NEAR BASRA, IRAQ
Iraqi forces are braced for a major Iranian assault in the two-year-long Gulf war.
NEAR BASRA, IRAQ
GV Front line about 20 kilometres from Basra. 0.06
SV/GV Entrenched iraqi troops. (5 SHOTS) 0.42
SV Iraqi colonel speaking in Arabic with English translation. 1.34
SV/GV Iraqi troops manning Soviet-built T-55 tanks. (4 SHOTS) 2.16
SV Interview with Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, speaking at news conference with English translation. (English SOT). 2.37
TRANSCRIPT: COLONEL: (SEQ 3) "We fight actually for two years, and we have many seasons. We fight in the summer and winter and autumn, and actually now we are fighting in the (INDISTINCT) and even the soldiers are a bit anxious, they are anxious for the enemy to come, why , because now we are defending our land, and we have a big, what do you call it, a big confidence in ourselves, to fight."
SADDAM HUSSEIN: (ENGLISH VOICEOVER) (SEQ 5) "We are confident that the expansionist aggressionist intentions of the Iranians have not changed. And if we had withdrawn to the international frontiers they will continue the war and will always try to enter Iraqi territories just as they had done before the 22 September, 1980."
InitialsRdeL/JRS Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: NEAR BASRA, IRAQ
Iraqi forces are braced for a major Iranian assault in the two-year-long Gulf war. The Iraqis have spent two months preparing for what they see as a decisive engagement on the north-eastern front line, about 20 kilometres (12 miles) from the Iraqi port of Basra. From freshly-dug earth fortifications, the 100,000-strong troops believed to be positioned in the area can deploy Soviet-built T-55 tanks and artillery. The troops are well dug-in, with at least three kilometres (approx two miles) of heavily mined no-man's land on the border between them and the Iranians. The tank positions are further back, and supply posts are located in the palm groves outside Basra. An Iraqi colonel told Visnews reporter David Finkle on September 14 that morale was high among the troops. He described contact with the Iranian across the frontier as light and sporadic in recent weeks, and said his men were ready to repel an Iranian assault at any time along the line, which he said was strictly defensive.
Source: REUTERS - BILL MCCONVILLE