Allies move to increase forces lined up to contain Saddam

WASHINGTON (Reuter) - President Clinton yesterday put US troops on alert for possible duty in Kuwait and sent the aircraft carrier George Washington towards the Red Sea in response to the Iraqi build-up of troops near Kuwait.

A senior defense official would say only that 'less than 15,000' US Army and Marine troops had been alerted for quick movement from the United States, but that no decision had been made to deploy them to Kuwait.

The official said the US moves came after Iraq moved a division of 10,000 elite Republican Guard troops near the Kuwait border to join about 40,000 other Iraqi troops already stationed in the area.

He said elements of another Iraqi division were also on the move elsewhere in Iraq but it was not clear whether they were heading for the Kuwait border.

US officials said at the United Nations, however, that Iraq could soon have nearly 60,000 troops, equipped with 700 T-72 tanks and 900 armoured personnel carriers, near Kuwait.

NBC News reported last night that the presence of the George Washington and its more than 60 attack and other jets could be crucial if hostilities broke out.

The US defence official cautioned that it was not clear yet whether Iraq was rotating troops in southern Iraq or building up a threatening force.

The official said the George Washington was heading for the Red Sea off Iraq from the Adriatic and that four US warships with a force of 2,000 Marines will also be moved from the southern Gulf into the northern Gulf off Kuwait within a day or so.

Up to 12 fully loaded US military cargo ships in the Indian Ocean and Pacific have been told to head for Kuwait or stand by for orders, he added. 'We are not overreacting in any way,' the official said. The US military was increasing its intelligence and reconnaissance abilities in the area and would keep close watch over the Iraqi force during the next 48 hours.

A full Iraqi division of some 10,000 troops from the elite Republic Guard had joined up with several other divisions, bringing Iraqi forces in southern Iraq to the range of 40,000 to 50,000, the official said.

Other defense officials said that US Army troops stationed at Fort Riley, Kansas, were among those put on alert by the Pentagon for possible transfer to Kuwait to join up with military equipment in Kuwait or were heading there from the island of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean.

But the officials said there were no plans to send additional US warplanes to join the more than 50 already on duty near Iraq. Western warplanes based in Turkey and Saudi Arabia have been policing 'no fly' zones over northern and southern Iraq since the Gulf war ended.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
peoplePair enliven the Emirates bore-draw
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark episode 8, review
News
Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Ed Miliband (R) and Boris Johnson, mayor of London, talk on the Andrew Marr show in London April 26
General electionAndrew Marr forced to intervene as Boris and Miliband clash on TV
Arts and Entertainment
Ramsay Bolton in Game of Thrones
tvSeries 5, Episode 3 review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistant - Accounts Payable - St. Albans

£26000 - £28000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistan...

Ashdown Group: Treasury Assistant - Accounts Assistant - London, Old Street

£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence