Report: "THE US WAR ON iRAQ HAS BEGUN"
ffeldman at bellatlantic.net
Sun Aug 11 12:26:32 MDT 2002
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Sunday, August 11, 2002 11:24 AM
Subject: U.S. WAR ON IRAQ HAS BEGUN
> Note: Debka is a pro-Israeli, anti-Palestinian organization
> located in Israel.
> Turkey Seizes Critical Bamerni Airport in North Iraq -
Hurriyet Strategic Airfield Now Occupied by Turkish 5,000-Strong Force
> With US Special Forces Troops
> Seizure Assures US-Led Forces Control of Skies over
> Big Northern Iraq Oil Cities: Mosul, Kirkuk
> US Iraq Campaign Has Its First Engagement
> DEBKAfileSpecial Military Analysis
> 10 August: America's offensive against Saddam Hussein's
> regime in Iraq has begun as an exercise in gradualism rather
> than a D-Day drama. DEBKAfile 's military sources report that
> tens of thousands of US, British, French, Netherlands,
> Australian troops may take part in the campaign, openly or
> covertly, but not in massive waves that fling themselves
> telegenically on Baghdad.
> The fact of the matter is that American military
> concentrations are already unobtrusively present in northern
> and southern Iraq. The US campaign to oust Saddam is
> therefore unfolding already, albeit in salami-fashion, slice
> by slice, under clouds of disinformation and diversionary
> ruses - like the latest statements by President George W.
> Bush (No date set yet for the offensive) and British premier
> Tony Blair (Plenty of time before the war begins), or the
> grave reservations issuing from the Russian, French and
> German leaders. The peasoup of deception is further thickened
> by utterances in the last 48 hours from Turkish prime
> minister Bulent Ecevit, King Abdullah of Jordan, President
> Hosni Mubarak of Egypt and the Saudi crown prince Abdullah.
> They warn Washington that attacking Iraq would be a terrible
> mistake, one which they want no part of.
> DEBKAfile's military sources attempt here to pierce some of
> the thickets of confusion with a few facts on the ground:
> A. Special US forces entered the Kurdish regions of north
> Iraq towards the end of March nearly four months ago, to set
> up local Kurdish militias and train them for battle.
> B. At around the same time, Turkish special forces went into
> northern Iraq in waves that continued through April, fetching
> up in Turkmen regions around the big oil towns of Mosul and
> C. Meanwhile, the Americans threw a ring of bases - using
> existing facilities and adding new ones - around Iraq. They
> have since been pouring into those bases US armored ground
> units, tanks, air, navy and missile forces, as well as combat
> medical units and special contingents for anti-nuclear,
> biological and chemical warfare. According to our sources,
> the noose around Iraq extends from Georgia and Turkey in the
> north, Israel, Egypt and Jordan to the west, Eritrea and
> Kenya in the southwest, and Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar
> and Bahrain to the south.
> Furthermore, a large US armada, including aircraft carriers,
> has assembled at three points: the eastern Mediterranean, the
> Red Sea and the Persian Gulf.
> D. Since June, American and Turkish construction engineers
> have been working in northern Iraq, building and expanding
> airfields and air strips to make them fit for military use.
> (Details of this operation appear in an earlier report on
> this page.)
> First US Military Steps
> In the past week, once those preparations were in place, the
> United States carried out two military operations:
> 1. Tuesday August 6, at 0800 hours Middle East time, US and
> British air bombers went into action and destroyed the Iraqi
> air command and control center at al-Nukhaib in the desert
> between Iraq and Saudi Arabia. The center contained advanced
> fiber optic networks recently installed by Chinese companies.
> DEBKA-Net-Weekly's military sources say the raid made
> military history. For the first time, the US air force used
> new precision-guided bombs capable of locating and destroying
> fiber optic systems. The existence of such weaponry was
> hitherto unknown.
> Following the destruction of the facility, about 260 miles
> (415 kilometers), southwest of Baghdad, waves of US warplanes
> swept in from the Prince Sultan air base in Saudi Arabia and
> from US aircraft carriers in the Gulf and flew over the Iraqi
> The Iraqi air force and anti-aircraft system held their fire
> on orders from above. This deep air penetration told the
> Americans that the early warning radar system protecting
> Baghdad and its environs from intrusion by enemy aircraft and
> missiles was inactive.
> 2. Two days later, on Wednesday night, August 8, Turkey
> executed its first major military assault inside Iraq.
> DEBKAfile's military sources learn from Turkish and Kurdish
> informants that helicopters under US, British and Turkish
> warplane escort flew Turkish commandos to an operation for
> seizing the critical Bamerni airport in northern Iraq. This
> airport, just outside the Kurdish region, lies 50 miles north
> of the big Iraqi oil cities of the north, Kirkuk and Mosul.
> With the Turkish commandos was a group of US special forces
> officers and men. Bamerni airport was captured after a brief
> battle in which a unit of Iraqi armored defenders was
> destroyed, opening the airport for giant American and Turkish
> transports to deliver engineering units, heavy machinery and
> electronic support equipment, which were put to work at once
> on enlarging the field and widening its landing strips.
> The American unit, reinforced, went on to capture two small
> Iraqi military airfields nearby.
> The Turkish expeditionary force in northern Iraq now numbers
> some 5,000 men, in addition to Turkish air force contingents.
> DEBKAfile's military experts explain that with Bamerni
> airport and the two additional airfields the Americans have
> acquired full control of the skies over the two oil cities of
> Mosul and Kirkuk, as well as over the Syrian-Iraqi railroad,
> which they can now cut off by aerial bombardment. A prime
> strategic asset, this railroad is Saddam's back door for
> taking delivery of his illegal overseas arms purchases, which
> are ferried from Syrian ports to Baghdad by the Syrian-Iraqi
> railway. On the return journey, the same railway carries
> illegal Iraqi oil exports, over and above the quantities
> allowed under UN sanctions, out to market. The Iraqi war
> effort and the Syrian treasury depend heavily on the revenues
> accruing from these smuggled oil sales.
