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facilities is lax and economic pressures have increased the risk that both
personnel and biological specimens are available at a price.14

The problems associated with preventing terrorists and proliferators
from gaining access to these stockpiles and expertise are discussed in
Chapter 8.

Iraq™s Biological Weapons Program
The scale of the Iraqi biological weapons program repudiated any faith that
regional powers would voluntarily eschew weaponization of pathogens.

The Iraqi offensive biological weapons program dates back to the mid-
1970s when Nassir al Hindawi and other western-trained scientists began
a program under the aegis of the State Organization for Trade and Industry,
later subsumed by the Military Industrial Commission. In 1984, biologists
at the Al-Muthanna chemical weapons complex were tasked to discover
how to weaponize pathogens “ anthrax and botulinum in particular. In
1987, this research group moved to the Al-Salman facility where they devel-
oped fungal and antiplant agents. A notable expansion of the program in
1988 was the establishment of the Al-Hakam facility, codename “Project
324,” to mass produce weapons-grade anthrax and botulinum toxin. Later,
Iraqi of¬cials would assert that Al-Hakam was a single cell protein (SCP)
production plant used to produce animal feed and “biopesticides,” but in
fact SCP was only produced in insigni¬cant quantities as a camou¬‚age.
Only later did Iraq disclose that the Al-Hakam facility had produced thou-
sands of gallons of anthrax and botulinum.
Throughout this period, Iraq purchased various strains of anthrax from
the American Type Culture Collection (ATCC) for research purposes. In
1986, Baghdad University purchased three strains of anthrax, ¬ve types of
botulinum, and three kinds of brucella. In 1988, the Iraqi Ministry of Trade™s
Technical and Scienti¬c Materials Import Division received licenses from
the U.S. Commerce Department to purchase additional agents (four
anthrax strains in particular) from ATCC, purportedly for legitimate scien-
ti¬c research.15 Iraq eventually disclosed that it had produced aerosoliz-
able particles of these strains through its spray drying procedure, making
it easier and faster to achieve weapons-quality anthrax and other deadly
agents. Iraq also disclosed that it produced nearly 20,000 liters of concen-
trated botulinum toxin, nearly 10,000 liters of concentrated anthrax, and
lesser quantities of a¬‚atoxin, Clostridium perfringens spores, ricin, wheat
rust, and corn smut. Tularemia, plague, brucellosis, and camelpox had also
been researched and developed.
Despite producing such a stockpile of biological agents, Iraqi of¬cials
later denied having a parallel weapons delivery effort and claimed that it
had destroyed or deactivated all of its biological weapons and bulk biolog-
ical agents in 1991. Iraq admitted to the program™s weaponization objec-
tives only after the defection of the head of Iraq™s intelligence agency,
General Hussein Kamal, Saddam Hussein™s brother-in-law who had
supervised the bioweapons program. Indeed, Iraq produced twenty-¬ve
Al-Hussein missile warheads and two hundred R-400 aerial bombs ¬lled
with bioweapons agents (one hundred with botulinum toxin, ¬fty with
anthrax spores, and seven with a¬‚atoxin). Iraq also manufactured four air-
craft drop tanks and twelve aerosol generators to modify helicopter-borne

insecticide disseminators and worked on developing a pilotless L-29
trainer aircraft that could carry the tanks and release the toxins. Even after
the United Nations adopted resolutions speci¬cally requiring destruc-
tion of Iraqi bioweapons, Saddam Hussein was alleged to have built and
equipped major bioweapons production, storage, and research and devel-
opment facilities.
Later, United Nations inspectors asserted that Iraq made inconsistent
claims concerning the location of remnant biological weapons found by
UNSCOM. For example, R-400A bombs carrying biological weapons were
discovered in an air¬eld where no biological weapons had previously been
declared. Documentary evidence of the purported destruction and deac-
tivation of these weapons was incomplete, and subsequent inspections
discovered signi¬cant undisclosed dual-use equipment that “could read-
ily be used in a BW programme.”16 The inspectors determined that sub-
stantial bacterial growth media imported into Iraq could not be accounted
for. The fermenting capacity of the Iraqi biological weapons program also
suggested that the amount of anthrax and botulinum toxin reported by
Iraq actually accounted for only a fraction of the total Iraqi stockpile of
these agents.
After nearly seven years of hindering weapons inspections, Iraq for-
mally discontinued compliance. By early 2003, the United Nations inspec-
tors concluded that Iraq had taken “active steps” to conceal its biological
weapons program through “inadequate disclosures, unilateral destruc-
tion, and concealment activities,” and as a result, the nature and extent
of Iraq™s biological weapons program has “not been possible to ver-
ify.”17 The inspectors left Iraq soon thereafter in anticipation of the U.S.

