UNSCOM’s work to uncover Iraq’s illicit biological weapons program: A primer

A UN inspector from the United Kingdom takes a sample of nerve agent from a container, October 7, 1991. (UN Photo)

UNSCOM’s work to uncover Iraq’s illicit biological weapons program: A primer



Black, Stephen. 1999. “UNSCOM and the Iraqi Biological Weapons Program: Implications for Arms Control”. Politics and the Life Sciences. 18(1): 62-29.

Black, Stephen. 2000. “Verification under duress: the case of UNSCOM”. Verification Yearbook 2000. London: VERTIC.

Braut-Hegghammer, Målfrid. 2020. “Cheater’s Dilemma”. International Security. 45(1): 51-89.

Duelfer, Charles. 2005. “Innovations in Interagency Cooperation: The Iraq Survey Group Case.” In Improving The Interagency Process To Face 21st Century Security Challenges, edited by Ellen Laipson, 14-19. Stimson Center.

Ekéus, Rolf. 2016. “The Lessons of UNSCOM and Iraq”. The Nonproliferation Review. 23(1-2): 131-146. DOI: 10.1080/10736700.2016.1186875.

Pearson, Graham P. 1999. The UNSCOM Saga: Chemical and Biological Weapons Non-Proliferation. Houndmills, Basingstoke and London: Macmillan Press.

Trevan, Tim. 1999. Saddam’s Secrets: The Hunt for Iraq’s Hidden Weapons. London: HarperCollins.

United Nations Security Council. 1991. Resolution 660, S/RES/660.

United Nations Security Council. 1991. Resolution 661, S/RES/661

United Nations Security Council. 1991. Resolution 678, S/RES/678

United Nations Security Council. 1991. Resolution 687, S/RES/687

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Peter Tinsley
Peter Tinsley
2 years ago

Looks like false news – 3 mistakes in 1 photo. 1- Their hood isn’t sealed around their respirator. 2- Looks more like M40 PPE, not a British S10 Respirator. 3- Desert DPM NBC smocks were not available until 1995 – same for the ribbed NBC outer gloves. The 1991 gloves were not ribbed and shiny – they were straight-edged and matte. Basically, anyone who’s done EOD will know that’s not real nerve agent, simply because the hood isn’t sealed. Also the photo is probably not from 1991 for the following reason… Apart from the modern uniform, the image resolution is… Read more »

Last edited 2 years ago by Peter Tinsley
Rene Olivier
2 years ago
Reply to  Peter Tinsley

Although sealed good enough for outside work – we survived 😉 . Besides taken samples from a sealed container, using a relative small opening.which you cannot see at all in this picture ….. PPE / Mask was an example of our nice ‘collaboration’ or symbiosis between NL/UL/USA developments during our UNSCOM missions – plus several other representatives from various countries. Multidisciplinary effort organized and in operation in Iraq – included a very short tuim building and operation preparation time. We served USCOM between 1991 and 1994… Elegant container for CWA isn’t it, still 10% intact compound from at least 1000… Read more »

Last edited 2 years ago by Rene Olivier
Henry Arvidsson
2 years ago
Reply to  Peter Tinsley

Well Peter. I can tell you the image is real as am I who took it as the official UNSCOM photographer (1991-96). The camera was a Nikon 801s or an Olympus OM4 (I was transitioning from Olympus with manual focus (really hard to focus through a mask) to Nikon who just launched an affordable AF camera).It was made on film by me and scanned on a Nikon Coolscan negative scanner. The place is Al Muthanna in Iraq. The mask was given to (some) of us by USAF EOD. We were told they had been issued in survival kit for pilots.… Read more »