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Ra’ad and Muzhir

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Beginning before the 1990s, the changes in career of two people, Maj. Gen. Ra’ad Jasim Isma’il Al Adhami and Brig. Gen. Dr. Muzhir Saba’ Sadiq al-Tamimi, have been cloaked in mystique and intrigue. They have competed for supremacy on many occasions, one often replacing the other in key technical positions in the Iraqi ballistic missile program after undercutting the others efforts. Dissecting the plot tells much about the relationships within the Iraqi hierarchy and the strong family and religious ties that directly affected the outcome of the efforts to build a successful ballistic missile program.

The first clash came when Muzhir is directed by Husayn Kamil (HK) to review the Rafidiyan project (a conversion of the SA-2 surface-to-air missile to a surface-to-surface role). The report is critical and the project canceled. Ra’ad was fired, and, as a result, Muzhir took control of the responsible establishment, Al Karamah. Ra’ad spent his time fruitlessly at MIC, later supporting the National Monitoring Directorate (NMD) in its role as the Iraqi counterpart of UNSCOM.

With support from Dr Hamid Khalilal-Assawi, Ra’ad designed a 500-mm-diameter missile, which they claimed could maintain Iraq’s missile liquid-propellant expertise and infrastructure whilst remaining within the 150-km-range limitation imposed by UNSCR 687. A presentation to HK was successful, and Ra’ad was reinstated as Head of Al-Karamah. Muzhir, being retained as Head of Ibn al Haytham, proposed a competitive design at a 750-mm diameter, which is soon banned by UNSCOM as being too difficult to monitor and capable of being fitted with 2 SA-2 type engines. Undaunted, Muzhir proposed a 600-mm design, which in late 1995 competed with Ra’ad’s design in a design review competition. Ra’ad’s design was successful, and Muzhir was forced to work on this project under Ra’ad.

This situation did not last long as Muzhir was jailed for 25 months for allegedly importing gyros from Russia (an allegation vigorously denied). Ra’ad continued developing the Samud but could not achieve consistency or reliability.

One of Huwaysh’ primary responsibilities when he became head of MIC was to successfully complete the development of the Al Samud ballistic missile. Soon after assuming control of MIC, in an attempt to fix the ballistic missile problems, Huwaysh worked to obtained Muzhir’s release from jail. With Ra’ad showing little progress, Huwaysh, who had heard of Muzhir’s past experience in this field, appealed to Saddam and obtained his release. Muzhir who on release, had begun working under Huwaysh at MIC, was tasked to review the Al Samud program—his report was unfavorable. After another failed test flight, Huwaysh fired Ra’ad in June 1999, replacing him with Muzhir. Ra’ad, along with Dr Hamid, was transferred to the MIC. Ra’ad spent the remainder of 1999 at MIC before Huwaysh transferred him to head up the Samarra Electronics Plant, the Salah al-Din State Company. On 15th June 2001, Huwaysh accedes to Muzhir’s request to replace the 500-mm diameter Al Samud with a 760-mm design, called the Al Samud II. The first experimental test flight of Al Samud II occurred on 18th August 2001, a surprisingly short time from go-ahead.

The first 10 Al Samud II ballistic missiles were delivered to the Iraqi Army in December 2001.

Drawing dates (August 2000) on designs for a longer range liquid-propellant ballistic missile, both 2- and 5- engine cluster types, suggest that, by OIF, Muzhir might have been well along the road to developing these systems. However, no evidence has been found by ISG that suggests that a development program was instigated.


Posted: Apr 23, 2007 09:42 AM
Last Updated: Apr 23, 2007 09:42 AM