The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.

Views expressed in this archived message are those of the author, not of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.

[Main archive index/search] [List information] [Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: [casi] RussIntelNews: Iraq 03-03-22

Dear Eric,

1) A permanent access to such (English) info is possible at:
where you'll find regularly updated articles.

Those are taken from:
which has fresher news, but unfortunately their server is often down.

Do you happen to read Russian? If so, then you'll find

2) the Russian Original at

under the headline
ОПЕРАТИВНАЯ ИНФОРМАЦИЯ - "operativnaya informatsiya"

Its latest issue is of 24.03.2003 [10:26] - just 1 day ahead of the
above mentioned English translations.

Direct access to that column at:

3) ... Other supplementing worthwile info in Russian can be taken from:

This is a very useful joint resource project set up by the "Analytical
Directorate of the 1st Channel and the Electronical Paper Дни.ру."

Now then, please find below the latest English update.



Uncensored Info on Iraq War from the Russian GRU
Updated 03/23/03 09-16pm PST

Latest report: War in Iraq - situation in southern Iraq

March 23, 2003, 1200hrs MSK (GMT +3), Moscow - The situation in southern
Iraq can be characterized as unstable and controversial. Heavy fighting is
taking place in the Umm-Qasr-An-Nasiriya-Basra triangle. Satellite and
signals intelligence show that both sides actively employ armored vehicles
in highly mobile attacks and counterattacks. Additionally, fighting is
continuing near the town of An-Najaf.

As of this morning the Iraqi defenses along the Basra - An-Nasiriya -
An-Najaf line are holding.

Following the yesterday's Iraqi counter strike near An-Nasiriya the US
command was forced to halt the advance of its troops toward An-Najaf and to
redirect a portion of available tank forces to cover the flanks of the 3rd
Motorized Infantry Division attacked by the Iraqis. By late evening
yesterday constant air strikes and increasing strength of American tank
attacks forced the Iraqis to withdraw their troops back to eastern parts of
Nasiriya, across the Euphrates river, were they assumed defensive positions
along the river bank.

During the last day of fighting the Iraqis lost up to 20 tanks, up to 2
artillery batteries, and around 100 troops.

Yesterday's US losses are estimated at 10 destroyed or disabled tanks,
several armored personnel carriers and up to 15 troops killed in action.

By 0700hrs MSK today the fighting at Nasiriya stopped. Currently both sides
are rushing to regroup their forces and to get them ready for more fighting
in this area.

Near Basra the advance of the coalition forces came to a complete halt at
the near approaches to the western and southwestern outskirts of the city.
The US and British forces are rushing to settle into defensive positions
after failing to surround Basra. Eastern and northern approaches to Basra
remain open and under control of the Iraqi forces.

More controversial reports are coming in from the town of Umm-Qasr. As
early as three days ago the US command has declared that the coalition
forces have captured this small port town and the adjacent oil terminal.
However, throughout these three days heavy fighting continued in the town
and in the suburbs. The US forces are still unable to break the defense put
up by the Iraqi 45th brigade defending the town.

Moreover, several counterattacks by the Iraqi forces at Umm Qasr have
pushed the US forces out of some part of the town. During last night the
Iraqi 45th brigade was reinforced by a special tank battalion of the 51st
Infantry Division. The reinforcement included up to 600 troops and 10
tanks. However, the coalition forces were also strengthened overnight with
two tank battalions and self-propelled artillery. As of 1000hrs MSK this
morning heavy fighting continues at Umm Qasr.

According to intercepted radio communications, the British marine infantry
units in defensive positions on the Fao peninsula have requested emergency
air and artillery support after being attacked by superior Iraqi forces. So
far it is not clear whether this was an actual counterattack by the Iraqis
or just a nuisance attack. The British commanders report that their
positions are being attacked by up to a regiment of infantry supported by

Other intercepted radio traffic suggests that, as the British and US forces
bend the Basra - An-Najaf line of defense, the Iraqi command will pull back
its main forces to the Al-Ammara - Ad-Divaniya line. Already most of the
Iraqi forces in this region have moved to the Al-Ammara - Ad-Divaniya
positions and within the next 48 hours defense of Basra and Fao peninsula
will be reduced to just the local units and garrisons. The goal of the
remaining forces will be to tie up superior coalition forces in these

According to radio intercepts during today's night the coalition begun
airdropping troops in northern Iraq from airfields in Turkey and Jordan.
These forces are being used to form mobile strike groups in northern
Kurdistan and near the western-Iraqi town of Er-Rutbah. Already up to 5,000
coalition troops have been delivered to northern Kurdistan and up to 1000
paratroopers have landed near Er-Rutbah.

