U.S.: Iraqi forces may have mustard, VX gases
From Barbara Starr
CNN Pentagon Correspondent
Members of the 1st Cavalry Division train with chemical protection suits at Fort Hood, Texas -- 600 soldiers there each day undergo the training.
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Iraqi Republican Guard military units south of Baghdad may now have chemical munitions filled with a form of VX nerve agent as well as mustard gas, U.S. military officials Tuesday told CNN.
Officials base the possibility on intelligence reports that include the monitoring of Iraqi military communications.
On another front, officials said it now appears an oil spill in the desert near oil fields in the southern Iraqi region of Rumailah was an accident, not an act of sabotage designed to hinder U.S. troop movements as originally suspected.
A U.S. military official also confirmed to CNN that new radio messages are being broadcast into Iraq, telling Iraqi military units precisely how to indicate their surrender to U.S. forces.
CNN has also learned that in addition to broadcasts by the Air Force's "Commando Solo" aircraft there are additional broadcasts from an Army radio transmitter located on a Navy amphibious ship in the Persian Gulf.
The message calls for Iraqi troops to leave their weapons and vehicles in the field and return to their barracks. Iraqi officers would be permitted to keep sidearms. Iraqi military units who follow the surrender protocol and present no threat to U.S. forces will be left alone.
The Pentagon hopes Iraqi units will follow these rules of surrender so that the U.S. military will not be bogged down with potentially having to handle hundreds of thousands of prisoners of war.