March 1-15 Stories

Monday Deadline Set for Diplomatic Track on Iraq
WASHINGTON- As the UN as tried for over 12 years to disarm Iraq, the dictator Saddam Hussein has shown a lack of desire to take advantage of the final UN resolution 1441 to comply with urgent requests to disarm of all chemical, biological and nuclear weapons.[At the Emergency Summit Sunday at the Azores, the leaders of United States, Spain, Britain, and Portugal set Monday as the deadline for allowing diplomacy to find a solution to Iraqi terror threat to the world.] (Full Story)

Iraqi Forces Headed to Iraq
HUNGARY–American service members training Free Iraqi Forces are impressed by the exiles’ commitment to democracy and willingness to secure peace in their homeland.
     Army Maj. Gen. David Barno, commander of Task Force Warrior at Taszar Air Base, Hungary, said the Iraqi volunteers will assist American and coalition forces in civil military operations should military action in Iraq become necessary.
Free Iraqi Forces wear battle-dress uniforms with "FIF" patches on their shoulders. In the field, the volunteers will carry 9 mm pistols as self-defense weapons, officials said.
     Free Iraqi Forces wear battle-dress uniforms with "FIF" patches on their shoulders. In the field, the volunteers will carry 9 mm pistols as self-defense weapons, officials said. (Full Story)

Blair Talks to World Youth–Unmasking Terror
MTV–using it’s global arena–tackled today’s hottest topics concerning peace, terror and the war on Iraq by bringing together world youth and British Prime Minister Tony Blair for a debate of sorts where the British leader took tough questions. Even as the Iraqi poison drone and other secret Iraqi weapons activities are being exposed in UN documents, 5 more terrorists were arrested in Spain and attacks were being prevented to save lives in Europe. Yet, the connection in people’s minds is not easily made between terror attacks around the world and a terrorist state like Iraq that had aided in the execution of attacks such as 9-11.
     Just days before the MTV challenge, Blair and Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar held a conference where both leaders agreed that standing strong for the protection of their countries may not be popular to some, but it is in fact a matter of ‘life and death’. (Full Story)

Aircrews Target Iraqi Violations in No Fly Zone
WASHINGTON– While world attention focuses on the looming possibility of war with Iraq, Coalition aircrews patrolling the Northern and Southern No-fly zones over that country face potential conflict with the Iraqi military every day.
     Coalition aircraft have used precision-guided weapons in March to strike four Iraqi military communications facilities and an air-defense facility, according to a U.S. Central Command. (Full Story)

Palestinian Terrorist Posing as a Passenger
Blows up City Bus

Several high school students were traveling on a city bus last Wednesday afternoon in the Carmeliya neighborhood of Haifa when a powerful explosion ripped apart the students and others passengers on the bus. A terrorist blended in with the other passengers on the bus and had been sitting in the rear of the bus when he ignited a bomb he had that murdered 16 people and wounded more than 50, at least 22 of them seriously.
     The blast, which took place on the city’s main Moriah Boulevard near the Carmel Center at 2:17 P.M turned the number 37 bus into a charred wreck and scattered bodies along the road. (Full Story)

Palestinian Terrorists Dressed Up like Religious Jews to Execute Home Invasion Killings
Palestinian terrorists dressed as religious Jews penetrated a family’s home and started firing on the family while they were in dinner prayers of the Jewish sabbath. The terrorist murdered both the Israeli husband and wife as they were unarmed and praying in their own home on March 9, 2003.
     The victims were identified as Rabbi Eliahu Horowitz and his wife, Dina, in the West Bank town of Hebron.
     Israeli Major General Moshe Kaplinski said that the Palestinian terrorists took advantage of the fact that it was Friday night, the Jewish Sabbath, to carry out their terror attacks. Israeli Defense Forces prevented over 40 terror attacks in February, and have arrested 111 terrorists. The IDF also discovered two large explosive labs which were filled with many varieties of explosives in large quantities.

