analytical center was created recently by a group of journalists and military
experts from Russia to provide accurate and up-to-date news and analysis
of the war against Iraq. The following is the English translation of the
IRAQWAR.RU report based on the Russian military intelligence reports.
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March 27, 2003,
1425hrs MSK (GMT +3), Moscow - There has been a sharp increase in activity
on the southern front. As of 0700hrs the coalition forces are subjected
to nearly constant attacks along the entire length of the front. The Iraqi
command took the advantage of the raging sand storm to regroup its troops
and to reinforce the defenses along the approaches to Karabela and An-Najaf
with two large armored units (up to two armored brigades totaling up to
200 tanks). The Iraqi attack units were covertly moved near the positions
of the US 3rd Infantry Division (Motorized) and the 101st Airborne Division.
With sunrise and a marginal visibility improvement the Iraqis attacked
these US forces in the flank to the west of Karabela.
massive artillery barrages and counterattacks were launched against units
of the US 3rd Infantry Division and the 101st Airborne Division conducting
combat operations near An-Najaf. The situation [for the US troops] was
complicated by the fact that the continuing sand storm forced them to group
their units into battalion convoys in order to avoid losing troops and
equipment in near zero-visibility conditions. These battalion convoys were
concentrated along the roads leading to Karabela and An-Najaf and had only
limited defenses. There was no single line of the front; aerial reconnaissance
in these conditions was not possible and until the very last moment the
coalition command was unaware of the Iraqi preparations.
During one of
such attacks [the Iraqi forces] caught off-guard a unit of the US 3rd Infantry
Division that was doing vehicle maintenance and repairs. In a short battle
the US unit was destroyed and dispersed, leaving behind one armored personnel
carrier, a repair vehicle and two Abrams tanks, one of which was fully
At the present
time visibility in the combat zone does not exceed 300 meters, which limits
the effectiveness of the 101st Airborne Division and that of its 70 attack
helicopters representing the main aerial reconnaissance and ground support
force of the coalition. One of the coalition transport helicopters crashed
yesterday during take-off. The reason for the crash was sand in the engine
The Iraqis were
able to get in range for close combat without losses and now fierce battles
are continuing in the areas of Karabela and An-Najaf. The main burden of
supporting the coalition ground troops has been placed with the artillery
and ground attack aircraft. Effectiveness of the latter is minimal due
to the weather conditions. Strikes can be delivered only against old Iraqi
targets with known coordinates, while actually supporting the ground troops
engaged in combat is virtually impossible and attempts to do so lead to
the most unfortunate consequences.
radio communications show that at around 0615hrs this morning the lead
of a flight of two A-10 ground attack planes detected a convoy of armored
vehicles. Unable to see any markings identifying these vehicles as friendly
and not being able to contact the convoy by radio the pilot directed artillery
fire to the coordinates of the convoy.
Later it was
discovered that this was a coalition convoy. Thick layers of dust covered
up the identification markings - colored strips of cloth in the rear of
the vehicles. Electronic jamming made radio contact impossible. First reports
indicated that the US unit lost 50 troops killed and wounded. At least
five armored vehicles have been destroyed, one of which was an Abrams tank.
During the past
day the coalition losses in this area [ Karabela and An-Najaf ] were 18-22
killed and up to 40 wounded. Most of the fatalities were sustained due
to unexpected attacks by the Iraqi Special Forces against the coalition
rears and against communication sites. This is a sign of the increasing
diversionary and partisan actions by the Iraqis.
During the same
period of time the Iraqi forces sustained up to 100 killed, about the same
number of wounded and up to 50 captured.
Since the beginning
of the operation no more than 2000 Iraqi troops were captured by the coalition.
The majority of the captured troops were members of regional defense [militia]
The Iraqis were
able to move significant reinforcements to the area of An-Nasiriya making
it now extremely difficult for the Americans to widen their staging areas
on the left bank of the Euphrates. Moreover, the Americans [on the left
bank of the Euphrates] may end up in a very difficult situation if the
Iraqis manage to destroy the bridges and to separate [these US units] from
the main coalition force. The US forces in this area consist of up to 4,000
Marines from the 1st Marine Division and supporting units of the 82nd Airborne
Division. Currently, fighting has resumed in the An-Nasiriya suburbs.
During one of
the Iraqi attacks yesterday against the US positions the Iraqis for the
first time employed the "Grad" mobile multiple rocket launch systems [MLRS].
As the result an entire US unit was taken out of combat after sustaining
up to 40 killed and wounded as well as losing up to 7 armored vehicles.
There are no
other reports of any losses in this area [ An-Nasiriya] except for one
US Marine drowning in one of the city's water canals and another Marine
being killed by a sniper.
