IRAQ. . . SCARING OFF SADDAM

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Thousands of U.S. troops continued to stream into the Persian Gulf region, despite surer signs of retreat by Saddam Hussein's forces. This morning, Saudi Arabia and five smaller oil nations -- Oman, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Kuwait itself -- began deploying much of their 19,000-man "Peninsula Shield" in Kuwait, enough to match the number of U.S. forces now on Kuwaiti soil. Meanwhile, the U.S. operation's Central Command tells TIME Defense correspondent Mark Thompson that Iraq's forces are in close to full flight back north -- including what is believed to be the best of Saddam's once feared Republican Guard, the Hammurabi Division. The other Guard unit, he says, was sitting around, waiting to get on a train. "A lot of it happened last night," Thompson says. "It's very unusual: Iraqis don't like to move at night, so (the Pentagon is) taking that as an indication of some seriousness."