Friday, March 14, 2003

From the Will the Iraqis fight? file: Radio France International spoke to a deserter from the Republican Guard who escaped from I believe it was Kirkuk and who was in the hands of Jalal Talabani's Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK). He predicted that only 3 units of the Republican Guard would fight, but that he did not think the others would--unclear if he meant all over Iraq or just in the area where he was deployed. This seems to square with Syrian sources in Beirut who suggest that Saddam can only really count on some 20,000 die-hards, which can be quite significant if they are holed up in Baghdad with a wall of civilians between them and US and British forces. The deserter was also asked whether Saddam intended to use chemical weapons. He responded that every week his unit trained with anti-chemical warfare suits, but couldn't affirm more.

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