GULF WATCH: Day 139 : A Daily Briefing Paper on Developments in the Crisis
Diplomatic Front: President Bush said the United States and its allies must assemble “some kind of peacekeeping force” after the current crisis ends to guarantee the Middle East’s long-term stability and ensure that Iraq will not attack again.
Spurning an overture from Baghdad, European Community leaders declared they will not meet with Iraqi Foreign Minister Tarik Aziz unless he first holds talks with U.S. officials.
Military Front: Saddam Hussein has increased his military forces in Kuwait and southern Iraq by 15% since late November and now has 510,000 troops there, the Pentagon said. The troops have built new fortifications a few miles behind existing defenses.
Sanctions Front: The Iraqi Health Ministry charged that international sanctions have killed 2,042 Iraqi children by creating critical shortages of food and medicine. The ministry urged international organizations to violate the blockade.
Latest Gulf Deployment Figures:
U.S. troops: 270,000+
Allied troops: 220,000
Iraqi troops: 510,000