More Russians Leave Baghdad
MOSCOW – Source: RIA Novosti. Over 100 Russians will get on a Russian Emergencies Ministry plane that landed in Baghdad on Sunday, March 9, 2003. This is the fourth emergency flight to Iraq.
     On Saturday night 150 Russians, Belarussians and Ukrainians left Baghdad for Moscow by the Il-62M plane.
     According to the Emergencies Ministry, another five flights will be made to the Iraqi capital till March 10. A source at the ministry indicated that Russians were not being evacuated but leaving the country of their own free will.

Russian Embassy to Be Restored in Kabul
MOSCOW,. RIA Novosti’s Yuri Nikolayev – During Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov’s visit to Afghanistan this week he will attend a ceremony to honor the launch of work to restore a compound of buildings of the Russian embassy in Kabul. (Full Story)

Russia-Iran Relations an Important Element of Stability and Security in the Middle and Near East
MOSCOW, March 9, 2003 RIA Novosti correspondent Yuri Nikolayev./ Russia highly assesses friendly and good neighbourly partnership with Iran and considers it an important factor of strengthening stability and security in the Middle and Near East, Russian Foreign Minister official spokesman Alexander Yakovenko said RIA Novosti on Sunday on the eve of Igor Ivanov’s visit to Iran. (Full Story)

U.S. Department of Defense Talks of Shifting Troops in Korea
WASHINGTON–The United States will work with its Korean allies to "rebalance" U.S. forces in the country, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said March 6.
     Rumsfeld was talking about a worldwide reconfiguring of U.S. forces during a Pentagon town hall meeting.
     He opined on the situation in Korea. "We still have a lot of forces in Korea arranged very far forward, where it’s intrusive in their lives, and where they really aren’t very flexible or usable for other things," he said. (Full Story)

North Korean Fighters Intercept U.S. Jet Over Sea of Japan
WASHINGTON — Four North Korean fighter jets intercepted a U.S. Air Force plane in international airspace over the Sea of Japan early Mar. 2, Defense Department officials said.
     Two North Korean MiG-29 fighters and two other North Korean aircraft believed to be MiG-23s engaged an American RC-135S reconnaissance aircraft on a "routine mission" 150 miles off the coast of North Korea, Navy Lt. Cmdr. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman said this afternoon.
     The North Korean fighters "shadowed" the American plane for 22 minutes starting at 10:48 a.m. local time — Saturday evening Eastern time. Davis said that the North Korean aircraft closed to within 50 feet of the American airplane at an equal altitude. (Full Story)

Iraq Not Complying With U.N. Resolution, Powell Says
WASHINGTON–Iraq has not made the strategic decision to disarm and cooperate with U.N. weapons inspectors, Secretary of State Colin Powell told the U.N. Security Council last week.
     Powell spoke following reports from Hans Blix, chief U.N. weapons inspector, and Mohammad ElBaradei, director of the International Atomic Energy Agency. (Full Story)

Terror Chief Captured
IIn the war against terror, it’s been a race against time as governments work to prevent terror attacks. Saturday, CIA and Pakistani agents staged a joint pre-dawn raid near Islamabad, Pakistan. Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, a senior operative in the al Qaeda network, was captured and whisked away to an undisclosed location outside of the U.S. The suspected mastermind of the terror attacks that killed more than 3,000 people from the U.S., Britain, Spain, Russia, Japan, Italy, Australia and over 70 other nations on September 11, 2001 is currently being interrogated. (Full Story)

Bulgaria, a Small but Powerful UN Voice
With a war to disarm Iraq on hold for UN Security Council votes, countries that may not have been seen as important before now take center stage in a powerful tug-of-war for votes. Bulgaria, once an ally of the U.S.’s Cold War enemy, is now a friend who must make an important decision to forcefully defuse the Weapons of Mass Destruction threat posed by Iraq and attached terrorists while being tugged by nations arguing the wait and see approach.
     Russia has been very good friends with Bulgaria since the Russian army saved the country from the Turks during the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1878. And at one point during the Cold War, Bulgaria proposed to joined the Soviet Union. However, with the world changed years later, Bulgaria regards both Russia and the U.S. as friends, and it has shown this over the past few days. (Full Story)

