Thursday, March 20, 2003

You can't fight in here! This is the War Room!

The Second Gulf War has begun. The Americans kicked things off with a small targetted strike referred to as a decapitation exercise aimed at communications centres and at Saddam Hussein himself. The aim was to stop the war pretty much as soon as it started, but seems to have failed. World Opinion also seems deeply divided - this is not a popular war internationally, and the war hasn't even really begun in earnest.

One thing is certain - things are going to get a lot worse before they get better. I expect airstrikes to commence fully tonight, followed by ground troops within 24 hours of the start of the airstrikes.

One thing that is uncertain is how much resistance the Iraqi army will put up. Analysts predict that the conscript divisions will probably surrender before or very soon after ground troops go in, whereas the Republican Guard will put up more of a fight, and the Special Republican Guard, the closest thing Iraq has to elite troops may fight to the last man, and try to draw the allies into street fighting in Baghdad, where the US and UK's air power will effectively be neutralised by the risk of civilian casualties. I'm certainly not expecting a 'quick and clean' campaign, much as I hope I'm wrong, but this could get very messy indeed.

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