I read that both Chinese and Russian engineers assisted Saddam's other desert tunnel complexes according to his former bodyguard.
I find it interesting that one of Saddam's tunnel complexes has been reported in Tikrit, his home village. His former bodyguard said that the
entrance to the tunnel complex is through a house about 1/2 mile from the actual complex itself. Most of his closest supporters and inner circle are
either relatives or from Tikrit. What better place to hide his WMD stash then where it is surrounded by loyal followers who watch everything and
everyone? Below are two reports regarding Mr. Hussein's tunnel building projects.
60 Minutes Story
Plans for a Baghdad subway were used instead to build underground tunnels to hide Saddam Husseinís weapons of mass destruction, says one of the Iraqi
dictatorís former top scientists. Dr. Hussein Shahristani, once Iraqís top nuclear scientist, speaks to Steve Kroft for a 60 Minutes report to be
broadcast Sunday, Feb. 23, at 7 p.m. ET/PT.
Shahristani says subway plans drawn up by several international firms were given to the Iraqi military. ì[Hussein] told his military, ëWell, we have
these designs for the tunnels, go ahead and do them, but not for metro, for our weapons of mass destruction. We can hide them, move them around,íî he
tells Kroft. ìIíve spoken to one person who has been in these tunnels,î says Shahristani, ìWe believe now it is more than 100 kilometers of very
complex network, multi-layer tunnels.î
Among the weapons Shahristani believes may be hidden in the tunnels are deadly agents like Sarin, possibly anthrax and also the nerve agent VX. The
oily, sticky VX is what the former chemistís contacts are telling him Hussein wants to use to form a chemical belt around Baghdad. ìVXÖ will kill
within a few minutes or a few secondsÖ The lethal dose of it is one milligram. So nobody can escape and whoever wants to attack the city has to cross
this chemical belt first and then enter into street fighting,î says Shahristani.
The tunnels may also hide Hussein or provide an escape route for him. ìHe actually has a tunnel that can withstand a nuclear blast and if he survives
in the tunnel, he has won the war because, for him, winning the war means surviving it,î Shahristani says.
No Prince Charming
Those who Saddam Hussein cannot kill, he must intimidate or deceive. Until he obtains nuclear weapons, he cannot deter those, such as America and
Britain, who seek to contain or eliminate him. Since the 1991 Gulf War, his most effective weapon has been deception. He played cat and mouse with
U.N. weapons inspectors for years, allowing them to search for his weapons of mass destruction on terms he knew would conceal the best and most
powerful of them.
Sometimes, his deception was so crude that only willing dupes could possibly be taken in. Crudest of all was his claim to "sovereignty" in some
100-odd "presidential palaces," which the U.N. dutifully exempted from weapons inspections, despite the very obvious conflict with the "anywhere,
any time" requirement of the 1991 disarmament resolutions.
U.N. debate on President Bush's proposed resolution on Iraq has dragged on for weeks, and resembles the Mad Hatter's tea party more each passing
day. With the advent of the French and Russian counter-proposals, any effective U.N. action is a remote possibility at best. More likely, the United
Nations will again accept Saddam's claims of "sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence," meaning his palaces will again be
off-limits to any weapons inspections. We dare not accept this result, because it's the same deception as before. Even the choice of the term palace
is part of the deception.
To Americans, the word palace conjures images created by Walt Disney's smiling imagination. Last week, in discussion with Iraqi National Congress
sources, I learned in detail how Saddam's palaces have precious little to do with crowns, princes and glass slippers. Some of the 100 or more sites
do contain lavish residences, but they also are the primary locations of Saddam's weapons of mass destruction programs. They also house the
headquarters of his Special Security Service and Special Republican Guard. Many of the sites cover 5 or 10 square miles, and are comprised of dozens
of buildings. They are ó or should be ó the places that are either inspected most thoroughly, or placed at the top of every Air Force and Navy target
Consider just these few examples:
The main Baghdad "Presidential Complex" covers about 2 square kilometers, and about 15 or 20 buildings, including several palaces. One palace,
Al-Seqoor ("the Eagle") houses a biological weapons lab called Al-Tahaddi, "the Challenge." Like almost all of Saddam's weapons of mass
destruction facilities, the Al-Tahaddi lab is underground. Unconfirmed reports say that the Al-Tahaddi lab is working on the Ebola and West Nile
viruses, among others. Just west of there is the Al-Radwaniyeh compound, which covers about 9.3 square kilometers. Al-Radwaniyeh is used to store
biological weapons of mass destruction and also has hardened bunkers for a large command and control facility.
Saddam's Special Republican Guard is responsible for concealing ó and using ó weapons of mass destruction. It comes under the command of the Special
Security Service, which also controls the Mukhabarat secret police. The SSS ó headed by Saddam's son Qusay ó is headquartered in a building located
in the Baghdad Presidential Compound, in the Al-Nisoor Square. On the map, it's in the Al-Kindi "neighborhood."
About 80 miles northwest of Baghdad is the city of Samarra. Just north of there is the Jabal Makhul Presidential Site. It's about 10 square miles in
size with about 90 buildings. Jabal Makhul ó which means "under the mountain" ó is the home of Project 555, Saddam's uranium enrichment program.
Located in the Al-Fajir site within the huge complex, Project 555 is working overtime shifts, trying to make fissile materials for nuclear weapons.
According to my sources, it's also a favorite place to hide other weapons of mass destruction in a large complex of underground tunnels.
Many of Saddam's palace compounds have man-made lakes. These are built over the tunnels where WMD work is being done as a barrier to bombardment.
Typical of this is the Al-Tharthar presidential site, about 150 miles north of Baghdad. It's about 2.5 square miles in size, and its large man-made
lake sits above a tunnel complex housing weapons of mass destruction storage and possible production. Another is Saddam's favorite. His palace
compound in his hometown of Tikrit is about 4 square kilometers in size. It has a large man-made lake built in 1991 that sits over another tunnel
complex for weapons of mass destruction storage and research.
In total, there are about 1,000 buildings in Saddam's palace complexes. Many of them were destroyed in 1991 or in the 1998 air strikes. Most have
been rebuilt, and some ó like the Tikrit site ó are constantly being expanded. If any new U.N. inspections fail to probe into every corner and
underground tunnel in each of them ó and not when the Iraqis know they're coming or block the inspectors' entry ó they may as well not be done at