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Russian Intelligence Reports on the Iraq War (english)
07 Apr 2003
This is a summary of Russian intelligence on the situation on the ground in Iraq.
Bottom line- the Iraqis are kicking far more ass than the U.S. military/media will
ever admit. To make themselves look good, the U.S. military is going around hard
targets to make it look like they are achieving victory after victory on the
battlefield. But the U.S. may not actually hold a single major city in Iraq.
Russian Intelligence Agents provide the
low-down about what is really going on in
Iraq right now.
The Main Intelligence Directorate (Glavnoye Razvedyvatelnoye Upravleniye, or GRU) is the all-seeing eye of the Russian military. Everybody in the West knows about the KGB but the GRU has always been Russia’s primary and most capable intelligence agency with thousands of agents all over the world. This massive intelligence organization among other means of gathering intelligence is involved in all types of electronic reconnaissance operations, including communication intelligence (COMINT), electromagnetic intelligence (ELINT), radar intelligence (RADINT), television intelligence (TELINT) and infrared sets reconnaissance.
The GRU has full command of all intelligence-gathering assets of the Russian Armed Forces, including spy satellites, reconnaissance aircraft, ships, submarines and other equipment.
BELOW IS A SUMMARY OF THE GRU'S INTELLIGENCE ON THE SITUATION ON THE
GROUND IN IRAQ.
BOTTOM LINE- THE IRAQIS ARE KICKING FAR MORE ASS THAN THE U.S.
MILITARY WILL EVER ADMIT. THE U.S. IS HAVING AN EXTREMELY HARD
TIME TAKING ANY CITY OF MAJOR SIZE. TO MAKE THEMSELVES LOOK GOOD, THE
U.S. MILITARY IS GOING AROUND HARD TARGETS AND ARE ATTACKING A LOT OF
MINOR TARGETS TO MAKE IT LOOK LIKE THEY ARE ACHIEVING VICTORY AFTER
VICTORY ON THE BATTLEFIELD. BUT THE U.S. MAY NOT ACTUALLY HOLD A SINGLE
MAJOR CITY IN IRAQ.
RUSSIAN INTELLIGENCE REPORTS FROM THE LAST FEW DAYS FOLLOW.
April 3, 2003, 1301hrs MSK (GMT +4 DST), Moscow - During the last and today early morning the coalition continued its advance toward Baghdad that it had begun three days ago. Units of the 3rd mechanized Infantry Division, failing to quickly capture the town of Al-Khindiya, blockaded it with a part of their forces and moved around the town from the east to reach Al-Iskanderiya by the morning. It is know clear right now whether the US troops were able to take the town of Al-Musaib or if they went around it as well. The overall [coalition] progress in this direction was about 25 kilometers during the past 24 hours.
This thrust came as a surprise to the Iraqi command. The Iraqi defense headquarters around Karabela remained deep behind the forward lines of the advancing US brigades. Due to the intensive aerial and artillery strikes the Iraqi headquarters [in Karabela] lost most of its communication facilities and has partially lost control of the troops. As the result the Iraqi defense units in the line of the coalition attack became disorganized and were unable to offer effective resistance. During the night fighting the Iraqi forces in this area were pushed from their defensive positions and withdrew toward Baghdad. The Iraqi losses were up to 100 killed and up to 300 captured. The US troops destroyed or captured up to 70 Iraqi tanks and APCs.
Currently the Iraqi command is rushing to create a new line of defense 20-30 kilometers south of Baghdad. The US losses in this attack were 3 armored vehicles, up to 8 killed and wounded.
Late night on April 2 east of Karabela a unit from the 3rd Mechanized Infantry Division went off-course and ran into an artillery ambush after moving too close to the Iraqi positions. In the resulting firefight the US forces have lost no less than 8 armored vehicles and, according to the Iraqi reports, at least 25 US troops were killed or wounded.
In the town of Al-Kut US Marine units were able to capture a bridge across the Tigris; but they were unable to capture the entire town and currently fighting is continuing in the residential districts. No fewer than 3 US soldiers were killed and up to 12 were wounded in this area during the past 24 hours. The US troops are reporting 50 killed and 120 captured Iraqi soldiers.
