, without success. So strong were IAEA suspicions that Iraq had built an underground reactor that in September 1992 plans were drawn up to begin long-range monitoring of Iraqi waterways, in order to detect the minute traces of radioactivity the operation of such a reactor would emit.
Finally, much Japanese high-tech gear has been discovered by the IAEA in Iraqi nuclear weapons establishments, although procurement information has remained unavailable and unsolicited by the Japanese press.
UN inspection teams have found only a portion of the dual-use manufacturing equipment known to have been purchased by Iraq in the mid and late 1980s.
From April to June 1992, during its 11th and 12th inspection tours in Iraq, the IAEA catalogued 603 machine-tools that had been found in facilities related to Iraq's nuclear weapons program. However, approximately 2,000 machine-tools show up in Western export licensing records as having been sold to Iraq in the late 1980s, primarily from the UK, Germany and Italy. Because export controls on machine-tools were being relaxed at the same time, and because certain governments were seeking to expand their machine-tool exports to Iraq by decontrolling items that normally would have been controlled, it is impossible to estimate how many more machine-tools were actually delivered to Iraq without individually validated licenses. 8
For instance, of the 603 nuclear-relevant machine tools found in Iraq, IAEA records showed that 502 were not licensed by exporting authorities. In the case of Great Britain, 49 of the 83 machine-tools found by the IAEA were subject to export licensing restrictions. However, British export licensing records, made available to Parliament as part of its inquiry into British arms sales to Iraq, show that the Department of Trade and Industry licensed 313 machine-tools to Iraq from 1987-1989 - and by all accounts, only a fraction of what was actually shipped9. By the most conservative estimate, therefore, at least 264 British tools are currently missing.10
In the two months preceding Operation Desert Storm, Iraq worked day and night stripping its manufacturing facilities of valuable production equipment, computers, records, and materials. According to a senior Jordanian official, interviewed in Amman in April 1992, this effort was supervised by Lt. General Amer Rashid al-Ubaidi, Undersecretary at the Ministry of Industry and Military Industrialization (MIMI). The Jordanian official was a frequent visitor to Iraqi weapons plants, ballistic missile tests, and research centers in the late 1980s, in his official capacity as a scientific and technical advisor to King Hussein. He claimed that General Amer boasted to him after the war of his success.
U.S. spy satellites photographed this activity only days before the air war began, leading one Operations intelligence officer interviewed subsequently to observe that the Pentagon had "solid evidence" Iraq had been stripping its weapons plants in preparation for war11.
Underground storage sites used to hide industrial equipment were not high-priority targets during the air war. Besides, they were so numerous as to render a bombing campaign against them extremely costly. After the Israeli bombing of the Osirak nuclear research reactor in June 1981 every government building in Iraq was constructed on top of large underground shelters. Airbases and entire factory complexes were buried, with exact copies constructed elsewhere to fool enemy warplanes and reconnaissance satellites (so-called "potemptkin" facilities) . This accounts in part for the difficulties in bomb-damage assessments during the air campaign.
In mid-April 1992, following the destruction of the nuclear weapons design center at Al Atheer, Western intelligence photographed Iraqi trucks hauling equipment back into known manufacturing facilities. This signalled Iraq's conclusion that it had reached the end of the intrusive UN inspections and was free to rebuild its weapons plants at will.
Declarations in recent months by senior Iraqi leaders have only highlighted this intent. On Jan. 13, 1993, Lt. Gen. Amer Rashid boasted that Iraq had rebuilt its air defense network "better than before" Desert Storm12. On Feb. 7, Lt. General Amir Hamoudi Al-Saadi announced that Iraq had succeeded in rebuilding the war-damaged Al Qaim industrial complex, which had been used to extract uranium from phosphates ore and for the manufacture of CW precursors. Al-Saadi also hinted that Iraq had resumed production of main battle tanks. "I think every country is entitled to produce what it can for its legitimate defence and Iraq is no exception," he said.13 Meanwhile, Russian ballistic missile expert Nikiti Smidovitch returned from an inspection tour to announce that Iraq had begun work on a new family of surface to surface missiles, with a range just under 150 km.14
None of the UN Security Council resolutions concerning Iraq calls for the dismantling or future monitoring of Iraq's conventional weapons plants. This is a loophole that has never been examined very closely in open fora.
UN teams have inspected some of these plants, but only within the very limited framework of the contractual relationship between the facilities and Iraq's nuclear weapons complex or with the ballistic missile or CBW programs. As one senior analyst with the UN Special Commission put it, "We can't be bothered with counting how many 155 mm shells the Iraqis can make, as long as they do not violate the terms of [UN Security Council Resolution] 687... We have too much to do as it is."
