Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies Program on Energy and Sustainable Development Stanford University

This Dec. 31, 2001, file photo shows Iraqi President Saddam Hussein waving to a crowd in Baghdad.
Photo credit: Reuters

December 13, 2013 - CISAC, FSI Stanford In the News

Why Saddam Hussein never used chemical weapons in Gulf War

Today marks the 10th anniversary of the capture of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. In this Foreign Policy piece, CISAC's Scott Sagan and Political Science graduate student Benjamin Buch use newly released recordings of the fallen leader to reveal why Saddam never used chemical weapons in the Gulf War.

Contrary to arguments by American officials who say Saddam was deterred from using chemical weapons by ambiguous threats of nuclear retaliation and explicit threats of regime change, Sagan and Buch argue Saddam viewed chemical weapons as a final trump card. They were to be held in reserve to deter American or Israeli use of chemical, biological or nuclear weapons and to prevent coalition forces from marching on Baghdad.


Topics: Foreign policy | Terrorism | Iraq | United States