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Special Forces Could Try to Get on Ground in Iraq

Aired March 20, 2003 - 02:30   ET


HEIDI COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: I do want to ask you, though, about some of what we've been hearing and the Special Forces going after these weapons of mass destruction. Now, that this has already started, some people are saying it's sort of like there's two wars going on. And they're going to be going in there and hunting, on their own, for these weapons, right?
J. KELLY MCCANN, CNN ANALYST: Well, you know, yes, they will. And interestingly enough, almost a decade ago, in fact, even a little bit further than a decade ago, 12 to 14 years, there was a new mission added to the Special Operation Forces, and that was Counter Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation. And it was a mouthful then. It's a still a mouthful now. But they have a very good capability. The old NES teams, Nuclear Emergency Search teams that were here in the United States that would supposedly look for rogue nuclear or fissile material. They actually went through quite a lot of training and, now, are executing that here during this campaign. This could be a first.

COLLINS: All right. Very interesting. We'll, of course, watch that one very closely.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: We also wondered, Kelly, about some of the targets. I mean, you talked about what the Special Forces are trying to do on the ground, now. You talked about, you know, tactical information perhaps having a role in some of these early air strikes, some of these early cruise missiles strikes.

Let's talk a little about Basra, which is, obviously, in the south, southeast of Iraq, very close to Kuwait. Clearly would be an early target for any U.S. forces.

MCCANN: Sure, it's close to the port. As we talked about off line, there's the Special Operations that have strategic implications, operational implications and tactical implications. The foothold that you would get down by a port where you could now start to get your logistics train on board and start the support for deployed men and women is important. So in order to get that foothold, you'd want to control it.

You'd also want to control it because we don't want Saddam Hussein to be able to totally cut off production or, basically, render disabled his oil fields or create an ecological disaster. Or provide some obscuration for chemical agents. In other words, disguise the release of chemical agents.

We still haven't accounted Chemical Ali in this whole mix. So there's a lot going on.

But suffice to say, they're going to adjust based on what they've seen and don't be surprised that they're going to create inputs to make the rabbit move and then, adjust their plan and execute immediately. It'll be interesting.

COOPER: You just said, we have not accounted for Chemical Ali. Describe a little bit to the viewers who chemical Ali is, a relative of Saddam Hussein, who, I guess, in the last week or so, was put in charge of the Basra area.

Let's talk a little bit about him and, also, do you think Special Forces there are actually trying to hunt down individuals, at this stage, to cut the head off the snake, if you will?

MCCANN: Well, to answer the first question. Chemical Ali is the one that was responsible for actually employing the chemical weapons before. He has a history of having ordered it and overseeing the actual employment of chemical weapons, so he's of great interest to us. And we'd like to account for him on the battle space.

General Clark had the best answer I've heard yet about that. I mean, I think we've learned a lesson about being able to say, we're going to get this one individual because it's a very difficult thing to do.

The truth is this is about the BAF party. If you're not from the Tikrit clan, you're really not of great concern when it comes to this regime. All of the people surrounding Saddam Hussein are from the Tikrit clan, the BAF party, if you will.

But if you dismantle that party, just like we dismantled al Qaeda, Saddam Hussein really can't effect anything. His children can't really effect anything.

So this is about the organization, gaining the battle space and then, standing on it, so we own and then, control it. People, although we'd love to personalize it, are not necessarily important.

COOPER: All right. Kelly McCann, appreciate you joining us. We'll be talking later on in the evening.

MCCANN: You bet, Anderson.

COLLINS: All right, well, let me give you the news now, as far as we know it at this hour. The United States launched a first strike against Iraq around 9:30 PM Eastern time. More than 40 cruise missiles were fired from the Red Sea and Persian Gulf in an attempt to decapitate the Iraqi leadership. One area inside Baghdad and one outside the city were hit.

President Bush addressed the nation at 10:15 PM Eastern time to announce the beginning of the strike against Iraq. The president called it the opening stages of a broad and concerted campaign. He also -- concentrated campaign, that is. He also said the campaign could be longer and more difficult than some to predict. An address by President Saddam Hussein was aired on Iraqi television just hours after the strike. In the taped address, he urged the Iraqi people to draw their swords and protect and defend their nation. He said the attack amounted to shameful crimes against Iraq and humanity.

COOPER: Well, we are going to go, right now, live to Baghdad and CNN's Rym Brahimi is standing by.

