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[casi] IRAQ-Telegraph claims "Smoking Gun"

Britain finds Iraq's 'smoking gun': a top-secret missile
By Con Coughlin in Baghdad
(Filed: 25/05/2003)

British military officers have uncovered an attempt by Saddam Hussein to
build a missile capable of hitting targets throughout the Middle East,
including Israel, The Telegraph can reveal.
Plans for the surface-to-surface missile were one of the regime's most
closely-guarded secrets and were unknown to United Nations weapons
inspectors. Its range of 600 miles would have been far greater than that of
the al-Samoud rocket - which already breached the 93-mile limit imposed by
the UN on any Iraqi missiles.

Saddam's masterplan for the new missile, which was being developed by Iraq's
Military Industrialisation Commission (MIC), the body responsible for
weapons procurement, constitutes the most serious breach uncovered so far of
the tight restrictions imposed on Iraq's military capability after the 1991
Gulf war. The range of Saddam's missiles was restricted to prevent him from
using them as a delivery system for weapons of mass destruction.

David Kay, the former United Nations weapons inspector responsible for
dismantling Iraq's nuclear weapons programme in the 1990s, said the British
discovery proved that Saddam had no intention of complying with UN
"This is the smoking gun we have been looking for," he said. "We have known
all along that Saddam was desperate to develop a delivery system for his
mass destruction weapons, and this missile would undoubtedly have given him
that capability."

Details of Saddam's secret missile programme were discovered by British
weapons experts after interviews with several former senior officials of the
Gen Mudh'her Sadeq Sabe'a, the head of missile technology at the MIC, was in
charge of the development programme, which began in 1999. Once a week Gen
Mudh'her and Abdul Tawib Mulla Hawish, the minister responsible for the MIC,
would travel to the presidential palace in Baghdad to deliver a progress
report to Saddam, who is said to have taken a keen personal interest in the

Mr Hawish surrendered to coalition forces shortly after the war and has
provided British officials with a detailed breakdown of Saddam's plans to
manufacture the weapon.
The rocket motor was to be built at the Abu Ghraib military base, the main
fuselage at al-Waziriyah and the navigation system at al-Taji. "We had
finished the research stage and entered the development stage," said a
senior Iraqi engineer who worked at the MIC and is now co-operating with
British officials. "If it had not been for the war, development would have
been completed within a year."

Iraqi officials insist that the missile was intended to carry a conventional
warhead, but British weapons experts believe it could easily have been
adapted to carry chemical or biological weapons.
The Iraqis say that the missile's main purpose would have been to protect
Iraq from attack by neighbouring countries. However, it could also have been
used to attack Israel. During the Gulf war Saddam launched Soviet-made Scud
missiles at targets in Israel.

The discovery of the plans for Saddam's secret missile programme is being
hailed as a significant breakthrough by coalition commanders, who have so
far failed to find any convincing evidence of Saddam's weapons of mass
destruction programme.Related reports

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