4 January 2002
"American preparations for a major offensive against Iraq are massive and continuous, set in place layer by layer. While the decision to strike Saddam Hussein appears certain, its launching date is the subject of hot speculation. DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s sources in the Middle East and the United States cite mid- or late-February and not before the end of January.
DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s military sources disclose that over the coming weekend, US fighter plane and bomber squadrons will be flying into three air bases: Kuwait, Egypt’s Sinai desert and the Israeli Negev. Call-ups issued in early December have mobilized 10,000 US military personnel, air crews and air force intelligence officers and technicians, who were ordered to report for duty after New Year’s Day. Last month, the US Third Army command led by Lieutenant General Paul Mikolashek transferred to Kuwait from its peacetime headquarters in Fort McPherson.
US army, navy and air force might is being assembled in Israel. In the central and southern regions, US emergency stores of armor, artillery, combat helicopters and military vehicles have been opened up. Equipment has been readied for war, fitted with sensitive electronic communications systems and loaded with ammunition. From early December, ships of the US Sixth Fleet have been entering the Israeli Mediterranean port of Haifa. They carry large quantities of drugs to counter poison gas, chemical and biological attacks, as well as protective equipment against nuclear radiation for Israelis and for American personnel in Israel and the Sinai.
The Third Army, now on the move towards the Middle East, numbers
nine divisions, among them the 82nd Airborne, 101st Air Assault, 24th Infantry
(Mechanized), 1st Infantry (Mechanized), 1st Cavalry, 1st Armored and 3rd
Armored. By early February, 75,000 US troops will be positioned on the
Iraqi front ... US military planners are counting the armies of three nations
– Turkey, Israel and Jordan – as combatant alongside US forces."