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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

31 March Iraq Special Weapons News

US Policy
United Nations
Foreign Reactions
News Reports

Current Operations

  • Transcript: DoD News Briefing - ASD PA Clarke and Maj. Gen. McChrystal 31 Mar 2003 -- "Operation Iraqi Freedom continues. More than 300,000 coalition forces are deployed in support of combat operations, with more than a third of those inside Iraq. Our ground operations are continuing to engage enemy positions throughout Iraq. General Brooks gave an overall accounting earlier today. We've seized additional key bridges over the Euphrates River and conducted offensive operations to isolate As Samawa and An Nasiriyah in order to destroy irregular forces in those areas. The air campaign continues as well. We flew about 1,000 sorties over Iraq yesterday, mostly against the Medina, Hammurabi, Baghdad and Al Nida divisions. We also hit command, control and communications targets and air defense sites in Baghdad and in northern Iraq."
  • Transcript: CENTCOM Operation Iraqi Freedom Briefing CENTCOM 31 Mar 2003 -- "The coalition attacked regime targets over the last 48 hours in Baghdad and several cities throughout the country. Additionally, there were precision attacks against surface-to-surface missiles and Republican Guard forces. Our efforts are focused on every aspect of the regime. Here are some examples of recent attacks, and they illustrate our approach."
  • Transcript: Media Briefing Australia's contribution to Global Operations Australian Ministry of Defence 31 Mar 2003

