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Chemical Attack on US Base Near Samarra, Iraq?

Posted By Sean Osborne On January 15, 2007 @ 6:43 pm In Intelligence Analysis,Iraq,Sean Osborne,Weapons of Mass Destruction | Comments Disabled

By Sean Osborne, [1] Associate Director, Military Affairs

UPDATED: 15 JANUARY 2007

12 January 2007: Yesterday, the Northeast Intelligence Network became aware of an internet posting by the Salahaldin Al-Ayoubi Brigades, the military wing the terrorist organization known as JAMI [Al Jabha Al-Islamiyya l'il-Muqawama Al-'Iraqiyya] which claims to have attacked a US military installation near Samarra, Iraq with four chemical warfare missiles. That terrorist posting was titled: Shelling US base in Samarra with 4 Chemical missiles.

Based upon publicly accessible data on known Forward Operating Bases (FOB) in Iraq, as well as the historical reports on the levels of intensity of enemy attacks in the specific geographic region, there is a high probability that FOB McKenzie (the former Samarra East-Al Bakr Airbase) could be the location of this attack. Public data identifies FOB McKenzie as the recipient of as many as 21 incoming rocket attacks in a single night. Other possible intended targets could be FOB Brassfield-Mora located 10 km north of Samarra, or Patrol Base Uvanni located within Samarra city.

Analysis of the imagery (to be posted shortly) accompanying the terrorist report, obtained and provided to the Northeast Intelligence Network as a courtesy of Archangel, as well as a review of known chemical weapons, a preliminary assessment is that the black oily liquid seen being hand-poured in the missile warheads could be the chemical weapon and blister agent Lewisite. Iraq is known to have conducted research on lewisite. Lewisite is similar to mustard agent but faster acting and the persistence of this blister agent is reported to be from 24 hours to one week.

According to the U.S. Department of Defense stores of Lewisite were not located in Iraq by weapons inspectors following the 1991 Gulf War.

However, on Friday, April 4, 2003, the 101st Airborne discovered 13 drums of suspected chemical weapons in a bunker at an agricultural facility east of Karbala. The 101st division commander at the time, Brigadier General Benjamin Freakley, told media that the drums initially tested positive for nerve agent. The following Monday, 7 April 2003, two ‘Fox’ nuclear, chemical and biological reconnaissance vehicles, armed with more sophisticated sensors than the Improved Chemical Agent Monitor (ICAM) most likely utilized by the 101st in the initial determination, conducted additional testing and reportedly detected sarin, tabun and lewisite.

Additionally, I have located a graphic contained with the August 2, 1996 final outline for the unclassified CIA “Report on Intelligence Related to Gulf War Illnesses.” This integral document graphic is identified as Gulf War Chemical Weapons (GWCW) and dated 01-7/96. It illustrates that Al-Bakr Airbase was formerly a storage site of undamaged mustard bombs.

http://www.gulflink.osd.mil/cia_report/102496_gwcw01.gif

The purpose of this CIA report was as follows:

“In parallel with the DOD’s Persian Gulf Investigative Team, the CIA’s Office of Weapons, Technology and Proliferation conducted an independent review of intelligence documents to determine whether US troops were exposed to chemical and biological warfare agents during the Gulf war. The CIA’s effort did not seek to duplicate that of DOD; however, CIA analysts drew upon and examined DOD information to clarify intelligence, to obtain leads, and to ensure a thorough and comprehensive intelligence assessment.”

The link to the full document:

http://www.gulflink.osd.mil/cia_report/102496_war.html#14

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