Key Developments Concerning Iraq
03/03/03 13:13 EST (Assoicated Press)
Iraq destroyed six more outlawed Al Samoud 2 missiles Monday and promised to hand over a report showing it destroyed deadly anthrax and VX nerve agent.
Turkey's Prime Minister Abdullah Gul refused to say whether the government will resubmit a motion allowing U.S. troop deployment there, two days after Parliament blocked the move. ``We will see what happens in the next few days,'' Gul said in a news conference.
Turkey's stock market, open for the first day since the deployment was rejected, plunged over fears the decision would threaten the $15 billion U.S. aid package.
U.N. weapons inspectors returned Monday to a military base where they have been overseeing destruction of Iraq's banned Al Samoud 2 missiles, and to a former airfield where Iraqis have unearthed old bombs armed with biological weapons.
A meeting of Gulf ministers failed Monday to endorse a proposal by the United Arab Emirates urging Saddam Hussein to step down to avert war.
Officials in Washington confirmed that U.S. warplanes patrolling Iraq's southern ``no fly'' zone attacked four military communications facilities and one air defense facility on Sunday. Central Command said the attacks came after Iraqi forces fired at U.S. and British planes.
British Defense Minister Geoff Hoon said coalition planes are conducting more frequent patrols of the no fly zones, but he said strategy has not shifted substantially as a prelude to war. Hoon said no decision to begin military action had been made.
Hoon also confirmed that the first of 14 expected American B-52
bombers landed in Britain on Monday. Britain last week gave the United States
permission to base the B-52s as part of its contribution to possible military
1) Iraq says US-UK raid kills six civilians in Basra (March 3: Reuters)
2) U.S. Planes Strike Five Targets in Iraq (March 3: Assoicated Press)
3) US adds 6th carrier, B-2 bombers to Iraq build-up (Feb 27: Reuters)
4) U.S. Builds Strong Force at Sea for Iraq (March 1: Assoicated Press)
5) Turkey vote could delay Iraq attack-US officials (March 3: reuters)
6) U.S. aircraft arrive at Bulgaria Black Sea airbase (March 3: Reuters)
7) Revealed: US dirty tricks to win vote on Iraq war (March 2: The Observer, UK)
8) US plan to bug Security Council: the text (March 2: The Observer, UK)
9) U.S. Diplomat's Letter of Resignation
by John Brady Kiesling
February 28, 2003, Z-Magazine
BAGHDAD, Iraq (Reuters) - Iraq said Monday that U.S. and British warplanes killed six civilians and wounded another 15 in raids on Basra, but Washington said the jets struck military targets after coming under anti-aircraft fire.
An Iraqi military spokesman said the planes patrolling a "no-fly" zone in the south of the country entered Iraqi airspace at 9:45 p.m. (1:45 p.m. EST) Sunday and later targeted civilian sites in the province of Basra.
In a statement on the state Iraqi News Agency, he said Iraqi anti-aircraft units fired at the planes which returned to bases in Kuwait.
But the United States military said the planes attacked five air defense targets early Monday in response to anti-aircraft fire from the ground.
A British Defense Ministry spokeswoman said Britain would look into the Iraqi allegations.
"This is one of the stronger allegations they have made so we are looking into it," she said. "The early indications are that these reports are probably not accurate."
The strikes were the latest in an increasing number of western air attacks in no-fly zones in northern and southern Iraq as the United States and Britain build up a force for possible invasion of Iraq. More than 220,000 troops are now in the region.
The U.S. Central Command said aircraft used precision-guided weapons to strike four fiber optic communications centers near Al Kut about 95 miles southeast of Baghdad and a military command and control center near Basra about 245 miles southeast of Baghdad.
U.S. Central Command said from its headquarters in Tampa, Florida, the targets were attacked after Iraqi forces fired anti-aircraft artillery.
"The specific targets were struck because they enhanced Iraq's integrated air defense network," Navy Lt. Cmdr. Nick Balice, a spokesman for Central Command, told Reuters.
"Target damage assessment is ongoing," he said of the strikes, adding that all the warplanes had safely left the area.
The no-fly zones were set up after the 1991 Gulf War to protect Kurds in northern Iraq and Shiite Muslims in the south from Baghdad's forces. Iraq does not recognize the zones.
U.S. defense officials said over the weekend Washington had extended the targets being attacked by air patrols in no-fly zones to include weapons that could hinder a ground invasion.
Baghdad routinely describes the targets of the air raids as civilian, while U.S. and British military authorities say they attack only military targets and strive to avoid civilian casualties.
03/03/03 13:43 ET
.c The Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) - U.S. warplanes patroling a ``no fly'' zone over southern Iraq reported coming under anti-aircraft artillery fire and responded by attacking four military communications facilities and one air defense facility, officials said Monday.
Central Command said in a statement that the attacks happened on Sunday.
The official Iraqi News Agency quoted an unnamed military spokesman as saying that six people were killed and 15 wounded in an airstrike in Basra province Sunday night.
``Our courageous anti-aircraft units confronted the warplanes and forced them to leave our skies toward their bases in Kuwait,'' it quoted him as saying.
It called the targets ``civilian and service installations.''
The communications facilities were located near the city of Al Kut, and the air defense facility was near Basra. Those areas and others in southern Iraq are frequently targeted by U.S. planes because they are important links in Iraq's air defense network.
Central Command said Sunday's attacks were ordered after Iraqi forces fired anti-aircraft artillery at U.S. and British planes.
U.S. and British planes regularly patrol ``no fly'' zones over northern
and southern Iraq. Iraq contends that the patrols violate its sovereignty
and has tried unsuccessfully for years to shoot down the planes.
03/03/03 14:47 EST
By Will Dunham
WASHINGTON, Feb 27 (Reuters) - The United States, preparing for war with Iraq, has ordered the deployment of radar-evading batwing B-2 stealth bombers and directed a sixth aircraft carrier to sail to the Gulf region, the military said on Thursday.
The Navy's Third Fleet said the nuclear-powered USS Nimitz, based in San Diego, would head to the Gulf region on Monday. Five U.S. carriers, along with their battle groups of missile-firing warships, already are in the Gulf and theMediterranean, within striking distance of Iraq.
In Washington, Navy officials said the Nimitz was scheduled to replace the carrier USS Abraham Lincoln in the Gulf on routine rotation, but that no exchange date had been set.
Lt. Matt Hasson, a spokesman at Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri, told Reuters that a B-2 deployment order had been received, but would not say how many of the 21 stealth bombers located at the base would deploy or where they might go.
At the Pentagon, another Air Force official said several of the advanced warplanes, each capable of carrying up to 20 2,000-pound (900-kg) satellite-guided bombs, were expected to leave in the coming days, but would not be more specific.
The U.S. Air Force has built shelters for its most advanced bomber on the island of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean and in Britain. The Pentagon already has deployed B-1 bombers and radar-evading F-117 stealth fighters to the Gulf region along with hundreds of other Air Force and Navy planes in a massive military buildup near Iraq.
SERIOUSNESS OF PURPOSE
"The purpose of flowing forces is to demonstrate the seriousness of purpose of the international community. And I think that is exactly what's taking place," Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told reporters at the Pentagon.
The military also announced on Thursday that nearly 800 additional medical and support staff had been ordered to join the Navy hospital ship Comfort, already in the region. The addition will bring the ship, designed to treat combat wounded, up to its 1,000-bed capacity.
The B-2 "Spirit" was not used in the 1991 Gulf War, making its debut in combat operations in the Kosovo campaign in 1999. It flew nonstop all the way from the base in Missouri, attacked targets in Yugoslavia and returned to the base.
The B-2 also saw action in the opening three days of the war in Afghanistan launched weeks after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States. In that war, the B-2 flew one of its longest missions to date from Missouri to Afghanistan and back, the Air Force said.
"The B-2 provides four key characteristics: stealth, precision weapons, large payload and long range," Hasson said. "The combination of stealth and precision represents a real revolution in warfare, allowing destruction of hardened enemy targets with less risk to U.S. airmen."
