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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2003, 2042hrs MSK (GMT +4 DST), Moscow - No significant changes have
been reported during March 29-30 on the Iraqi-US front. Positional combat,
sporadic exchange of fire and active search and reconnaissance operations
by both sides continue along the entire line of the front.
continue massing near Karabela. As was mentioned in the previous update,
the US group of forces in this area numbers up to 30,000 troops, up to
200 tanks and up to 230 helicopters. Latest photos of this area suggest
that the [US] troops are busy servicing and repairing their equipment and
setting up the support infrastructure.
radio intercepts, the coalition commander Gen. Tommy Franks has visited
the US forces near Karabela. He personally inspected the troops and had
a meeting with the unit commanders. Currently no information is available
about the topics discussed during the meeting. However, it is believed
that the [coalition] commander listened to the reports prepared by the
field commanders and formulated the main objectives for the next 2-3 days.
technical shape of the coalition forces was discussed during the meeting
at the coalition central headquarters. During a personal phone conversation
with another serviceman in the US one participant of this meeting called
this technical state "depressing". According to him "...a third of our
equipment can be dragged to a junk yard right now. We are holding up only
thanks to the round-the-clock maintenance. The real heroes on the front
lines are not the Marines but the "ants" from the repair units. If it wasn't
for them we'd be riding camels by now..." [Reverse-translated from Russian]
Based on the
intercepted radio communications, reports from both sides and other intelligence
data, since the beginning of the war the coalition lost 15-20 tanks, around
40 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, more than
50 military trucks and up to 10 helicopters. In addition to that there
have been at least 40 more disabled tanks, about the same number of disabled
APCs and IFVs, about 100 disabled wheeled vehicles of all types and around
40 disabled helicopters. These numbers are based on the analysis of non-classified
technical reports received daily by the Pentagon.
During the attack
last night up to two US Marine battalions attempted to push the Iraqis
out of their defensive positions near An-Najaf. Despite of the preliminary
4-hour-long artillery and aerial bombardment once they approached the Iraqi
positions the US troops were met with heavy machine-gun and RPG fire and
were forced to return to their original positions. One US tanks was destroyed
by a landmine and two APCs were hit during this night attack. Radio intercepts
show that 2 Marines were killed and 5 were wounded. The latest attempt
by the US troops to improve their positions on the left bank of the Euphrates
near An-Nasiriya was also a failure. Despite of all the precautions taken
to ensure the tactical surprise the US forces were met with heavy fire
and returned to the original positions. According to the reports by the
[US] field commanders, three Marines were missing in action and four were
wounded in this engagement.
attacked have once again confirmed the fears of the coalition command that
the Iraqi forces were much better technically equipped than was believed
before the war. In particular, the DIA [US Defense Intelligence Agency]
intelligence report from February 2003 insisted that the Iraqi army practically
had no night vision equipment except for those systems installed on some
tanks and serviceability of even that equipment was questioned. In reality,
however, the coalition troops have learned that the Iraqis have an adequate
number of night vision surveillance systems and targeting sights even at
the squadron level and they know how to properly use this equipment. A
particular point of concern [for the coalition] is the fact that most Iraqi
night vision systems captured by the coalition are the latest models manufactured
in the US and Japan. After analyzing the origins of this equipment the
US begun talking about the "Syrian connection". In this regard, the US
military experts have analyzed Syria's weapons imports for the past two
years and have concluded that in the future fighting [in Iraq] the coalition
troops may have to deal with the latest Russian-made anti-tank systems,
latest radars and radio reconnaissance systems resistant to the effects
electronic counter measures.
In the same
area [An-Najaf] a coalition checkpoint manned by the US Marines was attacked
by a suicide bomber - an Iraqi soldier - who detonated a passenger car
loaded with explosives next to the US troops. At least 5 of them were killed.
