From the Chairman, National Intelligence Council
Iraqi Military Capabilities
, published inrew conclusions about Iraq's current military capabUiry, force deployment options and timelines, and Coalition warning. In the wake of the October Gulf crisis, those conclusionsare still valid:
Iraqumber of military options for threatening Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. These range from shon-waming border incursions that could cause considerable damage lo Kuwaitull-scaleinvolving someoivisions with the full mix of support assets, spearheadedorps-sized. Republican Guard-led assaultdesigned to seize and occupy Kuwait and/or attempt to damage or destroy the Saudi oilfields.
We continue to assess thai, without significant and timely opposition from Western forces, Iraq could overwhelm Kuwait with this corps-sized assault force andmaller force beyond Kuwait to damage Saudi oil facilities as far south as As Saffaniyah. We also continue to believe lhat Iraq could not extend corps-level operations beyond Kuwait without reconstituting forces andajor logistic support base. The time required to complete those activities would permit Coalition forces
Because Saddam has no! altered his fundamental goals, Iraq remains an immediate source of concernong-term threat to US strategicin the Persian Gulf. Baghdad probably willore cooperative diplomatic policy in the near term in an effort to gel relief from UNIf. during the first halfhis fails toime frame for ending the UN oil embargo, however, most agencies expect Saddam will again resort to confrontational tactics:
The Bureau of Intelligence and Research, Department of Stale contends that it is impossible to predict with confidence whether Saddam will choose confrontation or opteriod of quiescence and cooperation sufficient to obtain an easing of sanctions by the end
The withdrawal of Iraqi Republican Guard forces north ofdand the US and UK demarches restricting Iraqi force enhancements south of that line, will affeel Saddam's consideration of force options for any future operation against Kuwait. We continue to assess that Saddam would want to include more capable Republican Guard forces in any major military operation outside the country.
light of Iraqi mililary aclions during the4 Kuwaiti crisis and the changed poslcrisis regional security situation. IheCommunity has reevaluated key portions of National Intelligencenhis Update Memorandum focuses on two key questions:
What did we learn from Ihe October crisis about Iraq's military' capabilities, options, and force preparation timelines?
How docs the postcrisis security situation affect the Iraqi threat to Kuwait and Saudi Arabia?!-
The October Crisis and Its Aftermath Insight and Uncertainty.ndraq deployed the major combat elements of two Republican Guard armored divisions from various garrison areas near Baghdad and in the north to staging areas opposite tbe Kuwaiti border (sechis deploymentnique opportunity for US intelligence to track and analyze Iraqi force
This Mentorandum updates the findings of National Intelligencessued int was prepared under the auspices cf the National Intelligence Officer for General Purposet wai coordinated with the Deputy Direcior for Intelligence CentralAgency; the Dliector. Defense Intelligence Agency; the Director, National Security Agency; the Avusu.nl Secretary for Intelligence md Research. Department of State; the Deputy Chief of Staff foeDepartment of the Army; the Director of Naval Intelligence, Department of Ihe Navy; the Assistant Chief of Staff. Intelligence. Dcparimeni of Ihe Air Force; and Ihe Director of Iniclligence, Headquarters, Marine Corps. I
movements and deployment capabilities.because we remain uncertain regarding Iraq's intentions during the crisis, we areabout drawing direct parallels between the October movements and the forceand preparation timelines for an actual invasion of Kuwait:
Saddam's intentions during the recent crisis were unclear. He may have been preparingull-scale invasionimited-objective raid, or he simply may have been trying toestern response. Someammunition depots,field training, andeployment for combat.the apparent lack of preparation by other critical forceair and airthat combat was not imminent.
Since the movement was halted before it was completed, we do not know what, if any. additional elements beyond those already deployed or in transit Iraq intended to move south. Thus, even if these were real invasion preparations, it is difficult to determine "where Iraq was" in the transition to war
Key Features of the October Deployment. The crisis did provide an important reference point for updating our analysis of Iraq's military options and capabilities (see
Our Working Premises
cknowledged several working premises- One implication of these was that, during any future contingency. Coalition forces would be able to deploy into the Persian Gulf region unimpeded. While that remains the most likely scenario, evidence since July bears mentioning:
Hie NIE assumed Coalition forcesto the region would not face any threat from Iran. Wc remain convinced that Iran arid Iraq would not act in collusion and that Iran would not wittingly altwkforces responding solely to an Iraqi threat. However, Tehran's growingof US hostility, its nervousness over US deployments during October, and its subsequent military preparations raise the possibility of inadx'crtcnt confrontation with Western forces. While Iran could not prevail in an extended military encounter with theonfrontation could stow the pace ofa Western force buildup and complicate force planning and deployment decisions.
