Iraq: October 11, 2002


The Pentagon has decided not to bomb Iraqi oil fields and facilities that produce weapons of mass destruction, but will instead disable these with electronic attacks and information warfare. The problem with bombing the oilfields is that a post-war Iraq (and post-war oil markets) will need them. Bombing the weapons sites could cause civilian casualties and destroy needed evidence. Some of these attacks will be conducted by cruise missiles with new microwave warheads.

High on the bombing target list are rebuilt facilities associated with missiles that have ranges of more than 700 kilometers. Also high on the target list are four Kolchuga radar stations sold to Iraq (in violation of UN embargoes) in July 2000. These stations are linked by a computer and by comparing their signals, the computer can detect stealth bombers. Kolchuga is a passive system that emits no signal, making it immune to the kind of attacks with HARM missiles that shut down Iraqi air defenses in 1991. Iraq certainly has GPS jammers, and the US is rapidly refitting cruise missiles and some smart bombs with GPS systems that are harder to jam. These would be used to hit the first critical targets and then to destroy the jammers, which can be detected and located. Global Hawk drones have been pulled out of the region for repairs and refits, and spare parts are in short supply. These will return to service if a war starts.--Stephen V Cole

The US Congress  voted to authorize the president to use force against Iraq. The resolution calls for the president to exhaust diplomatic efforts to remove weapons of mass destruction from Iraq, an effort that has been ongoing for 12 years without success..


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