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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 October, 2004, 21:59 GMT 22:59 UK
WMD report: Key points
The Iraq Survey Group has concluded that Iraq's weapons of mass destruction were "essentially" destroyed in 1991, but that Saddam Hussein wanted to recreate them after sanctions were removed.

Below are the key findings of the report.


  • Saddam Hussein's goal was evading and ultimately ending UN sanctions that severely restricted what he could import into Iraq. The UN oil-for-food programme gave the Iraqi economy a much-needed boost, but not enough to let him re-start a weapons of mass destruction programme.

  • Once he could restart those programmes, his intention was to focus on chemical weapons for use on the battlefield, long-range missiles, and nuclear weapons.

    Saddam Hussein ended his nuclear programme in 1991, after the Gulf War, and there was no evidence to suggest concerted efforts to restart it

  • His motivation for developing these weapons was his enmity with Iran, with which Iraq fought an eight-year war in the 1980s. His secondary goals were to oppose Israel and raise his status in the Arab world. The report does not suggest he sought the weapons to oppose the US or to give weapons to terrorists.

  • Saddam Hussein's belief in the value of WMD was shaped from his experiences in the 1980s and early 1990s. He believed that during the 1991 Gulf War, WMD had deterred US-led forces from pressing their attack beyond the goal of freeing Kuwait.


  • Saddam Hussein ended his nuclear programme in 1991, after the Gulf War, and there was no evidence to suggest concerted efforts to restart it. Senior Iraqi officials believed Saddam would restart a nuclear programme if UN sanctions imposed after the end of the Gulf War were halted.

  • Baghdad undertook a variety of measures to conceal key elements of its nuclear programme from successive UN inspectors, including specific directions from Saddam Hussein to hide and preserve documents.

  • There were at least two instances in which scientists involved in uranium enrichment kept documents and technology. Although apparently acting alone, they did so with the belief and anticipation of resuming uranium enrichment efforts in the future.

  • The regime prevented scientists from the former nuclear programme from either leaving their jobs or Iraq. In the late 1990s key personnel were given significant pay rises in a bid to retain them. The regime also undertook new investments in university research to ensure that Iraq retained technical knowledge.


  • Baghdad abandoned its biological weapons programme in late 1995 out of fear it would be discovered. Such a discovery would have made it harder for Iraq to free itself of UN sanctions.

  • There was no evidence of any biological weapons work after 1996, and Saddam expressed no interest in biological weapons after that time.

  • Iraq appears to have destroyed its hidden biological weapons stocks in 1991 and 1992. However, it kept a few samples that would have been useful in starting a biological weapons programme, and it had a group of scientists knowledgeable about such weapons.

  • No evidence was uncovered that Iraq had biological weapons production systems mounted on trucks or rail cars.


  • Iraq unilaterally destroyed its hidden chemical weapons stockpile in 1991, and there is no credible evidence that Iraq ever resumed producing such weapons.

  • However, Saddam Hussein never abandoned his intentions to resume efforts in chemical weapons when UN sanctions were lifted and conditions were judged favourable.

  • The regime organised its chemical industry after the mid-1990s to allow it to conserve the knowledge-base needed to re-start a chemical weapons programme.

  • One of Saddam's sons, Uday, tried to obtain chemical weapons for use during the US-led invasion in 2003, but there is no evidence he came into possession of any.

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