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Gulf War

In: Historical Events

Submitted By nikhil21
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1. From time immemorial the land known today as Iraq has been the scene of conflict. Iraq has been, not only a strategic highway linking the Eastern Mediterranean lands with those of the Orient, but also the scene of frequent clashes between empires and great powers. It has seldom been the master of its own destiny, and in the numerous conflicts that stud its history, it has more often than not, been a pawn or the prize of other powers seeking regional hegemony. Until the beginning of twentieth century, most conflicts in the region were imperialistic in nature and involved Iraq because of its strategic important position. However, the discovery of vast oil deposits in the region in 1907 added another element to the equation, and conflicts, since have sprung from imperialistic motives as well as from a desire to protect or control sources of much of the world’s most important strategic resource.

2. Iran-Iraq war and the misadventure in Kuwait bear testimony to the misuse of power by Saddam Hussein. Saddam had always been labeled by the West as a producer of weapons of mass destruction. Ultimately a stage had reached where US and UK convinced themselves that Saddam was stockpiling these weapons. They demanded a change of regime and when threats were not taken seriously by Saddam, they launched Operation Iraqi Freedom or Gulf War II, despite all the opposition the world over, to attack and liberate Iraq.

3. Operation Iraqi Freedom consisted of the largest special operations forces since the Vietnam War. Just like the Gulf War I, the Operation brought forth many firsts in the history of modern warfare and makes a unique case study in Asymmetric Warfare.

4. To study and analyse the causes leading to Gulf War II and the planning and conduct of operations with a view to draw suitable lessons for application in the Indian context.


5. The study will broadly cover the following aspects: -

a) Part I. A brief area analysis to highlight the significance of this area, the strength and weaknesses and strategic importance of Iraq.

b) Part II. Analysis of the reasons leading to Gulf War II (GWII), possible end states desired by USA and reaction of the other countries in Middle East.

c) Part III. Analysis of the overall strategy and operational plan.

d) Part IV. Battle Studies.

(e) Part V. Analysis of the post conflict phase, including future of Iraq and her neighbours.

(f) Part VI. Lessons relevant to the Indian context.


6. Iraq lies at the head of the Persian Gulf. The world’s first known civilisation and other early cultures developed along the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. The ancient Greeks called this region Mesopotamia. Iraq became part of the Arab empire in the seventh century and absorbed Arab Muslim culture. Today, about 75 percent of Iraq’s people are Arabs. Iraq also has a large Kurdish population.

Land Area

7. The geographical location of Iraq is in the Middle East, bordering the Persian Gulf, between Iran and Kuwait. Iraq shares its borders with the following countries:-

(a) Iran - 1458 Km. (b) Jordan - 181 Km. (c) Kuwait - 240 Km. (d) Saudi Arabia - 814 Km. (e) Syria - 605 Km. (f) Turkey - 352 Km.

8. Iraq is a landlocked country but for a 58 Km long coastline along the Persian Gulf.The terrain of Iraq is mostly plains. The country can be divided into four major geographical regions.

9. The Northern Plains. The Northern Plains is a region of dry, rolling lands which lie between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, North of the city of Samarra. This area is also known as Al Jazirah (the Island).

10. The Southern Plains. The Southern Alluvial Plains begin near Samarra and extend South-East to the Persian Gulf. It is the Southern plains, which are the lifeline of Iraq; for this is the area where most of the population lives, is most fertile and also has the major oilfields.
11. The Mountains. The Mountains of North-East Iraq are part of a range that is called the Zagros in Iran and Iraq, and the Taurus in Turkey. The height of the Mountains ranges from 1,000 to nearly 4,000 meters. The great oil fields of Mosul and Kirkuk lie in this region. The North-East is the homeland of most Iraqi Kurds.

12. The Desert The Desert covers South-Western and Western Iraq lying West and South-West of the Euphrates River. Most of this region is part of the Syrian Desert. The region is sparsely inhabited by pastoral nomads.
13. Principal Cities. The principal cities in Iraq are as follows: - (a) Baghdad. It is the capital and largest city, with a population of 4,336,000.

(b) Basra. Basra is Iraq’s second largest city with its principal port, lying on the West bank of the Shatt Al Arab waterway. It is close to the Persian Gulf, and Iraq’s borders with Kuwait and Iran. It is a major industrial centre.

