Iraqi Regime’s True Colors Are Showing


By Kathleen T. Rhem, AFPS (updated)

WASHINGTON, March 27, 2003 –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.

United Kingdom forces conducted aggressive patrols in the Al Faw area and in Umm Qasr to increase the security in those areas and also conducted a raid that destroyed a Baath Party headquarters in Basrah. They continue to have success against the regulars in the area.

Brooks also talked of the major counter mining missions in the water ways that have been underway to bring in the humanitarian aid to the Iraqi people.

Officials had thought that the water ways had finally been cleared of all mines, but the Australian maritime component said that two more appeared this morning. Their special boats are made out of copper and fiberglass and have other specialties in order to work around the mines. The mines are sensitive to metal and are designed to attach to ships and explode upon impact.

These last mines should be cleared within hours and waterways to the Port of Umm Qasr will be completely open, and the waiting vessels will dock with the humanitarian supplies for the people.

The General said “progress is being made daily by the coalition in our effort to preserve the resources vital to Iraq’s future. Humanitarian supplies have been loaded and are moving on their way to Umm Qasr as we speak, and port workers have been invited to come back and begin work.”

“And I would also say that there are now — in the Rumaila oil fields, there are now six wells that are on fire. Yesterday, one was put out with the aid of the Kuwaiti Oil Company. "

Saddam’s military dressing in U.S. military uniforms, complete with ID tags, in order to trick his own people into surrendering and them murdering them is part of the unusual threats Coalition forces have faced There are hundreds of accounts of schools, and civilian buildings being used by Saddam’s forces that put his own people is critical danger.

Brooks said Iraqi “forces are repressing the Iraqi population and deliberately endangering protected sites.”

The Iraqi regime has "shown its true colors" in recent days with brutality and disregard for international rules of warfare, a U.S. Central Command official said today.

In the southern city of Basra, Brooks said coalition forces have seen "a significant degree of violence" done to the civilian population by Iraqi paramilitary forces (Many Iraqis say they are actually terrorists). He noted Iraqi forces have fired mortars at civilians and that British troops have been working in the region to cut off any Iraqi reinforcements from entering the town. U.K. forces are also firing on Iraqi positions that are attacking the town.

He said these and other actions of Iraqi paramilitary forces — sometimes in uniform, sometimes not — are "more akin to the behaviors of global terrorists than they are to a nation."

"It’s clear to us that the people of Basra have had about enough of what the regime is doing to them," Brooks said, adding, "We remain committed to their liberation, not their destruction."

In an earlier briefing in recent days, Brooks showed photographs of an Iraqi MiG fighter jet parked in a cemetery. Today, he showed images of military communications equipment located "right beside" 2,000-year-old ruins on the banks of the Tigris River 20 miles southeast of Baghdad.

"We remain committed to preserving the rich culture and heritage and the resources of the Iraqi people," the general said. "The regime continues to put them at risk."
Brooks said he couldn’t confirm media reports that an errant American bomb killed 14 Iraqi civilians in a Baghdad market. Once officials can confirm what happened in Baghdad, they will release that information, he said. Brooks added that coalition forces "do everything physically and scientifically possible to minimize secondary effects" on both people and civilian structures.

Operationally, coalition forces "remain on plan" and are confident of their objectives. "We’re unified in purpose and in our commitment to achieving our aims," he said.
Direct attacks against regime command and control assets, communications sites and the integrated air-defense system continued during the past 24 hours. Coalition forces also struck several targets of opportunity.

U.S. forces from the Army’s V Corps, deployed from Germany, "sustained a few damaged vehicles and in turn inflicted significant damage on the Iraqi force" southeast of An Najaf, Brooks said.

Near An Nasiriyah, the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force secured a hospital that was being used as a paramilitary headquarters. Brooks said Marines found 200 weapons, Iraqi military uniforms, a tank, 3,000 chemical protective suits, and auto-injectors filled with nerve agent antidote.

Maritime components cleared the Khor Abdullah waterway "all the way up to the port of Umm Qasr." Brooks noted this would allow coalition forces to begin delivering humanitarian supplies.

He spoke briefly about Iraqi missile attacks into Kuwait. He said the Iraqis have fired 10 missiles, "all of which have been oriented toward Kuwait." All missiles that were threatening were knocked down by Patriot missiles.

The general said it was "interesting" that several of the Iraqis’ Ababil-100 and Al Samoud missiles have flown beyond the 150-kilometer limit imposed by the United Nations. "One missile flew extremely long and went into the north Arabian Gulf," Brooks said, noting that missile fell into the water after flying about 190 kilometers.
He also mentioned that coalition forces have taken more than 4,000 Iraqi prisoners of war.

“And so I’ll wrap this up at this point by re-emphasizing that we’re committed, we’re on track, and we remain sure of the final outcome,” said Brooks.