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Missile Overview

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« on: February 26, 2011, 04:21:50 pm »

Missile Overview


Before Colonel Gaddafi announced his decision to renounce all WMD related programs in December 2003, Libya had been trying to increase its ballistic missile capability since the 1970s. Early imports of entire Scud-B and FROG 7 systems from the Soviet Union were followed by the pursuit of an indigenous missile production infrastructure over the course of two and a half decades. Libya's indigenous effort began with the help of German engineers, and was later supported by illegal arms shipments containing a wide variety of missile-related equipment and technological assistance from various countries including China, North Korea, Germany, Serbia, Iraq, and Iran. In 2004, experts from the United States, the United Kingdom, and Libya removed some of the most critical parts of Libya's missile infrastructure, which included untested Scud-C systems and guidance components. Their inspections revealed that although Libya had been frantically trying to improve its ballistic missile capabilities, its efforts had been largely unsuccessful. Attempted purchases of MRBMs or IRBMs were repeatedly thwarted by pressure from the international community. Not surprisingly, none of Libya's indigenous missile programs ever reached operational status. After its decision to renounce the pursuit of WMD, Libya has converted most of its Scud-B arsenal into defensive short-range weapons, and has also pledged to eliminate any missiles going beyond the range (300km) and payload (500kg) guidelines defined by the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR).


Libya's attempts to acquire ballistic missile technology and associated systems go back to the mid-1970s. In 1976, Libya purchased around 80 Scud-B missiles and launchers form the Soviet Union. This was followed only two years later with the purchase of around 40 FROG 7 rockets and launchers, again from the Soviet Union. [1] [2] Later that decade, Libya also tried albeit unsuccessfully, to acquire SS-21 Scarab SRBMs (70km range, 480kg payload [3]) from Moscow. Other missile systems that Libya tried to purchase on the open market throughout the late 1970s and early 1980s included the Russian SS-12 Scaleboard and SS-23 Spider SRBMs. However, these efforts were unsuccessful. During the same period, Colonel Gaddafi also approached the Brazilian aerospace consortium Orbitas about a potential sale of its MB/EE 600km range missile system, but was rebuffed. [4]

In 1980, Tripoli signed a contract with the German firm Orbital Transport und Raketen AG (OTRAG, "Orbital Transport and Rockets, Inc.") to develop a missile infrastructure in Libya. [5] However, after two years of development efforts in Libya, and vary of Libya's military intentions, the West German government pressured OTRAG to cease operations in Libya. Although OTRAG complied with the request, most of the equipment remained, and former OTRAG employees continued working on Libya's missile program. [6] [7] [8] In 1987, the remnants of the OTRAG project were integrated into the secret Ittisalt program to develop a 300 to 700 km range liquid fueled missile based on German designs at a research center near the Siwa Oasis. [9] [10] Around the same time, Libya also entered into negotiations with several Brazilian firms regarding missile and artillery technology transfers. The outcome of these negotiations remain unclear; however if successful, they were probably merged with the OTRAG designs in order to develop the 950km liquid fueled Al-Fatah MRBM. [11] None of these indigenous missile development projects ever reached operational status, in fact the Al-Fatah test flights in 1987 and 1993 were dismal failures because of difficulties with the guidance components. [12]

On 14 April 1986 Libya launched two Scud-B missiles to attack a U.S. radar station on the Italian island of Lampedusa, but the missiles failed to reach their target and fell into the Mediterranean Sea. The facility had been instrumental in coordinating the U.S. air strikes on Tripoli and Benghazi. According to Libyan sources, the U.S. attacks caused over 100 casualties; among them Colonel Gaddafi's 15 months- old daughter. The Reagan government had justified the air strikes by accusing Gaddafi of assisting the earlier bombing in Berlin. [13] [14] [15] [16]

In 1990, Israeli intelligence sources claimed that Libya was trying to acquire the Chinese solid fueled DF-15/M-9 SRBM (600km range, 500kg payload). [17] U.S. intelligence sources later alleged that the Libyan negotiations with Beijing had been in the final stages before U.S. pressure thwarted the sale in 1989. Tripoli also approached China about the liquid fueled DF-3A/CSS-2A IRBM (2,500km range, 2,150kg payload) but Chinese authorities were unwilling to enter into talks about a potential sale. [18]

Spanish intelligence sources claimed that in 1992 Tripoli signed an agreement with Pyongyang about technical assistance for the Libyan ballistic missile program. [19] Other sources claim that this agreement was already concluded in 1989 or 1991, and included North Korean supply of Scud-C Hwasong 6 and Scud-D Nodong missile systems or components to Libya. [20] [21]

Libya's attempts to either purchase entire systems or develop an indigenous ballistic missile production capability continued throughout the 1990s. Under U.S. pressure in 1993, Ukrainian authorities seized roughly 80 metric tons of ammonium perchlorate, a key component for the production of solid missile propellants. The chemicals were of Russian origin and the transaction had allegedly been brokered by the Serbian arms manufacturer JPL Systems. [22] Two years later JPL Systems was accused of signing a contract worth $30 million to aid Libya on the Al-Fatah missile development program, although the Serbian firm's expertise was mainly in the production of long range multiple rocket launchers. [23] [24] [25]

In the mid-1990s there also appeared reports about a cooperation agreement between Libya and Iran on ballistic missile development. Allegedly, Libya paid over $31 million to Tehran in exchange for material and technical know-how with the aim of expanding the range of its Scud-B arsenal and finalizing the Al-Fatah project. [26]

According to the German Federal Intelligence Service, (BND) in January 1995 Libya and Iraq concluded a framework agreement on joint ballistic missile development. German intelligence officials revealed that a series of Scud test launches had taken place in the Southwestern Libyan desert to increase the range of the missiles. [27] Around the same time, the German Federal Office of Criminal Investigations and the Public Prosecutor in Munich began investigating German missile engineer Walter Ziegler, who had been highly influential in continuing Libya's missile development effort even after OTRAG had officially left the country. [28] Ziegler had already been investigated from 1986 to 1989, but to no avail. [29] However, in 1998, Ziegler was finally indicted for his assistance to Libya's missile development effort. According to investigators, he had used his companies Globesat and Polytec based in Munich to smuggle arms technology to Libya through a network of letter-box firms in Malta, Luxembourg, and London. Equipment supplied by Ziegler and his network included telemetric transmitters used to measure the trajectory of missile flight paths, chromium-nickel-steel alloy tubes for missile casings and fuel tanks, and electronic navigation equipment. [30] [31]

