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Iraq Preparing for War with US, says ex-Official - 2002-07-31


The former head of Iraqi military intelligence says Iraq is preparing for war with the United States.

In an interview with al-Hayat, the London-based Arab newspaper, former Iraqi General Wafik el-Samraei, who is living in exile in the United Kingdom, said preparations in every walk of life are being taken inside Iraq for an expected U.S.-led attack. The former general said the headquarters of Saddam Hussein are very likely being moved from known areas to secret locations which, he said, would probably be among civilian houses.

He said he has been told by sources inside Iraq that retired officers have been returned to service, all authorities within Iraq have been brought to alert and internal security measures have been doubled.

Mr. Samraei said he is sure Iraqi special forces troops have been scattered throughout neighborhoods to assure control over Baghdad in the event of an attack.

According to the former general, prior to the Gulf war in 1991, civilian informants were recruited to aid the military in rounding up and detaining thousands of citizens the government considered untrustworthy. He said he is sure the same kind of operation is taking place today.

On August 2, 1990, Iraq invaded and occupied Kuwait for seven months before being expelled by a U.S.-led coalition in February 1991. Since then, U.S. troops, now numbering 10,000, have been stationed in the tiny emirate.

On Tuesday, Kuwaiti Information Minister Sheikh Ahmad al-Fahd al-Sabah told reporters that updated emergency measures have recently been put into effect to protect Kuwait's residents and oil supplies should military action be taken against Iraq.

While U.S. President George W. Bush has called for a change of government in Iraq, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said Monday there are no imminent plans to attack Iraq.

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