U.S. Plans A Small Invasion Force To Take Iraq

by DEBKAfile

29 July 2002

"Our military sources describe the present plan as being for a US-UK force of up to 75,000 troops attacking in three synchronous bridgeheads.

Force One

This first contingent, also the smallest - no more than 30,000 to 40,000 troops - will attack from the north, setting out from US installations in southern Turkey, mainly the large air base at Incirlik. They will link up with US special forces already present in northern Iraq, US commando-trained Kurdish forces, Turkish special forces positionednear Mosul and Kirkuk and Turkish-trained Turkomans

Its primary mission will be to “cleanse” the Syrian-Iraqi Western desert on the frontier with Syria of Iraqi missiles, especially the ones capable of carrying chemical and biological warheads. Its second objective will be to seize all of northern Iraq and drive out Iraqi forces, before going on to capture the oil towns of Kirkuk and Mosul.

Force Two

This one will drive across from Jordan. Ferried in by airplane or helicopter, or parachuted in, the task of Force Two will be to seize three or four main air bases in western and central Iraq, after they have been thoroughly pounded in a US air-cruise missile blitz. The captured bases will be converted for the use of American bomber and fighter squadrons, some diverted from the Persian Gulf and Red Sea. This action comes under the overall plan for the US military to operate from inside Iraq - unlike the doctrine followed in Afghanistan, where the US army operated from outside bases. Engineering units will prepare Iraqi installations such as H-3, H-4 and the massive al-Baghdadi air base for the influx of US warplanes and troops.

Force Three

This force will push into Iraq in two waves, the first, comprised mostly of US special forces, from bases in Eritrea, Jordan and the Sinai and from US navy ships, will fan out across central Iraq, including Baghdad; its paramount mission being to strike and seize the headquarters and habitations of Saddam Hussein, his family and close associates, as well as the country’s hidden depots of missiles and chemical and biological weapons systems.

The second wave, having captured and occupied bases inside Iraq, will advance from there to take on the heaviest and most dangerous combat assignment: destroying the Iraqi leadership and its military power base. Washington’s military planners calculate that Saddam, rather than throw in the sponge, will throw his entire arsenal, including nuclear, biological and chemical weapons, against this force, an escalation that could bring forth an American nuclear response to take him out."