US and British air forces started bombing Iraq’s air defense forces in the southern part of Iraq. Reuters circulated this information with a reference to the US central command. The statement of the US command says that spot blows have been delivered “as a response to Iraq’s threats towards the coalition’s pilots and have nothing to do with the US anti-terror operation.” There is no detailed information about “the threats of Iraq” towards the pilots patrolling the "no-fly" zones in the north and south of the country. It is more likely that the bombardment was planned before and “certain threats of Baghdad” are only a pretext for the bombing. The latest issue of Newsweek, cited a spokesman for the US administration. He said that President Bush and his advisors think that it is time to change the government in Baghdad. It may take from six months to 1.5 years for preparation of a revenge action. As we see, the first steps have been already made.
The other day, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein announced preparation for a general mobilization of the population for repulsing US aggression, INA agency informs.
The authorities of Baghdad believe that an incursion may start at any moment and urge their people to rally around their leader. It looks as if Hussein is right this time.
The bombing occurred on the eve of Iraqi PM Tariq Azis’ visit to Moscow. He is to hold consultations on biparty relations with the Russian leadership and discuss the situation in Iraq and the Mideast region on the whole. Iraq expects to receive some help from Russia and considers Russia to be its key ally regarding the problems of lifting the UN sanctions and the prevention of the US "anti-terrorist" operation from expanding to the Iraqi territory.
Sergey Yugov PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Maria Gousseva
Reuters photo: Iraqi people are ready to unite around the leader
Read the original in Russian: http://www.pravda.ru/main/2002/01/22/35830.html