The United States has completed plans for a northern
front against Iraq in absence of American troop deployment in neighboring
Officials said the Joint Chiefs of Staff have approved plans for an
invasion of the Baghdad area by air and ground troops from northern Iraq.
They said forces could be flown from the eastern Mediterranean or make their
way by land from Jordan.
"The fact is that we will have a northern option, whether or not Turkey
fully supports all our requests," Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint
Chiefs of Staff, said on Tuesday. "I'm not going to talk about the
operational ways of doing it. But just be assured there will be a northern
Officials said one option is for special operations forces to fly to
northern Iraq in the first stage of the war. The forces would work with
Kurdish allies and obtain supplies airlifted from U.S. aircraft based in
Jordan or Turkey. U.S. fighter-jets take off from Turkey's Incerlik air base
in the effort to enforce the no-fly zone over northern Iraq.
At a later stage, the officials said, Turkey would be expected to allow
for the direct supply of munitions and equipment from its territory into
northern Iraq. Officials said the government in Ankara has already approved
an effort for a huge U.S. logistics operation in northern Iraq despite the
rejection by parliament of a request to deploy up to 62,000 U.S. troops in
[On Wednesday, Turkish protesters tried to enter the Turkish naval base
at Iskenderun to stop U.S. forces from unloading military equipment for the
war against Iraq. Turkish soldiers fired their weapons in the air and police
clashed with the demonstrators.]
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said President George Bush is also
examining the prospect of launching a war against Iraq without Britain's
participation. Rumsfeld acknowledged Britain's appeal for an extension of a
U.S. deadline for Iraq to reply to questions on its missile and weapons of
mass destruction programs.
"To the extent they're able to participate in the event the president
decides to use force, that would obviously be welcomed," Rumsfeld said. "To
the extent they're not, there are workarounds and they would not be
least in that phase of it. That is an issue that the president will be
addressing in the days ahead, one would assume."
Hours later, Rumsfeld issued a statement in which he expressed certainty
that Britain would join any U.S.-led war against Iraq. "In the event that a
decision to use force is made, we have every reason to believe there will be
a significant military
contribution from the United Kingdom," Rumsfeld said.