Sunday, March 23, 2003, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Urban warfare biggest test for allies
Rajeev Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 22
Even as American and British tanks today continued to roll down the road to Baghdad and were just about 250 km away from the Iraqi capital, President Saddam Hussein has several aces up his sleeve and has the potential of turning the tables on President George Bush. Arab diplomats here said America’s Operation Iraqi Freedom was yet to see the most decisive, and bloody, phase: when the coalition forces actually enter Baghdad.

The upcoming phase of urban warfare will be the greatest test for the Americans and the British wherein David and Goliath of this unequal battle will stand on an equal platform and the Anglo-American technological superiority would become virtually redundant.

It will be an extremely tough political decision for US President George W. Bush, howsoever immune the Americans have become to body bags since 9/11, to expose his troops to guerrilla warfare of President Hussein’s most trusted and elite soldiers, the 20,000-strong Republican Guards.

Arab diplomats here caution that just as American officials had been warning Iraq of a full-throttle war with technology of the future, Washington needed to take into account the fact that a snake was at its deadliest best if the enemy were to take on it inside its hole. And this is precisely what the coalition forces would be attempting to do when they enter Baghdad.

There are several factors for the continued defiance of President Hussein. Sample these:

It may well be for the first time in the history of wars in the world when a city, which is the target of aerial strafing of a hitherto-unknown scale, remains brightly lit up during nights. This is clearly a tactical move which shows how the US is battering an Arab nation while at the same time the actual occupants of the targeted buildings — the Republican Guards, for example — have already been shifted out of the premises.

While the Americans and the British may be going ga-ga over desertions of “thousands” of Iraqi soldiers, not a single surrender has come from the Republican Guards, the well-known eyes, ears and muscles of President Hussein.

Mr Hussein has so far not used chemical or biological warfare against the invaders, though this is precisely the reason why his country is being invaded. It only shows that he has something up his sleeve which will unravel itself when the Anglo-American forces enter Baghdad.

The coalition forces have so far tackled only those Iraqi forces which were far from President Hussein and the forces having the proximity of the President are yet to be tested. That will decide the million-dollar question: are the Republican Guards still loyal to Mr Hussein and to what extent his writ prevails ?

This gives rise to the crucial question: If Mr Hussein’s following in the army continues to remain fiercely loyal, what will be acceptable collateral damage for the coalition forces? If the American casualties are in hundreds or thousands — not an unlikely scenario— wouldn’t Iraq prove to be a Vietnam for the American President ?Back

Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | In Spotlight | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
123 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |