Suspected Chemical Weapons Plant Uncovered in Mosul

Suspected Chemical Weapons Plant Uncovered in Mosul (WaPo)

The Washington Post is reports that over 1500 gallons of “suspected” chemical weapon precursors have been found in a warehouse in Mosul, Iraq. The sub header states, Military Believes Insurgents Intended to Use Dangerous Agents Against U.S., Iraqi Forces.

U.S. troops raiding a warehouse in the northern city of Mosul uncovered a suspected chemical-weapons factory containing 1,500 gallons of chemicals believed destined for attacks on U.S. and Iraqi forces and civilians, military officials said Saturday.
Monday’s early morning raid found 11 precursor agents, “some of them quite dangerous by themselves,” a military spokesman, Lt. Col. Steven A. Boylan, said in Baghdad.

Before anyone takes this as proof that Saddam’s regime had a hidden chemical weapons capabiliy, it is much too early to make that assessment. This is a post-Saddam facility.

Investigators still were trying to determine which group was responsible for the alleged lab and whether the expertise came from foreign fighters or members of Saddam Hussein’s former security apparatus, the military said…

The spokesman said the operation was new, not dating from before the U.S.-led invasion.

The big question is what was the source of these precursor chemicals? Were they in Iraq from before the invasion (possibly implying Saddam’s regime maintained chemical weapons capabilities), or were they imported from another country (and how did they get across the border, and who supplied the chemicals)? Additionally, some precursor chemicals have other routine industrial uses (but not all – see the list of precursors in the Chemical Weapons Convention (Schedules)). Without knowing what the chemicals are involved, one cannot make an accurate assessment as to the significance of the find as it relates to Saddam or to outside assistance to the “insurgency.”

FILED UNDER: General, Iraq War
Richard Gardner
About Richard Gardner
Richard Gardner is a “retired” Navy Submarine Officer with military policy, arms control, and budgeting experience. He contributed over 100 pieces to OTB between January 2004 and August 2008, covering special events. He has a BS in Engineering from the University of California, Irvine.

Comments

  1. Herb says:

    Well, so much for the WMD that was there all the time. Bush told you so.

    Now lets hear it from the loony left and the anti war scum

  2. Sgt Fluffy says:

    Wow, someone over at the Washington Post is going to get fired Monday for letting this one out.

  3. This still doen’t answer the question of what happened to the bulk of the chemical precursors known to have existed in Iraq at some point in the past, (by the declarations made by the Iraqi Gov’t to the UN).
    This does though beg the question, who has been hiding the product and where? With the open border issues between Iraq and Syria, the answer may be that if it quacks like a duck, looks like a duck and walks like a duck – it may actually BE a duck.

  4. anjin-san says:

    I wonder when “Fighting Herb” is going to enlist & voulenteer for combat duty to participate in the war he loves so much…

  5. anjin-san says:

    Richard,

    I don’t think anyone denies that Saddam had WMD at one time. The president’s father was very effective however, at pulling Saddams fangs. The WMD’s were long gone before GW invaded.

    Bush the elder was also far too smart to try and occupy Iraq. Of course since GHW Bush actually served in combat instead of “avoiding” it, he is possesed of a much better understanding of the nature of war and the limitations of force…

  6. Herb says:

    Anjin San:

    first, I don’t need any of your lefty liberal, pacifist, chicken, un American, and smart Alec remarks. It only shows you stupidity.
    I served my country and I am very proud to have served,

    What about you?

    What have you done to have peace in the world,
    What have you done to help your fellow man enjoy peace.
    What have you done to help those who suffer under dictators who kill, torture and starve the citizen of their country?

    I don’t like war anymore that you, but, I am ready and willing to come to the aid of my fellow man in his quest for freedom

    What about you Anjin San ?? Or are you one of those who enjoys the freedom that someone else has fought and died so you could make stupid remarks and remain chicken.

  7. anjin-san says:

    Richard,

    Yes we defeated Germany & Japan. We bombed Germany until we were essentially blowing up the rubble and we nuked Japan twice. After being bombed at these levels, they were ready to do ANYTHING to make it stop, even change their way of life. Are you prepared to inflict that level of destruction on Iraq to make them malleable enough to accept a government that we impose on them?

  8. anjin-san says:

    BTW Herb, nice use of the English language:

    “Well, so much for the WMD that was there all the time”

    Aside from that Herb, you sound a bit like a third grader on the playground calling names at another kid who has dared not to follow the herd. Since you have a service record, and since Bush has left the Army desperate for manpower, I am sure they would be glad to have you. I ask again, when are you signing up?

  9. Richard Bailey says:

    John F Kennedy said, ‘let every nation know, whether they wish us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, help any friend and oppose any foe to insure the success and survival of liberty’.

  10. Name says:

    Herb, you stated “anti war scum”, what’s so bad about being anti-war? Especially a war based on lies? I can understand that people like you need leaders to lead you, because it’s patently obvious you need someone else to think for you.

    Not everbody who is anti the Iraq invasion is a lefty or liberal, either, but perhaps that is too advanced thinking for you.