If some combination of Iranian opposition and problems with
_ Iraq could concehably
gain the time necessary to prepare anda follow-on offensive deep into Saudi Arabia before the Coalition could respond. In tluit scenario, critical Saudi oil, water, and port facilities would be at risk.
aspects of the October deploy mcnt arc most important in this regard:
One division, the Hammurabi, was moved exclusively by heavy equipment transportshe other. Al Nida. used both rail and IIETs. Overall, however. HKI use was much greater than wc anticipated.
Some units began to movectober, others waited untilctober. When Iraq announced the withdrawal of its forces
onctober.f thertillery bultalions assigned to the two divisions had arrived in the southern border area. The remaining maneuver and fire support elements of both divisions, including air defense assets, were cither awaitingor in transit south. Had the buildupwc assess that these elements, and some corps fire-support assets, could have arrived in southern Iraq laic onctober.
could have initiated combat operations shortly thereafter, assuming it was willing to commit these two divisions with less- than -full support. For instance, we have nothat division or corps supply depots were established with the deployed forces or that key divisional and nondivisional assets expected to be employedajor offensive were present, including divisional engineer, maintenance, and medical units, and the full complement of corps artillery, surface-to-air missiles, and rocket systems.inimum, it would have taken Iraq another three days to deploy these assets.
There is evidence that Iraq intended to move additional Republican Guard divisions south, bat there is no evidence that these unitsdeployed to southern Iraq.
Iraq probably was surprised by the swiftresponse and diplomatic actions taken by the United States, the UN, and other members of the Coalition. Saddam now is probably even more certain of the US capability and will lo protect its regional interests.!-
Saddam's Near-Termespite the outcome of the October crisis and Iraq's recent recognition of Kuwaiti sovereignly, Saddam has not altered his fijndamentalIraq's territorial integrity, retake Kuwait, and dominate the Persian Gulf. To these ends, Saddam's most important near-term objective remains obtaining relief from UN sanctions. In the wake of the crisis, his immediate strategy for achieving this goal will be to cooperate with the UN. If, during the first halfhis fails toime frame for ending the
1 See Update MemoiandumProspects forIraq;Saddamand Beyondomplete discussion of Saddam's political prospects ond Iraq's economic and internal security situation j
UN oil embargo, however, mosl agencies expect Saddam will again resort lo confronla-lional ladies:
The Hureau of Intelligence and Research, Department of Stoic contends lhai il islo predict wiih confidence whether Saddam will choose confrontation or opteriod of quiescence andbtain an easing of sanctions by the endr
Saddamumber of options lorconfront ation ranging from increased harassment of the Kurds to renewed threats to Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. His actionsillingness to conduct anand high-risk strategy thai exposed to possible attack an important clement of his mil ilary.p
Iraqi Force Dispositions and Restrictions.
United Nations Security Council Resolutionnjoined Iraq lo withdraw the units that deployed during October opposite Kuwait Perhaps out of fearoalition strike, Iraq went beyond the stipulations ofnd moved all Republican Guard units north ofdthe divi-sion-sized clement thai had been garrisoned at QaTat Salih south ofegrees before October (see figure
Text of Ihe US Demarche Delivered to Iraq on4
Iraq must immediately complete the withdrawal to north ofd parallel all military units deployed belowd parallel after.
In accordance with, Iraq may not again utilize its military or any other forcesostile or provocative manner to threaten either its neighbors or United Nations operations in Iraq.
In tlte future, Iraq may not enhance its military capabilities belowd parallel.
must cooperate fully with the
United Nations Special Commission.
Any violation of these requirements would have serious consequences, and my government is prepared to respond appropriately and decisively.
