DESERT WARGAMES PLANNED TO ALLAY KUWAITI FEARS

A jittery Kuwait marked the second anniversary of Iraq's invasion by brandishing an emergency plan to deal with any new aggression, while US troops prepared for month-long wargames.

United States Defense Secretary Dick Cheney said the exercises, involving 5,000 troops, were aimed at cooling Iraqi confidence rather than provoking a response.

Diplomats said they expected that the arrival of 2,400 US Army, Navy, and Marine troops would ease Kuwaiti anxieties, troubled by a stream of bellicose rhetoric from Baghdad in recent days.

Yesterday was a normal working day in Kuwait and there was no official commemoration of the invasion scheduled.

Iraq repeated its claims to Kuwait yesterday. The daily Babil published a front-page color photograph of President Saddam Hussein praying on the Kuwait City seafront in October 1990 with the headline "It will happen again, God willing."

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