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Commanders brief Saddam on Iraq's war preparations

From Rym Brahimi

An Iraqi soldier walks past an open-air shop selling uniforms and boots near Baghdad's central bus station.
An Iraqi soldier walks past an open-air shop selling uniforms and boots near Baghdad's central bus station.

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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Iraqi President Saddam Hussein met Sunday with his top military leaders for a status report on the preparations for a possible war with the United States and its allies.

Iraqi television reported that commanders of the army's infantry, mechanized infantry and tank divisions briefed Saddam about the defensive measures "taken to defend our homeland against any American aggression."

The commanders discussed tactics, troop morale, training drills and other preparations. The officers said they had stockpiled a two-month supply of ammunition.

The commanders said they had been drilling their troops in defensive measures and urban combat, and had taken steps to limit casualties from the expected bombing phase of a war -- including digging trenches and shelters to hide the troops.

One officer vowed to fight with stones if he ran out of ammunition, but the Iraqi leader assured him enough weapons would be on hand.

Another commander said his men had been ordered to ration their bullets and use every magazine -- 30 bullets for an AK-47 -- to kill at least five men.

"If that regiment alone could achieve that rate, they would defeat them all," Saddam said.

Qusay Hussein, Saddam's son and the supervisor of Iraq's elite Republican Guard, also attended the meeting, along with Defense Minister Gen. Sultan Hashim Ahmed.

Saddam exile plan appears to gain support

A call for Saddam to step down to avoid war in the region appeared to be gaining support among his Persian Gulf neighbors Sunday.

Members of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council delayed issuing a final communique from their annual meeting in Qatar's capital, Doha, to consider whether it should call for the exile plan to be put on the agenda of a meeting of the Organization of the Islamic Conference.

The United Arab Emirates proposed the plan, and Bahrain, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia also support it.

The foreign ministers of Oman and Qatar asked for time to consult with their governments before announcing their positions.

A news conference is scheduled for Monday to announce whether the GCC would call for putting the exile plan on the OIC agenda.

The 57-nation OIC meeting is scheduled to begin Wednesday.

The UAE proposed the exile plan Saturday at the Arab League summit in Egypt, but it was not formally considered.

However, Iraq responded to the proposal angrily. In New York on Saturday, Mohammed Aldouri, Iraq's ambassador to the United Nations, said Saddam's relinquishing power was "not at all" likely.

Iraq says it destroyed more missiles

A top Iraqi scientist said Sunday that Baghdad was working with U.N. inspectors on a schedule to destroy more than 100 Al Samoud 2 missiles but warned that could change if it becomes clear the United States intends to go to war.

Presidential scientific adviser Gen. Amer Al-Saadi told reporters that Iraq had crushed six missiles Sunday, along with a casting chamber used to make their solid rocket fuel.

U.N. officials have not confirmed that the missiles were destroyed. (Full story)

-- Caroline Faraj of CNN Arabic contributed to this report. For latest developments, see's Iraq Tracker

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