Deputy director of the Institute of the USA and Canada of the Russian Academy of Sciences Viktor Kremenyuk believes that the dramatic increase of the strikes on Iraq by the aviation of the USA and Great Britain can be viewed as an intermediate phase in the preparation for a possible military operation in that country.
As the scientist said, "the Americans would like to quickly switch over" from the bombardments of part of the Iraqi territory "to an all-out war." While the "no-fly zones" are bombed on the basis of the resolutions of the UN Security Council, so far there is no sanction of the UN Security Council for a military operation of the USA and Great Britain in Iraq.
The sharp increase of the bombardments of the "no-fly zones" "causes alert because it can signify transition to the actions (in Iraq) which the USA is threatening with," Kremenyuk noted.
On Monday Defence Minister of Great Britain Jeoffrey Hoon, speaking in the House of Commons of the British parliament, confirmed that the number of the aircraft which are used in patrolling the "no-fly" zones in the north of Iraq and the number of their sorties had increased. As he claimed, this is being done in accordance with international law and pursues defensive aims.
According to an informed source in the Russian special services, in February the combat planes of the Air Forces of the U.S. and Great Britain set a new record of the number of sorties - they numbered 1,732. By way of comparison, the respective figure for January was 1,593.