The Iraqi Industrial Committee
Iraq’s Chemical Warfare Program - Annex C
Saddam personally ordered the creation of the Iraqi Industrial Committee (IIC) in September 1995 to coordinate activities of the Iraqi industrial sector, according to documentary and other reporting.The IIC probably never developed formalized procedures for coordinating industrial efforts and its overall strategy and mechanisms for project implementation probably were somewhat nebulous even to its own participants. Looting, vandalism and destruction of documentation have complicated ISG efforts to fully understand the role of the IIC and its subordinate projects. A complex, interdependent web of constantly evolving committees, projects and commissions was responsible for national research and development for indigenous production of chemicals, based on ISG analysis of documents and reporting.
ISG has been unable to identify the policy direction for the IIC’s operations and has obtained conflicting data about operational details.
IIC Subcommittees and Their Responsibilities
The Central Evaluation Research Committee/Evaluation Research Committee
In the first phase of projects, the Evaluation Research Committee evaluated the initial work carried out and reported to the Central Evaluation Research Committee, which in turn reported to the IIC. After all preliminary research had been reviewed, both the Evaluation Research Committee and the Central Evaluation Research Committee were disbanded and the research was passed to the Technology Transfer Committee, according to reporting.
The Research and Development Committee/Technology Transfer Committee and Its Subcommittees
Dr. Ja’far chaired both the Research and Development Committee and the Technology Transfer Committee. The Research and Development Committee provided oversight for chemical research for the strategic research program, according to documents and reporting, and was responsible for prioritizing projects based on economic benefit and feasibility, according to different reporting. Other committee members included Drs. Ahmad and Al Jabburi of the Ministry of Higher Education, Dr. Karim of Al Razi Center, Dr. Al Qurashi of the Iraqi Atomic Energy Commission (IAEC), Drs. Naji and ‘Atto of the Chemistry Department at Saddam University, Dr. Asawa of the Ministry of Industry, Dr. Rathman from the Ministry of Industry and Minerals (MIM) and Drs. Hashim and Hamzah Yasin of the Military Industrialization Commission (MIC), according to multiple reports.
The Technology Transfer Committee, established in 1996, was responsible for researching and acquiring strategic technologies from outside Iraq. This committee tracked foreign technological developments by targeting students, attending trade shows and sponsoring educational exchanges, according to reporting. Different reporting indicated the Technology Transfer Committee was responsible for the coordination of all medical and agricultural research in Iraq. The Technology Transfer Committee appeared to share or subsume the responsibilities of the Research and Development Committee probably because Dr. Ja’far chaired both.
The Follow-Up Committee for Pharmaceutical Research
This subcommittee was responsible for reviewing research reports, evaluating scale-up feasibility, and evaluating quality control testing of samples. It reported directly to Dr. Ja’far at the Office of the Presidential Advisor. Once the committee approved the research results, the organization received full payment for the work, according to Dr. Ja’far.
The Distinguished Industrialists Council
This body formed in February 2001 after 18 prominent Iraqi industrialists met Saddam Husayn. The IIC was tasked to carry out several joint activities with this group of industrialists, including the setting up of a study to provide the correct requirements to the industrialists, based on documents recovered by ISG.
The Chemical Industries Committee
This was a joint MIC-MIM oversight group under the IIC established to implement the National Project for Pharmaceuticals and Pesticides, according to reporting.
The National Project for Pharmaceuticals and Pesticides (NPPP)
The NPPP was established in early 1999 in response to a written order from Saddam, who took personal interest in the program’s progress. Three types of commercial products were targeted for indigenous production under the NPPP.
Materials for medical diagnostic kits
According to a former high-ranking employee at Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research (MHESR), which was the primary organization responsible for the research, the national drug program consisted of six categories of research focus—medicines, primitive chemicals, active ingredients, kits, pesticides and veterinary medicines. Two categories of required chemical research for the above products were identified.
Synthesis of active chemicals required for making finished pharmaceutical products and pesticides (“active chemicals” probably refers to biologically active substances).