The B-2's low-observable, or "stealth," characteristics give it the ability to penetrate an enemy's most sophisticated defenses and threaten its most valued, and heavily defended, targets, according to the Air Force.
'KICK THE DOOR DOWN'
Hasson said there are about 75 B-2 pilots at Whiteman Air Force Base, but would not say how many would be deployed along with the jets. Whiteman is the B-2's only base. The first B-2 aircraft was delivered there in 1993.
"Our primary job is 'we kick the door down', as we like to say. We clear out the integrated air defenses that pose a threat to the other, less-stealthy airframes," Hasson said.
The B-2's low radar observability stems from a combination of reduced infrared, acoustic, electromagnetic, visual and radar signatures, according to the Air Force. This makes it difficult for sophisticated air defense systems to detect, track and engage the B-2.
The Pentagon earlier this month deployed F-117A "Nighthawk" stealth fighters from Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico. The F-117A was the only coalition aircraft used to strike targets in downtown Baghdad during the Gulf War, the Air Force said. Hasson said one B-2 can carry as much precision-guided ordnance as the entire squadron of Nighthawks.
The Nimitz could take three weeks or more to make the long voyage across the Pacific and Indian Oceans.
The carriers USS Kitty Hawk and USS Constellation are also in the Gulf area and the USS Theodore Roosevelt and USS Harry Truman are in the Mediterranean.
The Navy said the Nimitz will deploy along with the USS Chosin, USS Princeton, USS Fitzgerald, USS Rodney M. Davis and USS Bridge. The battle group includes about 8,000 sailors, the Navy said.
Carriers typically deploy 75 warplanes, including about 50 attack jets. Each is shepherded by a half-dozen or so cruisers, destroyers and submarines with long-range Tomahawk cruise missiles.
The United States is building a large military force in the Gulf region for a possible war with Iraq, including about 200,000 ground troops. President George W. Bush has said the United States will lead a coalition of nations to disarm Iraq by force if necessary if Iraqi President Saddam Hussein does not comply with U.N. demands that he give up his alleged banned weapons of mass destruction.
(Additional reporting by Charles Aldinger)
02/27/03 18:38 ET
By SETH HETTENA
.c The Associated Press
SAN DIEGO (AP) - The assignment of the USS Nimitz and its battle group to the Persian Gulf means the U.S. military soon will have an unprecedented floating air force within striking distance of Iraq.
The Nimitz will leave San Diego with its eight-ship battle group and 8,000 sailors and airmen Monday. It is expected to take at least a month to reach the Gulf, where it will join five other carrier battle groups operating in the area, although the Nimitz may replace one of them, the USS Abraham Lincoln.
``The fact that five carriers have been deployed to the region at the same time tells you what kind of campaign it's going to be,'' said Loren Thompson, a defense analyst with the Lexington Institute in Arlington, Va. ``It's going to be an overwhelming air assault that reduces every facet of Iraqi military capability in a few days. This war is going to be over pretty quickly.''
The Lincoln, the USS Kitty Hawk and the USS Constellation are in the Persian Gulf. The USS Harry S. Truman and USS Theodore Roosevelt are in the eastern Mediterranean, within striking range of Iraq.
Typically, each carrier travels with a battle group of at least two cruisers, a destroyer and a submarine. Aboard each carrier is an air wing with about 70 aircraft, roughly 50 of which are strike planes, such as F/A-18 Hornets and F-14 Tomcats. The Nimitz is taking two squadrons of F/A-18 Super Hornets, which have longer range and more firepower than older Hornets.
Today's carrier air wings are far more lethal than they were during the 1991 Gulf War.
Each of the six carrier air wings can now hit 700 targets per day in any weather, day and night, thanks to precision-guided munitions, Thompson said. During Desert Storm, an air wing could handle 200 targets a day - fewer at night or in bad weather.
Air wing commanders today speak of the number of targets a single plane can hit instead of the number of planes required to hit a single target.
``The U.S. has deployed this many carriers before, but it's never deployed this much striking power,'' Thompson said.
The deployment of the Nimitz means half of the Navy's 12 aircraft carriers are now massing in the Middle East.
``They are working the carriers to death,'' said Patrick Garrett, a defense analyst with Globalsecurity.org, a research organization. The collection of forces increases the pressure to order a strike. ``They've got all this equipment sitting out there, which is not just stressful on the equipment but it's stressful on families,'' Garrett said.
The Lincoln left Everett, Wash., on July 20 and was on its way home New Year's Day when it was ordered back to the Gulf. Its deployment, now stretching into its eighth month, is one of the longest of any carrier since the 1980s, Garrett said.
To prepare the Nimitz, fleet commanders crunched two major training and evaluation exercises into a three-week period of intense war games.
Cmdr. Jacqueline Yost, a spokeswoman for the Navy's Third Fleet in San Diego, said the Navy is well aware of the strain on its carriers and crews.
``It's a unique situation,'' Yost said. ``Basically it shows the flexibility of the naval forces. We don't know how long we could sustain something like this but for the unique situation we're in, we're able to do that.''
``The bottom line is we don't expect a requirement indefinitely,'' she
03/01/03 14:25 EST
By Charles Aldinger
WASHINGTON, March 3 (Reuters) - Turkey's surprise rejection of U.S. troops for any invasion of Iraq could now delay an attack until late March or early April and spark problems over control of northern Iraq's oil fields, U.S. officials and defense experts said on Monday.
The timing of any invasion, earlier expected to begin in mid-March, received a major blow on Saturday when Turkey's Parliament refused to approve making bases available for up to 60,000 U.S. troops for a possible thrust into northern Iraq along with a second planned front from Kuwait to the south.
Officials and analysts worried that Kurds in Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq might try to seize oil fields or that the Iraq military might destroy the fields if there was little or no U.S. presence in the early days of an attack.
White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said Turkey had made the situation "more complicated." He spoke as more than 230,000 U.S. and British troops were already gathered in the Gulf region for a possible invasion.
With more than a dozen cargo ships loaded with U.S. tanks and other equipment waiting off Turkey to unload, it was not clear on Monday whether leaders in Ankara would press parliament for a new vote later this week.
Pentagon officials stressed that President George W. Bush had not given any go-ahead for an invasion and that any attack would likely be delayed for only a week to 10 days if Turkey's parliament soon cast a fresh vote to allow the basing.
But analysts said the delay could stretch for two weeks or more, possibly into April after the new moon that would give more light to the U.S. advantage of night fighting in a blitzkrieg attempt to capture Baghdad itself.
'A SURPRISE,' SAYS WHITE HOUSE
That would be especially true if Turkey finally says "no" and U.S. forces designated for Turkey have to instead go to Kuwait for a march northward.
"The vote was a surprise," Fleischer said. But, he added, "If the president decides to authorize force, there are preferable routes, but those are not the only routes."
"Turkey is reviewing its options for what they will or will not be able to do. And we are evaluating our options."
One senior military official told Reuters that any final refusal by Turkey would "certainly complicate things in the north."
"If all (of the forces) have to go in from the south, then we can do that. But you would want to get to the oil fields in the north as soon as possible to keep them from being destroyed or perhaps taken over" by the Kurds, the official said.
Michael O'Hanlon, an analyst with the private Brookings Institution, said the Turkey vote created a major problem.
"If you go around through the Suez Canal to Kuwait with the cargo ships now, it's a week's delay," O'Hanlon said. "And if you wait a week for a vote and it's another 'no', then you have a two-week delay."
A MAJOR PROBLEM IN THE NORTH?
"If you only come in from the south and can't get immediately into the north in any strength, you have the problem of Iraqis setting fire to oil fields around Kirkuk or the Kurds seizing them - and the Turks possibly coming down and fighting with the Kurds with no U.S. supervision to keep them apart," O'Hanlon added.
In Stuttgart, Germany. a top U.S. military official said on Monday that any war in Iraq would be successful even without a northern front from Turkey .
"I don't think it's absolutely a showstopper in terms of whether you have a northern front or not," said Marine Corps Gen. James Jones, the supreme allied commander of NATO forces in Europe and head of the United States European Command.
"We're going to be successful regardless of what we're limited to," he added.
