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Context of 'November 1, 1983: State Department Warned Iraq Using Chemical Weapons ‘Almost Daily’'

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US State Department official Jonathan T. Howe tells Secretary of State George P. Shultz that intelligence reports indicate that Saddam Hussein’s troops are resorting to “almost daily use of CW [Chemical Weapons]” against their Iranian adversaries. [US Department of State, 11/1/1983 pdf file; Washington Post, 12/30/2002; London Times, 12/31/2002]

Entity Tags: Jonathan T. Howe, George Shultz

Timeline Tags: US-Iraq 1980s

US State Department official Jonathan T. Howe sends Secretary of Defense Lawrence Eagleburger a memo reporting that US intelligence has determined that “Iraq has acquired a CW [chemical weapons] production capability, primarily from Western firms, including possibly a US foreign subsidiary” and that Iraq has used chemical weapons against Iranian forces and Kurdish insurgents. Referring to the US policy “of seeking a halt to CW use wherever it occurs,” Howe says the US is “considering” approaching Iraq directly, but in a way that avoids playing “into Iran’s hands by fueling its propaganda against Iraq.” Significantly, the memo acknowledges that the US has so far limited its “efforts against the Iraqi CW program to close monitoring because of our strict neutrality in the Gulf war, the sensitivity of sources, and the low probability of achieving desired results.” [US Department of State, 11/1/1983 pdf file]

Entity Tags: Jonathan T. Howe, Lawrence Eagleburger

Timeline Tags: Events Leading to Iraq Invasion, US-Iraq 1980s

Secretary of State George P. Shultz will later recall that reports of Iraq using chemical weapons against Iranian military personnel “drifted in” at about this time (see, e.g., November 1, 1983). [Schultz, 1993, pp. 238; Jentleson, 1994, pp. 48; Cole, 1997, pp. 87]

Entity Tags: George Shultz

Timeline Tags: US-Iraq 1980s

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