What do we know? Fisk reports from UNcaptured Baghdad airport

fred feldman ffeldman1975 at yahoo.com
Fri Apr 4 08:34:00 MST 2003


Reports of airport assault premature
by Robert Fisk(posted by Guido) 10:34am Fri Apr 4 '03
(Modified on
3:00pm Fri Apr 4 '03)


"So where are the Americans? I prowled the empty
departure lounges,
mooched through the abandoned customs department,
chatted to the seven
armed militia guards, met the airport director and
stood beside the
runways where two dust-covered Iraqi Airways passenger
jets -- an old 727 and
an even more elderly Antonov -- stood forlornly on the
runway not far
from an equally decrepit military helicopter."


SADDAM HUSSEIN INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT - So where are
the Americans? I
prowled the empty departure lounges, mooched through
the abandoned
customs department, chatted to the seven armed militia
guards, met the
airport director and stood beside the runways where
two dust-covered Iraqi
Airways passenger jets -- an old 727 and an even more
elderly Antonov --
stood forlornly on the runway not far from an equally
decrepit military
helicopter.

And all I could hear was the distant whisper of
high-flying jets and
the chatter of the flocks of birds which have nested
near the airport car
park on this, the first day of real summer in Baghdad.


Only three hours earlier, the BBC had reported claims
that forward
units of an American mechanised infantry division were
less than 16km west
of Baghdad -- and that some US troops had taken up
positions on the
very edge of the international airport.

But I was 27km west of the city.

And there were no Americans, no armour, not a soul
around the runways
of the airport whose namesake, in poster form, sat
nonchalantly in the
arrivals lounge in a business suit, cigar in hand.
Even more
astonishingly, there was no sign of the 12,000
Republican Guards whom the US
division expected to fight.

Indeed, Saddam Hussein International Airport looked as
if it was
enduring an industrial strike (let us not conceive of
such an event in
Saddam's Iraq) rather than an imminent takeover by the
world's only
superpower.

Was it true, the Iraqi minister of information was
asked at his daily
2pm press conference (11pm NZT) - a routine
institution of usually
deadly tedium - that the Americans were at the
airport?

"Rubbish!" he shouted. "Lies! Go and look for
yourself."

So we did.


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