South Africa™s Project Coast
South Africa™s Project Coast was an apartheid-era, top-secret chemical
and bioweapons program with roots back to World War I research. During
the 1970s, anxious that Soviet-backed Cuban troops ¬ghting in Angola
might use battle¬eld bioweapons, it initiated defensive vaccine research
and response procedures. Offensive bioweapons followed thereafter.
In 1983, Project Coast, headed by Dr. Wouter Basson (nicknamed “Dr.
Death”), was formed to conduct highly secretive research into chemi-
cal and biological warfare. Front companies were established to provide
covert support. Project Coast produced plague, salmonella, and botulinum
as well as genetically modi¬ed anthrax that allegedly was incurable by
conventional treatments. It also spliced a toxin-producing gene from
Clostridium perfringens into E. coli, which, had it escaped into human

populations, could have ignited a gas gangrene epidemic. A high priority
was designing assassination devices to look like everyday objects such
as umbrellas, walking sticks, beer cans, and envelopes. Other apparently
unexecuted ideas included drugs to render black women infertile and a
slow-acting poison for Nelson Mandela while he was imprisoned.18
Project Coast was dismantled in 1993 just before the transfer of power
in South Africa. The front companies were privatized and materials were
reportedly dumped at sea. Dr. Basson was tried and subsequently acquit-
ted of charges of murder, drug traf¬cking, fraud, and theft because prose-
cutors had failed to prove the allegations, although the High Court of South
Africa has called for a new trial alleging conspiracy to commit offenses out-
side South Africa. Libya is reported to have tried to hire Basson in 1994 for
his germ warfare expertise.19
Pathogens remain missing and, along with the secrets of Project Coast,
might have fallen into the hands of terrorists. In 2002, a former Project
Coast researcher offered to sell some biological weapons to the U.S. govern-
ment. He freeze-dried and packaged a sample inside a tube of toothpaste
that he mailed to a CIA of¬cer who carried the weapon to the FBI. After
delivering this one vial of a genetically altered pathogen, he promised deliv-
ery of an entire collection of vials containing genetically altered anthrax,
plague, salmonella, and botulinum. His asking price was $5 million plus
immigration permits to the United States for nineteen of his associates
and family members. The United States, appalled at the thought of buying
this “product,” balked at the offer and the deal fell through.20

Readers should know that the remaining material in this section dis-
cussing bioweapons development in the past by Egypt and Israel as well
as currently by North Korea, Iran, and Syria is the product of extensive
open-source research, but no classified information was available or could
have been used. It is impossible, therefore, to verify this material much less
to suggest that these are the only suspected bioweapons development pro-
grams. Certainly, the U.S. government alleges that there are more ongoing
programs than those discussed here. The section™s remaining material sum-
marizes as accurately as possible the publicly available information about
the predominant State threats but cannot claim independent confirmation
of that information.

In the 1960s, Egypt, assisted by the Soviet Union, is alleged to have em-
barked on a secretive bioweapons program (known as “Izlis”). The Ministry

of Defense experimented with various pathogens at the El-Nasr Company
for Pharmaceutical Chemicals and Antibiotics near its chemical weapons
facility, “Military Plant 801.” By 1972, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat
allegedly announced that “Egypt has biological weapons stored in refrig-
erators and could use them against Israel™s crowded population.”21 Two
months later, in April 1972, Egypt signed the Biological Weapons Conven-
tion (BWC) but has yet to ratify it 35 years hence.
In 1993, the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service reported that Egypt
was studying various toxins and that “[t]here is information on coop-
eration between Egypt™s research centers in areas of biological research
related to biological weapons and certain civilian and military labora-
tories of the United States, particularly in the ¬eld of highly pathogenic
microorganisms and dangerous vectors.” Yet, “no data [has] been obtained
to indicate the creation of biological agents in support of military offen-
sive programs.”22 Shortly thereafter, the U.S. Arms Control and Disarma-
ment Agency alleged that Egypt had an active biological weapons program:
“There is no evidence to indicate that Egypt has eliminated this capabil-
ity and it remains likely that the Egyptian capability to conduct biological
warfare continues to exist.”23 Notably, in the late 1980s, Egypt assisted
Iraq in developing “defensive” measures against chemical and biological
warfare and might have acquired some of the Iraqi bioweapons delivery
systems such as aerial bombs, cluster warheads, and aerosolization sys-
tems.24 However, Egyptian authorities have consistently denied having
an offensive bioweapons program or that it ever developed, produced, or
stockpiled bioweapons.