The coalition was able to make serious progress to the south of Al-Kut. After quickly taking the town of An-nu-Manyah the US forces have set up a bridge across the Tigris and immediately proceeded to transfer the Marine units to the left bank. There is a highway going from An-nu-Manyah to Baghdad along the left bank of the Tigris. No more large populated areas are located along the highway and the attacking forces may be able to come within 15-20 kilometers of Baghdad as early as tonight.
The blockade of An-Najaf is continuing. Numerous attempts by the [coalition] troops to reach the center of the town have failed after being met by Iraqi fire. At least fire [coalition] soldiers have been wounded and one is missing.
The situation around An-Divania remains unclear. Heavy fighting in this area is continuing since yesterday. The US field commanders have requested artillery and aviation support on several occasions and have reported "strong counterattacks by the enemy." It has been determined that by the evening of April 2 the command of the US 101st Airborne Division ordered its troops to withdraw from the town in order to create some space between its forces and the Iraqis to allow for artillery and aerial strikes. The overall US losses in this area during the past two days are up to 15 killed and around 35 wounded. At the same time the US commanders are reporting "hundreds of killed Iraqis; about 50 Iraqis - some of them wearing civilian clothes - have been captured by the coalition. There has been a report of another [coalition] helicopter loss in this area.
Resistance is also continuing in An-Nasiriya. The town's garrison has been fighting for the past ten days and continues to hold its positions on the left bank of the Euphrates. During the past day there has been a reduction in the intensity of the Iraqi resistance. However, the US commanders at the coalition headquarters believe that this is due to the Iraqis trying to preserve their ammunition, which is by no means unlimited. According to one of the US officers at the coalition headquarters elements of the [Iraqi] 11th Infantry Division remain in control on the left bank of the Euphrates. "...Resilience of this unquestionably brave enemy is worth respect. Four time we offered them to lay down their arms and surrender, but they continue resisting like fanatics..." [Reverse-translated from Russian] During the past night 1 US soldier was killed and 2 more were wounded in firefights in this area.
Another attempt by the British to penetrate Iraqi defenses near Basra has failed. Up to 2 battalions of the British 16th Air Assault brigade reinforced with tanks attempted to break through the Iraqi defenses last night northwest of the Maakil airport along the Al-Arab River. Simultaneously from the southwest at As-Zubair another 2 marine infantry battalions made an attempt to enter the area of Mahallat-es-Zubair, but were met with heavy fire and withdrew after a four-hour-long battle. The Iraqis have reported 2 destroyed British tanks, 5 APCs and no fewer than 30 British troops killed. However, the British commanders are reporting 4 lost armored vehicles and 5 killed. Additionally, Iraqi air defenses have shot down an F-18 fighter-bomber of the town. The radio surveillance units reported the loss of another plane to the north of Baghdad. It is not known whether this plane was shot down or crashed after losing control due to a technical malfunction.
As we can see, the coalition command is continuing with its "march on Baghdad" tactics. In the course of their advance the coalition troops are moving around the primary centers of the Iraqi defense and blockade them leaving the rest of the work to aviation and artillery. The very near future will show how effective this tactics really is. So far, according to intelligence reports, more than 50,000 Iraqi troops continue fighting behind the coalition forward lines at Karabela alone. No fewer than 5,000 Iraqis are defending An-Najaf and An-Divania. Experts estimate that the total number of Iraqis fighting behind coalition front approaches 90,000-100,000 regular army troops and militia.
Under such circumstances the coalition has two options: it can either try to quickly capture Baghdad, thus leaving the Iraqi garrisons in the occupied territories with no reason to continue with their resistance; or the coalition troops can dig in around Baghdad and prepare for the final assault while "cleaning up" the captured territory. The latter seems more likely as the coalition can use the fresh troops arriving now to Kuwait for these "clean up" operations. This will also allow these troops to gain the valuable combat experience fighting the weakened enemy before the assault on Baghdad.
Analysts believe that this war will cause a review of the role of precision-guided munitions (PGM) on the modern battlefield. Already the results of using PGM in Iraq cast doubt on the effectiveness of PGM in woodland areas and in cross-country terrain. Under such conditions the main objective becomes not to hit the target with the first shot but to locate, identify and to track the target.