> The battle over this airfield was in fact the first important
> face-to-face engagement between a US-led invasion force and
> Iraqi troops. It was carried out seven hours before the Iraqi
> ruler delivered his televised speech to the nation, on the
> 14th anniversary of the bloody eight-year Iraq-Iran war. In
> that speech, Saddam threatened American troops going to war
> against Iraq that they would return home in coffins.
> Next Steps
> Just before the Saddam address, US spy satellites and planes
> detected unusual movements by elite Republic Guard units in
> the capital. They appeared to be digging positions below
> ground on the banks of the Tigris. Some military commentators
> were convinced the Iraqi ruler had decided to bury himself
> and his key associates in fortified bunker-type positions. He
> was said to be counting on American reluctance to engage in
> urban warfare in Iraqi towns for fear of
> large-scale-casualties that would force them to withdraw.
> DEBKAfile's military experts see little sign of this tactic -
> aside from the initial report. In fact, the bulk of the Iraqi
> army is concentrated in three regions outside Baghdad - the
> Kurdish regions of the north, the H-3 and al Baghdadi air
> bases opposite the Jordanian border in the center, and along
> the Saudi and Kuwaiti frontiers, in the south.
> In the north, the Iraqi armored divisions, which are massed
> opposite the Turkish border along the Little and Big Zeb
> Rivers, show now sign of movement in response to US-Turkish
> Iraqi concentrations in the center and south have been
> augmented somewhat but not substantially.
> Iraq's military passivity in the face of US-led advances and
> strikes is beginning to worry the American, Turkish and
> Israeli high commands. They suspect that Saddam is playing
> the same fog-of-war game as Washington, so as to put them to
> sleep and then catch them unawares.
> Such sudden action could take the form of an Iraqi missile or
> bomber attack on Israel using warheads loaded with
> radioactive, chemical or biological materials, a combined
> missile-terrorist strike to sabotage Saudi oil fields, or a
> mass terrorist attack in the United States.
> The sharpest alert to a threat to Iraq's southern neighbors
> came not from military intelligence but from international
> oil dealers, who warned that Saddam Hussein if attacked may
> well decide to set fire to Saudi and Kuwaiti oil fields,
> sending oil prices skyrocketing above US$ 40 per barrel.
> Israel's Concerns
> Israel faces three threats, all of them in the realm of the
> a. An Iraqi missile attack, when the size of Saddam's arsenal
> has not been reliably established.
> DEBKAfile 's military experts dispute the assessment heard
> this week from retired Israeli military leaders that the
> Iraqis have only a few missiles. The truth is that no one
> outside Iraq knows how many Saddam has cached or what
> advanced missile technologies he has secretly developed.
> According to one estimate, Iraq may have accumulated between
> 70 and 150 warheads, or maybe more.
> b. A WMD threat, when no one knows what Saddam has up his
> sleeve - whether radiological bombs with a limited radius, or
> a more highly developed type. The same questions apply to
> Saddam's biological and chemical warfare capabilities.
> c. Notwithstanding the presence of US forces in Jordan and
> the strategic-defense relationship developed between Jordan
> and Israel, the possibility of the old Eastern Arab Front
> coming back to life against Israel, though unlikely, cannot
> be entirely ruled out.
> The gloomiest scenario envisages Iraqi units surging through
> Jordan to attack Israeli from the east concurrently with a
> Syrian-Hizballah strike from the north - a combined assault
> that may sweep King Abdullah into the fray against Israel.
> The Jordanian king is an unknown quantity, untried in war
> situations. Therefore the odds on his executing an about-face
> as radical as this cannot be estimated with certainty.
> Israeli war planners, however, are not ignoring this possible
> peril, however improbable.
> US Preparations for Iraq Offensive
> From DEBKA-Net-Weekly August 2
> 5 August: In total hush, the US has embarked on advance
> preparations deep inside Iraq for the coming offensive
> against Baghdad. In northern Iraq, these preparations are in
> the form of crash engineering projects.
> According to DEBKA-Net-Weekly's military sources, US army
> engineers and equipment are working round the clock in the
> Kurdish regions of northern Iraq to throw up a series of six
> to eight small airfields that will cater to the main body of
> American and Turkish forces when they cross over into Iraq.
> The new fields, some of which are no more than widened
> landing strips, will also serve the fighter planes and
> helicopters providing a vanguard of special forces with air
> cover. The airfields are strung along three strategic axes.
> Axis 1, or the western axis, starts in the northern Kurdish
> city of Zako and stretches southwest along the Iraqi border
> with Syria to the city of Sinjar, west of the oil city of
> Axis 2, or the central axis, stretches from Zako south to the
> Kurdish-controlled city of Irbil, located between the two
> main Iraqi oil cities of the north - Mosul and Kirkuk. The
> airfields now under construction are points on the axis.
> Axis 3, or the eastern axis, stretches from Irbil to
> Sulimaniyeh, the Kurdish power and government hub in northern
> DEBKA-Net-Weekly's military experts report that work on the
> air bases is almost finished and the facilities are
> practically ready for limited use by US or Turkish warplanes
> and helicopters. They are going up under the noses of Iraqi
> armored divisions deployed along the Lesser Zab and Greater
> Zab rivers. Although the American engineers pose as personnel
> working for Kurdish construction contracting firms, Iraqi air
> and ground reconnaissance units almost certainly know what's
> up, but have so far made no move to interfere with the work.
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