Military exercises to test the “Iraqi scenario” have recently been carried out in Israel by Israeli and US forces.
The source of this information is the newspaper Ha’aretz, which claims that anti-missile systems have been synchronised to protect Israel against Iraqi missile attacks in the event of retaliation for an attack on Baghdad, as was the case during the Gulf War.
In the joint exercise, which was carried out in January, the Patriot and Arrow anti-missile systems were tested in a supposed scenario of an attacks by ground-to-ground Scud missiles launched from Western Iraq against Israeli population centres.
Hundreds of US troops are said to have been involved in these exercises. It will be remembered that Israeli military sources were recently quoted as stating that it is expected that the USA will attack Iraq in May.
Ha’aretz quoted a “senior Israeli military source” as stating that “we concentrated on testing the ability of the Arrow and Patriot systems to work together. We have a very good ability to make the most of the deployment of forces and intercept the missiles. We know how to work together with both systems and this was obvious a year ago”.
On February 2nd, Senator John McCain declared at the Munich Conference on Security Policy, “He (Saddam Hussein) is the only dictator on earth who has actually used weapons of mass destruction against his own people and his neighbours. His regime has been implicated in the 1993 attacks on the World Trade Center. Terrorist training camps exist on Iraqi soil and Iraqi officials are known to have had a number of contacts with Al Qaeda. These were probably not courtesy calls”.
He went on to say that “sponsoring terrorism places national survival at risk…Americans believe we have a mandate to defeat and dismantle the global terrorist network that threatens both Europe and America”.
More sinister, and providing ever more ominous evidence that armed intervention is not just rumour, but a distinct possibility, “This network includes not just the terrorists but the states that make possible their continued operation. Many of these are rogue regimes that possess or are developing weapons of mass destruction”.
Three of these nations were described as an “axis of evil” last week by George Bush in his State of the Union speech, yet Senator McCain mentioned also the Sudan and Syria, in dispelling “any notion that America’s commitment to the defeat of our enemies is mere rhetoric”.
Timothy BANCROFT-HINCHEY PRAVDA.Ru
Russian small missile ships - the Grad Sviyazhsk and the Great Ustyug - set off for a mission to the Mediterranean Sea