Tuesday, March 11
Invasion forces face ring of fire
Philip Coorey and Michael Harvey, Herald Sun, 12 March, 2003
Suicide bombers and desperate Iraqi troops are poised to set Middle East oil fields ablaze in the belief war will break out within days.
The al-Qaida terrorist network has appealed for radical Islamic martyrs to sabotage refineries in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.
Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein has started circling Baghdad with oil-filled trenches to create a giant smokescreen in the hope of confusing laser-guided smart bombs.
US officials also claim Saddam's forces are booby-trapping oilfields in northern Iraq.
The plan to torch refineries and trenches emerged as a draft resolution authorising war against Iraq faced certain defeat in the United Nations Security Council.
The resolution's authors, America and Britain, delayed the Security Council vote after failing to secure a majority.
After France and Russia declared they would use their vetoes, the US and Britain said they were prepared to scrap the March 17 deadline for action in favour of a new date.
But the US - out of patience and ready to wage war without a UN mandate - said the vote must be held this week and the new resolution must not give Iraq more than another week's grace.
The vote is expected to be held tomorrow at the earliest. [...]