At least 13 companies - in Canada, Japan, and West Germany - produce thiodiglycol to make mustard gas from several sources. Today, most Western nations have at least minimum controls on the export of compounds easily divierted for chemical arms. Virtually all were established in the last four years. Meanwhile, exports to certain countries are under steady scrutiny.
The Netherlands, with one of Europe's strictest export-control systems, requires licenses for the export of 50 chemicals.
An Australian company provided air-conditioning equipment for buildings at the Samarra chemical complex.
An Iraqi chemical plant in Samarra is run by the State Establishment for Pesticide Production - the same agency that received thiodiglycol from Phillips and millions of dollars' worth of equipment through Kark Kolb & Co.
According to US intelligence sources, SEPP is a front for the Iraqi military.
The Samarra complex is the prime production facility for Iraqi mustard gas and nerve agents, they say. Many of the chemical-bomb payloads used in the Iran-Iraq war are said to have come from here.
In 1983, the Phillips Petroleum Company plant in Tessenderio, Belgium, received an Iraqi order for 500 metric tons of thiodiglycol. The chemical has various commercial uses. It is also one step away from mustard gas in the chemical chain.
The order ended up in Samarra, Iraq, at a complex that is suspected of manufacturing chemical warfare agents.
After reports of Iraqi mustard gas use, Phillips turned down a second 500-metric-ton order in 1984.
The West German firm Karl Kolb GmbH makes equipment for pesticide plants. In 1983, Karl Kolb and a Baghdad affiliate, Pilot Plant, brokered the sale of millions of dollars' worth of equipment to Iraq's State Enterprise for Pesticide Production. The equipment was installed at Samarra.
In 1984, West Germany began requiring licenses for the export of `plants, parts, and equipment' that could be diverted to chemical weapons production.
Karl Kolb sued Bonn over the restrictions. A court ruled in favor of the company, but the government is appealing.