Rym, what is the latest.

RYM BRAHIMI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, let me just take you through the events. Right now, just to answer your question, traffic is very, very slowly picking up. This is by no means an ordinary day here in Baghdad. You can, literally, count the number of cars going around every five minutes, one by one.

This, now, it's been about five hours since the first air raid siren we heard here. There was a distant detonation of anti-aircraft fire. Then, we heard some more anti-aircraft. There was a lull for a few minutes and then, an intense round of anti-aircraft fire. You could see some orange (UNINTELLIGIBLE) fire in the sky. And then, there was an explosion about one point. It wasn't clear whether that was an impact or anti-aircraft.

Daylight gradually began to come up and with that, a few cars. Very, very rare cars. Two hours later, we had the all-clear signal.

Then, about two hours earlier, about two hours ago, about 8:00 here in Baghdad, new air raid sirens and shortly after that, President Saddam Hussein was shown speaking on TV.

Now, clearly, a speech aimed, first of all, at putting an end to potential rumors on what may have happened to him. The president mentioning today's date, saying today, the 20th of March, 2003, President Bush has committed a shameful crime.

It's an address that was, basically, geared both at an internal audience and, also, to the outside world, addressing Iraqi's President Saddam Hussein condemned the United States. And said President Bush had underestimated the Iraqis, saying they would fight, what he called, the U.S./Zionist invasion, asking Iraqis to pull out their swords and shoot their guns.

Also, a deceitful address (ph) to what he calls friends and allied countries, calling on them to see how President Bush, he said, had ignored their efforts to avert war. He, also, seemed to want to portray this, very much, as a battle between the U.S., on the one hand, and Arab Muslims and humanity, at large, on the other.

Now, shortly after the president spoke, and his speech was aired on Iraqi TV over and over again since. Shortly after that, well, the minister of information spoke to reporters. He said this was a naked aggression that would be met by fierce resistance and asked (UNINTELLIGIBLE) to show the world what he called the crimes of the U.S. and Britain. He said, we will take you everywhere so you can show the world.

And following that, the culture minister spoke to reporters, saying that this was a conspiracy against Iraq, that it was not new. It had been there for years. But saying that Saddam Hussein was not only the leader of Iraq -- the minister of culture said, he was also the hero of humanity.

So clearly, a lot of epitaphs to show that there is still strong presence of the Iraqi government, of the Iraqi leadership, as it stands. Again, a very, very quiet, slow morning here in Baghdad -- Anderson.

COOPER: Rym, are you seeing -- we're seeing a live picture with sort of sporadic traffic just going along. Are you seeing a big military presence on the streets? I mean, are you seeing tanks, armored personnel carriers or anything of the like?

BRAHIMI: No, from our viewpoint, we're not seeing anything. We're on a road, here, that goes along the Tigress River. It's a river known as (UNINTELLIGIBLE). I mean, a police car here and there. Some, what look like, government cars passing by. We've only seen one of those, you know, pickup truck with a rifle set up behind it. But that's about it.

It's very, very interesting, in a way. Even in the past few days, we've seen a lot of preparations, a lot of sandbags being put up and certainly, maybe a little more men in uniforms carrying guns, but frankly, not the kind of military presence, you would expect for a city that's about to be attacked -- Anderson.

COOPER: Rym, just so you know, our viewers are seeing some new street scenes that we've just received. We're going to play them, now. New street scenes. Some of the aftermath in the immediate hours after that initial attack. We're seeing some military, some sort of a military vehicle. Looks like a civilian vehicle. But it's filled. It's a truck filled with military personnel. They seem to have some sort of machine gun mounted up on it driving down the streets. So that's what you're seeing while you're talking, Rym.

I'm curious to know what is on Iraq television, at this point? We saw the speech by Saddam Hussein which was a taped speech, I believe, not a live speech. Is there still a television broadcast going on there, now? And if so, what are they showing?

BRAHIMI: There is definitely television broadcasts going on, Anderson. Definitely the speech by President Saddam Hussein was not a live speech. It was pre-taped. We've been seeing, all morning, and it's been the same, pretty much, on the radio -- there have been songs, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) in praise of president Saddam Hussein. These are filed as file video of President Saddam Hussein in various areas visiting different areas of the country, the tribal areas, the Kurds, shaking hands with local leaders, embracing local people. These are -- this is file video that we're shown on a regular basis on Iraqi TV, but of course, now this has been on nonstop on Iraqi TV, since the morning. The same goes for the Iraqi radio. We've been hearing nonstop chant and praise of President Saddam Hussein. Often interrupted by a commentator reminding everyone that this is Iraqi radio broadcast from Baghdad. And also regularly interrupted by the voice of a commentator calling on the Iraqi people to maintain their (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and telling them that they will be victorious in the face of the foreign aggression, as they put it -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right, Rym Brahimi live in Baghdad. Stay safe -- Heidi.

