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[casi] News, 19-26/02/03 (8)

News, 19-26/02/03 (8)


*  Iraq says able to ensure food flow in case of war
*  Israel worried about unstable postwar Iraq
*  British forces take road back to scene of defeat and victory
*  Lack of funds delays Iraq contingency plan ‹ UNHCR     
*  Living in poverty and fear of abandonment, the barely functioning state
that trusted its saviours
*  The Dividends of Delay: Allies' foot-dragging has strengthened U.S. war
*  White House Outlines Postwar Aid for Iraq
*  Iran: Won't take Iraqi refugees without financial help
*  Army Chief: Huge Force Would Occupy Iraq
*  U.S. would counter Iraqi propaganda with media access


Yahoo, 19th February

BAGHDAD, Feb 19 (Reuters) - Iraq said on Wednesday it had taken all the
steps necessary to ensure its people would have sufficient food supplies in
the event of a U.S.-led war.

"Even if all the outlets were closed we will ensure food for the Iraqi
people as we ensured it in 1991 under the fall of bombs," Trade Minister
Mohammed Mehdi Saleh told a news conference, referring to the 1991 Gulf War.

"We are fully confident we will be able to meet the requirements of the
Iraqi people," he added.

The United States and Britain are massing troops in the Gulf region in
preparation for a possible invasion over Baghdad's alleged weapons of mass

Saleh said authorities had distributed six months of food rations in advance
to every Iraqi family and dug wells in residential areas as part of
arrangements to safeguard water supplies during any conflict.

"Iraq has prepared all possible strategies to meet the requirements of the
Iraqi people during any military action or aggression," he said.

Saleh said Baghdad had also been supplying the Kurdish- controlled north
with flour.

"We have been providing the north of Iraq with flour for four months...from
the stock of the government outside the oil- for-food deal," Saleh said.

The remote mountainous enclave of northern Iraq has been outside Baghdad's
control since the end of the 1991 Gulf War over Kuwait and is controlled by
two rival Iraqi Kurdish groups.

Iraq, under U.N. sanctions since it invaded Kuwait in 1990, is allowed to
sell oil for food and medicine under an agreement with the United Nations.

by Carol Rosenberg
The State, 21st February

TEL AVIV, Israel - Israel's military establishment believes there is a "low
probability" that Iraq will attack the Jewish state with biological or
chemical weapons, but is concerned about instability after a U.S. war that
ousts Saddam Hussein, a senior security official said Friday.

Israeli defense officials foresee a quick U.S. victory and detect little
sentiment among the Iraqi military to use weapons of mass destruction. The
security official discussed the multi pronged Israeli analysis only on the
condition of anonymity.

Among the Israeli conclusions:

‹ Iraq may still have a limited number of planes and missiles capable of
attacking Israel, but Saddam is unlikely to order such an attack in the
early days of a war because an Iraqi attack using weapons Baghdad has
claimed it doesn't have would help unite a divided international community
behind an American-led invasion.

‹ U.S.-led forces will cripple Iraq's capacity to hit Israel in the early
days of the war, both through air strikes and by seizing control of western
Iraq, the launching area in 1991 for Scud missile attacks on Israel.

‹ An ongoing campaign of U.S. "psychological warfare," which has threatened
Iraq's military if it unleashes weapons of mass destruction, has already
weakened Saddam's chain-of-command so that Iraqi officers would "escape the
need" to obey a launch order.

‹ If the first three assumptions prove wrong, Israel is counting on its
combined Arrow and Patriot missile defense system to destroy or deflect any
attack on civilian population centers.

The security official's comments were unusual because Israeli military
authorities have been reluctant to draw attention to anything that might
upset the delicate Arab-European American balance that allows the United
States to operate in the region.

The official offered a "quite good" prognosis for U.S. ability to unseat
Saddam's regime. "It should not take more than maybe a few weeks before this
regime will collapse," he said, predicting "not very much casualties."

Israel supports the effort to topple Saddam, but expects to remain on the
sidelines, even though the Home Front Command, a wing of Israel's military,
is distributing gas masks to citizens and foreign workers, and offering
instructions on how to seal special rooms against a poison gas attack.

In a public briefing for foreign reporters earlier this week, Maj. Gen. Amos
Gilad, a former intelligence chief who has been chosen by Prime Minister
Ariel Sharon to serve as an Israeli spokesman during the war, said Israel is
"not expecting a series of missiles" and noted that Iraq is weaker than it
was in 1991.

"We are expecting sole events - like one missile here, one missile there,
one airplane here, one airplane there," he said.

On Friday, the senior security official said that if a chemical or
biological attack struck Israel, the military would balance the desire to
retaliate with an equal desire not to complicate the American-led campaign
to unseat Saddam.

"Of course, we will have to find something creative enough in order to
satisfy both sides," he said.

The official, however, said he is "very skeptical" that defeating Saddam
would bring stability to the region. He cited differing interests among
Iraqi Kurds, Shiite Muslims and Sunni Muslims, as well as economic
instability and a huge refugee wave that could come with a bombing campaign
that ravaged Iraq's infrastructure.

"Even if the offensive in Iraq is successful militarily," he said, the
United States might emerge from the campaign "a little exhausted. ... Even
an empire like the United States should have a break after such a

Overall success, he said, will require a wider U.S. commitment: first,
finding another strong, stable leadership for Iraq that avoids uncorking
ethnic disputes; then dealing with other regimes that could exploit Iraqi
instability. He cited Syria, saying Israel estimates that Damascus controls
more weapons of mass destruction than Baghdad, and has more missiles.