Hungary Hosts Free Iraqi Forces Training Exercises
U.S. soldiers are training Iraqi exiles and expatriates at a Hungarian air base to aid U.S. forces should an invasion of Iraq become necessary.
     About 700 U.S. soldiers are working at Taszar Air Base, Hungary, to train up to 3,000 Free Iraqi Forces, said Army Maj. Robert Stern, a spokesman for Task Force Warrior in Taszar. Americans in the task force dubbed the training area "Camp Freedom." (Full Story)

Coalition Forces Respond to Iraqi Hostile Actions
MACDILL AFB, FL — In response to Iraqi hostile actions and threats toward Coalition aircraft monitoring compliance of United Nations Security Council Resolutions, Operation SOUTHERN WATCH Coalition aircraft used precision-guided weapons to target Iraqi military communications sites and a mobile early-warning radar.
     The communication sites were located near An Numinayah, approximately 70 miles southeast of Baghdad. The radar was located near An Nasiriyah, approximately 170 miles southeast of Baghdad. (Full Story)

Myers: Iraq Clearly a Present Danger to America
The specter of terrorists allied with democracy-hating regimes – like Saddam Hussein’s Iraq – seeking weapons of mass destruction presents a danger America cannot afford to ignore, the U.S. military’s top officer said Feb. 26.
     "It’s this combination that makes Iraq such a threat to our nation," Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a group of business people in New York City. (Full Story)


March 16-31 Stories

Serbia Makes Cabinet Nominations After Prime Minister’s Death
BELGRADE, MARCH 16, 2003.RIA Novosti by Alexander Slabynko/ — Today’s Democratic Party Central Committee session nominated Zoran Zivkovic, party vice-president, for Serbia’s premiership, to form a new government. Boris Tadic, another party vice-president, was nominated Defence Minister of Serbia and Montenegro, and Cedomir Jovanovic, also party vice-president, Serbia’s Deputy Prime Minister.
     The party and Cabinet gaps have to be filled in after the tragedy of March 12, when Zoran Dzindzic, Serbia’s Prime Minister and Democratic Party leader was assassinated.
     The session did not elect a party president. Zoran Zivkovic will be acting president before the nearest party congress, which will follow general republican elections next year.
     The Skupstina, republican parliament, will gather Tuesday, March 18, to confirm the prime-ministerial nomination, announced Cedomir Jovanovic.
     Serbia will remain in a state of emergency till it finally eradicate rampant crime at any rate, to April’s end. The new government will carry on the late lamented Zoran Dzindzic’s policies in co-operation with the Hague tribunal and other matters, said Zoran Zivkovic.

International Experts Address Counteraction to Terrorism in Tashkent
TASHKENT,–RIA Novosti correspondent Valery Niyazmatov/–The theme of the meeting underway in Tashkent of the working group of the "Partnership for Peace" consortium of military academies and institutes specialising in security issues is "Counteraction to terrorism". Representatives of state and non-governmental organisations, scientists and experts from the USA, European, CIS and Central Asian states attend the meeting Saturday.
     In the course of two days forum participants will consider problems of the struggle against international terrorism and religious extremism, will exchange opinions on the military and political situation in the Middle East and around Afghanistan, will hold discussions on urgent regional security issues.
     The consortium of military academies and institutes to study security problems is a military organisation created to develop military education and research in security through the development of contacts between different countries and institutions. Presently 18 working groups are operating within the framework of the consortium, 200 organisations from 42 countries of the Council of Euro-Atlantic Cooperation being involved in their work.