In August 1996, Italian authorities boarded a cargo freighter headed for Tripoli in La Spezia. The officials found three containers with components for a metal pressing machine that could be used to press combustion chambers for missiles. The machine had been produced by the German firm H&H Metallorm that went bankrupt in 1993. Several managers of H&H Metallorm had already been sentenced to prison for exporting similar machines to Iraq. [32]

On 30 June 1999 Indian customs officials at the Northwestern port city Kandla boarded the freighter Ku-Wol San owned by Puhung Trading Corp. of North Korea [33]. The Indian officials discovered wooden crates designated "water refinery equipment" that actually contained an entire assembly line for Scud missile production. The shipment seized included missile nose cones, sheet metal for frames, heavy-duty hydraulic pressing machinery, warhead guidance systems, calibration and evaluation instruments, and missile engineering blueprints labeled Scud-B and Scud-C. Indian authorities had boarded the freighter suspecting arms intended for Pakistan, but a detailed investigation by U.S. and South Korean authorities revealed that the shipment was indeed intended for Libya, and constituted only a part of North Korea's sustained assistance to Tripoli's effort in developing a ballistic missile infrastructure. [34] [35] [36]

In November 1999, U.K. authorities seized a shipment of missile parts bound for Libya. At Gatwick airport a cargo flight to Tripoli via Malta carried 32 crates that had been disguised as automotive spares but actually contained Scud components of North Korean origin. [37] [38] [39] Shipping records indicated that a Taiwanese company had shipped the missile components through Hong Kong using forged documents. [40]

Although two decades had only brought marginal success, at the turn of the millennium Libya was apparently still trying to improve its missile capability. In 2000, China was accused of providing technical expertise to Libya's missile development efforts. A report by the National Security Agency claimed that the state-run China Precision Machine Import-Export Co. had agreed to supply Libya with a hypersonic wind tunnel, a crucial component used for modeling and simulation in missile development. [41]

On 6 April of the same year, Swiss authorities arrested a Taiwanese businessman at Zurich international airport, trying to smuggle four Scud missile propulsion units in his luggage to Libya. During the course of further investigations, the Swiss state prosecutor's office also noted that the Taiwanese company, the 44-year old Hsieh Chin-Yi worked for had been repeatedly accused of covertly supplying Libya with Scud components throughout the 1990s. [42]

In 2001, U.S. intelligence officials accused Iran of installing equipment on Libyan facilities for advanced missile production. According to the report, Iranians had been spotted working on a factory involved with the Al-Fatah program, with the effort being coordinated by the Iranian Shahid Hemmet Industrial Group. [43]

Renunciation of WMD programs

On 19 December 2003, Colonel Gaddafi stunned the world by announcing that Libya would renounce its pursuit of WMD and long range ballistic missile capabilities. [44] In March 2003, the head of Libya's intelligence service, Musa Kusa approached the British MI-6 to begin negotiations about a cooperative effort between officials of the United States, the United Kingdom, and Libya, with the goal of dismantling the Libyan facilities involved in nuclear, chemical, and missile research and development. [45] After two initial visits from American and British experts in October and December of that year, the agreement was made public on 19 December 2003.

In January 2004, the most critical materials of Libyan missile research and development activities were flown out to be stored at the Department of Energy's Y-12 National Security Complex at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee. [46] The shipment included five Scud-C missile guidance sets along with their gyroscopes. A second shipment included five complete and two partial Scud-C missiles and their launchers that Libya had produced with North Korean assistance. [47] Libya was allowed to retain its Scud-B missiles and FROG 7 rockets but pledged to convert its Scud arsenal into short range, purely defensive weapons, and to eliminate all missiles going beyond the range and payload guidelines set forth by the MTCR. Libya also pledged to end all military trade with North Korea. [48] [49]

Libya's ballistic missile development effort had been concentrated at three facilities, a solid propellant plant and rocket engine test stand at Tarhuna, the Al-Fajer Alga Did factory for Scud maintenance and modification, and the liquid fueled refurbishment plant run by the Central Organization for Electronic Research in Tripoli. [50] In the latter part of 2004, experts from the IAEA, the U.S. and the U.K concluded that Libya's missile program had been heavily dependant on foreign assistance, poorly managed, and mostly focused on maintaining its Scud B inventory. They also found that Libya had only been able to gain five Scud-C guidance systems, and was thus very much in the early stages of its Scud-C development effort. Furthermore, the authorities concluded that contrary to Israeli intelligence claims in the 1990s, Libya had not been able to acquire a Nodong type missile system. Most of the facility components for the Al-Fajer plant had been provided by North Korea, and Iran had provided assistance to the Central Organization for Electronic Research. Yugoslavian companies and individuals had also been involved in Libya's missile development effort, with all wind tunnel tests being conducted in Belgrade. [51]

Current Capabilities

Libya's current missile arsenal is still characterized by its acquisitions from the Soviet Union in the 1970s. The Libyan Army deploys four SSM brigades with Scud-B missiles and around 40 FROG 7 rockets. Due to poor management and lack of advanced military infrastructure many of the estimated 80 Scud-Bs are believed to be kept in storage or simply inoperable. The Libyan armed forces also lack appropriate training and organization to effectively deploy its SRBMs, and its radar capabilities remain outdated. Libya's Army has around 3,000 anti-tank missiles, including Milans, AT-3 Saggers, AT-4 Spigots, and AT-5 Spandrels. [52]

