Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Iraqi Units Stop Retreat from Border

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Iraqi Units Stop Retreat from Border

Article excerpt

Some Iraqi Republican Guard units heading away from the Kuwaiti border halted their retreat Thursday, prompting the Pentagon to rethink a hold it had put on the flow of U.S. troops to the Persian Gulf.

U.S. officials reported late Thursday that as many as 10,000 of the troops Iraq was pulling back from the Kuwaiti border had stopped their retreat and appeared to be digging in at new positions much closer to Kuwait than the United States has said it would allow.

"We don't like what we are seeing. . . . They are clearly south of where we would like them to be," a senior military official said.

Because of the latest development, a decision earlier Thursday by Gen. J.H. Binford Peay to slow the fast-paced flow of U.S. forces into the gulf region will be under discussion, the official added. Peay is head of the Central Command and in charge of the gulf deployment.

"The whole process of when and what flows is being reviewed," the Pentagon official said of the U.S. troop movement.

A senior military official traveling with Defense Secretary William Perry in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia, said this could be "another test of our resolve."

Perry made public a plan to counter any future Iraqi military threats to Kuwait and to increase the U.S. military presence in the gulf. He said the plan would place U.S. warplanes and a division's worth of tanks and armor in the region even if Iraqi troops were withdrawn from the border with Kuwait.

He also said that deployment of 30,000 soldiers and Marines would continue and that they would not be withdrawn until the crisis passed.

Under the proposal, U.S. and allied aircraft would attack Republican Guards, the best trained Iraqi forces, if they violated a buffer zone in southern Iraq.

Perry presented the plan Thursday night to King Fahd of Saudi Arabia, who reportedly voiced support.

Perry estimated the cost at $500 million to $1 billion and indicated that the United States wanted the gulf states to pay much or all of it.

But whether they will agree is unclear. …

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