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News, 19-26/03/03 (2) WAR ON BAGHDAD * Bush says Iraq war has begun * War on Iraq launched * No Sign of Fire at South Iraqi Oilfields-Witnesses * US plans blitzkrieg tactics to overpower Baghdad * CIA Had Fix on Hussein * Baghdad Set Ablaze * News analysis: A change of plans * Relentless strikes turn Baghdad night into day * 14 dead in cruise missile attack in Baghdad DEFENCE OF THE REALM * Iraqi tribes are their leader's secret weapon * Umm Qasr: a line In the sand * Exiled Iraqis want to fight 'invaders' * Jihad in Mesopotamia WAR ON BAGHDAD http://news.ft.com/servlet/ContentServer?pagename=FT.com/StoryFT/FullStory&c =StoryFT&cid=1045511874071&p=1014232938216 * BUSH SAYS IRAQ WAR HAS BEGUN by James Harding and James Politi in Washington, Paul Eedle in Baghdad and FT Reporters in New York Financial Times, 19th March President George W. Bush announced the start of military action against Iraq at 10.15pm in Washington on Wednesday, saying that attacks had been launched against selected targets of military importance. "On my orders, coalition forces have begun striking selected targets of military importance to undermine Saddam Hussein's ability to wage war. These are the opening stages of what will be a very long and concerted campaign.""These are the opening stages of what will be a broad and concerted campaign." President Bush spoke some 45 minutes after anti-aircraft fire erupted around the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, and just over two hours after the expiry of his deadline ordering Mr Hussein to leave Iraq or be plunged into war. Speaking from the Oval Office, the president warned that the "conflict could be longer than some predict" and that Mr Hussein had placed troops and equipment in civilian areas. Mr Bush said that by using this tactic, Iraqi leader had committed the "final atrocity against his people." On Wednesday, US and British troops were reported to have moved into the demilitarised buffer zone between Kuwait and Iraq, poised to launch a ground invasion to follow an aerial assault on Baghdad and other targets. However, there were no reports of troops crossing the border. The commander of the US navy's 5th Fleet, one of the main platforms for warplanes attacking Iraq, said US plans were based on the use of "breathtaking speed, agility, precision and persistence". Timothy Keating, vice-admiral, told reporters on the USS Abraham Lincoln: "If we go, the plans we have are unlike anything anyone has ever seen before." [......] The imminence of conflict did nothing to blunt strong international opposition to the war, led by France, Germany and Russia, at the United Nations Security Council, where US and UK efforts to win a resolution backing military action collapsed on Monday. Bitterness between France and Britain especially is set to dominate a European Union summit on Thursday night in Brussels. French officials warned of "electricity in the air" after stinging attacks in recent days on France's anti-war stance by British ministers. Dominique de Villepin, French foreign minister, declared on Wednesday: "To those who think that the scourge of terrorism will be eradicated through what is done in Iraq, we say that they run the risk of failing in their objective. An outbreak of force in such an unstable area can only exacerbate the tensions and fractures on which terrorists feed." Igor Ivanov, Russian foreign minister, invoked previous UN resolutions demanding Iraqi disarmament and said: "Not one of these decisions authorises the right to use force against Iraq outside the UN charter. Not one of them authorises the violent overthrow of the leadership of a sovereign state." The Security Council session, in which the US and British foreign ministers were pointedly absent, heard the last report from Hans Blix, leader of the UN inspectors, who until Tuesday were overseeing Iraq's reluctant disarmament programme. Joschka Fischer, German foreign minister, insisted it would have been possible to disarm Iraq peacefully. "Germany emphatically rejects the impending war." http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/2866969.stm * WAR ON IRAQ LAUNCHED US President George W Bush has launched war on Baghdad, vowing to "disarm Iraq and to free its people". Mr Bush delivered a live television address shortly after explosions rocked the Iraqi capital at 0534 local time (0234 GMT), signalling the start of the US-led campaign to topple Saddam Hussein. US military sources have told the BBC that five key members of the Iraqi regime, including Saddam Hussein, were targeted in the first attacks. It is not known whether the targets were hit and what damage might have been caused. Hours later, Iraqi television broadcast what it said was a live television address by Saddam Hussein, who called on the Iraqi people to resist the attacks. "I don't need to remind you what you should do to defend our country," the speaker said. "Let the unbelievers go to hell... you will be victorious, Iraqi people," he said. The BBC defence correspondent says the attack that was carried out was on a much smaller scale than had been expected for the opening of the conflict, and it had probably been mounted at short notice when US military planners spotted a good opportunistic target. Speaking from the Oval Office, President Bush said American and coalition forces were in the "early stages of military operations" and had struck "targets of military importance". He promised a "broad and concerted campaign" and said the US would prevail. But, he warned, the campaign could be "longer and more difficult than some predict". As dawn broke in Baghdad, anti-aircraft artillery peppered the sky as deep, heavy thuds were heard in the outskirts of the city. The same target, in the east, is reported to have been hit three or four times. Republic of Iraq Radio in Baghdad said that "the evil ones, the enemies of God, the homeland and humanity, have committed the stupidity of aggression against our homeland and people". Reports quoting American military officials said planes had struck "targets of opportunity" which were thought to be occupied by elements of the Iraqi leadership. US officials said Tomahawk cruise missiles were fired from F-117 Nighthawk stealth fighter bombers. French news agency AFP quoted a Pentagon official as saying the first strikes were "a limited thing - it ain't A-Day," referring to the planned massive air campaign. A BBC correspondent in Baghdad said anti-aircraft guns were in action for about 15 minutes, after which the city became quiet again. After the first strike, a large pall of black smoke was seen in the south of Baghdad. At about the same time as the strikes began, the US military appeared to take over a frequency of Iraqi radio with an Arabic-speaking presenter announcing: "This is the day we have been waiting for." Our correspondent in Baghdad says the timing of the attack is unusual - coming as it did in daylight. He says traffic remains normal and people are beginning to appear on the streets. [......] http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=topNews&storyID=2417663 * NO SIGN OF FIRE AT SOUTH IRAQI OILFIELDS-WITNESSES Reuters, 20th March KUWAIT: There are no signs of fire at Iraqi oilfields near the border with Kuwait that Washington said may have been set on fire by Iraq, Reuters eyewitnesses said on Thursday. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said there are indications Iraq may have set three to four oil wells in the south of the country. But a Reuters correspondent, stationed about 60 km southwest of the Iraqi port city of Basra, said: "Looking through a long-range night vision lens, there is no evidence of fires at the Iraqi oilfields bordering Kuwait that we can see, or at least 50 kilometers beyond that." "If you look in the direction of the Rumaila oilfield (in Iraq) there is nothing on the horizon and no indication of fire," a second Reuters correspondent at the same location said. The correspondents also said they had heard large explosions coming from the direction of Basra, but said there was still no evidence of oilfield fires following the sounds of the blasts. (Reporting by Michael Georgy and Rosalind Russell) http://news.scotsman.com/international.cfm?id=335152003 * US PLANS BLITZKRIEG TACTICS TO OVERPOWER BAGHDAD by Tim Ripley The Scotsman, 20th March AS THE first battalions of allied troops moved into the demilitarised zone yesterday in readiness for the onslaught on Iraq, the wide-ranging nature of the assault became apparent. With US air power reaching deep into Iraq to destroy strategic air defences across its northern, western and southern borders, it is clear the Pentagon wants a very quick victory with Saddam Hussein being overthrown in a matter of days. The offensive involves near simultaneous air, land, sea and special forces attacks on the pillars of the dictator's regime. US officers describe the Iraqi state as "a rotten house", which only requires a "violent kick" to bring it crashing down. As the US-led offensive unfolds, we will find out if the Pentagon's planners have done their homework. THE opening move of the offensive is a series of massive rolling air strikes throughout Iraq to devastate Baghdad's air defences and finish off the Iraqi air force once and for all. Thousands of Tomahawk cruise missiles and satellite-guided Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) bombs dropped by B-2 stealth bombers will rain down on Iraqi command and control centres in Baghdad and other cities to blind Saddam Hussein. Spreading confusion in the Iraqi high command is a key objective for the US forces to prevent them from organising resistance to a ground attack. The firepower available to execute this strike is enormous, with more than a dozen B-2 stealth bombers, some 30 massive B-52 heavy bombers and about 70 combat jets based around Iraq's borders and several thousand Tomahawk missiles loaded on ships and submarines in the Arabian Gulf, Red Sea and Mediterranean. Some 3,000 individual targets - airfields, air defence missile batteries, radar sites, communication links, command posts, arms factories, presidential palaces, ammunition dumps - were expected to be hit in the opening hours of the war. Backing up these bombers are hundreds of radar surveillance and intelligence gathering aircraft to monitor Iraqi reactions and vector even more strike aircraft to neutralise rapidly any emerging threats, such as the movement of Iraqi Scud missile launchers to target Israel or fighter sorties. To add further to the confusion in the Iraqi high command, special forces teams on the ground are moving to destroy more communications sites, encouraging rebel groups to attack and foment dissent in the ranks of the Iraqi army. Jordan and Saudi Arabia are the main launch pad for these raids, allowing US and British commandos to push deep into Iraq across the desert in the west of the country. >From the opening hours of the war, the US's Middle East commander, General Tommy Franks, will aim to swamp Iraq's skies with waves of combat jets to ensure the Iraqi air force remains on the ground and that no significant force of enemy troops can move to intercept the US-led invasion force, without being subjected to a devastating air attack. Hundreds of air-refuelling tankers have the task of ensuring that US, British and Australian fighters remain continuously on station over Iraq from the start of the war until a new regime is installed in Baghdad. ALMOST simultaneously with the unleashing of their air power, American and British military commanders will send the 150,000 ground troops in Kuwait forward to roll over the light defences along the border, opening the way for a race to Baghdad by 65,000 US Army troops. This advance is shaping up to be as unrelenting as the air offensive, with troops of the 101st Airborne Division probing deep into Iraq to set up forward bases for Apache helicopter gunships. Their job is to protect the huge columns of US V Corps moving north from Kuwait. The 400 Abrams tanks of the US 3rd Infantry Division will be followed by hundreds of huge fuel tankers necessary to keep the armour rolling. There are no major Iraqi troop concentrations between the Kuwait border and Baghdad, so American commanders are confident that they will not have to fight a major battle until they get to the gates of the Iraqi capital. Any pockets of resistance are to be by-passed and mopped up by following military police and light infantry. These isolated units will be offered the chance to defect to the anti-Baghdad cause, or face devastating air strikes by B 52 carpet-bombing or "Daisy Cutter" fuel air explosives. The Americans expect to capture scores of stragglers during the advances and have drafted in groups of Iraqi exiles to act as translators. One job of these so-called "Free Iraqi Forces" personnel is to identify and separate pro-Saddam loyalists from the rank and file who will be persuaded to defect. WHILE the US Army streams north towards Baghdad, 60,000 US Marines and 30,000 British troops will be moving quickly to bottle up, and then disarm, the 70,000 to 100,000 Iraqi troops based around Basra and further north in Amara. The Iraqi army's III Corps has its headquarters in Basra city. It has three divisions, the 6th Armoured, 51st Mechanised and 11th Infantry. To the north, the Iraqi IV Corps with three divisions, the 10th Armoured, 14th and 18th Infantry, is based around Amara to contain the 12 year-old rebellion by the marsh Arab fighters. The Iraqi force is, on paper, heavily armed with some 650 tanks, 400 artillery pieces and 700 light armoured vehicles. Preventing these troops interfering with the main US Army advance will be a top priority for Lt Gen James Conway of the I Marine Expeditionary Force. The Iraqi troops in the south are some the most poorly trained and ill-equipped in Baghdad's army and they are not considered to be able to put up serious resistance to the hi-tech British and US troops opposing them, even after the appointment this week of the notorious General "Chemical"Ali Hassan al-Majid as commander of the southern front. The most serious resistance is likely to come from several thousand fighters of the Popular Militia and Ba'ath Party hardliners inside Basra city. Late last year Saddam Hussein appointed Walid Tawfiq al Nasseri, a trusted ally, as governor of Basra, and, in recent weeks, small arms and rocket launchers were distributed to regime loyalists. Further key objectives of the British and US Marines will be securing the huge Rumailah oil field to the west of Basra and the Iranian border on the city's eastern edge. Basra is a teeming city of some 700,000, mainly Shia Arabs, who 12 years ago, rose in rebellion against Baghdad. They suffered grievously when Saddam Hussein sent his Republican Guard to crush the revolt, after President Bush snr indicated he would give the Iraqi dictator a free hand inside his country. The reaction of the Shia population to the arrival of the American and British troops will be the key to whether the city can be taken quickly or if bloody street battles occur. The terrain around Basra is open desert and will be ideal tank country for Britain's 7 Armoured