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[casi] News, 05-09/03/03 (1)

News, 05-09/03/03 (1)


*  Turkey's decision heightens danger for U.S.
*  US truck convoys leave Turkish port for Iraqi border
*  Pentagon planning won't wait for Turkish approval
*  Lack of international funding imperils refugee camps in Iran
*  A setback that may shape America's military
*  Saddam 'planning uniform deception'
*  Official: Al-Qaida May Hit Allied Forces
*  The tragedy of war as an end in itself
*  Troop Movement Could Cost $25 Billion, Congressional Office Finds
*  Securing an Iraqi arsenal of WMDs could be a real problem for U.S.


by Robert Collier
San Francisco Chronicle, 6th March


But despite U.S. officials' frequent intimations that they will pull the 24
cargo ships carrying military equipment from their current anchor off the
Turkish coast and send them to the Persian Gulf, nothing has happened so

That is because all available evidence indicates that what Pentagon
officials have called Plan B -- doing without the Turkish springboard -- is
infinitely worse than their Plan A.

Plan B calls for airlifting light infantry Army and Marine Corps troops into
northern Iraq from Kuwait to seize control of the oil fields there, maintain
order among the Kurdish population and then race toward a final showdown in
Baghdad or Tikrit, Saddam Hussein's hometown. Meanwhile, heavily armored
U.S. troops would move into southern Iraq and grab the oil fields there.

But the two air bases in Kurdish-controlled territory that comprise a key
element of that strategy are not believed to be capable of withstanding for
long the heavy pounding from C 130 and C-17 cargo planes filled with
American troops and armor.

The Kurdish guerrillas that control the areas, although allied with the
United States, have not allowed American forces to substantially upgrade the

Although U.S. officials have been tight-lipped about these problems, it
appears that the Kurds have been playing the same extortion game as the
Turks - - withholding full access to key bases in an attempt to squeeze the
Americans for large amounts of cash and weapons.

In apparent anticipation of the Americans' inability to set up a serious
northern front, several battalions of Iraq's elite Republican Guard troops
have reportedly moved out of the far north and have moved toward Tikrit and
Baghdad, girding for the war's decisive battles.

Another complication is finding a suitable alternative for the Incirlik,
Diyarbakir and Batman bases in southeastern Turkey, at which top U.S.
commander Gen. Tommy Franks wanted to base 270 warplanes. Indeed, it's
unclear whether the Turkish parliament's "no" vote meant that the Incirlik
base, which in recent years has hosted U.S. planes patrolling the no-fly
zone over northern Iraq, would be off-limits for American planes involved in
an invasion.

The issue is important because bases in Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and
United Arab Emirates already are saturated with hundreds of American and
allied fighters, bombers and support aircraft.

Lacking a simultaneous punch from the north, the more than 150,000 U.S.
troops pouring out of bases in Kuwait would have to fight their way all the
way up the Euphrates River valley.

Pentagon planners hope the south region's Shiite population will welcome the
troops with open arms, but many analysts -- and, in Iraq, many of the
Shiites themselves -- say the Americans will have to fight for every inch of

The Euphrates valley is thickly populated, crisscrossed with canals and
dotted with swamps that are now saturated by the unusually heavy rains that
have fallen throughout the normally arid region in recent weeks.

If the Americans are forced to fight by this route alone, they might not be
able to develop the lightning speed that they hope to use to overwhelm the
Iraqi defenders and to scare Hussein's troops into giving up Baghdad without
a serious fight.

All told, Plan B dramatically increases the chance that U.S. troops will
find themselves locked in bloody, street-to-street battles through Baghdad
as they hunt down Hussein -- a dire scenario second only in magnitude to
having to endure an Iraqi chemical or biological attack.

Without Turkey as a staging ground, the U.S. timetable for starting an
invasion could be delayed until late March or early April while war planners
divert forces to Kuwait to off load the equipment now anchored within sight
of Turkish ports, and otherwise fine-tune the war plan.

For Iraq's Arab neighbors, it is highly ironic that Turkey, a tight U.S.
ally and member of NATO, has thrown such a wrench into the American war
plans, rather than the Arab nations that frequently proclaim their
opposition to U.S. war aims.

"If Turkey continues its refusal to allow the Americans to use their bases,
it could have a real effect on countries whose support the Americans are
still negotiating," said Fares Bouez, Lebanon's foreign minister from
1990-99 and now a member of Parliament from the Christian opposition bloc.

Although U.S. access to bases in Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and United Arab
Emirates is guaranteed, in other nations it isn't.

For example, Saudi Arabia, which is highly jealous of its image as the moral
guardian of Islamic purity, is believed to still be negotiating the details
of access to Prince Sultan Air Base, which has been used by U.S. planes
patrolling Iraq's southern no-fly zone. The Saudis are limiting the
Americans to intelligence and air-to-air combat missions, holding back on
permission for the Americans to fly bombing raids from the base.

And Jordan, which has allowed several hundred U.S. troops to guard Patriot
missile batteries and to launch secret operations, is still balking at
requests to allow the Americans to station large numbers of troops there.
Such an expanded presence would be needed if a northern front were blocked,
in order to allow an advance on Baghdad directly from the west.

"There is a lot still at play in this war, militarily speaking, and some of
the Arab countries are more sensitive to public opinion than Washington
generally believes," Bouez said. "If Turkey demonstrates that it's possible
to deny the United States the use of their bases and territory, other
nations might get the same idea."

by Leyla Boulton in Ankara and Peter Spiegel in Washington
Financial Times, 6th March

The US has been unloading military equipment at a port in south-eastern
Turkey and moving it by road towards the Iraqi border despite the Turkish
parliamentary vote against the deployment of 62,000 US troops.

The general staff of Turkey's armed forces insisted the equipment movements
were part of last month's agreement allowing the US to modernise Turkish
bases and were not part of preparations to introduce ground forces.

But those modernisation accords allow the US to make logistical preparations
for a possible attack on Iraq, and people familiar with Pentagon thinking
have said that Turkey could still be used for airlifting troops and
equipment into northern Iraq, even if ground forces are barred by the
Turkish parliament.

A new vote on US ground forces is now widely expected, and could come soon
after a by election on Sunday in which Recep Tayyip Erdogan, leader of the
ruling Justice and Development party (AKP), is expected to enter parliament
ready to take over as prime minister.

Political tensions in Ankara have eased dramatically since Wednesday, when
General Hilmi Ozkok, Turkey's top general, said the armed forces had backed
the government's failed motion. The statement may have paved the way for
parliamentary approval of the deployment of the US 4th Infantry Division.

General Tommmy Franks, head of US Central Command, said on Wednesday that
the equipment for the division remains aboard transport ships off the coast
of the southern Turkish port of Iskenderun.

The NTV television station, however, reported two convoys totalling 50
trucks had set off yesterday from Iskenderun to a base at Mardin, near the
Iraqi border.

US officials have insisted publicly that the inability to insert heavy
ground forces into northern Iraq through Turkey will not measurably hamper
war efforts.

But people who have spoken to US officers, particularly in the army, said
there is real concern that using only light infantry - one alternative to
the 4th Infantry would be the 101st Airborne - in northern Iraq will narrow
the US's margin for error. It would make it more difficult to ensure Kurdish
forces do not come into conflict with neighbouring Iraqi and Turkish

"We all recognise that there have been frictions between the Kurds and the
Turks in northern Iraq and we certainly believe that is a factor," said Gen
Franks. "We're working with representatives of both the Kurds and the Turks
and will continue to do that."

Beyond the movement of equipment from Iskenderun, local media in Turkey have
reported a wide range of steps taken by the US to prepare for operations in
the north of Iraq.

The Radikal newspaper reported an agreement had been reached to rent a
section of the airport in Gaziantep, in southern Turkey near the Syrian

The paper also said Turks and Americans were close to a seperate deal on
Mersin port, about 80 miles west of Iskenderun, and that a US Embassy
official responsible for disaster control was looking for houses and
warehouses for rent in Silopi, a town just north of the Iraqi border.

Suleyman Karaman, director of Turkish railways, told the newspaper that
talks were continuing on terms for the US to use the rail network for
transporting troops and equipment.

In a roundup of the US preparations, the newspaper also said that deepening
and renovation efforts were under way at six ports, and that 750 American
soldiers were working on the modernisation of the airbase at Batman, near
the Iraqi border. Contractors said, however, that the modernisation work had
been slowed following parliament's vote on Saturday against the deployment.

Yahoo, 6th March

WASHINGTON -- The Pentagon is moving ahead with plans to invade Iraq even if
it cannot base a large U.S. ground force in Turkey.

The United States has not ruled out getting the Turkish government's
approval for basing rights. But the Pentagon will pursue a second option
that calls for inserting a much smaller force into Kurdish-controlled
northern Iraq, a senior Defense official familiar with planning
deliberations said. Air cover would be used to protect the less mobile U.S.

''We are not going to wait for Turkey. We'll go on our timetable,'' the
official said.

The Turkish parliament jolted the Bush administration Saturday by defeating
a proposal to base up to 62,000 U.S. troops in eastern Turkey. The Army's
4th Infantry Division, which was to have formed the backbone of a northern
front for a U.S. invasion, has been waiting at Fort Hood, Texas, for several
weeks. Its equipment is on Navy ships in the Mediterranean Sea.

The Pentagon had hoped to base troops in Turkey so it could attack both from
the north and from Kuwait in the south. The troops could be used to seize
oil fields and defend the northern Iraqi region of Kurdistan.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the
Joint Chiefs of Staff, held out faint hope that Turkey might reverse itself.
But both expressed confidence that the United States could win in Iraq
without Turkish support for ground troops.

''It will introduce a few more variables into the equation, but in the end,
the outcome will be the same,'' Myers said.

There is a chance the Turkish parliament could convene for another vote. But
Turkish officials said it was unlikely before March 20. That would follow
Sunday's elections and the formation of a new government.

That timetable is almost certainly unacceptable to the Pentagon. Even if the
Turks' decision were reversed, it still would take at least an additional
two weeks to unload and move the 4th Infantry Division's equipment. That
would push the earliest starting date for war into early April.

The Pentagon has alternative invasion plans that could include using
paratroopers and infantry soldiers who would be flown to northern Iraq. The
lighter force would be less lethal than the 4th Infantry Division, which has
the Army's most modern battle tanks.

Among the Army troops that could be used to seize areas in northern Iraq are
elements of the 82nd Airborne Division and the 101st Airborne Division in
Kuwait and the 173rd Airborne Brigade in Vicenza, Italy.

The 101st, based at Fort Campbell, Ky., would bring about 250 helicopters
and is the most mobile Army division. The division, awaiting its equipment
by ship, should be ready for combat in about two weeks, a military official

If the 4th Infantry Division couldn't go to Turkey, its equipment would be
moved to Kuwait, which would take about 10 to 14 days.

by Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson
The State, 7th March

AHWAZ, Iran - (KRT) - Iranian officials are building at least seven refugee
camps inside their country that could stay empty for lack of international
funding, despite an expected flood of refugees if the United States invades

"The international community has let (Iran) down," Ruud Lubbers, the U.N.
High Commissioner for Refugees, told Knight Ridder after a tour of camps in
the southwestern Iranian province of Khoozestan. "All they are talking about
is politics in New York."

Iran has vowed to seal its border with Iraq during a U.S.-led war unless the
international community provides funding for the camps, which are designed
to accommodate the quarter-million Iraqis who are expected to flee here when
fighting begins.

Most of the refugees are expected to be Shiite Muslims from southern Iraq
who will be caught between Saddam Hussein's forces and U.S. and British
troops attacking from Kuwait. Iran is a predominantly Shiite nation. Shiites
are the majority in Iraq as well, although Saddam's government discriminates
against them.

So far, the U.N. agency has spent $25 million on supplies and administrative
costs in anticipation of Iraqi refugees but received only $16 million from
international donors, according to a spokeswoman for its Tehran office.

At least $125 million will be needed to fulfill all U.N. responsibilities
toward refugees, officials estimated.

Iran's budget for the anticipated Iraqi refugees runs out this month, and
there appear to be no plans to replenish it.

Iranian leaders insist that their policy is to close the door to Iraqi
refugees and keep it locked until the international community commits to
paying for them. They concede that Iran's largely uninhabited, 911-mile
border with Iraq can't be completely sealed and that their Islamic faith
requires them to help refugees in need.

Lubbers said he was pleased with the progress he saw at several camps being
erected near Yazd-e-No and Bostan - towns about 100 miles northwest of the
provincial capital of Ahwaz. At the sites, land was being groomed for tents,
electrical wires were being strung and roads being built, he said. There is
still no drinkable water, but Iranian officials are working on resolving
that issue, Lubbers said.

"They are working on the camps, but the point is how long can they continue
without money?" Lubbers asked. "It's remarkable how they (Iranian aid
workers) are in good spirits considering" the financial difficulties.

Lubbers said he also approved of Iran building its newest camps on Iranian
soil. The Dutch born commissioner had clashed with the Iranian government
over its Afghan refugee policy in 2001, when Iran set up camps a few miles
inside Afghanistan, a practice Lubbers said threatened the safety of
refugees and aid workers.

The argument was never resolved, and the U.N. refused to send its workers to
the camps.

Iran, which houses more refugees than any other country in the world,
shelters 200,000 Iraqi refugees, according to United Nations officials.

Roughly 1.3 million Iraqi Kurds and Arabs fled to Iran in the aftermath of
the last Gulf War - three times more refugees than the U.N. prepared for.
Most of the refugees remained in Iran for four months, costing the
government tens of millions of dollars in food and supplies.

by Peter Spiegel
Financial Times, 7th March

In an address just over a year ago, President George W. Bush argued that the
Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour was, in some ways, a blessing in disguise.
The surprise attack sunk or crippled eight battleships, the backbone of the
US Pacific fleet, forcing the navy to rely on its flotilla of aircraft
carriers to fight its way back across the ocean. The next 60 years saw the
carrier battle group go from an afterthought to the centre of what would
become the most powerful maritime force the world has ever seen.

America's military is once again set to make a virtue out necessity, this
time in the mountains of northern Iraq. At stake is whether US ground forces
really still need their tons of cold war-era hardware - Abrams tanks,
Bradley fighting vehicles, huge battlefield howitzers - or can rely instead
on tactical fighter aircraft as the heavy guns needed to support advancing

It is a debate that has pitted senior air force officers against their
counterparts in the army, with implications not only for how the war is
prosecuted, but for the future of the US military.

"This always has implications for bragging rights after the war," says
Andrew Krepinevich, executive director of the Center for Strategic and
Budgetary Assessments. "More importantly, it has implications for the budget
after the war."

With an invasion apparently imminent, military planners are still wringing
their hands over Turkey's decision, at least for the time being, to prevent
the taskforce of 62,000 US troops and boatloads of heavy weaponry from
assembling on Turkey's eastern flank.

Publicly, Mr Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, defence secretary, and General Tommy
Franks, head of US central command and the man who would lead forces into
battle, have insisted that failing to get permission to use the Turkish
bases is only a minor distraction.

"We've got contingencies in place, should our troops not be allowed to come
through Turkey," Mr Bush said at a press conference this week. "That won't
cause any more hardships for our troops."

But behind the tightly sealed doors of the Pentagon, people close to the war
planning say a debate is raging over just how important it is to get the
heavy forces, led by the 4th infantry division, into northern Iraq. Air
force officers have been arguing that lightly armed infantry backed by
precision air power are sufficient - indeed preferable - for the task at
hand, while the army remains desperate to get at least a brigade's worth of
tanks and heavy guns into the region.

People familiar with the plans for the north say the role of forces in the
area has been misunderstood. Rather than serving as the top claw in a pincer
movement closing on Baghdad, the troops would have three main objectives:
securing oilfields in and around Kirkuk; preventing violence between Kurds,
Turks and Iraqis; and keeping Republican Guard units based in Kirkuk and
Mosul from retreating to Baghdad.

If those goals were quickly accomplished, elements of the northern force
could also be used for an assault on Tikrit, the town 100 miles north-east
of Baghdad where Saddam Hussein was born and which still serves as a
recruiting ground for the regime's loyalists. A defeat for Iraqi troops in
Tikrit could break the will of remaining hold-outs.

The initial plan for the region called for the 4th infantry division to
unload all its tanks, personnel carriers and attack helicopters at the
Turkish port of Iskenderun, move them by rail to the eastern border, where
they would invade through mountain passes in Kurdish controlled territory.

It was an army-centric plan - put together by Gen Franks, an army artillery
veteran - which would showcase the service's most high-tech unit, the
so-called "digital division" that has received all of the army's most
advanced hardware.

Barring a Turkish reprieve, however, the northern campaign will now look
very different. A division of light infantry - possibly the 101st airborne,
now en route to Kuwait, or the 173rd airborne, based in northern Italy -
would be airlifted in, securing airbases in Kurdish areas and relying on
Humvee troop carriers and helicopters to move south into Mosul and Kirkuk.

There is little dispute, even among most air force leaders, that the
preferred choice would be the heavy choice. It would allow a greater margin
for error and would rely on tried and proven tactics.

But those are the very tactics Mr Rumsfeld has been trying to change since
his return to the Pentagon two years ago. To him, the army remains too slow,
too hard to deploy and too wedded to cold war doctrines. Indeed the first -
and, to date, only - big weapon system Mr Rumsfeld has killed is the
Crusader, the army's next-generation battlefield cannon, a 40-ton behemoth
that, like the Abrams tank, would have been difficult to move by aircraft.

In some respects, the debate over what forces are needed in northern Iraq is
an extension of the debate over what won the first Gulf war. Some senior air
force officials remain embittered by the lack of credit they received for
their achievements in Operation Desert Storm. The heroes that emerged from
1991 were all army leaders, notably Generals Colin Powell and Norman

One defence official recently told of an air force two-star general who
still gets angry every time he walks into the Pentagon and sees a map of
Iraq on the wall, illustrating the advance of land forces through Kuwait. In
his view, the Gulf war was effectively over before ground forces ever joined
the battle.

For like-minded officers, the northern Iraq campaign could illustrate the
superiority of air power and its ability to lead the much-touted revolution
in military affairs. Even army officials acknowledge that the new generation
of Apache Longbow helicopters, which began delivery in 1997, have
unprecedented anti-tank abilities, with the ability to send more than a
dozen Hellfire missiles each at separate targets within seconds of each
other - from miles away. The Apache, coupled with smart bombs called in via
global positioning system co ordinates, should be able to beat back any
heavy armour the Iraqis can muster in the north, air force advocates argue,
and can be flown in three at a time on C-17 transports, which can only carry
one 70-ton Abrams at a time.

The army, however, is reluctant to let go of its own guns, even though it
acknowledged years ago that the Abrams is a relic of the past. A full army
brigade is being equipped with a lighter ground fighting vehicle, the
Stryker, although it is still being tested and will not be used in Iraq. The
army has also committed to spending billions of dollars to get its so-called
future combat system - which would be led by a tank-like vehicle less than a
third of the weight of an Abrams - into the field by the end of the decade.

Still, officials who have spoken with senior army officers about the Turkish
decision say they remain skittish about the prospect of going into battle in
northern Iraq without at least a brigade's worth of tanks, which would
amount to about 100 Abrams. It would be a Herculean effort, given that the
air force only has 120 C-17s in service, each of which would have to be
accompanied by a squadron of fighters.

"The army will say to the air force: 'We always have the fire power with us
if we have tanks. Are you always going to be there to support us?" says Mr

But unless the army can convince Gen Franks that the airlift is worth doing,
or Turkey changes its mind, the air force may well demonstrate that it can
defeat two Republican Guard divisions in the north without any heavy ground
weapons. That might just finally prove that air power is the future of the
US military.

by John Hendren
Gulf News/Los Angeles Times-Washington Post News Service, 8th March

Iraqi President Saddam Hussain has ordered military uniforms "identical down
to the last detail" to those worn by U.S. and British troops so Iraqi
paramilitary soldiers can commit atrocities against their own people while
disguised as coalition forces, a top U.S. military spokesman has alleged.

Senior military officials said the uniforms are bound for the Fedayeen
Saddam soldiers, a paramilitary force of more than 15,000 troops from the
president's home region of Tikrit and other loyal regions, which was founded
by Saddam's son Uday in 1994.

They described the force as one that deals with public unrest in
emergencies, and normally patrols and carries out anti-smuggling duties.

"This campaign of fear and misinformation would represent the latest chapter
in Saddam Hussain's long history of brutal crimes against the innocent
people of Iraq," said James Wilkinson, the senior spokesman for the U.S.
Central Command.

Human rights monitors said it was hard to evaluate the U.S. allegations
without more detailed information.

The accusation follows a series of allegations of planned Iraqi tactics made
privately to journalists in recent days by U.S. officials on condition of
anonymity, apparently in anticipation of Iraqi charges of American acts of
brutality against civilians, should the U.S. attack.

Thursday's charges came one day after a senior defence official briefed
reporters at the Pentagon on the U.S.-led coalition's rules and methods for
targeting sites in Iraq.

The official said the rules would minimise civilian casualties. Fedayeen
Saddam troops would wear the U.S. and British uniforms "when conducting
reprisals against the Iraqi people so that they could pass the atrocities
off as the work of the United States and the United Kingdom," Wilkinson

The group, which a human rights workers described as a private army, is
separate from the Iraqi army and reports directly to Saddam's palace.

The officials did not say how they obtained the information or how many
uniforms had been ordered, but insisted they know "for a fact" that Saddam
ordered the uniforms and intends to use them in a campaign to discredit
coalition forces.

Hania Mufti, a London-based Middle Eastern specialist with Human Rights
Watch who served as an observer in Iraq following the 1991 Gulf War, said
Saddam had not been known to use such tactics then.

She added that the killings of Shiites and Kurds that followed the 1991 war
occurred after the U.S.-led coalition had left. Human Rights Watch is a
private human-rights monitoring organisation.

"This would be quite new," Mufti said. "It is conceivable that it could be a
method that the Iraqis could resort to, but of course that is only
speculation on my part."

by John L. Lumpkin
Las Vegas Sun, 8th March

WASHINGTON (AP): Al-Qaida operatives are planning to strike at U.S. and
allied forces taking part in a war in Iraq, according to information
acquired by American intelligence agencies, counterterrorism officials said

The operatives are subordinates of Abu Musab Zarqawi, whom CIA officials
describe as a senior associate of Osama bin Laden. Some are in Baghdad;
others are elsewhere in Iraq, the counterterrorism officials said, speaking
on condition of anonymity.