Reviewing ground operations [in Iraq] analysts conclude that the desert terrain and the resulting inability of the Iraqis to fight outside of towns and villages provide the coalition with its main strategic advantage. Complete air dominance allows [the coalition troops] locating and engaging Iraqi positions and armor at maximum distance using precision-guided munitions not available to the Iraqis, while remaining outside of the range of the Iraqi weapons. Considering the course of this war and the tactics used by the coalition, [Russian military] analysts find this tactics to be far removed from the realities of modern warfare and designed exclusively against a technologically much weaker opponent. Such tactics is unimaginable on the European theater of combat with its woodlands and cross-country terrain. Foreseeing the possibility of a future military standoff between the US and North Korea the analysts are certain that the US cannot hope for a military victory on the Korean Peninsula without the use of nuclear weapons.
April 4, 2003, 1507hrs MSK (GMT +4 DST), Moscow - By the morning of April 4 the situation on the US-Iraqi front showed a tendency toward stabilization. As the forward coalition units reach Baghdad they fulfill their primary orders outlined by the coalition command. During the four days of the advance elements of the US 3rd Mechanized Infantry Division have bypassed from the east the Iraqi defenses at Karabela and, without encountering any resistance, advanced around 140 kilometers along the Karabela-Baghdad highway and reached the Iraqi capital. However, the goals of this attack will be fully achieved only when the US Marine brigades, now advancing along the left bank of the Tigris, reach the southeastern outskirts of Baghdad.
All indications are that the breakthrough by the 1st Brigade of the 3rd Mechanized Infantry Division toward the Baghdad international airport, although a significant thrust forward, did not come as a surprise to the Iraqi command. The US units occupying the airport area did not encounter here any significant resistance (the airport was guarded by no more than 2-3 Iraqi companies without any heavy weapons) nor did they see any indication that the Iraqis were even planning on defending the airport. Except for the line of trenches along the airport's perimeter the US troops found no other defensive structures. The airport was clear from all aircraft with the exception of a few old fuselages and a passenger plane (possible belonging to a Jordanian airline company), which did not have time to leave the airport before the flight restrictions were announced by the coalition with the beginning of the war.
Currently the coalition group of forces in the airport area number up to 4,000 troops, up to 80 tanks and about 50 artillery systems. It should be expected that several helicopter squadrons from the 101st Airborne Division will be deployed here in the next several hours.
According to electronic surveillance the coalition command in Qatar order the attacking US forces to halt on at least three occasions. The command ordered additional reconnaissance to be done in the airport area fearing there may carefully concealed Iraqi units and extensive defenses. The coalition command issued the final order to capture the airport only until the coalition reconnaissance units contacted the command headquarters directly from the airport terminal. The Iraqi forces protecting the airport offered little resistance and after a few exchanges of fire withdrew toward the city. Communication was lost with one of the coalition units protecting the flanks of the advancing column. It is still being determined whether this unit got lost or if it encountered an ambush.
Around 0800hrs the US positions [in the airport area] were attacked by the militia forces probably from among the local population. The militia was dispersed by tank and APC fire.
The 2nd brigade of the [3rd Mechanized Infantry] Division reached the southern outskirts of Baghdad and is currently located near the intersection of the Baghdad-Amman and Baghdad-Karabela highways.
The coalition claims of "completely destroying" the "Media" ("Al Madina al Munavvara") and the "Hammurali" Republican Guard divisions of the 2nd Republican Guard Corps received no confirmation. No more than 80 destroyed Iraqi armored vehicles were found along the coalition's route of advance, which corresponds to about 20% of a single standard Iraqi Republican Guard division.
It has been determined that only a few forward elements of the "Hammurali" Division participated in combat while the entire division withdrew toward Baghdad. A single brigade of the "Medina" division was involved in combat. The brigade was split in two groups during fighting and withdrew toward Baghdad and toward Karabela to join the main forces of the ["Medina"] division.
Equally unimpressive are the numbers of the Iraqis captured by the coalition. In four days of advance the US troops captured just over 1,000 people only half of whom, according to the reports by the US field commander, can be considered regular troops of the Iraqi army. There are virtually no abandoned or captured Iraqi combat vehicles. All of this indicates that so far there has been no breakthrough for the coalition; Iraqi troops are not demoralized and the Iraqi command is still in control of its forces.
No significant changes occurred at other Iraqi resistance areas.
