Farewell Mountains, Hello Deserts: US Special Forces Move to Iraq

US’s preparation for the war with Iraq is underway. The strength of the US troops in the Gulf  region is rapidly increasing. Politicians understand that today’s anti-war spirits of the world community come in handy for Iraq, and that is why they are hurrying military men for the soonest beginning of the war operation in Iraq. Military men, on the contrary, are rather cautious. US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld criticizes former general Colin Powell (incumbent secretary of the state) for his strong intention to allow UNMOVIC weapons inspectors back to Iraq. Mr. Rumsfeld believes that due to this action no war will be waged in Iraq for a year at least.

But no matter how persistent the Pentagon officials are, they won’t be able to speed up beginning of the war campaign. It is a very short period to cope with deployment of troops which number in 130-150,000 people, military technique, ammunition and everything which is necessary for rear maintenance. There is only one way to transfer  troops, by sea, which is known as a rather long one. If troop-carriers are used for troops deployment, it may take a shorter period, but the amount of troop-carriers Washington holds isn’t sufficient enough. The NATO has just a few troop-carriers (Germany holds some as well, but it won’t let use them). Russia has a bigger fleet of troop-carrier, but it won’t let the USA use it as well.
Against the background of what is currently going on and regarding the speed with which the US troops and equipment are deployed in Turkey and Gulf area, experts say that it is unrealistic to start operations in Iraq in November already.

Besides, it turned out that the USA hasn’t enough land forces to back up the mass attacks on Iraq from the air. America needs about 30,000 special forces soldiers in addition to the 100,000 infantrymen America is going to involve in the operation. However, special forces commanders say that their soldiers are still engaged in Afghanistan, Yemen and Philippines, so it is going to be a problem to find more professional soldiers. 

Transfer of troops has already started, from Afghanistan for instance: the elite special forces are being  replaced with paratroopers there. According to Pakistan’s PPI news agency, the US military command is going to engage 2 thousand paratroopers with Black Hawk and Apache helicopters from the 82nd division for a new Alamo Sweep operation in the southern and eastern provinces of the country. Main objective of the operation is to hunt al-Qaeda militants and ammunition depots. At that, elite special forces will be partially involved there, as they may soon be needed in Iraq. Mobile special troops will be still used for realization of some separate actions.

Dmitry Chirkin

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Author`s name Michael Simpson