Tags: Rumsfeld | Rejects | Report | Many | U.S. | Troops | Iraq

Rumsfeld Rejects Report of Many U.S. Troops in Iraq

Thursday, 21 February 2002 12:00 AM

Rumsfeld said Thursday that small groups of Special Forces soldiers may well be in northern Iraq but said no large groups of troops – a possible invasion force – had been dispatched.

"There is no question but that Americans have been in Iraq from time to time, talking to local people," Rumsfeld said. "They do that. But if you are talking about 'troops troops,' forces, the answer is no."

The Japanese daily Sankei Shimbun reported Wednesday that U.S. military forces had landed in northern Iraq, information it attributed to Pentagon officials.

The U.S. military has been enforcing northern and southern no-fly and no-drive zones in Iraq for more than a decade. Special Forces groups meet with Kurdish rebel factions periodically.

Some government advisers and officials have speculated that the opposition groups could be used to overthrow dictator Saddam following the same model that was successful against Afghanistan's Taliban: embedding Special Forces teams with rebels to coordinate air strikes with ground attacks.

The tactic maximized the effects of a ground war in Afghanistan without involving large numbers of U.S. troops. At the height of the conflict, only about 4,000 U.S. soldiers and Marines were based in Afghanistan.

The former commander of U.S. Central Command, retired Marine Corp. Gen. Anthony Zinni, now the State Department's special envoy for Middle East peace, has criticized such a plan, saying the rebel groups are too small, disparate, disorganized and undermanned to overthrow Saddam.

The United States is providing non-lethal military training organizational support and funding to members of the Iraqi National Congress, a loose confederation of eight opposition groups.

The Dow Jones average fluctuated strongly Thursday in part because of the possibility of a new war, gaining almost 100 points and then dropping to 30 by 2 p.m. EST, after multiple peaks and dips.

Copyright 2002 by United Press International.

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Rumsfeld said Thursday that small groups of Special Forces soldiers may well be in northern Iraq but said no large groups of troops -a possible invasion force -had been dispatched. There is no question but that Americans have been in Iraq from time to time, talking to...
Rumsfeld,Rejects,Report,Many,U.S.,Troops,Iraq
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2002-00-21
Thursday, 21 February 2002 12:00 AM
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