Ihe Coalition will not remain indifferent should Iraq use military force tothe Iraqi people in the north or south of Iraq.
new Iraqi force disposition, and theon Iraqi force enhance merits south ofegrees, affect the regional security situation in several ways:
The concentration of more Republican Guard forces in central Iraq increases the demands on road and rail transport assetsajor deployment. This could diminish Iraq's already limited capability lo rapidly redeploy large numbers of units.
If Coalition air attacks were authorized against Iraqi forces once they crossed south ofd parallel, Baghdad's forcecapabilities would be seriously degraded, providing Coalition forces additional time to establish effective defenses.
With all Republican Guard units nownorth ofegrees, and the demarches in effect. Saddam may be more likely loattack options against Kuwait, which involve only regular Army units alreadysouth ofd parallel. These are discussed on
Saddam is likely to testdcgrecWestern resolve, vigilance, andsmall or temporarysouth ofegrees. Suchon their size andcouldonfrontation with Western forces.[
Reassessing Iraqi Military Capabilities and Options
In July, wcumber of judgments about Iraq's current military capability, its options for threatening Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, and Coalition warning. In the wake of ihe October crisis, those judgments generally are still valid.
Capability Stillraq's military remains plaguedost of materiel,and operational shortcomings which would limit its warfighting effectiveness in operations beyond Iraq's borders or against Western forces. Evidence since July indicates that thesewith respect to morale, leadership, maintenance, supply, andworsened:
Low salaries and dismal living conditions for enlisted personnel have driven thousands of regular Army soldiers to desert. Problems that have ravaged the regular Army foryears may now be affecting theGuard. Supply shortages, as evidenced during the October crisis, continue to plague UJ Corps.
The October deployments used scarce resources and further degraded Iraq's combat and combat-support vehicle fleet. With UN sanctions still in effect, ii will be difficult for Iraq to obtain the specialty parts required to restore even precrisis capability.
Although there is no evidence to date that the rail system suffered any degradation during the deployment and withdrawal, the crisis did nothing to improve Iraq's already diresituation. In July we assessed thatf moreETs were operational because of shortages of spare parts, particularly tires. During the crisis, Iraq used atETs. Given the number of broken down HETs seen during and after the crisis, there are certainly fewer in operation now.l
ut Options Remain. Despite theseBaghdad f
umber of military options for threatening Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. These range from short-warning border incursions against northern Kuwaitull-scalesomeoivisions with the full mix of support assets, spearheadedorps-sized, Republican Guard-led assaultto seize and occupy Kuwait and/or attempt to damage or destroy tbc Saudi oilfields.!
attempt to bypass all local resistance in Kuwait, leaving that to follow-on forces, and continue down the Saudi peninsula to damage oiland potts in tbe Al Jubayl-Dhahran area. The inset onresents contrasting assessments of Iraq's capability to execute this attack. i
significant and timely opposition from Western forces fjlraq could overwhelm Kuwait with this corps-sized assault force andmaller force beyond Kuwait to damage Saudi oil facilities as far south as As Saffaniyah. Iraq could not, however, quickly extend corps-level operations deep enough into Saudi Arabia to threaten the major Saudi oil facilities at Al Jubayl and Dhahran before Coalition forces could establish defenses in tbe area.!-
addition to the phased operation describedwhich Iraqi forces first seize Kuwait, thenollow-on attack deep into SaudiMilitary Intelligence Community believes Iraq might conceivably be able toan alternative operation. In this high-risk, low probability, but potentially high-impactultidivision Iraqi force would
Representative Threat Scenarios, Capabilities, and Warning Limited Threat Options. As articulated in, Iraq's III Corps, wilh armored forces withinilometers of the border, remains capable ofumber of limited operations on short notice against Kuwait. These include moving forces into theZone; conducting punitive raids todestroy, or seize property; andimited objective invasion to seize and hold
sclccted areas or facilities adjacent to theIraq could alsoepublican Guard unitimited threat scenario. In ourhowever, Saddam would be very hesitant to risk any Republican Guard armoredin this manner.
Under Ihe rightspeed, and shortlimited objective atlnck could inllict considerable damage on selected oil and wutcr facilities in northern Kuwait. The Iraqi military wouldifficult time taking and holding Kuwaiti territory, however, in ihe face of concerted Western opposition.given their experience during the Gulf war. Iraqi commanders probably wouldsubstantial losses from Coalition air strikes during any prolonged cross-lnmlcrinside Kuwait.f-
Can Iraq Project Significant Forces Deep Into Saudi Arabia?