In other words, Iraq is fully allowed by the terms of the ceasefire to continue manufacturing conventional weapons and ammunition and whatever rate it desires, even in the same plants that have been identified for their relevance to the nuclear weapons program. In theory, Iraq can even save equipment slated for disposal by the UN Special Commission by declaring that it will "only" be used for the manufacture of conventional weaponry. Allowable activity includes the manufacture of artillery rockets and ballistic missiles with ranges of 150 kilometers or less. What is not allowed is research or production of weapons of mass destruction, defined as nuclear weapons, chemical or biolological warfare agents, or ballistic missiles with a range greater than 150 kilometers.
Iraq has tried to take advantage of this loophole to prevent the destruction of equipment used for the production of the Badr 2000 (Condor II), a 1000 kilometer-range ballistic missile believed to be far more accurate than Iraq's upgraded SCUDs. (Its solid-fuel motors also make it easier to conceal and quicker to deploy). Starting in 1985, the United States government led a major Western campaign to prevent the sale of critical manufacturing equipment to the Condor II program, parts of which were being conducted jointly with Argentina and Egypt. Before the UN inspections began in Iraq, it was widely claimed that halting the Condor II program was the largest single success of the Missile Technology Control Regime.
UNSCOM ballistic missile teams soon discovered not one but four separate facilities in different parts of Iraq that were heavily engaged in the production of the solid-fuel Badr 2000 only days before the Allied bombing of Iraq began. One of the facilities, south of Fallujah, was also manufacturing liquid-fueled al Hossein and al Abbas missiles, Iraq's improved-range SCUDs.
All four missile plants appear to have been built by German and Italian firms, although the bulk of the solid fuel technology is said to have originated in the United States and to have reached Iraq via France and Italy. 15
Nevertheless, in letters dated Nov 19, 1991 and Feb 28, 1992, Iraqi officials informed the UN Special Commission that they intended to "modify and alter the equipment for the Badr-2000 project with a view to its reuse... [for] the manufacture of civilian explosives [and] in the manufacture of 100 kilometer range Ababil missiles" - both of which were allowable activities.
In particular, the Iraqis wanted to save from destruction a series of solid fuel mixers, made by the Draiswerke company in Germany, installed at the Taj al-Ma'arik missile plant south of Baghdad. They argued that since the mixers could also be used for "allowable" activity, they should not be destroyed.
While UNSCOM rejected Iraq's reasoning in this particular case and began destroying Condor II manufacturing equipment in April 1992, it left the vast majority of Iraq's "dual-use" equipment untouched.
Thirty-one machine-tools were destroyed by the UN Special Commission during the March and April 1992 inspections Ten of these were designated as missile-related, the other 21 as nuclear-related. Twenty-five other pieces of production equipment were destroyed, most as part of Iraq's ballistic missile program (solid fuel mixers, induction furnaces, hot and cold isostatic presses, etc). Specialized jigs and mandrels were destroyed, as were calutron and centrifuge assemblies used in uranium enrichment. Isolated pieces of equipment have been rendered inoperational since then.
This extremely modest destruction of Iraq's unconventional weapons capability has left major military manufacturing programs virtually untouched.
The case of the Zaafarniyah industrial complex, located some 20 kilometers south of Baghdad, illustrates the limits of the inspection process as currently structured.
Two distinct facilities were located on the same site, both of which were inspected by the IAEA because they had been producing parts for the nuclear weapons program. The Digila electronics plant was inspected twice because it had produced electronic parts for the calutron uranium enrichment program. The Al Rabiya heavy machining plant (aka al Rabee) was inspected on four separate occasions - twice by UNSCOM for missile activities, and twice by the IAEA.
Like most Iraqi weapons plants, Al Rabiya was designed and operated as a dual-use facility, under the auspices of the Ministry of Industry and Military Industrialization. Seventy-eight machine tools at this site were catalogued by the IAEA as related to the nuclear weapons program. These included large German machines used to make the calutron casings. Despite this known activity, the plant was never disabled by the IAEA, nor were these key manufacturing tools placed under any kind of monitoring that would have prevented their use in nuclear projects in the future. Inexplicably, the IAEA eventually dropped it from its list of potential inspection sites.
In January 1993, U.S. military planners concluded that Al Rabiya continued to operate, and that the Iraqis considered it a safe haven for illicit activity including the production of calutrons and uranium enrichment centrifuges assemblies.
