WASHINGTON -- Bush administration officials warned that the regime of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein appears poised to launch a new offensive against Shiite civilians and insurgent forces in southern Iraq, and said Washington may take military steps to stop the internal repression.
Officials at the State and Defense departments yesterday reported a steep rise in Iraqi air activity in the south and a steady increase in the concentration of tanks, troops and weapons near population centers.
"They could potentially start in the next few days," said a senior Bush administration official. "They have the capability to start a major portion at any time now. They've got all the assets in place."