While re-reading part of “the 2004 ISG report,”:http://www.foia.cia.gov/duelfer/Iraqs_WMD_Vol1.pdf I found a discussion about the Saddam Hussein regime’s views on Iran. Some of it concerns Iran’s perceived chemical and nuclear weapons capabilities.
bq.. Saddam was very concerned about Iranian military production capabilities, particularly *its nuclear weapons program*, according to former Vice President Ramadan. A Ministry of Defense conference concluded in January 2003 that Iranian WMD posed a looming menace to Iraq and the region, according to a sensitive source. Attended by 200 senior officers, *the conference discussed Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons, acquisition of suitable delivery systems, and possession of missiles capable of carrying CW or BW warheads over a range of 1,000 kilometers.* Saddam believed that *Iran had benefitted from the breakup of the former Soviet Union by gaining access to WMD* as well as conventional technologies.
Iraqi military troops trained with the *expectation that Iran would use CW if Iran invaded*. If Iraq came under chemical or biological attack, the army would attempt to survive until the international community intervened. Tariq ‘Aziz also expressed hope that the close UN monitoring of Iraq might force international intervention in this scenario. Saddam felt that the United States would intervene to protect oilﬁelds, according to a former senior Iraqi official.
A former Corps commander stated that Saddam believed the next war would be fought in a chemical environment with heavy reliance upon missiles. *Iraq assumed that Iran could manufacture CW and would use it,* according to a former senior Iraqi intelligence officer. The Iraqis had identiﬁed Iranian nuclear and chemical facilities as well as 240 factories in Iran that they assessed produced missile components.
p. The report also contains a few enlightening paragraphs about Iraqi intelligence collection against Iran. An excerpt:
bq. IIS conducted extensive collection operations against Iran, according to a former IIS senior officer and various captured documents. Intelligence collection as a whole *targeted Iran’s weapons programs, its nuclear program,* economic issues, and international relations. Human intelligence sources were the primary means of intelligence collection against Iran, supported by signals intelligence
conducted by the IIS Directorate for Signals Intelligence (M17).
Interestingly, the MEK was a source on Iran’s unconventional weapons programs:
bq. IIS had assigned 150 officers to work the Iranian target, according to a former senior IIS officer. The IIS *relied heavily on the MEK* and independent assets in every province to monitor Iranian military and WMD development.
The report also discusses the regime’s use of open-source information. It didn’t always work very well, especially when it came to Iran’s nuclear program:
bq. Iraqi intelligence collected on the Iranian nuclear program in 2001, but *did not contradict Iranian claims that their reactors [sic] being used for peaceful purposes*, according to the former deputy director of the IIS. Regardless, *Iraq assumed Iran was attempting to develop nuclear weapons.* IIS assets often *passed along open source information as if it were intelligence, allowing disinformation to reach the upper levels* of the former Regime.
Hopefully, you’re doing something other than reading this blog on New Year’s Day.