  • AUSTRALIAN IMAGERY ANALYSTS TO SUPPORT COALITION AIR OPERATIONS IN IRAQ Australian Ministry of Defence 31 Mar 2003 -- The Government has today decided to send six Australian imagery analysts to the Middle East. The team of highly-trained specialist analysts, from the Royal Australian Air Force, will be involved in coalition assessments of battle damage in Iraq.
  • IRAQ WRAP 3rd UPDATE VOA 01 Apr 2003 -- As American troops move closer to Baghdad, a top Pentagon commander says several days of punishing air strikes have significantly degraded Saddam Hussein's best trained fighters, the Republican Guard, surrounding the Iraqi capital. Even so, the Iraqi government is striking a tone of defiance, declaring that the U-S and British-led war to topple Saddam Hussein will fail.
  • IRAQ WRAP (L-2ND UPDATE) VOA 31 Mar 2003 -- A top Pentagon commander says several days of punishing air strikes have significantly degraded Saddam Hussein's best trained fighters, the Republican Guard, ringing the Iraqi capital. Even so, the Iraqi government is striking a new tone of defiance, declaring that the U-S and British-led war to topple Saddam Hussein will fail.
  • Carrier Air Wing 11 Super Hornets Join the War Early Navy NewStand 31 Mar 2003 -- Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 11, assigned to the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68), is lending four of its F/A-18E/F Super Hornets to Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 14, currently aboard USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), to provide a mix of fighter/tanker capabilities to support coalition forces on the ground in Iraq.
  • PENTAGON / REPUBLICAN GUARD VOA 31 Mar 2003 -- Pentagon officials say U-S and British air strikes have significantly weakened Iraqi forces, as coalition ground troops prepare to push toward Baghdad.
  • IRAQ WRAP (L-UPDATE) VOA 31 Mar 2003 -- U-S-led coalition forces continue to target Iraqi positions from the air and on the ground in preparation for an expected push on Baghdad.
  • PENTAGON: CHEMICAL THREAT VOA 31 Mar 2003 -- One of the main objectives of Operation Iraqi Freedom is the discovery and destruction of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. No chemical or biological weapons have been found by coalition troops, but defense officials are still bracing for the worst, as allied forces enter a so-called "red zone" of danger around Baghdad.
  • BATTLE FOR BAGHDAD VOA 31 Mar 2003 -- Despite unexpected Iraqi resistance, President Bush says U-S forces will continue their march to Baghdad. There the epic battle of the war will unfold. But how should it be waged by a prompt attack or by laying siege to the city or by something in between?
  • CHECKPOINT INCIDENT RESULTS IN FATALITIES CENTCOM 31 Mar 2003 -- Soldiers from the 3rd Infantry Division fired on a civilian vehicle at approximately 4:30 p.m. today when it failed to stop at a military checkpoint in Iraq, even after warning shots were fired at the vehicle.
  • Pressure on Iraqi Regime from "All Directions," Pentagon Says Washington File 31 Mar 2003 -- Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs Victoria Clarke says the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein is facing pressure "from all directions."
  • Coalition Forces Continue to Strike Targets Across Iraq Washington File 31 Mar 2003 -- Coalition forces have attacked regime targets in Baghdad and several other cities across the country, as well surface-to-surface missiles and Iraqi Republican Guard units, says a U.S. Central Command briefing officer.
  • Coalition forces strike key target AFPN 31 Mar 2003 -- Coalition forces struck several key targets March 30 and 31 in an attempt to disrupt Iraqi military communications, degrade the Iraqi regime's ability to command and control military forces, and neutralize the threat from paramilitary forces.
  • Air Force continues attacks on Iraqi regime, military AFPN 31 Mar 2003 -- A wide variety of Air Force aircraft played key roles in weekend missions designed to destroy Iraqi regime and military targets.
  • Weather clears skies for bomber pilots AFPN 31 Mar 2003 -- While accurate bombs, jet-propelled missiles and well-trained crews mean the difference in a war, none of it gets off the ground without good weather.
  • More than 100,000 Coalition Troops in Iraq AFPS 31 Mar 2003 -- More than 300,000 coalition troops are deployed in support of combat operations, with more than a third of those inside Iraq, defense officials said today.
  • Myers Praises British Troops; Says Must Be 'On Our Toes' for Iraqi Suicide Attacks AFPS 31 Mar 2003 -- American and coalition troops in Iraq will be watchful to mitigate any further enemy suicide attack attempts, the U.S. military's top officer recently told British interviewer David Frost.
  • 3rd ID battles near Karbala, Najaf Army News 31 Mar 2003 -- U.S. forces engaged Iraqi troops south of Baghdad Monday, reportedly capturing a bridge over the Euphrates at Hindiyah, about 12 miles from Karbala.
  • IRAQ / BRIEFING / WEST VOA 31 Mar 2003 -- The U-S military in the Gulf says it is denying freedom of movement to anyone in Iraq's western desert. The announcement follows reports that thousands of people are attempting to enter the country from Syria and Jordan to take up arms to defend Iraq against the U-S-led coalition.
  • PENTAGON / NORTHERN IRAQ VOA 31 Mar 2003 -- U-S special forces and paratroopers are continuing to build up forces and equipment in northern Iraq in an effort to create a second front to launch operations against Saddam Hussein's soldiers north of Baghdad. Coalition forces have secured an airfield in the Kurdish autonomous zone and a major airlift is taking place, around the clock. The U-S Air Force is playing a critical role in establishing a northern front.
