Will Iraqi Troops Collapse or Fight?

(Christian Science Monitor) Ann Scott Tyson - The Iraqi military lost about half its Army and Air Force during the Gulf War. Many of its 2,200 main battle tanks, 3,700 armored vehicles, 300 combat planes, and 2,400 artillery weapons are obsolete, according to a report by the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. The regular Iraqi Army, with about 300,000 troops stationed mainly around Iraq's borders, is demoralized, low-paid, and unlikely to fight, experts say. Encircling Baghdad to protect the regime and prevent coups d'etat is the better-trained Republican Guard, with about 70,000 to 80,000 troops organized in six armored and infantry divisions. Inside the city protecting government installations and key leaders are 15,000 to 25,000 Special Republican Guard troops. These elite units are trained in urban warfare. Along with other security forces, they are heavily drawn from Hussein's native hometown of Tikrit and have better pay and living conditions. Elements of such elite forces are expected to hold their ground in the cities, at least temporarily, according to U.S. and Iraqi military officials.

2002-11-20 00:00:00

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