News


Tracking Number:  169232

Title:  "US Downs Scuds, Allies Press Air Attacks." A news briefing on Scud missiles launched by Iraq and intercepted by US Patriot missiles, the treatment of allied POWs by Iraq, allied policy of not bombing Iraqi civilians, and other Desert Storm-related issues. (910121)

Translated Title:  "Des Scuds Abbatus, La Campagne Aerienne Continue." (910121)
Date:  19910121

Text:
*SFF115

01/21/91 1Me Tx U.S. DOWNS SCUDS, ALLIES PRESS AIR ATTACKS (Excerpts: General Moore, Riyadh briefing) (1560)

Washington -- A senior U.S. military official says American air defense systems knocked down nine out of 10 Iraqi SCUD surface-to-surface missiles launched against multiple locations in Saudi Arabia January 20.

Briefing reporters in Riyadh January 21, Air Force Major General Burton Moore said, "every SCUD missile that has been launched against Riyadh or Dhahran has been successfully engaged by a Patriot missile."

Asked about the U.S. and allied prisoners of war being held by Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, Moore said, "We hold Iraq accountable to treat them in accordance with the Geneva Convention." He said the United States expects American and allied military personnel to be "treated humanely."

Addressing the issue of civilian casualties in the theater of operations, Moore explained, "Our technology and our ability has allowed us to really pinpoint the targets that we need to hit, and it is not, nor will it be, our policy to attack innocent civilians. Our argument is not with the people of Iraq, it is with Saddam Hussein and his military."

Following are excerpts of the briefing by Moore:

(begin excerpts)

MAJOR GENERAL BURTON MOORE, USAF: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. We are now well into the fifth day of Operation Desert Storm. Air operations by U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, as well as allied air forces, continue to concentrate on targets in Iraq and Kuwait. We have now flown more than 8,100 sorties in support of our campaign objectives. We have focused on key elements of Iraq's warfighting capabilities.

In the past 24 hours we downed two more Iraqi aircraft, bringing the total to 17. We lost one U.S. aircraft to hostile fire in the past 24 hours, a U.S. Navy F-14 Tomcat. Since Desert Storm began, we have lost nine U.S. and five allied aircraft to hostile ground fire. An Army Apache AH- 64 and a UK Tornado were also lost in the last 24 hours due to non-combat-related accidents.

GE 2 SFF115 Our ground forces of the U.S. Army, Marine Corps, and allies continued to defend in Saudi Arabia. While there has still been no direct hostile contact between our forces and those of Iraq, we have received some sporadic Iraqi artillery fire. U.S. naval forces continue to conduct operations in the Arabian Gulf, the Gulf of Oman, and the Red Sea. Maritime intercept operations continue with almost 7,000 intercepts to date.

As you are all well aware, last night Patriot batteries in Riyadh and Dhahran engaged Iraqi SCUD missiles aimed at Saudi Arabia. Our reports indicate that the batteries in Dhahran successfully engaged two SCUD missiles in that area, while a third SCUD impacted in waters off the coast of Saudi Arabia. In Riyadh, our reports indicated that six SCUD missiles were fired -- our Patriot batteries successfully engaged all six.

During the engagements at Riyadh there was some collateral damage to a building near Riyadh air base; however, we have no reports beyond that, although preliminary reports suggest that it was debris from an intercepted SCUD or possibly a Patriot missile that malfunctioned. We'll get more to you on that as it becomes available.

We have no reports of casualties. We are working with Saudi officials, and they will provide you additional information as it becomes available.

This completes my remarks, and I'll try to take your questions.

QUESTION: You may have seen, as some of us did, pictures of American pilots captured by the Iraqis, held as prisoners of war. I wonder whether you would care to comment as an Air Force general on that event; and secondly, to give us some sense of how you feel that treatment is affecting your operation and the emotions of your own pilots?

ANSWER: I did not see the pictures -- I heard some of the tapes. I would comment not only as an Air Force major general, but as an American citizen, and that is to say that while we are happy that our airmen survived the intercepts and the hostile fire, we hold Iraq accountable to treat them in accordance with the Geneva Convention.

Q: Two days ago the military was making much of the fact that there was what was being described as a trend in Iraq's missile fire -- eight, I believe on Friday, three on Saturday. Now we find ourselves back up to ten. Does that change your assessment of the effectiveness of your attempt to crack down on the SCUD launchers?

