America's Stealth War on Iraq: The US Invasion Began on August 8, 2002
By Gar Smith / The-Edge
September 27, 2002

US Ambassador Richard Murphy visits Saddam Hussein, America’s friend in Baghdad, and explains the Iran-Contra Scandal. “From 1985 to 1990, the US government approved 771 licenses for the export to Iraq of $1.5 billion worth of biological agents and high-tech equipment with military application. The US spent virtually an entire decade making sure that Saddam Hussein had almost whatever he wanted... In reviewing documents and press becomes clear was US foreign policy to assist the regime of Saddam Hussein.E- Rep. Sam Gejdenson (D-CT). Photo: Iraqi News Agency.
On June 8,2002, George W. Bush, told the American people that he “had not made up his mindEabout launching a pre-emptive attack against Iraq and promised to “consult CongressEbefore invading Iraq. That same day, nearly 100 US and British planes struck Iraq in the biggest bombing raid in more than four years. It was apparent to many observers that Mr. Bush, confronted by rising resistance to his warmongering, was simply lying to buy time.

The cold, khaki-hued truth is that, over the past year, the Pentagon has quietly woven a noose of troops and weaponry around Iraq. The number of US troops in the Persian Gulf states increased from 25,000 to 37,000 between March and August. US troops in Turkey stood at 7,000 in January; by July the number had more than tripled to 25,000.

US soldiers are standing ready in Jordan, Egypt, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, Yemen, Eritrea and Israel. Sailors are in place on US ships in the Persian Gulf, the Red Sea, the Mediterranean, the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean.

The war material massed in Qatar alone is equal to two armored brigades E230 M1A1 Abrams tanks, 120 Bradley fighting vehicles, 200 armored personnel carriers, 40 155-mm howitzers and enough stored food and ammo for 30 days.

The US Navy has hired 10 massive roll-on, roll-off cargo ships to transport additional tanks and ammo to an “unidentified portEin the Red Sea and secondary “pre-positioning sitesEat Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean.

In August, the Pentagon staged the largest military exercise in its history, a $250 million, three-week war game simulating the invasion of an unnamed Persian Gulf nation. More than 13,500 soldiers and civilians took part in Millennium Challenge 2002.

The US Oil Lobby seems to have some inside information about the true state of Bush’s mind. Between March and August, US oil companies cut their imports of Iraqi oil 90 percent Efrom 1 million to 100,000 barrels a day.

In another sign that deals have already been sealed and promises made, the State Department has quietly offered private aid organizations $6.6 million worth of contracts for reconstruction projectsEinside post-war Iraq.

In September, the Iraq Foundation placed ads for a project manager to head the “Restoration of the Mesopotamian Marshlands.EThis project would “evaluate alternatives for restoring the marshlands of southern IraqEone of the world’s greatest wetlands.E(Saddam Hussein’s engineers drained the region of its water to destroy the culture of the anti-Saddam “Marsh Arabs.E The Iraq Foundation calls itself a “non-partisan, non-sectarian, non-ethnicEorganization based in the US with no ties to “the Iraqi government.E

Saddam Hussein isn’t the only resident of Iraq. A mother and child in a refugee camp in Suleimaniyah. Photo: United Nations.
What Did Bush Do and when Did He Do It
The evidence continues to accumulate that George W. Bush has been lying to the American people about his intentions in Iraq.

As Kim Sengupta reported in the September 5 edition of The Independent (London), there are indisputable signs that “preparations for a new Gulf War are well under way.EAccording to the Independent, “The US Navy has booked a giant commercial transporter to take tanks, artillery, ammunition and back-up vehicles to the region. It is the third shipment of arms and military hardware in a month using commercial shipping.EThe war build-up is so intense, The Independent reported, that the US Navy doesn’t have enough ships to fulfill the mission and has “resorted to the open market.E

Initially, the Pentagon flatly denied that it had hired commercial ships to transport weapons and equipment to the Gulf region. Why did the Pentagon feel it had to lie to the American people?

The US has been busy expanding an airbase at Al-Udeid in Qatar, a facility with a 12,500 foot-long runway and fortified hanger space for 120 planes. The US has Stealth fighters and attack jets deployed at Al-Jaber air base in Kuwait, F-16s stationed at Incirlik air base in Turkey and additional B-2 Stealth and B-52 bombers in position at Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean.

On August 25, the Toronto Sun reported that “US forces are rapidly massing in the Arabian Gulf to invade Iraq. Four heavy brigades have been positioned near Iraq, a huge new air complex is now operational in Qatar and American Special Forces are active in Iraqi Kurdistan.E

In a Toronto Sun column, Eric Margolis wrote: “Even America’s closest allies are appalled by the tide of warmongering and jingoism that has engulfed the United States. Bush’s recently proclaimed doctrine of ‘pre-emptive interventionEanywhere on Earth is nothing less than a frightening revival of the old imperialist Brezhnev Doctrine of 25 years ago.E

In MargolisEview, there are only two parties that unstintingly back Bush’s push toward “aggression in the name of peaceEEIsraeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon (who Margolis describes as “sounding like he was giving orders to a subordinate, demand[ing] Bush speed up plans to attack IraqE and Osama bin Laden.

