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>Israel Faxx
>JN Feb. 6, 1998, Vol. 6, No. 23

Israel Reserves Right to Self Defense

United States Defense Secretary William Cohen said the U.S. expects Israel not to react in case it is attacked by Iraq. In an interview with CNN, Cohen said that the U.S. is capable of defending its allies in the region, including Israel. He said that he understands Israel's apprehensions, but that Iraq is liable to attack other nations in the region as well.

The official response Thursday from the Prime Minister's Office was, "Israel reserves for itself the right of self defense and will act in accordance with its security interests." An airlift of medicines and vaccinations will begin in the coming days between the United States and Israel. The security apparatus in Israel has decided to allocate 120 million shekels for the purchase of new gas masks.

Israelis Running for Antibiotics, Plastics

By IINS News Service

According to reports from pharmacies around Israel, many Israelis are trying to stockpile quantities of antibiotics, hoping to be prepared in the event of an attack with Anthrax.

Pharmacists stated that there is a noticeable increase in requests for antibiotics, many without the necessary prescription from a physician, but the situation is not one of panic.

According to officials of the national chain "Home Center," sales of tape, plastic sheets and other similar products of the type used for sealed rooms in the 1991 Gulf War, have risen about 300% this week. The increase is attributed to many Israelis feeling the need to "play it safe" and have the items at home should the need arise.

New Arab Alliance Counters Israeli-Turkish Alliance

By IINS News Service

According to a report from the EmergencyNet News Agency, Middle East intelligence sources are saying that Saudi leaders are concerned that sentiment for the Iraqi people is so strong in the kingdom that a sustained US bombing campaign could provoke a fierce anti-Western backlash. It is that fear that is behind the reluctance of the Saudis to offer more support to the United States.

Jane's Defense Weekly said that a recent study found an "evolving Iran-Syria-Egypt-Saudi axis" that was emerging to counter the Tel-Aviv-Ankara relationship.

Intelligence and Arab diplomatic sources said most of the Gulf States, Egypt and Syria are opposed to any sustained US bombardment of Iraq. Apart from Kuwait and Bahrain, only Great Britain has, so far, thrown its unconditional support behind the United States.

The Saudi press has not held back in their editorials, saying that they would prefer to see the United States assassinate Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

The Saudi press, which usually reflects official views, strongly opposes air strikes that could cause civilian casualties in Iraq. Recent articles argue that the United States should try to "surgically" kill Saddam himself.

The Al-Riyadh newspaper asked: "Why don't they consider getting rid of President Saddam Hussein through means that will cost the Iraqi people the least in terms of suffering? Instead of deploying an armada of warships and aircraft carriers in the Gulf, why don't the Americans do to Saddam what they did with former Panamanian President Manuel Noriega or what the Russians did with Chechen leader Dzhokhar Dudayev?" The paper added that Saddam "is not an impossible target."

Contrary to what the Saudi Arabian press would like to see, the Pentagon's plans do not contemplate trying to kill Saddam Hussein. To do so would be a violation of a longstanding presidential order that prohibits assassination as a foreign policy tool -- but accidents can always happen.

Saddam Should Expect "Robust" Bombing Attack

By IINS News Service

The EmergencyNet News Agency reports military planners at the Pentagon have reportedly put together an extensive list of Iraqi targets to strike if Saddam Hussein continues to defy United Nations weapons inspections.

One Department of Defense said "I expect it to be significant and sustained. I think it's going to go on until we run out of things we think are relevant targets." The official added that the plans contemplate using unmanned cruise missiles and land- and sea-based aircraft in strikes lasting days, or perhaps even weeks.

Experts say that it would be impossible to hit all of Iraq's biological and chemical weapons materials because of the ease with which they can be hidden.

Retired US Army Lt. Gen. Thomas W. Kelly, director of operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the Persian Gulf War, said he expected any U.S, use of force to far outlast a punitive strike in 1996 in which 48 cruise missiles were launched from U.S. ships against Iraqi military targets.

Kelly predicted, "My guess is 40 days. I think it's going to be vastly more robust than anybody thinks." Kelly emphasized that he was not receiving any "inside" information from his buddies at the Pentagon, but said that General Hugh Shelton, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, "used to work for me, so I think I did a pretty good job of training him."

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