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March 14, 2003

Debka: Arafat Given Ultimatum; Has the War Against Iraq Begun?

From DebkaFile

In special Middle East statement Friday, President Bush declared Palestinian prime minister must have real authority to be a credible negotiating partner.

Upon his confirmation, the Middle East road map pledging peace, security and dignity will be presented immediately to both sides. Before any progress, Palestinians must renounce terror. At later stage, Israel will be required to end settlement of activity.

DEBKAfile's Palestinian sources: US and EU ultimatum has been presented to Arafat without spelling out sanction: Put back eroded premiership authority in full by Monday March 17. This is also the deadline day laid down for Saddam. The timing of Bush statement signifies linkage in his perception of the two leaders

Over weekend, US president will meet British and Spanish prime ministers in Azores to discuss UN Security Council stalemate on their ultimatum resolution for Saddam. Strong tendency in Washington to avoid putting motion to vote

Israeli security and intelligence sources: No Scud missiles batteries detected in West Iraq which is under constant surveillance.

DEBKAfile’s military sources: US special forces have crossed the Kuwait-Iraq frontier and occupied some of the southern oil fields. US-British special forces have moved in to western Iraq. US warplanes are up to 600 sorties a day.

Earlier, Iraqi combat forces pulled out of West Iraq and Kuwait border region in South Iraq to join build-up in central Iraq around Baghdad and Tikrit.

Elite Special Republican Forces fighting division Tewekalna (Trust in Allah) brought over from southern oil fields.

The threat to Israel does not come from West Iraq but long-range missiles and aircraft positioned in central region – all capable of delivering biological and chemical substances.

They are: Al-Hussein and Samoud-2 whose range Russian A2 rocket engines have extended to 600 km; Mirage F-1, Mig-21 and Mig-25 fighter craft; Czech L29 trainers and guided drones of Czech and German manufacture.