US May Launch Military Operation Against Iraq in 2 Weeks

The United States may launch a military operation against Iraq in a matter of two weeks, Sergei Rogov, director of the Russian Academy of Sciences Institute for US and Canadian Studies, told a news conference hosted by RIA Novosti on Wednesday.

He said, "The Americans will attempt to push through the Security Council some kind of resolution for the start of war." In so doing, he noted, the White House is betting that Russia, France and China will not use their veto rights and risk open political confrontation. He added that "the outcome of the vote at the Security Council is irrelevant." "The US will go to war with or without a mandate," he predicted.

He opined, too, that it is going to take the US time, namely, two weeks, to sort out its differences with Turkey. The White House earlier planned to launch its strikes against Iraq from both Kuwait and Turkey. In the process, the invasion force advancing from Kuwaiti territory would have comprised three US divisions, while the force marching from Turkey was intended to include 2 American divisions and about 10 Turkish ones.

Rogov stressed that Turkey at present ranks second only to Russia in the region in terms of conventional weapons power. However, the Turkish Parliament has voted against US aid in a military conflict with Iraq so the US would possibly wait for a re-vote on the matter in the Turkish Parliament, said Rogov.