Tracking Number:  170027

Title:  "Allied Air Campaign Forcing Iraqi Planes to Iran." The commander of US forces in the Persian Gulf, General Norman Schwarzkopf, said that the allied air campaign is grounding Iraqi fighters in Iran and that the oil spill caused by Iraq will not impede military operations. (910127)

Translated Title:  "Des Avions Irakiens Sont Forces d'Atterrir en Iran." (910127)
Date:  19910127


01/27/91 1Me Re ALLIED AIR CAMPAIGN FORCING IRAQI PLANES TO IRAN (Schwarzkopf says 39 Iraqi planes deterred) (500) By Norma Romano-Benner USIA Staff Writer

Washington -- The allied air campaign is forcing Iraq's air force into Iran, the commander of U.S. forces, General Norman Schwarzkopf, said January 27.

Briefing reporters from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Schwarzkopf said that in the previous 24 hours, more than 39 Iraqi aircraft had been forced into Iran, a country just recuperating from an eight-year war with Saddam Hussein's forces.

He said Iraq's air force are flying into Iran because the Iraqis understand allied air superiority. "Every time they fly, we shoot them down," Schwarzkopf said.

He said the Iraqi air force was taking "the very best fighters" to Iran. "I think that's because they have lost an awful lot of their best fighters....but as Gen. (Colin) Powell announced, if they won't fly up to meet us, we will fly down and destroy their hardened shelters one by one by one."

Regarding the oil spill by Iraqi forces, Schwarzkopf said the Saudi Minister of Environment told him January 27 the spill was "10-15 times the size of the spill of the Exxon Valdez" in Alaska.

He said the spill started around January 19 and "became evident five days later (when) we immediately notified the Saudi Arabians of this and during most of the day we consulted with experts....What we were really interested in is, number one, how much damage this was going to do to Saudi Arabia and the military operations."

Schwarzkopf said the spill came as no surprise to the allied forces. "Saddam Hussein did in fact say he was going to do this sort of thing before, and we did expect him to do exactly this sort of thing.

"He's announced all along that he would do things to destroy the Kuwaiti oil field. He has also announced that he would go ahead and pour oil into the Gulf to try to defeat amphibious operations, but he won't succeed."

GE 2 SFF705 He said allied forces understand that Hussein might try to come up with other such surprises, "but, I can assure you we are ready for them."

Schwarzkopf also made the following points during his briefing:

-- Since the beginning of the war January 16, allied forces have flown 22,000 sorties and air operations with 26 air-to-air kills.

-- The Iraqis have fired 51 Scud missiles, 26 aimed at Saudi Arabia and 25 at Israel.

-- Never before in the history of warfare have pilots endangered their lives more than in Operation Desert Storm to prevent civilian casualties. "We are requiring them to fly at altitudes never flown before to avoid unnecessary civilian casualties," Schwarzkopf said. NNNN

File Identification:  01/27/91, SF-705; 01/27/91, AF-702; 01/27/91, AS-703; 01/27/91, WF-U04
Product Name:  Wireless File; USINFO
Product Code:  WF; US
Languages:   Spanish; French
Thematic Codes:  1NE
Target Areas:  AF; AR; EA; EU; NE
PDQ Text Link:  170027; 170052; 170032