Brigade, but once through the city it is a very different matter. Rivers and marshes will make road movement impossible and US and British troops will have to move by helicopters, landing craft or hovercraft to push past Basra to Amara. THE decision by the Turkish parliament in February not to authorise the movement of some 65,000 US troops through their country to open a northern front against Iraq seemed to upset a major part of the Pentagon's war plan. Until the last moment, there were still doubts whether the Turks would allow the US over flight rights - perhaps just an air corridor - to launch air strikes against targets in northern Iraq from its two aircraft carriers in the Mediterranean Sea or to fly in airborne forces to support Kurdish Peshmerga fighters of the KDP and PUK. Several hundred US special forces are in the Kurdish safe haven scouting out the Iraqi frontlines and selecting targets for air attacks. WITH the north and south of Iraq in open revolt or occupied by US and British troops, General Franks hopes to have a clear run at Baghdad. If the relentless bombing has not broken the morale of the Iraqi regime by the time the US Army approaches Baghdad, American helicopter-borne troops will quickly move to establish positions ringing the city to cut off the escape of members of Saddam Hussein's closest supporters. Every indication is that the US Army is reluctant to storm Baghdad, rather allowing defecting Iraqi army units to finish off any die-hards. In this confused situation, stopping revenge attacks against Baghdad loyalists will be a vital task of US and British troops, who have to switch instantly from "war fighting" to "peacekeeping" to ensure a pro-US government is installed. WHILE General Franks will be hoping his attack plan "runs on the rails" and within a few days Saddam Hussein's regime will be on the verge of collapse, many US officers clearly recognise it is a high-risk venture. Although the air power available to the US is far more capable than in 1991, the Pentagon has dispatched only a third of the ground troops. This gives General Franks far less room to react to surprise Iraqi counter attacks, bad weather or heavy casualties. In the past two weeks 50,000 Republican Guard have been digging in around Baghdad rather than trying to repeat the failed strategy from 1991 of confronting the hi-tech American and British forces in the open desert. The Iraqi strategy is clearly to try to bog down the allies in prolonged street battles for Baghdad, with the intention of repeating the success of the Palestinians against the Israelis in Beirut in 1982. Without a quick victory in Baghdad, the American and British would find themselves having to lay siege to the city, while at the same time trying to pacify the rest of the country. This would severely strain the manpower of the relatively small US-led invasion force. The heavy civilian casualties that street fighting would generate would be recorded by the global media, further inflaming opinion in Arab world and fracturing support for the US-led war. Only when the US has cleared out the last remnants of the regime will the US be able to secure any sort of international recognition, particularly in the Arab world, for the government they put in place in Baghdad. Starting the war against Saddam Hussein's Iraq is easy. US supremacy in airpower, surveillance and communications ensures they will be able to devastate Iraq's air defences and neutralise any attempt by the Iraqi army to mass in resistance to the US invasion. The end-game in Baghdad will be far more difficult. It will shape the nature and legitimacy of the post-Saddam regime. How the Americans handle the messy end to the war will be far more important that the hi tech fireworks display of the opening shots. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A58177-2003Mar20.html * CIA HAD FIX ON HUSSEIN by Barton Gellman and Dana Priest Washington Post, 20th March Shortly before 4 p.m. yesterday, Director of Central Intelligence George J. Tenet offered President Bush the prospect -- improbable to the point of fantasy, yet suddenly at hand -- that the war against Iraq might be transformed with its opening shots. The CIA, Tenet said, believed it had a fix on President Saddam Hussein. Hussein and others in "the most senior levels of the Iraqi leadership," ordinarily among the most elusive of men, had fallen under U.S. surveillance. The intelligence was unforeseen and perishable, presenting what one administration official called "a target of opportunity" that might not come again. Not only did the agency know where Hussein was, Tenet said, but it also believed with "a high probability" that it knew where he would be for hours to come -- cloistered with advisers in a known private residence in southern Baghdad. Bush listened calmly -- as his aides portrayed the scene -- as Tenet described the sources and limits of his information, the likelihood that it was true and the length of time Hussein could be expected to spend at the site before moving to his next refuge. The Iraqi president, a man of many palaces, avoids them at moments of maximum risk. There was no guarantee at all, Tenet said, that his whereabouts would be pinpointed again. For the next three hours, Bush and his senior national security advisers tore up the carefully orchestrated schedule of violence that the U.S. Central Command had honed for months. Those present in the Oval Office, officials said, included Vice President Cheney, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, White House Chief of Staff Andrew H. Card Jr. and Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. When Bush signed the launch order at 6:30 p.m., it had a hastily prepared insert. The first shots would strike through the roof and walls of an anonymous Baghdad home and deep beneath it in hopes of decapitating the Iraqi government in a single blow. "If you're going to take a shot like this, you're going to take a shot at the top guy," said a government official with knowledge of the sequence of events. "It was a fairly singular strike." Aboard Navy warships waiting in the Persian Gulf and Red Sea, operations officers reprogrammed Tomahawk cruise missiles on the fly with digital target data transmitted from CIA headquarters at Langley. A squadron of stealthy F-117A strike fighters pulled pilots from their ready rooms and gave them new mission briefs. The aircraft and missiles each carried satellite-guided warheads. The bombs aboard the F-117s were 2,000-pound "bunker busters" designed to penetrate layers of stone and steel. Three hours after Bush gave the order, at 5:33 a.m. local time, southern Baghdad was rocked by a series of closely spaced explosions, witnesses in the city said. The results were unknown. Iraqi television, competing for air time with the newly American-flagged frequencies of Iraqi radio, reported within hours of the blasts that Hussein was alive and well and would shortly address the nation. The broadcast began about 12:30 a.m. today Eastern time. U.S. officials cautioned that it would be some time before intelligence could assess with certainty what the U.S. strike had hit, and who had been there. The 1991 Persian Gulf War included hundreds of strikes at "leadership targets," but President George H.W. Bush and his advisers did not acknowledge they were aimed at Hussein specifically. After the war, it became clear that the U.S.