A week after Saddam's overthrow by coalition forces, the U.S. army's elite 4th Infantry Division is moving into Southern Iraq to serve as the main force for maintaining order in the region.
One week after arriving in Kuwait from the Mediterranean, the division is finally unloaded and is starting to move north across the border into Southern Iraq, under the escort of tanks, armored personnel carriers and attack helicopters.
It is the largest troop movement in the war since March 20. But the purpose of this movement is to maintain peace and order, rather than to fight the enemy and take territory. Wanting to avoid crowding the public highways, some troop transports travel through the desert. Their drivers rely on night-vision equipment to keep moving around the clock.
At Army telephone stations, soldiers stand in long lines to call home. For those in charge of safety, the greatest concern comes from the possibility of suicide bombing attacks.
"There are two important features of the 4th Division: first, it has an airborne brigade, and has the ability to form a three-dimensional attack from the ground and from the air," said Lin Yufang, a specialist in U.S. military affairs at the University of Taiwan who has in-depth knowledge of the division. "The other important feature is that each soldier in this division has a portable computer."
"All units in the division are connected and share information as a single body," he added. "Also, they are connected to High Command and to all friendly forces in their region. This way, every minute development on the battlefield can receive an immediate, precise, appropriate response. This kind of equipment provides the most effective means for dealing with the upcoming guerilla battles with the remains of Saddam's army."
The road north from Kuwait City to the Iraqi border is once again crowded with truck convoys as the most technologically-advanced division of the U.S. Army crawls northward.