Former U.S. Assistant Defense Secretary Larry Korb, now a senior official with the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, said Saturday's vote raised "a very serious problem."
"They (the Pentagon) will say that they can come in from the south and we will still win," he said.
"But if you don't come in from the north, who's going to grab the oil fields? Are the Kurds going to try and take them? What are the Turks going to do about that?" Korb added.
"This all could be delayed until toward the end of March or possibly later because, given the lack of support that you're getting from the international community, you can't take any chance. This thing had better go well."
Retired U.S. Rear Adm. Stephen Baker said any final Turkish denial of access "certainly complicates things and causes a revision of strategies."
"It's not Plan A. Now we go to Plan B," added Baker, who served as chief of staff for operations and plans for the USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier battle group in the Gulf War and is a Center for Defense Information analyst.
Loren Thompson, a Lexington Institute defense analyst with close ties to the U.S. military, said earlier that one fall-back strategy being planned for the north involved the insertion of about 5,000 U.S. ground troops using C-17 Globemaster III cargo aircraft.
03/03/03 13:46 ET
SOFIA, Bulgaria (Reuters) - Several U.S. aircraft arrived at a Bulgarian air base near the Black Sea town of Bourgas Monday, as part of the buildup of forces for a possible war on Iraq, a Defense Ministry official said.
The official told Reuters two of the U.S. aircraft that flew into the base were refueling planes. A third was carrying military equipment.
The official indicated more U.S. planes may arrive in the coming days. The base was used by U.S. forces in late 2001 during the U.S.-led military campaign against Afghanistan.
A group of U.S. B-52 bombers also landed at Britain's Fairford Royal Air Force base Monday in preparation for any war.
Bulgaria, grateful for U.S. support in winning it a NATO invitation last November, has offered Washington the use of the Bourgas base in the event of a war.
It has also authorized the dispatch of 150 troops to near Iraq to tackle nonconventional warfare threats.
Washington, which accuses Baghdad of harboring weapons of mass destruction, has threatened to attack Iraq if it does not disarm and warned time is fast running out.
Bulgaria, once the Soviet Union's closest ally, is one of the strongest supporters of the U.S. position on Iraq in the U.N. Security Council.
On Saturday, the parliament in neighboring Turkey narrowly blocked U.S.
troops from deploying in the country -- a setback for Washington's plans
for a "northern front" against Iraq.
03/03/03 14:10 ET
The United States is conducting a secret 'dirty tricks' campaign against UN Security Council delegations in New York as part of its battle to win votes in favour of war against Iraq.
Details of the aggressive surveillance operation, which involves interception of the home and office telephones and the emails of UN delegates in New York, are revealed in a document leaked to The Observer.
The disclosures were made in a memorandum written by a top official at the National Security Agency - the US body which intercepts communications around the world - and circulated to both senior agents in his organisation and to a friendly foreign intelligence agency asking for its input.
The memo describes orders to staff at the agency, whose work is clouded in secrecy, to step up its surveillance operations 'particularly directed at... UN Security Council Members (minus US and GBR, of course)' to provide up-to-the-minute intelligence for Bush officials on the voting intentions of UN members regarding the issue of Iraq.
The leaked memorandum makes clear that the target of the heightened surveillance efforts are the delegations from Angola, Cameroon, Chile, Mexico, Guinea and Pakistan at the UN headquarters in New York - the so-called 'Middle Six' delegations whose votes are being fought over by the pro-war party, led by the US and Britain, and the party arguing for more time for UN inspections, led by France, China and Russia.
The memo is directed at senior NSA officials and advises them that the agency is 'mounting a surge' aimed at gleaning information not only on how delegations on the Security Council will vote on any second resolution on Iraq, but also 'policies', 'negotiating positions', 'alliances' and 'dependencies' - the 'whole gamut of information that could give US policymakers an edge in obtaining results favourable to US goals or to head off surprises'.
Dated 31 January 2003, the memo was circulated four days after the UN's chief weapons inspector Hans Blix produced his interim report on Iraqi compliance with UN resolution 1441.
It was sent by Frank Koza, chief of staff in the 'Regional Targets' section
of the NSA, which spies on countries that are viewed as strategically important
for United States interests.
