- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 4, 2002

Iraq has intensified its firing on allied aircraft in the two no-fly zones to coincide with the beginning of new U.N. weapons inspections.
The Pentagon yesterday showed a surveillance videotape of a truck-mounted Iraqi air-defense radar being positioned around civilian buildings to prevent an attack by British or American warplanes. The tactic likely would be repeated many times over if the United States and its allies go to war with Iraq to remove dictator Saddam Hussein.
"You'll see a road. You'll see a truck moving down the road," said Gen. Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as he narrated the video for reporters. "On the truck is an early-warning radar. The truck is heading for cover, as you will see here near a group of civilian buildings."
The truck eventually parked among civilian buildings.
"It's a good example, I think, how the Iraqi regime places civilians at risk in a very conscious way," Gen. Myers said. "We passed on hitting this target just to avoid putting the Iraqi civilians in harm's way."
Gen. Myers, in a press conference at the Pentagon with Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, said that in the 24 days since the U.N. Security Council approved new weapons inspections, Iraq has fired on allied planes in the southern no-fly zone on 17 days, and on seven days in the northern zone.
Aircraft are responding each time by attacking not only the source of the fire, but also air-defense components that feed information to the battery.
On Sunday, in one of the biggest U.S. responses, 13 allied jets dropped 23 precision-guided weapons on air-defense sites near the cities of Basra and Kut.
The more aggressive actions come as President Bush continues to apply pressure on Saddam to give up his weapons of mass destruction or face a U.S.-led invasion.
Washington is methodically lining up allies in the region to play host to U.S. troops and perhaps contribute their own combat units. Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz was in Turkey yesterday seeking support from the NATO ally, which borders northern Iraq.
Turkey is home to a NATO air base, from where allied planes enforce the northern no-fly zone, which is designed to protect the minority Kurds from attacks by Saddam's forces.
But Washington wants more help in the form of permission to base ground troops in Turkey. From there, the United States could launch an airborne invasion north of Baghdad and set up forward operating bases, according to two defense sources.
Mr. Wolfowitz said in Ankara yesterday, "Even before this government came into office, we've had some extensive discussions with the Turkish Foreign Ministry and the Turkish military about the various kinds of planning that can be done."
A clearer timetable of events may emerge after Sunday, when Iraq is required to detail in a letter to the United Nations its arsenal of components for nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. All are barred under cease-fire resolutions to which Iraq agreed in 1991 after its invading forces were evicted from Kuwait.
Baghdad asserts it has no prohibited weapons. If in the letter Iraq continues its denials, administration officials suggest that action alone could be a "material breach" of the new U.N. resolution and trigger an invasion.
Asked what will happen if the current U.N. team fails to find any prohibited weapons, Mr. Rumsfeld said, "If the responsibility is on Iraq to demonstrate that it does not have weapons of mass destruction under the U.N. resolution, it is not for some country to go in and give them a clean bill of health, it is for Iraq to give itself a clean bill of health by saying, 'Here's honestly what we currently have. Here's where it is. Here's what we've done.'"

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