U.S. Intelligence Looks For Signs of Iraq Pre-emptive Strike

Inside The Ring

Bill Gertz and Rowan Scarborough,

Washington Times, January 31, 2003

Iraq watch

U.S. intelligence agencies are closely monitoring Iraq's military forces and the ruling Ba'ath party in Baghdad. Spy agencies are looking carefully for signs that Saddam Hussein will start a pre-emptive attack before U.S. military forces can complete their buildup in the region.

"We suspect he will try to do something," one defense official told us.

So far, Iraqi military movements have been limited to some troop deployments that are not considered unusual.

Intelligence reports indicate Iraqi forces recently discussed plans for building up defenses, either through trenches or barriers around key facilities.
Potential pre-emptive attacks could include missile attacks on Saudi Arabia or Kuwait, where U.S. forces are deployed. Iraq is believed to have up to 50 Scud missiles that could be outfitted with chemical or biological warheads.