DHAHRAN, SAUDI ARABIA — FLAMES billowing from burning oil in the northern Gulf have subsided, indicating that United States bombing has slowed the growth of one of history's biggest oil slicks. The US military, trying to contain the spill that threatens the Gulf with environmental damage sent F-111 bombers to destroy outlet pipes at oil storage tanks at Mina al-Ahmadi in Iraqi-occupied Kuwait.
``I think we've been successful but only time will tell,'' Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf III, US field commander in the Gulf region, told reporters in the Saudi capital of Riyadh. The spillage, which is thought to have begun Jan. 19, has sent a slick 35 miles long and 10 miles wide down the eastern coast of Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.
The US maintains that the Iraqis released the thick black crude deliberately in an act of ``environmental terrorism.'' Iraq has charged the slick was the result of coalition bombing. Saudi Arabia says it has taken steps to protect its coastal desalination plants from the oil.
Iraq promises terrorist strikes
Iraq said yesterday that terrorist strikes against US interests worldwide would make President Bush a ``hostage in his black house.''
Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, in an address on Baghdad Radio a week ago, called on Iraqis, Arabs, and Muslims throughout the world to launch a jihad (holy war) against the US and the Gulf coalition. Police and armed forces in Europe have been on alert for threatened attacks.
The director of the FBI, William Sessions, said Sunday there were no indications of Iraqi-inspired terrorist activity in the US, although extremist groups have cells in the country.
Iraq threatens Egyptian leader
Iraq said yesterday that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak would meet the same fate as his predecessor Anwar Sadat, who was assassinated in 1981.
The threat against the leader of the Arab world's most populous country came only hours after Boutros Ghali, Egypt's minister of state for foreign affairs, said Cairo could coexist with Saddam after the war ends.
It was the latest in a series of personal attacks by Iraq against Mr. Mubarak, who has sent 45,000 troops to serve alongside the US-led forces in Saudi Arabia.
But the commentary on Iraqi Radio avoided similar attacks on Syrian President Hafez al-Assad, also a partner in the coalition against Saddam. Observers in Cairo believe Iraq still hopes to persuade Syria to shift its policy, particularly if Israel is drawn into the war.
Israelis back policy of restraint
Israel says it wants to help wipe out Iraqi missiles that have killed four Israelis and wounded 195, but shows no signs of changing its policy of restraint 12 days into the Gulf war.
Iraq has fired 25 Scud missiles into Israel since the war erupted and Defense Minister Moshe Arens said Sunday the government was disappointed the threat persisted.
``We think we could make a contribution to neutralizing that threat,'' Mr. Arens said. ``To make that contribution of course we'd have to arrive at a level of understanding and coordination with the United States.''
Israel has repeatedly said it will decide alone how and when to react to Iraqi assaults. But the hard-line government shows no sign it is preparing military action against Baghdad.
Washington worries that Israeli involvement in the war might detach Arab partners from its coalition. But support for restraint has encouraged Israeli decision-makers. An Army poll said 90 percent of Israelis support restraint.