Confidential informants have told the Subcommittee staff that one Western government (not the U.S.) had urged the IAEA to destroy Al Rabiya prior to the U.S. air strike against the site on Jan. 17, 1993. Despite the plant's clear relevance to both the calutron and centrifuge programs, however, the IAEA refused.
Three days after the strike, Saddam Hussein vowed to rebuild the plant. And on March 16, the head of Iraq's Military Industrialization Organization, Hussein Kamal Hasan, announced that reconstruction was not only complete but that the "enterprise is now operating even better than before."16 In his announcement, Kamil renamed the plant the "al-Nida State Enterprise for Manufacturing Molds, Construction Works and Machines." Al-Nida is the codename for a project to build mobile missile launchers. Indeed, al-Rabiya plant equipment was perfectly suitable for casting large steel and aluminium assemblies for missile launchers. The reconstruction of Al Rabiya/Al Nidaa was documented during the 17th and 18th IAEA inspections.
Another example, drawn from the 18th IAEA inspection report, is the notorious Saad 16 ballistic missile R&D plant near Mosul, built by Guildemeister and a consortium of German and Austrian companies in the mid-1980s. By any interpretation of the UN ceasefire resolutions, this plant should have been thoroughly monitored and kept out of commission. Just the opposite has occured. According to the 18th IAEA inspection report,
"Al Kindi (SAAD 16)... is a facility for military research and development, in particular, the pyrotechnics and propellants used in rockets. The site has been thoroughly reconstructed after severe destruction during the Gulf War. The facilities at the site have features that could be useful in development of small quantities of explosives such as those used in a nuclear weapons development program. It has also some good quality machine shops for fabricating non-explosive materials, an electroplating capability and a primitive capability for the machining of high explosives. The reconstruction effort has proceeded since the visit in November 1992. More buildings have been completed and additional equipment has last been installed.No nuclear related activities prohibited under UNSCR 687 were observed."17
As a general rule, the IAEA has been loath to destroy dual-use equipment to avoid giving the impression it is seeking to prevent Iraq's scientific and technological development. Rather than shut down an entire factory, the IAEA's approach has been to target isolated pieces of equipment spread across a number of sites. This has left virtually untouched the largest military manufacturing base in the Arab world.
Sometimes this has led to extreme cases. Also during the 18th IAEA inspection in early March 1993, Chief inspector Dimitri Perricos chanced upon no fewer than 242 machine-tools, many of them potentially subject to UNSC 687 monitoring, in a single nuclear weapons facility, Al Huteen. Earlier IAEA teams had simply missed them. 94 of these machine-machine tools were 3 and 4-axis turning machines manufactured by Matrix Churchill.
The IAEA is unlikely to become more severe with Iraq, and indeed, can be expected to argue that Iraq should be allowed to retain its dual-use equipment and production facilities - indeed, even nuclear facilities. During an extended conversation in Vienna earlier this year, the head of the IAEA inspection team, Professor Maurizio Zifferero, said he could see "no reason why Iraq should not be allowed to pursue legitimate civilian nuclear research again. I can imagine the day where they might want to rebuild the Thuwaitha research reactor, or build nuclear power plants." Such activity, Zifferero believed, would be "legitimate and innocuous" since the IAEA has reduced the Iraqi bomb program "to zero."18
Since Zifferero's comments were publicized in the Wall Street Journal, he has backed away from this position in his public statements.
Iraq has been steadily building up the industrial infrastructure necessary for a broad-based weapons industry since Saddam Hussein took charge of military procurements and security questions in 1974.
At that time, Saddam set up a three-man Strategic Planning Committee that took charge of arms purchases, military-industrial planning, and the secret financial networks.
In the early days, Saddam's partners on the three-man committee were his cousin, Adnan Khairallah (who went on to become Defense Minister in the 1980s before his death in a mysterious helicopter crash in May 1989), and Adnan Hamdani, Saddam's personal secretary. Trained as a lawyer, Hamdani was in charge of contractual negotiations and financing, and went on to become Planning Minister.19
Part of Hamdani's job was to slip strategic weapons projects into large contracts ostensibly devoted to developing Iraq's civilian manufacturing or agricultural potential, which in turn were buried in Iraq's Soviet-style Five-Year Plan. Under the heading "agricultural development," for instance, Hamdani inscribed a little-noticed entry that called for "the creation of six laboratories for chemical, physiological, and biological analysis." To operate the laboratories, which were devoted to biological weapons research, the Plan called for the training by foreign companies of 5,000 technicians. One of these labs was the now famous Salman Pak "baby milk" plant, identified by UNSCOM as Iraq's largest biological weapons facility.