Fighting is continuing at An-Nasiriya where the US troops are still unable to capture the part of the town on the left side of the river. Despite of the announcement by the US command about the "near complete control of the city", exchanges of fire are continuing and just during the last day the US forces sustained one killed and no fewer than three wounded. The US troops are no longer trying to storm the areas [of An-Nasiriya] held by the elements of the Iraqi 11th Infantry Division, but instead use artillery and aviation to methodically destroy these areas.
The coalition was also unable to take the city of An-Najaf. The designated brigade of the 101st Airborne Division was able to take control only of the southern outskirts of the city and now has halted its advance using artillery and aviation to destroy the city blocks occupied by the Iraqi defenders. Intercepted radio communications indicate at least three killed or wounded US troops.
The Iraqis remain in control of Al-Hillah on the left side of the river. There are continuing exchanges of fire and the city is under a constant artillery barrage.
Nearly all fighting has stopped near Karabela, where the US forces limit their action to blockading the city and launching artillery attacks against Karabela’s outskirts. The available US forces in this region are only sufficient for the blockade and for now no reinforcements can be expected. The 4th Infantry Division, currently unloading in Kuwait, will be able to move into Iraq no sooner than April 6. Additionally, the “newest”and the most modern division is actually only a partially-deployed force and numbers up to 12,000 troops –only about half the size of the 3rd Infantry Division already fighting in Iraq.
A tense situation remains near the town of An-Divania. According to radio surveillance, the coalition forces were forced out of the town and thrown back 3-5 kilometers as the result of a three-hour-long firefight. The US field commanders reported 2 lost tanks and up to 5 lost APCs. Some 7 [coalition] soldiers were killed, 4 are missing and up to 20 were wounded. During the past 24 hours coalition medevac helicopters flew more than ten missions to this area. As an emergency measure a 101st Airborne Division’s battalion is currently being deployed to An-Divania. The town is under artillery and aircraft attacks.
With much difficulty the British marine infantry is advancing near Basra. However, despite their best efforts the British are only able to attack the outer defensive perimeter stretching along the Shatt-al-Basra canal. By today’s morning the British were finally able to take control of the bridge on the As-Zubair –Basra highway and to establish positions of the opposite side of the river. During the fighting one British tank was hit, one APC was destroyed and up to 10 soldiers were killed or wounded. Now the British are facing Basra’s main defense lines located 1.5 kilometers ahead of them.
The Iraqis still control a portion of the Fao peninsula. Today the Iraqi artillery attacked the Al-Fao port. No casualty figures are currently available.
Radio surveillance reveals Iraqi resistance units fighting on the territories occupied by the British. A Kuwaiti radio source reported an attack last night resulting in a fire on one of the oil wells where the previous fire was just recently extinguished. Coalition troops deployed in Umm-Qasr come under regular automatic weapons fire during the night hours. Radio surveillance indicates that yesterday coalition troops conducted a massive operation in the town to find the resistance members.
In the north of Iraq the Kurdish units have stopped their advance after encountering resistance by the Iraqi troops. Kurdish field commanders told the US officers they will not go forward unless the Americans “clear the way”for them. There is information pointing to certain financial motives behind this attitude of the Kurdish commanders. The US Brig. Gen. Osman, who commands the US troops in this area, told one of the Pentagon officials during a phone conversation: “for them [the Kurds] to move forward we literally have to throw a stack of dollars in front of them!”
At the same time the “Patriotic Union of Kurdistan”leaders are trying to distance themselves from these [Kurdish] field commanders, calling them “uncontrollable borderline gangs”According to them [the Kurdish leaders] these rogue units number no more than 3000 fighters.
Information coming from Qatar indicates that the coalition command is seriously concerned with the possibility of another sand storm. Not only will this delay the blockade of Baghdad, but it will also leave the coalition without its major advantage –the aviation, without which the coalition will be left one on one with a numerically superior enemy
April 5, 2003, 1357hrs MSK (GMT +4 DST), Moscow - The situation on the US-Iraqi front is characterized by gradual reduction of American offensive activity. After the 3rd Mechanized Infantry Division tank forces had marched towards Baghdad and its vanguards reached the city from south and south-west, engineering fortification of their positions began, which indicates the end of the current stage of the campaign as well as the loss of offensive potential of American forces and necessity to rest and regroup. It is supposed that during the next two days the American command will attempt local strikes in order to improve and extend their positions on the south and, especially, south-west approaches to Baghdad (crossing the Baghdad –Samarra roadway) and begin bringing fresh forces from Kuwait.
