Allied commanders in Saudi Arabia are beginning to focus the air war on Iraqi artillery and tanks in Kuwait, the weapons that pose the greatest threat to allied forces in a ground war. Iraq said yesterday it was "waiting impatiently" for the ground fighting to start, and promised to slay "tens of thousands" of U.S. soldiers.

Secretary of State James A. Baker III proposed creation of a Mideast bank, financed primarily by oil-rich governments in the region, to rebuild the area after the war and address the disparities in wealth between rich and poor countries. Iraq would be eligible to receive such aid only if Saddam Hussein were out of power, Baker said.

Reacting to a pro-Iraqi speech by King Hussein of Jordan Wednesday night, Baker criticized Jordan's position, but said there were no attractive alternatives to the king in Jordan, "and we think it's important to keep our lines of communication open. . . ."

Several black organizations have been formed in this country to protest the war. Numerous national and local black leaders have joined in the protests, many of which appear to be motivated by perceptions of racial injustice at home as much as by disapproval of the war.