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One Foot Off the Cliff
Easy Military Victory That May Lead to a Global Uprising
It may be too late for President George W. Bush to change his mind on the invasion of Iraq. An analysis of troop deployments in the region shows that the U.S. already has well over 100,000 military personnel in as many as 11 countries around Iraq [see map]. Additional analysis shows that another 100,000 or more crack assault and support personnel have just completed a major training exercise for a hypothetical conflict that bears a strong resemblance to Iraq. These troops can be ready to fight in the region on 96-hour notice. “Stealth” mobilizations of Reserve and National Guard units, begun after Sept. 11, also indicate that as many as another 150,000 military personnel can be deployed within days or weeks of an initial surprise attack.
News reports from other sources confirm the following report by the Asia Times on Aug. 19. “Since March 12,000 troops have been added to Kuwait (8,000) and Qatar (4,000) and 5,000 Brits to Oman, bringing the April/May total to 62,000. In late June, the Turkish foreign ministry reported heavy air traffic of U.S. military transport planes aimed at increasing the number of U.S. troops in Southern Turkey from 7,000 to 25,000 by the end of July. Also in June, a contingent of 1,700 British Royal Marines were re-deployed from Afghanistan to Kuwait and a 250-man, highly specialized German NBC (nuclear-biological-chemical) warfare battalion equipped with “Fuchs” (fox) armored vehicles has been in Kuwait since early this year.
“An additional 2,400 U.S. troops are deployed in Jordan and, according to the Jordanian news agency Petra, are being reinforced by another 4,000 arriving since Aug. 12 at Aqaba for joint exercises with the Jordanian Army. Already, 1,800 U.S. troops (mostly Special Forces) are inside Iraq, at least since the end of March and, in fact, units there were visited two months ago by CIA director George Tenet during a side trip from Israel and Palestine. Between another 2,000 and 3,000 U.S. troops are in semi-permanent deployment in the Negev and Sinai deserts in accordance with old international agreements. On Aug, 9, the Turkish daily Hurriyet reported that 5,000 Turkish troops had entered northern Iraq and taken over the Bamerni airbase north of Mosul. These numbers add up to about 105,000 U.S. and allied troops on bases surrounding and inside Iraq.”
All told, including foreign troops, there are potentially 400,000 military personnel that are either in the theater of operations, ready to go, or deployable on very short notice. There are many other units that have gone into stealth mode and cannot be located. These advance deployments indicate that the Bush Administration likely committed itself to the invasion many months ago.
One military expert thinks that the invasion of Iraq and the overthrow of Saddam Hussein will be a cakewalk. But, as is shown by recent outcries from around the civilized world, the political and economic price might spell the end of U.S world leadership and a particularly nasty economic retaliation against a fragile U.S. economy. As one example Iran, now totally surrounded by U.S.-led forces, announced on Aug. 20 that it was considering dropping the dollar as its currency for oil pricing. If the world follows suit, it will spell the end of dollar hegemony and all that it means to the U.S. economy. On Aug. 20, the Financial Times reported that wealthy Saudi investors had withdrawn as much as $200 billion from U.S. banks.
THE DOOR KICKERS
“Millennium 2002,” billed as one of the largest war gaming exercises in recent history, took place in and around California’s Ft. Irwin from July 24 through Aug. 9. Although the classified war scenario was ostensibly a look at a potential conflict in the year 2007, the way the exercises were conducted, right down to maps displayed on the Ft. Irwin website, looked remarkably similar to a mock invasion of Iraq. Indeed one of the maps used and displayed on the website, when enlarged, proved to be of the Az Zubayr prison outside of Basra, Iraq.
An estimated 100,000-plus military personnel from all services, some operating from aircraft carriers such as the Constellation and surrounding Marine, Navy, Air Force and Army installations supported the mock battle. Units on the ground consisted of approximately 13,500 crack Army mechanized infantry, armor, artillery, airborne and Special Operations Command personnel including SEALs, who fought a simulated war in desert camouflage uniforms in searing desert heat. The geographic location of the support bases from which air strikes and resupply missions were flown in California, Arizona, Nevada and elsewhere correspond roughly in geographic distance to the actual positioning of military installations throughout the Middle East that would be used to support a U.S. invasion of Iraq.