Libya's Navy's missile capabilities are equally outdated, incorporating around 40-50 SS-N-2C Styx ASCMs (83 km range, 513kg payload), four batteries of SA-N-4 Gecko SAMs, and roughly 32 Otomat Mark I/II missile launchers (80km range, 210kg payload). The missiles are deployed on two 1,900 ton Koni-class missile frigates (four Styx missiles, one SA-4 battery each), two 660 ton Nanuchka II-class corvettes (four Styx missiles , one SA-4 battery each), eight 311 ton Combattante IIG-class missile patrol boats (four Otomat launchers each), six 245 ton Osa II-class missile patrol boats (four Styx missiles each), and a few selected shore batteries for coastal defense. The Navy also has 25 Mi-14 Haze ASW and 7 SA-341 Superfrelon ASW and SAR helicopters which are all capable of carrying the French AM-39 Exocet ASCM, but it is unclear whether Libya's Navy actually possesses the French Exocet ASCMs. [53] [54]

With the end of arms sanctions following its decision to disclose and dismantle its WMD capabilities, Libya has recently stepped up efforts to modernize its missile forces. In August 2007, Libya signed a confirmed deal worth around $400 million with France for MBDA's Milan anti-tank missile and Tetra communications equipment. [55] [56]

In mid-2007, the first reports appeared that Libya had secured a tentative agreement with Russia about the sale of The S-300PMU 2 Favorit (SA-20 Gargoyle) and Tor M2E (SA-15 Gauntlet) air defense systems. The Favorit version of the S-300 series has an improved range of 200km and is capable of engaging enemy aircraft, cruise missiles, and ballistic missiles flying from 10 m to 27 km above earth at speeds up to 10,000 km/h. [57] The Tor M2E short range anti-air defense system is an upgraded version of the original Tor first fielded in 1986. The M2E version carries up eight 9M331 missiles, and a new radar system capable of processing up to 48, and engaging up to four targets. [58] [59] Before President Putin's visit to Libya on 16 April 2008, rumors emerged again about the alleged deal. According to sources within Russia's defense industry, the alleged contract valued at $2.5 billion, was to include several S-300PMU 2 Favorit air defense systems, around 20 Tor M2E and Buk M1-2 anti-aircraft missile systems, and a modernization of the Soviet made weaponry in Libya's armed forces. [60] However, at present these reports remain unconfirmed.
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« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2011, 04:23:31 pm »

Updated September 2009
Chemical Overview

Allegations that Italian dictator Benito Mussolini ordered the deployment of the blister agent sulfur mustard in Libya imply that the state's first experience with chemical weapons occurred during the 1920s. Libya did not begin to build an offensive chemical warfare (CW) program until the mid-1980s. [1] Once the decision to develop an offensive CW capability had been taken Libya rapidly erected a production facility near the village of Rabta. Despite the investment of significant amounts of time and resources the development of Libya's chemical weapons facilities could not have had the success it did without the assistance of foreign suppliers, the majority of which came from Western Europe.

Throughout the 1990s Libya's relations with the international community were highly contentious, in part due to the threat represented by what was at the time believed to be an expansive Libyan CW capability and its related refusal to sign the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). In addition to the generalized objection to chemical weapons that existed in the international community there was a strong concern in the international community that Libya might provide chemical weapons to terrorist groups or even employ them directly in one of its own government sponsored covert terrorist actions. [2] Libya finally agreed in late 2003 to cease its pursuit of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), including CW, and to open its doors to international inspections. Libya became a party to the CWC in early 2004 and began the process of destroying its chemical weapons arsenal and facilities under international verification shortly thereafter. Although there was good initial progress, most notably in terms of destroying the Libyan stock of CW munitions the process has since stalled and Libya has made no progress towards destruction of its stock of CW agent or precursors. Libya has pledged to fulfill its destruction obligations by 2011 and although the international community has expressed its disappointment at the slow progress towards complete destruction of the Libyan CW arsenal as yet no concerns have been expressed that Libya might have decided to retain its CW stocks in violation of its CWC obligations.


In the absence of a full account describing the internal debates and planning of the Libyan government in the 1980s conclusions regarding the motivation behind Libya's decision to pursue the development of an offensive CW capability must be somewhat speculative. However, on the basis of available information several factors seem to have been important.

First, it represented a bid by Libyan dictator Colonel Mu'ammar al-Qadhdhafi to compensate for Libya's military weaknesses at both the tactical and strategic levels relative to its likely opponents. The primary focus of attention in Western discussions of Libyan motivations was Israel's larger, and much more capable, conventional military force, especially its air force, but attention was also drawn to Israel's nuclear capabilities. However, an additional, and potentially a more important consideration for Libya may have been the Libyaian military which was a rival for leadership in the Arab world, was allied to the United States (a Libyan enemy), and was suspected of maintaining a strong CW capability. Tensions between these two countries were quite high on a number of occasions in the 1980s with both countries mobilizing their forces to their mutual border on at least one occasion. Libya embarked on a full-scale effort to develop CW capabilities as the most cost-effective means of bolstering its overall military posture, which lacked effective conventional military forces or nuclear weapons. According to Western and Libyan exile sources, Libya's effort to acquire chemical weapons was coupled with an aggressive effort to acquire ballistic missiles that could be used for long-range delivery. Because chemical weapons are cheaper to produce, and the facilities for their production easier to conceal than nuclear weapons they were also more appealing.

A second motivating factor for the development of a CW capability in the 1980s may have been the desire to counter-balance the Israeli nuclear arsenal. Once the Libyan effort to obtain its own nuclear capability was thwarted the leadership may have elected to turn to a different advanced weapon system that held out the prospect of exercising a deterrent effect on Israel by holding its population at risk. Libya's official position was that it did not have a CW program and chemical production facilities were intended solely for peaceful purposes. [3] But as demonstrated by the Libyan government's revelations in late 2003 about the true extent of its CW program, these denials demonstrated al-Qadhdhafi's past history of covert proliferation.