Koza specifies that the information will be used for the US's 'QRC' - Quick Response Capability - 'against' the key delegations.
Suggesting the levels of surveillance of both the office and home phones of UN delegation members, Koza also asks regional managers to make sure that their staff also 'pay attention to existing non-UN Security Council Member UN-related and domestic comms [office and home telephones] for anything useful related to Security Council deliberations'.
Koza also addresses himself to the foreign agency, saying: 'We'd appreciate your support in getting the word to your analysts who might have similar more indirect access to valuable information from accesses in your product lines [ie, intelligence sources].' Koza makes clear it is an informal request at this juncture, but adds: 'I suspect that you'll be hearing more along these lines in formal channels.'
Disclosure of the US operation comes in the week that Blix will make what many expect to be his final report to the Security Council.
It also comes amid increasingly threatening noises from the US towards undecided countries on the Security Council who have been warned of the unpleasant economic consequences of standing up to the US.
Sources in Washington familiar with the operation said last week that there had been a division among Bush administration officials over whether to pursue such a high-intensity surveillance campaign with some warning of the serious consequences of discovery.
The existence of the surveillance operation, understood to have been requested by President Bush's National Security Adviser, Condoleezza Rice, is deeply embarrassing to the Americans in the middle of their efforts to win over the undecided delegations.
The language and content of the memo were judged to be authentic by three former intelligence operatives shown it by The Observer. We were also able to establish that Frank Koza does work for the NSA and could confirm his senior post in the Regional Targets section of the organisation.
The NSA main switchboard put The Observer through to extension 6727 at the agency which was answered by an assistant, who confirmed it was Koza's office. However, when The Observer asked to talk to Koza about the surveillance of diplomatic missions at the United Nations, it was then told 'You have reached the wrong number'.
On protesting that the assistant had just said this was Koza's extension, the assistant repeated that it was an erroneous extension, and hung up.
While many diplomats at the UN assume they are being bugged, the memo reveals for the first time the scope and scale of US communications intercepts targeted against the New York-based missions.
The disclosure comes at a time when diplomats from the countries have been complaining about the outright 'hostility' of US tactics in recent days to persuade then to fall in line, including threats to economic and aid packages.
The operation appears to have been spotted by rival organisations in Europe. 'The Americans are being very purposeful about this,' said a source at a European intelligence agency when asked about the US surveillance efforts.
To: [Recipients withheld]
From: FRANK KOZA, DEF Chief of Staff (Regional Targets)
Sent on Jan 31 2003 0:16
Subject: Reflections of Iraq Debate/Votes at UN-RT Actions + Potential
for Related Contributions
As you've likely heard by now, the Agency is mounting a surge particularly directed at the UN Security Council (UNSC) members (minus US and GBR of course) for insights as to how to membership is reacting to the on-going debate RE: Iraq, plans to vote on any related resolutions, what related policies/ negotiating positions they may be considering, alliances/ dependencies, etc - the whole gamut of information that could give US policymakers an edge in obtaining results favorable to US goals or to head off surprises. In RT, that means a QRC surge effort to revive/ create efforts against UNSC members Angola, Cameroon, Chile, Bulgaria and Guinea, as well as extra focus on Pakistan UN matters.
We've also asked ALL RT topi's to emphasize and make sure they pay attention to existing non-UNSC member UN-related and domestic comms for anything useful related to the UNSC deliberations/ debates/ votes. We have a lot of special UN-related diplomatic coverage (various UN delegations) from countries not sitting on the UNSC right now that could contribute related perspectives/ insights/ whatever. We recognize that we can't afford to ignore this possible source.
We'd appreciate your support in getting the word to your analysts who might
have similar, more in-direct access to valuable information from accesses
in your product lines. I suspect that you'll be hearing more along these
lines in formal channels - especially as this effort will probably peak
(at least for this specific focus) in the middle of next week, following
the SecState's presentation to the UNSC.
Thanks for your help
· Footnote: This email was originally transcribed with English spellings standardised for a British audience. Following enquiries about this, we have reverted to the original US-spelling as in the document leaked to The Observer.