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Dear all, On the http://www.aeronautics.ru/news/news002/news078.htm there are what purport to be translations of analyses of the war situation based on Russian intelligence reports. The site says "The Iraqwar.ru analytical center was created recently by a group of journalists and military experts from Russia to provide accurate and up-to-date news and analysis of the war against Iraq. The following is the English translation of the IRAQWAR.RU report based on the Russian military intelligence reports." I cannot vouch for the authenticity of this information; but, if even partially accurate, it provides a *very* interesting different perspective on the current war from what we are hearing in the American or even European press. Can anybody provide additional info about the iraqwar.ru group (they have a Russian-language website at www.iraqwar.ru) or about the accuracy of the English-language translations available at http://www.aeronautics.ru/news/news002/news078.htm ? The links don't always work, but keep trying and you'll get through. I've pasted reports from the past three days below. Jacob March 25, 2003, 1230hrs MSK (GMT +3), Moscow - As of morning March 25 the situation on Iraqi fronts remains quiet. Both sides are actively preparing for future engagements. Exhausted in combat US 3rd Motorized Infantry Division is now being reinforced with fresh units from Kuwait (presumably with up to 1 Marine brigade and 1 tank brigade from the 1st Armored Division (all coming from the coalition command reserves) and elements of the British 7th Tank Brigade from the area of Umm Qasr. The troops have a stringent requirement to regroup and, after conducting additional reconnaissance, to capture An-Nasiriya within two days. The Iraqis have reinforced the An-Nasiriya garrison with several artillery battalions and a large number of anti-tank weapons. Additionally, the Iraqis are actively deploying landmines along the approaches to their positions. However, currently all combat has nearly ceased due to a sand storm raging over the region. Weather forecasts anticipate the storm's end by noon of March 26. According to intercepted radio communications the coalition advance will be tied to the end of the sand storm and is planned to take place during the night of March 26-27. The coalition command believes that a night attack will allow the its forces to achieve the element of surprise and to use its advantage in specialized night fighting equipment. There have been no reports of any losses resulting from direct combat in the past 10 hours. However, there is information about two coalition combat vehicles destroyed by landmines. Three US soldiers were wounded in one of these incidents. Positional warfare continues near Basra. The coalition forces in this area are clearly insufficient to continue the attack and the main emphasis is being placed on artillery and aviation. The city is under constant bombardment but so far this had little impact on the combat readiness of the Iraqi units. Thus, last night an Iraqi battalion reinforced with tanks swung around the coalition positions in the area of Basra airport and attacked the coalition forces in the flanks. As the result of this attack the US forces have been thrown back 1.5-2 kilometers leaving the airport and the nearby structures in the hands of the Iraqis. Two APCs and one tank were destroyed in this encounter. According to radio intelligence at least two US soldiers were killed and no less than six US soldiers were wounded. The coalition forces are still unable to completely capture the small town of Umm Qasr. By the end of yesterday coalition units were controlling only the strategic roads going through the town, but fierce fighting continued in the residential districts. At least two British servicemen were killed by sniper fire in Umm Qasr during the past 24 hours. The coalition command is extremely concerned with growing resistance movement in the rear of the advancing forces. During a meeting at the coalition command headquarters it was reported that up to 20 Iraqi reconnaissance units are active behind the coalition rear. The Iraqis attack lightly armed supply units; they deploy landmines and conduct reconnaissance. Additionally, captured villages have active armed resistance that is conducting reconnaissance in the interests of the Iraqi command and is organizing attacks against coalition troops. During the past 24 hours more than 30 coalition wheeled and armored vehicles have been lost to such attacks. Some 7 coalition servicemen have disappeared, 3 soldiers died and 10 were wounded. The coalition commander Gen. Tommy Franks ordered his forces to clear coalition rears from Iraqi diversionary units and partisans in the shortest possible time. The British side will be responsible for fulfilling these orders. A unit from the 22nd SAS regiment supported by the US 1st, 5th and 10th Special Operations Groups will carry out this operation. Each of these groups has up to 12 units numbering 12-15 troops each. All of these units have some Asian or Arabic Americans. The groups also have guides and translators from among local Iraqi collaborators, who went through rapid training at specialized centers in the Czech Republic and the UK. The sand storms turned out to be the main enemy of the American military equipment. Just the 3rd Motorized Infantry Division had more than 100 disabled vehicles disabled. The repair crews are working around the clock to return all the disabled equipment back into service. This is causing serious concern on the part of the coalition command. The M1A2 Abrams tanks are not known for the their reliable engines as it is, but in the sand storm conditions multiple breakdowns became a real problem for the tank crews. All attempts by the US paratroopers to capture the town of Kirkuk have yielded no result. The Americans counted on the support of the Kurds but the latter refused to take a direct part in the attack and demanded guarantees from the US command that it will prevent a Turkish invasion. The Turkish themselves are avoiding giving any such guarantees. Additionally, the situation [at Kirkuk] is affected by the lack of heavy weapons on the part of the US paratroopers. The aviation support alone is clearly not sufficient. The northern group of forces commander Marine Brig. Gen. Osman has requested artillery and armored