Strike Four: Iraq’s At It Again


 Linda D. Kozaryn

  American Forces Press Service

 07 January 1999 

 WASHINGTON – In the fourth strike against Iraqi targets in 

 11 days, U.S. air forces in the northern no-fly zone over 

 Iraq fired upon an Iraqi mobile missile system. 


 Defense officials said a U.S. Air Force F-16CJ and an 

 accompanying Marine Corps EA-6B picked up radar signals 

 from a Roland mobile missile-system at about 3 a.m. EST 

 Jan. 7. The F-16CJ launched a HARM high-speed, anti-

 radiation missile at the radar and then left the area. 


 “We do not have a picture of what happened to the Roland, 

 but the radar stopped beaming at precisely the time the 

 HARM was to impact the radar so we assume it was a hit,” 

 said Pentagon Spokesman Ken Bacon. Photographs could not be 

 taken because of cloud cover in the area, he added. 


 The same day, Bacon noted, two Iraqi planes violated the 

 southern no-fly zones. “Two MiG-21s darted into the no-fly 

 zone for a very brief period of time at a time when U.S. 

 aircraft were not in the area,” he said. One stayed seven 

 minutes, the other four.


 Two days earlier, Jan 5, U.S. fighter jets fired on Iraqi 

 MiG-25s in the southern no fly zone. U.S. aircraft fired on 

 Iraqi surface-to-air missile sites in the southern zone on 

 Dec. 28 and 30.


 Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Hugh 

 Shelton, appearing before the Senate Armed Services 

 Committee Jan. 6, called these continuing violations 

 “militarily insignifcant.” Bacon supported Shelton’s 



 For the past two weeks, Bacon explained, Iraq has been 

 making “timid, cheat-and-retreat” incursions into the 

 restricted zones. “That’s basically the pattern we’re 

 seeing day in and day out. There have been some longer 

 violations. Typically, they take place when U.S. planes are 

 not in the box.


 “I don’t know if these are being done as a way to make 

 Saddam’s pilots feel good that they’re able to tweak our 

 nose or whether they’re doing it to give them practice 

 flying over areas they haven’t been able to fly over since 

 1992,” Bacon remarked. 


 Asked how long the United States will put up with this 

 constant testing, Bacon replied. “You can turn that 

 question around and ask,  ‘How long will Iraq be content to 

 see its assets eliminated by our missiles because that’s 

 exactly what’s happening.’”


 The recent strikes demonstrate that the United States will 

 continue to protect its forces and the no-fly zones by 

 whatever means necessary, Bacon said.


 “We’ve shown in December [during Operation Desert Fox] and 

 before that we can strike with speed, force and surprise at 

 a time of our choosing,” he said. “Should the circumstances 

 arise, we can respond in a variety of ways.”