In a closed
radio address to the coalition troops the coalition command asked the soldiers
to show "patience and restrain" and "not to let loose their emotions and
feelings of anger" [Reverse-translated from Russian] The radio address
was recorded following an incident in the area of Umm Qasr when, in plain
view of the locals, British soldiers executed two Iraqis after finding
a submachine-gun in their house; and after a US attack helicopter returning
from a combat mission opened cannon fire on a passenger car and its occupants.
It was announced [by the coalition] that both of these incidents will be
investigated. However, military psychologists believe that these incidents
are the result of the troops being subjected to enormous stress; psychologists
say that these soldiers require medical treatment.
Near Basra the
British forces have completely abandoned offensive operations and switched
to positional warfare. Isolated attacks continue in the airport area -
still not under full British control - and on the Fao peninsula where the
Iraqis continue to hold a large staging area.
the British field commanders, the troops are extremely exhausted and are
in dare need of rest and reinforcements. Three British soldiers went missing
and two more were wounded in this area during the past 24 hours.
A supply convoy
of the 3rd Motorized Infantry Division was ambushed last night to the south
of An-Nasiriya. In the course of the attack 10 fuel trucks were destroyed,
one escorting APC was hit, 8 troops were wounded and 1 is missing. So far
it is not known who was behind the attack: the Iraqi army combat reconnaissance
units or the partisans operating in this area.
the information coming from the combat zone shows a rapid decline in the
[coalition's] contacts with the media and increasing restrictions on all
information except for the official reports. For example, since yesterday
morning all phone and Internet lines used by the coalition troops to maintain
contact with relatives in the US and Europe have been shut down at the
division level and below. Not only does this indicate that the coalition
command is trying to change the course of the information war, but this
also points to a possible upcoming massive coalition attack against the
Iraqi forces and an attempt on the part of the [coalition] commanders to
prevent any information leaks.
believe that all the talk about a "two-week timeout" in the war is nothing
more than a disinformation attempt by the coalition. Forces and equipment
currently available to the coalition will be sufficient for at least 1-2
weeks of active combat; this is comparable to the duration of a major combat
operation. It is likely that such an operation may take place during the
next day in the area of Karabela. Goals of this operations have already
been discussed in previous reports.
At the same
time the coalition is already planning a new large-scale operation that
will utilize the new forces currently being deployed to the region. Based
on our [Russian] intelligence and that of our allies [Russian] military
experts believe that this large-scale operation will be launched from the
general vicinity of Karabela and will develop into a wide maneuver around
Baghdad from the west ending in the area of the Tartar lake east of Al-Hadid
(or east of the Tartar lake at Samarrah). From this point a part of the
force will continue advancing toward Saddam Hussein's home town of Tikrit
and from there it will turn toward Baghdad from the north through Samarrah
and Baahkuba; meanwhile the rest of the [coalition] force will strike the
rears of the Iraqi forces fighting in the north near Kirkuk and Mosul.
Such an operation would require up to 60,000 troops, no less than 300 tanks
and 200 helicopters. It is believed that such forces can be put together
by April 15 and by April 18 they should be ready to attack.
information points to a serious conflict between the coalition command
and the US political and military leadership. The [US] Secretary of Defense
Donald Rumsfeld - the main planner and lobbyist of the military operation
against Iraq - accuses the coalition command and Gen. Tommy Franks personally
of being passive and indecisive, which [in Rumsfeld's opinion] led to the
lengthening of the conflict and the current dead end situation. In his
turn Franks in front of his subordinates calls the Secretary of Defense
the "old blabbermouth" and an "adventurist" who dragged the army into the
war on the most unfavorable terms possible. However, most [US military]
officers believe that both military leaders are responsible for the coalition's
military failures. Rumsfeld allowed gross errors during the planning of
forces and equipment required for the war, while Franks did not show enough
strength to get the right forces and the right training for the troops
in this campaign and, in essence, surrendered to the whims of the politicians...
It is entirely
possible that the future of this war will see the departure of one of these
two commanders. Some reports suggest that Rumsfeld has already proposed
to President Bush a change in the coalition command. However, Bush declined
this proposal calling it untimely and damaging to the morale of the troops
and that of the American people.
03-30-03, translated by Venik)
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