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[ This message has been sent to you via the CASI-analysis mailing list ] Hi Peter, Glen Rangwala has compiled a very thorough 'claims and evaluation of Iraq's proscribed weapons', available on http://www.middleeastreference.org.uk/iraqweaponsc.html I paste the section on mustard gas below Per Klevnäs --- [US CLAIMS:] State Department, 12 September 2002, p.9: "Iraq has not [..] accounted for about 550 artillery shells filled with mustard agent." (repeated in CIA, October 2002, p.10). State Department, 19 December 2002: "In January 1999, the UN Special Commission reported that Iraq failed to provide credible evidence that 550 mustard gas-filled artillery shells... had been lost or destroyed. [...] Again, what is the Iraqi regime trying to hide by not providing this information?" (partially repeated in White House, January 2003, p.6). Secretary Powell, 5 February 2003: "Saddam Hussein has never accounted for vast amounts of chemical weaponry: 550 artillery shells with mustard [..]" State Department, 27 February 2003: "UNMOVIC has reported that Iraq failed to provide evidence to account for 1,000 tons of mustard gas, 550 mustard gas-filled munitions [..]". EVALUATION. A "blister agent", mustard has a longer shelf-life than G-series nerve agents. As the final assessment report from UNSCOM recorded: "a dozen mustard-filled shells were recovered at a former CW storage facility in the period 1997 - 1998 [..]. After seven years, the purity of mustard ranged between 94 and 97%." (Enclosure 1 to the Annex of the Letter to the President of the Security Council, 29 January 1999, S/1999/94, para.33; at: http://www.un.org/Depts/unscom/s99-94.htm) However, mustard has a high volume-to-effectiveness ratio. As the IISS record in the strategic dossier, at p.43: "large amounts of mustard are necessary for effective military operations. Roughly, one tonne of agent is needed to effectively contaminate 2.6 square kilometres of territory, if properly disseminated." Iraq declared that it filled approximately 13,000 artillery shells with mustard prior to 1991. UNSCOM accounted for 12,792 of these shells, and destroyed them in the period of 1992-94. However, Iraq also declared that 550 mustard-filled artillery shells had been lost in the aftermath of the Gulf War; it later (in March 2003) claimed that this figure was arrived at by way of approximating the amount used, for which reliable records are not available, and thus the quantity unaccounted for is simply a result of the use of unreliable approximations. UNMOVIC report that the 550 artillery shells would contain between them "a couple of tonnes of agent" ("Unresolved Disarmament Issues", 6 March 2003, p.76). The extent to which these - if they still existed - could constitute an ongoing danger should be assessed in light of the need to deploy large amounts of mustard for effective use. Iraq has also cooperated in the destruction of remaining mustard items. 10 artillery shells were found by UNSCOM but were not destroyed before UNSCOM withdrew in 1998. As requested, Iraq kept these shells at al-Mutanna facility, where they were identified by UNMOVIC on 4 December 2002. On 11 February 2003, UNMOVIC reported: "An UNMOVIC chemical team went to Al Mutanna, approximately 140 km north of Baghdad in preparation for the beginning of the process of destroying 10 155mm artillery shells and four plastic containers filled with mustard gas. The destruction process will begin tomorrow and is expected to last four to five days to complete. UNMOVIC chemical inspectors will work with an Iraqi team in the destruction process. These artillery shells were scheduled to be destroyed by the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM) in 1998 but the plan was halted when UNSCOM withdrew from Iraq." Technical problems were subsequently reported, but destruction continued from 25 February 2003, and was completed by 5 March 2003. With regard to the "1,000 tons of mustard gas", referred to by the State Department on 27 February 2003, this seems to be an exaggeration. The only mustard that is unaccounted for except for the artillery shells is the discrepancy revealed in the Air Force document between the aerial bombs that Iraq claims it used in the Iran-Iraq war and the lower figure for those used in that document (see above). As Hans Blix said (quoted above), the total amount of chemical agents in these bombs could be around 1,000 tonnes. However, a considerable proportion of this would be made up of Sarin and Tabun bombs, agents that would not have lasted for more than a few months, and not mustard. --- Peter Kiernan wrote: > [ This message has been sent to you via the CASI-analysis mailing list ] > > > [ Presenting plain-text part of multi-format email ] > > Dear list, > Reports have come out today that dozens of mortar shells in southern Iraq have been found by >Danish forces "Which could contain chemical weapons according to inital tests" according to the >BBC. The story goes on to say that the shells have been buried for at least ten years, and were >probably left over from the Iran-Iraq war. The shells also "showed traces of blister gases, a >group of chemical compounds which include mustard gas." These reports are at this stage sketchy >and conclusions are awaiting final tests, the results of which won't be known for a couple of days. > > This finding is not dramatic at all, but does anyone know anything about the "shelf life" of >these chemical compounds. For instance, would they still be usable? The Danish army has said "most >were wrapped in plastic bags, and some were leaking," and they don't appear to have been in any >usable state, but I'm not well informed on this. If anyone can point me in the right direction I >would greatly appreciate this, I doubt very much if this is a "smoking gun," but I just want to >get the right information. > thanks, > Peter Kiernan > > > _______________________________________ > Sent via the CASI-analysis mailing list > To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-analysis > All postings are archived on CASI's website at http://www.casi.org.uk _______________________________________ Sent via the CASI-analysis mailing list To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-analysis All postings are archived on CASI's website at http://www.casi.org.uk