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Howard's End: The Iraq War Is Already Underway

The global diplomatic flurry to gain U.N. support for an offensive against Iraq is a smokescreen and post-dates the start of the U.S. offensive which took place three months ago - not with a bang, but with little-publicised steps. Maree Howard writes.

If there's one thing that Scoop columnists are good at, it's using reliable intelligence sources and ferreting-out the story behind the story.

So don't necessarily believe that what you are being told today by global politicians like Bush, Blair, Howard et al., is the whole story over the so-called new Iraqi offensive.

Remember, Arab War = Oil Profits.

The Yom Kippur war, 1972 - Oil went from $ 3 to $12 a barrel.
The Iranian Revolution, 1978 - $12 to $35
Iraq invades Kuwait 1990 - $20 to $35

A price of $70 per barrel would not be out of the question in the future and inside investors who catch the moves early stand to make bigger fortunes - U.S. vengeance, blood and an oil crisis will see to it.

U.S. forces have been quietly filtering into Iraq for more than three months. To date, American and Turkish special forces have gained control of 15% of Iraqi soil - mostly in the north where they are poised at a point 20 kilometers from Iraq's two most northern oil cities of Mosul and Kirkuk together with pro-American Kurdish and Turkman paramilitary groups.

With no Iraqi force in the way they can easily advance if ordered to occupy those two towns. There are already 100,000 U.S. forces in the Middle East.

The massive US-UK air raid last Friday, 6 September, by 100 fighter-bombers, reconnaissance and tanker aircraft against the Iraqi air-base cluster known as H-3 and the al-Baghdadi air installation was, in fact, strike Number Two against the first line of Iraqi air and air-defense command structures - the tactical prelude to a full US-UK offensive.

Strike Number One was actually carried out on Monday 5 August, when American and British bombers and fighter aircraft demolished the Iraqi air-command and control centre at al-Nukhaib in the desert town between Iraq and Saudi Arabia, 400 kilometers southwest of Baghdad.

This strike disposed of Iraq's southern air defense line and left central Iraq, including Baghdad, vulnerable to U.S. air, missile and ground attack from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait Qatar, Oman and Bahrain.

Strike Number Two, last Friday, completed the destruction of Iraq's air defenses in the west leaving Saddam Hussein's regime exposed to attack from the south, southeast, the west and the north, as well exposed to the U.S. troop presence already inside northern Iraq.

The sum of American gains inside Iraq so-far, even before this "war" is sanctioned by the UN, or anyone else, is this:

Hitting the H-3 site of the bulk of ground-to-ground missile batteries and air defense installations threatening Israel, Jordan and US Eastern-Mediterranean forces as well as al-Baghdadi, cleared the way for U.S. special forces to be flown by helicopter across the border into Iraq from the west. Nothing stops them now from reaching as far as Tikrit, Saddam Hussein's tribal stronghold northwest of Baghdad.

The first mission for the U.S. troops crossing in from Jordan will be to capture the bombed installations and prepare them quickly for the use of U.S. air force units and for more U.S. and Jordanian special forces landings.

Since August 5, the way for an American advance into Iraq is also clear from the south. Therefore, the general contours of the next US-UK move take shape.

A combined U.S.-Turkish force, backed by local tribal groups, will complete the capture of northern Iraq and its oil cities.

The combined U.S.-Jordanian force will advance on Baghdad and Tikrit.

The heavy military and armoured units massed on the Kuwait-Iraq frontier will advance north in two heads - one forking off to the east and heading for Basra, while the other makes for Shiite towns of Najef and Karbala on the Baghdad highway.

The missile threat has all but been eliminated following hits to the H-3 site which posed a threat to Israel, Jordan and U.S. East Mediterranean Forces.

Some of the Czech-made LA-29 trainer planes which had been adapted for aerosols fitted to their wings which are capable of spraying poisons have also been destroyed.

Politically, there has also been a turn of events when some of the aircraft involved in last Friday's attack, took off and returned from the Saudi Prince Sultan air base 40 kilometers northeast of Riyadh.

This means that Bush and Blair are prepared to brush aside the public objections of Saudi leaders to the use of the kingdom's bases against Iraq - either that or a deal has been done behind closed doors.

It also seems that American Generals do not propose to heed the public declarations of rulers in lands where U.S. bases are located, but to use assets according to American military expediences.

Aircraft in last Friday's attack on Iraq also left and returned to Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar.

Meanwhile, Arab League Secretary Amr Mussa has declared the whole Arab world supports Iraq's position. Last Saturday he said "No Arab government would tolerate outside interference in Iraq even by the world body." (UN) We'll see!

But President Bush and Prime Minister Blair are not genuinely seeking a mandate from the U.N. and the world - this "war" started three months ago and any global politicians with an intelligence agency worth its salt, already knows that.

Perhaps they, too, have investments in oil company shares. Don't ask - Don't tell!

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