Saturday, March 8
U.N. evacuates personnel from Iraq-Kuwait border
CNN.com, March 8, 2003
KUWAIT CITY-- The U.N. observer force in the demilitarized zone between Iraq and Kuwait has ordered the evacuation of most of its civilian staff to Kuwait City in the latest indication of rising tensions along the 200-mile strip.
The personnel being withdrawn are part of an observer force that has maintained a 10-mile-wide demilitarized zone along the border since the end of the Persian Gulf War in 1991.
The U.N. Iraq-Kuwait Observer Mission [UNIKOM] has also ratcheted up its alert status to "red."
The nearly 200 observers and their 775 Bangladeshi military support units will remain. The upgrade to red alert, however, means the groups will be confined to their bases and stop conducting routine patrols of the DMZ [...]
The move comes the day after the United Nations said Kuwaiti workers have cut holes in the border fence between Iraq and Kuwait big enough to drive military vehicles through.
The workers apparently cut areas marked by U.S. Marines who have been working inside the demilitarized zone for days, according to the United Nations, in likely breach of the regulations covering the border area. [...]
On Thursday, the Security Council was told that the U.S. military had encroached into the zone.
By U.N. mandate, no military activity other than a police presence by Iraq and Kuwait may take place in the DMZ. Technically, if U.S. troops go through breaches in the demilitarized zone fence to enter Iraq from the south, they would be in violation of Security Council rules, and that would be reported to the United Nations. U.S. officials said Friday that scenario was not a concern because any war with Iraq would be justified because of Iraq's treatment of Kuwait in the past and possible mistreatment in the future. [...]
Search Narrows: U.S., Pakistani Officials Center Hunt for Bin Laden on Caravan
ABCNews.com, March 7, 2003
U.S. and Pakistani officials have narrowed their search for Osama bin Laden to a caravan near the border of southwestern Pakistan.
The CIA and Pakistani army are electronically tracking the large caravan of people on foot and horseback through the rugged mountain area of Pakistan between the borders with Iran and Afghanistan, Pakistani officials told ABCNEWS.
Bin Laden may be traveling with the caravan and may be on foot.
Officials have cast a net around the caravan — using electronic U.S. surveillance and planes with cameras that can see through darkness to monitor its movement along a trail. [...]
President Bush has also authorized the launch of a missile attack if bin Laden is positively identified.
Bin Laden's son Saad was recently in the Iranian capital, Tehran, European anti-terrorism officials told ABCNEWS, and it was a cell-phone call to him that turned authorities onto bin Laden's trail.
"His son, apparently Saad, is in Iran and some of his wives also are in Iran and he has made apparently a big mistake," said ABCNEWS terrorism consultant Vince Cannistraro. [...]
Earlier today, Pakastani officials reported that two of bin Laden's sons were wounded and possibly arrested in a joint U.S.-Afghan raid in Afghan-Pakistani border region that killed seven suspected al Qaeda members. U.S. officials discounted the report but did not say it was entirely untrue. They confirmed that the raid did take place and told ABCNEWS that several of bin Laden's sons are being closely tracked. [...]
There have been widespread reports that the interrogation of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, who is believed to be at the Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, would lead to the capture of the al Qaeda leader.
There have been numerous unconfirmed reports of bin Laden sightings in the area on both sides of the Pakistani-Iranian border.
"They definitely have him pinned down to a small area. This will be a major operation," Cannistraro said.
Mohammed also reportedly told his interrogators that he had met bin Laden within the last month.
Authorities believe information from Mohammed's cell phones dovetails with other information they already had, [...]