#1 - JRL 7041
US to announce Iraqi campaign within 3 weeks - Russian General Staff source
MOSCOW. Jan 30 (Interfax) - Washington will announce the decision to hold a military operation against Iraq within the next three weeks, the Russian military command believes.
"The American administration will make a formal decision to hold a military operation in Iraq right after the U.S. Armed Forces and their allies have formed battle groups in the region. This will take about another two or three weeks," a high-ranking source in the Russian Armed Forces General Staff told Interfax on Thursday.
"Thus, the possible war in Iraq could begin after February 20," he remarked.
"Judging from recent military conflicts involving the United States, the American authorities will inform the Russian administration about their decision on the eve of the war, and strikes on Iraq from the air and the sea will follow in a day of two. Land units will invade Iraqi territory later," the source said.
The United States has actually stopped the anti-terrorist campaign in Afghanistan in order to concentrate forces in the Persian Gulf, the source noted. "More than 100,000 American servicemen have been amassed in the region, and the group is being enlarged further," he said.
"As far as we know, nothing concrete has been done to expose and destroy the terrorist infrastructure of the Taliban, Al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan for at least several weeks. Washington does not even mention the fight against terrorism in Afghanistan any more. All the propaganda, reconnaissance, information and purely military resources of the United States are now pointed at Iraq," the Russian military said.