Israel™s interest in acquiring a bioweapons program began in 1948 when
Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion asked Ehud Avriel to recruit Jewish sci-
entists in Eastern Europe who could “either increase the capacity to kill
masses or to cure masses; both things are important.”25 General Yigal
Yadin, the Haganah operations chief, approved creation of a bioweapons
program, Hemed Beit, to be established by Alexander Keynan in Jaffa. The
program was later relocated to Abu Kabir and kept wholly isolated from
the rest of the Israeli bureaucracy.
Disputed allegations abound concerning Israel™s alleged use of bio-
weapons. In the Arab town of Acre, a typhoid epidemic spread just days
before Israeli forces attacked in May 1948. Some reports suggest that Israeli
forces contaminated Acre™s water supply to soften resistance. At the time,
Egyptian soldiers in the Gaza Strip captured four Israeli soldiers near water

wells reportedly carrying a liquid containing typhoid and dysentery. Israel
has denied these accusations as “wicked libel.”26
It has been alleged that, upon learning of Iraq™s bioweapons program
during the late 1980s through the mid-1990s, Israel secretly expanded
its own bioweapons program.27 However, relevant information is highly
classi¬ed. In 2002, Dr. Amy Sands testi¬ed before the Senate Foreign
Relations Committee that “Israel is conducting a wide array of biologi-
cal weapons-related research, with a possible production of numerous
types of agents.”28 However, an unclassi¬ed 2003 CIA report on WMD did
not name Israel as a State with an active bioweapons program despite
purportedly retaining bioweapons.29


Today, not a single State admits to having a bioweapons program, and
there is no proof that any State is, in fact, preparing to commit bioviolence.
Diplomats have not recently argued that bioweapons are legitimate; the
claim that they are the poor nation™s nuclear weapons has fallen into disuse.
Of course, virtually any State with a reasonably sophisticated bioscience
sector has the wherewithal to make bioweapons. It might be inferred that
these assets are being wrongfully operationalized as part of a bioweapons
program, but capability does not unequivocally lead to a program. There
is a huge difference between what could be and what is.
What purpose would such weapons achieve? Just because a weapon
can be easily, safely, and cheaply built does not answer whether it is worth-
while to do so. This is especially true for bioweapons that are univer-
sally condemned. For a State (unlike a terrorist organization), an offensive
bioweapons program could jeopardize its diplomatic status. It is unlikely
that any State would make that decision lightly.
Yet, State programs are potentially worrisome. Some States are thought
to support terror organizations “ a military program could do the hard work
of preparing a bioweapon and then pass it to terrorists for dissemination.
Moreover, a State program necessarily trains scientists and technicians
in the subtleties of bioweapons production; materials or personnel might
contribute to criminal activity even if the State is not planning to deploy
weapons. Most importantly, State consensus is essential to implement
bioviolence prevention policies; if some States have bioweapons programs,
that consensus is unachievable.

Questions about Military Ef¬cacy
In the past, one reason for bioweapons™ low pro¬le was that military
planners did not regard them as especially useful. As stated earlier, Pres-
ident Nixon abandoned the U.S. offensive bioweapons program partly
because military strategists resisted assimilating bioweapons into opera-
tional planning.30 In recent years, Iraq™s bioweapons program is the only
certain effort to focus explicitly on battle¬eld use. Bioweapons did not do
much good for Hussein; anxiety over bioweapons arguably contributed to
his downfall.
In the context of traditional warfare, bioweapons have some excep-
tional disadvantages. Most have no impact against an adversary™s arma-
ments (although they can impair personnel from operating them). The
weapon would have to overcome the adversary™s immunizations, but one™s
own troops and nearby noncombatants would have to sustain resistance to
the spreading disease lest disastrous results befall them. If the agent is not
contagious (e.g., anthrax), the attack would have to kill or disable enough
personnel to affect the battle, but it might be dif¬cult to create a large yet
stable cloud that dissipates precisely over the adversary™s alignment. If the
agent is contagious, there is an inherent risk of igniting an epidemic that
would affect one™s own citizens.
Most military planners want a weapon that works quickly; bioweapons™
delayed impact, while a virtue perhaps for terrorists, is problematic for a
military leader who wants to stop an adversary force at a speci¬c place at
a de¬nable moment. Military planners want a weapon that can be accu-
rately controlled, but changing winds could blow a cloud of pathogens
in unplanned directions. Also, sunlight adversely affects some agents.
For example, ultraviolet radiation renders most strains of plague inac-
tive which makes it hard to use during the day. Rain will push most of the
agent to the ground. The best conditions are cloudy evenings with little
wind, but battle exigencies might not cooperate. The challenge of making
a bioweapon with predictably controllable effects is even greater if testing
is foreclosed. Field testing might alert the international community and
provoke substantial denunciation. For a commander with limited carrying
capacity and supply lines, an untested weapon that might be usable only
on rare occasions is not logistically practical.
For a superpower with arrays of nuclear weapons, bioweapons have
incidental deterrent effect. Perhaps for countries unable to produce
nuclear weapons, a bio-arsenal might be seen as a deterrence substitute,

yet using (or threatening to use) bioweapons to deter a nuclear armed
adversary does not make much sense. Bioweapons might be called


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