Large American contingents, airborne and heavy mechanized divisions, Marine task forces, aircraft carriers, helicopter fleets and hospital ships are speeding to jumping-off positions around Baghdad.
The US is expected to launch the coming war against Iraq with parachute drops on Baghdad, together with commando landings in the city from the Euphrates and Tigris Rivers.
A large-scale force will meanwhile encircle the Iraqi capital, while a mighty tank force dashes north from Kuwait and Qatar, bypassing the southern Iraqi Shiite cities of Najef and Karbala and circumventing the Iraqi army defending Baghdad. Those tanks will join the encircling force.
The object of this colossal movement of military strength is to lay Baghdad to siege.
This tactic and the consistency of the strength for its execution, DEBKAfile’s military sources report, have been taken from the Israeli doctrine of besieging Palestinian West Bank cities in order to lower the level of terror. The doctrine was initiated by defense minister Shaul Mofaz in his last job as IDF chief of staff and has been carried on by his successor, Lt. General Moshe Yaalon.
For over four months, American military officers have been observing Israeli units at first hand, as they operate against terrorists in Nablus, Jenin, Tulkarm, Bethlehem and Ramallah, watching also the IDF method of isolating Yasser Arafat in his Ramallah headquarters.
According to our sources, American military planners are transposing the anti-terror tactics they have witnessed on the West Bank as battle plans for the 101st Airborne Division fighters destined for Baghdad. Israeli tank maneuvers under helicopter cover have been studied in Jenin as a model for the 3rd US division’s M1 Abrams main battle tanks to follow, in the streets of the Iraqi capital.