Iraq: January 26, 2003

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Saddam's War Plan; Knowing his troops cannot defeat the US Army in an open field battle, Saddam has decided to dig his best units into and around Baghad and draw the US and British troops into a battle on his terms. Satellite photos show elaborate defense works being built around the Iraqi capital in two rings. These works include battle positions, obstacles, ditches, barriers, ammunition stockpiles, command bunkers, minefields, and other engineering works. Construction began last November and has included shifting troops from bases around the country. The outer ring will be held by the Republican Guard and the best of the Iraqi regular Army units. The inner ring will be held by the Special Republican Guard, the most fanatical of Saddam's followers. In theory, the outer ring would serve as a tripwire to force US and British troops to deploy into assault formations, and during the battle of this outer line the Special Republican Guard would bombard the invading armies with chemical and biological weapons. The Iraqis know that the US could not respond with tactical nuclear weapons (as it has threatened) because of the civilian population present in the area. As the zone between the two rings is urbanized, the US and British troops would have to slog through nasty block-by-block fighting before even reaching the main defensive line of the Special Republican Guard. The zone between the rings would be infested with tens of thousands of Saddam Fedayeen militia units, which Saddam would use as cannon fodder. Three smaller towns near Baghdad (Baiji in the north, Ramadi in the west, and Suweira-Kut in the south) are heavily fortified and would have to be reduced before serious attacks could begin on the main defenses of Baghdad itself.--Stephen V Cole

UN inspectors found eleven empty chemical warheads for missiles in an Iraqi arms depot. Since the Iraqis had insisted that all such warheads had been destroyed, this constitutes a violation of the UN disarmament orders. The Iraqis insist that the warheads were old and had been forgotten, which is entirely possible. --Stephen V Cole

Iran has increased the number of refugee camps on its side of the Iraqi border. Iran now expects at least 200,000 Iraqis to flee into Iran if the US invades Iraq.


 

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