The Mirror (UK) 00:53, Mar 28 2003
US to send 120,000 extra troops
The US is sending an extra 120,000 troops to the Iraq war.
In addition to the 30,000 strong 4th Infantry Division, which began leaving Texas for Kuwait yesterday, the 1st Armoured Division, 1st Cavalry Division and the 2nd and 3rd Armoured Cavalry Regiments have been called up.
The ships carrying the the 4th Division's equipment are not expected to dock in Kuwait until about April 12.
The 1st Armoured Division will be sent from Germany and 2nd Armoured Cavalry Regiment from Colorado and are not expected to be ready for battle until next month.
US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said there is a near-continuous flow of fresh US forces into the Persian Gulf, noting that 1,000 paratroopers from the Army's 173rd Airborne Brigade jumped into northern Iraq on Wednesday.
He estimated that between 1,500 and 2,500 troops are arriving daily.
The total number of US forces in the Gulf region stands at 250,000. Close to 90,000 are in Iraq, a senior defence official said last night. That's an increase of some 13,000 since Tuesday.
Rumsfeld did not say how long General Tommy Franks, the war commander, would wait before launching the final phase of the attack on Baghdad.
He left little doubt, however, that Franks has a plan for fighting the 30,000 or so Republican Guard troops north, south and east of Baghdad.
"I think it's only reasonable to expect that it will require the coalition forces moving through some Republican Guard units and destroying them or capturing them before you'll see the crumbling of the regime," he said.
The Republican Guard are Saddam's best trained and equipped military forces.
If the war reaches that stage, the large Shiite population in Baghdad might feel emboldened to revolt, Rumsfeld said, obviating the need for an invasion that could result in heavy losses.