(c) Mosul. It is a city in Northern Iraq, on the Tigris River. There are rich oilfields in the area and it is a major industrial centre.

(d) Kirkuk. Kirkuk is a city in North-Eastern Iraq. Kirkuk is in one of the richest oilfields in Iraq and is the origin of pipelines extending to the Mediterranean coast.

(e) Karbala. Karbala is located in central Iraq. It lies on the edge of the Syrian Desert. It is one of the holiest Islamic cities and is a centre of pilgrimage for the Shias.

(f) Najaf. Najaf is a city and market centre in Southern Iraq. The Caliph Harun Al-Rashid founded the city at the site of the Tomb of Ali, the cousin of Prophet Muhammad. The tomb is an important shrine for Shia Muslims.

(g) Um Qasr is the largest port in Iraq.

(h) Tikrit is the birthplace of Saddam Hussein and a Sunni strong hold.

14. The two great rivers which define Iraq are the Tigris and the Euphrates, both of which rise in Turkey. The confluence of the main channels is at Al Qurnah, beyond which it is known as the Shatt-Al-Arab.
15. The country has about 47,400 Km of roads, of which 86 per cent are paved.
Railway Network.
16. Iraq possesses two separate railway systems, one standard gauge and one meter gauge. The total length of railway lines is about 2000 Km, of which approx 1500 Km is standard gauge.

Air Transport Links
17. International airports serve Baghdad and Basra. As per the CIA World Fact book, Iraq had a total of 150 airports. An unknown number of these were damaged during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Natural Resources
18. The natural resources of Iraq are primarily mineral. In addition to oil, the country has deposits of sulphur and phosphates, and small deposits of salt and gypsum.
19. Oil. Oil is the most important natural resource of Iraq. The country has the world’s largest proven deposits of petroleum. Its oil reserves are estimated at 100000 million barrels—enough for almost 100 years of production. The oilfields are located in the South-East, around the Persian Gulf, near Basra in the South Eastern part of the country, near Mosul and Kirkuk; and in the East-Central part of Iraq, near the town of Khanaqin.
Terrain Imperatives
20. The terrain, except for the North-Eastern Highlands, does not provide any defence potential and is conducive for conduct of mechanised operations. In the absence of any natural or artificial obstacles, the defender perforce has to occupy defences based on built up areas. Any offensive from the Southwest or West via Saudia Arabia ,Jordan or Syria would involve traversing through the great Syrian Desert, a highly inhospitable terrain, which would make logistics support difficult for a large sized force and hence not a viable option. An assault from Kuwait towards Baghdad could be sustained only if the major communication centres enroute, i.e. Al Nasiriya, Karbala, Al Najaf, Al Kut etc were captured. Capture of these would provide opening of major road axes to Baghdad. The sea access into Iraq required the immediate capture and opening up of the port of Umm Qasr and the important port town of Basra.
21. The securing of the oil resources of the country also necessitated the immediate domination of the oil rich regions of Basra in the South, Mosul-Kirkuk in the North and the region of Khanaqin towards the East. A land assault into Iraq has to be launched from any one of its neighbouring countries. Therefore, the coalition had to secure the support of these countries or at least some of them, to enable build up and launch its ground forces.

