- The Washington Times - Monday, September 17, 2001

Military forces in Iran and Iraq have begun dispersing throughout those countries in anticipation of retaliatory U.S. military attacks, according to U.S. intelligence officials.
The military forces were primarily ground-force units of the Iranian and Iraqi armies that have been moved from known bases to remote locations.
"They are expecting attacks," said one official.
Disclosure of the regional military moves comes as top Bush administration officials huddle with the president to discuss the options for striking back at the terrorists who hijacked U.S. airliners and crashed them into the Pentagon and World Trade Center on Tuesday, killing thousands.
The official said the military movement was precautionary and does not necessarily mean those nations are linked to the airliner terrorist attacks. Similar troop and forces movements have occurred in the past during times of expected U.S. military action.
Both Iran and Iraq for years have been branded as key "state sponsors" of international terrorism by the State Department. Iran has been active in supporting Islamic terrorists in the Middle East. Iraq has targeted its terrorist activities primarily at Kuwait and Iraqi dissidents.
Iraq recently has moved some ground forces to the western part of Iraq.
Some Iranian naval forces also were moved out of ports, the officials said.
The activity was observed by U.S. spy satellites, which have begun a major search for Islamic terrorist leader Osama bin Laden.
Vice President Richard B. Cheney said there is no indication so far that Saddam or Iraq are behind the recent attacks. The main focus is on bin Laden's al Qaeda network, he said.
In discussing military options, Mr. Cheney said, "We've got a broad range of capabilities, and they may well be given missions in connection with this overall task and strategy.
"We also have to work from sort of the dark side, if you will," Mr. Cheney said on NBC. "We're going to spend time in the shadows in the intelligence world. A lot of what needs to be done here will have to be done quietly, without any discussion, using sources and methods that are available to our intelligence agencies, if we're going to be successful. That's the world these folks operate in."
So far, U.S. intelligence agencies have not identified direct state sponsorship of the attacks, which are thought to have been carried out by Islamic extremists associated with bin Laden.
U.S. officials, however, believe the Afghan Taliban movement, which controls most of Afghanistan, has been the key supporter of bin Laden and al Qaeda.
The U.S. military and the U.S. intelligence community are said to have good intelligence on sites in Afghanistan known to be used by bin Laden or his associates. All are considered targets of U.S. missile or long-range bomber attacks and possibly covert operations.
They include:
Areas west of the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad in a farming district known as Hada. The area is close to a road linking the Afghan capital of Kabul and the Khyber Pass and Pakistan. Terrorist training camps are known to be located in the area.
Residences used by bin Laden in Mehtarlam in Laghman province, a rural area close to the Hindu Kush mountains. Bin Laden is known to have bases further north in Kunar province.
Homes near Kabul's diplomatic quarter, known as Wazir Akbar Khan, where bin Laden and his associates have been spotted.
Training camps along the southern outskirts of Kabul
Facilities or bases south of Kabul near Khost. These areas were hit by U.S. missiles in August 1998.
A large mansion in Kandahar said to be owned by bin Laden.
Additional training bases located in the mountainous province of Uruzgan.
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld told reporters yesterday that there are "a number of countries that are harboring terrorists."
"They in some cases facilitate them, in some cases finance, in other cases just tolerate," Mr. Rumsfeld said. "But these people could not be functioning around the globe with the success they are unless they had that help from countries. And those countries, some of them do in fact have armies and navies and air forces, and they do have capitals and they do have high-value targets. And we are going to need them to stop tolerating terrorists."
Former Defense Secretary William S. Cohen said yesterday that Iraq's leader, Saddam Hussein, is capable of supporting the type of terrorism that was conducted in the United States. However, in the past Saddam has focused his targeting on Kuwait and dissident Iraqis in Iraq.
"I wouldn't rule it out," Mr. Cohen said of an Iraqi link to the U.S. attacks.

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