According to GlobalSecurity.org, the deployment of the 1st Armored Division from Europe has been postponed indefinitely, although photos taken in Kuwait indicate the elements of the division’s 3rd Brigade are in theater. The reason given for the postponed deployment is lack of transportation, probably because so many ships have been tied up with the 4th Infantry Division which was denied transit across Turkey and only now are delivering the 4th ID’s equipment to Kuwait.
Meanwhile, the same web site also says the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force, consisting mainly of the 2nd Marine Division, is now believed to be in Jordan, along with the Army’s 173rd Airborne Brigade. (There are some reports that the airborne brigade is now deployed in northern Iraq.) The 2nd MEF in Jordan would be surprising since we haven’t heard anything about it in the mass media.
The bottom line is whether what we have over there is enough to do the job. Some analysts wonder whether we have enough to lay siege to Baghdad while securing the areas we’ve captured in the south.
By my count, we have the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force—reinforced with the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade (5,000-7,000 Marines) and the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (2,200 Marines), as well as a British Armored Division and Royal Marines. Then we have the 3rd Mech. Infantry Division, 101st Air Assault Division, and a brigade of the 82nd Airborne as well as a couple of other brigade-size units adding about to about another light division. By the end of next week, we’ll also have the 4th Infantry Division. Following on that is the 1st Cavalry Division, but they’re at least several weeks away.
That comes to about 4 heavy divisions, about 3 medium divisions, and a couple of light divisions. Is that enough to smash through the Republican Guard and then draw a noose around Baghdad? With several of those divisions of questionable availability, we can only hope so and wait to see.
Thank you, Bill Clinton, for drawing down our military to a shadow of itself.