US General Tells Israelis War
Will Start By Late November

Special To World

TEL AVIV - The United States has told Israel that it will attack Iraq before the end of November.
Israeli military sources said a a senior U.S. military visited Israel earlier this week and toured facilities where the U.S. military has prepositioned equipment and weapons for an emergency in the Middle East.
The sources quoted a visiting U.S. general who heads army logistics as saying that Washington intends to strike the regime of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein by late November.
The Israeli sources said the two countries discussed Israel's role in any U.S. military attack, Middle East Newsline reported.
The general was quoted as saying that Washington's aim is to topple the Saddam regime. The general was not named.
In joint military discussions earlier this summer, Pentagon officials said Iraq would be only the first stop in the U.S. war on terror, an Israeli parliamentarian said.
Yuval Steinetz, chairman of the Knesset subcommittee on military doctrine, said he held talks with senior Pentagon officials in June regarding Washington's vision of a post-Saddam Middle East. Steinetz said Washington envisions a new order in the Middle East after Saddam is toppled and a democratic regime is installed.
"Iraq is the key but not the last stop [in the U.S. effort]," Steinetz said. "It is the first stop. After that there will be massive [U.S.] pressure on Syria and Iran to halt weapons of mass destruction programs and Syria's occupation of Lebanon."
U.S. military sources and analysts said Washington has sent tens of thousands of soldiers and military personnel to Gulf Arab states, Central and South Asia and the Levant. They said the force includes at least 1,000 military planners who have prepared for a rapid airlift of forces in case Washington decides on a war against Iraq.
Israeli officials have confirmed that both military and civilian officials from Israel and the United States have been discussing Washington's plans to attack Iraq. They said the talks have included the Bush administration's vision of a post-war Iraq and U.S. policy in the Middle East.
The military talks, the officials said, have focused largely on Israel's response to any Iraqi missile or air strike on the Jewish state. They said Israel and the United States have reviewed a series of scenarios of whether and how Israel would react to an Iraqi conventional or nonconventional missile strike.
Israeli military sources said the level of Israel's response would depend on the number of casualties and damage caused by any Iraqi strike.
The sources said Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has told the Bush administration that it would not pledge any policy of restraint as that during the 1991 Gulf war.


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