Geo Strategic Importance

22. Iraq lies at the junction of Africa, Asia and Europe where the land mass is deeply penetrated by the sea. Ease of movement between the gulf, the eastern Mediterranean and the Caspian Sea, made this an area of importance to all belligerents during both the world wars. Further the region is located at the heart of west Asia and at the head of the Persian Gulf. Located at the head Persian Gulf also gives Iraq a strategic command over the waterways and sea-lanes of communication, emanating from both the Persian Gulf and the Red sea. This provides Iraq the ability to influence all trade passing through the region. Being at the crossroads of three continents and having vast reserves of oil, the world interest in the region has never waned. Economics was also helped by the fact, that Iraq was a large, educated and liberal Islamic state. The world interest in Iraqi oil however goes deeper. In addition to being so profitable, western, especially US planners have long understood that Middle Eastern oil is of unparalleled geostrategic importance. As early as 1945, the US State Department noted that oil has historically played a larger part in the external relations of the United States as any other commodity. In particular, the government recognized that control over the region's oil would give it strategic leverage over competing capitalist states. The presence of oil in Iraq rather than the growing soviet communist influence was also the reason for the proclamation of the Eisenhower doctrine by the USA. This doctrine stated that the United States would supply military assistance to any Middle Eastern government whose stability was threatened by Communist aggression, the real reason for such assistance, of course being oil.
The People
23. Population. As per latest estimates Iraq had a population of approx 23 Million. The estimated overall population density was about 53 people per sq Km.
24. Religion. Approximately 95 per cent of the population is Muslims. About 60 to 65 per cent of them are Shias and the rest Sunni. The Shias mostly live in Central and Southern Iraq, the Sunnis principally in the North. In spite of the Shia majority the country has always been ruled by Sunnis.Iraq also has a small population of Christians.
Iraq’s Economy
25. Iraq's statistical system, like much of its economy, is in a sad state. None of the major international organisations has provided reliable data on Iraq's economy for the last decade, but a rough estimate of economic conditions can be obtained on the basis of informal estimates.
26. Iraq has experienced one of the most catastrophic economic declines in modern history. Data state, that per capita income, in 1979, was in the range of $9000, as per 2002 prices, and thereafter gradually dropped to $1,000-1,200 in 2001. These figures suggest that in the 23 years since Saddam came to power, living standards in Iraq's economy have declined by around 90 percent. The regime of Saddam Hussein has been as disastrous for the Iraqi economy as for other aspects of Iraqi society, specially post Gulf War I.
27. The first phase of the economic decline came during the Iran-Iraq war (1980- 1988), and second during the first Gulf War and under the subsequent UN sanctions. The Iran-Iraq war dealt a devastating blow to the Iraqi economy. The war destroyed a large part of Iraq's capital stock, reduced oil production and exports, and depleted much of its foreign assets and foreign exchange reserves. It is estimated that the total cost to Iraq was $450 billion (in current dollars), which amounts to about eight years of Iraq's GDP at that time.
28. The first Gulf War and the ensuing sanctions dealt two more blows to Iraq's economy. The war destroyed about $230 billion of infrastructure. The UN sanctions in place since 1991 have been the most severe ever imposed. Under sanctions, oil production during the 1991-2002 period averaged 1.4 million barrels per day (bpd). Assuming that Iraq could have produced 3 million bpd during this period, the revenue shortfall since the first Gulf War was about $150 billion. Although reliable statistics on the Iraqi GDP are unavailable, it probably averaged $25 billion in the 1990s. This suggests that the sanctions reduced Iraq's oil revenues by approximately six years of GDP, and the total cost to the Iraqi economy was probably even larger than that. Overall, the wars and sanctions during the Saddam regime probably cost Iraq in the order of two decades of GDP in lost output, capital, and financial resources. There are no parallels in modern history to economic devastation on that scale.
29. The implementation of the UN's oil-for-food programme beginning in December 1996 helped improve conditions for the average Iraqi citizen. Iraq was allowed to export limited amounts of oil in exchange for food, medicine, and some infrastructure spare parts. In December 1999 the UN Security Council authorised Iraq to export, under the program as much oil as required to meet humanitarian needs. The military victory of the US-led Coalition in March-April 2003 resulted in the shutdown of much of the central economic administrative structure and the loss of a comparatively small amount of capital plant.
30. The GDP in 2002 was estimated approximately to be $58 billion with per capita GDP of $2400. Out of this 45 percent comprised of oil industry, 20 percent agriculture, seven percent industry and 28 percent of services. The GDP real growth rate the same year was estimated to be minus three percent and inflation rate on consumer prices rose to a figure of 70 per cent.
31. Strengths. Iraq has about 11 percent of the world's oil and since it is so close to the surface, it is among the world's cheapest oil to extract. This makes it more profitable than oil from the Gulf of Mexico or the North Sea. Western powers thus vied for a piece of the Iraqi pie. Foreign owned companies invested heavily in Iraq. Oil brought about an eight-fold increase in revenue from $1 billion to $8.3 billion between 1972 and 1975. The nation’s strength has therefore arisen from these western indulgences. These also helped Iraq to raise the standard of living of its citizens. A level of literacy of 74 per cent has also added to its strength. Despite being an authoritarian regime Iraq was a modern Islamic state.
32. Weaknesses. Iraq was the only country in the Middle East ruled by the Sunni minority who formed only about 30 per cent of the nation’s population. The majority Shias, who account for about 55 per cent of the nation’s population, have never ruled the country. This has made them a target for fomenting trouble within Iraq, by neighbours like Iran. Furthermore the country has a substantial 13 per cent of Kurds clamoring for a separate nation. Since 1968 the government has been a dictatorship dominated by a single political party, the Baath Party. The people have little, if any, influence on the government. The succession of Hassan-Al-Bakr by Sadaam Hussein in 1979 was the beginning of the phase of a ruthless authoritarian rule in Iraq. The same strengths the country had, soon turned around to be its greatest weaknesses. The economy was wasted by a dictator on building a powerful army, to ruthlessly put down any hint of opposition, including waging a war with Iran and the blatant aggression of Kuwait. This brought about more social unrest and universal disapproval. Its valuable assets, as well as its basic social and economic infrastructure, were squandered, eroded, or irrevocably destroyed. Iraq's official foreign reserves (estimated at $35 to $40 billion at the beginning of the 1980s) were totally drained, either spent to finance the war with Iran or misallocated on projects such as building dozens of luxurious palaces for Saddam Hussein and his family.