Every "civilian" plant Iraq built in the late 1970s and 1980s was also geared for military production. Chemicals plants at Fallujah, for instance, also churned out precursors for poison gas. Heavy engineering plants in the southern suburbs of Baghdad produced uranium centrifuge parts as well as machine-tools and railroad ties. Steel plants were built so they could just as easily manufacture reinforcing bars for the construction industry as armor-plate for tanks. To fully grasp the scope of Iraq's weapons-manufacturing capability, one must examine in detail Iraq's industrial base with an eye to dual-use. This was the case before the UNSCOM inspections, and it remains the case today.
The imbrication of military with civilian production made procurement of most materials an easy task throughout the 1980s. Under the guise of building a $1 billion "super-phosphates" plant at Al Qaim, for instance, Iraq also procured processing lines to separate uranium from phosphate ore. As part of the gigantic steel complex at Taji, they purchased a foundry for tank barrels; or again, under the cover of electrical generating equipment they purchased large steel casings which were used for the uranium enrichment calutrons.
While many Iraqi weapons plants were heavily destroyed during Allied bombing raids, extraordinary efforts have been spent over the past two years to get military production back up and running. According to Israel's top private analyst on Iraq, Amatzia Baram, "Saddam must continue his military efforts, since his whole raison d'être over the past twenty years has been to transform Iraq into the Prussia of the Middle East. Arms manufacturing is built into his system. Without it, Saddam will lose prestige, and perhaps lose power."20
Of the forty-seven main weapons plants listed in the Appendix, thirty-three have been cited by the IAEA for having contributed to Iraq's crash effort to develop an atomic weapon, ten were engaged in chemical or biological weapons production, twelve were involved in ballistic missile research, design, development, and manufacture, while twenty-four were making conventional armaments.
Much remains of this vast industrial infrastructure. As mentioned above, most production equipment was dismantled before the Allied bombings and was stored in underground bunkers or civilian industrial sites for the duration of the war. Over one hundred pieces of production equipment from the Samarra poison gas works, for instance, were stored in the Mosul sugar factory, and discovered only by accident by UN inspectors. It is not known how much of this equipment has been subjected to monitoring.
The following is a brief summary by factory of the conventional weapons production capability still believed to exist in Iraq:
Al Ameen: T-72 tank assembly, under Polish and Czech licenses; machine-tool assembly line.
Al Amil: liquid nitrogen production
Al Muthena (Fallujah chemicals plant): HMX,.RDX explosives.
Al Qaqaa: aerial bombs, TNT; solid rocket propellants
Al Rabee: precision machining
April 7: proximity fuzes for 155 mm and cluster munitions
Badr: aerial bombs, artillery pieces; tungsten-carbide machine-tool bits
Base West World: major armor retrofitting center
Digila: computer software; assembly of process-line controllers for weapons plants; plastics casting
Fao: cluster bombs; fuel-air explosives
Huteen: explosives, TNT, propellants; potential for armored vehicle assembly
Mansour: defense electronics
PC1: ethylene oxide for fuel-air explosives
Saad 5 (Saddam Engineering Complex): 122 mm howitzers; Ababil rockets; tank optics; mortar sites
Saad 13 (Salah al Dine): defense electronics, radars, frequency-hopping radios radios
Saad 21: Nonferrous metal plant for ammunition cases
Saad 24: gas masks
Sawary: small patrol boats
SEHEE: heavy engineering complex capable of a wide variety of military production (artillery, vehicle parts, cannon barrels)
Taji: wheeled APCs (East European license); armor plate; artillery pieces.21
This very broad-based capability gives Iraq the possibility not only of refurbishing the 250 or more fighter aircraft and 2,500 main battle tanks that survived the war, but of expanding its military inventory in the very near future. Noting this development, the Chairman of the UN Special Commission, Rolf Ekeus, noted earlier this year that Iraq "considers its obligations ended once destruction of its weapons of mass destruction is completed, and has said it will not accept UN monitoring of any future arms buildup."22
In a briefing for members of the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on Europe and the Middle East on June 7, Ekeus went even further.
"Iraq is systematically preserving its options in all four areas of unconventional weapons production - nuclear, ballistic missile, chemical, and biological," Ekeus said. Furthermore, there were "no signs" that Iraq was dispersing the teams of scientists that had worked on these weapons projects. Iraq has "jealously guarded and protected its foreign suppliers network," and continues to refuse to accept monitoring of its future capabilities. "So far, we have seen no element of voluntary compliance by Iraq" with the UN Security Council resolutions. "They have tried to conceal as much as they can."