As we supposed, during the last night Americans were moving 101st Airborne Division troops to help the 1st Mechanized Division that captured the airport of Baghdad yesterday morning. About 80 strike and transport helicopters and 500 marines were deployed there.
But all the efforts to reinforce the brigade with heavy armor failed as Iraqi started powerful artillery strikes at the transport routes and organized mobile firing groups on the roads. After reports about losing 3 tanks and 5 APCs on the route the American command had to pause the movement of the reinforcements by land.
Yesterday’s estimates of the forces concentrated here were overstated. After analysis of intercepted radio communications and reports of American commanders it was specified that at the airport there were only parts of the 1st brigade troops, up to 2 enforced battalions with the help of a self-propelled artillery division 3 thousand soldiers and officers strong, 60 tanks and about 20 guns.
Another battalion enforced with artillery crossed the Baghdad-Amman roadway and came into position at the crossroads to the south of the airport, near Abu-Harraib.
Soldiers of the 1st Mechanized Brigade spent almost all the last night in chemical protection suits, waiting for Iraqi to use their “untraditional weapons”. Apart from that, their positions were constantly shot with artillery and machine gun fire. The brigade commanders report that the soldiers are ultimately dead-beat, and are constantly requesting reinforcements.
About 10 armored units including 4 tanks were lost in this area yesterday. Up to 9 men were killed, about 20 wounded, at least 25 reported missing. Moreover, the status of a patrol group that didn’t arrive at the airport remains unclear. It is supposed that it either moved away towards Khan-Azad and took defense there or got under an ambush and was eliminated. It is now being searched for.
The losses of Iraqi were up to 40 men killed, about 200 captured (including the airport technical personnel), 4 guns and 3 tanks.
Currently American reconnaissance squadrons are trying to dissect the suburban defenses with local sallies.
At the same time, marine troops are approaching the south-east borders of Baghdad. Their vanguard units reached the outskirts of Al-Jessir and immediately tried to capture the bridge over a feeder of the Tigris, the Divala river, but were met with fire and stopped.
Commander of the 1st Expeditionary Marine Squadron colonel Joe Dowdy was deposed yesterday morning. As was revealed, the colonel was deposed “…for utmost hesitation and loss of the initiative during the storm of An-Nasiriya…”. This way the coalition command in Qatar found an excuse for their military faults by that town. The “guilt”of the colonel was in his refusing to enter the town for almost 3 days and trying to suppress Iraqi resistance with artillery and aviation, trying to avoid losses. As a result, the command additionally had to move the 15th squadron of colonel Tomas Worldhouser there, who had to storm the ferriages for almost 6 days, with about 20 of his soldiers killed, 130 wounded and 4 missing. The 1st Expeditionary Squadron lost no men at An-Nasiriya, but 3 marines died, as were reported, “by inadvertency”and about 20 soldiers got wounded.
Despite the fact that marines were able to capture one of the bridges at the south outskirt of An-Nasiriya, the ferriage across the Euphrates is still risky. Fights in the city are going on. The American command has to cover the ferriage with a company of marines enforced with tanks and artillery, up to 400 soldiers and officers strong. Every column passing across the bridge gets shot by Iraqis from the left bank and the marines have to cover it by setting smoke screens and delivering constant fire. A brigade group of the 101st Airborne Division is engaged in the combat but is unable to break the Iraqi resistance. Throughout the day 3 men were wounded, 1 soldier reported missing.
In An-Najaf, after 3 days of gunning and bombardment the 101st Airborne Division marines were able to advance towards the center of the town and are now fighting in the market region.
It is reported that 2 marines were killed and 4 wounded. 1 APC was destroyed with a RPG. At the same time there arrived information that during the last night most of the garrison (up to 3 thousand Republican Guardians of the “Medina”Division) left the town on cars for Karbala. Only militia remained in the town, covering the withdrawing main forces and continuing to resist.
