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Weapons of Mass Destruction in the Middle East
Includes WMD profiles of 11 countries, regional overviews, and reference tables of ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, and combat aircraft deployed.
Updated: Apr 2006
Weapons of Mass Destruction Capabilities and Programs
Current WMD Middle East Information
Please note this section is no longer being updated. For the latest Middle East WMD information, please visit these links:
For further background on alleged Chinese assistance, see also: Bill Gertz, "China Helps Algeria Develop Nuclear Weapons," Washington Times, 4/11/91. Mark Hibbs, "Cooling Towers One Key to Claim Algeria is Building Bomb Reactor," Nucleonics Week, 4/18/91, pp. 7-8. Mark Hibbs, "Despite US Alarm Over Algeria, Europeans Won't Blacklist China," Nucleonics Week, 5/23/91, pp. 1, 10-11. Ann Maclaughlan, "Algerian Leader Asserts Good Faith in Nuclear Research," Nucleonics Week, 5/23/91, pp. 11-12. Elaine Sciolino and Eric Schmitt, "Algerian Reactor: A Chinese Export," New York Times, 11/15/91, pp. A1, A7. Vipin Gupta, "Algeria's Nuclear Ambitions," Nuclear Engineering International, 3/92, p. 6. "Chinese Nuclear Sales Flout Western Embargoes," Christian Science Monitor, 3/10/92. "Algeria Agrees to Safeguard Suspect Reactor," Arms Control Today, 5/92, p. 25. "Algeria Joins NPT, Advancing African Weapons-Free-Zone Effort," Nucleonics Week, 1/19/95, pp. 6-7. "Update: Algeria's Nuclear Reactor," Risk Report, 6/95.
A 1998 US congressional task force report alleged that during 1991-92, "approximately 27.5 pounds of 93% U-235 which had been originally supplied to Iraq by France for use in the French-built Osirak research reactor" was shipped to Algeria via Sudan for storage at the "Algerian reactor at Ain-Oussera." The report was said to be based on unidentified European and Israeli intelligence sources, and asserts that the material remains in Algeria. Yossef Bodansky, "The Iraqi WMD Challenge: Myths and Reality," (Washington, DC: US House of Representatives Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare, 2/10/98). Jim Wolf, Reuters, 2/15/98, "Iraq Hid Deadly Weapons Abroad-Congress Report."
A White House official said on 2/16/98 that the United States has "no credible evidence" to support the allegations. European intelligence sources likewise said they had no evidence to support the charges, which were rejected by Algeria as a "fantasy." "White House Says No Sign Iraq Exported Arms," Reuters, 2/16/98. Sueddeutsche Zeitung (Munich), 3/26/98, "Authorities Claim US 'Disinformation Attempt' Over Iraq;" in FBIS Document WEU-98-085, 3/26/98. "Ambassador Denies Report Iraqi Uranium Is Stockpiled In Algeria;" Agence France Presse; in Dialog, 2/15/98, http://dialog.carl.org.
The available evidence corroborates the Algerian response. The Ain Oussera facility is under IAEA safeguards, and the fissile material referred to in the task force report was physically removed from Iraq in 11/91 by the IAEA with the assistance of UNSCOM. UN Security Council Resolution 687 Paragraph 12 required Iraq to place all nuclear-weapons-usable materials under the exclusive control of the IAEA. The 12.6kg of highly enriched research reactor fuel stored at Al Tuiwaitha was airlifted from Iraq between 11/15/91 and 11/17/91. It was transformed in Russia through isotopic dilution for resale as 20%-enriched reactor fuel. "IAEA Inspections and Iraq's Nuclear Capabilities," IAEA website, 4/92, http://www.iaea.or.at/worldatom/inforesource/ other/iraq/iraqindex.html. "Fifth report of the Executive Chairman of the Special Commission, established by the Secretary-General pursuant to paragraph 9 (b) (i) of Security Council resolution 687 (1991), on the activities of the Special Commission," UNSCOM, 5/21/93, http://www.un.org/Depts/unscom/s25977.htm. "UNSCOM Activities," SIPRI Yearbook 1994 (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press/Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, 1994), pp. 755-56.
However, the Centre for Defence and International Security Studies (CDISS) states that Algeria also possesses SS-1 Scud-B ballistic missiles, with a 300km range and 985kg payload: "Master Table: Afghanistan-Eritrea" CDISS website, http://www.cdiss.org. Also see Andrew Feickert, "Missile Survey: Ballistic and Cruise Missiles of Foreign Countries," CRS, 3/5/04, p. 33, via Globalsecurity.org, http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/library/report/crs/31999.pdf.
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