Near The Front Line: A City Braces For Battle

As U.S. troops mass across the border, Basra loads up on food, fuel and blood supplies

In the fading light, two flatbed trucks trundle slowly up the highway from Basra to Baghdad, bearing a precarious cargo: a pair of Soviet-era T-52 tanks, their long gun barrels pointed defiantly at the sky. Rumor has it that Iraqi heavy armor is deliberately being moved around in full display to allay public concerns about the army's fighting capabilities. If that is indeed the intention, then the T-52s are being hauled in the wrong direction. The folks who most need that kind of reassurance are the citizens of Basra.

Iraq's southernmost city is just an hour's drive from Kuwait. If...

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