Iraq prepares for war: Country divided into four military zones
Iraq's ruling Revolution Command Council (RCC) issued a decree Saturday night to divide the country into four military zones, each under the command of a leading official, to face the expected US-British offensive.
The decree was signed by President Saddam Hussein, who is also RCC Chairman and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.
According to the decree, the Northern Zone, including Nineva, Kirkuk as well as the Kurdish provinces of Dohuk, Erbil and Suleimaaiya, is put under the command of RCC Vice-Chairman Izzat Ibrahim.
The three Kurdish provinces are now controlled by two dissident Kurdish parties led by Masoud Barzani and Jalal Talabani. The decree did not say how these provinces would be put under the control of the central government in Baghdad.
The Southern Zone, including Basra, Dhi-Qar and Meisan, is put under the command of RCC member Ali Hassan Al-Majeed.
The Eastern Zone, including Kerbab, Nejafi, Al-Methanna and Al-Qadisiya, is put under the command of RCC member Mizban Khidher Hadi.
According to INA, the Central (Iraqi) Zone, including the capital of Baghdad, Salahaddin, Anbar, Wasit and Diyala, is put under the command of a member of Iraq's ruling Baath Party, Qusay Saddam Hussein, who is the son of the president and in charge of the Republican Guards.
The decree also decided that each of the above zones be prepared to face any foreign "aggression" and to mobilize the masses to share in the confrontation to defend Iraq's sovereignty and its national integrity.
Additionally, it decided to put all the other para-military forces, such as Fida'ee Saddam --Saddam's commandos led by another son of the president, Uday Saddam Hussein-- as well as the Air Force, the Air Defense, the Army Air Force, Surface-to-Air and Surface-to-Surface Missiles, under the command of President Saddam Hussein in person.
According to the presidential decree, the use of jet fighters and surface-to-surface missiles will be mandated only by Saddam.
Earlier in the day, Saddam held a meeting with his senior military brass, which was attended by his son Qusai, Defence Minister Sultan Hashim and Commander of the General Command, Hussein Rashid.
The commanders posted Saddam on the latest combat preparations, pledging victory, it was reported by the Iraqi National News Agency.
These steps are considered the most important moves taken by the Iraqi leadership to face the current US-British mobilization of forces in the Gulf, in the aim to topple the regime of President Saddam Hussein and replace by a pro-Western regime. (Albawaba.com)
© 2003 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)