Combat Briefing

Some good news from the Iraqi front lines today. US and UK forces have captured key airfields and oil wells in western and southern Iraq. The H2 and H3 airfields in Western Iraq are large enough to be used for coalition operations and may provide an important forward base of operations.

Coalition forces have also captured the southern port city of Umm Qasr that can also be used as staging ground for coalition operations. Forces are also capturing the oil fields of southern Iraq, where retreating Iraqi soldiers have torched around 30 oil wells already. Marine units have extinguished some of the fires, but others may rage on for days or weeks.

The Agonist notes that resistance may be heavier than expected, although there have been even more defections of Iraqi soldiers in recent hours. CNN reports that 250 Iraqi soldiers have defected already, and more are expected to do so as coalition forces advance. However, with the first reported combat casualty coming in from the front, it is clear that this war will hardly be a cakewalk. We will take casualties, although the number depends largely on the willingness of members of Saddam’s Republican Guards to fight. (Although we have yet to begin the "shock and awe" campaign that might well demoralize Iraqi forces even more.)

While we have made great progess in ending this war, now is not the time for complacency. Greater dangers may yet lie ahead for US and coalition forces. However, if we can continue this momentum as we have for the past two days, and the Republican Guard does not put up heavy resistance, the march to Baghdad could be coming very soon.

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