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      Egypt Found to Have Developed Chemical Weapons For Iraq

      With Israel having allowed Egypt to control the critical Philadelphi corridor along the Gaza border, startling revelations about Egyptian chemical weapons proliferation have come to light.
      First Publish: 3/16/2005, 1:30 PM / Last Update: 3/15/2005, 8:35 PM

      Egypt secretly helped former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein in his chemical weapons program, according to a just-published CIA report.

      The report, authored by the CIA’s Iraq Survey Group, says that Egypt sent specialists to Iraq in the 1980s to help him manufacture poison gas. Iraq later used the gas against Iran, as well as against Iraqi Kurds. The report states that the Iraqi government paid Egypt $12 million "in return for assistance with production and storage of chemical weapons agents."

      The Iraq Survey Group, led by CIA special adviser Charles A. Duelfer, discovered extensive information on Iraq’s chemical weapons programs. "During the early years," the report states, "Egyptian scientists provided consultation, technology and oversight, allowing rapid advances and technological leaps in weaponization."

      Despite Egyptian denials following the report, UN arms inspectors confirmed the assertions to the Associated Press. "We were aware from back in 1991 that there was a link between Iraq and Egypt on chemical weapons," former senior U.N. adviser on chemical weapons Ron G. Manley of Britain said.

      Iraqis used mustard gas, sarin and other chemical agents against the Iranians during the lengthy Iran-Iraq war. In 1988, Iraqi aircraft dropped sarin and mustard gas on Iranian-held villages in Iraqi Kurdistan, killing up to 5,000 Iraqi Kurdish civilians.

      Egyptian Embassy spokesman Hisham Elnakib insists that his country "had no relation whatsoever with Iraq in the field of chemical weapons."

      The UN inspectors say their findings were confirmed over and over again by hard evidence and “frank and honest Egyptian scientists.” They say they never announced the Egyptian connection in order to maintain Egyptian cooperation in future investigation.

      Some Israeli officials have long warned against Israeli indifference to Egypt's stockpiling of dangerous weapons. Likud MK Yuval Shteinitz, for instance, who is Chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, said last year that the Egyptians continue to allow arms-smuggling to Gaza because they are interested in the continuation of the Israeli -Palestinian conflict. “Egypt's policy is just like Syria's arming of Hizbullah,” Shteinitz said, “except that the Egyptians do it more quietly.”

      The estimated amounts of arms and explosives smuggled to Gaza in the past four years are: 2,000 kilograms of explosives, 6,700 Kalachnikov rifles (including 5,000 since 2003), 750 anti-tank shell launchers, 33 mortars, 18 submachine guns, 5 anti-aircraft missiles, 580,000 bullets, and dozens of rocket propelled grenades(RPGs).

      The subject of Egypt arming terrorists with chemical weapons has not been discussed publicly in Israel.