The intelligence does not suggest any kind of coordination between the
government of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and the al-Qaida operatives;
instead officials believe the terrorists are looking to capitalize on the
chaos created by any military conflict to strike at American and allied

A CIA report, passed to senior government officials last week, warned of the
potential strikes.

A CIA spokesman declined to comment.

The New York Times first reported the information Saturday on its Web site.

The counterterrorism officials said operatives may be planning to use
explosives or toxins to conduct the attack.

The new information comes against a murky backdrop regarding whether Iraq
supports al Qaida, or to what extent there are ties.

However, intelligence officials have generally agreed they have nothing to
document that Saddam Hussein had a hand in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks or
that Saddam and Osama bin Laden are coordinating terrorist operations.

At the center of U.S. allegations that there are links between Iraq and the
terrorist group is Zarqawi, a Jordanian terrorist operative, and some of his

CIA Director George Tenet and others have described Zarqawi as a senior
associate of al Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, but officials acknowledge some
difference of opinion within U.S. intelligence whether it is correct to
describe him as a member of the organization.

Zarqawi has been linked to the failed millennium bombing of a tourist hotel
in Jordan and the killing of an American diplomat in Amman in October.

According to U.S. officials, Zarqawi was in Baghdad last summer, presumably
with the knowledge of Iraqi officials. Some of his people are still there.
Zarqawi is also linked to an Islamic extremist group in northern Iraq, Ansar
al-Islam, that operates in a region outside of Saddam's control.

An agent from Iraq's government is working for Ansar, Secretary of State
Colin Powell said in a Feb. 5 presentation to the U.N. Security Council.
Powell said this agent had offered safe haven to some al-Qaida operatives in
the region.

But Powell omitted an important point: U.S. officials later acknowledged
they don't know what this Iraqi operative is doing with Ansar al-Islam, and
they do not know whether Ansar is aware he works for the Iraqi government.

While the agent could be openly representing Saddam's government, he also
could be spying on the group for Saddam's security services, officials said.

According to intelligence officials, Zarqawi believes he is operating
independently of al Qaida's chain of command. But they say while he manages
his own network of followers, he relies on al-Qaida money and logistical
support, making him - in effect if not in reality - a lieutenant of bin

What is known, according to Powell, Tenet and other officials:

Zarqawi was around Herat in western Afghanistan in October 2001, when the
U.S. attacked the Taliban and their al-Qaida allies. He ran a camp in the
region that experimented with poisons and chemical weapons.

Officials say he may have been wounded in the leg, probably by U.S. bombing.
He crossed the border into Iran, where he reportedly received some medical
treatment. U.S. intelligence learned of his presence there, prompting
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in April 2002 to accuse Iran of sheltering
al-Qaida terrorists.

The following month, Zarqawi went to Baghdad. The reasons for his departure
from Iran are unclear, but he received more medical treatment in Baghdad,
possibly being fitted with a prosthetic leg, and stayed there two months.

While he was in Baghdad, about two dozen of his followers moved to the city.
Some are still there, including two senior members of Egyptian Islamic
Jihad, a terrorist network that merged with al-Qaida during the last few

U.S. officials say Saddam's security apparatus is too effective for them not
to know Zarqawi and his followers were in town. But no officials claimed
evidence that Zarqawi and the Iraqis are actively working together to
conduct terrorist attacks.

U.S. intelligence learned of Zarqawi's presence in Baghdad while he was
there, and a friendly foreign government twice asked Baghdad about him and
was rebuffed both times. Zarqawi left shortly after the inquiries.

Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri said Baghdad had no ties to Ansar
al-Islam, nor to an alleged al-Qaida fugitive Abu Musab Zarqawi.

In July, shortly after the foreign government's inquiries, Zarqawi left
Baghdad. U.S. defense officials said he was later reported in Syria.
Officials suspect he also went to northern Iraq where Saddam holds little

In that region, his followers, working with Kurdish members of Ansar
al-Islam, established a new camp to research poisons and make explosives.
They trained others in the production of ricin, a poison that can be used as
a biological weapon.

Their ties were widespread, spanning the countries of Georgia, France,
Spain, Great Britain, Russia and possibly Italy.

European authorities have arrested 116 members of Zarqawi's extended
network, including members of a British cell that was believed to be making
ricin in a London apartment.

Zarqawi's whereabouts are unknown.

His time in Baghdad is not the only link claimed by U.S. officials. Others

-An al-Qaida source said Saddam and bin Laden agreed not to oppose each
other in the mid-1990s.

-Senior representatives of both organizations met at least eight times since
the early 1990s. This includes a trip by Iraq's ambassador to Turkey to
Afghanistan in 1998.

-An Iraqi intelligence operative turned defector said Saddam sent agents to
Afghanistan to provide training to al-Qaida in document forgery.

-An al-Qaida training camp commander from Afghanistan, now in U.S. custody,
said al Qaida sought chemical and biological weapons training from Iraq
between 1997 and 2000. One operative later characterized his efforts in Iraq
as successful.

by Ramsey Clark
Toronto Star, 8th March

Above all, it is the premeditated attack on life, the human casualties, that
make "the scourge of war" so horrible and dehumanizing.

The first Gulf War in January-February, 1991, is a classic example of the
human destructiveness of war as an end in itself. The Pentagon states it
conducted 110,000 aerial sorties against Iraq in 42 days, one every 30
seconds, unleashing 88,500 tonnes of bombs. Iraq was essentially

On March 1, 1991, Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf said, "We must have killed
100,000," according to the Los Angeles Times. On March 20, the Wall Street
Journal reported that Schwarzkopf provided Congress the figure 100,000 Iraqi
military killed. On May 22, the Defense Intelligence Agency placed the
number of Iraq soldiers killed at 100,000.

