EYE ON THE GULF
$150 million bunker
Iraqi president likely taking cover in lavish, Hitler-style cave
Posted: March 20, 2003
1:00 a.m. Eastern
As the bombs drop on Baghdad, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein could be luxuriating in a hot, bubble bath deep underground in a blast-proof bunker.
The Adelaide Advertiser reports the "Butcher of Baghdad" will likely be hiding out in a secret, $150 million bunker more than 100 feet beneath one of the presidential palaces.
Built in 1982, it was designed to withstand missile attacks and bomb blasts. It has a protective outer shell consisting of 20 feet of reinforced concrete. Access to the bunker is gained only through steel, vault doors, which are capable of withstanding temperatures of 300 degrees Celsius.
Inside, the sprawling complex consists of six bathrooms, numerous bedrooms, children's rooms, guards' quarters – all lavishly decorated with gold light switches, elaborate tiling and modern conveniences, including a massive collection of CDs and DVDs.
The dictator has access to private living quarters, which include a separate living room, bathroom with spa bath, dressing room and built-in wardrobe.
The cave complex was built by the German firm Boswau & Knauer, which also constructed air-raid shelters for Hitler's Third Reich during World War II.
Also inside, a conference room is equipped with communication technology and video links to the outside world, sufficient to serve as a command center.
The kitchen is stocked with enough freeze-dried provisions to last a year. Large water tanks and an emergency power supply also prepare residents for the long haul.
But while Saddam may have survived the 1991 airstrikes in his subterranean palace, experts say he may not fare as well this time around.
The United States has "bunker busters" in its arsenal – high-powered bombs specifically built to penetrate underground bunkers.
"The GBU-37 is a GPS guided weapon with a 4,000-pound warhead which is dropped by an aircraft and designed to penetrate 20 feet of concrete or 100 feet of earth," military expert Adlo Borgu of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute told the paper. "The GBU-28 is the same except it is laser-guided."
"If Saddam Hussein has a bunker 100 feet underground, I'd be surprised if the U.S. doesn't have one that can get him," he added.
In fact, the Air Force live-tested the "mother of all bombs" last week, amid great fanfare at Eglin Air Force base in Florida.
As WorldNetDaily reported, the 21,000-pound MOAB, or Massive Ordnance Air Burst bomb, has a massive blast that rivals that of a small nuclear weapon and packs a punch sufficient to knock over tanks and kill any people within several hundred feet of the detonation.
The GPS-guided MOAB is an updated version of the 15,000-pound BLU-82. The BLU-82, nicknamed "Daisy Cutter," had been considered the world's most powerful non-nuclear bomb. Daisy Cutters were most recently dropped in Afghanistan on caves where al-Qaida leaders were suspected of hiding.
Special Forces might also tackle Saddam's bunker from the ground.
U.S. military analysts told the Adelaide that a design flaw in the
bunker is the openings used for the fresh air system. Troops could exploit
this vulnerability by pumping poisonous gases or water into the holes.
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