Finally it is worth noting that the Libyan CW effort did not exist in isolation. The Libyan program was one of several contemporaneous CW efforts in the Arab world that combined the construction of CW facilities and the amassing of CW arsenals with the development or acquisition of long-range missile capabilities. In addition to the previously mentioned Libyaian CW capability there were also programs in Iraq and Syria. It is possible that Libya felt some pressure to match the efforts of these other leading Arab states. In this regard it is noteworthy that in the course of the 1990s the Libyan CW program seems to have lost much of its perceived value as national efforts were redirected towards the development of a nuclear weapon. This reduced priority followed on the heels of the elimination of the Iraqi CW capability and reduced confidence in the assertion that Libya possessed chemical weapons. Additional factors may have been the overall decline in the price of oil during the 1990s that limited the Libyan state's resources combined with tightened restrictions on the export of chemical production machinery and chemical precursors.

During the mid to late 1980s, Libya began the construction of three chemical weapons facilities. The first was located 75 miles south of Tripoli at a site called Rabta. The facility, named Pharma-150, posed as a pharmaceuticals facility to conceal the nature of its offensive chemical weapons program. Construction at Rabta was completed in 1988, after which the facility was able to manufacture at least 100 metric tons of blister and nerve agents over the next three years. [4] Libya built the second facility called Pharma-200 underground at an army base 650 miles south of Tripoli at Sebha. The third chemical weapons facility built in Libya during the 1980s was Pharma-300 or Rabta II located south of Tripoli at Tarhuna. This site promised protection from air attacks by building two 200-450 ft. tunnels covered by 100 ft. of sandstone shields and lined with reinforced concrete. [5] For the international community, the development of these three sites were cause for alarm as Libya's government under al-Qadhdhafi had proven unpredictable after a series of incidents including threats in May 1981 that Col. Al-Qadhdhafi was planning the assassination of U.S. diplomats in Rome and Paris and the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland by Libyan intelligence officers on 21 December 1988. [6]

As allegations filtered in claiming that the Rabta plant was potentially the most expansive chemical weapons facility in the world, the United States in particular became increasingly concerned with al-Qadhdhafi's willingness to utilize chemical weapons. Libya had already resorted to chemical warfare on a small scale as an asymmetric response to conventional military inferiority. In September 1987, Libya's military operation in Chad was near defeat following a series of dramatic reversals. When Chadian forces, with French support, launched a surprise attack on a military base inside Libya, al-Qadhdhafi ordered his forces to attack the Chadian troops by dropping Iranian supplied bombs containing sulfur mustard from an AN-26 transport aircraft. [7] Although this use of chemical weapons was not extensive enough to be militarily decisive, it demonstrated Libyan willingness to ignore international norms and was sufficient to alarm the international community.

Therefore, when the United States caught wind of allegations that the Rabta plant was capable of producing roughly 10,000 lbs. of chemical agents such as Sarin and Tabun per day, it prepared to launch a pre-emptive air strike to destroy the facility. [8] (Note: it is not evident how the 10,000 lb per day value was determined; hypothetical calculations of production quantities often represent idealized scenarios that are rarely realized, as is evident from Libya's declared CW stocks that are much smaller than such a calculated capacity would indicate.) In May 1990 a fire at the Rabta site was reported to have destroyed the facility's production capabilities. The report was based on leaks from U.S. intelligence sources and came just before a planned U.S. attack on the facility aimed at eliminating its capability to produce any additional CW agent. [9] It was subsequently discovered that the smoke seen in the reconnaissance satellite photos was, in fact, caused by a pile of burning tires a significant distance from the buildings at the Rabta facility. This revelation discredited the reports claiming that the facility had been damaged and the United States called the fire a hoax intended to discourage U.S. military action against Libya's CW facilities.

During the late 1980s the involvement of foreign companies in supplying Libya's chemical weapons program with materials, technology, contractor services and technical expertise began to be exposed. In January 1989, the world found out that Imhausen-Chemie, a West German chemical company, had been serving as the "prime contractor" for the facility at Rabta since April 1980 while several other West German companies had been involved in the program to lesser degrees. [10] These revelations made West Germany the focus of international criticism, even though countries such as Belgium, France, Denmark, East Germany, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the United States, Yugoslavia, China and Thailand had also participated in the development and equipping of Libya's chemical weapons program. Nevertheless, a number of countries reacted to international pressure spearheaded by the United States and took steps to ensure that companies under their jurisdiction ceased transactions with Libya that might support the further development of Libya's chemical weapons program. A total of three Imhausen employees, including the director, were convicted of illegally supplying CW materials to Libya in October 1991 and a fourth German national was convicted in 1996 for facilitating Libya's acquisition of computer technology and other equipment to enhance chemical weapons development. It is not clear how much impact the measures aimed at isolating Libya and limiting its access to foreign suppliers of equipment and precursors had. However, it may be the case that they were a factor in the reduction in CW activities in the 1990s.

The Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), which had been opened for signature in January 1993 entered into force on 29 April 1997. Despite participating in the convention negotiations, Libya did not sign, joining Libya and other Arab countries in rejecting the treaty. The Arab position was aimed at pressuring Israel as a response to that country's continued refusal to sign the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) and maintenance of a secret nuclear weapons arsenal. In a development that can seen retrospect as highly significant, Libya attended the first CWC Review Conference (RevCon) from 28 April to 9 May 2003 as a non-state party.

Throughout 2003, Libyan and British officials engaged in increasingly detailed secret negotiations aimed at finding a way to normalize Libya's relations with the international community. By October 2003, Libya had consented to U.S. and British investigators examining laboratories and military facilities to verify the state and extent of Libya's WMD programs including its CW program. Finally it was agreed that in December, Col. Mu'ammar al-Qadhdhafi would publicly announce his pledge to abide by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the IAEA Safeguards Agreement and the Biological Weapons Convention, the Additional Protocol of the IAEA Safeguards Agreement, the Biological and Chemical Weapons Treaty, and to rid Libya of all WMD, including chemical weapons.

Finally, on December 19, 2003, the Libyan government surprised the world by publicly announcing its decision to abandon its programs for developing weapons of mass destruction and intention to immediately open its WMD facilities to international inspections. According to published reports, Libyan leader al-Qadhdhafi's renunciation of WMD followed nine months of secret negotiations with the United States and Britain. Until its WMD program was officially acknowledged, Libya's official position was that it did not have a CW program and that its chemical production facilities were intended solely for peaceful purposes. [11]

On 20 February 2004, the OPCW received a partial declaration from the Libyan Government detailing the country's chemical weapons stockpiles. In the following weeks, OPCW inspectors monitored the destruction of 3,500 aerial bombs designed to deliver chemical agents and began the process of verifying Libya's initial declaration in which the Libyan Government claimed possession of 50,700 lbs. of mustard agent and 2.9 million lbs. of nerve agent precursor chemicals. On 19 March 2004, OPCW inspectors confirmed the presence of 20 metric tons of sulfur mustard and enough precursors to produce approximately three thousand of tons of sarin nerve agent. The limited size of the Libyan arsenal was a surprise in some quarters, being significantly less than was expected based on statements by Western sources in May 1990 which alleged that Libya had the capability to produce as much as 4.5 metric tons per day. Although the Libyan arsenal proved to be less than expected, and although the program appeared to have been largely inactive for some time the elimination of Libya's chemical weapons capabilities represented a significant reduction in the global CW threat.


Since renouncing chemical weapons and joining the CWC Libya has sought to play an active role in the operations and activities of the OPCW. It regularly attends meetings and has sent representatives to a number of regional events. Furthermore Libya has on a number of occassions called on other regional states to follow its example and join the Convention. Despite swift initial progress in destroying munitions the process of destroying Libya's existing CW agent stocks has since been slower than expected. In December 2006 Libya secured an extension of its destruction deadlines from the OPCW giving it until 31 December 2010 to complete the process. Although Libya and the United States initially agreed to cooperate on, and share the cost of, destroying Libya's CW agent stockpile this agreement was repudiated by the Libyans in June 2007. It is generally agreed that the agreement was ended due to disputes over bureaucratic arrangements and the distribution of costs. Neither the United States, nor any other party has indicated that they see the breakdown of this agreement as a sign that the Libyans are stepping back from their CWC commitments. As of early October 2008 no new agreement for international funding of the Libyan CW demilitarization effort has been put in place.
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« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2011, 04:25:05 pm »

Nuclear Overview

On 19 December 2003, the Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya (Libya) agreed to eliminate all materials, equipment, and programs resulting in the production of nuclear or other internationally proscribed weapons. Libya's leader Colonel Mu'ammar Qadhafi admitted that, in contravention of its international obligations under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), Libya had pursued a nuclear weapons program, allegedly to counter the covert Israeli nuclear program. In 2004, the United States and the United Kingdom dismantled Libya's nuclear weapons infrastructure with oversight from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Since renouncing its clandestine nuclear program in late 2003, Libya has sought to establish a nuclear power infrastructure for electricity production, seawater desalination, and the production of medical isotopes. [1] However, Libya's nuclear power aspirations remain in the research and development stages. As of February 2011, it is unclear whether or how political instability in Libya, involving mass protests against Qadhafi, will affect the future direction of the country's nuclear program. [2]


1968 to 1990: Program Beginnings
While still under the rule of the pro-Western King Idris, Libya signed the NPT in July 1968. Even though Idris was overthrown in a 1969 coup led by the Revolutionary Command Council headed by Qadhafi, Libya ratified the NPT in 1975. However, many reports indicate that Qadhafi, whose rise to power was partly driven by resentment over the 1967 defeat of the Arabs by Israel, began seeking a nuclear weapons capability shortly after taking power and adopting a strong anti-Israel stance.

Owing to Libya's relatively low level of technical development, these nuclear efforts focused on foreign suppliers. In 1970, for example, Libya reportedly made an unsuccessful attempt to purchase nuclear weapons from China.[3] And in 1978, Libyan agents allegedly tried to buy nuclear weapons from India.[4] There are also many reports of nuclear dealings during the 1970s between Libya and Pakistan. These allegedly involved Libyan assistance to Pakistan in acquiring access to uranium ore concentrate from neighboring Niger in return for Pakistani nuclear assistance to Libya.[5] Whether these dealings laid the basis for later Libya-Pakistan nuclear cooperation remains unclear.

Evidence released by the IAEA in 2004 suggests that during the 1970s and 1980s, Libya decided to pursue both the uranium- and plutonium-based pathways to nuclear weapons. Steps were taken in the 1970s to gain access to uranium ore, uranium conversion facilities, and enrichment technologies that together would have enabled Libya to produce weapons-grade uranium. This activity was conducted covertly and in violation of IAEA safeguards. Libya pursued foreign supplies of uranium ore (UOC), for example. Reports indicate that during the 1970s, Libya imported 1,200 tons of uranium ore concentrate from French-controlled mines in Niger without declaring it to the IAEA, as required by the NPT.[6] Libya admitted to the IAEA in 2004 that it had actually imported 2,263 metric tons of uranium ore concentrate from 1978 to 1981, but only declared the import of 1,000 metric tons.[7] The remaining 1,263 metric tons were thus not subject to IAEA safeguards and could be used in covert nuclear activities.