In Iraq, he said, "We do not see the natural, potential leader that will
emerge after the campaign."

Absent that strong leader, he said, there could be economic and refugee
problems and splintering of the state that could spill over into the region.
"We are not sure the Iraqis and the rest of the Arab world will accept
calmly and peacefully their role in the American campaign."

In that case, circumstances could deteriorate and require the United States
to maintain "dozens of thousands of troops" in Iraq for a year or more,
facing "guerrilla warfare and demonstrations," economic problems and an Arab
power vacuum.

Moreover, he predicted that a U.S.-style democracy could be at odds with the
goal of stability because it could empower anti-American, anti-Israeli
Shiites in Iraq, if not the region. "Democracy is a funny word in the
language of the Middle East."

The official declined to give specifics, but said Israel's defense
establishment has contributed behind the scenes to the U.S. effort in three

‹ Intelligence sharing, including providing information on Iraqi military
sites that the United States may not have but that Israel acquired because
of its geographic position in the region.

‹ Strategic analysis, what the official called "sharing perspectives" on the
potential consequences of war.

‹ Military tactics, including counter-terrorism techniques, which he
obliquely described as "some very small, very specific, not very important
military lessons that we have, military devices that we have under certain

As an example, he described how Israel has become better at rapidly
gathering and deploying intelligence to stop "in two minutes" a suicide
bomber who already has strapped on a bomb belt and is on the road to his
attack destination.


by Ian Mather
The Scotsman, 23rd February

THE British armed forces are no strangers to Basra. Their experience of
Iraq's second city, the principal British target if war goes ahead, dates
back to the First World War, when the army seized it to secure the
neighbouring oil fields. But a foolhardy advance towards Baghdad ended in
humiliating surrender to the Turks in 45ºC desert heat.

The lesson was learned, and in the Second World War Britain acted swiftly to
take Iraq. An Anglo-Indian force landed at Basra while another British force
invaded from Transjordan. Both forces quickly reached Baghdad, and Iraq
remained firmly in the Allied camp for the rest of the war.

The Basra memorial with the names of over 40,000 British, Indian and West
African soldiers who died in the disastrous Mesopotamian campaign remains a
humbling reminder of the disastrous consequences of mistakes in war.

Basra is used to fighting. During the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war it was under
constant bombardment from Iranian artillery, and almost fell. In the 1991
Gulf War it was heavily bombed by the allies.

In the immediate aftermath of that war it bore even more of the brunt of the
suffering than Baghdad itself. At the urging of a victorious President
George Bush Sr the inhabitants of the Basra region rose up against Saddam,
only for Bush to do nothing to help them. Thousands were massacred by Iraq's
Republican Guards.

Even if there had been no such rebellion Basra was never likely to receive
any special favours from Saddam's ethnic Arab Ba'th regime as it is a
predominantly Shia city.

But Saddam's troops too have seen death and suffering in the environs of
Basra. The short dual-carriage highway linking Basra with Kuwait became the
'highway of death' when the Iraqi army was strafed and bombed by the US air
force as it retreated from Kuwait.

There are few natural features to help the defenders against a British
advance short of the environs of Basra itself, where Saddam's elite
Republican Guards will make their stand, assuming, that is, that they do not
surrender en masse.

There are just lines of ditches and hillocks constructed by the Iraqis,
knowns as birns, which in 1991 were manned by inexperienced conscripts, many
of them very young or elderly, who were simply cannon fodder.

But Basra itself, lying near the confluence of the Tigris and Euphrates,
straddles numerous canals and is surrounded by marsh and water. Many of the
water features were constructed by the Iraqis during the long siege of Basra
by the Iranians, and were much praised by western defence experts at the
time. Significantly, the Iranians never managed to take Basra, although they
destroyed the eastern parts of the city.

The Americans and British have already demonstrated the seriousness of the
threat posed by Iraqi forces in Basra. They have stepped up the bombing of
targets in the southern no-fly zone, and last week they attacked missile
batteries, communications centres and a mobile early warning radar that
could pose a threat to British forces in Basra.

At Basra airport one of the first things the British troops will notice will
be the burnt-out hulks of tanks, armoured personnel carriers, and artillery
from past wars still lining the airport's taxi ways, and old bomb craters
that have never been filled in.

In the town itself the elegant suburbs have fallen into disrepair, and the
colonial buildings from the 1930s look deserted.

The first priority of the invading troops will be to secure Basra itself,
Iraq's principal port, and to prevent retreating Iraqi forces from setting
fire to the 1,000 oil wells nearby.

The overall allied force this time is much smaller than in 1991, when a
'grand coalition' of states was formed to evict the Iraqis from Kuwait. But
it is probably deadlier since far more planes are now capable of delivering
precision-guided bombs, and with all the bases, ships and submarines
available more than 1,200 Tomahawk cruise missile launchers are in the

Despite this formidable array of aerial firepower, the troops know that if
there is determined Iraqi resistance the battles will have to be won on the

The advance towards Basra is one of a three-pronged invasion of Iraq being
planned by the US and Britain, from Kuwait in the south, Turkey in the north
and Jordan in the west.