  • IRAQ / DEFECTOR VOA 31 Mar 2003 -- Defectors from the Iraqi army are telling coalition forces that many more Iraqi troops would surrender if they could.
  • IRAQ WRAP VOA 31 Mar 2003 -- U-S led coalition forces continue to target Iraqi positions from the air and on the ground in preparation for an expected push on Baghdad.
  • IRAQ / TOLL (S-O) VOA 31 Mar 2003 -- Despite the advance of U-S-led troops to within 80-kilometers of Baghdad and the daily bombing of the city, a senior Iraqi official is claiming major successes against coalition forces in recent days.
  • IRAQ / BRIEFING / AIR VOA 31 Mar 2003 -- A senior U-S commander at coalition headquarters in Qatar has issued a stern warning to the Iraqi air force, saying if it tries to dispute U-S dominance of the skies, it will be destroyed. The Iraqi air force has stayed on the ground since the war in Iraq began 12-days ago.
  • Coalition Bringing All Powers to Bear on Iraq AFPS 31 Mar 2003 -- Coalition forces are bringing all powers to bear on the Iraqi regime, Army Brig. Gen. Vincent Brooks, vice director of operations for U.S. Central Command said today during a briefing in Qatar.
  • IRAQ / BRIEFING VOA 31 Mar 2003 -- Coalition commanders say their forces are battling Iraq's elite Republican Guards less than 100 kilometers from the Iraqi capital. The commanders say they are also improving security in western Iraq.
  • REMAINS OF FOUR U.S. MARINES RECOVERED CENTCOM 31 Mar 2003 -- As a result of recent combat operations northwest of An Nasiriyah, four Marines from the First Marine Expeditionary Force are now listed as killed in action. Previously, the Marines were unaccounted for and officially in a "Duty Status and Whereabouts Unknown" category.
  • U.S. MARINES DESTROY BA'ATH PARTY HEADQUARTERS CENTCOM 31 Mar 2003 -- As a result of intensive patrolling and while developing positive relations with local citizens of Iraqi towns, Marines uncovered and destroyed another Ba'ath Party Headquarters facility late Sunday in South-Central Iraq.
  • 1ST MARINE DIVISION CAPTURES IRAQI AMMUNITION SUPPLY DEPOT CENTCOM 31 Mar 2003 -- U.S. Marines from the 1st Marine Division captured an immense Iraqi ammunition supply depot in South-Central Iraq early Sunday.
  • Handling the War One Day at a Time Navy NewStand 31 Mar 2003 -- Before Operation Iraqi Freedom began, there had been speculation in the media that any conflict with Saddam Hussein and his faithful followers would be finished within a short amount of time, perhaps a matter of hours or days.
  • Coalition Forces Destroy Tank Column; Regime Threatens to Kill Iraqis Navy NewStand 31 Mar 2003 -- British artillery and coalition aircraft destroyed a column of Iraqi tanks and armored vehicles early March 27, British Air Marshal Brian Burridge said at a press briefing.
  • USS Constellation Air Wing 2 Prowler Fires a HARM Missile Navy NewStand 31 Mar 2003 -- An EA-6B Prowler from Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 2, USS Constellation (CV 64) Battle Group, successfully fired a High-speed Anti-Radiation Missile (HARM) March 27.
  • Mine Countermeasures Assets Clear Way for Humanitarian Relief Navy NewStand 31 Mar 2003 -- For weeks, U.S. and coalition Sailors and Marines from USS Ponce (LPD 15), Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron (HM) 14 "Vanguards" and Commander Task Unit (CTU) 55.4.3 have been working long hours to clear the Khawar Abd Allah (KAA) river and the port of Umm Qasr, Iraq, of underwater mines.
  • Iraq: Coalition Forces Move Closer To Baghdad RFE/L 31 Mar 2003 -- Fighting south of Baghdad, air strikes on the capital, and defiant talk from the Iraqi leadership -- another typical day in the war in Iraq.
  • Iraq: Fierce Battles Reported Near Baghdad, Najaf In South RFE/L 31 Mar 2003 -- U.S. and British ground forces are today engaged in heavy fighting with Iraqi forces in a number of locations.
  • Casualty Evacuation Teams save lives throughout it all USMC News 31 Mar 2003 -- Hollywood has often depicted the combat corpsman running to the aid of a fallen Marine. That corpsman, many times, is from a Casualty Evacuation Team.
  • COALITION AIRCRAFT TARGET BAGHDAD COMMUNICATIONS SITE CENTCOM 31 Mar 2003 -- Coalition aircraft used precision-guided munitions to target a communications site in Baghdad at approximately 9 p.m. EST March 30.
  • COALITION FORCES TARGET PARAMILITARY FORCES IN AR RUTBAH CENTCOM 31 Mar 2003 -- Coalition forces struck a gathering of paramilitary forces taking shelter in an unused prison in the town of Ar Rutbah, in western Iraq, at 4:30 p.m. EST March 30.
  • Iraq: Rumsfeld Denies Delays, Says He Didn't Overrule War Planners RFE/L 31 Mar 2003 -- U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld found himself on the defensive yesterday, denying two separate media reports that cast his decision-making on Iraq in a critical light.
  • Iraq: U.S. Forces Continue Advance Towards Baghdad RFE/L 31 Mar 2003 -- U.S. troops have today been battling Iraqi soldiers in the town of Al-Hindya, the closest point yet in the U.S.-led advance on Baghdad.
  • IRAQ / HUMAN SHIELDS VOA 31 Mar 2003 -- U-S ground forces moving toward Baghdad are fighting Saddam Hussein's elite Republican Guard troops near the Shiite Muslim holy city of Karbala in central Iraq. U-S Army's 3rd Infantry Division says the Republican Guards have attempted to use women and children as human shields.
  • IRAQ/RESPONSE VOA 31 Mar 2003 -- Coalition forces have advanced to within 80-kilometers of Baghdad and are bombing the Iraqi capital at will, but a senior Iraqi official says his government is winning the war against coalition forces.
  • IRAQ WRAP OVERNIGHT VOA 31 Mar 2003 -- U-S aircraft and cruise missiles pounded Baghdad early on Monday, while ground forces in south central Iraq reported killing and capturing scores of paramilitary fighters and Republican Guard troops.