Libya also worked to acquire uranium conversion facilities, which would have enabled it to convert the UOC to a form more suitable for enrichment. In 1982, Libya attempted to purchase a plant for manufacturing uranium tetrafluoride from the Belgian firm Belgonucleaire. U.S. analysts suspected that the intended use for the plant was to produce uranium hexafluoride, the feedstock for a centrifuge uranium enrichment program (like that pursued by Pakistan). At the time, Libya had no declared nuclear facilities that required uranium tetrafluoride, and the purchase was refused.[8] This refusal did not discourage Libya, however, which in 2004 admitted to the IAEA that it had acquired a pilot-scale uranium conversion facility in 1984.[9] The IAEA report does not, however, identify the country that supplied Libya with this facility. The plant was fabricated in portable modules in accordance with Libyan specifications. Libya received these modules in 1986, but then placed them in storage until 1998.[10] Libya has also admitted that during the 1980s it conducted undeclared laboratory-scale uranium conversion experiments at the Tajoura Nuclear Research Center.[11] Along these same lines, Libya has now reported exporting several kilograms of UOC in 1985 to a "nuclear weapon state" for processing into various uranium compounds. Libya subsequently received a variety of compounds back from the state in question, including 39 kilograms of uranium hexafluoride. At the time, this export was also not reported to the IAEA by either Libya or the nuclear weapon state.[12] The IAEA report does not name the nuclear weapon state involved in this transaction, but David Albright of the Institute for Science and International Security said the Soviet Union and China were the most likely suspects, although he added, "I think it's hard to know...It was a time when people weren't scrutinizing these things very carefully."[13]

Libya also sought uranium enrichment equipment and technology during the 1970s and 1980s. In 1973, Libya tried to purchase 20 calutrons to enrich uranium from the French company Thomson-CSF. The deal, apparently supported by top company officials, was blocked by the French government because of the obvious proliferation risk of exporting enrichment technology to a non-nuclear weapon state.[14] Later, in the 1980s, a "foreign expert" began a research and design program at the Tajoura Nuclear Research Center in Libya aimed at producing gas centrifuges for uranium enrichment.[15] The "foreign expert" was reportedly a former employee of a German firm.[16] However, Libya has told the IAEA that by the time the "foreign expert" concluded his work in 1992, Libya was not yet able to produce an operating centrifuge, and no centrifuge experiments involving nuclear materials had been conducted. However, Libya had acquired technical expertise useful for the next stage of centrifuge development and design.[17] According to the IAEA, after the German expert left, the uranium enrichment program lost momentum, and was not reinvigorated until after 1995.[18]

As another way to build its nuclear expertise, however, Libya also pursued "peaceful" cooperation with the Soviet Union, under IAEA safeguards. The main result of Soviet-Libyan nuclear cooperation was the completion in 1979 of a 10MW research reactor at Tajoura. This reactor offered Libya the opportunity to explore plutonium production technology, which Libya did, while evading IAEA safeguards intended to detect such activities. Between 1984 and 1990, Libya produced several dozen small uranium oxide and uranium metal targets, a number of which were irradiated in the Tajoura reactor to produce radioisotopes. Thirty-eight of these targets were dissolved, and the radioisotopes extracted in hot cells. Libya has reported to the IAEA that very small amounts of plutonium were extracted from at least two of the targets.[19] Presumably the data gathered in these experiments would have proven useful if Libya had decided to pursue plutonium production more actively.

Libya made efforts in the 1970s and 1980s to buy a reactor larger than the one at Tajoura. In 1976, negotiations were held between France and Libya for the purchase of a 600MW reactor. A preliminary agreement was reached, but strong objections by the international community led France to cancel the project.[20] In the 1970s and 1980s, Libya discussed the construction of a nuclear power plant with the Soviet Union. At one point, the Belgian firm Belgonucleaire was in discussions to provide engineering support and equipment for this proposed project, but in 1984, U.S. pressure led the firm to refuse the contract.[21] Discussions with the Soviet Union about power reactor projects continued, but never produced a final agreement. By the late 1980s, Libya's nuclear program began to be hampered by economic sanctions prompted by Qadhafi's support of terrorism. In 1986, for example, the United States imposed economic sanctions on Libya, which were later expanded in 1992 and 1996.[22]

1990 to 2003: Nuclear Weapons Program Intensifies
By the early 1990s Libya's support of international terrorism, and in particular the 1988 bombing of a U.S. airliner over Lockerbie, Scotland, had prompted the imposition of UN economic sanctions. These sanctions restricted Libya's foreign trade, and presumably restricted the funds available to the Libyan nuclear program. Nevertheless, in the early 1990s, reports indicate that Libya tried to exploit the chaos generated by the collapse of the Soviet Union to gain access to former Soviet nuclear technology, expertise, and materials. In 1992, for example, an official of the Kurchatov Institute in Moscow, one of Russia's leading nuclear research centers, claimed that Libya had unsuccessfully tried to recruit two of his colleagues to work at the Tajoura Nuclear Research Center in Libya.[23] Other reports also suggested that Russian scientists had been hired to work on a covert Libyan nuclear weapons program.

Throughout the 1990s, Qadhafi renewed calls for the production of nuclear weapons in Libya[24] and pursued new avenues for nuclear technology procurement,[25] while publicly, if grudgingly, supporting the nuclear nonproliferation regime. At the 1995 NPT Review and Extension Conference, Libya initially rejected an indefinite extension because Israel had never joined the treaty; however, Libya eventually supported the extension. In 1996, Qadhafi stated that Arab states should develop a nuclear weapon to counter Israel's presumed nuclear weapons capability. Nonetheless, in April 1996 Libya signed the African-Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty. Later that same year, Libya voted against the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty at the UN General Assembly because it did not provide a deadline for nuclear disarmament. (Libya eventually signed the CTBT in November 2001 and ratified it in January 2004.)[26]

According to the IAEA Director General's February 2004 report, "n July 1995, Libya made a strategic decision to reinvigorate its nuclear activities," including gas centrifuge uranium enrichment. In 1997, foreign manufacturers, including Pakistan, provided 20 pre-assembled L-1 centrifuges and components for an additional 200 L-1 centrifuges and related parts. [27] One of the 20 pre-assembled rotors was used to install a completed single centrifuge at the Al Hashan site, which was first successfully tested in October 2000. Libya reported to the IAEA that no nuclear material had been used during tests on the L-1 centrifuges.[28]

In 1997, Libya began receiving nuclear weapons-related aid from Dr. A.Q. Khan, the chief architect of the Pakistani nuclear weapons program and confessed proliferator of nuclear technologies to several countries of concern, including Iran and North Korea. This cooperation continued until fall 2003, when Khan's clandestine collaboration with these countries became public following Libya's disclosures about its efforts to build nuclear weapons. In 1997, Khan supplied Libya with the 20 assembled L-1 centrifuges, [29] and components for an additional 200 more intended for a pilot facility. In 2001, Libya received almost two tons of UF6; while some reports claim that the UF6 was provided by Pakistan,[30] others cite evidence that it originated in North Korea.[31] IAEA sources believe that amount of UF6 is consistent with the requirements for a pilot enrichment facility. If enriched, the UF6 could produce a single nuclear weapon.[32]In late 1997, Libya also renewed its nuclear cooperation with Russia, and in March 1998 Libya signed a contract with the Russian company Atomenergoeksport for a partial overhaul of the Tajoura Nuclear Research Center.[33]

In late 2000, Libya's nuclear activities accelerated. Libyan authorities have informed the IAEA that at that time, Libya began to order centrifuges and components from other countries with the intention of installing a centrifuge plant to make enriched uranium. Libya also imported equipment for a fairly large precision machine shop (located at Janzour) and acquired a large stock of maraging steel and high strength aluminum alloy to build a domestic centrifuge production capability.[34] In September 2000, Libya received two L-2 centrifuges (European-designed centrifuges more advanced than the L-1). In late 2000, Libya began to progressively install 9-machine, 19-machine, and 64-machine L-1 centrifuge cascades into a large hall at Al Hashan.[35] Only the 9-centrifuge machine was completely assembled in 2002.[36] Libya also ordered 10,000 L-2 centrifuges from Pakistan. By late December 2002, component parts for the centrifuges began arriving in Libya.[37] However, in October 2003, U.S. intelligence agencies seized a subsequent consignment of centrifuge-related equipment bound for Libya in a northern Mediterranean port.[38] Investigations revealed that many of these components were manufactured by the Scomi Precision Engineering SDN BHD plant in Malaysia with "roles played by foreign technical, manufacturing, and transshipment experts, including A.Q. Khan and his associates at A.Q. Khan Laboratories in Pakistan, B.S.A. Tahgir in Malaysia and Dubai, and several Swiss, British, and German nationals."[39]

Libya sought not only the capability to enrich uranium to weapon-grade levels, but also the know-how to design and fabricate nuclear weapons.[40] In either late 2001 or early 2002, A.Q. Khan provided Libya with the blueprint for a fission weapon.[41] According to the February 2004 IAEA report, Libya acknowledged receiving from a foreign source in late 2001 or early 2002, documentation related to nuclear weapon design and fabrication. "The documents presented by Libya include a series of engineering drawings relating to nuclear weapons components, notes, (many of them handwritten) related to the fabrication of weapon components. The notes indicate the involvement of other parties and will require follow-up."[42] U.S. intelligence analysts believe the documents included a nuclear weapon design that China tested in the late 1960s and allegedly later shared with Pakistan. Reportedly, the design documents produced by Libya were transferred from Pakistan, contained information in both Chinese and English and set forth the design parameters and engineering specifications for constructing an implosion weapon weighing over 1,000 pounds that could be delivered using an aircraft or a large ballistic missile.[43] Libya ultimately told IAEA investigators that it had no national personnel competent to evaluate these designs at that time, and would have had to ask the supplier for help if it had decided to pursue a nuclear weapon.[44]

Late 2003 to 2008: Renunciation of Nuclear Weapons
At the same time that Libya pursued centrifuge technology and nuclear weapons designs, Qadhafi began to make overtures to the West in the hopes of having economic and other sanctions lifted. Reportedly, Libya had established secret communications regarding terrorist activities and WMD with the United States as early as 1999.[45] According to some analysts, the 11 September 2001 attacks, which Qadhafi denounced, and the impending U.S. invasion of Iraq increased Libya's desire to make peace with the United States.[46] In March 2003, days before the invasion of Iraq, Qadhafi's personal envoys contacted President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair about Libya's willingness to dismantle all WMD programs. Subsequently, at Qadhafi's direction, Libyan officials provided British and U.S. officers with documentation and additional details on Libya's chemical, biological, nuclear, and ballistic missile activities.[47] In August 2003, Libya accepted responsibility for the 1988 bombing of a U.S. commercial airliner, Pan Am 103, over Lockerbie, Scotland, and agreed to pay millions of dollars to each of the victims' families. In response, the UN Security Council voted to end international sanctions, but the Bush administration abstained, saying that Libya still had to answer questions about its WMD programs and meddling in African conflicts.[48]

Despite its ongoing negotiations with the West, Libya continued to procure nuclear technologies from other countries. In October 2003, British and U.S. ships operating pursuant to the U.S.-led Proliferation Security Initiative intercepted a German cargo ship heading to Libya from Dubai with a cargo of centrifuge parts allegedly based on Pakistani designs.[49] Following the seizure of the ship, Libya reportedly allowed U.S. and British officials to visit 10 previously secret sites and dozens of Libyan laboratories and military factories to search for evidence of nuclear fuel cycle-related activities, and for chemical and missile programs. Finally, on 19 December 2003 Qadhafi announced his commitment to disclose and dismantle all WMD programs in his country. In a letter to the UN Security Council, Libya reaffirmed its commitment to the NPT, agreed to abide by the Additional Protocol to the IAEA Safeguards Agreement (allowing for additional and more intrusive inspections of nuclear-related sites), and agreed to receive inspections teams to verify its new commitments.[50] President Bush stated that with Qadhafi's announcement, "Libya has begun the process of rejoining the community of nations."[51] One news source quotes Qadhafi as claiming that his decision to forego WMD programs was based on national security and economic interests. In an address to the Libyan People's National Congress, Qadhafi reportedly said, "Today it becomes a problem to have a nuclear bomb. At the time, it was maybe the fashion to have a nuclear bomb. Today, you have no enemy. Who's the enemy?"[52]

Several factors probably contributed to Libya's decision to renounce its nuclear program. First, 30 years of economic sanctions significantly limited oil exports and hurt the Libyan economy. Second, Libya's nuclear program progressed fairly slowly and at a great cost to the country, both economically and politically. [53] Third, the elimination of WMD was a prerequisite to normalizing relations with the West, and ending Libya's pariah status reportedly had become particularly important to Qadhafi. Fourth, according to some U.S. officials, Libya wanted to avoid Iraq's fate. [54] Finally, the October 2003 seizure of the ship with centrifuge-related cargo and ensuing investigations may have persuaded Libya that it would have difficulty with future WMD procurement efforts.[55]

