Iraq said to want Iranian launchers
First, Iraqi jets sought refuge in Iran, now Iraq wants to buy about 100 mobile Scud missile launchers from Tehran, an American intelligence official says. U.S. officials don't know whether Iran is willing to sell the launchers, which it bought from North Korea in the 1980s, "but there are suspicions," the source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said yesterday.
The intelligence source said it was uncertain whether the Iranian-bought launchers would be capable of firing Iraq's modified Scuds -- known as the al-Hussein and al-Abbas missiles. But, he added, the Iraqis have shown a talent for improvisation.
LOWER THREAT TO ISRAEL
While Washington and its allies struggled to interpret the movement of Iraqi jets to safety in Iran, top Israeli officials reached one conclusion: The move has reduced the threat of chemical attack on Israel. Defense Minister Moshe Arens said yesterday that all of Iraq's Soviet-supplied SU-24 bombers, which have the range to reach Israel and deliver deadly poison gas bombs, had fled to Iran.
WAR MAINTAINS U.S. SUPPORT
President Bush's decision to attack Iraq retained 3-to-1 public support in the war's second week, and four in five Americans in a poll said the United States should continue to fight regardless of casualties. The Associated Press poll found 59 percent said that if Iraq withdraws from Kuwait, the United States should continue fighting to force Saddam Hussein from power. Thirty-eight percent opposed fighting beyond an expulsion of Iraq from Kuwait -- the expressed objective of the United States and its allies.
SHOES TOSSED AT KAIFU
An embattled Japanese Prime Minister Toshiki Kaifu ducked opposition heckling and shoes thrown from the public gallery in Parliament today as he defended Japan's pledge of $9 billion for the U.S.-led allies in the gulf war.
Opposition parliamentarians heckled, groaned and beat on desks with their fists to protest funding they said could be spent on arms and ammunition. Two anti-war protesters in the public gallery threw tennis shoes at Kaifu as he stood at the speaker's podium trying to make himself heard above the din. They missed. The shoe-throwing was the first angry outburst by visitors to Parliament in 20 years, and underlined growing public outrage over Kaifu's latest aid plan.
CLOSER TO TURKEY
A Kurdish opposition group says Iraq has moved missile launchers to its border with Turkey and has reinforced its defenses along the frontier, Iran's official news agency reported today. The Islamic Republic News Agency said a radio station run by the Kurdish separatist group quoted sources inside Iraq as saying ground-to-ground missiles were ready to be fired in case of attack.
POWs REPORTEDLY HIT IN RAIDS
Iraq claimed Tuesday that allied prisoners of war were hit in coalition air raids, and that at least one was killed in an attack on a government building. Iraq said last week that it was moving some of its 20 or more allied POWs to strategic sites as "human shields" against air attacks. There was no independent confirmation of the report and no mention of the nationality of the airman who died. Eight Americans are prisoners of war.
'THE HAWK' HITS TROOPS WITH COLD
Paratroopers call it "The Hawk," a piercing chill that cuts to the bone with a talonlike grip. The weather at the northern front has been rainy and cold the past few days, cold enough to coat sleeping blankets with frost and freeze grape drinks into slush. Air Force meteorologists say the rains have been the worst in years, but aren't bad enough to stall any allied ground attack to drive Iraq from Kuwait.
NUMBERS FOR CASUALTY INFORMATION
The Pentagon has set up special, 24-hour telephone lines to be used by relatives of military personnel seeking information about the status of family members stationed in the Persian Gulf.
Here are the numbers, by service:
* Army: 1-800-626-1440
* Air Force: 1-800-253-9276
* Marines: 1-800-523-2694
* Coast Guard: 1-800-367-8724
* Navy (immediate family members): 1-800-255-3808
* Navy (other relatives and friends): 1-800-732-1206
Members of the immediate family may contact local Red Cross chapters to send emergency messages.
GROUND TROOP DAMAGE WITHHELD
The United States is hammering Iraqi ground troops burrowed into Kuwait and southern Iraq with thousands of tons of bombs a day, but keeping details of the damage it is inflicting from the U.S. public. The Pentagon's goal is two-fold: to play down the possible carnage taking place, and to mask its progress so there no premature push for a ground war, defense officials said yesterday in Washington.
U.S. SHIPS DECRIED MORE THAN OIL SPILL
Persian Gulf fisherman say they are more upset by U.S. Navy ships blockading their access to fishing grounds near Iran than about the effects of history's biggest oil slick on their livelihood.
PERSIAN GULF SHOWDOWN