Iraq Launches Pre-Emptive Defense in Cities
redjaguar at attbi.com
Mon Feb 3 10:40:37 MST 2003
Exiles: Iraqi 'Ghost' Troops Ready for Urban War
Mon February 3, 2003 12:31 PM ET
By Khaled Yacoub Oweis
LONDON (Reuters) - President Saddam Hussein has decentralized the Iraqi
army in preparation for urban combat and will rely on his son Qusay to
co-ordinate a defensive war in the cities, according to exiled generals
"The Americans will be fighting ghosts. They will find it very hard to
know where the enemy is. Those who are betting that Saddam will be
defeated quickly are mistaken," Lt. Gen. Tawfik al-Yassiri told Reuters.
"Tens of thousands of elite Iraqi forces have spread underground, above
ground, in farms, schools, mosques, churches ... everywhere. They are
not in camps or major installations. These units are prepared for city
warfare and have the experience for it," said Yassiri.
Yassiri took part in a 1991 uprising against Saddam and now heads a
council of exiled officers. The officers say they still maintain contact
with their former comrades inside Iraq.
Another exiled officer, who did not want his name published, said some
of the best trained units in house-to-house fighting are not part of the
regular Iraqi army.
"They are vicious," the officer said. "They were trained in Europe and
do not even wear uniforms."
He did not elaborate, but European states supplied Iraq with military
equipment and training in the 1980s.
Saddam's former military aides say secondary systems of communications
are in place to help the Iraq army function under U.S. strikes,
including simple long range walkie-talkies and fiber optics cables that
are hard to hit underground.
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