Towards an Understanding of Yugoslav Capabilities: CBW Research, Development, Production

Belgrade. In regards to CBW production, an ancient scribe from the environs of Belgrade once told ASA “You can do whatever you want to do in NBC if you have the people, the pre-cursors and the production capability, and, Yugoslavia has everything.” Professor Cosic also noted, on page 7 this issue, that “Serbia has the technical capability, the knowledge and the infrastructure to produce chemical weapons.” Although both statements imply capability - neither implies intent.

The very heart of the Yugoslav chem/bio agent and weapon research, development and production effort resides with the Military Technical Institute (MTI) which is located at # 10 Kataniceva Street in Belgrade. The MTI’s primary CBW/NBC arm is its Department of Medical and Technical Protection which is located some12 kilometers away at Vojvede Stepe 445. This Department is responsible for the development of NBC requirements and the oversight on production to meet these requirements. This Department would have the expertise to reestablish the Mostar chemical agent/weapon facility at whatever location were deemed appropriate to the task.

Major players:

1.The MTI, Belgrade maintains almost total control over NBC material acquisition, testing and distribution, funding and dispersements, research and development, NBC weapons programs and chemical agent development and production. Many of these responsibilities are handled by the Department of Medical and Technical Protection.

The MTI is also the interface and driving force for the military in all dealings with the Yugoslav military industrial complex. A leading NBC industrial organization is the well known and respected Miloje Zakic chemical complex in Krusevac. Zakic was producing masks for the Army by the mid-1920s and is today responsible for production of almost all NBC personal protection equipment including masks, protective suits, identification equipment, etc. Zakic, according to the ABHO article on page 4, provided all facilities for the modenization of the NBC school upon its relocation from Belgrade to Krusevac. This included the laboratories needed for defensive and offensive chemical weapons training.
The Mostar chemical agent research, development and production, and limited weapon production, facility located in Potoci, 10 km NE of Mostar, reported directly to the MTI. Every facet of the Mostar chemical agent and weapon production effort was under the direction and control of the MTI. The MTI also directed the forced disestablishment of the Mostar facility in early 1992 and was responsible for its relocation to Lucani and other points within Serbia proper.

2.The Military Medical Academy (MMA), Belgrade. The MMA is responsible for medical research and development including basic research in NBC medical protection across the chemical and biological spectrum. Basic and applied medical research covers the spectrum from T2 toxins to antidotal efficacy of atropine, HI-6 and diazepam to soman poisoning. The MMA maintains a very close relationship with the medical branch of MTI’s Department of Medical and Technical Protection.

3.The Military Academies, Army, Navy and Air Force. The Army Military Academy, Belgrade, had the prime NBC academy with its Skolski Centar, Atomsko-Biolosko-Hemijske Odbrane, ABHO, in Krusevac (see page 3 for full details on the ABHO). The ABHO, which is today 54 years old, has to be classed as one of the very top NBC academies anywhere in the world. The NBC officer cadets worked with all classical CW agents and studied and practiced all aspects of defensive and offensive CBW.

4.The Military Technical Academy (MTA), which had been in Zagreb prior to the breakup, was the only Academy able to grant technical degrees; i.e., all engineering including chemical engineering. The MTA was the main supplier of technical personnel to the MTI Department of Medical and Technical Protection. ASA does not have additional information on a reconstituted MTA.

Some of the towns and cities that are mentioned in the CBW area include:

Lucani with its large M. Biagojevic chemical complex. According to earlier ASA reports and documentation, Lucani was the primary producer of the nerve gas pre-cursor CH3POCl2 and over 40 tons was supplied to Mostar. Mostar returned a little over 30 tons of the CH3POCl2 back to Lucani upon the tear down of the Mostar facility.
Novi Sad. Veterinarian institute linked to BW research.
Baric. Produced some equipment needed for mustard gas production but it should be noted that the vast majority of required CW production equipment came from West Europe, and yes - the usual sources.
Krusevac, as mentioned earlier, with its Skolski Centar, ABHO, and the Zadic chemical complex. The Zadic facility has also been mentioned as the recipient of the phosgene production line that had earlier been at Mostar. This particular move was in 1965.
Jastrebac. A closed training area near Krusevac, which amongst its many CBW functions, was involved in the production of sarin and sulfur mustard for weapon fill and static and dynamic testing.
Vinca. Nuclear research. Vinca received much of the equipment from the relocated nuclear facilities that had been in Slovenia. Vinca has also been the home away from home of many of the visiting professionals from Iraq and Libya. Of course, these professionals were in Vinca only to learn more on the peaceful civilian uses of nuclear power, at least this is what our fine friends from academia and the IAEA would have us believe. Academic freedom in a dictatorship is a non sequitur. Milosevic, who had always found a way to delay IAEA inspections of Vinca, recently called for an immediate and long term IAEA presence at Vinca. Why? To keep Vinca off of NATO’s target list.

The preceding information is not all encompassing but it should help in understanding that the capabilities across the NBC offensive spectrum are substantial. It would do well for all of us to understand that a country, any country with the now rather common NBC production capabilities, will do whatever it feels it must do to protect its own national interest. Thinking good thoughts and saying good words from a distant and safe environment will not stop one weapon from being produced and eventually used. The only true stoppers are recognized solutions to the country’s perceived problem(s) - internal or external and/or the threat of use of a bigger stick. And are not treaties broken whenever a country deems it is in their self-interest to do so?

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