The British role in what the Ministry of Defence calls Operation Telic is a
significant high profile one. At first US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld
offered a number of minor roles, but Tony Blair persuaded George W Bush that
as Britain was taking political risks it wanted to reap the political
benefits from having played a substantial part in the operation.

The plan calls for Royal Marine commandos to spearhead an amphibious landing
at Basra, supported by US marines and airborne troops. Commandos will also
move quickly to secure the oil wells.

The Desert Rats (7th Armoured Brigade), are likely to secure and hold the
city. Other units of Britain's helicopter-borne assault brigade will attack
remaining resistance points to give the main US land force in Kuwait a clear
run at Baghdad.

Preparations for the invasion from Kuwait, where the entire northern half of
the country has been turned into a military zone as infantry and armour pour
into camps along the border with Iraq, are more advanced than those along
the Northern Front through Turkey.

Ideally, the Americans want to send 38,000 troops into Iraq across the long
Turkish border to seize the oil fields at Mosul and Kirkuk before advancing
rapidly towards Baghdad.

But there are many complications. The first is the reluctance of Turkey to
let its territory be used as a launch pad. Last week as a fleet of American
military cargo ships carrying tanks for the 4th Infantry division waited off
the Turkish coast, the Turkish government was haggling with the Americans
over the price of its support - the country wants $10bn.

Turkey faces intense US pressure to accept a deal and cannot afford to
alienate Washington, whose political and economic support is crucial. But
the new government of prime minister Abdullah Gul is bolstered by almost
universal opposition to an invasion of Iraq among Turkey's population.

The second complication is the attitude of Turkey towards the Kurds in
northern Iraq, who have been living a charmed life during the past decade
protected from Saddam by the US British no-fly zone.

Turkey has genuine concerns that if the Iraqi Kurds gain full control of
northern Iraq, including the oil fields, Turkey's own Kurdish minority might
be emboldened to rise against Turkey and join the Iraqi Kurds in declaring a
Kurdish state.

Turkey is demanding that 80,000 of its own troops be allowed into Iraq to
establish 'strategic positions' as much as 140-170 miles inside the border
as the price of its co operation with Washington, which would take Turkish
troops halfway to Baghdad.

The main reason for the third prong of the invasion, from Jordan, is to stop
the Iraqis from launching Scud missiles, possibly armed with chemical
weapons, against Israel and Jordan. There is real concern in Washington that
if Saddam, in the death throes of his regime, succeeds in landing a chemical
weapon in Israel, Ariel Sharon will carry out a threat to retaliate with
nuclear weapons.

>From Jordan special forces, including the SAS, will be dropped by helicopter
in the western desert to seek out mobile Scud missiles and destroy military
airfields. Jordan will also be a base for search and rescue operations.

But before any of this happens there will be a massive bombing campaign,
with some 3,000 missiles, including cruise missiles, raining down on key
targets. Taking part in the initial bombardment will be two Royal Navy
submarines now in the Gulf.

The targets will be Saddam's palaces, military headquarters, barracks and
communications centres. The objective will be to prevent Saddam's regime
from communicating with military commanders around a country which has a
highly centralised Soviet-style command and control system.

Senior commanders are privately hoping that this bombardment will be such a
severe psychological blow that the Iraqi regime, including the Republicans
Guards, will implode.

If the Iraqis surrender quickly the journey along the highway from Kuwait to
Basra will be short and simple for the British troops.

Jordan Times, 24th February
AMMAN (AP) ‹ Lack of funds is delaying a contingency plan to assist refugees
who may try to escape a possible US-led war on Iraq, a representative of a
UN refugee agency said Sunday.

Sten Bronee of the UNHCR said only 14 per cent of an estimated need of $154
million was available to accommodate an envisaged 600,000 refugees in
Jordan, Turkey and Iran for six months.

"In Jordan, we have only received about $22 million. We have already spent
$21 million on storage," Bronee, based in Amman, told reporters. He said
UNHCR had food, tents and blankets in storage at the Red Sea Port of Aqaba,
350 kilometres south of the capital.

He urged the international community to assist UNHCR so it could carry out
"enormous duties" expected during a war.

Bronee also urged Jordan to allow Iraqi and other refugees, including Arab
and Asian workers, into the Kingdom in the event of war. Jordan has rejected
hosting refugees from Iraq, saying it would only facilitate their transit
through the country.

Two weeks ago, Jordanian newspaper reports said the government had stepped
back from its rejection of refugees and accepted in principle to set up two
settlements near the Iraqi border.

Al Arab Al Yawm, the country's third-largest Arabic-language daily, quoted
unnamed sources as saying two tent-like cities would be erected in the
Kingdom two days before war erupts.

Bronee echoed Jordanian concerns over funding refugee accommodation and
urged unnamed world countries to assist.

"We need to be assured that the international community will help Jordan if
there is a direct need," he said.

He declined to provide details on UNHCR's contingency plan but said his
agency was working closely with humanitarian organisations, including the
International Committee of the Red Cross, and other non-governmental
organisations, which have offered manpower services, such as doctors and

by Phil Reeves in Kabul
The Independent, 24th February


People remember Tony Blair's pronouncement that the world "will not walk
away from Afghanistan, as it has done so many times before". But Afghans
have also listened with astonishment as Americans portray their country's
experience since the overthrow of the Taliban as a "success".

