U.S. Will Attack Iraq in February, Russian Military Source Reports

Russian military officials have obtained information indicating
that the United States and its allies have already decided to
launch an attack in Iraq in mid-February, reports the Reuters news
agency.

?According to the information we have, the operation is planned
for the second half of February. The decision to launch it has been
taken but not yet been made public,? said a high-ranking source in
the Russian general staff. The attack would be launched, he said,
as soon as the Pentagon was able to amass a force of 150,000 in the
area.

The primary target of the military action, according to this
source, was not Saddam Hussein but Iraq?s oil fields. ?Hussein is
the pretext. The real aim of the military action is control over
Iraqi oil,? he said.

He did not indicate whether the information had been obtained
through Russian intelligence agencies or through White House
sources in Washington, though the news agency noted that the Bush
administration ?would be keen to avoid any misunderstandings with
Moscow if it does launch a war.?

The military operation would involve air, land, and sea strikes,
he said, and would last no longer than a month.

The White House has been lobbying key allies on the United
Nations Security Council in recent weeks in order to build support
for the military action, but President Bush has said repeatedly
that he has not yet made the decision to attack.

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