  • Warriors at home keep Minot charged ACCNS 31 Mar 2003 -- Operation Iraqi Freedom's impact reaches from the desert around the globe to the bases that deployed airmen call home.
  • Cannon troops put training to use in war ACCNS 31 Mar 2003 -- F-16s deployed from the 27th Fighter Wing at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M., took part in the "shock and awe" air campaign over Iraqi that began March 21.
  • Women in Combat VOA 31 Mar 2003 -- Less than a week after the bombing in Iraq began, Americans were reminded of the stark realities of warfare. Images of five U-S prisoners of war were broadcast around the world, rattling many. and the footage of Army Specialist Shoshawna Johnson was particularly disturbing. The thirty-year-old single mother sat on a couch, her hands twisting nervously in her lap. her eyes darting back and forth between the camera lens and an unseen person to her right. Those pictures have revived a debate about whether women should be allowed to serve so close to the frontlines of combat.
  • U-S / WAR HOMEFRONT VOA 31 Mar 2003 -- While U-S troops fight in Iraq, their families at home are waging another kind of battle: dealing with the absence of a loved one and hoping that he or she will return alive and well.

US Policy

  • Powell Speaks of Importance of Human Rights in Iraq Fight AFPS 31 Mar 2003 -- America is the light of freedom to the world, Secretary of State Colin Powell said today, and sometimes, Americans must fight to keep that light lit.
  • POWELL-IRAQ VOA 01 Apr 2003 -- Secretary of State Colin Powell leaves Washington Tuesday on a three-day trip to Turkey and Belgium for talks on the war with Iraq and the post-war reconstruction of that country. It is the first overseas trip by a top Bush administration official since the war began March 20th.
  • Bush Praises Coast Guard, Pledges to End Oppressors' Reign AFPS 31 Mar 2003 -- President Bush today saluted the efforts of U.S. Coast Guard members serving at home and overseas and offered words of hope to Iraqis who've been under Saddam Hussein's heel for more than 20 years.
  • Text: State Dept. Report Outlines Human Rights Abuses in Iraq Washington File 31 Mar 2003 -- Coalition forces in Iraq are fighting to protect the world from "the potentially catastrophic combination of an outlaw state, weapons of mass destruction, and terrorism," and in the process are "liberating the Iraqi people from a brutal tyranny that has showed utter contempt for human life," Secretary of State Colin Powell said as he presented the State Department's annual human rights report March 31 in Washington.
  • BUSH/ IRAQ VOA 31 Mar 2003 -- President Bush says many dangers lie ahead, as U-S-led coalition forces move on Baghdad, including the possibility of terrorist attacks on Americans. Mr. Bush again drew a link between the Iraqi leadership and international terrorism.
  • U.S. Officials Report on Humanitarian Assistance for Iraq Washington File 31 Mar 2003 -- U.S. officials report that the largest disaster assistance response team ever assembled -- including technical experts from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and several other federal agencies -- will provide humanitarian assistance to the Iraqi people
  • Powell to Discuss Post-War Issues with Turkey, EU, NATO Washington File 31 Mar 2003 -- Secretary of State Colin Powell will travel to Ankara and Brussels this week to discuss post-war issues with Turkish officials and members of the European Union and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), State Department Spokesman Richard Boucher said.
  • Bush Says Victory in Iraq Will Uphold Just Demands of U.N. Washington File 31 Mar 2003 -- Coalition forces fighting to disarm Iraq are moving closer to victory "day by day," and with victory will come "the end of a tyrant who rules by fear and torture ... a sponsor of terror, armed with weapons of terror," President Bush said at the port of Philadelphia March 31.
  • "Agency Takes Right Approach," by Andrew S. Natsios Washington File 31 Mar 2003 -- This column by Andrew S. Natsios, administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, was published in USA Today March 31. This column is in the public domain.
  • Powell Says U.S. Will Liberate Iraq, Give Hope to Iraqis Washington File 31 Mar 2003 -- Addressing the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Annual Policy Conference March 30, Secretary of State Colin Powell stressed, "We will drive Saddam and his regime from power. We will liberate Iraq."
  • EDITORIAL: NO MATTER HOW LONG IT TAKES VOA 31 Mar 2003 -- The U.S.-led coalition to disarm Iraq is now engaging the Iraqi regime's most desperate units -- the Republican Guard and the Saddam Fedayeen. The outcome is certain. As President George W. Bush said, "Iraq will be disarmed. The Iraqi regime will be ended. And the long-suffering Iraqi people will be free"
  • CENTCOM Commander Says Iraqis Will Be Liberated Navy NewStand 31 Mar 2003 -- Coalition forces are being postured on the ground and in the air in a way that will enable them to bring down Saddam Hussein's regime, Army Gen. Tommy Franks said March 27 during an interview with Infinity Broadcasting.

