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News from: http://akhbar.com/ Thursday, November12,1998, Gloom Broods Over US Goals in Iraq Forces Prepares for Strike Against Iraq WASHINGTON (AROL) -- The clear goal that appears behind the United States possible air strikes against Iraq is raining destruction on facilities and forces linked to Baghdad's weapons of mass destruction. But beyond that, the US strategy for the use of military force against Iraq is murky . And administration officials from the president on down have been reluctant to articulate broader US objectives if air strikes are called. More ambitious goals, like toppling the regime of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, are viewed as asking more of air power than it can deliver, Pentagon officials say. Even eliminating Iraq's ability to build an arsenal of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons is considered an impossible task, since the knowledge needed to make them can be hidden in a computer disk or locked in the mind of an Iraqi scientist. "Only two outcomes are acceptable," said Anthony Cordesman, an expert on the region. "To get the monitoring function back by inspection, and if not, to do so much damage to his apparatus of control and military forces that he ends up with hundreds of millions of dollars in damage, perhaps billions that he can't replace." Asked Tuesday what air strikes could accomplish, US Defense Secretary William Cohen would say only that "we certainly would consider the possibility of degrading his capability of manufacturing these weapons of mass destruction or delivering them and posing a threat to the region." Air strikes would wreak "significant" damage to Baghdad's capabilities in those areas, he said. That would mean targeting not only suspect facilities but also Iraq's military, particularly the elite special Republican Guard units and Interior Ministry units that both protect Saddam Hussein and provide security for his weapons programs, a Pentagon official said. Cohen has cast the latest confrontation with Iraq as a test of US and UN credibility that "cannot go on forever". Without inspections by the UN Special Commission (UNSCOM), Pentagon officials warn they may have little alternative but to use force. So far, though, it remains unclear whether Washington would use air strikes to try to compel Iraq to allow UN inspections to resume or whether it will shift to a strategy of containing Iraq from the outside with a combination of force and sanctions. "They say they will take action when they see Iraq reconstitute proscribed weapons. But how are they going to know that," said Laurie Mylorie, an Iraq expert at the Foreign Policy Institute in Philadelphia. The CIA estimates that absent UN arms inspections Iraq could begin full scale production of nerve gas within months and production of biological weapons "virtually overnight." It also suspects Iraq has a covert supply of Scud-type missiles, and could be conducting covert nuclear research and development that would be difficult to detect. "Air strikes could disrupt that, but it doesn't solve the long-term problem, unless it's done with the specific intention of getting UNSCOM back in," Mylorie said. 12.11.98 R..A. (News agency dispatches) ______________________________________________________ Get Your Private, Free Email at http://www.hotmail.com -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To be removed/added, email firstname.lastname@example.org, NOT the whole list. Archived at http://linux.clare.cam.ac.uk/~saw27/casi/discuss.html