Now the United States is priming its laser-guided bombs anew, and the
attention of the world's media has swivelled to the deserts and oilfields of
Iraq. Few in Kabul seem convinced by the repeated assurances ­ from the US
government and its military, from the UN and Britain ­ that they will not be
forgotten or allowed to lapse back into the bloodshed that prevailed after
the occupying Soviet forces were driven out by the CIA-funded and CIA-armed
mujahedin in 1989.

There are plenty who dislike the presence of the Americans and their allies
sweeping around their pot-holed streets in shiny new four-by-fours or army
jeeps. This is a city that still has a deeply conservative strain ­ despite
all the trumpeting about the liberation of women, many of those on the
streets still wear burqas ­ and one whose capacity for trust has been
corroded by past international betrayals. But a fear of abandonment ­ or at
least a sharp fall-off in international support ­ is palpable and
encompasses many international aid agency workers as well as residents. One
agency official, a veteran of several previous conflicts, told The
Independent: "The Pentagon and the White House have absolutely no policy on


There are other ominous signs. Some 400 rockets have been fired at American
forces in 10 months. They find two or three caches of arms, often 107mm
Chinese rockets, each week. "This place is a 100 times more dangerous than
Iraq," said one US reserve officer at Bagram, a veteran of Operation Desert
Storm in Iraq in 1991. "Here they are liable to toss a grenade under your
vehicle at any time." A fortnight ago the Taliban issued what is thought to
be its first communiqué since being removed from power. It named two senior
figures ­ Mullah Obaeidullah and Mullah Biradar ­ as commanders in a new
campaign to oust the Americans.

And the international effort to help establish a meaningful central
government under Hamid Karzai is also incomplete. Many of the building
blocks of a viable nation ­ institutions capable of imposing law and order,
health services, power supplies, a road network, communications, education ­
are often absent.

In the first six months of the Karzai interim administration, two ministers
including the first vice-president were assassinated. The President came
close to being killed in Kandahar last September.

Some international agency workers report that there is outright anger and
frustration in the provinces over the slow pace of reconstruction and the
lack of security, a sense that the Karzai government has done nothing for
them. Ethnic rivalries are crucial: dissatisfaction is said to be
particularly strong among Pashtuns, who believe that the interim government
is dominated by the light-skinned, sandy-haired and often green-eyed

The Karzai transitional government has been unable to assert its control
over most of the country. Until it does so, the free-and-fair elections
required next year by the Bonn Agreement will remain a pipe dream.


The lack of money has dogged Afghanistan from the start. A year ago, the
World Bank estimated $10.2bn (£6.4bn) was needed over five years.
International pledges were about half that sum. And, according to Care
International, an NGO monitoring international aid, the money actually
spentper capita last year in Afghanistan was under half that of post
conflict Rwanda, Bosnia, Kosovo and East Timor. The CIA has spent some of
that paying warlords and militias for help in the "war on terror" ­
strengthening rivals to the central government.

So what does this tell us about the fate of Iraq after the Americans have
taken it apart?

It is not hard to find international aid workers who see that the problems
of Afghanistan will be repeated in Iraq. "There is a real question over
whether the international community is prepared to take on the burden of
rebuilding Iraq over the long term," said Paul O'Brien, advocacy
co-ordinator for Care in Afghanistan.

Another Western observer summed up his views more acidly. "If the Americans
think this is success, then outright failure must be pretty horrible to

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by William M. Arkin
Los Angeles Times, 23rd February

SOUTH POMFRET, Vt. -- Thanks to France and Germany, to Turkey and NATO, to
Saudi Arabia, the United Nations and protesters worldwide, when war with
Iraq comes, the United States will have a far better battle plan and a more
realistic political strategy than it had before all the unpleasantness

Gone is reliance on Iraqi exiles to fight as "proxies." Abandoned is the
initial design of an armored force driving straight for urban Baghdad.
Rejected are dreams of quick victory through air power or exotic weapons.
Vanished are the visions of another Afghanistan, with CIA and special
operations forces carrying the day.

Since the first contingency plans for Iraq were drafted last spring, the
U.S. military has vastly improved its design for war. And much of that
improvement comes from the extra time afforded by the procession of
diplomatic miscues and setbacks.

What is more, though hawks in the administration have been driven mad by the
real world's defiance of their unilateralism, eight months of delay may turn
out to have moved the United States onto stronger political ground as well.

It wasn't supposed to have been this way.

Senior administration officials admit a lot of cold water has been thrown in
their faces over the last six months. Some insist that diplomatic
accommodations have been a mistake and that the U.S. military has been
weakened. But these hawks fail to appreciate the degree to which additional
time has permitted serious errors to be rectified in both war planning and
political strategy.

Originally, the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) called for 250,000 soldiers,
five full divisions of heavy armor and mechanized infantry, driving "up the
middle" from Kuwait against Iraqi forces.

Over the last eight months, planners have shifted to a strategy embodied in
the current buzzword "simultaneity." The Army's institutional impulse to
play a dominant role and prove its future worth has given way to an approach
that emphasizes air, ground and special forces working in unison to achieve
a more subtle effect.

By linking massive airstrikes with ground operations, planners hope to
achieve several objectives. Their goal is to show the Iraqi populace and the
Iraqi military that the United States is deadly serious about total victory.
They intend to banish any notion that Washington expects to defeat the
regime solely from the air or on the cheap, and thus might be deflected by
the prospect of heavy casualties or urban combat.