Iraq continues to operate an extensive clandestine procurement network in Europe, the Middle East, and possibly in the United States. Some of the most notorious agents who helped Iraq obtain sophisticated Western technologies for its long-range ballistic missile programs and its nuclear weapons effort are still at large. Among these:
Safa Habobi, the President of Technology Development Group (TDG), London. TDG led the Iraqi procurement effort in Europe, serving as the front for the purchase of the machine-tool company, Matrix Churchill Ltd. British Customs inexplicably waited several months after the international embargo on Iraq and Iraqi assets was in place before raiding the TDG offices, allowing the Iraqis to cart of critical documents that might have exposed their network. Habobi was allowed to leave Britain and return to the Middle East. On September 27, 1992 he was involved in a non-fatal car crash and was identified in hospital in Amman, Jordan. He is believed to have moved his procurement operations to Tunisia.23
Khaled Marzoumi, the former Commercial attaché at the Iraqi Embassy in Paris in the late 1980s, now operates out of the offices of the State Oil Marketing Organizaiton (SOMO) in Amman, Jordan, where the author briefly encountered him in April 1992. In 1988-89, he was instrumental in the operation of Babil International, an Iraqi front company registered in France that was controlled by Safa Habobi of TDG and was used for procurement and financial transactions on behalf of the Iraqi government.
Pierre Drogoul, the father of indicted BNL-Atlanta banker Christopher Drogoul. Until recently, the elder Drogoul worked as a consultant for Babil International. The French government has never closed Babil or seized its accounts, which are held at the Neuilly-sur-Seine branch of the Union des Banques Françaises et Arabes (UBAF). Drogoul continues to operate a trading company, Technique Materiel Commerce International (TMCI), in the Paris suburb of Garches.
Sam Namaan, aka Saalim Naman, served as Vice President of Matrix Churchill Corp, the U.S. branch of the British tool company that fitted out a dozen Iraqi weapons plants in the late 1980s. Although the Solon, Ohio offices of MCC were raided by U.S. Customs agents in 1991 and Namaan was sought for questioning, he was reportedly allowed to re-enter the United States at Detroit on Oct. 10, 1992 on an immigration visa.24
Anis Mansour Wadi, one of the original members in Europe of the Iraqi procurement network, established several companies in Britain and later in the United States that were used to purchase equipment for the nuclear weapons program. One of these, Bay Industries, of Century City, California, was searched and closed down by U.S. Customs agents on March 22, 1991. However, Wadi is believed to have continued operating in the United States.
The investigative arm of German Customs, the ZKI (Zollkriminalinstitut), is currently investigating more than 150 German and Iraqi-owned companies based on German territory for possible breaches of the UN sanctions against Iraq. Among the companies on the "active" list, which was made available to the subcommittee by private sources in Europe, are some of Germany's largest industrial concerns, such as Thyssen, MAN, and Strabag Bau AG.
Some companies are familiar to investigators for their role in helping Iraq to develop its upgraded SCUD missiles, such as ABC Beaujean of Stuttensee. Others are under investigation for selling technologies with a potential nuclear end-use, including calutron magnets, and special piping for use in a centrifuge enrichment plant. This suggests that Iraq indeed intends to continue its nuclear weapons program, despite its commitment to UN Security Council Resolution 687.
Iraq-owned fronts constitute another category of companies on the ZKI case list. Among these are the Iraqi Shipping Lines in Bremen, and the German office of the Technology Development Group, known as TDG-SEG, Krefeld, which is believed to be purchasing machine-tools and other goods in Germany using fake Jordanian end-use certificates. Equipment purchased in this manner is shipped legally to Jordan, where it is subsequently diverted to Iraq by truck.
The German subsidiary of Minolta, based in Arensberg, is under investigation for a potential export of a flash x-ray camera. A similar item was discovered by the IAEA at Iraq's Al Atheer nuclear weapons lab, where it was used to develop nuclear explosive "lenses." Minolta has strenuously denied accusations in the past of having supplied Iraq with dual-use equipment. The IAEA in Vienna continues to look with great interest Iraq's suppliers of flash x-ray equipment. Another unit was obtained from IMACON in Switzerland, apparently through the intermediary of a Geneva-based trading company, Bonaventure (Europe) Inc.
In Hamburg, Stinnes Interoil AG is suspected by German Customs of having organized purchases of Iraqi oil, in contravention of the embargo. It is not known whether they played the role of intermediary for foreign sales of Iraqi oil, or whether they imported oil into Germany itself. As in all other cases cited, no criminal proceedings have been initiated.
