CAIRO Ñ Arab military experts expect coalition forces to avoid
engaging in urban warfare in Baghdad.
The experts, most of them from Egypt, said Iraq would exhibit ferocious
resistance to British and U.S. troops who enter the Iraqi capital, Middle East Newsline reported. They
cited British and Israeli battles in Egyptian cities during previous wars in
the Middle East.
"The regular troops usually avoid urban fighting," Egyptian Gen. Mustafa
Maher, who is now retired, said. "They besiege cities and launch air strikes
to destroy them and force the indigenous fighters to lay down their weapons.
This method is used by the U.S. troops in their ongoing onslaughts on
Maher told the official Egyptian news agency Mena that Baghdad could
turn out to be what Port Said was for the British army in the 1956 war. The
general recounted heavy street battles for control of the Mediterranean
"The British military entered Port Said in 1956 but did not succeed in
breaking the staunch will of its people, who fought street-to-street battles
with the enemy forces," Maher said.
Gen. Saad Eddin Al Chadli, a former Egyptian army commander, went
further. Al Chadli, who fought in the 1973 war, said coalition forces will
fail to capture Baghdad.
"I believe the Iraqi people and army are at the peak of their morale,"
Al Chadli said. "What many people do not realize is that the Iraqis are
fighting for their homeland, dignity and honor and I think this is enough
for them to hold out and sacrifice everything. I know it is an unfair war,
but it is a losing war for the allies."
The Egyptian general said Iraqi strategy has been to preserve its air
force and limit battles to urban areas. Al Chadli said the Iraqi division of
the country into four separate military zones enabled the military to
maintain the war despite coalition strikes on communications in Baghdad.
"The war could only be ended by the ground forces," Al Chadli said.
"Storming Baghdad has to be done by the ground forces not the air force.
They have tried to capture Nasariya and other small cities but have not
tried to enter them because they know they will enter a quagmire."