Captain's Quarters Blog

« Bush Continues to Build Strength in the 'Religious' Vote | Main | Bush Planned Iraq Invasion -- So What? »

January 10, 2004
Danes Find Liquid-Filled Mortars in Iraq

CNN reports a possible WMD find in Southern Iraq (via Power Line):

Danish troops have found suspicious mortar shells in southern Iraq and officials are checking to see if they are chemical weapons, according to Coalition officials. Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt, a U.S. Army spokesman, said Saturday 30 to 40 120mm mortars containing liquid were discovered south of Al-Amara, north of Basra.

The shells are being examined, and Kimmitt said it is suspected that the ordnance could be left over from the Iran-Iraq war in the mid-1980s. "Most were wrapped in plastic bags, and some were leaking," he added.

"The first inspections have shown that the mortars contain some liquid," said a Danish official in the city of Basra. "We don't now what sort of liquid or the age of the mortars."

While it is too soon to jump to conclusions, the fact that liquid was found in the mortars indicates either chemical or biological agents, and not mere explosive. If you look at the pictures in Power Line's post on the subject, you'll see corrosion that appears consistent with chemical exposure. I suspect it will only be a few days before the Coalition reports on the composition.

If it does turn out to be chemical or biological weaponry, however, it won't make a bit of difference if it dates back to the Iran-Iraq War of the 80s. The UN resolutions required Iraq to account for and destroy all nuclear, chemical, and biological weaponry, not just those created after 1991. These mortars, if proved to be WMDs, would prove that Iraq continued to possess and hide prohibited weaponry in defiance of the UN. The discovery would also indicate that there are more to be found, and they need to be found ASAP -- before they fall into the hands of the insurgency.

UPDATE: Reuters is reporting that the Danes suspect the mortars hold blister gas:

Danish troops have found dozens of mortar rounds buried in Iraq which chemical weapons tests show could contain blister gas, the Danish army said on Saturday. ... Blister gas, an illegal weapon which ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein said he had destroyed, was extensively used against the Iranians during the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war. ... Icelandic bomb specialists working with the Danish soldiers said the rounds had been found concealed in road construction, Iceland's Foreign Ministry said.

The US is sending a mobile laboratory to assist in the analysis.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at January 10, 2004 2:32 PM

Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for this entry is

Design & Skinning by:
m2 web studios

blog advertising


Proud Ex-Pat Member of the Bear Flag League!