That means America’s premier units are acclimatized and have tested all of their equipment, especially the new Stryker Infantry Assault Vehicle, before the invasion and have completed an actual dry run. Recent operational reports, as reported in the New York Times on Aug. 18, state that active duty combat units could be “airlifted and ready for action in 96 hours.”
THE HIDDEN MOBILIZATION OF THE RESERVES
An analysis of Reserve and National Guard call-ups since 9-11 shows that preparations for an Iraqi invasion have been underway possibly for as long as ten months by means of so-called “stealth deployments.” Although Defense Department announcements have recently indicated a drop in the total number of reserves mobilized, it is important to note that cutbacks are from “military operational specialties” that are not critical to Iraqi combat operations. It’s a ruse.
Below is a list of the units identified as having taken part in Millennium 2002, and the Reserve and National Guard units that are likely to participate in the conflict. In conjunction with the number of bases and military deployments already positioned in the Persian Gulf region [see map], it is probable that as many as 250,000 U.S. military personnel are already in the region or are trained, equipped and committed to the invasion of Iraq. This invasion will in all likelihood happen in mid- to late-September and barring miraculous political intercession, certainly before the November elections.
The Bush Administration already has one foot off of the cliff. Although it might be possible to call back the dogs of war, the dogs will be very unhappy if they have to come home without eating. And President Bush will be an impotent political liability.
GROUND UNITS PARTICIPATING IN MILLENNIUM 2002
82nd Airborne Division
101st Air Mobile Division
Special Operations Command, JFK Special Warfare Center
- 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment - U.S. Army Special Forces - 75th Ranger Regiment - U.S. Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command
U.S. Army III Corps (Armor, Ft. Hood)
- 1st Air Cavalry, Heavy Armored
- 21st Cavalry Brigade
- 31st Air Defense Artillery Brigade
- 13th COSCOM Logistics and Support
- 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment
- 4th Infantry Division
- 3rd Signal Bde.
- III Armor Corps Artillery
3rd Brigade/ 2nd Infantry Division (Stryker Assault Teams, Ft. Lewis)
The total number of estimated personnel in these assault forces and their support units is approximately 100,000.
Other military elements from all over the country deployed and tested new high-tech battlefield systems and communications equipment. Confirmed reports indicate that microwave weapons will be deployed during the invasion.
This number does not include support and transport units from other services, the aircraft carrier Constellation as reported by Globalsecurity.org, or air support missions. It is estimated that three additional carrier battle groups will participate in the invasion. Increased air operations activity were confirmed at bases in California, Arizona and Nevada. This conforms with Millennium 2002’s self-reporting on the Ft. Irwin website at http://www.irwin.army.mil.
RESERVE AND NATIONAL GUARD MOBILIZATIONS
Listed below are the Reserve and National Guard combat and support units likely to be used in an Iraqi invasion that have been mobilized since 9-11. These mobilized personnel are for the most part experienced veterans. Various numbers of personnel have been activated from each of these units and they likely represent a core cadre, which in the event of a full mobilization could have the complete units ready for combat in a short period of time. All data is current as of Aug. 7.
- 37 Airlift Wings (7,493 personnel) - 41 Fighter Wings (9,439 personnel) - 23 Refueling Wings (4,318) - 3 Rescue Group Wings (401 personnel) - 2 Bomb Wings (B1B) (218 personnel)
- SEAL Teams 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8 (52 personnel) - Special Boat Squadron -- Team 1 (18 personnel) - Naval Support Activity, Bahrain (53 personnel) - Inshore Boat Units (89 personnel) - Inshore Undersea Warfare Units (113 personnel) - Assault Craft Units (74 personnel) - 4th Marine Division Support (105 personnel)
- 23rd Regiment/4th Marine Division (976 personnel) - 25th Regiment/4th Marine Division (1,003 personnel) - 4th Marine Division (49 personnel, most likely headquarters staff)
- 20th Special Forces Group (941 personnel) - 19th Special Forces Group (711 personnel, plus an undetermined additional number announced in a call-up on Aug. 20)
- 131st Armored Regiment -- Alabama (209 personnel) - 180th Field Artillery -- Arizona (125 personnel) - OpFor (Opposing Force), 11th Armored Cavalry -- California (125 personnel) - 123rd Armor -- Kentucky (159 personnel) - 110th Field Artillery/29th Division -- Maryland (331 personnel) - 104th Armored Regiment -- Pennsylvania (304 personnel) - 103rd Armored Regiment -- Pennsylvania (541 personnel) - 769th Engineer Battalion -- Louisiana (515 personnel) - 201st Engineer Battalion -- Kentucky (300 personnel) - 876th Engineer Battalion -- Pennsylvania (223 personnel) - 246th Field Artillery -- Virginia (165 personnel) - 112th Armor -- Texas (629 personnel) - 145th Field Artillery -- Vermont (206 personnel) - 1st Battalion/213th Air Defense Artillery -- Pennsylvania (201 personnel)
Total for these call-ups: 29,571 personnel.
