Pentagon officials: Iraq to complicate US in urban fighting in case of attack
Iraqi President Saddam Hussein will attempt to compensate for his armed forces' obvious weaknesses by raising the specter of urban warfare if the George W. Bush administration moves to attack his government, according to Pentagon officials and former United States government experts. As speculations mount and in anticipation of an eventual US military operation, Baghdad has already started military preparations, they claim.
According to The New York Times on Monday, Iraqi forces have been digging defensive positions for military equipment around the capital Baghdad. In addition, the Iraqi military has been moving air defense units around the country and dispersing army units in the field to make them less vulnerable to a surprise air attack.
In the course of the 1991 Gulf war, the Iraqi troops who captured Kuwait dug themselves into positions in the open desert. That made them vulnerable to allied air strikes and the fast-paced attacks by the United States' better-trained and more maneuverable ground forces.
However, this time around, Saddam’s goal is not so much to hold ground as to hold power. That means that Iraq can be expected to use the threat of urban warfare to try to deter the world’s only superpower from attacking in the first place and to raise the political costs if Washington decides to press ahead with an invasion.
"Iraq has no hope of prevailing in a straight military fight, and after Desert Storm the Iraqis probably realize that," said Kenneth M. Pollack, the director of national security studies at the Council on Foreign Relations and a former CIA analyst of the Iraqi military, according to The Times.
"Their best and most likely strategy will be to try to create the political conditions that would lead the Bush administration to think twice about an attack," Pollack expressed. "And one way to do that is to make us believe that we are going to face a Mesopotamian Stalingrad."
Current and former US military officers expressed confidence that the United States would ultimately triumph, however differed with regards to how difficult a military campaign would be, especially if American forces were compelled to fight in the cities of Iraq. Their assessments depend not only on the quality of Iraq's forces but on the more essential question of how many Iraqi units would remain loyal to Saddam Hussein. (Albawaba.com)
© 2002 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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