Prospect of preemptive strike by Saddam has Israel on edge

by World Tribune

Week of August 27, 2002

"Israeli military and political leaders are showing increasing nervousness over the prospect that Saddam will launch a surprise missile attack on the Jewish state. One concern is that this could trigger a massive barrage by other Arab countries and terrorist groups, particularly by Hizbullah. Hizbullah has deployed nearly 10,000 short-range rockets in Lebanon near the Israeli border.
Israeli leaders have concluded that any Iraqi missile barrage must be met by an immediate Israeli response. Military intelligence has already selected targets, particularly in western Iraq, should Israel be struck by missiles.

Currently, Israel and the United States are discussing a range of scenarios relating to an Iraqi attack. They include Israel's responses to an Iraqi missile attack with massive Israeli casualties, few Israeli casualties and no Israeli casualties.

The United States has few illusions that Israel will practice restraint should Iraq launch a massive attack. U.S. officials hope that Iraq has few operational medium-range missiles that can reach Israel, particularly those with biological or chemical warheads.
A more threatening scenario is that Hizbullah will join or preempt the Iraqi attack with a massive barrage on northern Israel. This could provoke a massive Israeli response on targets in Lebanon and Syria and disrupt U.S. plans to attack Baghdad."