There has also been a heavy call-up of naval reserve units from the construction battalions and beach units, as well as 31 separate medical units from all services involving 602 personnel.
HOW THE INVASION WILL OCCUR
Retired Army Special Forces Master Sgt. Stan Goff, who taught military science at West Point, thinks the invasion and overthrow of Saddam Hussein will be easily accomplished. Iraqi military power is a shadow of what it was in 1991.
“If they go, Seal Team 6 will go too, along with the Army's door-busters. They'll hit key communications, command and control targets in the city, as the 75th conducts two to three airfield seizures, whereupon they pour in conventionals onto the airheads and push out the perimeters. The set up folks like the 101 (a heliborne outfit), will begin coordinated attacks on light targets, and strongpoint lines of communication. Armor will crawl overland for eventual link-up, after the bombers make them a road. The Marines will probably forego beach assaults, with maybe one or two exceptions, and they'll be used to open up non-existent defenses, then pull glorified guard duty for a year at a time. Expect massive air, with massive civilian casualties, as prep. The hi-tech weapons are only toys.
“This will be a walk-through if it happens. The Iraqi forces are not only technologically under-gunned, they are poorly trained and unmotivated, and their doctrine is an anachronism.
“War-gaming here: If I were defending the place, I would stand down the conventionals, let them blend back into the population, and train up a thousand two-man sniper teams, and deploy them like a "go" game throughout the urban areas. Then arm the masses with light weapons and grenades. Everywhere anyone goes, they stand to be triangulated: single shots, low signature, hard to acquire a target. Single-casualty incidents and a lot of bad nerves. That’s a morale buster that provokes over-reaction, which in turn provokes popular hatred. Slow boil escalation, with the invader tied to expensive fixed installations, where he loses the battlefield initiative. I would decentralize the command structure, and issue broad strategic guidance every month or so through totally non-tech communication. About a year of that and you can spell quagmire with a capital “Q.” There would be no way to ever regain the initiative. But Saddam can't do that.
“There are four Arabs I would not want to be right now: King Fahd, Prince Abdullah, Yasser Arafat, or Hosni Mubarak. All are perceived as U.S. flunkies, and that's not a great thing right now.”
It is foreseeable that Saddam Hussein’s bluster, ego and command style will not permit him to do anything but take the field for a short time and then either be killed or take flight like so many other petty tyrants of recent history. The difference with Saddam is that much of the world might willingly receive him. The nations of Indonesia and Malaysia with the largest Muslim populations in the world are distinct possibilities.
Only a few have seen the potential and horrible repercussions of a unilateral U.S. invasion of Iraq. As the reality of the Hubbert curve and the end of the age of oil start to become unavoidable realities, desperation moves that risk Armageddon and global holocausts of both the military and economic variety will, and must, eventually become commonplace.
It appears as if the cowboys in the White House have made their decision and all of us wait, with baited breath, to see for whom the bells toll.
As we go to press we note the publication of a large story in the Washington Post headlined, “Al Q’aeda Presence in Iraq reported.” The story by Bradley Graham opened with the lead, “At least a handful of ranking members of al Qaeda have taken refuge in Iraq, U.S. intelligence officials said yesterday. Their presence would complicate U.S. efforts against the terrorist network’s leadership but also would give the Bush administration another rationale for possible military action against the Iraqi government.”
[Special thanks to an anonymous Vietnam-era veteran of the 10th Special Forces Group for his invaluable research assistance.]
[Ed. Note: All research material used in this story was compiled from open source material posted on various Defense Department websites, from major media sources and from other non-classified material. - MCR]
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