Coalition Forces Continue Information Campaign in Southern Iraq
SOUTHWEST ASIA – Sunday March 16, 2003 Coalition aircraft dropped 240,000 informational leaflets over southern Iraq today.
     Coalition aircraft dropped the leaflets throughout the day today over military and civilian sites at four locations in southern Iraq, south of the 33rd Parallel.
     The leaflet drops were part of an ongoing effort to protect Iraqi lives and deter Iraqi aggression by providing relevant, factual information to both Iraqi civilians and military troops.
The leaflets that the Coalition dropped today expressed a variety of messages intended to inform the Iraqi people and prevent Iraqi military members from using weapons of mass destruction.

Halabja: Symbol of Hussein’s Inhumanity
WASHINGTON, March 15, 2003 – "Bloody Friday." That’s what Iraqi Kurds call the attack on Halabja, Iraq, on March 16, 1988.
     This year marks the 15th anniversary of Saddam Hussein’s largest use of chemical weapons on his own people. At least 5,000 Iraqi Kurds died from a lethal mixture of mustard gas and the nerve agents Sarin, Tabun and VX. Another 10,000 were reported injured. (Full Story)

US, UK, Spain: ‘Iraq in Material Breach’
Only hours after leaders Aznar, Blair and Bush issued the final countdown for Iraq to disarm, their UN ambassadors, led by Sir Jeremy Greenstock of the United Kingdom, were the first to announce that time is up for Iraq according to UN Resolution 1441. The refusal of a certain country [France] to consider compromises or proposals on the Iraqi disarmament issue has led to the decision not to "pursue a vote on the draft UK, US, Spanish resolution," said Greenstock. He also declared that the "co-sponsors reserve their right to take their own steps to secure the disarmament of Iraq." Spanish and US ambassadors gave similar statements and declared that Iraq was in ‘material breach’ of UN Resolution 1441. (Full Story)

Countdown– 48 Hours
WASHINGTON–Monday 8pm, EST U.S. President Bush delivered an ultimatum to Saddam Hussein and sons to leave Iraq within 48 hours during an address to the American people. The message to Saddam was broadcast directly to Iraq via U.S. military communications aircraft capable of interrupting and broadcasting television and radio transmissions.
   In his address from the White House, the president explained that all roads of diplomacy to end Saddam’s reign of terror have been exhausted and Saddam’s "refusal" to leave Iraq "will result in military conflict commenced at a time of our choosing."
     "It is too late for Saddam Hussein to remain in power," Bush said. "It is not too late for the Iraqi military to act with honor and protect your country by permitting the peaceful entry of coalition forces to eliminate weapons of mass destruction." (Full Story)

Coalition Aircraft Respond to Iraqi Provocation
WASHINGTON-Coalition aircraft bombed a series of Iraqi targets today in response to Iraqi anti- aircraft artillery firing on the allied aircraft.
     The Iraqi gunners fired on planes patrolling the Southern No-Fly Zone. In response, a coalition "strike package" hit communications, air defense and artillery sites.
     Air Force officials in Southwest Asia would not say when the Iraqis fired on the coalition planes because they do not want to give away the response time. (Full Story)

War Begins; Coalition Aircraft Attack Iraqi Targets
WASHINGTON-At 9:33pm Eastern (5:33am in Baghdad), just about 90 minutes after the 48 hour deadline, stealth fighters and cruise missiles effected the first strike to disarm Iraq. At 10:15pm Eastern, the President of the United States addressed the American people to tell them that the operations to disarm Iraq have begun in order to free the Iraqi people and to help defend the world from terror.
     U.S. Navy warships the USS Bunker Hill, Donald Cook, Cowpens, Milius, and two U.S. Navy submarines fired at least 40 Tomahawk missiles from the Red Sea and Arabian Gulf on selected Iraqi targets. F-117 Stealth Fighters joined the strategic first strike from the air.
     Reporters witnessed streaming lights in the sky, followed by loud explosion sounds in Baghdad. The strike ended quickly.
     In about 30 minutes after the first strike on Iraq had ended, the President spoke to the nation from the Oval Office, "On my orders, coalition forces have begun striking selected targets of military importance to undermine Saddam Hussein’s ability to wage war." (Full Story)

