Early damage assessments from the first 10 days of allied bombing runs against Iraq and occupied Kuwait indicate that despite many successes, important parts of Saddam Hussein's war machine have not been significantly harmed, The Washington Post reported Monday.
The newspaper said the Pentagon is not releasing details of the damage assessments because officials consider them subject to daily changes and because officials are concerned that the first assessments might suggest incorrectly that the air campaign is not going well. The details, however, are being given to senior government officials in briefings.The Post cited unidentified well-placed officials in its report.
According to the initial assessments of the allied air strikes, the Post said:
-About 65 percent of the Iraqi airfields are still operational, although last week the Pentagon said 100 percent had been "neutralized" by air strikes or because U.S. air superiority was keeping Iraqi planes out of the air.
-Nearly all of Iraq's air defense radar was eliminated during the first week of the war, but about 20 percent of it is back in operation. The Iraqis are using mobile radar units and have taken old radars out of storage.
-As of Friday, only eight of Iraq's 30 fixed Scud missile launchers had been damaged enough to fully disable them.
Officials think some of Iraq's mobile missile launchers have been damaged, but intelligence agents have not produced proof of that, the Post said.
-The Iraqi president can maintain communications with his forces through a sophisticated network of command posts, some of them mobile.
A senior official told the newspaper that the air raids are forcing Saddam to use less reliable means of communicating with his troops, and the attack plan directed at his command network is proceeding on schedule.
-Iraq can no longer develop nuclear weapons; about 50 percent of its capacity to make new chemical and biological weapons has been destroyed.
-Most Iraqi supply lines have been largely unaffected by the bombing, allowing food and ammunition to reach soliders in the field.
-The Iraqis are able to restore runways at their 66 major airfields, most of which have been put out of action at one point or another during the war.
The newspaper also noted that Iraq's 8,000 to 9,000 pieces of high grade anti-aircraft artillery have been largely unaffected by the air strikes; 11 of Iraq's 12 major petrochemical facilities have received moderate damage; and Baghdad's normal electrical generating capacity has been destroyed.