vehicles. All indications are that so far the US is unable to form a combat-capable strike force in this area. According to satellite reconnaissance it seems likely that the Iraqis had time to remove the captured Apache Longbow attack helicopter of the 11th Aviation Regiment. The pieces remaining at the landing site following a US bombing strike indicate that the bombs hit a crudely constructed mockup. Aerial bombardment of Baghdad has so far failed to produce the expected results. All targets designated before the war have been hit 3 to 7 times, but this had almost no effect of the combat readiness of the Iraqi army, their air defenses or the command and control structures. It seems that during preparation for the war the Iraqis were able to create new, well-protected communication lines and control centers. There is plenty of intelligence information indicating that so far the US electronic reconnaissance was unable to locate and to penetrate the Iraqi command's communications network, which is an indication of the network's high technological sophistication. A particular point of concern for the US command is the huge overuse of precision-guided munitions and cruise missiles. Already the supply of heavy cruise missiles like the "Tomahawk" has been reduced by a third and, at the current rate of use, in three weeks the US will be left only with the untouchable strategic supply of these missiles. A similar situation exists with other types of precision-guided munitions. "The rate of their use is incompatible with the obtained results. We are literally dropping gold into the mud!" said Gen. Richard Mayers during a meeting at Pentagon yesterday morning. [reverse translation from Russian] The US experts already call this war a "crisis". "It was enough for the enemy to show a little resistance and some creative thinking as our technological superiority begun to quickly lose all its meaning. Our expenses are not justified by the obtained results. The enemy is using an order of magnitude cheaper weapons to reach the same goals for which we spend billions on technological whims of the defense industry!" said Gen. Stanley McCrystal during the same Pentagon meeting. [reverse translation from Russian] Since the early morning today the coalition high command and the Joint Chief of Staff are in an online conference joined by the Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. This meeting immediately follows an earlier meeting last night at the White House. During the night meeting with President Bush emergency actions were outlined to resolve the standstill in Iraq. The existing course of actions is viewed as "ineffective and leading to a crisis". The Secretary of State Collin Powell warned that, if the war in Iraq continues for more than a month, it might lead to unpredictable consequences in international politics. The Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff Gen. Richard Mayers reported on the proposed actions and corrections to the plan of the operation in Iraq. George Bush demanded that the military breaks the standstill in Iraq and within a week achieves significant military progress. A particular attention, according to Bush, should be paid to finding and eliminating the top Iraqi political and military leadership. Bush believes that Saddam Hussein and his closest aides are the cornerstone of the Iraqi defense. During today's online meeting at the coalition headquarters Gen. Franks was criticized for inefficient command of his troops and for his inability to concentrate available forces on the main tasks. According to [Russian military] intelligence Pentagon made a decision to significantly reinforce the coalition. During the next two weeks up to 50,000 troops and no less than 500 tanks will arrive to the combat area from the US military bases in Germany and Albania. By the end of April 120,000 more troops and up to 1,200 additional tanks will be sent to support the war against Iraq. A decision was made to change the way aviation is used in this war. The use of precision-guided munitions will be scaled down and these weapons will be reserved for attacking only known, confirmed targets. There will be an increase in the use of conventional high-yield aviation bombs, volume-detonation bombs and incendiary munitions. The USAF command is ordered to deliver to airbases used against Iraq a two-week supply of aviation bombs of 1-tonn caliber and higher as well as volume-detonation and incendiary bombs. This means that Washington is resorting to the "scorched earth" tactics and carpet-bombing campaign. (source: iraqwar.ru, 03-25-03, translated by Venik) March 24, 2003, 0800hrs MSK (GMT +3), Moscow - As of morning (MSK, GMT +3) March 24 the situation in Iraq can be characterized as quiet on all fronts. Attacking coalition forces have settled into positional warfare, they are exhausted, lost the attacking momentum and are in urgent need for fuel, ammunition, repairs and reinforcements. The Iraqis are also busy regrouping their forces, reinforcing the combat units and setting up new defense lines. Exceptionally heavy fighting continued for two days and nights near An-Nasiriya. Both warring sides employed large numbers of tanks and artillery. More than 20,000 troops of the US 3rd Motorized Infantry Division, supported by 200 tanks, 600 other armored vehicles and 150 artillery pieces, were opposed by the Iraqi 3rd Army Corps consisting of up to 40,000 troops, up to 250 tanks, more than 100 artillery, up to 100 mortars and 1000 rocket propelled grenade launchers (RPG) and anti-tank guided missiles (ATGM). The two-day battle ended without any significant results. The Americans have failed in trying to use their momentum in capturing An-Nasiriya and attempted to encircle the town from the west, where they encountered strong layered Iraqi defenses and forced to withdraw. The Iraqi forces used this opportunity to attack the US flanks with two brigades, breaking the US combat orders and causing panic among the US troops. The US command was forced to halt the advance of its forced toward An Najaf and once again redirect several tank battalions to support the attacked units. Nearly 6 hours was needed for the US aviation to stop the Iraqi attack and restore combat order of the US forces. During the past day the coalition aviation flew more than 2,000 close support missions in this area [An-Nasiriya]. "We can only thank God for