Wednesday, April 02, 2003

Well, at long last, there does seem to be a little good news from the war zone, both in the rescue of Pfc. Jessica Lynch, and more importantly, the Americans' reported success in blowing through the Republican Guard around Karbala (which leaves that city isolated, but not yet captured). Given my general gloom and doom tone over the past few days, I might as well lead with this; I will, of course, be even more pleased if the army somehow proves me wrong about the prospects of streetfights in the battle of Baghdad as well. Let's just hope that, unlike the Iraqi 51st division, the Republican Guard units stay out of action once conquered.

A sidelight: some sort of attack around Karbala was prefigured over the past few days in the mysterious Russian web site which claims to be reporting summaries of Russian military intelligence -- they've been right about some things quite early, but they've also been vague or occasionally just plain wrong about others. And, as I've noted before, these guys are being a lot more free with their alleged signals intelligence than any professional Western intelligence agency. Which means that we may just be looking at well-educated guess work -- but on the gripping hand, isn't that what all intelligence ultimately boils down to anyway?

The reason I raise this is an absolute bombshell which is quietly buried towards the end of this report:

Russian military analysts are advising the Iraqi military command against excessive optimism. There is no question that the US "blitzkrieg" failed to take control of Iraq and to destroy its army. It is clear that the Americans got bogged down in Iraq and the military campaign hit a snag. However, the Iraqi command is now in danger of underestimating the enemy. For now there is no reason to question the resolve of the Americans and their determination to reach the set goal -- complete occupation of Iraq.

I could have stopped quoting after the first nine words: "Russian military analysts are advising the Iraqi military command." Say what?

Update: The Agonist reports that rumors of Russian advisors to the Iraqis seem to have cropped up in major Western media. Confirmation, or are they all just quoting Venik?

Yet more: The Agonist now cites this UPI article, which explicitly references, the original source of the analyses which are also appearing on -- UPI even quotes the same dispatch I did. So the mainstream press reports don't seem to be independant confirmation after all.


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