US Counterproliferation Capabilities
There is another aspect of US resources and capabilities that deserves special attention in dealing with future contingencies in the Gulf. Both Iran and Iraq have actively sought and acquired biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons. Both have obtained long-range missiles, and both used chemical weapons against each other in the Iran-Iraq War. While the UN victory in the Gulf War has severely limited Iraq's biological and chemical warfare capabilities, it has not affected Iran's programs. The US also must face the long-term prospect of Iraq recovering its capability to use weapons of mass destruction in a post-sanctions environment, and the risk that both Iran and Iraq will become nuclear powers and/or acquire biological weapons with the lethality of nuclear weapons. As Secretary Perry's FY 1996 Annual Report states: 139
As DoD's understanding of these major regional contingencies has developed, it became clear that there was a very high probability that aggressors would threaten, wield, or use weapons of mass destruction. Earlier assumptions that conflicts not involving the Soviet Union would be fought solely with conventional weapons needed to be reviewed and new guidance issued. . . . Nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC) weapons--collectively weapons of mass destruction--are no longer a hypothetical threat in regional conflicts. Almost anywhere the US is likely to deploy forces around the world--Northeast Asia, the Gulf, the Middle East, and Europe--states are likely to have weapons of mass destruction.
Table Fourteen shows that Iran and Iraq are developing significant capabilities to develop weapons of mass destruction. At the same time, Table Fourteen shows that the present capabilities of such forces should not be exaggerated. Iran lacks a long-range delivery system capable of meaningful coverage of Israel, although it could potentially stage strike aircraft and Scuds through Syria or Jordan. At present, it does not seem to have