An anti-Iraq operation seems to have started already. The recent events in the Pankissky gorge in Georgia (the arrival of the US troops is meant) are a part of the scheme designed to destroy Saddam Hussein’s regime.
Sunkey Simbun, a Japanese newspaper informs, the first group of the US special forces has left Turkey for North Iraq already. But none of the parties, neither the USA, nor Iraq has commented upon the information. The USA has strengthened the alertness at the Oman military base in the Masira island, near the Persian Gulf entry and at the Ali Salem military air base in Kuwait. The latter is situated 60 km from Iraq’s border. According to DEBKAfile information service, the US special forces “are slowly penetrating” into Turkey, Jordan and Israel.
As for the former Soviet republic of Georgia, the USA considers it to be very important in the jihad against Saddam Hussein. America is not so much concerned about Al Qaeda militants and Chechens, it can hardly be said feeling guilty for the events in Chechnya, and thus willing to help Russia in the struggle with terrorists. Americans have already stopped talking about “Chechen patriots”, but, at the same time, they are reluctant to help Russia. The USA needs Georgia for a victory over Hussein. Georgia is conferred the same role in the anti-Iraq war, as Pakistan had played in the hostilities against Taliban. If the US preparations go like this, experts say, we may expect a blow to be delivered against Iraq in the second part of March – beginning of April. And Georgia may come in handy for it. DEBKAfile reports, the USA will deliver air blows from three directions: Turkey and Georgia in the north, Jordan, Israel and Egypt (a large air base in Sharm-el-Sheikh) in the west, Oman, Bahrein, Yemen and Kuwait in the south.
The Navy forces of Great Britain, Turkey and Israel will help the US warships to control the situation in the Mediterranean Sea, Read Sea and Persian Gulf. The land forces of Turkey, Israel, Jordan and Kuwait may be also involved in the anti-Iraq operation.
At the time when the Russian media was debating as for the US further activity in Georgia, the American press issued “explanations”. Americans land in Georgia not for liquidation of Al Qaeda militants, Chechen guerrillas and Osama bin Laden. DEBKAfile supposes that American specialists plan to prepare Georgia’s military air bases, aerodromes for fighters and troop-carriers for further participation in the offensive against Iraq. The USA fears that Turkish bases will be attacked from Iraq’s side as soon as a war is launched. The bases in Georgia may become a nice alternative to the Turkish ones, as they are inaccessible for Iraqi missiles and fighters. For this very purpose specialists from the Turkish bases are said to have come together with the US forces to Georgia. They are to examine ways for a safe transportation of US planes to Georgia.
Chechen militants and Al Qaeda are another problem for the USA; according to some estimates, up to 2 thousand guerrillas are in the Pankissky gorge now. If the USA manages to station its military bases in Georgia before the hostilities start in Iraq, it wants them to be safe. The militants hiding in the gorge pose a great threat to the new bases, this is an explanation for the US’s intention to “help Russia”. The coming operation will make for strengthening of the US’s positions in Northern Caucasia. Having settled in Georgia, the USA will hardly leave the country after the war in Iraq.
Sergey Borisov PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Maria Gousseva
Read the original in Russian: http://pravda.ru/main/2002/03/01/37700.html
Russian small missile ships - the Grad Sviyazhsk and the Great Ustyug - set off for a mission to the Mediterranean Sea