US Special Forces Inside
Iraq Prepping For War


BOSTON (Reuters) - U.S. Special Forces and CIA agents have been working inside Iraq for months to lay the groundwork for a possible U.S. invasion, The Boston Globe reported on Sunday.
The Globe, citing intelligence officials and military analysts who claim first-hand knowledge of the operations, said the American teams are searching for Scud missile launchers, monitoring oil fields, marking minefield sites and helping U.S. pilots bomb Iraqi air-defense systems.
The report said Jordanian, British and Australian commandos have on occasion joined the Americans.
The Globe's report, which puts the number of U.S. Special Forces members and CIA officers at roughly 150, comes just weeks before U.N. arms inspectors are to submit the results of their search for any weapons of mass destruction that Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein has allegedly been hiding.
Soon after the U.N. report is released on Jan 27, the Bush administration is expected to decide whether any information in the report will prompt a U.S. invasion, possibly aimed at toppling Saddam.
According to the Globe, some Special Forces members have been following suspicious movements around suspected weapons sites in Iraq. That information, the Globe said, could be turned over to the inspectors.
Other Americans are said to be trying to identify potential leaders in Iraq to work with the Bush administration in case of an invasion. Similar tactics were used in Afghanistan with the Northern Alliance before the war there.
The Globe said U.S. military and CIA officials declined to make official comment on these activities.
Many of the strikes on radar sites have been directed by men on the ground using lasers.
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