-led air campaign had tried and failed on dozens of occasions to pinpoint attacks on the Iraqi president. But those attacks were not the first of the war, which of necessity targeted Iraqi air defenses and the command and control of Iraqi fighting forces. If the CIA had come across yesterday's intelligence windfall in 1991, the U.S. military could not have struck the Bahgdad residence fast enough. Tomahawk cruise missiles could have spun up their jet engines, and the gyroscopes to guide their flight, but there would have been no way to enter precision-targeting data in minutes or even hours. At the time, the missiles required three-dimensional terrain maps that took days to construct. In the decades since the Gulf War, the Tomahawk's guidance system has been upgraded to follow Global Positioning System satellites instead. The Navy can download new digital coordinates direct from the intelligence directorate of U.S. Central Command. "Actionable intelligence," the bane of a high-technology military faced with the wily and elusive low-tech foe, requires far less lead time in the present war. Whatever the result of yesterday's strike, officials said, there will be more rapid re-targetings and more unexpected opportunities before the war is over. Staff writers Walter Pincus, Vernon Loeb, Mike Allen and Karen DeYoung contributed to this report. http://palestinechronicle.com/article.php?story=20030321002814549 * BAGHDAD SET ABLAZE by Naseer Al-Nahr Palestine Chronicle, 21st March BAGHDAD - The United States attacked key targets in Baghdad with cruise missiles yesterday, setting government buildings on fire in an attempt to bring to an end the rule of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. Several explosions were heard here near government buildings as cruise missiles swooped down. There was relatively little Iraqi anti-aircraft fire. Missiles flew in at a very low altitude and hit several targets. Buildings were ablaze in the southeast of the city and around the Planning Ministry in the center of Baghdad. US missiles targeted Saddam's palaces and family residence, including the home of his elder son Uday, Iraq radio said. The Iraqi Army reported that four of its soldiers were killed and six were wounded in the US-led attacks. Fire fighters and ambulances drove to the scene but the flames roared out of control and smoke rose high into the night sky. It was the second round of US attacks after Saddam defied a US ultimatum to leave the country. The previous raid at dawn yesterday targeted the Iraqi president himself and his senior leadership but the results were not clear. The main offensive was still being awaited here. US officials had vowed a massive assault against Iraqi leaders and soldiers to the point that they would be too dazed and demoralized to resist. That barrage had yet to unfold in its full ferocity. In Washington, US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said the initial missile and bombing attacks in and around Baghdad were just a first taste of what would soon be unleashed. "What will follow will not be a repeat of any other conflict. It will be of a force and scope and scale that has been beyond what has been seen before," he said. An Iraqi military spokesman said that a US helicopter had been shot down. "An American aircraft of the Sikorsky type used in carrying troops and eqipment was downed as it was trying to infiltrate Iraqi airspace to carry out aggressive operations. Long live Iraq," the spokesman said in a statement. The Iraqi statement gave no further details. US military officials were not immediately available for comment. Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. manufactures the Black Hawk helicopter, which is used by US forces to fly troops into combat. Arab News in Baghdad heard the first explosions at 5.30 a.m., when many Iraqis were performing Fajr prayers in the local mosques. Black smoke billowed from one eastern district. The sound of air the raids came before the sirens were heard. There were explosions in many parts of the city. "These are opening stages of what will be a broad and concerted campaign," Bush had earlier said in a televised address to the Americans. Baghdad retaliated weakly by firing six missiles into northern Kuwait. A defiant Saddam appeared on state television within hours of the air raids, calling on his people to resist their attackers. "You will be victorious against your enemies," proclaimed Saddam, dressed in military garb and black beret. "We will resist the invaders... the devil will be defeated." "Unsheath your swords," he told Iraqis, accusing Bush ‹ "the tyrant of the century" ‹ of committing "a crime against humanity". In northern Iraq, the leaders of the two Kurdish factions controlling the area said their forces had taken up defensive lines in their region, which has seen thousands of people pouring in from government-controlled areas. The limited strikes followed reports from US intelligence operatives, who had been secretly deployed in Baghdad and other parts of Iraq for weeks, tracking the movements of senior Iraqi officials, a US official told journalists. Following the missile strike, F-117 stealth fighter-bombers unleashed 900-kilogram (2,000 pound) bombs on their targets. US units have been making every effort to encourage Iraqi troops to give themselves up or to show they do not intend to fight back and were expecting to deal on the way to Baghdad with Iraqi forces surrendering en masse. Armed security and police forces were deployed in Baghdad, particularly around government ministries, state buildings, offices of the ruling Baath Party and Saddam's various palaces. A US military commander in Kuwait said limited raids would go on for two or three days ahead of any huge assault, which US officials have said could involve a barrage of at least 3,000 satellite-guided bombs and cruise missiles. http://www.iht.com/articles/90544.html * NEWS ANALYSIS: A CHANGE OF PLANS by Michael Gordon International Herald Tribune, from The New York Times, 21st March CAMP DOHA, KuwaitAmerican commanders put their attack plan into fast forward Thursday as allied forces sought to reclaim an element of surprise and respond to fears that Iraq would ignite its southern oil fields. The assault that began Thursday night was actually scheduled to occur later this week after several days of preparatory air strikes, probes and psychological operations. But the attack was moved up after a cruise missile strike ordered by President George W. Bush failed to kill Saddam Hussein. A formation of more than 150,000 troops quickly moved to ready themselves and their weapon systems to invade Iraq. The Marines rushed to complete cutting slits in the sand berms and filling in the tank ditches that separate Iraq and Kuwait. The army worked out the final details of its plan to fire its ATACMS missile, a surface-to-surface missile that is being used in combat for the first time with a potent 500-pound (225-kilogram) warhead. The logistics system required to sup port, sustain and project the force was quickly recalibrated to support early execution of the war plan. Then at 8 p.m. Lieutenant General, David McKiernan, the allied land war commander, held a classified video conference with General James Conway, the commander of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, and General William Scott Wallace, the commander of the Fifth Corps to make sure their plans were in synch. Salvos of cruise missiles were already flying toward Baghdad and the beginning of the land operations was virtually at hand. With an vast armada of helicopters, warplanes and salvos of sea-launched and air launched cruise missiles and ATACMS missiles flying toward Iraq, McKiernan focused on ''deconflicting the air space,'' the military's term for making sure that its missiles and aircraft