having air dominance!" said the commander of the US 15th Marines Exp. Corps Col. Thomas Waldhauser in a private conversation with one of the CNN reporters. Later the CNN journalist cited the Colonel in a phone conversation with his editor. The conversation was intercepted. According to the intercepted radio traffic, the US forces have sustained up to 40 killed, up to 10 captured and up to 200 wounded during the fighting near An-Nasiriya. There is confirmed information about one lost attack helicopter and an unconfirmed report about a lost ground attack plane. The US forces have also lost up to 40 armored vehicles, including no less than 10 tanks. Several intercepted reports by the US field commanders stated that their troops are unable to advance due to their soldiers being demoralized by the enemy's fierce resistance and high losses. Four days of continuous advance exhausted the coalition forces, which now have settled into defensive positions nearly on every front to rest and regroup. As of this morning (MSK, GMT +3) the coalition forces are in control of the western part of An-Nasiriya but have no foothold on the left bank of Euphrates. The left bank of the river is controlled by the Iraqi forces, which are conducting engineering works to reinforce their defenses. A part of the Iraqi forces have been deployed to strengthen the defense of An-Najaf, where they expect the next coalition attack. Around 2300hrs (MSK, GMT +3) March 23 a British platoon was ambushed by Iraqi Special Forces unit near Basra. Following a powerful initial artillery barrage the Iraqis engaged the British in close combat and destroyed several armored vehicles. After the Iraqis withdrew the British commander reported up to 8 killed, two missing and more than 30 wounded British soldiers. Thus over the 30% of the unit's troops have been disabled in the attack. Reinforcements and medevac helicopters have been dispatched by the coalition to the scene of the attack. During the past day there has been a sharp increase in combat activity in the coalition's rearguard. Reports have been intercepted showing at least 5 attacks on the coalition military convoys, 8 vehicles destroyed by landmines and 2 ambushes. Iraqi special operation units are mining the roads, setting up ambushes and conduct search and reconnaissance operations. The coalition forces have been ordered to halt the movement of convoys during dark hours and to provide each convoy with combat escort units and air cover. The situation around the borderline town of Umm Qasr (population 1,500) still remains unclear. Radio intercepts and satellite images show that the town was under constant bombardment throughout out the night. The morning photos indicate its complete destruction. This shows that the coalition command, fed up with the Iraqi's stubborn resistance, ordered the complete destruction of the town using aviation and artillery. However, according to reports by the British troops ordered to "clean up" Umm Qasr the town still contains many pockets of resistance. The overall coalition losses at Umm Qasr during the past four days amounted to up to 40 killed and up to 200 wounded. Currently it is impossible to estimate the Iraqi losses at Umm Qasr. As of yesterday's morning the Umm Qasr garrison consisted of 1600 troops. The units of the British marine infantry have failed to establish control over the strategically important Fao peninsula. After yesterday's counterattack by the Iraqis the British forces have been thrown back some 3 to 5 kilometers and were forced into defensive positions. Intercepted radio communications indicate that today the British command will attempt to regain the lost ground after spending the night reinforcing their units on Fao with two additional marine infantry battalions. The overall British losses on the Fao peninsula during the past four days of fighting include up to 15 killed and up to 100 wounded. The Iraqis lost here up to 100 killed and around 100 captured. A heated exchange of fire continues near Basra. The coalition units hesitate to enter the city and limit their actions to constant artillery and aviation bombardment of Basra. So far the coalition forces have failed to completely surround the city and to cut off the defending Iraqi garrison from the main Iraqi forces. The US troops continue landing in northern Iraqi territories controlled by the Kurds. It is expected that as early as tomorrow morning these forces supported by the Kurdish units will make an attempt to capture the town of Kirkuk. Aerial strikes against Iraq continued throughout the night. A total of up to 1,500 combat flights were carried out by the coalition aviation. Additionally, B-52 bombers launched more than 100 cruise missiles from the so-called "Turkish corridor". Some 150 more cruise missiles have been launched by the US and British naval forces. Intercepted radio traffic indicates another lost coalition plane this morning. There was a confirmed loss of a "Predator" unmanned aerial reconnaissance aircraft. Any further advances by the coalition within the next 8-12 hours are unlikely. The coalition command in Qatar has been in meeting since the early morning and is expected to come up with significant changes to the overall operational plan. According to most experts the coalition command made a most serious strategic error by starting the ground phase of the operation nearly at the very start of the war. The Americans have violated their own doctrine where the ground phases of a military operation coincide in time with the destruction of the enemy from the air. The US made serious errors in their estimates of the Iraq's army strength and combat readiness. The US military intelligence and the CIA failed to uncover the true potential of the Iraqi forces and, in essence, misinformed the top military and civilian leadership of the coalition member countries. (source: iraqwar.ru, 03-24-03, translated by Venik) 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 tanks. 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 areas. 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 airbases. 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 special 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. (source: iraqwar.ru, 03-23-03, translated by Venik) _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email email@example.com All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk