War Preparations "Down To The Wire"
18 March 2003
"Israelis told to prepare sealed areas for use, but not to enter them yet - or to open their gas mask kits - until further instructions issued
US military sources concerned that Iraqi troops armed with chemical shells may have redeployed further south towards Kuwait border region for possible pre-emptive attack against US troops poised for invasion.
Allied troops placed Tuesday on four-hour notice to move ... Air blitz and strikes by 600 missiles over Baghdad and Tikrit launching war expected Tuesday overnight...
President Bush in speech to nation Monday night gave Saddam and his sons 48 hours to leave Iraq or face military conflict launched by us at a time of our choosing.
It is too late for Saddam to stay in power, Bush declared, urging Iraqi military not to fight for dying regime, not to use WMD or destroy oil wells as war crimes will be punished. US will use every measure in its power to win war.
US president repeatedly linked terror with Iraq, emphasizing terror threat will diminish the moment Saddam is gone.
As Bush spoke, terror threat level in America was raised to orange (high) as volume of threats reaching all intelligence agencies expanded.
Risk heightened of Al Qaeda and Iraqi sleeper agents carrying out large-scale strikes, including biological and chemical attacks, in US and against American overseas interests.
DEBKAfiles military sources: Before speech, US President spoke with world leaders, including Israeli PM Sharon. Afterwards, he canceled all engagements to focus on military campaign and counter-terror operations. White House sources expect any Iraqi military movement to elicit instant US military response.Jerusalem sources: US warned Iran and Syria against impeding coming war by escalating violence on Israel's northern frontier
Monday night, Turkey and United States closed deal permitting US troops to
transit Turkish bases for invasion of North Iraq and opening airspace to US
and allied warplanes. Turkish troops wil not enter North Iraq, while Kurdish
militias will not set foot in Mosul and Kirkuk."