Excerpted from the Emergencynet News Daily Report
09/03/96 -11:00CDT - Vol. 2, No. 247

By Steve Macko, ENN Editor

The United States unleashed 27 cruise missiles at military targets in southern Iraq on Tuesday morning in response to Saddam Hussein's attack on Kurds in northern Iraq over the weekend. Two U.S. Air Force B-52 bombers and two U.S. Navy ships in the Persian Gulf launched the missiles during the military operation.

One unnamed senior military officer at the Pentagon said that any further attacks on Iraq would depend upon damage assessments and whether Iraq would withdraw his forces away from the Kurdish strongholds, located north of the 36th parallel. The military officer said, "The whole idea is to teach him that aggression doesn't pay, that there will be a cost and he will lose real military assets if he continues to violate international norms." Another Pentagon official said that today's operation appeared to be the only attack to be mounted for the time being. The U.S. on Tuesday also said that it is extending the "no-fly" zone in southern Iraq, from the 32nd parallel to the 33rd parallel, which includes the southern suburbs of Baghdad.

Targets that were struck today by the U.S. were surface-to-air missile sites, radar installations and command-and-control installations. Some military analysts believe that these sites were picked in anticipation for a larger strike should Iraq not heed the warnings of the U.S. and pull away from the Kurdish areas. The British government in London on Tuesday, quickly said after the attack that it "fully supports the unequivocal message to Saddam Hussein that repression of innocent civilians and reckless acts of brutality are unacceptable."

The Pentagon announced the attack about 30 minutes after it had been launched, at 9:25 a.m. Baghdad time. In a statement, the Pentagon simply said, "At the direction of the President, the Department of Defense has launched cruise missiles to attack selected air defense targets in Iraq." Hardly 15 minutes after that statement was issued, the Pentagon announced that the attack was over.

In many cases, it takes several hours or even days to receive a full assessment on the damage caused by air attacks. In their assessment, the U.S. will use spy planes and reconnaissance satellites.

The B-52s that took part in the raid had been sent to the Pacific island of Guam over the weekend. AGM-86C air-launched cruise missiles were used by the Air Force in the attack. Other cruise missiles were believed fired from two Navy ships located in the Persian Gulf -- the destroyer USS Laboon (DDG-58, Arleigh Burke Class) and the cruiser USS Shiloh (CG-67, Ticonderoga Class).

It is uncertain if Saddam Hussein will heed the warnings of the U.S. It has been reported that the Iraqis were shelling the town of Sham Shamal and it looked as though an attack on the town was in preparation. Iraqi troops also appeared to be moving toward the town of Sulaymaniyah. Saddam Hussein remained defiant in the face of the U.S. attack. After the raid, he ordered his military to ignore the "no-fly zones," calling them "null and void." He also ordered that any foreign planes flying over Iraq be shot down.

The Iraqi military reported that the cruise missiles struck "population centers" and killed five people and wounded 19 others. Saddam, himself, reported that Iraqi air defenses had managed to shoot down most of the cruise missiles and that his country's losses were "minimal."

In a televised speech, Iraq's brutal and paranoid dictator said, "From now on, pay no attention to damned imaginary no-fly zones above the 36th parallel and below the 32nd parallel. Depend only on Allah and hit hard and professionally at any flying target that belongs to the allied aggressors that penetrates the airspace of your beloved and glorious homeland. Fight, resist these aggressors and teach them a new unforgettable lesson."

International reaction to the U.S. attack was mixed. Russia condemned the bombing and said that it could send events in the region spiraling "out of control." These words are typical of Russian Foreign Minister Primakov, who fancies himself as a Middle East expert and who has always supported, for whatever reason, Saddam Hussein. China urged both sides to show restraint. Britain, as mentioned supported the action fully. Reaction from France was surprisingly cautious and unenthusiastic. Germany and Japan were also cautious in their reactions.

Experts were mixed in their analysis of what may happen next. Some say that Saddam will once again "blink" and heed the warning to pull back to avoid further U.S. attacks. Others were unsure. William Quandt, a Middle East expert at the University of Virginia, said on Monday about Saddam, "It's a gamble, but this guy is a gambler. He's constantly testing to see what kind of response he's going to get from the powers he's under. He's constantly looking for chinks in the armor."

Edward Djerejian, the director of the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University in Texas, said, "What do you expect? He's just lost a terrible war, but he says to his people, 'The battle goes on. You've got to stick by me.'" Richard Haas, the director of foreign policy at the Washington- based Brookings Institute, said if Saddam didn't fight back, his regime would fall apart. Haas said, "If he were to change he would be not only out of power, he would be dead. He rules by fear and force."

What will happen next is anyone's guess. But the answer should come soon as we wait and see if the Iraqi military decides to pull back. ENN is monitoring the situation very closely.

ENN Instant Update:
09/03/96 - 22:30CDT

US Launches 2nd Cruise Missile Attack in Iraq

(ENN) Following bomb damage assessments (BDA), U.S. forces have again reportedly sent cruise missiles into command and control nets and missile sites in S. Iraq. One report suggests that an additional 17 cruise missiles have been launched today. It is likely that this follow-on strike package is designed to again strike targets that might not have been destroyed by the first wave of U.S. weapons.

Meanwhile, in N. Iraq, there are some indications that a portion of Saddam Hussein's forces have consolidated in an area approximately 15 miles from Irbil. There are few, if any, reports of any withdrawal by Iraqi forces to normal bases and places of deployment. Some reports continue to filter in that Iraqi intelligence agents are continually conducting "assassinations" and "purges of personnel unfriendly to Iraq" and the Kurdish factions friendly to them.

Saddam Hussein, for his part, has again threatened American pilots with death, should they try to enforce a new "no-fly" zone designated by President Clinton, in a more central part of Iraq. Even in the face of the cruise missile attacks, Hussein still sounds belligerent and unbowed by the military latest developments.

Concerns are also being raised in counter-terrorist circles that the latest activity in Iraq may provoke a terrorist response against the United States...in the Mid-East or elsewhere.

Auth: C. Staten ERRI/ 09-03-96/22:30CDT

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