All the attempts of American marines to advance into Al-Khindiya failed. After 1 APC from the vanguard was knocked out and more than 20 RPG shots at the column, the marines withdrew at their original positions. 2 soldiers were wounded and evacuated rearwards. American intelligence believes that no more than a battalion of Iraqis are defending the town. Their resistance remains, despite that the town has already been under siege for 8 days.
Americans were unable to capture the left-bank part of Al-Hillah. The 82nd Airborne Division troops are only capable of keeping a narrow “corridor”–across the outskirt of Al-Hillah with the bridge over the Euphrates. There is constant shooting in the town. Throughout the day in this region the coalition lost 1 men killed and 4 wounded.
A similar “corridor”is kept by marines in the Al-Kut town. But there is information that allows us to suppose that Americans were pushed away from the town last night. Continuous requests of artillery and aviation support and coordinates transmitted to the artillery HQ indicate that the combat occurred in immediate proximity to the American positions. 4 times ambulance helicopters flew into this region, and there hasn’t still been a report from the commander of the marine group that defends this area, which may indicate that he hasn’t yet have full information about his units.
The situation at Al-Diwaniyah, where a heavy combat has been going on for 3 days, has become a little clearer. Currently all American forces have been pushed away from the town. Early morning an American helicopter was attacked. Its crew died. Another helicopter was shot down and had to land to the east from Karbala. Information about its crew is being obtained.
The overall situation in the central region of Iraq is characterized by gradual reduction of the coalition activity and change to active defense. But extraordinary dispersion of the ground forces, their fragmentation (the biggest group now contains up to 12 thousand troops) create advantageous preconditions for Iraqi counter-attacks, but the air superiority of the coalition severely complicate such projects. If, due to weather conditions, the coalition forces lose their air support, it may have very dramatic consequences.
At the south of Iraq the British advance on Basra is losing its strength as well and may already stop during the next two days. Currently the British have been unable to achieve any serious success on this direction, and fights are only occur at the outskirts of the city.
The British command had to admit that it had underestimated the strength of Iraqi resistance and was unable to reveal the structure and number of Basra defenders fully and operatively. Currently in the city and the Fao peninsula, according to the British data, about 5 thousand of regular Iraqi military forces are defending (parts of 51st Mechanized Division of general Khaled Khatim Saleh al-Hashimi) and up to 5-7 thousand volunteers and militiamen. At the same time, British hopes for an armed Shia revolt have been ruined. The Shia leaders in Iran called their Iraqi coreligionists to fight against English and American “satanists”and “Zionists”, leaving British without their “best card”in the plan of capturing Basra. 3 men were killed and 8 wounded yesterday.
At the North of Iraq desultory fightings between Kurdish troops “peshmerga”and Iraqi forces are going on. The morning messages about the town Kalak captured have not been confirmed yet, and according to the radio surveillance data the actions only take place at the approaches of the town. For now, Kurds are mainly busy robbing neighboring villages and transporting the stolen goods into their basic regions. According to American special forces which have recently been replaced here, sometimes after capturing a village up to half of the Kurdish squadron abandon their positions. They load stolen property into captured cars and leave for their homes to be back next morning for new salvage.
But apart from clear marauding of “peshmerga”, the coalition command has more and more problems with keeping the decent moral level of their fighting soldiers. Spite and irritability are growing even in British troops, which were always “correct enough”towards the civilians on the occupied territories. In increasing frequency British soldiers show violence and rudeness towards civilians. At a recent consultation at the British HQ, a representative of the military police command pointed at the fact that even actions of arresting people suspected in underground activities occur with unnecessary violence and publicity, and resemble rather intimidation than special police operations. The command issued a special order regarding the required behavior in the occupied regions, but even after it had been published a few analogous incidents were registered.
An event that had happened 5 days before also received publicity at the coalition HQ. During a night “cleanup”in one of suburban houses near An-Nasiriya three marines shot a man and afterwards raped and shot his wife. The command got information about this accident from one of its informers. After interrogation the marines were sent to Qatar for additional investigations.
In increasing frequency commanders find things belonging to Iraqis in their soldiers’rucksacks. The soldiers are discontent of their commanders attempting to cease this practice, and call those items “war salvage”. Currently the command is preparing a special order regarding this issue.