Following the December 2003 announcement, a Libyan delegation informed the IAEA Director General that "Libya had been engaged for more than a decade in the development of a uranium enrichment capability."[56] Libya admitted to importing natural uranium, centrifuge and conversion equipment, and nuclear weapons design documents. However, Libyan officials said that the enrichment program was at an early stage of development, that no industrial scale facilities had been built, and that Libya lacked the technical know-how to interpret the weapons design documents. Libya acknowledged that some of these activities put it in violation of its IAEA Safeguards Agreement. With Libya's consent, in December 2003 and January 2004 the IAEA Director General and Agency teams made several visits to 18 locations related to possible nuclear weapons-related activities and began the process of verifying Libya's previously undeclared nuclear materials, equipment, facilities, and activities. The Agency concluded that "initial inspections of these locations did not identify specific facilities currently dedicated to nuclear weapon component manufacturing."[57] However, it also noted that further analytical and field activities would be necessary to determine how far Libya had progressed in weapons design activities.

Pursuant to understandings with the United Kingdom and the United States, Libya agreed to transfer to the United States "sensitive design information, nuclear weapon related documents, and most of the previously undeclared enrichment equipment, subject to Agency verification requirements and procedures."[58] On 22 January 2004, Libya's nuclear weapons design information, including the Chinese blueprint purchased from Pakistan, was sent to the United States, and on 26 January, U.S. transport planes carried 55,000 pounds of documents and equipment related to Libya's nuclear and ballistic missile programs to the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee. The nuclear portion of this shipment "included several containers of uranium hexafluoride (used as feedstock for enrichment); 2 P-2 [L-2] centrifuges from Pakistan's Khan Research Laboratories and additional centrifuge parts, equipment, and documentation."[59] In March 2004, over 1,000 additional centrifuge and missile parts were shipped out of Libya.[60] IAEA inspectors tagged and sealed most of the equipment sent to the United States, and assisted with its evaluation.

At the same time, Libya took steps to improve its participation in international nonproliferation regimes. Libya ratified the CTBT in January 2004, and 0n 18 February 2004, Libya gave the IAEA written confirmation of its intention to conclude an Additional Protocol with the Agency and to act as if the protocol had entered into force on 29 December 2003.[61]

On 8 March 2004, Russia, the United States, and the IAEA removed 16 kilograms of highly enriched uranium (HEU) fuel from Libya's Tajoura Nuclear Research Center; the HEU fuel was airlifted by a Russian company to Dimitrovgrad, where it would be down-blended into low-enriched uranium fuel. The United States would ultimately complete conversion of the Tajoura Soviet-supplied IRT-1 research reactor to the use of low enriched uranium fuel in October 2006. [62]

On 20 February 2004, the IAEA Director General issued a report on the implementation of Libya's IAEA Safeguards Agreement. [63] The report found that, "Starting in the early 1980s and continuing until the end of 2003, Libya imported nuclear material and conducted a wide variety of nuclear activities, which it had failed to report to the Agency as required under its Safeguards Agreement."[64] Such violations included failure to declare the import and storage of UF6 and other uranium compounds; failure to declare the fabrication and irradiation of uranium targets, and their subsequent processing, including the separation of a small amount of plutonium; and failure to provide design information for the pilot centrifuge facility, uranium conversion facility, and hot cells associated with the research reactor. The report also touched on support from foreign sources to Libya's program, noting that, "As part of verifying the correctness and completeness of Libya's declarations, the Agency is also investigating...the supply routes and sources of sensitive nuclear technology and related equipment and nuclear and non-nuclear materials. is evident already that a network has existed whereby actual technological know-how originates from one source, while the delivery of equipment and some of the materials have taken place through intermediaries, who have played a coordinating role, subcontracting the manufacturing to entities in yet other countries."[65]

On 10 March 2005, the IAEA Board of Governors adopted a resolution commending Libya for its cooperation with the Agency, but noting with concern the breach of its Safeguards Agreement and its acquisition of nuclear weapons designs. [66] As a result of Libya's cooperation with the IAEA, on 23 April 2005 President Bush lifted most of the remaining restrictions on doing business with Libya, although he did not remove Libya from the State Department's list of nations that support terrorism. For the first time in decades, the United States would have a diplomatic mission in Tripoli and U.S. oil companies, barred from Libya for 18 years, would have an opportunity to help develop Libya's rich oil fields. President Bush suggested that Colonel Qadhafi was beginning to meet his goal of acceptance by the international community and that his actions might serve as a model for North Korea and Iran: "Through its actions, Libya has set a standard that we hope other nations will emulate in rejecting weapons of mass destruction and in working constructively with international organizations to halt the proliferation of the world's most dangerous systems."[67]

Recent Developments and Current Status

In September 2008, then IAEA Director General Mohamed El-Baradei announced that due to its "cooperation and transparency" during the Agency's investigation, Libya would only be subject to routine IAEA inspections.[68] The conclusion of the IAEA investigation has since enabled Libya to strengthen foreign diplomatic relations and engage in bilateral agreements facilitating cooperation on nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.

Libya has continued to take steps toward establishing a nuclear power infrastructure. In addition to a 2007 agreement with France, Libya has also completed nuclear cooperation agreements with Argentina, Ukraine, and Russia, and concluded a memorandum of understanding with Canada.[69] These agreements vary in the amount and type of cooperation offered. The Russian agreement is the most comprehensive, including offers to design and construct a power reactor, supply reactor fuel, and provide technology related to medical isotopes and nuclear waste disposal.[70] The United States continues to review whether it will be willing to cooperate with Libya on the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.[71] As of February 2011, it is unclear whether or how ongoing political turmoil in Libya will affect the state's plans to pursue nuclear energy. [72]
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