Invasion Has Begun!
19 March 2003
The invasion has begun with the advance of US Marines and British 1st Armored Division into Iraq in the direction of southern key naval port of of Umm Qasr. A second column of US 3rd Infantry Division troops crossed into the demilitarized zone on Iraqi border with Kuwait, with thousands of tanks, combat vehicles and fuel trucks .
US war commanders grabbed the element of surprise after all. While most analysts and forecasters predicted a mighty aerial-missile blitz over Baghdad as the wars opener, the campaign began Wednesday, March 19 with a lighting advance by Marine forces into southern Iraq along the Shatt el Arb River towards the big naval base and town of Umm Qasr. Fighting alongside the Americans are two brigades of the British 1st Armored Division and naval vessels landing Marine units south of Basra. The first clash of the war occurred shortly after in the mouth of the Khawr al-Zubayr river, a few miles south of Umm Qasr.
The US-UK column is heading at top speed for the oil fields of southern Iraq which have been surrounded by American and British special forces since earlier this month. DEBKAfiles military experts view this first major military move in the war as a bold tactic to prevent the sabotage of the oil fields, with the largest field in southern Iraq, Rumailah, at highest risk.
A second column of US 3rd Infantry Division troops crossed into the demilitarized zone on the Iraqi border with Kuwait accompanied by thousands of tanks, combat vehicles and fuel trucks.