Some new names appear on this latest list of German companies suspected of embargo-busting, including Krupp Atlas, of Bremen, and machine-tool manufacturers such as Condux Maschenbau, of Hanau, and Möller Maschinenfabrik GmbH, of Bekum. Reman Enterprises-Raouf Mahdi, of Nurenburg, is suspected of having sold weapons. Companies under investigation for unspecified embargo breaches include: Allgemeine Nah-ost Handelsgesselshaft (Hamburg), Alloy Pipe and Metal (Rattingen), Benteller AG (Vienslacke), China Project and Investment (Hamburg), Comaco GmbH (Gellhausen), Commerce und Finance Service, Pan Trade GmbH (Bensheim), and Rotermund GmbH (Munich). None has been indicted.25
Until recently, Jordan had served as Iraq's primary conduit to the West. Goods were imported for use in Jordan through the port of Aqaba, and shipped up through the desert to Baghdad on trucks operated by the Iraq-Jordan Land Transportation Company, which is owned jointly by the governments of Iraq and Jordan.
Under intense pressure from the United States, and from public exposure of Jordan's role as a conduit for embargoed goods reaching Iraq, in early 1992 King Hussein ordered a crackdown on illicit activities, in an attempt to clear his country's name as an Iraqi ally. However, it took several months before key Iraqi agents were weeded out of the Jordanian bureaucracy, where they had been signing false end-use and embargo-compliance certificates. Key to obtaining Jordanian support was the cutoff of U.S. aid to Jordan in 1991.
Jordan has been allowed, however, to continue purchasing Iraqi oil by the UN Sanctions Committee. These purchases, estimated at 60,000 to 70,000 b/d, were specifically tied to the repayment of Iraq's debt to Jordan. This debt stood at around $400 million when the initial waver was granted in August 1990. By all estimates, even at the reduced price of $16 per barrel, Iraq's oil deliveries should have wiped out the debt by late December 1991 However, the oil deliveries to Jordan continued on the same scale as before throughout 1992.
According to Western diplomats interviewed in Amman, this is because the Central Bank of Jordan had been purchasing Iraqi debt from commercial banks, and reclassifying it as "official" debt. Debt officers at the Central Bank of Jordan confirmed that the Iraqi government debt to Jordan still stood at around $400 million in April 1992, despite the oil deliveries, but refused to comment on how this had come about.
Wall Street investigator Jules Kroll, who has been tracking Iraq's procurement effort in Jordan, says the Iraqi government transferred $5.2 billion in government funds to the Arab Bank in Amman just as Operation Desert Storm was ending, to establish a new trading infrastructure for Iraq. In addition to this, he alleges that the Central Bank of Jordan is laundering secret Iraqi government funds in Switzerland through commercial banks such as Jordan's Housing Bank, the Jordan Gulf Bank, and the Arab Financial Corporation. Local bankers in Amman quietly confirmed that they were financing Iraqi imports through Jordan and trading in Iraqi commercial paper, but refused to provide details.26
Already in March 1992, two French major oil companies, CFP Total, and Elf Aquitaine, acknowledged that they were engaged in active negotiations with the Iraqi government over future oil production-sharing agreements in Iraq.27 Since then, oil ministry and private businessmen from Russia, Italy, and Belarus have also attempted to renew contact.
In March 1993, the State Department formally accused Iran of having violated the oil embargo on Iraq, after U.S. observation satellites detected what was described as a "large convoy of oil trucks" leaving Iraq for Iran. Iran denied the charge, which was reiterated in the daily State Department briefing on March 30 by spokesman Richard Boucher.
Unconfirmed reports from Kuwaiti sources warned that commercial contacts have intensified in recent months between major French defense exporters and Iraqi agents in Europe, in view of renewing the supply of spare parts for Iraq's fleet of Mirage F1 fighter-bombers. The Franco-German Eurocopter consortium was also said to have been probing new sales. Given the public support of the UN embargo by the French government, however, most foreign diplomats in Paris believe it highly unlikely that the French government would approve such sales. One report, from a French source that claimed personal knowledge, alleged that a major French defense electronics company had established an office in Amman, Jordan for the sole purpose of servicing equipment sold to Iraq in the 1980s. This has not been confirmed.
What is certain is that the Iraqi Air Force Mirages have been performed training missions in recent months in an increasingly brazen manner, notably along the borders oaf the southern exclusion zone.
Furthermore, according to Andrei Volpin, a a Russian research fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Studies, some 200 Russian military technicians remain in Iraq and are servicing Soviet-built equipment. Russian officials from Oboronexport, the government's arms export agency, confirmed the presence of the Russian technicians in Iraq but insisted that they had been engaged on "private" contracts.28
The Office of Foreign Assets Control continues to investigate a $700 million independent oil company, Crescent Petroleum Company International, on the suspicion it may be acting on behalf of the Iraqi government.
