An Israeli reporter said in a televised broadcast today that the United States military has been ordered to launch a war against Iraq on March 18, reports

Michael Gurdus, a renown communications monitor, reportedly said the order was relayed by U.S. Central Command to all American forces in the Persian Gulf. According to the report, Gurdus told Israel’s Channel 2 television that he heard the order being relayed to U.S. fighter-jet pilots and others over U.S. military radio communications he intercepted.

Gurdus is considered the leading communications monitor in the Middle East. According to the report, he has broken numerous stories because of his ability to intercept and understand foreign-language civilian and military radio broadcasts and communications. He said the U.S. military, in its radio communications, refers to Iraq as “bad cows” and “kabab,” Middle East Newsline reported.

Israel’s media reported that the United States had demanded that senior Israeli officials stop issuing predictions of when the war would erupt.

The latest proposal from the U.S. and UK to the United Nations Security Council called for a March 17 deadline for Saddam to disarm or face consequences. Some media reports indicated the U.S. was considering extending that deadline, but White House spokesman Ari Fleischer described a plan to extend it as “a non-starter.”

The U.S. had hoped to vote on the resolution today but was forced to delay action since the required nine votes for passage had not been secured. In addition, France has threatened to veto the measure.

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