U.S. vs. Iraq Update

Iraq Speech
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As the UN looks for evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, President Bush is sending Congress a new strategy for combating such weapons. It said if biological or chemical weapons are used against the U.S., America can respond with nuclear weapons.

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan is criticizing the Security Council for its handling of Iraq's weapons declaration. He told the BBC that the decision to withhold complete copies of the declaration from non-permanent council members was "unfortunate." Iraq is accusing the U.S. of extortion for taking the only copy of its arms declaration to the UN Security Council.

Norway's foreign minister said some of the countries on the UN Security Council are being treated like "B-nations." The 10 non-permanent members are to get an edited copy of the Iraqi declaration -- with sensitive material censored. Norway said the entire council should get unedited copies.

United Nations weapons inspectors have returned to a large complex where officials said Iraq once worked on a nuclear bomb. Small teams have also been sent out across the Iraqi countryside Wednesday, while another crew is spending a second day in the western desert inspecting a remote uranium mining site.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is visiting the Persian Gulf nation of Qatar. He's scheduled to observe the simulated war games that could be a rehearsal for any war in Iraq.

Iraq Timeline:

Iraq filed its report by the Dec. 8 deadline to provide weapons inspectors and the Security Council with a complete declaration of all aspects of its chemical, biological and nuclear programs.

Weapons inspectors resumed inspections Nov. 27, and are to report to the Security Council 60 days after the start of their work. But they are to immediately report any Iraqi interference with their work, any failure by Iraq to comply with disarmament obligations, and any false statements or omissions in its declaration.

Upon receipt of such a report from inspectors, the Security Council will immediately convene to consider the situation and the need for full compliance in order to restore international peace and security.

Familiar Faces, New Jobs

A look at what some top Bush administration officials did during the Persian Gulf War and where they are now.

  • Colin Powell: then chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; now secretary of state.

  • Dick Cheney: then defense secretary; now vice president.

  • Tommy Franks: then assistant division commander for the First Cavalry Division; now head of the military's Central Command, which would lead any U.S. war against Iraq.

  • Paul Wolfowitz: then undersecretary of defense for policy; now deputy secretary of defense.

  • Richard Armitage: then special emissary to Jordan's King Hussein; now deputy secretary of state.

  • Condoleezza Rice: then senior director of Soviet and East European affairs in the National Security Council; now national security adviser.

  • Donald Rumsfeld: then chairman and chief executive officer of General Instrument Corp.; now defense secretary.

  • Richard Myers: then part of the Tactical Air Command's headquarters staff at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia; now chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

  • George W. Bush: then managing general partner of Texas Rangers baseball team; now president and commander-in-chief.

Current Positioning of U.S. Forces within Striking Distance of Iraq

  • Kuwait: About 12,000 troops, including more than 7,000 Army soldiers, are deployed in the desert at multiple Army and Air Force bases. The main Army post is Camp Doha, about 35 miles from the Iraqi border.

  • Saudi Arabia: About 6,000 US forces, mostly Air Force pilots, crews and support personnel at Prince Sultan Air Base near Riyadh, the Saudi capital.

  • Bahrain: headquarters for the Navy's 5th fleet. There are about 4,000 sailors and Marines in Bahrain. The 5th fleet's aircraft carrier, the USS "Lincoln," has more than 5,000 sailors aboard in the Persian Gulf.

  • Qatar: More than 3,000 U.S. forces are in this tiny emirate that protrudes like a thumb from Saudi Arabia's eastern coast. Their main location is al-Udeid air base, which could serve as a hub of air operations if the Saudi's do not allow the United States to run the air war from their Prince Sultan air base.

  • Oman: American forces use three air bases: al-Seeb, Thumrait and Masirah. In addition to flying aircraft from these bases, the United States also stores war reserve materiel at the three sites.

  • Turkey: U.S. air crews fly regular missions over northern Iraq from Incirlik air base in south-central Turkey. U.S. officials have discussed with Turkish authorities the possibility of using other Turkish bases.

Iraq’s Military Strength

According to military officials and experts at Jane's, Periscope and the Center for Strategic and International Studies:

  • Troop strength: Army has between 350,000 and 400,000 troops

  • Weapons:
    • 2,200 main battle tanks
    • 1,000 armored reconnaissance vehicles
    • 800 light tanks/infantry fighting vehicles
    • 2,000 armored personnel carriers
    • 200 self-propelled artillery guns, 1,500 towed artillery guns

  • Aircraft: 200-300 interceptors and attack aircraft, and 100 combat helicopters

  • Air defenses:
    • 400 surface-to-air missile launchers
    • 1,000 portable surface-to-air missiles
    • 6,000 anti-aircraft guns

  • Missiles: Short-range (less than 90 miles) surface-to-surface missiles; Between two and 20 Scud launchers and missiles.