The Words of War: What Is The Coalition Up Against In Iraq? - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

03/28/03

The Words of War: What Is The Coalition Up Against In Iraq?

   As the Coalition moves toward Baghdad, there are many terms we hear about the forces we are preparing to encounter. In many cases, some of them have been encountered already. There are four distinct defense forces for the regime:

   There are many "regular" Iraqi Army troops. Most are in uniform -- in official military service. The regular Iraqi Army is made up of around 400,000 poorly trained, and poorly equipped conscripts... They're forced to serve. Those are the ones we have encountered first.

   As we move toward Baghdad, we are now encountering the Republican Guard. They are 80,000 much better trained, and we think more loyal forces that have ringed Baghdad. They are expected to put up a real fight. But they're not allowed in the city of Baghdad.

   If it comes to street-to-street fighting, it's likely it'll be with the Special Republican Guard. They are 15,000 soldiers hand-picked mainly from Saddam's tribe. They are the elite protection force for the capital, for Saddam, and his ruling Ba'ath Military Party. Few expect a surrender from them.

   Operating everywhere is the Fedayeen. The name means "Those ready to sacrifice themselves for Saddam." They are the so called "irregular" or paramilitary forces. They are a loosely organized but fight-to-the death militia, trained in ambush and suicide missions. Their number could be as high as 25,000. And it's suspected we've lost some of our forces to Fedayeen ambushes already.

   Also we've heard of the Coalition of the Willing. That means American, British, and Australian troops. America has supplied the most: 248,000 have deployment orders to the region, 90,000 are in Iraq already.

   All Coalition forces get their orders from Central Command - or CentCom - located in the nation of Qatar, sometimes pronounced "cutter" - a small country on the Persian Gulf several hundred miles south of the Iraqi border.

   Morgan Palmer, reporting.

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