A: As I said, we continue to aggressively pursue his fixed and mobile SCUD capability. It is too early to say that we

GE 3 SFF115 have those objectives attained, but we continue to try to take them out as fast. We are pursuing that objective as aggressively as is reasonably possible. Again, I would say that the results of his efforts to launch SCUDs both here and at Israel have been very ineffective.

Q: A British officer has said that the effect of seeing POWs on television is likely to at least irritate airmen -- British airmen. Would you say that's the same for American pilots when they see their colleagues exhibited like this?

A: We expect that our colleagues, both U.S. and allied, will be treated humanely and in accordance with the Geneva Convention.

Q: General, the bombing of the Iraqi positions that are dug in at the Kuwaiti border, when you say "around-the- clock," do you mean it's continuously, or do you mean four hours on and four hours off?

A: We are not on a four hours on, four hours off schedule. We are conducting around-the-clock operations, as you said.

Q: Are these bombs falling on the troops that are dug in?

A: We are always pursuing Iraqi troops, both in Iraq and in Kuwait.

Q: A couple of days ago, two Patriots had been fired unintentionally, as we were told. I know there's a possibility that the damage that happened here because of one of the Patriots. How safe is this operation?

A: I think I would say that the investigation on those two Patriots is ongoing, and I would rather couch it in the context of again (saying), every SCUD missile that has been launched at Riyadh or Dhahran has been successfully engaged by a Patriot missile.

Q: A few days ago General Schwarzkopf showed some very impressive films to us demonstrating the pinpoint accuracy of bombing missions over Baghdad. Have we used that skill in pinpoint bombing to go after any terrorist targets in Baghdad -- the headquarters of Abul Abbas or Abu Nidal?

A: We have used our technology and our pinpoint accuracy, as you described it -- and that is correct -- and the highly qualified crews to attack selected targets that we feel are part of Iraq's warfighting capability, and we will continue to do that, yes.

Q: Would you consider those to be part of Iraq's war capability, those terrorist targets?

A: I think it would be inappropriate for me to identify specific targets at this time.

GE 4 SFF115

Q: Would you please give us some detailed information about how much you have destroyed Saddam Hussein's capability to talk to his ground troops in Kuwait, to communicate with them? I don't want you to give away operational secrets, but give us some assessment of how badly that communication line with the ground troops has been affected so far?

A: We have indications that we are effectively degrading a good portion of his ability to communicate with his troops, although we have not eliminated that capability completely, and we will continue to pursue that.

Q: Can you give us an example?

A: Just his command and control structure to his integrated air defense.

Q: General, there have been allegations by Iraq and also by the Iranians that you are attacking residential areas, civilian targets. How do you react to those allegations?

A: That's not correct. I think you have seen the films. Our technology and our ability has allowed us to really pinpoint the targets that we need to hit, and it is not, nor will it be, our policy to attack innocent civilians. Our argument is not with the people of Iraq, it is with Saddam Hussein and his military.

Q: Can you elaborate a little on the general statements we've already heard that Iraq's nuclear facilities -- General Schwarzkopf referred to four of them, and I think a Saudi spokesman has referred to the chemical facilities - - have been largely destroyed? Can you confirm that, and can you elaborate on what exactly that means?

A: I would agree with what General Schwarzkopf said yesterday, that we have cut back his nuclear capability for some time, and we continue to make strikes against his chemical capability. I would not like to be any more specific, again, for operational reasons.

Q: Do you know where the Iraqi Air Force is?

A: The Iraqi Air Force is one of two places. They are in large Iraqi spare parts areas across Iraq, or they are hiding in bunkers. They have not come up very much, as you know, and when they have come up to engage U.S. and allied air forces, they have been shot down.

(end excerpts) NNNN


File Identification:  01/21/91, SF-115; 01/21/91, SF-120; 01/21/91, SF-114
Product Name:  Wireless File
Product Code:  WF
Languages:  French; Spanish
Keywords:  PRESS CONFERENCES; OPERATION DESERT STORM; MILITARY STRATEGY; IRAQ/Defense & Military; MILITARY CAPABILITIES; MISSILE DEPLOYMENT; ANTI-MISSILE DEFENSE SYSTEM; PRISONERS OF WAR; HUMAN RIGHTS; GENEVA ACCORDS; CASUALTIES; IRAQ-SA
Document Type:  EXC
Thematic Codes:  1NE; 2HA
Target Areas:  AF; AR; EA; EU; NE
PDQ Text Link:  169232; 169216; 169227