Russian military intelligence has uncovered a range of facts pointing to a
separate arrangement between the top leadership of Jordan and the US
military command. Officially Jordan has declared its neutrality in the war
against Iraq and refused to provide its airspace to the coalition aviation.
However, at the same time Jordan has allowed the anti-Iraq coalition to
place surveillance radars and radio reconnaissance stations on its
territory. Jordan has also allowed the coalition to use its military

Available information indicates that coalition special ops units, including
up to 400 troops and their command headquarters, have been deployed to the
Jordanian Zarka military base and to the home base of the Jordan's 71st spe
cial ops brigade.

Reports that have surfaced in the media in the past 12 hours about the
capture of a US special ops unit near Baghdad are probably not true. It is
likely that these reports refer to the capture of coalition paratroopers
yesterday morning near the town of Akashat.

During the past 12 hours there has been a drop in intensity of air strikes
against Baghdad. Analysts attribute this to the fact that most of available
coalition air assets are now deployed in support of ground forces.
Intercepted coalition radio traffic shows that most of the bombing attacks
against Baghdad are carried out by the US strategic aviation and by
sea-launched long-range cruise missiles.

So far the US was unable to destroy the air defense networks in central
Iraq. As before, the Iraqis continue to covertly use their radars and SAM
launchers on a limited bases while employing a huge number of decoys
designed to imitate radars.

The US was also unable to disrupt the central control over the Iraqi army.
The US command is forced to admit that, despite the best efforts of the
coalition aviation, the Iraqi forces maintain high combat readiness and
reliable command and control structure.

[Russian] radio intercept units have reported the loss of two coalition
planes. One of the planes was a "Tornado" strike aircraft and the other one
was believed to be an F-16 fighter-bomber. The F-16 was shot down over
Baghdad and is believed to have crash-landed in a desert in southern Iraq.
A coalition search-and-resque unit was immediately dispatched to this area.

A CIA referent in the combat area Col. Davis (likely to be a pseudonym) and
the US DoD Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) regional director were demoted
due to their inadequate performance in estimating the strength of Iraq's
forces and their combat readiness.

Eyewitnesses report that Gen. Tommy Franks looks extremely exhausted and
irritated. Gen. Franks has cancelled the meeting with journalists planned
for this morning.

Work is paralyzed at the coalition press-center in Kuwait. Journalists are
not able to get any information except for the hourly press communique from
the command. A variety of reasons are cited by the military to reduce the
number of trips into the combat zone for the journalists. All reports
coming from the journalists attached to the coalition units are now being
strictly censored by the military. All live broadcasts, as those seen
during the first day of the war, are now strictly prohibited by a special
order from the coalition command. The required time delay between the time
news video footage was shot and the time it can be broadcast has been
increased to a minimum of 4 hours.

More accurate information became available regarding the losses sustained
by both sides during the first three days of the war. The coalition has
officially acknowledged the deaths of some 25 servicemen. However,
intercepted radio communications show that the actual number of coalition
casualties is at least 55-70 troops killed and no less than 200 wounded.
The emergency dispatch of the "Comfort" medical ship closer to the combat
zone is a direct indication of serious casualties. The "Comfort" is
expected to arrive to the southern tip of the Fao peninsula later tonight.

It is more difficult to evaluate the losses of the Iraqi especially due to
the air strikes. On the south front Iraqi losses are estimated at 400-600
killed, 1,500 wounded and up to 300 captured.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Eric Herring" <>
To: "AS-ILAS" <>
Sent: Monday, March 24, 2003 3:04 PM
Subject: Re: [casi] RussIntelNews: Iraq 03-03-22

Thanks for this. Where did you get this? Is there a website?
Thanks for your help

On Sun, 23 Mar 2003 22:29:11 +0100 AS-ILAS <> wrote:

> Russian Intelligence News
> GRU - Glavnoye Razvedyvatelnoye Upravleniye - Main Intelligence
> War in Iraq - situation at Basra and An-Nasiriya
> March 22, 2002, 1300hrs MSK (GMT +3), Moscow - Additional information
> the situation in the primary combat areas in southern Iraq became
> by 1300hrs (Moscow time, GMT +3). The US command reports about the
> surrender of the entire Iraqi 51st Infantry Division turned out to be a
> complete fabrication. According to our sources the 51st Division
> to fight on the approaches to Basra and we can only talk about individual
> cases of Iraqi soldiers being captured in combat.
> Elements of the US 3rd Infantry Division and the 1st Marine Infantry
> Division ended up in an exceptionally difficult situation. While
> to encircle Basra from the north and to block An-Nasiriya elements the
> and 1st infantry divisions found themselves wedged between the defending
> Iraqi forces. The Iraqi command used this situation and delivered a
> decisive counterattack with up to 80 tanks in the open flank of the US
> forces, slicing through their combat orders. As the result of this
> counterattack these US units are now at risk of being separated from the
> main coalition forces and being surrounded.
> By 1100hrs MSK Iraqi units advanced into the US attack front by 10-15
> kilometers and Gen. Tommy Franks, the commander of the coalition forces,
> ordered his troops to switch entirely to defensive operations. At the
> time he issued orders to the forward-deployed coalition tank units to
> their reconnaissance operations in the directions of Es-Samaba and
> and to move immediately to support the defending US forces. However, the
> situation is complicated by the fact that a part of the coalition tanks
> currently disabled due to the lack of fuel and are awaiting the arrival
> fuel convoys. Thus the tanks are able to gradually rejoin combat in small
> numbers as the fuel becomes available.
> Currently the US and the Iraqi tank forces are engaged in mobile head-on
> combat approximately 70-90 kilometers to the south of An-Nasiriya. Combat
> orders have been received by the carrier borne aviation in the Persian
> Gulf, which until now did not take part in this battle. At the same time
> orders were issued to all available coalition strike aircraft in Qatar to
> scramble in support of the defending coalition forces.
> Intercepted radio communications indicate that during the morning period
> March 22 the US forces lost 10-15 tanks destroyed or disabled and up to
> other armored vehicles. Medevac helicopters flew more than 30
> search-and-rescue missions, which suggests heavy coalition losses.
> Our sources report that during the early morning hours in southwestern
> in the vicinity of Akashat the Iraqi forces have engaged and surrounded a
> tactical paratroop unit of the 101st Airborne Division. Some of the
> surrounded paratroopers were able to break out into the desert, where
> request air support and finally lost their Iraqi pursuers. However, up to
> 30 US troops were killed or captured in this engagement. Additionally,
> [Russian] radio intercept units report that one the US attack helicopters
> providing close air support was shot down.
> The top US military command is planning to enhance the coalition command.
> During the Joint Chief of Staff meeting its Chairman Gen. Richard Mayers
> expressed strong criticism of the actions by the coalition commander Gen.
> Franks and proposed to strengthen his headquarters with several other
> senior military commanders. Gen. Franks is required to do everything he
> to change the current situation on the front. Analysts believe that, if
> during the next 3-5 days Gen. Franks fails to achieve any significant
> results, than it is entirely possible that he will be replaced as the
> commander of the coalition forces.
> Update: The coalition forces were able to capture a bridge in the suburbs
> of Nasiriya. Their control of the Basra airport is tentative at best as
> large numbers of Iraqi forces continue to resist with heavy artillery and
> machine gun fire. Around Basra the coalition forces have advanced at most
> by 1.5 kilometers. Gen. Franks has announced a change in plans: the
> coalition forces are no longer set on capturing Basra so not to "create
> military confrontations in that city." The coalition forces still do not
> control Umm Qasr and appear to be losing territory.
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------
> -----
> War in Iraq - movement around Basra
> March 22, 2002, 0800hrs MSK (GMT +3), Moscow - Information received
> the last night is very contradictory. During all day and night fighting
> continued around Basra, Al-Nasiriya, and on the Faw (Fao) peninsula.
> Despite of numerous reports by the American and British command about the
> capture of Umm Qasr the coalition forces have so far failed to establish
> full control over this small borderline town. Exchange of fire in the
> is continuing. Elements of the [Iraqi] 45-th Infantry Brigade, which is
> defending the town, are surrounded but continue to resist and are trying
> break out toward Basra.
> According to intelligence reports, at Umm Qasr American and British
> have sustained 10 killed and around 40 wounded soldiers and officers.
> Additionally, the Iraqis have destroyed up to 8 British and US armored
> personnel carriers.
> "Iraqi resistance turned out to be far more determined than we've
> expected," the British and US commanders are reporting. - "They are
> surrounded but continue fighting even after losing much of their heavy
> equipment. Often we could only advance after completely destroying them
> with artillery and aviation."
> So far there was no success in trying to clarify the reports about the
> capture or surrender of the 51st Infantry Division. According to
> intercepted radio communications, this division was fighting as a part of
> the 3rd Army Corp (Al-Nasiriya). It's brigades took up defensive
> along the northwestern approaches to Basra and participated in combat
> the first day of fighting, which makes their voluntary surrender
> Analysts believe that the anglo-american coalition reports refer to a
> surrender by a capture of one of the destroyed units or to a successful
> operation by their special forces.
> Analysis of the video footage of the captured Iraqis, distributed by the
> coalition press-service, makes it difficult to accept the Iraqi army's
> "moral breakdown" story advertised by the Americans. Most of the captives
> retain their dignity and show no fear or ingratiation characteristic of
> demoralized enemy. In addition to that, Americans did not come up with a
> single video recording of destroyed or abandoned combat vehicles or any
> other equipment, nor did they provide any interviews with the captured
> Iraqis.
> The US forces have halted their advance into Iraq and are now actively
> engaged in reconnaissance along the directions of Al-Nasiriya, An-Najaf
> Al-Ammara. However, the main efforts of the coalition are being
> concentrated around the approaches to Basra. It is expected that by
> tomorrow they will build up a strike force to storm the city. Most major
> events of the upcoming several days will be unfolding in this region.
> intercepts show that up to 25,000 British and American troops are already
> in the Basra region. The city is under a constant artillery and aviation
> bombardment.
> During the past night a fuel supply convoy of the US 3rd Infantry
> was attacked by Iraqi special forces. Up to 7 fuel trucks have been lost
> the attack. Three US soldiers were killed and nine wounded. Another three
> US soldiers are considered MIA and are believed to have been captured by
> the Iraqis.
> As was expected, after realizing the failure of the coup against Hussein
> the US have resorted to intensive bombing of Baghdad beginning on the
> evening of March 21st. Just during that night Baghdad was attacked with
> cruise missiles and over 1,000 aviation bombs. The city is engulfed by
> numerous fires.
> Additionally, more than 20 other Iraqi cities were also bombed. More than
> 1,000 cruise missiles were launched against various targets and over
> bombs were dropped. At the moment it is difficult to estimate the
> effectiveness of these strikes. However, judging by the high activity
> levels of Iraqi radio transmitters, the US was unable to disrupt the
> control of the Iraqi army.
> Russian radio intercept units are certain that at least one coalition
> combat plane was shot down in these air raids.
> Our sources believe that the high-intensity air strikes will continue for
> another 24 hours and after that the coalition will be forced to scale
> the attacks to conduct additional reconnaissance and to regroup its
> A radio intercept made last night at approximately 4:40 am indicated that
> two British helicopters were shot down by a "Strela" SAM system after
> flying into a SAM trap. It is believed that the two SAR helicopters were
> retrieve the pilot of the combat plane downed during the earlier air
> strike. The number of dead and wounded is still being established. So far
> the coalition command did not report these losses. (1)
> The coalition commander Gen. Tommy Franks demanded from the Air Force a
> maximum possible increase in the close air support of the ground forces.
> During a "radio-bridge" with the commanders of all units Gen. Franks
> expressed his concern with the mounting casualties and the stubborn Iraqi
> resistance. "We've just spent three days trying to capture one small
> so we can only guess what awaits us in Baghdad!" - angrily said the
> commander and demanded better aviation support to soften up the defending
> Iraqi forces ahead of the advancing coalition units.
> For the past day the coalition losses ar up to 30 killed and around 40
> wounded. Ten coalition armored vehicles were destroyed my land mines. At
> least two armored vehicles were destroyed by anti-tank weapons.
> Iraqi losses are estimated in the range of 250-300 killed and up to 500
> wounded. So far it is not possible to determine the damage from the night
> bombing raids. However, more than 500 people have been taken to hospitals
> in Baghdad - all of them were civilians.
> Update:
> While this article was translated the US Navy has confirmed that two
> British Sea Knight helicopters of the Royal Navy have crashed killing all
> onboard - 6 Britons and 1 American - a US Navy officer. The helicopters
> crashed at around 4:30 am. The official explanation for the loss was that
> the two helicopters crashed into each other while taking-off from a ship.
> It is interesting to note that during more than 25 years in British
> there wasn't a single collision between the Sea Knights. The Royal Navy
> operates more than 300 Sea Knights and all helicopter pilots adhere to
> strict sets of rules during take-offs and landings from ships; rules that
> are designed to help pilots to avoid this type of collisions.
> _______________________________________________
> Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
> To unsubscribe, visit
> To contact the list manager, email
> All postings are archived on CASI's website:

Dr. Eric Herring
Department of Politics
University of Bristol
10 Priory Road
Bristol BS8 1TU
England, UK
Office tel. +44-(0)117-928-8582
Mobile tel. +44-(0)7771-966608
Fax +44-(0)117-973-2133

Network of Activist Scholars
of Politics and International Relations (NASPIR)

Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
To unsubscribe, visit
To contact the list manager, email
All postings are archived on CASI's website:

[Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]