News

ACCESSION NUMBER:262632

FILE ID:POL402

DATE:01/14/93

TITLE:AIR STRIKE ON IRAQI TARGETS "BIG SUCCESS," BUSH SAYS (01/14/93)

TEXT:*93011402.POL

AIR STRIKE ON IRAQI TARGETS "BIG SUCCESS," BUSH SAYS



(Attack on missile sites made skies safer)  (460)

By Alexander M. Sullivan

USIA White House Correspondent

Washington -- The skies over Iraq "are a lot safer for our pilots,"

President Bush declared January 14, even though only half the intended

Iraqi targets were hit.



Chatting briefly with reporters, Bush called the January 13 air strike on

Iraqi missile batteries below the 32nd Parallel "a big success."



Earlier, the president's national security affairs adviser, Brent Scowcroft,

confirmed reports that only half the Iraqi surface-to-air missiles sites

had been hit by the British, French and U.S. aircraft sent to punish Saddam

Hussein's defiance of United Nations and Persian Gulf coalition orders.



According to news reports, about 80 strike aircraft took part in the raid,

which followed a January 6 ultimatum to Baghdad demanding removal of the

missiles from the southern "no-fly" zone imposed at the time of the Persian

Gulf war.



U.S. F-15s, F-16s, F-18s and F-117s took part in the raid, together with

French Mirages and British Tornadoes.  Additional support aircraft also

participated.  The planes bombed Iraqi radar and missile sites near

Nasiriya, Samawa, Najaf and Al Amara.  The sites are not near population

centers, according to the reports.



Bush, giving his first assessment of the results of the limited attack, told

reporters, "I think the mission was a big success.  The skies are a little

safer for our air crews, our pilots, our airmen today....I'm very proud of

the way (the airmen) performed....Let's just hope that Saddam Hussein got

the message....I hope that he will comply with these United Nations

resolutions."



The president told a questioner it is "too early to tell" whether Saddam

Hussein will end his defiance of the U.N. Security Council.  Baghdad has

rescinded its attempt to ban flights by U.N. aircraft inside Iraq and has

said it will no longer cross into the de-militarized zone between Iraq and

Kuwait.  In addition, the Iraqi regime has sabotaged U.N. relief shipments

to the Kurds in northern Iraq.



Bush said the air strike, described by U.S. officials as a limited assault

meant to make a political rather than a military point, "certainly sends

that message loud and clear to him (Saddam Hussein)."



Asked about Scowcroft's assessment that only half the intended targets had

been hit, Bush retorted, "What about it?  The skies are a lot safer today

for our pilots.  They went in there (with) a wide array of defensive

equipment threatening them and that threat has been severely reduced.

That's the bottom line.  That's the important point....I'm very proud of

them."



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