COLLINS: All right, we are going to head over to Wolf Blitzer, now, who is in Kuwait. And Wolf, we were just looking at some pictures. I'm not sure if you could see them or not of the street scenes after the missiles hit. Wondering what you're seeing there on the streets where you are.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Relatively normal here in Kuwait City. There's traffic. It's bustling. There's, obviously, deep concern. Kuwaitis are very nervous about what might happen, but by and large, they are pretty confident that the U.S. military, which has an enormous presence here in Kuwait, is going to protect the Kuwaitis from any kind of Iraqi retaliation.

There are significant numbers of U.S. troops up in the northern part of Iraq. They're massing. They're getting ready to move into southern Iraq -- or northern part of Kuwait. They're getting to move into the southern part of Iraq when the order is given.

Remember, the initial battle plan that was envisaged would be a day or two of massive air strikes. Those massive air strikes have not yet begun.

There was a limited cruise missile attack, as you know, against this limited target in and around Baghdad.

The massive air strike has not begun, and it was only going to result after a day or two or three, perhaps, with a start of a U.S. military, a ground force, operation into Iraq. So the troops, by and large, more than 150,000 troops in Kuwait, another 30 or 40,000 British troops in Kuwait. They're standing by. They're getting ready to move. But at some point, when the order is given.

On the streets of Kuwait, the Kuwait's are watching TV. They're watching what people all over the world are watching. They were seen earlier tonight, this morning, here, actually, in Kuwait watching television of Saddam Hussein's taped address to the Iraqi people was broadcast on Iraqi television. And they watched him issue his defiant statement to the President of the United States, George W. Bush.

Very significantly, that was a taped address. Even though he did mention March 20th, 2003, it's still unclear whether that address was taped before or after the cruise missiles strike. That's something that intelligence officials in the United States and around the world are going to be studying very carefully to determine whether or not Saddam Hussein is, in fact, alive -- Heidi. COLLINS: All right, Wolf Blitzer from Kuwait. Thank you so much.

We are going to head on now to speaking with Jonathan Eyal. He's going to tell us a little bit more about his perspective on what has gone on here, today.

Jonathan, can you hear me? Jonathan Eyal.

JONATHAN EYAL, ROYAL UNITED SERVICES INSTITUTE: Hello, I can hear perfectly all right.

COLLINS: All right. OK. Jonathan, let me ask you. Tell us a little bit about how the U.S. can repair relations, now, with its allies. I mean, could this relationship be repaired, at all? I mean, given what we've seen, today?

EYAL: You mean the relationship with its European allies.

COLLINS: Absolutely.

EYAL: Well, I think that actually the rift is going to be in suspended animation, as it were. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) the serious difficulties that exist between the United States, on the one hand, and France and Germany, on the other, are now going to be put on freeze.

It is really interesting that over the last 24 hours, we had a statement from France saying that should the Iraqi regime use any chemical weapons or other weapons of mass destruction, then France would immediately join the war on the side of the United States. Of course, it's a bit of a contradictory statement.

France, up to now, opposed the war, claiming that there is no immediate evidence that Saddam Hussein has such weapons. Now, he is slightly changing the tune.

There is a feeling throughout Europe that, now, the debate should move to the reconstruction of Iraq at the end of the war. And, indeed, this very morning in Europe, the European Union, foreign ministers and heads of government, will get together to discuss precisely what Europe could contribute to the reconstruction of Iraq. So there is a feeling that, as the guns have started, it is time for most of Europe, especially who oppose the United States to keep silent.

COLLINS: Jonathan, let's talk about that, then, the post-war Iraq a little bit more. What do you think is going to happen with the rest of the world and what will their role be, as far as pitching in for this post-war Iraq?

