Despite the battering that his military machine took from the U.S.-led coalition, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein still has a million-man army, Scud missiles and sizable stocks of chemical weapons, analysts say.
He even has a division of his vaunted Republican Guard troops in Baghdad.On paper at least, Saddam appears to be in reasonably good shape militarily, even while losing one of the 20th century's most one-sided wars, military analyst Kenneth Brower said Wednesday.
But the troops Saddam has left are of worse quality than the ones that were humiliated in Kuwait, said Brower, a fellow at Britain's Sandhurst Royal Military Academy.
Iraq also lost most of its tanks, artillery and air defenses in the Kuwaiti debacle. In addition, Iraqi pilots flew more than 100 jet fighters and other planes to Iran, where they have been impounded.
Military analysts say Saddam has this much equipment stored out of harm's way: 1,000 tanks, 4,000 armored fighting vehicles and 2,000 pieces of artillery, hundreds of tons of chemical agents and 100 or more Scud missiles. He probably has biological weapons as well, the analysts say.
The core of the army that remains is 100,000 to 200,000 regular troops, with the vast majority poorly trained reservists and militia.
Iraq's military strength is comparable to Iran's, and the Iraqis could stand up to Syria, Jordan or Turkey, said Brower. But standing up to Israel militarily is out of the question.
Iraq will get no outside help in rebuilding and faces continuing economic sanctions. These will be incentives to overthrow Saddam, said Marvin Feuerwerger of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
"Look at the destruction Hussein has wrought on his military" by trying to take over Kuwait, said Feuerwerger.
Even Israel's rout of Egyptian forces in the 1967 war pales beside the Iraqi defeat, military historians said. In six days, Israel destroyed 460 Egyptian planes and 1,700 tanks, while suffering only a few hundred casualties.