virus: U.S. has 100,000 troops ready to strike Iraq

Date: Wed Sep 04 2002 - 16:06:07 MDT

U.S. has 100,000 troops ready to strike Iraq
The United States continues its military buildup in and around the
Persian Gulf with analysts estimating up to 100,000 troops within
striking distance of Iraq, according to Geostrategy, the global
intelligence news service.
U.S. military sources and analysts said Washington has sent tens
of thousands of soldiers and military personnel to Gulf Arab
states, Central and South Asia and the Levant. They said the force
includes at least 1,000 military planners who have prepared for a
rapid airlift of forces in case Washington decides on a war against
The U.S. Defense Department has been bolstering its transport
ship fleet as well as preparing its air cargo fleet to defend against
Islamic insurgents and Iraqi forces. On Aug. 27, the Pentagon said
it awarded Northrop Grumman a $23.2 million contract to provide
the C-17 transport aircraft with systems to defend against infrared
surface-to-air missiles.
The Pentagon also has awarded a $20.5 million contract for the
maintenance and overhaul of the U.S. Navy's reserve air fleet. The
award for iBASEt, located in Lake Forest, Calif., is meant to
support a range of air programs.
Analysts said the total number of U.S. troops in the Persian Gulf
and surrounding regions now number around 100,000. They said
this could enable a U.S. attack on Iraq within weeks of a decision
by President George Bush.
The Washington-based Center for Defense Information said the
U.S. troop deployment effort has been muted and taken in
cooperation with host countries. The center said in a report that
the cooperation is meant to keep the airlift out of the public eye.
"Notably, the command posts throughout the southern Gulf states
and their implication of offensive operations are as politically
sensitive as ever," the center said in a report authored by Ret. Rear
Adm. Stephen Baker and Colin Robinson. "The U.S. 'footprint' in
each country requires actual personnel numbers, amount of pre-
positioned equipment and support/cooperation agreements made
with each country to be kept out of the public™s knowledge."
The center said the United States maintains 8,000 troops in
Afghanistan with several thousand more aboard naval ships in the
Arabian Sea. More than 20,000 additional soldiers are deployed in
Gulf Arab countries.
[On Aug. 30, Germany Defense Minister Peter Struck warned that
Berlin would withdraw its military personnel from Kuwait if the
United States attacks Iraq. Germany maintains 52 soldiers and Fox
infantry fighting vehicles and has been training Kuwait in
defending against a weapons of mass destruction attack.]
Moreover, more than 1,000 military planners, logistics experts
and support specialists have been deployed in command posts
throughout the Persian Gulf, the report said. They are in real-time
contact with U.S. Central Command headquarters in Tampa, Fla.,
by video teleconferencing, satellite imagery and data link and
have drafted plans to ship up to 200,000 tons of heavy weapons
and other equipment to the region.
The center said the United States could also use military bases in
Egypt and Jordan for an attack on Iraq. Currently, the U.S. 22nd
Marine Expeditionary Unit is exercising with Jordanian forces
and the center did not rule out that the maneuvers comprise a
cover for pre-positioning forces at well-sited forward staging

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