EYAL: Well, we've had some contradictory statements from a variety of countries. Of course, many of the Asian countries have kept very quiet about what their position would be in the aftermath of the war. Europe, as always, has made more noise, and, as always, a bit of a cacophony (ph). On the one hand, we had people in the European Commission, the executive body of the Union, saying, more or less, openly that since this war is supposedly an American war, then Europe will find it very difficult to fund or to participate in any of the reconstruction efforts at the end of it.

At the same time, let us not forget, that Europe is not talking in a united voice on this one. This has been as much an internal European dispute, as a dispute between the Europeans and the United States.

So countries like Britain, Italy, Spain, the east Europeans, countries that altogether provide about 60 percent of the decision- making votes in the European Union will be pushing for a close cooperation with the U.S. in the reconstruction of Iraq. The key is going to be under which mandate is it going to be. Is it going to be a United Nations mandate or is it going to be another international arrangement done on a bilateral basis between key contributing countries?

COLLINS: Jonathan, one last quick question for you. You know, back in the Gulf War, we know that -- what happened afterwards in, largely, the military campaign. The bill for that was footed by Kuwait. But of course, the mission was very different, then. This mission is, now, to have regime change. So who then will foot the bill? Will that mostly be the United States or where do you think -- what we can learn from that?

EYAL: Well, there's no doubt that a lot of the European countries will be asked to contribute as, indeed, will be a lot of the Middle Eastern countries be asked to contribute. It is one thing for Middle Eastern, pro-western governments to refuse, at the moment, to consider any kind of assistance. It is quite another when a new government is put in place. So the United States will have to be engaged in some careful footwork, in diplomatic terms, immediately at the end of this war with potential allies.

Now, I suspect that there will be a contribution from Europe. But let us not fool ourselves. There is also going to be a rather unseeming and rather peculiar barter dispute across the Atlantic between the Europeans and the Americans.

A lot of European countries are old money by Iraq. A lot of these debts are not for very honorable causes. For instance, a lot of weapon sales to Iraq in the 1970s and the 1980s. A lot of these European countries are expected to be repaid very quickly, which is precisely what the new Iraqi regime cannot do.

So the question of money will be extremely complicated. If we are lucky, it will be discussed very calmly and very honorably. If we are not, we are going to witness quite a dispute across the Atlantic.

COLLINS: All right. We certainly hope it will go that way. Jonathan Eyal with the Royal United Services Institute for Defensive Studies, thank you for your time -- Anderson. COOPER: Well, in order to get a post- Saddam Hussein Iraq, first, the U.S. military has to get Saddam Hussein. And that is what they are, of course, trying to do right at this hour.

We have a bulletin from Reuters. Reuters reporting that Britain was not part of the -- did not take part in the missile attack overnight. Forty-two cruise missiles fired in this initial attack from a number of USS ships, U.S. troops. The USS Cook, the Cheyenne, the Bunker Hill, Montpelier, among others, were all involved, as well as some F-117 stealth fighters, probably dropping some sort of bunker buster munitions. So that report from Reuters crossing, right now, on the wire that Britain was not part of the missiles attack overnight.

Becky Diamond is standing by on the USS Milieus, on a destroyer. Becky, what are you seeing and hearing?

BECKY DIAMOND, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, this morning about 5:00 AM, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) launched Tomahawk cruise missiles. I could see in the distance, about half-an-hour earlier, the Bunker Hill launched (UNINTELLIGIBLE), as well. So plenty of cruise missiles were launched this morning. Of course, we don't know the targets here on the ship.

Spectacular sight. Now, these missiles travel above about 700 to 1,000 miles at speeds up to 500 miles an hour. They were launched (UNINTELLIGIBLE) about 10 seconds apart. So for a minute and a half, it took about a minute and a half to launch all eight on the Milius -- Anderson.

COOPER: It must have been just an extraordinary sight. We're actually seeing some of the video, right now, of some cruise missiles launching. I'm not sure if it's from the ship you're on, Becky, but just an extraordinarily sight this morning.

And we've yet to learn what the effect of those 42 cruise missiles, which were targeted. We know, at this point, targeted towards Saddam Hussein and some of his leadership. Apparently, reportedly, meeting in a house, just an everyday house in Baghdad. We do not yet know the impact, both literal and -- the literal impact those munitions had.

Becky Diamond, thanks very much for that report.

We are now going to -- where should we...

COLLINS: We're going to stick with the idea of military strategy, in fact.


COLLINS: Anderson, we are going to head over to Mile O'Brien who has Alec Fraser with him to talk to him a little bit more about that.

