Iraq says scientists free to talk as U.S. intensifies psychological war against Baghdad
A top Iraqi official pledged Sunday to cooperate with chief U.N. arms inspector, Hans Blix and said Baghdad was encouraging its scientists to talk to weapons inspectors.
Hussam Mohammad Amin, head of the Iraqi National Monitoring Directorate, said he would try to clear up any questions the international community had about weapons programs. "We are keen to create some progress and to show our real desire to avoid any misunderstandings," he told BBC Television.
Amin said Iraqi scientists were free to talk. "We are encouraging them. We are making them available," he stated. "But we cannot force the scientists to make such interviews." The inspectors want private interviews so the scientists can be more forthcoming.
"We can't force the scientists to make such interviews and if any of them want to make the private interview, OK, we are encouraging them in that," Amin added.
So far, no Iraqi scientist has agreed to interviews without the presence of Iraqi official.
Meanwhile, as part of its psychological war against Baghdad, the U.S. media published details on the future war plans. More than 3,000 guided bombs and missiles would rip military and leadership targets in the first 48 hours, softening the way for a two-pronged ground attack to topple President Saddam Hussein's government, American defense officials were quoted as saying on Sunday.
Some 700 pinpoint Tomahawk cruise missiles alone would be launched by warships and heavy bombers in the opening two days in high-tech strikes 10 times more potent than those that opened the 1991 Gulf War, the military and civilian officials told Reuters.
The air campaign would be carried out by nearly 600 Air Force and Navy attack, radar-jamming and support planes flying from bases in the Gulf region and elsewhere and from four or five U.S. aircraft carriers and a British carrier. Those aircraft would include stealthy, batwing B-2 bombers. (Albawaba.com)
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