News




DATE=2/20/98
TYPE=BACKGROUND REPORT
NUMBER=5-39037
TITLE=IRAQ / AIR WAR
BYLINE=JIM RANDLE
DATELINE=PENTAGON
CONTENT=
VOICED AT: 

INTRO:  IF THE UNITED STATES LAUNCHES AIR STRIKES AGAINST IRAQ, 
U-S OFFICIALS SAY THEY WILL TRY TO DESTROY SADDAM HUSSEIN'S 
WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION.  MILITARY EXPERTS SAY THAT WILL BE A
DIFFICULT TASK.  V-O-A PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT JIM RANDLE SPOKE TO
SEVERAL MILITARY STRATEGISTS -- WHO SAY THE FIRST PRIORITY WILL 
BE TO USE ATTACK PLANES TO BLIND AND DISABLE IRAQ'S AIR DEFENSES.

TEXT:  U-S DEFENSE SECRETARY WILLIAM COHEN SAYS ANY AIR STRIKES 
WILL BE DESIGNED TO RID IRAQ OF BIOLOGICAL AND CHEMICAL WEAPONS 
AND THE MISSILES NEEDED TO DELIVER THEM.  MR. COHEN AND OTHER 
GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS SAY THEY REALIZE BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS CAN BE 
STORED IN VERY SMALL PACKAGES AND HIDDEN NEARLY ANYWHERE.  STILL,
THE CLINTON ADMINISTRATION SAYS IT EXPECTS TO SHARPLY REDUCE THE 
NUMBER OF WEAPONS AND THE FACILITIES NEEDED TO MAKE NEW ONES.

A SENIOR U-S DEFENSE OFFICIAL SAYS IRAQ TOOK A SEVERE BEATING 
DURING THE GULF WAR, BUT STILL HAS THOUSANDS OF ANTI-AIRCRAFT 
CANNON AND A LARGE NUMBER OF ANTI-AIRCRAFT MISSILES.  THE 
OFFICIAL ALSO SAYS IRAQ HAS BEEN WORKING HARD TO REBUILD ITS AIR 
DEFENSES, PARTICULARLY RADARS THAT COULD TELL IRAQI SOLDIERS 
WHERE U-S PLANES ARE.

RETIRED ADMIRAL EUGENE CARROLL PREDICTS U-S FORCES WILL FIRST TRY
TO DESTROY OR CONFUSE IRAQI RADARS.  

                       /// CARROLL ACT ///

         THEY WILL TRY TO BLIND THEIR AIR DEFENSE SYSTEM WITH 
         BOMBS AND ELECTRONIC COUNTERMEASURES.  THEY WILL TRY TO 
         DESTROY THE MISSILE LAUNCHING SITES, AND AIR FIELDS THAT
         SUPPORT AIR DEFENSE AND CREATE A TOTAL DOMINANCE OF THE 
         AIR SPACE OVER IRAQ, FOR THE SUBSEQUENT ATTACKS.

                         /// END ACT ///

ADMIRAL CARROLL SPEAKS FOR THE CENTER FOR DEFENSE INFORMATION, A 
PRIVATE GROUP THAT STUDIES MILITARY ISSUES AND IS OFTEN CRITICAL 
OF THE PENTAGON.

HE SAYS SUBSEQUENT ATTACKS WILL LIKELY FALL ON THE PLACES SADDAM 
HUSSEIN CLOSED TO U-N WEAPONS INSPECTORS, AND THEN ON THE COMMAND
AND CONTROL BUNKERS AND COMMUNICATIONS FACILITIES THAT ALLOW HIM 
TO GIVE ORDERS TO HIS MILITARY.  ADMIRAL CARROLL SAYS LATER 
ATTACKS WOULD FOCUS ON DIRECT MILITARY TARGETS, PARTICULARLY 
THOSE ASSOCIATED WITH THE ELITE REPUBLICAN GUARD.

ANOTHER MILITARY EXPERT, ANTHONY CORDESMAN, SAYS SADDAM HUSSEIN'S
MANY PALACES MAY ALSO BE TARGETS.

                      /// CORDESMAN ACT ///

         THERE WILL BE STRIKES ON THINGS LIKE HIS PRESIDENTIAL 
         PALACES TO MAKE A VERY CLEAR POINT THAT SADDAM HIMSELF 
         AND THE SYMBOLS OF HIS POWER ARE NOT IMMUNE.  

                         /// END ACT ///

MR. CORDESMAN WORKS FOR THE CENTER FOR STRATEGIC AND 
INTERNATIONAL STUDIES, A PRIVATE GROUP THAT RESEARCHES PUBLIC 
POLICY ISSUES.  HE SAYS BOMBS MAY ALSO FALL ON GROUPS THAT 
INTERFERE WITH UNSCOM'S OPERATIONS, LIKE THE SPECIAL SECURITY 
SERVICES.  MR. CORDESMAN SAYS THESE OPERATIVES ARE MOVING INTO 
THE GENERAL POPULATION TO HIDE, BUT WILL  NOT  BE ABLE TO TAKE 
THEIR BUILDINGS AND EQUIPMENT WITH THEM.

MR. CORDESMAN SUGGESTS A U-S MILITARY OPERATION WILL PROBABLY 
BEGIN WITH INTENSE, MISSILE STRIKES AT NIGHT AND CONTINUE FOR 
SEVERAL DAYS WITH THREE OR FOUR HUNDRED BOMBING FLIGHTS PER DAY.

MR. CORDESMAN SAYS BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS ARE EASY TO HIDE, SO EVEN 
AN INTENSE, SKILLFULLY EXECUTED CAMPAIGN MAY LEAVE BEHIND ENOUGH 
ANTHRAX OR OTHER GERM AGENTS FOR POSSIBLE TERRORIST OR MILITARY 
OPERATIONS BY IRAQ. 

ADMIRAL CARROLL AGREES.  HE SAYS SAYS HE SEES "NO PROSPECT 
WHATEVER" THAT U-S MILITARY ATTACKS WOULD MEET THE CLINTON 
ADMINISTRATION'S OBJECTIVE: TO DENY SIGNIFICANT NUMBERS OF 
WEAPONS TO SADDAM HUSSEIN.(SIGNED).

/NEB/JR/JO

20-Feb-98 11:39 AM EST (1639 UTC)
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Source: Voice of America
.