Ground War Underway
WASHINGTON- Twelve Coalition troops died in an apparent accident when a U.S. Marine helicopter crashed Friday morning in northern Kuwait, (7:37pm EST) about 9 miles from the Kuwait – Iraqi boarder. Also, at about 6:00AM EST, it was reported that the first soldier killed in action is an American. He was part of the U.S. Marines’ 1st Expeditionary Force.
     The crash happened just hours before a major ground offensive kicked off in the Persian Gulf. U.S. Defense Department officials confirmed the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division rolled into southern Iraq late March 20.
     A U.S. Marine CH-46E Sea Knight with American and British troops and crew crashed in the Kuwaiti desert south of the Iraq border at about 7 p.m. March 20 Eastern time — 3 a.m. March 21 in the Gulf, a spokesman said. (Full Story)

Iraqi Freedom Coalition Readies Humanitarian Aid
CAMP AS SAYLIYAH, Qatar, March 23, 2003 — The U.S.-led coalition to disarm the Iraqi regime is poised to open massive channels of humanitarian assistance for the Iraqi people.
     Millions of meals, medicines and other supplies for the Iraqi people are pre-positioned and ready for distribution, said Brig. Gen. Vincent Brooks, CENTCOM deputy operations officer, at a press briefing here March 22.
     "Our humanitarian work in Iraq is beginning," Brooks said. "We are already preparing to push (the rations) forward as they are required." He showed a video of a warehouse stocked full of humanitarian daily rations. (Full Story)

NASA Spokesman in Russia: No Single Version of
Columbia Shuttle Tragedy in Place Yet

MISSION CONTROL CENTER /KOROLEV, MOSCOW REGION/, MARCH 18–The independent commission of Admiral Geman, looking into what caused the catastrophe of the Columbia shuttle spaceship, has not yet shaped an single version.
     Sergei Puzanov, public relations coordinator at the NASA office in the Russian Mission Control Center. (Full Story)

U.S. Defense Leaders Urge Iraqis to Surrender
Over the past month, coalition aircraft have dropped more than 15 million leaflets over Iraq urging soldiers not to fight and telling civilians how to protect themselves.
     As Operation Iraqi Freedom began, there had been some results.
Coalition troops are driving toward Baghdad and while some Iraqi troops have been surrendering, U.S. officials are hoping for more.
     "The regime is starting to lose control of their country," Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said today at a Pentagon press conference. "The confusion of Iraqi officials is growing." (Full Story)

U.S. Too Nice — Iraqi Peasants Shoot Down U.S. Helicopters and False White Flags Ensnares Americans
Tactics, foresight and strategy, the reports are flowing in rapidly of more missing Americans. An Apache helicopter with a small American crew was apparently taken down by Iraqis forces that looked like farmers –leaving television images of a shabby looking crowd that included old men cheering with rifles in front of the downed American helicopter. Meanwhile, it’s not known what has happened to the crew, although Iraqis claim to have captured them as well. (Full Story)

Battles Intensify to Baghdad
(Updated March 25) Baghdad and Mosul were under air attack Monday morning as strategic bombings continue. Ten US soldiers were confirmed killed in the Nasiriya battle, and two British troops are missing. Coalition forces have had some tough fights in Iraq, but coalition forces still made good progress on the ground, air and sea, said Army Lt. Gen. John Abizaid, deputy commander of the Combined Forces Command.
"United States Marines defeated an enemy attack there while sustaining a number of killed and wounded in the sharpest engagement of the war so far," he said. (Full Story)

Air Element Boss Details Coalition Contributions
Coalition air forces have flown more than 6,000 sorties to date in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, said Air Force Maj. Gen. Daniel Leaf today.
Leaf heads the air component coordination element at U.S. Central Command’s Land Component headquarters in Kuwait, where he spoke to reporters. (Full Story)