Hi, Miles.

MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, Heidi, I'm joined by Retired Navy Captain Alec Fraser. And let's talk a little about these cruise missiles and the flight of them.

We should point out we don't know the specific targets, exactly where they are. We do know the point of origin, generally speaking. We know we're talking about the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf as the point of origin for these 42 cruise missiles, which ultimately ended up in and around the Baghdad area, we believe. Although, there might have been some other targets.

Nevertheless, what we've done is, through the help of some, of our animation folks here, we've created a bit of a computer model to give you a sense of how these cruise missiles fly. TLAM, I should point out, stands for Tomahawk Land Attack Missile. This is staged, as you can see, from the Red Sea. SSN stands for submarine down there. And as you can see, flying across the Saudi Arabian peninsula.

Alec, what are we watching for? I notice they kind of zigzag.

ALEC FRASER, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, they're zigzagging because you can preplan it to avoid radar detection or to avoid people seeing it. So you can come in undetected, hit the target from a number of angles, as we'll see here shortly. And it can achieve the surprise level you're trying to get.

O'BRIEN: This idea of convergence, is it often part of the plan? There's that zigzag we're talking about. Is it often part of the plan to have cruise missiles coming from separate directions, arrive at the same time at the same place?

FRASER: The air tasking order, which puts all of the missiles on to a target at a given time, deliberately tries to come in from various angles and from various platforms, in case one or two don't perform correctly or ship's not able to do something for whatever reason.

O'BRIEN: All right...

FRASER: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) a lot of background.

O'BRIEN: Now, you'll note we had a F-117, a white line in there, which was drawn. The F-117, as you well know, is the -- or you may or may not know -- most people would know it as the Nighthawk. It is the stealth fighter. It dates back to the 80s. This is the first stealth aircraft in the U.S. inventory. Able to carry two bombs in its bomb bay door, laser-guided weapons, GBU-27, most likely. That's that bunker buster we were talking about. Kind of a mini bunker buster.

But what's interesting about this is, as we told you many times, it's supposed to be invisible to radar. That's the design. Nevertheless, this particular aircraft, we know today, had an escort.

And Alec knows quite a bit about this. This is the EA-6B Prowler. It is designed to make radar screens just go to hash. That' essentially its mission. Tell us what it does.

FRASER: Well, it does. There are two people who sit in the back of this aircraft, and their job is to monitor the electronics, the radars that are coming out from the opposition forces, walk on to those radars, capture the signal -- actually, enhance the signal -- and send it back to the radar repeater so it looks like a lot of fuzz when you're looking at it from...

O'BRIEN: And so it's interesting. I guess you put this into the category of overkill. If you've got a stealth aircraft, to use the EA-6B Prowler is, I guess, belt and suspenders might be the way to...

FRASER: Well, I think we learned that back there in the Gulf War that the stealth actually can be seen when it's real close or various radars happen to lock onto it by happenstance. The EA-6B can jam those radars to make sure that they don't achieve the kill that they're trying to do...

O'BRIEN: Watch this scenario right there. There's the EA-6B as it comes in. There's the radar operator. He's either going to see kind of a white out there. And in some cases, they can get multiple false targets which can, obviously, make it very easy for stealth and non-stealth aircraft to accomplish their mission. So that gives you a sense of what's going on. Lots of moving parts in all these missions. What's interesting and what's worth pointing out, here, is this really isn't the official start of what we're calling this shock and awe approach. This is just a, kind of by comparison, a very small strike, isn't it?

FRASER: I think so. Forty missiles is not a lot for an opening salvo. And we've been hearing a lot of the people saying that we think that there's going to be a large attack all at one time. Forty missiles is not very much fired by a few ships. There's a lot more yet to come.

O'BRIEN: All right. Alec Frazier, Retired Captain of the United States Navy. Thank you very much for giving us those insights. Back to you guys.

COOPER: Actually, Miles, I'd be interested in sort of knowing a little bit more about how long does it take to reprogram one of these Tomahawks. I mean, we heard reports that the order was given around 6:30 at the White House by President Bush, after a discussion of some of the top officials in the Bush security team. Once that order is given, is it a simple operation to reprogram one of these things? And how different is that than it was in 1991?

FRASER: In 1991, it was very difficult because all the targets were programmed back in the United States and sent via satellite. Today, however, you can do this programming on the aircraft carrier. Because of the GPS system that is now installed on a number of these missiles, not all of them. But the timing necessary to do that is just down to a few minutes. Put in the GPS and then, the missile is ready to launch.