During the sand
storm the coalition command lost contact with up to 4 coalition reconnaissance
groups. Their whereabouts are being determined. It is still unknown what
happened to more than 600 other coalition troops mainly from resupply,
communications and reconnaissance units communication with which was lost
during the past 24 hours.
around Basra remains unclear. The Iraqis control the city and its suburbs,
as well as the area south of Basra and the part of the adjacent Fao peninsula,
which the British have so far failed to take. The British forces are blockading
Basra from the west and northwest. However, due to difficult marshy terrain
crossed by numerous waterways the British have been unable to create a
single line of front and to establish a complete blockade of the city.
Currently main combat operations are being launched for control of a small
village near Basra where the local airport is located. The British field
commanders report that there has been no drop in the combat activity of
the Iraqis. On the contrary, under the cover of the sand storm up to two
battalions of the "surrendered" Iraqi 51st Infantry Division were moved
to the Fao peninsula to support the local defending forces.
an uprising by the Basra Shiite population turned out to be false. Moreover,
the Shiite community leaders called on the local residents to fight the
"children of the Satan" - the Americans and the British.
During the past
24 hours the British sustained no less than 3 killed and up to 10 wounded
due to mortar and sniper fire.
It is difficult
to estimate the Iraqi losses [in Basra] due to limited available information.
However, some reports suggest that up to 30 Iraqi troops were killed during
the past day by artillery and aircraft fire.
During an attack
against a coalition checkpoint in Umm Qasr last night one British marine
infantry soldier was heavily wounded. This once again points to the tentative
nature of the British claims of control over the town.
coming from northern regions of Iraq indicates that most of the Kurdish
leaders chose not to participate in the US war against Iraq. The primary
reason for that is the mistrust of the Kurds toward the US. Yesterday one
of the Russian intelligence sources obtained information about a secret
agreement reached between the US and the Turkish government. In the agreement
the US, behind the backs of the Kurds, promised Turkey not to support in
any way a formation of a Kurdish state in this region. The US has also
promised not to prevent Turkey from sending its troops [ to Northern Kurdistan]
immediately following [the coalition] capture of northern Iraq.
this gives Turkey a card-blanche to use force for a "cleanup" in Kurdistan.
At the same time the Kurdish troops will be moved to fight the Iraqis outside
of Kurdistan, thus rendering them unable to support their own people.
Along the border
with Kurdistan Turkey has already massed a 40,000-strong army expeditionary
corps that is specializing in combat operations against the Kurds. This
force remains at a 4-hour readiness to begin combat operations.
All of this
indicates that the coalition command will be unable to create a strong
"Northern Front" during the next 3-4 days and that the US Marines and paratroopers
in this area will have to limit their operations to distracting the Iraqis
and to launching reconnaissance missions.
During a meeting
with the Germany's chancellor [ Gerhard ] Schroeder the heads of the German
military and political intelligence reported that the US is doing everything
possible to conceal information on the situation in the combat zone and
that the US shows an extremely "unfriendly" attitude. Germany's own intelligence-gathering
capabilities in this region are very limited. This is the result of Germany,
being true to its obligations as an ally, not attempting to bolster its
national intelligence operations in the region and not trying to separate
its intelligence agencies from the intelligence structures of NATO and
There has been
a confirmation of yesterday's reports about the plans of the coalition
command to increase its forces fighting in Iraq. The troops of the 4th
Infantry Division (Mechanized) are currently being airlifted to the region,
while its equipment is traveling by sea around the Arabian Peninsula and
the unloading is expected to begin as early as by the end of tomorrow.
The Division numbers 30,000 soldiers and officers. By the end of April
up to 120,000 more US troops, up to 500 tanks and up to 300 more helicopters
will be moved to the region.
to that, today the US President [George W] Bush asked the British Prime-Minister
[Tony] Blair to increase the British military presence in Iraq by a minimum
of 15,000-20,000 troops.
At the current
level of combat operations and at the current level of Iraqi resistance
the coalition may face a sharp shortage of troops and weapons within the
next 5-7 days, which will allow the Iraqis to take the initiative. The
White House took this conclusion of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff with great
During the past
seven days of the war the US Navy detained all ships in the Persian Gulf
going to Iraq under the US "Oil for Food" program. Since yesterday all
these ships are being unloaded in Kuwait. Unloaded food is being delivered
by the US military to Iraq and is being distributed as "American humanitarian
aid" and as a part of the "rebuilding Iraq" program. These US actions have
already cause a serious scandal in the UN. The US explained its actions
by its unilateral decision to freeze all Iraqi financial assets, including
the Iraqi financial assets with the UN. These assets the US now considers
its property and will exercise full control over them. Captains of the
detained ships have already called these actions by the US a "piracy."
03-27-03, translated by Venik)
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