“In 1998,EMargolis recalls, “bin Laden carefully outlined his grand strategy to: (1) liberate Palestine; (2) drive the US occupying troops from Saudi Arabia and, (3) end the punishment of Iraq’s people. To attain these goals, bin Laden planned to provoke the US into a large number of fruitless military involvements that would wear it out and bleed its military and financial power.

“Afghanistan, which costs American taxpayers $5 billion monthly, is the first step. Iraq, whose leader is hated by bin LadenE Will be No. 2. Then Iran, Syria, LibyaE And so on until a host of Lilliputian conflicts tied down the American imperial giant.E

In fairness, it must be noted that the idea of a “regime changeEbegan not with George W. Bush but with Bill J. Clinton. On September 29, 1998, with Clinton’s encouragement, the US Congress passed The Iraq Liberation Act, which called for a “regime changeEto remove Saddam Hussein and “promote the emergence of a democratic government.E

US and Turkish Troops Secretly Invade Iraq
On August 20, 2002, the British press headlined the news: “First Shot Fired in War against Iraq.EThough widely ignored in the US media, the first US-lead ground invasion of Iraq reportedly erupted on August 8. It took two weeks for the news to reach the European and Asian press which rushed to report the astonishing news that, under cover of US-UK air strikes, thousands of US-backed Turkish commandos had invaded Iraq from the north, captured three Iraqi military bases and an airfield.

The campaign reportedly began at approximately 5AM on August 6. A pre-dawn raid by British and US jets obliterated the Iraqi air command and control center at al-Nukhaib near the Saudi border. “Less than 24 hours later,Ethe Sunday Express reported, “two squadrons of US warplanes flew provocatively over the Iraqi capital from the Prince Sultan airbase in Saudi Arabia and from American aircraft carriers on exercise in the Gulf.E

In Britain, the media were informed that there had been a “skirmishEover the no-fly zone. RAF jets had attacked the Chinese-made fiber-optic defense system that protects the capital of Baghdad.

When asked to explain what prompted the attack, a Defense Ministry spokesman gave the following reply: “There was a recent response in self-defense which resulted in us attacking Iraqi air defenses which had been located by Allied air crews.ETranslation: UK jets entered Iraqi airspace in a threatening manner, provoking a response from the Iraqis. When the Iraqi ground forces responded with the expected gesture of “self defense,Ethey were targeted for attack. Within 48 hours of the attack on the command and control center, the ground assault was launched.

“The military invasion involved 5,000 Turkish Commandos backed by American Special Forces,EThe Express stated. “Eye-witnesses on the ground claimed air support and/or protection in the northern no-fly zone was provided by Turkish, American and British aircraft.E

Britain’s Ministry of Defense denied involvement but outraged Members of Parliament demanded an investigation, charging the Blair and Bush governments with conspiring to start a war “through the back door.E

The Globe-Intel research wire claims that British participation was confirmed by Turkish Embassy spokesman Orhan Turig who stated: “We have Turkish soldiers cooperating with US soldiers and other Allied personnel in the Zakho region in northern IraqE The British are inside, too.E

In the US, the Pentagon refused to admit that any action had taken place. When foreign reporters confronted the Pentagon with details about the ground assault, the Pentagon’s press officer issued this astonishing statement: “We can’t comment on current or future operations.E

Denials in Washington as US Cargo Planes Land at Bamerni
Details continued to pour into the European press. After a gun-battle between US Special Forces and “ill-equipped Iraqi soldiers,Ethe Bamerni airbase reportedly “fell into the control of Allied troops. Several Hercules CX-130 transporter planes were guided on to the airstrips from bases in Turkey. Heavy earth-moving machinery and electronic support equipment were unloaded over several days.E

As rumors of the secret invasion began to circulate, the Sunday Express reported, “Turkish television issued strong denials and broadcast old pictures of the air base showing it abandoned and derelict.EBut it became impossible to keep up the pretense after al-Jezeera, the Arab-language TV company, broadcast pictures of the frenzied activity taking place at the captured airbase. Ivan Watson, a Boston-based US journalist was also able to visit the region and confirmed the presence of Turkish troops inside Iraq.

“American Special Forces and a crack unit of Turkish commandos seized two other strategic military points on either side of the airbase in the Dahuk province,Ethe Express noted. This was an extremely high-risk undertaking since, “The invasion, which resulted in the first hand-to-hand combat between coalition and Iraqi troops, took place as Saddam Hussein warned America against invading his country.E

US Special Forces have reportedly been “on the groundEinside Iraq since April, training Kurdish rebels in the north and encouraging insurrections among “rogue elementsEof Iraq’s army in the south.

The White House has suggested that an invasion of US troops would cause the Iraqi army to collapse and the Iraqi people to rise up and cast-off Saddam’s oppressive regime. The situation around the Bamerni airbase suggests it won’t be that simple.

The airbase is located in a region controlled by a powerful Iraqi Kurd warlord named Massoud Barzani who offered this response to the appearance of US/UK/Turkish soldiers. “If they sit there and they do not retreat, then we will consider them as an occupying army.E

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