Faced with simultaneous air attacks and ground operations, together with
psychological warfare and special operations, a CENTCOM planner says, key
elements in Iraqi society may reconsider their options. Senior Iraqi
officers, the conscript troops in the regular army and/or the civilian
population might rise up against the regime and its Republican Guard.

Such an uprising, supported by U.S. forces, could obviate the need for
American soldiers to write the final chapter of the war in the streets of

America's plan for war in Iraq is now what could be called a Muhammad Ali
strategy, to "float like a butterfly, sting like a bee." It will threaten
Baghdad from many directions and in many ways simultaneously. Powerful blows
to the head will be delivered by a mind-boggling number of precision-guided
weapons. Meantime, flexible ground operations will overload Iraqi defenses
with more threats than they can handle. Though the news media continue to
report whole "divisions" being sent to the region, the actual deployments
are more selective -- an assortment of units from inside those divisions,
each chosen for its particular capabilities. And many of the units will be
used in far more varied and flexible ways than in the past.

As an example, although the media report the 82nd Airborne Division
deploying from Ft. Bragg, N.C., in fact, only one of the division's three
regiments -- the 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment -- is slated for Iraq. The
second regiment of the 82nd is in Afghanistan; the third has just returned
from there. The single brigade-size unit can parachute deep into Iraq to set
up a forward operating base.

Similarly, the 3rd Infantry Division, a traditional mechanized unit, is
being supplemented to increase its flexibility.

The addition of Task Force 11th Aviation regiment, a composite brigade that
consolidates attack and transport helicopters from Germany, as well as the
new Apache Longbow chopper from Texas, transforms the division into a far
more mobile force.

The central element of any war will be the deployment of forces deep inside
Iraqi territory.

Meanwhile, months of delay have brought tangible benefits for U.S. military
units as they prepared for war.

First, the support base and the command and control setups are much stronger
today than planners anticipated a few months ago.

Second, constant bombing in the southern no-fly zone has significantly
degraded Iraqi air defenses and communications networks; the bombing has
also created pockets inside the country that are isolated from Baghdad.
Iraqi forces themselves are weakened and immobilized, psychologically
battered by the tensions of the yearlong stand-off.

Finally, American intelligence has benefited enormously from the work of the
United Nations inspectors. They have visited hundreds of factories and
military bases, including the Iraqi missile force, indirectly updating U.S.
target folders and verifying where weapons of mass destruction are not being

Testifying before Congress on Feb. 12, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell
stated for the first time the most significant grand strategy change that
has developed as America has tried to convince its Arab partners to support
the use of force against Saddam Hussein.

When the war is over, Powell said, "We'll be able to change the presence
levels of American troops throughout [the] region in the absence of a
threatening regime like Saddam Hussein's Iraq."

In other words, the administration now accepts the fact that the permanent
presence of U.S. military forces in Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf breeds
terrorism and resentment.

According to a senior military officer, the administration is loath to
commit itself publicly to withdrawing the majority of its forces and
reshaping the U.S. presence in the Persian Gulf after Hussein is gone. But a
secret promise to do so has prompted virtually all the neighboring states to
offer at least tacit support for military action.

Jordan has restarted its clandestine support, opening the way for special
operations from its soil and air operations across its skies. Though use of
the U.S. air command center at the Prince Sultan Air Base in Riyadh had been
a bone of contention, Saudi Arabia has not only given its approval but it is
quietly allowing the buildup of offensive air units on its soil. Meanwhile
Qatar is letting the U.S. use an important air base and will be the center
for the thousand-strong CENTCOM forward headquarters and the hundreds of
news media representatives who will report from the region.

How the war plan will unfold, Powell told Congress, "will depend, frankly,
on the resistance that is put up by Iraqi forces. It might collapse quickly
[or] it may be a more prolonged conflict, particularly if you get into some
sort of siege situation in Baghdad."

>From its cocksure initial beliefs, the administration has gained a textured
appreciation of the risks of war, and of the importance of a clear outcome.
Sparing the Iraqi infrastructure from destruction is not a sign of a "timid"
plan, as some complain. It is part of the new determination to pave the way
for as quick an exit as possible.

"The plans that we are looking at for the after[math]," Powell said, "would
include using the institutions that are there but purged of Saddam Hussein's
cohorts, and build on what's there and put in place a new government, and
get out as fast as we can."

by Harry Dunphy
Las Vegas Sun, 24th February

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Bush administration outlined plans Monday for more
than $100 million in immediate humanitarian aid to a postwar Iraq, including
stockpiling water and other relief supplies.

U.N. aid workers are already leaving Iraq, but U.S. officials said they plan
to minimize disruption to the U.N. oil-for-food distribution system, which
provides rations for almost all Iraqis and is the sole source of food for 60
percent of the population.

Elliott Abrams, director for the Middle East at the National Security
Council, said that planning for a postwar Iraq was difficult because it was
impossible to predict the severity of war-related damage.

"We recognize that military action, if necessary, can have adverse
humanitarian consequences and our planning is based on mitigating these
consequences," he said at a briefing for American and international
reporters organized by the White House's new Office of Global

Representatives from the State Department, Pentagon, U.S Agency for
International Development and other departments took part in the briefing.

They included a representative of retired Army Lt. Gen. Jay M. Garner, who
will head a Pentagon-based office to assess Iraq's resources and to be ready
to help it rebuild. Garner had a leading role in the post-Gulf war effort to
aid Kurdish Iraqi refugees.

