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[casi] FW: Rumsfeld Warns Syria on Iraq Equipment

Rumsfeld Warns Syria on Iraq Equipment

By MATT KELLEY, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld
issued a stern warning to Syria on Friday to stop
sending military equipment to Iraqi forces, saying
such shipments have included night-vision goggles.

"We consider such trafficking as hostile acts and will
hold the Syrian government accountable for such
shipments," Rumsfeld said at a Pentagon briefing.

"There's no question but that to the extent that
military supplies or equipment or people are moving
across the borders between Iraq and Syria, it vastly
complicates our situation," Rumsfeld said.

Asked if the United States was threatening military
action against Syria, Rumsfeld said: "I'm saying
exactly what I'm saying. It was carefully phrased."

"We have information that shipments of military
supplies have been crossing the border from Syria into
Iraq, including night-vision goggles," he said.

"These deliveries pose a direct threat to the lives of
coalition forces," the defense secretary said.

Syrian President Bashar Assad has described the
military action as "clear occupation and a flagrant
aggression against a United Nations member state."
Syria is the only Arab country currently on the U.N.
Security Council.

When asked if the shipments from Syria were "state
sponsored," Rumsfeld said he wouldn't answer because
"it's an intelligence issue."

"They control their border," he added. "We're hoping
that kind of thing doesn't happen."

Syrian officials were not immediately available for

Rumsfeld briefed at the Pentagon as America's battle
plan for Baghdad was taking shape, with U.S. forces
now in position to strike the Iraqi capital from
nearly all sides  or to mount a siege and wait for
Saddam Hussein's regime to fall to internal

Air Force Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint
Chiefs of Staff, said that Republican Guard units
defending the city are "dug in."

"They could be consolidating to make a defense. It
doesn't make any difference. The outcome is certain,"
he said.

As sporadic battles rage between American infantry and
defiant Iraqi troops and paramilitary guerrillas, more
armor and at least 100,000 reinforcing U.S. and allied
troops are on their way to join the coalition force
over the next few weeks.

In the interim, the American game plan is simple:
bombs, bombs and more bombs.

The Army's senior ground commander in Iraq, Lt. Gen.
William S. Wallace of V Corps, told reporters of The
New York Times and Washington Post on Thursday that
unexpected tactics by Iraqi fighters and stretched
supply lines were slowing down the campaign. "The
enemy we're fighting is different from the one we'd
war-gamed against," the papers quoted Wallace as
saying during a visit to the 101st Airborne Division
headquarters in central Iraq.

Brig. Gen. Vincent Brooks, at the daily briefing at
U.S. Central Command in Qatar, insisted U.S. war
planners had not underestimated Iraqi fighting
capabilities, but said unexpected developments were
inevitable in any war. He accused the Iraqis of using
"terrorist death squads" who changed in and out of
civilian clothes.

Meanwhile, a U.S. official involved in military
planning and intelligence said Iraqi troops have been
spotted between U.S. and Iraqi lines wearing full
chemical protection suits and unloading 50- gallon
drums from trucks. U.S. intelligence doesn't know what
was in the drums, but fear it could be chemicals.

Officials have said that the closer invading forces
get to Baghdad, the higher the possibility that a
cornered regime will launch an attack with chemical
weapons or other weapons of mass destruction, which
Saddam as denied he has.

U.S. and British aircraft are pounding some of the
estimated 30,000 Republican Guard forces arrayed
around Baghdad and striking inside the capital against
Saddam's levers of power and modes of communication.

The military early Friday rolled out new weapons  two
4,700-pound, satellite-guided "bunker busting" bombs
were dropped from American B-2 bombers on a major
communications tower on the east bank of the Tigris
River in downtown Baghdad. The bombs were twice the
size of the bunker busting bombs that were being used

The bombing attack, aimed at disrupting communication
between Saddam and his military leaders, gutted a
seven-story telephone exchange, leaving the street
strewn with rubble.

Powerful explosions rocked the capital during the
night and Friday morning aircraft swooped low over the
city. Anti-aircraft fire was intermittent.

Iraqi Information Minister Mohammed Saeed al Sahaf
said the overnight air strikes killed seven people in
Baghdad and wounded 92.

While the coalition war plan is flexible and certain
to shift with events, U.S. leaders say they are
operating on three rock-solid certainties: They won't
lose. They won't set a timetable. And they won't let
up until Saddam is gone.

"There isn't going to be a cease-fire," Rumsfeld told
lawmakers on Thursday.

Rumsfeld also raised the possibility of a siege of
Baghdad rather than a quick strike into the heart of
the city.

Asked by Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., what American
ground troops would do once they reached Baghdad,
Rumsfeld answered by saying Baghdad had to be isolated
before it was taken.

He also alluded to what is happening at Basra, Iraq's
second-largest city. British forces there have laid
siege, hoping for a successful uprising by the city's
Shiite population.

Rumsfeld noted that both Basra and Baghdad have large
numbers of Shiites. "And they are not terribly
favorable to the regime. They've been repressed,"
Rumsfeld said.

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