COOPER: And most of the weaponry in 91 didn't have GPS.

FRASER: No, it didn't, and you had to pre-plan the targets, and you were concerned about weather, concerned about dust storms, concerned about snow reflecting off the radars as they went in. And so those type of problems don't exist anymore.

O'BRIEN: And just to underscore that point, essentially, what they used before GPS, they actually matched terrain. They had preprogrammed terrain matches. They'd look for a certain type of mountain range and try to match it and fly to it, accordingly, right?

FRASER: Right. As a tercom (ph), a terrain-matching radar, and it would match in its memory, digital memory, what it was seeing underneath, align itself accordingly and then, hit the target at the exact window that it wants to go through.

COOPER: Right. We should also just point to the viewers who are tuning in, though we -- it is very quiet at this time, as far as we know. There is much we do not know, at this hour. We know that there was this strike in Baghdad, perhaps in the surrounding area. Forty- two cruise missiles that we know about. But it is sort of an open question what is happening elsewhere in the country, in Basra, in some of the other areas. Is that fair to say?

FRASER: I don't think we know exactly where the targets were. We'll know in the coming days or weeks. The targets could have been in the no-fly zone. They could have been in the Baghdad area. That's yet to be determined. We will not know that for some time.

O'BRIEN: Well, you know, the Pentagon, of course, was saying that this is a decapitation move. But as part of that whole effort, particularly when you're talking about bringing in the F-117s, it might very well have been some of the radar operations that they went after with these cruise missiles before they brought the 117 in there. So we don't have good situational awareness, as the Pentagon would tell you, right at this moment.

COOPER: And though we have pictures of Baghdad, cameras throughout that city, we really do not have those capabilities elsewhere in Iraq. So I mean, something major could be happening, and we simply don't know about it at this hour.

O'BRIEN: I think to say we have blinders on is an understatement.

COOPER: All right. Fair enough. Gentlemen, thanks very much -- Heidi.

COLLINS: All right. We are going to head to the U.N., now, Anderson, and we have Michael Okwu standing by to tell us what is happening from that angle. It is early there, now, of course.

Hello Michael.

MICHAEL OKWU, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Heidi, hello. Quite early here, but not so early that the Iraqi ambassador couldn't voice his displeasure about what is going on in his country now. Yesterday, at an open Security Council meeting, he said that the United States position could be summarized in two truths. One, the U.S. wants to occupy Iraq. Two, the U.S. wants its oil.

Tonight, when war officially began, the Iraqi ambassador had some more harsh words for the United States.


IRAQI AMBASSADOR: It seems that the war of aggression against my country started. We listened to President Bush, and we knew that the war started. So we will do our best to contact, to tackle this matter within the United Nation and with the Security Council.

REPORTER: What will be the next step to do that, then?

IRAQI AMBASSADOR: Hopefully, tomorrow, we will start that.

REPORTER: Exactly, what will (UNINTELLIGIBLE)?

IRAQI AMBASSADOR: Well, you know, just perhaps we have to send a letter there to the president of the Security Council and to the secretary general. You know, this is a breach of peace. So we have to ask them to -- otherwise, we can do nothing new. Me, myself, I can do nothing. I have just to tell the international community that the war is started. This is against the charter. And this is a violation of international law.


OKWU: You heard the ambassador say that he, himself, can do nothing. But what he'd like to do, we are told, is possibly have other members of the Security Council convene to, in some way, condemn the U.S. action. Now, we don't expect that the Security Council will come forward with some sort of new resolution. They will, probably, fall short, we are told by diplomats, of making some sort of official Security Council presidential statement, but we do believe that there will be countries on the Council who would like to speak on the record condemning the U.S. action.

Obviously, of course, the United States also has some friends on the Council. They would obviously like to get their voices in, of support of the U.S. action, and in all likelihood to say that Saddam Hussein had his time, and it is frankly up, at this point.

In the meantime, the Secretary General Kofi Annan of the United Nations has sent a letter, we are told, late last night to the Security Council president, the ambassador from Gahanna, saying that he would like to discuss, in some way, the fine-tuning of the finances of humanitarian efforts in a post-war Iraq -- Heidi.

HEIDI COLLINS, CNN: All right, Michael Okwu, live for us from the U.N. tonight. Thank you.


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