Politique étrangère Articles from Politique Etrangère

Biological Weapons: Some Lessons from Iraq Jonathan B. Tucker, Politique étrangère, 1/2005, (Spring).

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Eight years of inspections and monitoring by UN weapons inspectors and the Iraq Survey Group (reporting to the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency) have yielded extensive information on the Iraqi biological weapons program and some useful lessons. Iraq's pursuit of biological weapons during the 1980s was shaped both by geostrategic factors and by the unique characteristics of the Iraqi regime, including the personal idiosyncrasies of Saddam Hussein. For Saddam, biological weapons served multiple strategic functions: pre-conflict deterrence, intraconflict deterrence,  and escalation dominance. Iraqi BW use doctrine and command-and-control arrangements were influenced both by external threats and domestic factors (such as Saddam's fear of a coup d'Etat) and evolved over time in response to crisis. The UN investigation of the Iraqi biological weapons program demonstrated the effectiveness of an approach combining multiple methodologies, including aerial surveillance, on-site inspections, import monitoring, interviews, and sampling and analysis. Contrary to conventional wisdom, Iraqi defectors provided little useful information and, indeed, were often a source of deliberate distorsions.Jonathan B. Tucker, Researcher at the Center of Nonproliferation Studies (CNS) in the Monterey Institute of international Studies (Washington), has directed the Chemical and Biological Weapon Non-proliferation Program (CBWNP).