Abrams said he could not provide a timeline on how quickly administration of
Iraq could be turned over to Iraqi civilians after any conflict because the
situation may vary from region to region "but the general principle is to do
this as soon as possible."

"At the local, provincial and national level," Abrams said, "the sooner the
Iraqis can take over the better it will be for the Iraqis themselves and for
coalition forces."

Andrew Natsios, administrator of the U.S. Agency for International
Development, said $26.2 million already had been spent on various aspects of
the planned relief effort, including aid to U.N. organizations, and
discussions were underway on providing another $56 million.

The State Department has given the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees $15
million in anticipation of the displacement of up to two million people
within Iraq or to neighboring nations.

Stockpiling in the area includes $17 million worth of blankets, water
containers, shelter supplies, essential medicines and other relief items for
1 million people, plus nearly 3 million emergency daily rations similar to
those dropped over Afghanistan in the first weeks of that conflict.

Abrams said other governments in the coalition had promised to provide
additional millions to the United Nations and international humanitarian

The government is training and preparing a 60-person Disaster Assistance
Response Team that would enter alliance-controlled areas of Iraq to
coordinate relief involving the government, the United Nations and
international humanitarian organizations.

The team soon will have representatives in Kuwait, Turkey, Jordan and Qatar,
a White House fact sheet said.

by Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson
The State, 24th February

TEHRAN, Iran - The Iranian government will close its borders to Iraqi
refugees if there is a war involving Iraq unless someone else foots the huge
bill for caring for them, government officials say.

With most refugees from an anticipated U.S. invasion of Iraq expected to
head for Iran, the policy could leave countless Iraqis stranded in a
mine-infested, no-man's land between the countries.

Roughly 1.3 million Iraqi Kurds and Arabs fled across the 911-mile-long
Iranian border in the aftermath of the first Persian Gulf War - three times
more refugees than the United Nations prepared for. Most of the refugees
remained in Iran for four months, costing the Islamic Republic tens of
millions of dollars in food and supplies.

The international community spent only $1 for every $100 Iran spent on those
refugees, claimed Ahmad Hosseini, Iran's head of refugee affairs.

"Now, our policy is a closed-door policy. The responsibility for these
refugees is that of the people who start this war and of Iraq itself,"
Hosseini said in an interview. "We'll help by expediting visas (for aid
workers), easing supplies through customs and making available our
transportation system, but we can't afford to pay for refugees, not again.

"We are not ready to take any more money out of Iranian pockets because of a
war the United States is once again starting," he added.

Iran hosts more refugees than any country in the world, according to the
United Nations. At least 2 million Afghans, who first began arriving after
the Soviet invasion of their country in 1979, remain in Iran, holding jobs
that should go to Iranians at a time when the country suffers from 16
percent unemployment, officials here complain. Another 200,000 Iraqi
refugees have also stayed on, many of them in camps in the western

The impending wave of new refugees is even more alarming, Hosseini said.
Thirteen years of U.N.-imposed sanctions against Iraq have left its
population hungry and sickly, thus in need of more services than those who
fled the last Gulf War.

Laura O'Mahony, a spokeswoman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees
office in Tehran, sympathized with Iranian officials' woes. "There is hope
that things will be resolved peacefully, but having said that, we also have
to be pragmatic," she said on Sunday.

That is proving difficult, when international support for anticipated Iraqi
refugees is far less than what was provided in advance of the U.S.-led war
on Afghanistan in late 2001, O'Mahony said. U.N. agencies have so far raised
less than one third of the $123 million they project they will need to care
for an estimated 600,000 Iraqi refugees expected to cross into Jordan,
Turkey and Iran. The United States has contributed more than any other
single country, offering $15 million, she said.

"The UNHCR is prepositioning some supplies, mainly shelter and non-food
items," she said. "However, we're very, very limited about what we can do at
the moment."

Hosseini, meanwhile, has set up an Iranian crisis committee to plan for the
anticipated arrival of Iraqis. A growing number of independent humanitarian
organizations, including Mercy Corps International of Portland, Ore., are
arriving in Iran to help, he added. U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Ruud
Lubbers is expected to come to Iran in the coming weeks to discuss the
potential refugee crisis.

He and Iranian officials are likely to clash over the proposed closed-border
policy, as they did during the U.S. war in Afghanistan in 2001. The 10
refugee camps Iran plans on erecting will almost certainly be on Iraqi,
rather than Iranian soil, Hosseini said.

The same policy with Afghan refugees in 2001 led to a rift between Iran and
the U.N. refugee agency, which criticized Iran for setting up camps in a war
zone, thus threatening the safety of refugees and aid workers. The argument
was never resolved and the United Nations refused to send its workers to the

The closed-border policy may be less strictly enforced this time, Hosseini

"When we are saying we are closing the border, it doesn't mean we are
building a wall. If their lives are in imminent danger, we'll let them
cross. Our Muslim faith requires it.

"But we learned lessons from the (2001) Afghanistan war, the most important
of which is that to help refugees, we don't need to bring them into our

Associated Press, 25th February

WASHINGTON: The Army's top general said Tuesday a military occupying force
for a postwar Iraq could total several hundred thousand soldiers.

Iraq is "a piece of geography that's fairly significant," Gen. Eric K.
Shinseki said at a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee. And he
said any postwar occupying force would have to be big enough to maintain
safety in a country with "ethnic tensions that could lead to other

In response to questioning by Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan, the senior
Democrat on the committee, Shinseki said he couldn't give specific numbers
of the size of an occupation force but would rely on the recommendations of
commanders in the region.

"How about a range?" said Levin.

"I would say that what's been mobilized to this point, something on the
order of several hundred thousand soldiers," the general said. "Assistance
from friends and allies would be helpful."

At the White House, meanwhile, President Bush kept up pressure on Saddam
Hussein and the United Nations.

He predicted that Saddam would try to "fool the world one more time," by
revealing the existence of weapons that he has previously denied having. But
the president insisted the only way the Iraqi leader could avoid war was
"full disarmament. The man has been told to disarm. For the sake of peace,
he must completely disarm."

Bush said anew he would welcome a U.N. Security Council vote supporting the
U.S. position on using force against Iraq "but I don't believe we need a
second resolution."

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said he believes Iraq has chemical and
biological weapons that are "more lethal and dangerous today than they would
have been in '91, but I don't know that for sure."

He noted that Iraq sent some of its warplanes out of the country during the
1991 Gulf War, and he suggested Saddam might do the same with weapons in the
current situation.

Reached after the Senate hearing, Levin said Shinseki's estimate of an
occupation force was "very sobering and I would hope the American public
would have the opportunity to read that testimony."

"It sounded as though almost as large a contingent would need to remain as
was there to begin with," Levin said.

He said he wanted to review the transcript himself to make sure he
understood Shinseki comments completely.

Army spokesman Col. Joseph Curtin said later that Shinseki was only giving a
rough estimate.

Pentagon officials have said that U.S. forces massed in the region number
about 200,000, about half of them Army.

Responding to concerns raised by the committee chairman, Sen. John Warner,
R-Va., Shinseki and Gen. John P. Jumper, the Air Force chief of staff, said
some of their forces, particularly special operations troops, were being
stretched thin by the demands made on them. In addition to the buildup in
Iraq, special forces have been deployed in the Afghanistan region, the
Philippines and Colombia.

"They are stressed," Shinseki said. "We are using them on multiple missions
that a few years ago was not anticipated."

Navy and Marine leaders said the problems weren't as great with their

"Am I concerned about the next 60 to 90 days? No,I am very confident," said
Adm. Vern Clark, chief of Naval operations.

Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., questioned whether the administration was so
focused on Iraq, it wasn't paying sufficient attention to other threats,
such as North Korea's nuclear program and pursuit of Osama bin Laden,
despite its insistence that it could fight two wars simultaneously.

"It appears to me that we developed and sustained a two-war military to only
have it run by an administration with a one-war attention span," he said.


by Christopher Cooper
Ann Arbor News, from Associated Press, 25th February

WASHINGTON -- If there is a war in Iraq, only part of it will be fought with
bombs and bullets. The rest will be waged with information.

And the Pentagon is trying to make sure it has overwhelming firepower in
that category, too. Revising internal policies regarding the release of "gun
video" from cameras mounted on many of their planes and bombs, U.S.
commanders hope to quickly rebut false Iraqi claims of civilian casualties
or errant strikes.

Pentagon technicians are also building an archive of before-and-after
satellite photographs to show how Saddam Hussein has intentionally mingled
military and civilian installations, upping the risk of collateral damage.

At the same time, U.S. pilots may be ordered to avoid bombing certain power
facilities in Baghdad so local citizens -- whom the U.S. is hoping to turn
against their ruler -- can watch Pentagon-produced newscasts of the war. A
former Iraqi TV anchor now living in Virginia will deliver programs beamed
in by airborne transmitters.

"This will be a war of words as much as anything," predicts Gen. Ronald
Rand, an Air Force public-affairs officer involved in planning the media

With few prospects for a battlefield victory, the Iraqi dictator is expected
to work hard to generate world sympathy and peel support away from a
U.S.-led coalition. In 1991, Mr. Hussein managed to end the bombing in
Baghdad simply by leading CNN cameras to the al Firdos air-raid shelter,
where nearly 400 civilians were killed after the U.S. mistook it for a
military bunker. World outrage was so great that a chastened Colin Powell,
then-chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, ordered an end to bombing in the

The first Bush administration called off the fighting altogether after
pictures appeared around the world of the "highway of death" -- a ribbon of
asphalt leading out of Kuwait that was clogged with hundreds of charred
vehicles, all victims of a U.S.-led "turkey shoot" air campaign.

The Pentagon's plan to allow more than 500 reporters from the U.S., Europe
and Arab countries to accompany troops as they invade is also a critical
part of the information strategy. The arrangement represents an unusual
effort to bring real-time news of the war to a world audience. The last time
journalists accompanied a large American invading force in this fashion was
on the beaches of Normandy in World War II.

Defense officials also are trying to learn from some of the problems
encountered in explaining last year's Afghanistan campaign.

Lt. Col. Bryan Hilferty, spokesman for the Army's 10th Mountain Division,
says the U.S. needs a strategy to protect itself against the kind of
propaganda put out by the Taliban during the Afghani fighting. He cites a
raid by airborne 10th Mountain Division troops on the remote village of
Banditemur, a purported Taliban holdout. The U.S. military hadn't alerted
reporters; when journalists visited the village a day after, residents
claimed soldiers had run down and killed a small child and then beat an
80-year-old man to death with their gun butts. This account dominated some
reports about the episode, with only passing denials from the U.S. military.

