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Desert heat will not deter US in Iraq

London, Dec. 17 (Reuters): A British defence source said today that searing desert heat would not prevent the US from leading a war against Iraq in summer, defying conventional wisdom the weather would stand in Washington’s way.

“It is a factor that has to be considered but it’s not a crucial factor in the sense that it would stop anything happening,” the source said.

Defence sources said some troops were being put on short notice to move and the government was looking into what reservists may be required.

“We don’t know if conflict will be necessary nor what type of conflict it will be. This is all about maintaining options, improving our degree of readiness and maintaining the maximum degree of flexibility,” one source said.

In Baghdad, Iraqi officials said nuclear, biological and chemical experts, part of a UN inspection team, fanned out across Iraq to search for banned weapons after Washington raised the volume in the trans-Atlantic war of words.

Gold jumped to its highest level in more than five-and-a-half years and the dollar slid to a three-year low against the euro — both indicators the market viewed the sides as moving closer to war. The US and Britain, its closest ally, have signalled they are ready for war if Iraq breaches a tough UN Security Council resolution aimed at ensuring it has no weapons of mass destruction. Journalists have pressed US officials to say whether they would go to war even if the time it took to collect evidence and muster an international alliance delayed it for several months.

Military experts suggest the best time for desert combat is from December to March.

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