April 6, 2003, 2000hrs MSK (GMT +4 DST), Moscow - By the morning of April 6th an uncertain and quickly changing situation has developed. Coalition divisions are continuing to advance toward the city outskirts. The 22nd and 15th expeditionary marine squadrons are trying to break into the region of military airport “Rashid”from south-east. Iraqis are holding the line along the Diyala river and currently the marines cannot capture beach-heads on the right bank.
A hard situation has formed near the international airport. The day before yesterday the Iraqi minister of propaganda claimed that the coalition forces in this region would have been eliminated by this morning, and the Iraqi command ordered to storm the airport. At 10am it was attacked by 3 Republican Guards battalions enforced with militia troops. Americans requested artillery and aviation support. The battle lasted for almost 6 hours. After several unsuccessful attacks Iraqis managed to drive Americans back from the second runway to the airport building. Currently the coalition forces control the building itself and the new runway bordering to it. During the day the foes had to increase their strengths and deploy reinforcements. By the evening up to 2 regular Iraqi brigades and 2 thousand militiamen were fighting for the airport. Americans had to use all available forces of the 3rd Mechanized Division and 101st Airborne Division to repulse the attacks. Only assault aircraft and battle helicopters made more than 300 operation flights to this region.
During the fight Iraqis lost up to 20 tanks, 10 APC, about 200 men killed and up to 300 wounded. The American losses were up to 30 men killed, about 50 wounded, at least 4 tanks, 4 APC and 1 helicopter. But it is impossible to obtain the exact data yet. By this hour there have been more than 20 flights for evacuation of killed and wounded coalition soldiers and the command have requested ambulance aviation again.
The combat was so intense that commander of the 3rd Mechanized Division general-major Bufford Blunt had to issue an order to organize a false strike. Around 8am from Khan-Azad road junction an attack was organized in order to demonstrate tank vanguards of a large subdivision advancing toward Al-Daura from south. The group was able to reach the outskirts of the town near the Avajridge village. After entering the village the group was met by Republican Guards. In direct combat the group lost 2 tanks, 3 APC, 3 men killed, up to 10 wounded and, after two hours of fighting, withdrew to the main forces. Iraqis lost 4 tanks, 2 APC and up to 30 men killed.
By the evening the foes reduced their activity and were regrouping during the last night. Americans are rapidly fortifying their defense positions and deploying reinforcements to the airport region, increasing their forces at Khan-Azad and Abu-Harraib. Iraqis are moving anti-armor divisions closer to the city outskirts.
Despite the exchange of strikes there are no reasons to expect any serious attempts to capture the city in the nearest future. By numerical strength the coalition troops that have reached the city borders do not meet even the minimal requirements for storming and heavy urban fights. Coalition forces by Baghdad number up to 18-20 thousand men and can be enforced with no more than 3-5 thousand men while the minimal force necessary to capture a city like Baghdad equals from 80 to 100 thousand soldiers.
According to weather forecasts, in the coming day the weather may abruptly change to the worse. The wind is expected to intensify, visibility may reduce to 200-300 m.
All the claims made by aviation commander of the coalition, general Michael Mosley, about “…Iraqi army, as an organized structure consisting of large units, exists no longer…”are contrary to fact and, according to analytics, are probably connected with severe pressure put on the military command by American financial groups that desperately needed good news from the US-Iraqi front by the end of the financial week. In fact, the Republican Guards defending Baghdad have not lost even 5% of their numerical strength and military equipment. Most of those losses were due to bombardments and not land combats. The total losses of Iraqi army since the beginning of the war have not exceeded 5-8% of their defensive potential. This means the main battles are still to be seen.
The situation in other sectors of the US-Iraqi front will be summarized closer to this evening.
April 6, 2003, 2000hrs MSK (GMT +4 DST), Moscow - Around Baghdad skirmishes between coalition forces and Iraqi divisions are going on. As we said before, during the next two days the coalition troops will extend the zone of blockade to the west and north-west using local strikes. Currently a part of the 1st brigade of the 3rd Mechanized Division is outflanking the city from Abu-Harraib, trying to reach the south outskirts and seize a strategic bridge across the Tigris at the north of the Tunis area (Salakh-Khasan).