Col. Hilferty, who wasn't along on the raid, now says the only person killed
was a 45-year old man who menaced soldiers with a machine gun. "We should
have had reporters on that raid because the villagers lied," he says. "We
didn't have any evidence to rebut their allegations."

U.S. officials say they are girding for far worse disinformation in Iraq and
are aiming to counter it with newscasts to Iraqis hosted by Shameem Rassan,
a former Baghdad TV-news reader. Officials say such broadcasts will likely
include a U.S. justification for the war. "A lot of Iraqis aren't even aware
of 9/11," one official says. "We've got a lot of catching up to do."

Transmitting from a Kurdish-held part of northern Iraq, the Pentagon has
already begun broadcasting radio messages about Pentagon press conferences
and other events. The U.S. also has permission from Jordan, on Iraq's
western border, to locate a clandestine radio transmitter there.

A fleet of "Commando Solo" planes -- modified C-130s -- are broadcasting
radio signals in the area but also have the capability to beam in full-color
television once the new programs are ready. The special aircraft have only a
100-mile range for TV broadcasting, however, and are slow-moving, relatively
easy targets.

An additional mission for Commando Solo: jamming Iraqi television signals.
Pentagon planners say they want to ensure Mr. Hussein is muzzled and can't
rally the citizenry or make a show of being alive and in charge. Also under
consideration once the war begins: using troops to commandeer Iraqi
television stations and local transmitters to use for Pentagon-directed news

The plan has precedent. In the 1989 U.S. invasion of Panama, the U.S.
military took over that country's state-owned television station and
broadcast its own messages. During the 1994 invasion of Haiti, the 193rd
Special Operations Wing ran an extensive pirate-television operation from
the sky, offering a mix of news and political programs. Senior Master Sgt.
Mike Kovach, spokesman for the wing, says that as the operators fed their
broadcasts into Haiti, they were surprised to see a message on the screen of
a government-owned station urging viewers to ignore the "illegal" broadcasts
coming in on the adjacent channel. "I don't think we could have bought
better advertising," Sgt. Kovach says.

No matter how careful American forces are, defense officials say they expect
to face charges in Baghdad that many civilians have been killed, harmed or
displaced. These officials claim Baghdad has been working for years on ways
to mingle its military assets with civilian installations, both to deter
some attacks and to get propaganda benefit from whatever destruction
American bombs do cause.

A fiber-optic communications system installed in 2001, gave Iraq the
flexibility to relocate key parts of its air defense close to oil fields and
other commercial installations, Pentagon officials say. More recently, they
say, Iraqis have begun locating radar in mosques and painting taxicabs to
resemble military vehicles, presumably to draw U.S. fire.

In response, the Pentagon is dragging out years of satellite data to
document the changes being made to civilian and military installations.
Showing the Iraqi adjustments will help to "roll out the rationale" for the
choice of bomb targets, one Pentagon official says.

For the same reason, the Pentagon has decided it will release much more "gun
video" from bombing runs than it did in the first Gulf War, primarily by
changing its internal policies. In past wars, such video was cleared at the
top, and security-conscious officers often balked at releasing it out of
fear of giving away tactics. Even when the video was essential to making the
U.S. case, getting clearance fast enough to make the evening news was nearly

The Army's Col. Hilferty says the process was so frustrating in Afghanistan
that at times "we'd bypass procedure and install a lipstick camera from CNN
in the cockpit." Lipstick cameras are tiny devices used by undercover
journalists and spies. This time, Pentagon officials say all but the most
sensitive video imagery will be cleared quickly by officers in the field.

On Feb. 10, the Pentagon told its public-affairs officers that in Iraq, "the
use of lipstick cameras and helmet-mounted cameras on combat sorties is
approved and encouraged to the greatest extent possible." The instruction
adds that "decisions should be made ASAP, preferably in minutes, not hours."
Pentagon officials say that for this war, decisions to release gun video
will be made by field commanders, which should speed the reaction time.

For all of the changes, at least one part of the Pentagon's information plan
is hitting roadblocks. Turkey, harboring historic resentment of the British,
has told the U.S. it won't allow British reporters to join U.S. forces
stationed in its country. And the British, invoking security concerns, will
likely forbid reporters from riding on any U.S. bombers flying from its base
in Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean.

The Saudis, not keen on publicizing their contributions to the war effort,
may bar all reporters from their bases, military officials say. And Qatar
has already declared that one of its air bases, which employs a number of
its citizens, will be off-limits to television cameras.

But despite problems, the Pentagon's opinion-shaping efforts already may be
having a positive effect. As part of its attempt to reach out to Arab
audiences, the Pentagon has invited 10 reporters from the pan-Arab
television network al Jazeera -- best known in the U.S. for broadcasting
messages from Osama bin Laden -- to accompany U.S. troops into Iraq if there
is a war.

Not everyone is convinced this is a great idea. Al Jazeera "is nothing but a
propaganda machine, and I wouldn't take them to war on a bet," says retired
Gen. Barry McCaffrey, a Desert Storm veteran.

Al Jazeera recently hired a full-time Pentagon reporter, Dana Buderi, a
Syrian national, whose last assignment was covering Jerusalem for the
Associated Press. Ms. Buderi says she has already taken a cruise on a U.S.
aircraft carrier.

"I guess people at the Pentagon do distrust us," she says. "But I'd say our
relationship is already a lot better than it was during the war in

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