On March 3, the London Times reported allied intelligence estimated 200,000
Iraqi soldiers were killed. A French military intelligence source gave the
same 200,000 figure to the Nouvelle Observateur. In the summer of 1991,
former secretary of the navy John Lehman told a gathering of business and
political leaders the Pentagon estimated 200,000 Iraqis were killed in the

In response to the question how many soldiers and civilians were killed in
Iraq in the war, then-Gen. Colin Powell told the New York Times on March 23:
"It's really not a number I'm terribly interested in."

Civilian casualties from the bombing were in the tens of thousands.
Thousands died from direct bomb hits, but far more died from the destruction
of facilities essential to civilian life. Within hours of the first bomb
there was no electricity anywhere in Iraq. In the first two days, pipes
distributing water ran dry throughout the country.

During the first week of February '91, I travelled more than 3,000
kilometres in Iraq with two photographers and a translator, examining the
destruction of civilian life and emergency medical services. The first night
in Baghdad the minister of health, who had no communication outside his
temporary office in a hospital except by courier, said his first three
priorities were clean water, water, water.

He estimated at least 3,000 civilians were dead, 25,000 more were in
hospitals and clinics and a quarter million more were sick without medicines
or medical care, from drinking polluted water. All municipal water systems
in the country were destroyed  a fact we confirmed in dozens of cities from
Basra in the far south to Samarra north of Baghdad.

To be severely nauseated, plagued with diarrhea, dehydrated, desperately
thirsty and have nothing to drink but the water that made you sick is a
special misery.

Visits in seven hospitals are never to be forgotten. On the first night, we
entered a major hospital in Baghdad. What greeted us was a scene somewhere
between Dante's Inferno and M-A-S-H. Cold and dark, with two candles for 20
beds, the room was crowded with patients, families, health professionals.

Sobbing, murmuring, urgent instructions from doctors, occasional shrieks of
pain, and the wail of grieving relatives filled the air. One middle-aged
woman had about 30 shrapnel wounds on her back. A 12-year-old girl whose
left leg had been amputated near the hip without anesthetics was in
delirium. A semiconscious woman who had been seriously injured when her
house caved in had not yet been told that she was the sole survivor of her
family of seven.

A surgeon who had just performed radical surgery on a young man's arm came
over to us. He was exhausted and near despair. Trained in England to be a
surgeon, he was now working frantically 18 to 20 hours a day. He told us
there was no anesthesia, so patients were held down by aides during
operations. Gauze, bandages, adhesive tape, and antiseptics had run out.

He held out his bare hands and said, "These are my tools to heal the sick.
The few hours I have to sleep I wake up to find myself rubbing my hands. I
have no clean water to wash them with, no alcohol to kill germs, our glove
supply was exhausted a week ago. I move hour after hour from the open wounds
of one person to another, spreading infection. I cannot help my patients."

In Basra, we saw a middle-class residential area that was heavily damaged on
Jan. 31. Twenty-eight persons were reported killed, 56 were injured, 20
homes and six shops were destroyed. We inspected about 18 units in a very
large low-cost public housing project that were destroyed or severely
damaged on Jan. 28, killing 46 and injuring 70. The nearby high school was
damaged by a direct hit on a corner. The elementary school across the street
was damaged. We visited an area where, on Feb. 6  the day we arrived  14
persons were killed, 46 injured and 128 apartments and homes destroyed or
damaged together with an adjacent Pepsi-Cola bottling plant and offices
across a wide avenue.

The United States has put its casualties at 148  of whom it says 37 were
killed by U.S. "friendly fire." The remainder were by chance, negligence and
mechanical failure.

More than 1,000 Iraqis died for every U.S. death. It was a slaughter.

The war itself, for all its terror, inflicted minor destruction compared to
the U.N. sanctions imposed by the Security Council days after Iraq invaded
Kuwait. An international health group estimated that "an excess of 46,900
children died between January and August, 1991," in Iraq from sanctions and
the effect of the bombing, according to a report in the Sept. 24, 1992, New
England Journal of Medicine. In 1995, a U.N. Food and Agriculture
Organization report found 12 per cent of children surveyed in Baghdad wasted
and 28 per cent stunted. FAO team members estimated "567,000 children had
died as a consequence of economic sanctions."

When I met the minister of health, a Kurd and a medical doctor, in Baghdad
on Feb. 24, 2003, he gave me the ministry's detailed report on the effects
of the sanctions on the people of Iraq, through December, 2002. It stated
1,807,000 people had died in Iraq as a direct result of the sanctions since
their imposition on Aug. 6, 1990. Of these 757,000 were children under the
age of five.

The health ministry confirmed that Iraq is less well prepared to treat large
numbers of civilian casualties now than it was in 1991 when sanctions had
been in place for only six months. It has struggled for 12 years to rebuild
its health care system and secure vital medicines, medical supplies, and
equipment. Its priorities have been nutrition related illnesses, cancers
primarily related to depleted uranium ammunition used by U.S. forces in 1991
and medical services for a weakened population.

Emergency medical service capacity will be exhausted in days if cities are
bombed. The probability of more intensive bombing of cities with street
combat and far greater civilian casualties is high. Protected supplies of
drinking water ambulances, oxygen tanks, anaesthetics, antiseptics, sutures,
bandages, burn treatment supplies, gasoline powered generators are not
sufficient and cannot be quickly obtained.

Thousands may die who could be saved if there were reserves of medical
emergency supplies protected from bombing.