HHS Releases Comprehensive Plan to End Chronic Homelessness
HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson released a comprehensive plan aimed at ensuring the department’s resources are focused on reducing and ultimately ending chronic homelessness. The new initiative, Ending Chronic Homelessness: Strategies for Action, was developed specifically to address the growing need for an integrated network of support systems for chronically homeless persons — those that have a disabling condition and who experience frequent or extended periods in the homeless assistance system. (Full Story)

Japanese PM Clarifies Government’s Support for U.S.
(The Yomiuri Shimbun) At a press conference on March 20, the day the U.S.-led coalition began its military action in Iraq, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi clearly expressed Japan’s support for the United States.
     "The United States is the only country that has committed itself to deeming any military strike against Japan as an attack on the United States itself. We should always bear in mind that this constitutes a key deterrent to other countries considering the use of force against this country," he said. (Full Story)

Coalition on Track to Baghdad
Just a few days of ground combat, coalition forces are more than 200 miles into Iraq and poised to take on forces defending Baghdad, U.S. and British defense leaders said.
     U.S. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Air Force Gen. Richard Myers told reporters at a Pentagon press conference that the plan to disarm Saddam Hussein and liberate the Iraqi people is on track. As part of the war plan, more U.S. troops are flowing into the region, Rumsfeld said.
     "There is a force flow that’s been put in place weeks and weeks and weeks ago, where people were mobilized, people were trained, … equipment was loaded on ships, ships were leased, ships were sent over, ships moved into position, ships were unloaded, personnel were airlifted over to meet with their equipment," he said. "And every hour the number of U.S. and coalition forces in that country are increasing." (Full Story)

Iraqi Regime’s True Colors Are Showing
Another scud missile from Iraq was fired into Kuwait City about 11:30 am – the U.N. banned missile was intercepted and destroyed by the U.S. Patriot 3 system, preventing loss of life in Kuwait City.
     “Coalition forces of U.S. Fifth Corps sustained a few damaged vehicles, and in turn inflicted significant damage on the Iraqi force,” said U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Vincent Brooks during a daily press briefing at CENTCOM in Qatar.
     Near An Nasiriyah, the First Marine Expeditionary Force gained control of a hospital that was in use as a paramilitary headquarters staging area and storage area. Notably within the hospital, there were 200 weapons, Iraqi military uniforms, one tank, 3000 chemical protective suits, and nerve agent antidote injectors. (Full Story)

Saddam’s ‘Death Squads’ Preventing Iraqi Surrenders
Fierce guerilla tactics of the type never seen by the military have been reported by some journalists embedded with the Coalition troops. Saddam’s extremes to stay in power include forcing civilians to give up their lives–one account in a European paper reports that civilians are forced to strap themselves with explosives and lay in front of Coalition tanks or their families will be executed.
     Today, U.S. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld gave reporters a three-word answer as to why more Iraqi troops aren’t laying down their arms and surrendering to coalition forces: Saddam’s death squads. (Full Story)

Antitank Guided Missile System Found in Chechnya
GROZNY, March 31, 2003 /from RIA Novosti correspondent Svetlana Shuvayeva/ — The FAGOT guided missile system has been found in the settlement of Alkhan-Kala.
     The provisional press centre of the Russian Interior Ministry reported on Monday that the system had been hidden in the yard of a dwelling house. The system was equipped with electronic starters, an optical homing head and storage batteries.
     A home-made grenade launcher, two Kenwood radio stations, three RGD-5 grenades, F-1 grenade, three shots for a under barrel grenade launcher, three magazines with cartridges for the Kalashnikov gun, 112 5.45mm-cartridges, an ammunition carrying vest and seven camouflage suits were also found there.

USS Nassau Carries Tribute of New York Firemen
…"Russ got in touch with me and wanted to know how things were," Farrell said. "He was really shook up, not only about 9-11, but about what happened to us and our family.
     "He said, ‘Vinny, I’d be honored if you guys could get me a fire department flag. We’d like to raise that flag when we deploy and actually go into battle,’" Farrell recalled… (Full Story)