Crescent operates out of the Emirate of Sharjah and is controlled by Hamid Dhia Jaafar, the brother of Jaafar Dhia Jaafar, the acknowledged head of Iraq's clandestine nuclear weapons program. Jaafar Jaafar currently serves as senior Undersecretary of the Ministry of Industry and Minerals, formerly known as the Ministry of Industry and Military Industrialization (MIMI), and is the principal interlocutor for International Atomic Energy Agency inspection teams investigating Iraq's nuclear weapons capabilities.
If Crescent has been acting on behalf of Iraq then its assets worldwide could be seized under the terms of UN Security Council resolutions. Crescent has a registered office at 5847 San Relipe, Suite 2150, Houston, Texas.
The allegations, which Crescent's owner of record, Hamid Jaafar, strenuously denied, revolve around the company's ties to MIMI. In 1989, Crescent was appointed sole agent on MIMI's behalf to negotiate the acquisition of technology for a large-scale aluminum smelter to be built near Nassiriyah in southern Iraq, a project which is mentioned in the "Chairman's letter" introducing the company's 1989-1990 Annual Report. In the 9th inspection report of Iraq's clandestine nuclear facilities, IAEA inspectors note that special aluminum parts used in Iraq's uranium enrichment centrifuges were melted down in May or June 1991 at the Nassiriyah smelter, identified by the Iraqis as the "Ur Establishment" and described by the United Nations as "the only aluminum smelter in Iraq." Since then, the IAEA and the UN Special Commission have identified this facility to be "linked" to Iraq's clandestine nuclear weapons program.
Crescent appears to have been doing business directly with the head of Iraq's unconventional weapons programs, MIMI Senior Undersecretary Lt. Gen. (Dr.) Amir Hamoodi Al-Saadi. In an apparently unrelated deal, Al-Saadi empowered Hamid Jaafar to purchase financial interests in foreign oil refineries by using Iraqi oil as collateral. This led to an attempted purchase by Crescent of the entire Petrofina network of refineries and 3,000 filling stations in the United States, and would have vastly expanded the financial assets available to MIMI for weapons development.
While Crescent may not have been in the business of arms manufacturing or procurement per se, it was certainly linked to the principal Iraqi government organization that was. Crescent has repeatedly denied any wrong-doing. However, in a libel suit company lawyers brought against independent journalist Alan George for having written about Crescent's ties to MIMI, a London court ruled that no libel had been commited and awarded damages to Mr George.
Former CIA Director Robert Gates put a timetable on the Iraqi rearmament effort, addressing Iraq's capabilities in the areas of nuclear technologies, chemical and biological weapons, and ballistic missiles in testimony before the U.S. Senate Government Operations Committee on Jan 15, 1992.
The most immediate threat following the easing of UN sanctions would be from Iraqi biological weapons, because of the small amount of specialized production equipment required. Iraq "could be producing BW materials in a matter of weeks of a decision to do so," Gates said.
Some chemical warfare agents could also be produced almost immediately, since much of the hard-to-get production equipment was removed and hidden before Operation Desert Storm began. However, heavy bomb damage to Iraqi CW plants and continued monitoring by the UN Special Commission will partially retard Iraq's effort to regain the CW capability it had previously enjoyed. Gates believed that a full CW capability would take "a year or more" for Iraq to accomplish - a very short lead time, indeed.
The CIA continues to estimate that Iraq has hidden away around 200 improved SCUD missiles (al-Hossein and al-Abbas variants, with ranges of 650 and 900 km respectively) - an estimate Ekeus reiterated recently.29 Added to this is a suspected capability to indigeneously produce liquid fuel for these missiles, making Iraq independent of outside sources or technology. 30
Iraq's nuclear program took the hardest hit, Gates claimed. Even here, however, the CIA estimates the time Iraq would need to reconstitute its nuclear weapons program at "a few, rather than many, years."
Gates concluded: "In our opinion, Iraq will remain a primary proliferation threat as long as Saddam remains in power." A similar view was expressed in a recent Rand Corporation study on Iraq by former National Security Council staff member, Graham Fuller.
To insist that Saddam Hussein's commitment to rebuilding the most powerful military machine in the region is an obstacle to peace, is not a "personalization" of the conflict between Iraq and the United States; it is merely a statement of fact.
After World War I, Germany was banned altogether from rebuilding its military industries, and from moving troops into the Ruhr Valley. The comparison with Iraq's current situation is illustrative. While demilitarized zones have been created to protect Kurds in the north and Shiites in southern Iraq, no restrictions have been placed on Iraq's military industries beyond the ban on unconventional weapons development, manufacture, and possession. Iraq has pumped all available resources into rebuilding its military plants, without a thought to international sanctions or to treaty restrictions. As a result, Iraq is likely to reemerge as the predominant military power in the region in very short order.
1The author of this Staff report chronicled the growth of Iraq's military industries in The Death Lobby: How the West Armed Iraq (Houghton-Mifflin, 1991, Boston & New York). Information in this report is drawn from the author's previous experience in Iraq, interviews with the directors of Iraqi weapons programs, and a broad range of government and industry sources in France, Germany, Britain, Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, and the United States, in addition to those sources mentioned in the letter of transmittal.
2Middle East Defense News (MEDNEWS), March 9, 1992. Michael Eisenstadt, a military fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, wrote in a March 1993 paper entitled "The Iraqi Armed Forces since the Gulf War: "Significant reconstruction activity has been observed at more than two dozen military-industrial sites and more than 200 buildings have been partially repaired. Iraq has now reportedly resumed assembly of T-72 tanks, and limited production of artillery, short-range missiles and rockets, ammunition, and spares at some factories, although production is likely to remain limited as long as sanctions remain in place."
3"Minister Pledges 'Surprises' in Industrial Output," Iraqi News Agency, May 4, 1992.
4IAEA 18th inspection report, page 5; released April 28, 1993.
5Reuter, March 24, 1993.
6"Iraq Nuclear Effort Is 'at Zero,' UN Says, International Herald Tribune, Sept. 3, 1992.
7Figures derived from OECD monthly trade statistics. Cf "Who's Been Arming Iraq," Middle East Defense News (MEDNEWS), Paris, France, April 15, 1991.
8The U.S. Department of Commerce licensed only a handful of machine-tools; much production equipment was shipped without licenses. One example: 30-foot long boring machines intended for making long-range artillery tubes.
9"Exports to Iraq: Minutes of Evidence," House of Commons, Trade and Industry Committee, Tuesday, 26 Nov. 1991.
10An additional 94 Matrix Churchill tools were found in March 1993 during the 18th IAEA inspection at the Al Huteen State Establishment, bringing the total number of Matrix Churchil machine-tools found in Iraq to 148. See below.
11Confidential interview with the author, Nov. 14, 1991.
12Iraqi News Agency, jan. 13, 1993
13Reuter, Feb. 7, 1993.
14Reuter, Jan. 29, 1992.
15"UN Inspectors destroy Condor II equipment," MEDNEWS, March 30, 1992.
16Baghdad INA, March 16, 1993.
17IAEA 18, April 28, 1993, page 5.
18Comments reproduced in the Wall Street Journal Europe, "What the IAEA Hasn't Found in Iraq," Jan. 28; a similar account of Zifferero's attitude toward dismantling Iraq's manufacturing capabilities can be found in Gary Milhollin, "The Iraqi Bomb," The New Yorker, Feb. 1, 1993. Milhollin notes that Zifferero, who has been given the task of dismantling Iraq's nuclear weapons program, had sold Iraq plutonium reprocessing hot cells and other equipment in the mid-1970s as the lead Italian government official in charge of nuclear exports.
19For more background, see chapters 1-4 of The Death Lobby: How the West Armed Iraq, op cit.
20Interview with the author in Haifa in Feb. 1992.
21"Rebuilding the Defense industry," MEDNEWS, March 9, 1992; "Does Iraq have the Bomb?," MEDNEWS, Jan. 25, 1993.
22Wireless File, USIS, Feb. 6, 1993.
23Jim Hoagland, International Herald Tribune, Oct. 15, 1992
24John Fialka, Wall Street Journal, Dec. 11, 1992.
25"German Companies Break Iraq Embargo," MEDNEWS, July 6, 1992
26"Jordan reverses embargo policy," Mednews, April 13, 1992.
27Le Monde, March 6, 1992.
28Interview with Oboronexport officials at the Paris Air Show, June 17, 1993.
29UPI, March 24, 1993.
30The facility, code-named Al Amil, or Project 7307, is located approximately 6 km west of the Tarmiyah Electro-Magnetic Isotope Separation (EMIS) plant, and was inspected in 1992 by the IAEA. The Iraqi authorities told the IAEA that while Al Amil was no longer doing work for the Iraqi nuclear program, ;production of liquid nitrogen - which can be used for liquid-fueled ballistic missiles - was continuing under German license. "Rebuilding the Defense Industry," MEDNEWS, March 9, 1992.