Since 1991, the U.S. has spent hundreds of billions of dollars on new war
technology, weapons and special forces training. Iraq has been struggling to

President George W. Bush presided over the execution of 152 people during
his five plus years as governor of Texas  far more than any other U.S.
governor since World War II and more than one-third of all executions in the
United States during his terms as governor. Of those executed, all were
poor, 50 were African Americans, 21 Hispanic, two were women. Included were
teenagers at the time of their offence, mentally retarded persons and
foreign nationals executed in violation of the Vienna Convention on
Diplomatic Relations.

Bush has sought war with Iraq throughout his presidency. He and a handful of
advisers are obsessed with the desire to control Iraq and its resources, and
have brought us all to the brink of disaster. He will not be compassionate
in the conduct, or aftermath of war.

He must be restrained by world opinion, opposition from the people of the
United States and by the United Nations and its members that understand the
tragedy of war.

International human rights activist Ramsey Clark was U.S. attorney-general
from 1967-69 under president Lyndon Johnson.

by David E. Rosenbaum
New York Times, 8th March

WASHINGTON, March 7  The Congressional Budget Office estimated today that
simply sending troops and equipment to the Persian Gulf to fight Iraq and
returning them home would cost nearly $25 billion and that the total cost of
a potential war would doubtless be much higher depending on how long
hostilities lasted and how much was spent on reconstruction and other

The Bush administration has repeatedly refused to predict what a war might
cost. At his news conference on Thursday night, President Bush said that the
money would be requested from Congress "at the appropriate time" and that
the price of doing nothing would be far greater than the price of going to

Last week, a senior Defense Department official suggested that a war might
cost $60 billion or more.

The budget office, the nonpartisan staff of economists and other specialists
who advise Congress on fiscal and economic matters, said even rough
projections of the total cost of war were impossible because "multiple
unknowns exist about how a conflict with Iraq might actually unfold" and
because long-term expenditures depend on "highly uncertain decisions about
future policies."

But the budget staff said it was possible to calculate some of what it
called incremental costs, the costs that might be incurred beyond the
amounts budgeted for routine operations.

The staff calculated that the initial cost of deploying troops and equipment
in the region of the war would be about $14 billion, that the cost of the
first month of combat would be $10 billion and that the cost would then fall
slightly to about $8 billion a month.

After the war, the budget office figured it would cost about $9 billion to
return the troops and equipment to home bases. American occupation of Iraq,
the staff said, could vary from $1 billion to $4 billion a month.

The budget office said it was not willing to speculate how much might be
spent for humanitarian aid to Iraq, aid to allies in the region or
construction of military bases in an occupied Iraq. Nor, the office said,
could calculations be made of future troop levels and other military needs
that might arise from a war.

The estimates of the cost of a possible war were in the budget office's
analysis of the budget for the next fiscal year that President Bush sent to
Congress last month.

The new analysis found that the anticipated deficit had grown by about $50
billion since January, primarily because of deteriorating economic
conditions and a big spending bill passed by Congress and signed by the
president last month.

The deficit analysis does not include war costs.

Over the next five years, the deficit projections of the budget office are
similar to those made by the president's budget office.

For the 2003 fiscal year, which ends on Sept. 30, the Congressional staff
projected a slightly lower deficit than the administration did, $287 billion
compared with the administration's projection of $304 billion. For the 2004
fiscal year, the Congressional forecast was slightly higher than the
administration's, $338 billion compared with $307 billion.

Over five years, the budget office calculated, the Bush tax-cut and spending
proposals would worsen the deficit by a total of about $800 billion. The
cumulative deficits over five years would be $362 billion if no changes were
made in the law and $1.2 trillion if the Bush proposals are enacted, the
analysis showed.

This calculation does not take into account how the Bush proposals would
affect the economy. The administration maintains that the tax cuts would
make the overall economy and therefore the budget picture much stronger.

The administration made no effort to calculate deficits beyond the five-year
period, while the budget office extended its projections for 10 years.

The Congressional staff acknowledged that such long-range predictions were
unreliable. But when it tallied the numbers for 10 years, it found that the
administration's tax and spending proposals would worsen the budget
situation by a total of $2.7 trillion. Again, no assumptions were made about
how the Bush proposals would affect the economy.

Joan Lowy
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 9th March

The impetus for war with Iraq is to deprive the rogue nation of its weapons
of mass destruction, but finding, securing and disposing them is an
uncertain prospect at best, according to defense experts.

Iraq says it no longer has chemical or biological weapons, but the United
States believes Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein still maintains an extensive
hidden arsenal.

The first priority should war begin will be to destroy any chemical or
biological materials in the hands of Iraqi military units, said retired
Brig. Gen. John Reppert, executive director of the Belfer Center for Science
and International Affairs at Harvard University.

"The last thing we want is the weapons mounted and deployed during combat,
so we will make every effort we can to eliminate those first," Reppert said.

Still, many defense experts presume that Saddam will use chemical weapons
against U.S. forces or against Israel as soon as hostilities begin.

"I am assuming he will have expended a significant fraction of his chemical
stockpiles on the first day of the war," said John Pike, director of, a defense think tank. "He can't take them with him. They
won't do him any good after he's dead."

The Iraqi army used chemical weapons extensively during an eight-year war
with Iran in the 1980s, killing tens of thousands of Iranians, and again in
1988 against ethnic Kurds in northern Iraq, killing more than 5,000
civilians in a single assault.

The U.S. Army has special units trained to find and secure chemical and
biological weapons, as do some other coalition forces. Most, if not all,
troops have been briefed on what chemical or biological weapons or
stockpiles look like and what to do if they encounter something suspicious.

In cases where coalition forces find caches of chemical or biological
weapons, they will likely be destroyed by targeted air strikes employing
special explosives.