Fire has not stopped near the Airport, both sides are using artillery. According to the most recent data the rush of the coalition forces toward to the southern borders of Baghdad, though expected by the Iraqi command, was tactically surprise. Hidden in the interiors of the city, parts of the Iraqi army were unable to leave their covered positions, advance and face the enemy. There arouse confusion that led to disorganization of the Iraqi squadrons that engaged their rivals “on the move”, without proper reconnaissance and concentration of forces. According to specified information in different conflicts and during the assault of the airport up to 400 Iraqi soldiers were killed, 25 tanks and 12 guns were lost.
But the coalition command also faced serious problems. Powerful Iraqi attacks aimed at the airport immobilized most of the force breaking towards Baghdad and it turned out necessary to bring reinforcements from other sectors of the front in order to succeed. In particular, up to 2 battalions of the 101st Airborne Division located by An-Nasiriya and An-Najaf and at least 1 battalion of the 82nd Division were moved there. Americans tolls at the south and south-east of Baghdad for the last 24 hours amount to: up to 30 men killed and at least 80 wounded, 15 soldiers are known to be missing. The Americans lost at least 8 tanks and 5 APC.
Marine squadrons are still incapable of breaking down defenses by the Diyala river. Currently the vanguards are trying to outflank the city from east and seize the bridge in the New Baghdad region.
There are not enough coalition forces to block such a city, and the troops blocking An-Nasiriya, An-Najaf, Al-Kut and Al-Diwaniya were given categorical orders to break down the Iraqi resistance in the next 3 days, take control of those areas and advance toward Baghdad to join the blockade.
To organize offensive against Karbala the blocking troops were enforced with one expeditionary marine squadron, and another storm started this morning. There is no information about casualties from this region yet.
Analogous tasks were set before the British command at the south of Iraq near Basra.
For the past 2 days the British have tried to overcome Iraqi defenses from An-Zubair and the Manavi regions 3 times, but they still cannot break down the resistance. This morning an armored column was able to come up to a strategic cross-road near Akhavat-Rezan, but got under heavy fire and had to retreat.
Yesterday and during this morning the British lost at least 3 armored units, 2 men killed and 6 wounded.
The coalition command and the foreign policy departments of Russia and USA are now making every effort to close all the information related to the Russian embassy getting fired near Baghdad.
Sources claim that the embassy ceased its activities in many respects because of the danger of an air strike on the embassy. The American command was utterly irritated by the presence of the Russian embassy in Baghdad and believed that some technical intelligence equipment was deployed there that provided the Iraqis with information. Moreover, some officers in the coalition HQ in Qatar openly claimed that it was on the territory of the Russian embassy that the “jammers”hampering the high-precision weapons around Baghdad were operated.
Yesterday morning the Secretary of State Colin Powell demanded of immediate evacuation of the embassy from the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Igor Ivanov. Yesterday evening the Russian minister informed the Americans that on the 6th of April the embassy column would be leaving Baghdad heading for the Syrian border. This gave rise to dissatisfaction among the State Department officials who suggested that the column should move to Jordan.
The coalition special operations HQ were sure that the embassy column would contain secret devices taken from military equipment captured by Iraqis. In this connection one cannot shut out the possibility of “revenge”from the coalition command.
Moreover, experts claim that the purpose of this armed assault could be to damage a few cars where the Russians would have to leave some of the salvage. This is also indicated by the fact that neither the ambassador himself nor journalists in the column were among the injured. In this case we can expect that this action was committed by coalition special forces and the column was shot using Russian-made weapons to conceal the origin of the attackers to blame the Iraqis afterwards.
According to the most recent data the column got ambushed almost 30 km to the west from the city on the territory occupied by the coalition, but moving fast it escaped from fire and made a few more kilometers where it was blocked by military jeeps. On attempting to establish contact with their crews it received fire again, then the jeeps vanished.
Today at 5pm a phone conversation between president of Russia Vladimir Putin and president of the USA George W. Bush took place. Before this conversation, his assistant for National Security Affairs Condoleezza Rice, who came into Moscow today, had consulted Bush. At this time Rice is meeting Igor Ivanov, the head of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The details of this meeting are unknown so far, but we can suppose that very soon some “unknown squadrons”will be made responsible for the incident and the situation will be dampened to the maximum.
Analysts reckon that the situation with the nuclear submarine “Kursk”, when a whole series of private contacts between top Russian officials and American representatives brought more questions than answers, is about to occur again to some extent.
For a full set of reports beginning from the start of the "war," go here: