A study on: Exploring U.S. Missile Defense Requirements in 2010: What Are the Policy and Technology Challenges?

Iraq: Awaiting Resurrection

Although the U.N. efforts to eliminate Iraq's WMD and longer-ranged missile capabilities has reduced the Iraqi arsenal and slowed its rate of progress in these areas,62 it has by no means stopped the programs (to include the nuclear program that was within months of producing a nuclear weapon when interrupted by Desert Storm). It is also believed that Iraq has been able to conceal some of its prohibited systems, to include perhaps 40 Scud missiles and their associated CW, BW, and conventional warheads.63 Of long-term concern is the simple fact that Iraq has the knowledge, trained personnel, and sufficient production equipment available to restart its WMD and missile programs once U.N. sanctions are lifted.64 It still has the designs for the powerful TC-11 gas centrifuges and the personnel trained in building them.65 Considering the effort that Iraq is taking to protect its residual capabilities in these areas, there can be little doubt that Iraq intends to pursue these programs again in the future.

Of particular interest, Iraq is still believed to be working on the design for a new missile system that may have a range in excess of 2000 miles (3200 kms). According to a senior U.N. official, this missile will be able to reach London.66 In addition, Iraq may be researching the technology for advanced re-entry warheads that would be compatible with small thermonuclear devices. These warheads are a real advance over Scud technology in which the entire missile body flies the entire trajectory. Essentially, Iraq is suspected of developing warheads which are designed to separate from the upper stage of a missile at the end of the ascent phase of the trajectory.67 Apparently, Iraq flight-tested stage separation technology during the Gulf War and continues to refine the design.68 U.N. inspectors also "believe Iraq has obtained an advanced space guidance system that could be adapted for controlled warhead re-entry."69 The advanced guidance systems in question may have originated in France and Germany.70

In short, current trends indicate that if the limitations imposed by UN sanctions should be lifted within the next few years, Iraq could arm itself with CW, BW, and nuclear weapons by 2010. This capability would likely be matched to missile delivery systems that may include IRBMs. The possibility that Iraq's delivery capability will also include MRV warheads cannot be ruled out.

62 ?

63 "Iraqi Missile Accusations," Intelligence Digest, July 12, 1996; "Iraq, 5/5/96," The Nonproliferation Review, Fall 1996, p. 163; and "Iran's Tunnels are Missile Sites, Says USA," op. cit.

64 Latter, op. cit., p. 77; and "Iraq Rebuilding Its Covert Procurement Network," Centre for Defence and International Security Studies, Internet, http://www.cdiss.org/country2.htm, January 22, 1997; and "The Whore of Babylon and the Horseman of Plague," The Economist, April 12, 1997, p. 79.

65 "Iraq, 1/22/96," The Nonproliferation Review, Spring/Summer 1996, p. 115.

66 "Iraq, 2/14/96," The Nonproliferation Review, Fall 1996, p. 162.

67 "Iraq's Space & Missile Programs Move Ahead," Military Space, September 30, 1996, p. 1; and R. Adam Moody, "Reexaming Brain Drain From the Former Soviet Union," The Nonproliferation Review, Spring/Summer 1996, p. 94. The latter reference notes that 50 specialists from Arzamas-16, to include a Ukrainian MIRV specialist and a Russian laser specialist were reported to be working in Iraq in late 1992.

68 Ibid.

69 Ibid., p. 7.

70 Ibid.