SADDAM'S SWIFT SWORD

DESPITE STRONG WARNINGS FROM WASHINGTON, THE IRAQI LEADER GOES ON THE OFFENSIVE AGAINST KURDS

Some 40,000 of Saddam Hussein's best-trained and most loyal soldiers took up positions late last week 12 miles south of the city of Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan and the center of a conflict between rival Kurd factions. And then, despite warnings from Washington, Saddam's forces rolled north toward Erbil. After heavy artillery pounded the city, the Iraqis quickly took control on Saturday. The Iraqi offensive was Saddam's boldest move since the end of the Gulf War five years ago, and set the stage for a new test of wills between Washington and Baghdad.

The northern section of Iraq has...

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