Hie Military Intelligence Community believes that Iraq lias at least some chance of quicklyultidivision attack that could successfully penetrate deep enough into Saudi Arabia lo damage oil facilities in Ihe Al Jubayal-Dhahran area. This attack, spearheaded by severalCuard divisions, would attempt to bypass all resistance and would continue down the Saudi peninsula lo damage oil facilities and ports. Tlie force would attempt not lo seize and hold terrain, bul rather loolitical and economic blow against the GCC and the West For Saddam, aoperation wouldubstantial portion of the oil facilities, return some Republican Guard forces intact, and wrest concessions from ihe GCC thai would pre-
Saddam's record of unpredictability, no agency is willing to completely rule out his attempiing another high-risk military confrontation. On the other hand, no agency disputes tlte evidence presented in the NIE and in this Update Memorandum regardingevere military sliortfalls. Tltebetween agencies centers on how operationally limiting lltose shortfalls would be in the specific scenario described above. For the sake of clarity; lhat argument Li summarized on the next page.
(Tmtrt^uheUbysKeSa^onal Intelligence Ccmnc* rV Central mietke^we. orW Mr Bumau of tnuOigence andDspartsmnt of State.)
(Thu new it held by the members of the Military batiu gence Commamity t
forces lack ihr training, lumbal experience, ahthlj to
togutscs. and au drfrnu capability to execute and support high-speed offensive ivftattons at great distances from Iraq. Thev hair neither practiced for. no' everihr capabilay to, eserute this type of operation
rapidmidorderly deydoymeni of rno Republican Guard armored diuuoni during October and the December Modinah division exercise demt+xtraie thai ihe Republican Guard is able to cope with if maintenance and logistic problems and suit undertake suable operations Iraqi tanks and armoreil irhlclri are cajxablr of attacking into Saudi Arabia carrying only basteudden attack would provide little warning and would allow Iraqi forces tothrough KuMwit be/ore significant Coalition resistance could develop.
maintenance, and supply
transport asseis are insufficient to quicklyul-tidiviaon forte beyond Kuwait The bulk of ihe force would haveove the MX)m envisioned in this scenario under their own power, (liven the poor stale of Iraqiand Iraq's Ink of mobile maintenance capability, vehicle breakdown rates would he high Iraq, inability to resuppty forces wouldajor connruna in longer than three days
multldlvislon force would move largely under its ovn power. Republican Guard equipmeni is better maintained than regular Army equipment Some elements of theforce could be shuttledimited number of HETs. The October in.ui demonstrated that Iraq con efficiently move forces byelatively small number ofpeedy operation facing tight rtunonce could reach its otjrcares nidi bancnudung faeces would sake advantage of captured luppaet and equipment.
leadership, aad (annul
moralepnMem,ndeimmed Iraq, miLtary effectiveness and would become particularly apparentegh-ntk/high demand operationfficer corfa istrained fee. nor exprnmced m, high-speed. offensive, maneuver warfare Iraqi forces lotkthe commandflexibility, initiative, andupport for All type of operation.
Gmsnt rnnls owe iheir special status and irra ment to Saddam and would follow orders nn at extreme rut- RepmUican Guarduch beaer than morale In the regular Army tit-en expected light resistance, and movmg toward fixed obyriittrs at known locations, the operation would not require extraordinary command andast nuces if ul operation would enhance morale and go far in asxuagr ihe embarrassment of the Gulf nar defeat. Iraq hat an eiprnrncrd, pnyestional officer corps.
uniu would be under attack from Coalition air forces from Ihe time ihey crossed the Iraq-Kuwait border, if not well before, lenses would be devastating, both in termsof numbers and. perhapt more importantly. psyciuilogicaBy: O'hrn ihe tlmrtfnllx outlined above, the attack would likely grindalt wellof hi objectives.
campaign by Coalition air forces normally present in the Gulf probably would not be luffidml by itself to step the momentum of an operation involving hundreds of armored vehicles.
Major Offensive, In July wc concluded that Iraq would be unlikely Io attempt another full-scale invasion of Kuwait unless it hadimproved its sustainment capabilities, was convinced that only token Westernwould be mounted, and was no longerwith maintaining internal security. Events sincethe rapid US response during the October crisis, the prospects for anS military presence in the region at least over the near term, the US
Uemarclics restricting Iraqi force WaTlcelncnls south ofd parallel, and
Iraq's enduring militarythat judgment .j
Nevertheless, should Saddam order another full invasion of Kuwait, Iraqumber of force package options. Generally, these trade preparation time and Coalition warning for enhanced capabilities (seen the NUi, we focusedingle representative invasion scenario thatore deliberate
buildup of forces. This type scenario iswith Iraq's record and. in our judgment, remains Saddam's preferred option. However, in the wake of tbe new restrictions on Iraqi force deployments, and depending onperception of Coalition force generation capabilities, other more rapid build-up options might be considered. We have included an analysis of those scenarios here. i-
Iraq couldorps-sized offensive, using only III and IV Corps units, in about five to seven days, assuming all operational HETs were employed. This force could overrun Kuwait, if opposed only by Kuwaiti and other GCC forces. These regular Army units could thenivision-sized raid intoSaudi Arabia]
Army Only. In July, we concluded that, because regular Axmy units were much less reliable and capable than the Republican Guard, Saddam probably would want to use the Republican Guard in any major operationthe country. In our judgment, thatstill applies; however, in the wake of the crisis, Saddamilemma!
With thein effect, and
all Republican uuara units garrisoned north ofegrees, any significant movement of Republican Guard units south of that line could
In our judgment, however, an offensive byArmy units alone is unlikely, unless those forces are improved significantly. Currentin supply, equipment condition, morale, and personnel strength would severely limn Iraqi combat effectiveness and make it difficult for Iraq to hold its gains. Intervention byforces presently in-theatcr would tip the balance against Iraq. Dased on historicala regular Army offensive would grindalt if serious opposition were encountered.
a Western military response, we recognize that Saddam may now feel compelled to limit his initial attack force to those regular Army units already garrisoned south ofd parallel.
Improvements in the equipment base andtempo of regular Army units garrisoned in the south wouldlear indication thai these options were becoming more
Uncertainties Remain Regarding Iraq's October Deployment
As staled earlier, our analysis of ihe Oclobcr deployments concludes tluit the majorelements of both divisions involved in the movement would liave been in position by late onday preparation timeline. However, we do not know if that timeline reflects ihe best that Iraq could accomplish. Questions remain regarding how well and how far in advance thewas planned. Iww well it was executed, whether Iraq used alt its transport capacity, and why two of the six maneuver brigades involved in the deployment did not begin moving until
deployment orders. Transport assets wereactor, since these brigades used theunburdened rail system. TheGuard planners may haveottleneck at Az Zubayr in the south and staggeredforce deployments. As ansecurity measure, the brigades may not have been notified about their deployment until Ihe last moment. Alternatively, themay have been notified earlierctober, but needed ihe interim period lo prepare for deployment. Finally, tlte regime may not have decided to move these specific units until after the deployment began.
do noi know if this delay rejieclcd ain Iraq's deploymentlanned sequencing of movements, indecision on the part of Saddam, or resistance on Ihe part of sultordinate commanders to execute
At any rale, if this delay were not capability related, then Iraq theoretically could have completed ihe two division deployment in lesseek.
Tlte October Scenario. Repealing (he events ofraq could organize an invasion force centered on two Republican Guard armored divisions from the Baghdad area. The timeline for preparing this offensive is(seessuming tbe Octoberdid not reflect Iraq's full capacity and
judging from the speed shown in the railsouth and during the withdrawal, Iraq could theoretically move the maneuverof two Republican Guard armoredminus most divisional and corps support elements, to the Kuwait border in lessETs could move one division with its artillery in three to live days; the Madinah Armored Division, most of which is garrisoned on the rail line, could move simultaneously by
' Thisomes thai Iraq uses it* lull HET and rail capabilityne-way move. If any more equipment or forces weic io he moved, these transportationould have lo he recycled, significantly slowing the deployment timeline fm subsequent units. Othct factors, such as fatigue and equipment lailure, would increasingly impede inovenfeni.l
rail in about five days, assuming rail authorities had sufficient advance notice to marshal rolling stock at the several loading sites.
Iraq would face many risks in trying to move its forces so quickly, as demonstrated by the breakdown of discipline during the withdrawal. Units straggled behind when HETs failed. Equipment was loaded on trains in disarray. Nearly three weeks after the start of theequipment was still sittingrain station waiting to be moved toapid deployment would include only essential combat elements with brigade-level supplies. The invading force would lack key divisional and corps logistic and fire-support assets, including engineer, maintenance,artillery, and air defense.
Iraqi doctrine callsdvantageeliberate attack, and history shows their preference for using overwhelming force. Against Kuwait's four understrengthplus possible GCC and Coalition forces, Iraq would probably want more than the combat elements of two reliableparticularly if it expected to hold Kuwaiti
an offensive spearheaded by the maneuver elements of two Republican Guard armored divisions could cause considerable damage to Kuwait and could perhaps even overrun the country. In this scenario, Iraq'ssustainment capabilities would notajor detriment In our judgment, however,cenario remains unlikely:
* The attacking force would rely on III Corps for rear area security, service support, and follow-on forces. This wouldevere strain on the regular Army, and reinforcement from other areas of Iraq would have to arrive quickly if Baghdad intended to hold its gains. Iraq probably would not be able to maintain the requisite flow of supplies and follow-on forces in the face of air interdiction byforces in the region today.
A Deliberate Buildup Attack. In July, welhat Iraq would plan to commit at leasthe full mix of supportorder to seize and hold Kuwait and al least another three divisions if it planned to extend the attack into Saudi Arabia. However, in line with Iraq's desire to minimize Western warning, we recognized that the attack on Kuwait could begin as soon as the initial assault force wasa corps-sized force of as many as three armored and perhaps one infantry division from the Republican Guard, reinforced by one or two regular Army heavy divisions from the Al Basrah area. The remainder of the attacking force would be mobilized and deployedwith the offensive, as was the case
In our judgment, this type of deliberateattack remains Saddam's preferred invasion optionarger, belter supportedwould offer tbe best chance for rapidly seizing Kuwait and extending follow-oninto Saudi Arabia. Tbe time to prepare this force, with all assigned equipment and full divisional and corps combat and support assets, was estimated to beays or more.|
Iraq also would have needed at least another three days to move the full complement of divisional and corps combat and serviceassets that we would expect to see priorajor offensive.
recent massing of two Republican Guard forces at Az Zubayr does not provide enough evidence to significantly alter the NIE'sregarding movement limes for an attack of three Republican Guard heavy divisions with full support. In fact, the Octoberis well within the movement timelinein theNIE.i
As stated earlier, our analysis of October's events indicates that the major maneuver and some fire-support elements of both divisions would have completed their deployment to the Kuwaiti border inays. If Iraq had deployed ihe additional combat and support elements that were included in the NIE
never materialized during Ihe Octoberthe deployment time would have increased to IS toays or longer:
* It would have taken Iraq at least threedays to move the other Republican GuardMadinah Armoredlocated nearwould have required little or no HET support because of its proximity to rail yards. This assumes that some elements of the Madinah could have been moved during the first five days of October when the rail line wasused less; if not, then the deployment timeline would have been even longer.
Baghdad probably willoreflplomaiic policy in the near term in an effort to get relief from UN sanctions.because Saddam has not altered hisgoals, Iraq remains an immediate source of concernong-term threat to US strategic interests in the Persian Gulf. As the pressure on Saddam continues to mount, he is more likely to resort to confrontation. In this context, it is important to distinguish between perceptions of Saddam'swhich we are alwaysIraqi capabilities.
In our judgment, however. Saddam docs not have the capability today to destroy or occupy tbe major Saudi oil facilities south of As Saffamyah before tbe West could respond. Moreover, he is not likely to attempt another full-scale invasion of Kuwait; unless Iraq'shas been improved significantly, he isthut only token Western opposition will be mounted, and he is no longer preoccupied with maintaining internal security. In the wake of the October crisis, Saddam probably is even more certain of the US capability and will to protect its regional interests.)-
Iraq stilluge military advantage over the forces of Kuwait and the GCC andumber of threatening military options. The October crisis demonstrated that Baghdad has the capability to quicklyorce which could do considerable damage to Kuwait and that Saddam retains his penchant forhigh-risk, confrontational tactics..Original document.