Britain to send troops to Gulf in January for Iraq war

Fred Feldman ffeldman at bellatlantic.net
Sat Dec 14 18:59:16 MST 2002


 (Note that the Security Council has already reached agreement on labelling
the 12,000 page document  as falling short of requirements, whiich
Washington can take as a signal for war.  This was inevitable, since neither
the evidently superspeed-reading diplomats on the council or the powers they
represent is prepared to openly defy Washington on this issue, which would
threaten their share of the spoils if Washington succeeds in occupying Iraq.
Note, for example, the way the German government (not on the council but
longing to be) is now scrambling to guarantee its little piece of the war
action.

(The scale of the war preparations is already so vast that Washington can
open the preliminary bombing campaign at any moment.  The reasons why they
have not done so yet do not stem  primarily from the weather or the training
of the troops or military technology, but from the class struggle --above
all explosive developments like those taking place in Latin America and on
the Korean peninsula, but also including the impact of antiwar protests all
over the world.
(Fred Feldman)

1) Reuters: Britain To Send Troops To Gulf For War> Against Iraq Next Month
 2) Times Report

 The Times of India
 UK to send troops to Gulf in Jan: Report
 Reuters
 December 14, 2002

 LONDON: British troops will begin deploying to the
 Gulf next month in preparation for a war with Iraq,
 The Times newspaper reported on Saturday.

 The paper, citing what it called authoritative
 sources, said the government was expected to make an
 announcement before Christmas.

  The Daily Telegraph, in an unsourced report, said
 defence chiefs had told Prime Minister Tony Blair he
 must decide within 10 days whether to send British
 troops to the Gulf. But a defence ministry spokesman said no decisions had
 yet been taken on military options.

 "Obviously we are taking sensible precautions to
 ensure our ability to undertake any military action,"
 he said.

  "We are making contingency plans... we have stated on
 many occasions war (with Iraq) is not inevitable or
 imminent."

 He added the government was awaiting the assessment of
 Iraq's dossier on its weapons programme, which Baghdad
 handed to the United Nations on December 7.

  The Times said British troops from 7th Armoured
 Brigade and 4th Armoured Brigade in Germany were
 training at their bases and were expected to form the
 main British land force.

  UN chief weapons inspector Hans Blix, together with
 Mohammad el-Baradei, head of the International Atomic
 Energy Agency, are expected to give preliminary
 findings on the Iraqi dossier to the Security Council
 in New York on Thursday.

  On Friday US and UN diplomats reached a preliminary
 agreement that Iraq's declaration of its weapons
 programme fell short of what was required under a
 tough November 8 UN Security Council Resolution, which
 demanded Iraq disarm or face severe consequences.


 The Times (London)
 December 14, 2002

 Troops start countdown to war
 By Michael Evans, Elaine Monaghan and James Bone

 -The Americans are so far advanced with their
 build-up, both in the Gulf and at the key B2 and B52
 bomber base at Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean, that
 they could be ready for war at comparatively short
 notice. There are still four US aircraft carriers in
 the vicinity, although at least one, USS George
 Washington, is now on her way home, having been
 relieved by USS Harry S. Truman.
 -British troops from 7th Armoured Brigade and 4th
 Armoured Brigade in Germany, part of the 1st (UK)
 Armoured Division, are training at their bases for
 what is expected to be the main British land force.

  THOUSANDS of British troops are expected to begin
 deploying to the Gulf next month in an intensive
 build-up of forces in preparation for a war with Iraq
 as early as February.
 The Times has learnt that American and British
 intelligence services have dismissed President Saddam
 Hussein's 12,000-page declaration on Iraq's weapons of
 mass destruction to be full of holes "big enough to
 drive a tank through".

 A Foreign Office official said that up-to-date
 information that appeared in the British intelligence
 dossier published in September is not mentioned in the
 Iraqi declaration.

 Until now, the Government has been reluctant to give
 details of Britain's likely involvement in a war with
 Iraq. Tony Blair has deliberately left the Americans
 to make all the running with their build-up of forces
 in the Gulf region, saying only that Britain was ready
 to play a "substantial" role.

 According to authoritative sources, the Prime Minister
 wanted to ensure that the UN had a free rein to
 exploit all diplomatic efforts and to give weapons
 inspectors a reasonable period to do their work.

 But with time running out for Britain to put its Armed
 Forces on war alert, the Government has been under
 pressure from the Service chiefs to allow deployments
 to begin. The Government is expected to make an
 announcement before Christmas in the first concrete
 sign that Britain is ready to join the Americans in
 fighting a second war against Iraq.

 The Government is likely to indicate its general plan
 for troop movements soon after the UN Security Council
 meeting next Thursday at which Saddam's weapons
 declaration will be discussed.

 Officials in Washington said that America would keep
 its views on the declaration to itself until it had
 talked to the inspectors at that Security Council
 meeting. Ari Fleischer, White House spokesman, said:
 "We will continue to be deliberative and thoughtful as
 we review this document."

 Washington has insisted that the dossier itself would
 not necessarily be a trigger for war, although UN
 diplomats expect President Bush to say that the
 omissions in the Iraqi declaration amount to a
 "material breach" of the UN resolution, which obliged
 Baghdad to deliver a complete and current list of its
 arsenal.

 The problem for the British military is that their
 American counterparts view the ideal time for an
 attack on Iraq as between now and April.

 The Americans are so far advanced with their build-up,
 both in the Gulf and at the key B2 and B52 bomber base
 at Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean, that they could
 be ready for war at comparatively short notice. There
 are still four US aircraft carriers in the vicinity,
 although at least one, USS George Washington, is now
 on her way home, having been relieved by USS Harry S.
 Truman.

 By contrast Britain, which has not officially sent any
 troops to the region to prepare for war, will need
 several weeks to deploy and acclimatise. Under current contingencies,
troops earmarked for Iraq are likely to
 be allowed to spend Christmas at home with their
 families before beginning the move to the Gulf.

 British troops from 7th Armoured Brigade and 4th
 Armoured Brigade in Germany, part of the 1st (UK)
 Armoured Division, are training at their bases for
 what is expected to be the main British land force.

 Other key elements will also be ready early in the new
 year, including the aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal,
 which is due to leave Portsmouth towards the end of
 next month for a Naval Task Group training deployment
 in the Far East. HMS Ocean, the helicopter and Royal
 Marine Commando carrier, will also be ready for
 operational service in a few weeks.

 For the Government, the Saddam dossier has made it
 easier to go public about British military plans.
 British officials who have seen the document say that
 many biological and chemical warfare materials and
 missiles that escaped previous UN weapons inspections
 in the 1990s were still unaccounted for. They are not
 mentioned in the Saddam declaration. "We know they
 have been hidden," one official said.

 US officials confirmed to The Times that the
 Administration's initial assessment was that the
 declaration mainly comprised previously published
 statements. The US had expected this and was looking
 for a "pattern of abuses".

 Mr Bush said last night that it was too early to tell
 whether Saddam was lying. But he added: "I don't want
 to prejudge the report. But my gut feeling about
 Saddam Hussein is that he is a man who deceives,
 denies."



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