United Nations

  • Annan meets with Arab countries for talks on situation in Iraq UN News Centre 31 Mar 2003 -- Secretary-General Kofi Annan today met with Arab countries to brief them and to hear their views about the situation in Iraq before starting a series of meetings this week with the regional groupings of UN Member States.
  • UN relief agencies move humanitarian supplies over Iraq's borders UN News Centre 31 Mar 2003 -- United Nations relief agencies along Iraq's borders are looking at ways to bring in humanitarian aid, and the first UN food consignment to enter the country since the outbreak of hostilities has already crossed over from Turkey into northern Iraq.
  • IRAQ / AID WRAP VOA 31 Mar 2003 -- The first U-N aid shipment was delivered in Northern Iraq during the weekend, but relief officials say other relief convoys bound for Iraq have been delayed by bureaucracy and security issues.
  • IRAQ / U-N FOOD VOA 31 Mar 2003 -- United Nations relief workers are making plans to return to Iraq in April to revive the food aid system. The World Food Program says it needs one-point-three billion dollars to kick-start the emergency aid distribution.
  • IRAQ / U-N AID VOA 31 Mar 2003 -- The United Nations says a humanitarian crisis in Iraq can be avoided if all parties to the conflict cooperate to help needed aid get through.
  • MEXICO / SECURITY COUNCIL VOA 31 Mar 2003 -- On Tuesday (April first), Mexico assumes the rotating presidency of the United Nations Security Council for the month of April. As a non-permanent member of the Security Council, Mexico played a significant role in recent months in the debate over resolutions aimed at forcing Saddam Hussein to disarm. The country's U-N ambassador may now try to seek a role for the world body in bringing about peace.
  • TURKEY: Food aid enters northern Iraq IRIN 31 Mar 2003 -- The World Food Programme (WFP) has confirmed the successful delivery of three trucks of assistance into northern Iraq through the Turkish border crossing point of Habur.
  • SYRIA: “Tremendous increase” in Iraqis seeking protection, says UNHCR IRIN 31 Mar 2003 -- There has been a “tremendous increase” in the past couple of days of Iraqis seeking temporary protection letters from the Damascus office of the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, spokesman Peter Kessler told a news conference on Monday in the Jordanian capital, Amman. A protection letter amounts to a recognition of refugee status and enables the holder to seek asylum.

