Coalition forces have found an IED containing the nerve agent sarin today in Iraq. The IED detonated, exposing two soldiers to the nerve agent. Fortunately it appears as though the contamination was minor and the soldiers will recover.
Also in Iraq, the head of the Iraqi governing council was killed by an attack outside the Green Zone in Baghdad. President Izzedine Salim was killed by a suicide bomber in an attack that claimed several Iraqi lives. This comes as a blow to the Iraqi people and the coalition who are preparing for the handover of sovereignty to the Iraqi Governing Council on the 30th of June. The terrorists may have killed the President of the IGC, but we cannot allow them to kill the dream of Iraqi democracy.
More as the story develops.
UPDATE: The bomb was found near the Baghdad airport. It appears that the IED was not intended to be a chemical weapon, but whomever built it just happened to find a chemical shell in with the regular artillery shells. This indicates that there is a good chance that Saddam simply mixed in the chemical and the regular shells together, exactly as some had predicted.
The reason the shell did not cause any major damage is due to its design – sarin is a binary weapon, meaning two agents must combine to become the nerve agent. The IED was designed as a regular explosive, meaning that only a small amount of the two agents combined to form the actual sarin. Fortunately our troops are equipped with atropine in case of a situation like this, and a small exposure with significant ventilation isn’t necessarily life threatening.
The shell is of the type used by Saddam prior to the first Gulf War. Under the cease-fire, all such weapons were to have been destroyed.
There we go. Saddam had WMD. We now found at least one of them. The next step is to find where this shell came from and start getting rid of this stuff once and for all.
UPDATE: An Iraqi scientist that worked on Saddam’s weapons program has indicated that Saddam buried some of his WMD and shipped the rest to Syria and he expects that the coalition will find more as time goes on.
UPDATE: Captain’s Quarters has more on the issue. I have to mirror their question: will the media report this or try to cover it up? Given the nature of the story one would think this would be a bit hard to gloss over, but considering the fanatical anti-war position of the mainstream media I wouldn’t put it past them either.
UPDATE: FoxNews is reporting that this is the second such discovery in some days as earlier an ISG team had located a shell containing mustard gas in an IED. Fortunately the mustard gas had not been properly stored and had degraded. However, this leads one to ask how many more of these shells are waiting for terrorists to find them?