do not collide. ''We have got to get the air out in front of the ground force,'' McKiernan said. ''I want to lead with recon. I want to make sure that the fires are fully co ordinated and deconflicted.'' Two main factors appear to have led to the military speed up their extraordinary complex and carefully calibrated plan. First, the military received reports that there were several fires in the vicinity of the Rumallah oil fields. One of the fires appeared to be in a trench full of oil that the Iraqi military ignited to try to obscure the battlefield and protect their forces from air strikes. Six of the more than 1,000 oil wells in southern Iraq were on fire, fires that appeared to be deliberately set. When the attack began U.S. officials said it was not clear if the fires were part of a broader plan by Saddam's regime to torch the oil fields, but they were not able to take any chances. The Marines had been instructed earlier in the week to be ready to attack on four hour's notice in case the Iraqis set the oil fields aflame as did they did in 1991 in Kuwait. The early attack also seemed intended to help the allied forces regain the initiative and maintain some element of surprise. While the cruise missile attacks in Baghdad on Thursday night were pre dictable, the timing of the land attack was not. Lead elements of Marines, army and British forces moved into Iraq as soon as Tomahawk cruise missiles began to hit Baghdad. The land assault was a striking contrast to the 1991 Gulf War when allied forces began their offensive after a 39 day air campaign. But it was also different in another way: the degree of risk. When the U.S. military began ground attacks in 1991 it had a much larger force and a more limited objective: evicting the Iraqi forces from Kuwait. This time the force is smaller and Saddam has his back against the wall. Allied military commanders are well aware that it is difficult to deter a regime they have publicly vowed to destroy. Earlier Thursday, it was the Iraqis who had the initiative. They responded to the Wednesday night cruise missile attacks on Baghdad by firing missiles at the allied troops. A Seersucker missile exploded within 600 yards (600 meters) of Camp Commando, Conway's headquarters. The Chinese-made armament was designed as anti-ship missile and the Iraqis fired it from Umm Qasr. Shock waves from the explosion knocked down some troops at the camp. Then two more surface-to-surface missiles ‹probably Ababil-100's ‹ were fired. ''This is not a drill,'' blared ''Giant Voice,'' the loudspeaker system at Camp Doha, McKiernan's headquarters. The staff put on their chemical protective suits and gas marks and kept working. One of the missiles was intercepted by a Patriot missile five miles from the camp. The whoosh of the Patriot reverberated throughout the camp. The second missile was intercepted by a Patriot further away in the desert. By evening the allies' focus was on wresting the initiative back from the Iraqis and moving ahead with attack plan. The air campaign unfolded as expected, with the explosion of Tomahawk cruise missiles. The Iraqis have concentrated so much of their surface-to-air missiles and anti-aircraft artillery around Baghdad that air force officers have taken to calling it the ''Super Mez,'' or missile engagement zone. One of the early tasks was to disable the Iraqi air defenses and attack leadership targets in the capital. The land-war attack was beginning to get underway at the same time. One of the Marines' first tasks were to seize the high ground near Safwan, the site where Iraqis formally offered their surrender after the 1991 Gulf War. The Iraqis have used the site in recent weeks because of its commanding view of the terrain below enabled them to monitor allied positions. While the Marines were attacking, Navy SEALs moved to occupy off-shore oil installations and the oil manifold on Al Faw Peninsula to prevent the Iraqis from dumping oil into the Gulf, as they did in the last war. British Royal Marines flew by helicopter to relieve the SEALS. To the west, the army's Fifth Corps began to carry out its attacks. The Fifth Corps's mission is to oversee the attack on Baghdad, but it is a long way to go and there are some Iraqi units in the way. One unit that the corps has to confront is Iraq's 11th Regular Army division at An Nasiriyah. There have been reports that much of the division may be prepared to surrender. The Fifth Corps sent out ground reconnaissance but an attack deep in Iraqi territory by Apache helicopters from the 11th Attack Helicopter Regiment was aborted because of weather. The coalition ground forces are currently confronting the Third and Fourth Corps from Iraq's Regular Army. The U.S. Army's Fifth Corps fired ATACMS missiles at the Iraqi units' headquarters Thursday as Marine air support paved the way for ground forces. One strategic problem that the U.S. military faces is the absence of a northern front. Turkey's reluctance to allow the deployment of U.S. troops has prevented the army's 4th Infantry Division from deploying there, a development that is of concern to U.S. planners, who had wanted to put pressure on Saddam's regime from the north and also ensure that the Turks and the Kurds in northern Iraq do not come to blows. The United States has Special Forces in northern Iraq, but to reassure the Kurds that the U.S. military has not forgotten about the Iraqi forces deployed there the Nebubuchadnezzar Republican Guard division was attacked with Tomahawk cruise missiles. The sudden cruise missile attacks Bush ordered Wednesday night may have weakened the regime but it did not deliver victory. That task, it seems, if now left to the allied air and ground forces, who will have to advance on Baghdad and take out the Iraqis the old fashioned way. http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=thestar/Layout/Artic le_Type1&c=Article&cid=1035779709864&call_pageid=968332188854&col=9683500607 24 * RELENTLESS STRIKES TURN BAGHDAD NIGHT INTO DAY by PAUL WEST Toronto Star, 22nd March [......] "I was totally awed ... I've never, ever seen anything like that," said retired U.S. Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf, who commanded allied forces in that conflict. The general, now an NBC commentator, watched the attack play out on live TV, along with millions of viewers worldwide. [.....] Though the first U.S. bombs were dropped Wednesday on Baghdad, the full force of the American air war didn't begin until about 8:30 p.m. Baghdad time last night. Shock waves and ear-splitting explosions ripped through the city as missiles slammed into many of the government buildings that stretch for several miles along the Tigris River in the centre of the city. At one point, a mushroom shaped cloud, the apparent result of a 2,000 pound conventional bomb, rose into the air. Hundreds of cruise missiles and high-tech "smart" bombs rained down on dozens of structures that house various government ministries, military and intelligence centres and the headquarters of Saddam's Baath Party. Earlier in the day, members of the Iraqi leadership seemed to refuse to acknowledge the enormity of what might await them. Mahmud Diab Al-Ahmad, the minister of the interior, talked to journalists in Baghdad as he held a short-stock silver-plated Kalashnikov automatic rifle. He wore a khaki vest that held four clips for the Kalashnikov, accented by a fearsome-looking knife and pistol. "Maybe they will enter Umm Qasr and Basra," Al-Ahmad told the reporters, "but how will they enter Baghdad? It will be a big oven for them. "They can penetrate our borders but they cannot reach Baghdad. They will try to pull our army and troops out, but we are well aware of their plans, and they will fail." Unlike the bombing of Baghdad during the 1991 Gulf War, there was no destruction of basic utilities and electric power and water supplies continued to flow to the city's five million residents. U.S. Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld boasted that there was "no comparison" between the U.S. bombing of Baghdad and the saturation air campaigns of European cities during World War II. "The weapons that are being used today have a degree of precision that no one ever dreamt of in a prior conflict," he said, adding that the "humanity" that went into planning the attack was designed to destroy military targets while sparing civilian lives. Rumsfeld described as historic the live broadcasts by hundreds of journalists accompanying frontline U.S. troops into battle. "We're having a conflict at a time in our history when we have 24-hours-a-day television, radio, media, Internet and more people in the world have access to what is taking place," he said. http://www.thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2003/3/26/latest/1103614deadi n&sec=latest * 14 DEAD IN CRUISE MISSILE ATTACK IN BAGHDAD The Star (Malaysia), 26th March BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - Two cruise missiles struck a residential area in Baghdad on Wednesday, killing 14 people, Iraqi defense officials said. It was the worst reported instance of civilian deaths since the U.S. bombing campaign began a week ago. Thirty others were reported injured in the attack, which occurred around midday in the heavily populated northern Baghdad neighborhood of Al-Shaab. The area consists of homes and about 30 shops, mostly restaurants and auto repair shops. Associated Press Television News video showed a large crater in the street, a smoldering building, demolished cars and bodies wrapped in plastic sheeting in the back of a pickup truck. The streets were flooded after water pipes were ruptured. Street lights crashed down, trees were uprooted and some cars flipped over from the blast. Flames rose above the burning shops, mixing with the smoke rising from fuel fires lighted around the city to try to obscure the targets of fighter jets. Men used buckets to douse the wreckage of burned-out automobiles while women in black chadors grabbed the hands of children and ran from the scene. Hundreds of people milled around on the street in front of the gutted market. Some shook their fists in anger. "This is barbarian!'' shouted Adnan Saleh Barseem. "It's proof that their aggression is collapsing.'' Residents of some of the damaged apartments began to chant: "Oh, Saddam, we sacrifice our souls and blood to you.'' Lt. Col. Hamad Abdullah, head of civil defense in the area, said 14 people were killed and 30 injured. Seventeen cars were destroyed, he added. At a military briefing in Qatar, U.S. Brig. Gen. Vincent Brooks said he could not confirm that U.S. missiles hit the neighborhood. "We don't have a report that corroborates that, so I can't confirm it,'' he said. "We do everything physically and scientifically possible to be precise in our targeting.'' On Monday, Iraq's information minister reported that 194 civilians had been injured up to that point in bombings in Baghdad. Meanwhile, a series of explosions became louder and more frequent across the Iraqi capital Wednesday. Rain began to fall in Baghdad, combining with smoke and sand in the air to give the city a dark, apocalyptic look and coating everything in gray mud. Cars drove with their headlights and street lights were switched on. Overnight, with the final assault on Baghdad drawing closer, the allies tried to cripple the regime's communications with bombs and missiles, knocking Iraq's satellite TV signal off the air for several hours early Wednesday. U.S. forces pounded targets in the Iraqi capital with a barrage of at least 40 Tomahawk cruise missiles launched from warships in the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea, the U.S. Navy said. The airstrikes also included bombing runs by warplanes. The attacks targeted not only Iraqi television but also government communications and satellite links at several sites in the capital, U.S. military officials said. Smoke was seen next to the information ministry and the Iraqi TV building. "These targets are key regime command-and-control assets,'' said Jim Wilkinson, a spokesman for U.S. Central Command. Iraqi Satellite TV, which broadcasts 24 hours a day outside Iraq, went off the air around 4:30 a.m. after the attack on the TV building. It went back on the air about eight hours later. Iraq's domestic state-run television service, which does not broadcast around the clock and was not on the air at the time, resumed broadcasting Wednesday morning as scheduled. However, there was no trace of Al-Shabab television, the station owned by Saddam Hussein's son Odai. That station is normally transmitted from the state television building. Meanwhile, a howling sandstorm that had cast a yellow haze over Baghdad eased Wednesday morning as U.S.-led troops lay within 80 kilometers (50 miles) of the capital, setting up a seemingly inevitable fight for control of the city of 5 million people. The sandstorm had slowed the allies' advance to a crawl. "We are determined to defend our capital after what we have seen of our brothers' resistance in the south,'' Baghdad truck driver Ahmed Falah said. "The whole world is with us now, even the weather, because the sandstorm has brought benefits to us. They are the storms of God.'' Television, like state radio, constantly played patriotic songs and messages of support from Iraqis for Saddam. DEFENCE OF THE REALM http://www.jordantimes.com/Tue/news/news11.htm * IRAQI TRIBES ARE THEIR LEADER'S SECRET WEAPON Jordan Times, 25th March DUBAI (AFP) ‹ In the war against the US and Britain, President Saddam Hussein can count not only on his elite Republican Guard but also on a more secret weapon ‹ tribal chiefs who control hundreds of thousands of armed men. The backing of the regime by ancient clans is a relatively recent development, stemming from the aftermath of the 1991 Gulf War, a time in which President Saddam was weakened at home. The Iraqi leader turned to the tribes to help reinforce his slackened grip on power, according to Iraqi opposition members in exile. The tribes were highly influential under the monarchy that ruled the country until 1958 but were brushed aside by the Baath Party which succeeded it and considered their customs backwards and primitive. But the first Gulf conflict changed everything by loosening the state command structure, leaving Saddam scrambling to shore up his domestic support. Paradoxically, the international embargo slapped on the country after Iraq invaded Kuwait, aimed at undermining Saddam, ended up offering him a golden opportunity to reestablish his control over an increasingly impoverished society. Faleh Jabber, a researcher at the School of Politics and Sociology at the University of London-Birkbeck, noted in a recent article that the food supply increasingly depended on Saddam's good will, and on the tribes. One of the consequences of the sanctions was also to make the tribes more dependent on government support. To foster a reconciliation and establish himself as chief of the chiefs, Saddam invited tribal leaders to one of his palaces in 1992. He apologised for new land reforms that stripped them of resources and called for a rapprochement. In effect, he bought their allegiance by offering food, vital materials, money and in particular, the opportunity for them to exercise new influence. The tribes were able to run their areas like fiefdoms, all the while working as cogs of the state. They were given authority over security, police forces, the justice system and tax collection and the scope to operate beyond their traditional areas of control into major cities including Baghdad. Exempted from military service, the men of the tribes received light arms and means of transportation and communication to allow them to help President Saddam Hussein crush any domestic unrest. The government saw the utility of their support in 1991 when they assisted him in stamping out a rebellion in south of the country, which has a Shiite Muslim majority. The ties binding the tribes to Saddam and their willingness to protect the status quo that operates in their favour are among the factors leading the tribes to oppose the current US British invasion. Aware that they could represent a secret weapon against the Americans, Saddam on Monday called on all Iraqis and the tribes in particular to continue to resist the enemy and congratulated them on their success in slowing the coalition advance. "Even in the open desert, American and British soldiers are exposing themselves to civilians' weapons," he said. Iraqi television showed images of a US Apache helicopter that had been shot down over Karbala, 80 kilometres south of Baghdad. Ali Obeid, an old peasant with a white beard and brandishing an elderly bolt-action rifle, proudly told the cameras that he had downed a second aircraft of the same type. http://www.dailystar.com.lb/opinion/25_03_03_b.htm * UMM QASR: A LINE IN THE SAND by Khatoun Haidar Lebanon Daily Star, 25th March Umm Qasr is a small Iraqi port that has gained worldwide fame during the last few days. The first day of the war the American TV stations announced its occupation by the coalition forces. The second day the military declared the port safe. The fourth day of the war strong battles raged around the port. The US forces then called in tanks and air strikes to remove some 100 men from a strong pocket of resistance. The American and British political leaders are surprised. They had been informed that the Iraqis would not fight for Saddam, the army would defect en mass, and the civilian population would embrace the American liberators. They were right in thinking that the Iraqis will not fight for Saddam, but they were wrong in viewing themselves as liberators. They are occupiers and the Iraqis, independent of their hatred for Saddam, are fighting in defense of their country, their land, their pride, and their interests. The battle of Umm Qasr baffled the Americans and frightened the Arab leadership as they were promised a short and swift war, but it gave the Arab people a glance of hope. The last few years witnessed the demise of Arab nationalism, the prevalence of an exclusive form of fundamentalism, a recession that has reached catastrophic proportions, and the Israeli arrogance and might. The Arab psyche entered the realm of despair, hopelessness and desensitization. Umm Qasr might prove to be the spark that will bring back to the Arab street a sense of pride and empowerment. Basra, Nasiriyah, and Nejef witnessed battles and an Iraqi resilience that dumbfounded the coalition. The south of Iraq was expected to fall in line with the Iraqi opposition abroad and receive the advancing forces with little resistance. Though the people of the south suffered most under Saddam Hussein, they are Iraqis and again they will fight for the occupier. Some Marsh Arabs, actually refugees in Iran, when questioned by foreign correspondents did not approve of the American military campaign. Maybe those who planned for this war fell victims to their own propaganda. Iraq is not a loose knit of Sunnis, Shiites, Marsh Arabs, Turkmen, and Kurds. It is a proud nation. Though tyrannized by Saddam Hussein, it seems Iraq is not ready to replace a dictator by an occupier. The coalition forces will inevitably prevail militarily as the balance of force is in their favor. Realistically, an Iraqi Army worn out by 12 years of sanctions is no match to the one and only superpower. An Iraqi Army holding out for some time against incredible odds is a victory of sorts, but any form of popular resistance will be a real victory. Whatever happens later, this may prove to be the rallying point for the Arab masses. During the last decade the Arab populations have lacked a sense of purpose. The battles fought in their name by small groups of Islamic fundamentalists in Afghanistan, Chechnya, and old Yugoslavia have been divisive and unrepresentative. The central Arab cause, Palestine, has been a never-ending source of humiliation. A morally justified battle on Arab land against an occupier might be the spark these masses need to regain the confidence necessary to fight for their rights. It is sad that Umm Qasr was under the nominal leadership of Saddam Hussein. It is sad that the power supposedly representing democracy in the world is the aggressor. President Bush and Tony Blair cannot yet comprehend the far-reaching consequences of their actions. The cost of this war goes much beyond the destruction of the infrastructure, and the architectural or cultural heritage of a country. It goes further than the human cost, the loss of mothers, fathers, husbands, children, and the long-term psychological implications. It will remain engraved in the Arab conscience for a long time to come. It will mold the direction this region of the world will take, and it will remain a thorn in any future relation between the Arab masses, the US and the UK. Thanks to France, Germany, and the Pope, a good relationship between the Arab masses and the West remains possible. The small port of Umm Qasr, and the some 100 men who held up the advance of the Americans never expected to be at the heart of such a far reaching event. http://www.thestar.com.my/iraq/story.asp?file=/2003/3/26/iraq/raqarabys&sec= ir aq * EXILED IRAQIS WANT TO FIGHT 'INVADERS' The Star (Malaysia), 26th March AMMAN: Thousands of Iraqi exiles have been returning home over the past week from Jordan, with many insisting they want to defend their country against US and British "invaders." Jordanian records show that 5,284 Iraqis have crossed the desert border overland into Iraq since March 16, Col Ahmad al-Hazaymeh, director of Jordan's al Karama border post, said on Monday. Iraq's consular office here said it issued at least 3,000 temporary passports for exiled Iraqis in the last three days. Of those, half have already returned to Iraq, spokesman Jawad al-Ali said. "They all said they wanted to take part in the fight against the Americans," al-Ali said. An estimated 350,000 Iraqi exiles live in Jordan. Most have arrived since the 1990-91 Gulf War and stayed, most of them illegally. Some were persecuted by Saddam's regime, while others were seeking to escape the hardships under UN sanctions imposed on Iraq following its 1990 invasion of Kuwait. - AFP http://atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/EC26Ak06.html * JIHAD IN MESOPOTAMIA by Pepe Escobar Asia Times, 26th March RUWEISHED, eastern Jordan - Saddam Hussein has called on Iraqi television for a jihad against the Anglo-American invasion of his country. And the jihad is already on. Saddam's complex amalgam of militantly secular Arab leader, devout believer and bold warrior of Islam is now total. From the depths of his bunker-cum-television studio, Saddam is promising to deliver hell: widespread jihad, urban guerrilla, man-to-man fighting in each and every Iraqi city. The Pentagon may underestimate Saddam at its own peril. George W Bush personalized this war. Saddam played along, taking it to the battleground of the world, and especially Arab public opinion. Saddam has seized on his unique chance to be seen in many parts of the world, even though he might be detested, to be fighting a neocolonialist war, and to be seen in the Arab world as the only leader with enough courage to stand up to the superpower. Carefully calibrating his latest speech, drawing from a wealth of poetic resources in the Arabic language, and tapping on deep Arab and Muslim resentment against the United States, Saddam is also increasingly sounding like Osama bin Laden - who ironically despised the Iraqi leader as an infidel. Saddam's guerrilla tactics have already proved to be somewhat effective. What for the Pentagon is a breakdown of central control is in fact the result of Saddam dividing Iraq into four largely autonomous military zones. The regime can count on support among three different forces: the Republican and Special Republican Guards; the paramilitary Fedayeen Saddam (Saddam's Men of Sacrifice), which has a total strength reportedly between 30,000 and 40,000 troops; and the complex alliances with Bedouin tribes, clans and sub-clans. The Guards, with two divisions already being bombed to oblivion on the outskirts of Baghdad, will be instrumental in the fierce, looming battle of Baghdad. The very mobile Fedayeen are resisting in the southern cities of Umm Qasr, Basra and Nasiriyah. And the tribes will be fighting in central Mesopotamia and the north to defend Arab honor, pride and most of all their own privileges, fully guaranteed as they are by the Ba'ath Party. Saddam is placing all his bets on an extremely brutal and much protracted war that will turn him into a Muslim hero with even wider appeal than bin Laden. A single powerful image is haunting the Arab world: a closeup, taken from footage shot by the television station al-Jazeera, of a beautiful boy in Basra with half of his head blown away. The photo has already become a screensaver on many a computer. Mustafa Hamarneh, from the Strategic Studies Institute at the University of Jordan, says, "Iraq has won Round 1 big, very big." Hamarneh estimates that opposition to war in the Middle East is practically 100 percent. "Iraq is seen as truthful and America is seen as a liar." He confirms what can be easily attested to in any Jordanian cafe - Saddam is now being regarded as the underdog Arab brother, "a hero". Tomahawks may have pulverized the Ansar al-Islam enclave in the mountains of eastern Kurdistan, near the Iranian border. But hundreds of warriors of the Islamist sub-group that have been linked to al-Qaeda have survived, and have vowed to engage in a jihad against the Anglo-American invasion. Pakistani and Afghan sources tell Asia Times Online that thousands of Arab-Afghan mujahideen have already deployed around Baghdad and Mosul preparing suicide commando - or "martyrdom" - operations against the invasion, as well as 2,500 Hezbollah from Lebanon. About 700 Algerian volunteers who received weapons training in Iraqi camps are also at hand. The mujahideen will fight to the death because they are all convinced that the occupation of Iraq is the springboard for further occupation of other Arab and Muslim nations. But it is impossible to confirm for the time being assertions by different sources that key al-Qaeda operatives have also entered Iraq through Iranian Kurdistan. All mujahideen are given official approval from the regime to enter Iraqi territory. They are "unilaterals" - not linked with the Ba'ath Party structure - and are developing their own independent strategies. These separate commandos of Ansar al-Islam, Hezbollah, Algerians and Afghan-Arabs will be instrumental in boosting Saddam's master plan of a protracted jihad-cum-guerrilla war. As the scholars of the al-Azhar Islamic University in Cairo - the Vatican of the Sunni Muslim world and the leading university in the Islamic world - have already made clear, this is a defensive jihad, and absolutely legal from the point of view of Islamic jurisprudence. About 12,000 students at al-Azhar have been chanting "Baghdad don't surrender" for two days now. Observers in the region see increasing signs that the Pentagon war is not developing according to script. No flowers. No applause. The latest developments in the field have conclusively buried the Washington-hawk idea of a "clean", aseptic, mechanized parade fought over a green-lit video-game screen. Only the presumption of Pentagon civilians such as Richard Perle, chairman of the Defense Policy Board, and Paul Wolfowitz, deputy secretary of defense, would see the proud heirs of the Assyrians and the Babylonians resigning themselves to be bombed and then patiently wait for the invaders-liberators to cover them with fruit, flowers and kisses. Ba'ath Party war rhetoric aside, the message from the still intact leadership in Baghdad is very direct: the invaders may roll and control the desert, but they will suffer in the cities; and they will not be received with flowers, but with bullets. Washington wonders why there has not been an uprising in the Shi'ite south. It's because Arabs, Sunni or Shi'ite, are carefully scrutinizing all the symbolism of this war. Where the Americans see only an open desert littered with charred Iraqi bodies and smoldering, gutted vehicles, the Shi'ites watch in horror a roll of invading tanks desecrating the holy city of Najaf, 160 kilometers south of Baghdad - the city where the revered 14th century Imam Ali is buried. Shi'ites praise the symbolic value of Ali Obeid, an aged peasant from the Hindiyah tribe credited with shooting down an Apache helicopter with his bolt-action rifle near the holy city of Karbala, 110km southwest of Baghdad and at the site of the key 7th-century battle where Imam Hussein was killed. Americans can't understand the mindset of a Fedayeen in his hideout with only a filthy blanket to protect him from the cold desert nights and just a plastic bag of raw meat for food, resisting like a madman and then fleeing for another position, leaving behind a photo of his two children. After the Tomahawks erupting from aircraft carriers, after tanks rolling in the desert as if they were in the Paris-Dakar rally, after the apocalyptic first night of Shock and Awe in Baghdad, the next image in the Pentagon screenplay would be flowers and applause for the liberators. But nobody can shoot the scene because the actors refuse to act. American military strategist Harlan Ullman is the conceptual father of Shock and Awe. As he describes it, "You have this simultaneous effect, rather like the nuclear weapons at Hiroshima, not taking days or weeks but minutes." In its carefully orchestrated ongoing bombing lesson for a global audience, the Pentagon was adamant to shatter Iraq "physically, emotionally and psychologically". It hasn't. At least not yet. The daily news conference in the US Central Command in Doha barely disguises how the Pentagon is so obviously desperate for Iraqi surrender. But sources tell Asia Times Online that absolutely no American high-level contacts have been made with the Iraqi Revolutionary Command Council - apart from Pentagon disinformation saying that Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tarik Aziz has defected or that Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan has been killed. US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld himself has admitted that defections are being encouraged only at a lower level. _______________________________________________ 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