Can Iraq be deterred from using weapons of mass destruction?
Klemick, Michael T
Lavoy, Peter R.
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It generally is assumed that the threat of a U.S. nuclear strike deterred the intentional use of chemical and biological weapons by Iraq during the 1991 Persian Gulf War. Evidence suggests that this assumption might be faulty, or at least incomplete. The purpose of this thesis is to test the common wisdom about nuclear deterrence and Iraq's non-use of chemical and biological weapons (CBW) during the Gulf War. This thesis examines the use of conventional and nuclear deterrence by the United States and coalition allies during the 1991 Gulf War. It then looks beyond the alleged effects of nuclear deterrence and examines Iraq's development and past use of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). The threat of nuclear retaliation only moderately influenced Iraq's decision to refrain from CBW use during the Gulf War. Other factors such as inexecutable C2, logistical collapse, and dubious munition reliability also mattered. The implications for the United States are that: (1) current nonproliferation regimes are insufficient to prevent the continued buildup of WMD by Iraq; (2) nonproliferation policies must be supplemented by policies designed to deter WMD use; and (3) asymmetrical conventional military force targeting Saddam Hussein's regime is required to deter Iraq's use of WMD
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