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---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue, 30 Mar 1999 19:05:39 -0600 (CST)
Subject: Russia/Iraq/Yugoslavia


Stratfor's FREE Kosovo Crisis Center -
The most comprehensive coverage of the 
Kosovo Crisis anywhere on the Internet

Global Intelligence Update
March 31, 1999

Russia Helping Iraq Upgrade Air Defenses


Intelligence officials now admit that Serb and Iraqi defense 
officials have met and collaborated in recent months on anti-
aircraft operations.  Russia is now supplying sophisticated radar 
systems to Iraq.  The possibility of a second front is 


One of the critical issues in the Kosovo war is the intention and 
capabilities of Iraq.  It must be remembered that many of the 
same nations that are currently engaged in the Kosovo air 
campaign are also, simultaneously, engaged in an air war in Iraq. 
As NATO intensifies the air war over Kosovo, the possibility of 
an intensification of the air war over Iraq poses an important 
strategic challenge by diverting aircraft and logistical support.

Recent reports emerging in the press tend to confirm Stratfor's 
long-standing view that Yugoslavia and Iraq collaborated in the 
run-up to the current conflict.  According to the Associated 
Press, for example, U.S. intelligence now has evidence that 
Yugoslav technicians met with Iraqi specialists in Baghdad in 
February to help prepare Yugoslavia for an air war.  Since both 
sides have similar equipment and are facing similar aircraft, the 
Yugoslav military quite rationally wanted to learn whatever 
lessons the Iraqis had to teach them.  

It is obviously in the interest of both countries to cooperate 
strategically as well as technically.  Anything that forces the 
United States to divide its scarce air campaign resources 
benefits both.  Thus, a report from the IBC from Baghdad, 
claiming that Iraq is distributing advanced radar guidance 
systems for the SAM-6 surface-to-air missile system, is 
particularly significant.  According to the report, Iraq is 
intensely engaged in upgrading its anti-air missile grid.  Abed 
Hameed Hmoud, special secretary to Saddam and a member of the 
Presidential Council, is said to be personally supervising the 
installations of the systems at the Presidential Palaces, air 
bases and other critical installations.  The article further 
states that both the Northern and Southern Corps of the 
Republican Guards are receiving new computing equipment and 
small, advanced Russian-made radar units as well as technicians.

If these reports are true, and we think that to be likely, the 
Russians are now engaged in a dramatic re-supply of equipment to 
the Iraqis.  There have been numerous reports from sources in 
Russia about such a re-supply, and the IBC report is merely 
confirming the arrival and deployment of this equipment.  The 
upgrading of the Iraqi air defense grid has the potential of 
posing serious problems for allied pilots on missions in Iraq, 
particularly if new systems have been distributed inside the no-
fly zones where routine air patrols are carried out.  We note, 
however, that we can find no evidence of any U.S. or allied air 
strikes in Iraq at this time.  This indicates that both sides are 
lying low for the moment.

The new systems increase the ability of the Iraqis to engage U.S. 
and allied pilots on missions in this area.  The standard U.S. 
response to such an engagement is first to target the radar and 
missile sites.  By substantially increasing the number of such 
sites, Iraq is able to dictate a quickened tempo of allied air 
operations.  Even if they lose some of their equipment, if the 
Russians have provided equipment in sufficient numbers to provide 
redundancy, Iraq will be able to dictate the level of allied 
operations.  At a time when U.S. logistical capabilities required 
to support air operations will be heavily tilted toward Serbia, 
increased air operations over Iraq might pose a serious burden.  
If, on one hand, the U.S. declines to increase its air 
operations, it opens a window of opportunity for Saddam.  If, on 
the other hand, the U.S. does increase air operations in Iraq, it 
could, over the long haul, degrade its logistical capabilities.  

Two front wars are the traditional fear of any power.  There is 
no question but that the U.S. can handle one intense and one low-
grade air war.  There is some question whether the U.S. has the 
supplies and transport systems needed to sustain two simultaneous 
high-intensity air campaigns.  There is no doubt but that Saddam 
and Milosevic understand that they may have an opportunity to 
pose serious problems for the United States.  Milosevic, of 
course, has done his part.  Now the question is whether Saddam 
will up the ante.

It is not certain that there is any clear comprehensive 
warfighting agreement between Yugoslavia and Iraq, nor that if 
there were, the Iraqis would honor it.  But there is a real 
window of opportunity available to Iraq and some indication that 
it is preparing to exploit it, with Russian help.  When we factor 
in the unknown North Korean factor, we can see that there are 
some important reasons why the United States, in particular, will 
want to conclude the Kosovo air operation as quickly as possible.


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