In at least one instance during the 1991 Persian Gulf War, U.S. troops --
unaware that chemical weapons were present -- were inadvertently exposed to
chemical vapors while destroying a military facility.

But some kinds of explosives burn so hot that they prevent the escape of
poisonous gas or deadly germs. Fuel air explosives, for example, release an
aerosol or fine powder, which then ignites, creating a large fireball that
incinerates all material in the vicinity.

Thermobaric explosives were used in Afghanistan to destroy underground
bunkers. The explosive force smashes everything in the bunker, followed by a
heat flash that incinerates all the material inside.

"You are not going to have local platoons of infantry throw grenades into a
place and merrily watch it burn," said Dan Goure, vice president of the
Lexington Institute, a defense think tank. "It will be done by specialists."

However, war is chaotic and there is always the possibility that retreating
Iraqi forces may leave chemical or biological weapons simply lying around.

"You not only have the problem of finding the stuff, you have the problem of
inadvertently running over it," Goure said. "A shell lying by the side of
the road, to put it bluntly."

Through intelligence sources, U.S. and other coalition forces will have a
very good idea before the war starts of where they should look for chemical,
biological or nuclear weapons or materials, Goure said. Other experts,
however, said it's unlikely the United States knows where stockpiles are

"If the United States knew where Iraq's chemical stockpile was currently
located, why didn't we send the U.N. inspectors there? That would have
convinced the French. It would have been a smoking gun," Pike said.

"Iraq's chemical weapons stockpile probably consists of hundreds of tons of
agent, not thousands of tons," Pike said. "Hundreds of tons of agent is
something you can store in a small warehouse."

U.S. officials have said that Iraq made several attempts to obtain nuclear
material from other countries, although it's not known whether it was
successful. If Iraq has weapons grade nuclear material, the amount would
probably be small enough to fit into a lead-lined footlocker, defense
experts said.

Yet, despite its relatively small size, nuclear material would probably be
the easiest of the three to find because of its radiological signature,
experts said.

Biological weapons are a question mark because small amounts of such arms
can be hidden and moved around with relative ease. Assuming coalition forces
win control of Iraq, a high priority will be tracking down Iraqi scientists
and questioning them about where weapons and material are cached. It's
likely that scientists will be offered amnesty in exchange for cooperation
and perhaps even paid for information.

" 'Tell us where the Scuds are and earn $1,000.' Nothing wrong with that,"
Goure said.

One of the key questions coalition forces will be asking Iraqi scientists is
whether Iraq passed any dangerous germs like anthrax, Ebola, plague or
smallpox to terrorists.

"It's going to be very desirable to understand very quickly whether Saddam
Hussein's revenge includes having provided some terrorist group with a
lifetime supply of smallpox," Pike said.

by Thomas Caywood
Boston Herald, 9th March

Retired Air Force Gen. Tad Oelstrom has an uneasy feeling in the pit of his
stomach. Matthew Baker, a military analyst for a private intelligence firm,
lingers at his computer in the evenings.

They can't say when the first laser-guided bombs will blow Iraqi buildings
into smoking craters, but both men sense war closing in like a rumbling
summer thunderstorm.

"I think we all spend time with our stomachs gurgling now," said Oelstrom,
director of the national security program at Harvard University's John F.
Kennedy School of Government. "This cannot wait a whole lot longer if we are
going to use the military option."

The Pentagon last week announced plans to deploy another 60,000 troops,
mostly heavy armored cavalry units, to the Persian Gulf region.

The ships carrying their tanks and infantry fighting vehicles, however, may
still be in the Atlantic Ocean when the fighting starts, military experts

"Our sources keep suggesting, and it's a trickle, war within days," said
Baker, chief analyst for the private intelligence firm Stratfor of Austin,
Texas. "Let's just say every night about 6 o'clock, a lot of us are seated
at our computers waiting."

Robert Art, a professor of international relations at Brandeis University
and a former member of the Department of Defense's long-range planning
staff, also expects U.S. and British ground forces to storm into Iraq before

"If you look carefully, the war has already started. We are now using the
no-fly zones to shoot any surface-to-air missiles we see," Art said.

Army Gen. Tommy Franks, who commands U.S. forces in the Persian Gulf, has
said the roughly 225,000 American and 25,000 British soldiers already in the
region are ready to attack even without Turkish permission to use their soil
as a staging point for a second front. The Turkish parliament narrowly
rejected the request this week in a surprise blow to the Pentagon's war

"I'm not so sure it has compromised the plan to the point where we are not
ready," said Oelstom, the retired Air Force general.

Stratfor's Baker agreed.

"The Turkish front has been something of a side note all along," likely
intended to draw Iraqi army divisions away from Baghdad, Baker said.

War planners may still airlift troops into northern Iraq from Kuwait to
secure rich oil fields "before the Kurds seize them or the Iraqis blow them
up," Art said. But that kind of large scale helicopter assault, he said, can
be tricky and logistically taxing on fuel supplies.

Whatever the plan, Baker expects it to go into action in a matter of days.

"Naval air units are preparing for combat within the next couple of days,"
he said. "We also are seeing reports that ground units have their maps
distributed to them. That doesn't happen until immediately before action."

The approach of spring and scorching desert temperatures likely is on the
minds of the military's top brass, too.

"Early April also brings sandstorms, sand mixed with precipitation that's
basically a grinding mudstorm," Baker said. "Not good for turbine-engine
tanks and helicopters. Not good for optics and laser targeting. Really a

But local anti-war activists, who are now busy planning for a March 15 peace
march in Washington, D.C., said they believe war still can be averted.

"You put it all together, the people in the streets, the governments that
don't want to do this in different parts of the world, we're holding them
off so far," said Mike Prokoch of Dorchester People for Peace, "and we're
feeling pretty good about it."

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