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Military Analysis with Dr. David McIntyre


VOA-TV’s David Borgida talks with Dr. David McIntyre of the ANSER Institute of Homeland Security, and a defense analyst, about the changing events in Iraq.

MR. BORGIDA
And now joining us, our military analyst, Dr. David McIntyre, a retired U.S. Army colonel, who has been with us throughout this Iraqi war. You were not a member of the U.S. Senate, but in our view you are just as esteemed for your insight here.

Colonel, let's go straight to the map, if we could, of Iraq, because there is so much going on, on many different fronts. Would you go over what's happening with us now?

DR. MCINTYRE
Just a huge number of events all over the map. You know that we had the issue in Kirkuk, where U.S. troops and Kurdish troops together have taken control of that city, but we also had an agreement for Turkish advisors to join them today. That's going to be a very significant issue, Turkish observers, and trying to make sure that everyone is satisfied that the stability of that area will be guaranteed in the future.

We have U.S. marines that were engaged in Baghdad, in a very strong firefight last night. We had a suicide attack against them today, although the casualties are not known, but apparently they were relatively light on that issue. But very strong attacks overnight.

We had the attack in Najaf on the clergyman who had just arrived in country in order to try to bring stability to the situation. We had marines that overnight believed they found perhaps some chemical and perhaps even some nuclear facilities in the southern part of Iraq. That is being checked out by special teams who have been sent over. We have people from the U.K. who are still trying to provide water and food to Basra and relieve the humanitarian conditions at that location.

Meanwhile, we have U.S. troops continuing to flow into the region. In the far north, we have elements of the 1st Armored Division from Germany that are now arriving. In Kuwait, we have elements of the 4th Infantry Division, elements of the 2nd ACR, Armored Cavalry Regiment, elements of the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, all arriving at the rate of about 2,000 a day, building up troops and troop strength as we try to bring some stability.

There is a lot of hard fighting still in place because of the extensive presence, they believe, of Saddam's troops around Tikrit. And consequently, we had a number of air strikes overnight in that area. That is continuing.

We think perhaps as many as 70,000 troops have concentrated up in that area, but the status of their morale, the status of their equipment is simply not known. A very complex, complicated picture across the map today.

MR. BORGIDA
You point out two important issues that we should talk about. First, Tikrit, Saddam Hussein's hometown. Is the suggestion there that he perhaps has fled to the protection in and around Tikrit, or is there another military reason for all that activity there?

DR. MCINTYRE
Well, there are just connections in that region. Many of the people in his party had come from that area. I read recently that of the 16 people who ran the torture chambers in Baghdad, seven of them had Tikrit as a surname. They are from that region. And so a lot of people have fled back in that direction. We don't want to draw too many historical analogies, but it's not unlike the end of the Second World War, when many of the Nazis, even when Hitler was gone, fled to the south, down around the area of Berchtesgaden. And so that is kind of what is happening in this case.

MR. BORGIDA
And given all of the activity, Colonel, it is worth reminding our viewers here that because of the symbolic value of the statues being torn down in Baghdad yesterday, that does not mean ipso facto that this war is coming to an immediate end. There is more fighting ahead.

DR. MCINTYRE
Absolutely. We had the example, again, to go back to Europe and the Second World War, in essentially April of 1945, the main units were done, but there was fighting into May and June, individual units, some of them from other countries. Just as today, some of these people who are shooting, some of the people who are fighting are not Iraqis at all. They are from other countries, who have been left behind and really have no other hope.

MR. BORGIDA
So, the discussion of a post-Saddam Iraq, while very, very important, there still is an insecure and unstable environment in many places in Iraq.

DR. MCINTYRE
Right, in many places, and it is going to have to be worked through a block at a time, a house at a time. Now, we are fortunately not, I don't believe, I believe we are not going to see the house-to-house fighting that we have been concerned about earlier. But we are going to see now house-to-house security checks. We're going to be asking people on each block and in each neighborhood, who is a foreigner, who is hiding weapons?

We had a good incident earlier this morning where in the northern part of Baghdad someone knocked on an American tank and said, would you destroy this for me? They had an RPG. And so they took that rocket-propelled grenade, and then another one showed up, another one, and by the time they were done 55 rocket-propelled grenades had been turned in.

MR. BORGIDA
Briefly, Colonel, one more point. What do you know about the search for the American prisoners of war? I don't believe they have been seen by the International Red Cross yet.

DR. MCINTYRE
They have not. And this is an element of very high concern. When Secretary Rumsfeld listed his priorities yesterday for immediate action, it was listed as number 2, right behind Saddam. We know we have got about a dozen. And it was interesting that he said we are looking for prisoners not just of this conflict but of previous conflicts as well. I believe they still think that perhaps we have at least one pilot from 1991 who was alive and maybe present somewhere in Iraq.

MR. BORGIDA
A very, very tough issue for American forces.

DR. MCINTYRE
Absolutely.

MR. BORGIDA
Colonel David McIntyre joining us again, thanks so much for being with us.

DR. MCINTYRE
Glad to be with you today.

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