Foreign Reactions

  • BRITAIN / IRAQ VOA 31 Mar 2003 -- Britain says it has no plans to increase the size of its troop deployment in and around Iraq. British Defense Secretary Geoff Hoon discussed the Iraq war with parliament.
  • ARABS /IRAQ VOA 31 Mar 2003 -- While some Arabs say they believe the U-S goal in Iraq is to disarm Saddam Hussein's regime of its weapons of mass destruction, there are many more who are convinced the United States has other objectives. And recent allegations by U-S officials that Syria is supporting the regime of Saddam Hussein have caused a new round of debate about U-S and British objectives in the region.
  • DPRK cabinet report on issuing people's life bonds KCNA 31 Mar 2003 -- South Korean people reportedly released an appeal and statements on March 20 in protest against the U.S. imperialists' war of aggression on Iraq.
  • ASIA / IRAQ PROTESTS VOA 31 Mar 2003 -- Hundreds of thousands of people across Asia spent the past few days demonstrating against the U-S led war in Iraq.
  • ISRAEL BOMBING / IRAQ VOA 31 Mar 2003 -- The militant Palestinian group, Islamic Jihad, is describing its suicide bombing on Sunday in the Israeli coastal city of Netanya as a gift to the Iraqi people. The State Department Designated terrorist group is vowing to step up such attacks in support of Iraq.
  • INDONESIA IRAQI MIGRANTS VOA 31 Mar 2003 -- Of the millions of people around the world watching news reports of the war in Iraq, perhaps none watch more closely than the Iraqis who fled their country to seek a better life elsewhere. Hundreds of Iraqis live in Indonesia, migrants who tried and failed to enter Australia illegally.

News Reports

  • IRAQ / HUMANITARIAN AID VOA 31 Mar 2003 -- Right after coalition forces began military action against Iraq, the U.S. Agency for International Development dispatched special teams to countries bordering Iraq to assess the humanitarian needs of the Iraqi people and to provide assistance.
  • U-S MEDIA WAR COVERAGE VOA 31 Mar 2003 -- Initial media coverage of the Iraq War in the U-S media tended to focus on the technological advantages of the American and British troops over the Iraqis. Ten days into the conflict the tone of coverage has shifted. Whereas before reports indicated that a coalition victory would be swift and relatively easy, the same media now are reporting that the Iraq War could drag on for months.
  • YUGO / IRAQ / ARMS VOA 31 Mar 2003 -- The war in Iraq pits state-of-the-art Western technology against less advanced Iraqi weapons. Iraq has tried to bridge the military imbalance by acquiring more sophisticated system. Baghdad has been getting help from the Balkans.
  • I-C-R-C / IRAQ P-O-WS VOA 31 Mar 2003 -- The International Committee of the Red Cross says it has begun visiting Iraqi prisoners of war captured by the coalition forces. Red Cross officials say about three-thousand Iraqi P-O-Ws are being held in a camp near the southern Iraqi town of Umm Qasr.
  • MONDAY'S EDITORIALS VOA 31 Mar 2003 -- The war in Iraq remains the focus of many newspaper editorials, and war-related topics account for many others. There are also commentaries on the effect of the conflict on U-S airlines; repressing dissent in Cuba; the situation in Venezuela; and criticism of China over that new respiratory illness.
  • War on TV Affects Students of Deployed Parents, Parents, Teachers AFPS 31 Mar 2003 -- Many children may not understand the principles and politics behind America's war with Iraq or the war on terrorism, but nonetheless they see images and hear news in the media.
  • IRAQ: Relief convoy from Amman reaches Baghdad IRIN 31 Mar 2003 -- A three-truck convoy carrying 80 mt of food items, including oil, sugar, rice and pasta, reached the Iraqi capital Baghdad from Jordan on Friday, becoming one of the first aid convoys to successfully negotiate the vulnerable 660 km desert highway linking the two countries.
  • IRAN-IRAN: Sudanese nationals flee Iraq IRIN 31 Mar 2003 -- More than 140 Sudanese nationals have crossed into Iran fleeing hostilities in Iraq, the International Organization for Migration’s (IOM) chief of mission in Tehran, Enrico Ponziani, told IRIN on Monday. More than 100 Sudanese people also crossed into neighbouring Syria from Iraq on Monday.

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