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[casi] topple SH or take control of oil fields?

Russian intelligence thought that the invasion would be mid-February, which
could mean that the US could be a month behind schedule, possibly due to UN
negotiations, Turkey's vote, worldwide opposition etc, which would explain why
the US  took the risk of starting the ground and air war at the same time.
This Reuters article reminds us that for the North Americans, taking control
of the Iraqi oil fields is the primary war aim, more important that "toppling"
S. Hussein. So watch for US backpedalling of war aims, and concentration of
military effort around the oil fields, while the US media distracts us with
the 'seige of Baghdad,"
Philippa Winkler

Russia Military See U.S. Iraq Attack in Feb -Report

uploaded 23 Jan 2003

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's armed forces have obtained information that the
United States and its allies have already decided to launch military action in
Iraq from mid-February, news agency Interfax said on Wednesday.

The agency's specialist military news wire AVN, quoting an unnamed
high-ranking source in the Russian general staff, said U.S.-led operations
would be launched once an attacking force of 150,000 had been assembled in the

"According to the information we have, the operation is planned for the second
half of February. The decision to launch it has been taken but not yet been
made public," the source told the agency, which has generally authoritative
contacts in the Russian military and political establishment.

The source added that the main aim of the war would be to secure control of
Iraqi oilfields.

It was not indicated by what means the Russian military had obtained such
information -- it was not clear if it had been acquired covertly by Russian
intelligence services or by a direct tip-off from Washington, which would be
keen to avoid any misunderstandings with Moscow if it does launch a war.

The United States says it is building up a force estimated to reach more than
150,000 by the end of next month. Britain is sending a further 30,000 troops.
No other allies have come forward with significant military commitments so far
and some, notably France, Germany and Russia are against rapid action.

"The military operation against Iraq will be conducted by a combination of
means -- strikes will be from the air, land and sea. The war will be short,
lasting about one month," the Russian source was quoted as saying.

The source added that the main aim of the operation was not so much to topple
Iraqi President Saddam Hussein but to secure U.S. control over Iraqi

"Hussein is the pretext. The real aim of the military action is control over
Iraqi oil," he said.

Russia, together with France which is also a permanent member of the U.N.
Security Council, are cautioning against U.S action in Iraq now while U.N.
arms inspectors are continuing to search for evidence of weapons of mass
destruction there.

Russia has a major commercial interest in Iraqi oil and has made clear its
eagerness to exploit Iraq's huge reserves once U.N. sanctions on Saddam are

Source:  Reuters

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