UK prepares 30,000 troops
for Iraq attack

By WND Staff

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Officials said the British High Command and Ministry of Defense have drafted plans to bring troops and weaponry to Kuwait and other Gulf Cooperation Council allies, reports Geostrategy, the global intelligence news agency.

They said an advance team of military and ministry representatives will arrive in Kuwait by the end of the month to plan the Gulf deployment.

A U.S. Air Force AWACS, Airborne Warning and Control System, took off from Incirlik air base in southern Turkey on Sept. 13, for a daily mission over No-Fly Zone in Northern Iraq.

Meanwhile, U.S. and British fighter jets are targeting a wider range of targets in Iraq’s no-fly zone, destroying both mobile and stationary Iraqi air defense facilities.

Defense sources said Britain is acting upon a U.S. request to contribute as many as 30,000 troops in an offensive against Iraq. British Defense Secretary Geoffrey Hoon discussed the Iraqi war plans with his U.S. counterpart Donald Rumsfeld.

The sources said the British exercise in October in Oman, called Swift Sword-2, was meant to determine the feasibility of moving a large amount of troops to the Gulf within weeks.

The government of Prime Minister Tony Blair first plans to seek approval from parliament before any major redeployment to the Gulf. Parliament is scheduled to convene on Sept. 24 to discuss the threat from the regime of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and the U.S. call to replace him.

After Blair receives support from Parliament, the sources said, the British military will begin moving troops and equipment to Kuwait. The deployment will begin with the transfer of a light armored division to the sheikdom.

This will be followed by the transfer of main battle tanks to bring the division to full strength. The armored division is expected to contain 20,000 troops.

At the same time, the British Royal Air Force will increase its air fleet in Turkey and in the Gulf. Defense sources said this will include a total of 30 Tornado GR4 fighter bombers in Kuwait. The aircraft would be maintained and supported by 5,000 air force personnel in the sheikdom.

The British Royal Navy also is considering sending an amphibious carrier task force that would involve about 4,000 servicemen and women.


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