R&D on formulation technologies required to produce final drug products. Research on such technologies would focus on formulating products for which Iraq already had the ingredients.
The National Project for Active Chemical Materials probably began in 1999 under the NPPP on the recommendation of the Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, Humam ‘Abd-al-Khaliq ‘Abd-al-Ghafur. Humam proposed the project to Saddam in a letter in which he indicated that he had many skilled chemists with little to do, according to reporting. Humam reported substances were placed on the list based on the need of the Ministry of Health (MOH) and the Ministry of Agriculture.
Ministries and companies from across Iraq’s pharmaceutical and pesticide sectors initially nominated chemicals and materials that Iraq needed for research and development and eventual pilot production under the NPPP. According to a former high-ranking employee of MHESR, the chemicals were needed because Iraq could not obtain them under sanctions after 1996. However, few of the hundreds of chemicals identified were restricted by sanctions.
The IIC, in consultation with technical experts from MIC, MOH, and MIM, evaluated these recommendations. MIM had primary responsibility for identifying priority “active” pharmaceutical chemicals, while MOH advised on final pharmaceutical products to be included on the list and MIC was responsible for evaluating pesticide-related chemicals for the list.
The IIC’s Program for the Indigenous Production of Chemicals probably was more of a boon to Iraqi science than most regime programs, because the program implemented some merit-based competition and methodical science. According to reporting, the work stimulated by the IIC’s Technology Transfer Committee was scientifically credible and was selected on merit.
The Technology Transfer Committee headed by Dr. Ja’far was involved in promoting research by the private sector and in Universities. The Committee stimulated work which lead to additional areas of research activity, according to the same reporting.
In contrast, other regime programs promoting individual scientific achievement probably were corrupted by special interest groups who stood to gain financially or personally for successfully lobbying chosen projects irrespective of scientific merit.
- If a knowledgeable person did not step in to put a halt to a scientifically invalid project, the project would proceed. After 1998, if a knowledgeable scientist objected to an unsound project that scientist was accused of being entrenched in the system, according to ‘Amir Hamudi Hasan Al Sa’adi.
Additionally, the special interest groups found ways to bypass the mechanisms intended to prevent unsound projects by suppressing bad results and evidence of failed tests, and by concurrently highlighting any experiment that was even partially successful.
One example of a project with a poor scientific basis and no chance of success, according to Al Sa’adi, was a project to use lasers to disrupt weapon systems and computers of attacking aircraft. Although the experiments were conducted with a craft not used by any potential enemies, and only one of several tests was even partially successful, the project was considered a success and the system was ordered into unit production.
MIC and MIM: Key Players in Iraq’s Chemical Infrastructure
The chief military trade organization—the Military Industrialization Commission (MIC)—and the principal ministry of civilian commerce—the Ministry of Industry and Minerals (MIM)—both had subordinate production facilities which made conventional weapons, equipment and materials for the military.
Although the MIC and the MIM were separate ministries, they cooperated on military issues including equipment, spare parts, projects and vehicles. Dr. ‘Imad Husayn ‘Abdallah Al ‘Ani, former VX expert, was the Director of the Office of Technical Cooperation, and was responsible for the cooperation and coordination between these two ministries and the Ministry of Defense as related to matters of supplying materials to the military, according to reporting.
The Research and Development Office of MIM oversaw the Veterinary Center for the Formulation of Drugs for Animals, the Ibn-al-Baytar Center, the Chemicals Research and Development Center, the Ibn-Sina’ Center and the Al Razi Center. The MIC’s subsidiaries included the Al Majid Company, Al Basil Center, and the Al Raya Center.
The scientific capabilities of the MIC and the MIM were comparable and most chemical research could be tasked to either, although pharmaceutical work was typically assigned to MIM, while pesticides research and production was usually delegated by MIC, according to reporting.
Prior to OIF, MIM was under less international scrutiny than the MIC, the key organization through which WMD activities were funneled under Husayn Kamil.