Egypt WMD Stats


A recipient of substantial U.S. military aid, Egypt does not appear to be aggressively pursuing nonconventional weapons capabilities at this time. Nonetheless, it is one of the few countries that has used chemical weapons in warfare (Yemen Civil War, 1963-1967) and is suspected of maintaining a chemical warfare (CW) capability, as well as a moderately advanced missile program. Cairo has been a leader in promoting a Weapons of Mass Destruction Free Zone (WMDFZ) in the Middle East and the strongest critic of Israel's nuclear weapons program, linking its refusal to sign the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) to Israel's nonparticipation in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).


  • Biological: A description of the nation's situation with regards to the possession and manufacture of biological weapons of mass destruction
  • Chemical: A description of the nation's situation with regards to the possession and manufacture of chemical weapons of mass destruction
  • Missile: A description of the nation's situation with regards to the possession and manufacture of missile weapons of mass destruction
  • Nuclear: A description of the nation's situation with regards to the possession and manufacture of nuclear weapons
Biological There is very limited open-source information indicating that Egypt is pursuing a biological weapons (BW) program. The country acceded to the Geneva Protocol on December 6, 1928 and the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BWC) on April 10, 1972. Most assessments by security experts indicate that while Egypt has a strong technical base in applied microbiology, it lacks the necessary infrastructure for developing or producing BW. Furthermore, there is no corroborated open-source evidence of any organized BW-related research activity. There have, however, been some allegations by Israel that Egypt is conducting research to develop anthrax and plague bacteria, botulinum toxin, and Rift Valley fever virus for military purposes. The Egyptian government strongly denies these accusations. 1972
Chemical Egypt is one of the few countries known to have employed chemical weapons against its enemies in the 20th century. Despite this history of use and contemporary concerns regarding the possession and proliferation of chemical weapons there is relatively little open-source information concerning Egypt's chemical warfare (CW) programs. There is strong evidence that during their intervention in the Yemen Civil War (1963-1967) Egyptian forces employed bombs and artillery shells filled with phosgene and mustard against the Royalist troops and civilians in North Yemen. Egypt appears to have inherited stocks of phosgene and mustard agents left behind by British forces when their occupation of Egypt ended in 1954. Egypt definitely received defensive CW assistance from the Soviet Union in the 1960s and early 1970s and might have received support for an offensive CW program. Since the 1980s Egypt has received training in defensive CW from the United States. Egypt maintains a substantial defensive CW capability and produces personal protective equipment and decontamination equipment for domestic use and export. It is strongly suspected, though not firmly established, that since the early 1960s Egypt has expanded its CW capability to include domestic production of nerve agents and psychoactive chemicals. By the early 1970s Egypt was believed to possess stocks of mustard, tabun and sarin. Reports in the 1990s claimed that Egypt had begun the production of VX nerve agent. Egypt possesses a sufficiently advanced chemical and industrial infrastructure to allow it to pursue the production of chemical weapons and their associated delivery systems if it chose to do so. Suspected Egyptian CW facilities include the Abu-Za'abal Company for Chemicals and Insecticides and the Abu Za'abal Company for Specialty Chemicals; there may be others. Egypt has been involved in at least two instances of chemical weapons related proliferation. The first case was the direct provision of weaponized agents in bombs and artillery shells to Syria prior to the 1973 Yom Kippur war. In the 1980s Egypt was a conduit for the supply of precursor chemicals to Iraq’s CW program. These chemicals were often obtained from European suppliers and then exported to Iraq. It is possible that Egyptian personnel provided assistance to Iraqi forces in the development of tactics and doctrines for the use of CW. Egypt maintains commercial links with Syria and may supply Syria with many of its chemical needs thus directly or indirectly supporting that country’s own chemical weapons program. Despite the widely held belief that it maintains an offensive CW program Egypt is still able to import the materials and equipment that it requires for the functioning of its chemical industries. Egypt is not subject to military or economic sanctions but is subject to some restrictions associated with the enforcement of the provisions of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). Egypt acceded to the Geneva Protocol on December 6, 1928, but remains outside the CWC. The Egyptian government publicly denies developing, acquiring, or producing CW but has indicated that it will not accede to the CWC until questions regarding Israel’s nuclear weapons are addressed. 1990
Missile Egypt's missile program began in earnest in the 1960s. With West German assistance, Egypt began developing three missile systems: al-Zafar (375-km range), al-Kahir (600-km range) and al-Raid (1,000-km range); however, with the withdrawal of West German assistance in 1966, these programs were abandoned. In the 1980s, Egypt aligned with Iraq and Argentina in an effort to develop a short-range, solid-fueled missile known in Argentina as Condor-II and in Iraq as Badr-2000 (the internal Egyptian designation is not known publicly). In 1989, Cairo ended the cooperative relationship with Baghdad, but it is likely that domestic-based efforts continue on this missile. Egypt has been more successful in its pursuit of Scud-B and perhaps Scud-C manufacturing capabilities. With the assistance of North Korea, Egypt was able to develop an indigenous Scud-B production capability, and there are reports that it has developed an enhanced Scud-C missile. In 2001, Egypt reportedly signed an agreement with North Korea to purchase its 1000km-range Nodong missile system. Egypt is not a member of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR). 2001
Nuclear Egypt's efforts to develop nuclear technology likely began in the late 1950s. The program is housed at the Inshas Nuclear Research Center, 40 km outside of Cairo. Inshas hosts a Soviet-supplied 2 MW research reactor that went critical in 1961, and an Argentine-supplied 22 MW light water research reactor that went critical in 1997. Cairo has long expressed the desire to import power-generation reactors, but thus far these efforts have proven unsuccessful. In the 1970s, there was apparently a debate within Egypt about pursuing a weapons capability and, as part of that effort, developing an independent fuel cycle. However, it appears that no serious work was done towards these ends. In 1981, Egypt acceded to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and, one year later, began implementing the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) comprehensive safeguards. Egypt has been a vocal critic of the NPT—beginning notably at the 1995 Review and Extension Conference—and has supported a nuclear weapons free zone in the Middle East, citing Israel's non-ascension to the NPT as an obstacle to this process. 1997


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