33. After Gulf War I, the US followed a policy of containment with regard to Iraq. Yet despite the UN inspections and sanctions Saddam Hussein remained in power.The US policy slowly changed from containment to military intervention. What were the reasons for this change?

34. The major reason is the changed US perceptions after 9/11. The September 11 attack exposed the vulnerabilities of the US homeland to terrorist attacks and changed the perception of the US policy makers towards terrorism. The Bush administration issued its first National Security Strategy in September 2002 and chapter five of this document summarises the administration's approach to using force. This document is known as “the Bush Doctrine”.

35. The Bush Doctrine is based upon a reaction, to what the US sees as a combination of political and religious extremism joined by the availability of weapons of mass destruction. The Bush Doctrine identifies three threat agents. Firstly, terrorist organisations with global reach like the Al Qaeda, secondly, states that harbour and assist terrorist organisations like Taliban’s Afghanistan, and thirdly Rogue States. The definition of a rogue state seems to be modeled on Iraq. It is no wonder, that in his 29 January, 2002, State of the Union address, President Bush characterised Iraq as part of an axis of evil along with Iran and North Korea. Thus, it would be pertinent to examine the various allegations made by the US in view of this change in US perception and policy.

36. US Secretary of State, Mr. Collin Powell on 05 February 2003 detailed for the UN Security Council, accumulated evidence of Iraq’s unwillingness to cooperate with the UN disarmament process. In a speech that lasted almost an hour and a half, Powell played tapes of intercepted Iraqi military communications, showed surveillance photographs of military sites, and recounted information received from other sources. He gave background on each piece of intelligence; he was revealing and provided analysis on all the weapons programmes.

Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

37. The major reason given by the US for military intervention in Iraq was the pursuit of WMD by Iraq. Ironically till date nothing has been found of these weapons and the question of veracity of this intelligence is being hotly debated. However, it would be more pertinent in this presentation to piece together the charges made against Iraq.

Iraq’s Nuclear Weapons Programme

38. Despite the fact that the facilities and nuclear material of Iraq had been destroyed or removed after the Gulf WarI, the International Atomic Energy Association (IAEA) in a report in 1997 concluded that the know how and expertise acquired by Iraqi scientists could provide an adequate base for reconstituting a nuclear weapons oriented programme.

39. The US Secretary of State, Mr Colin Powell while addressing the UN said that Saddam Hussein already possessed two out of the three key components needed to build a nuclear bomb. He had a cadre of nuclear scientists with the expertise and a bomb design. Since 1998, his efforts to reconstitute his nuclear programme had focused on acquiring the third and last component, which was sufficient fissile material. To make the fissile material, he needed to develop an ability to enrich uranium. Mr Powell claimed that Saddam was so determined that he made repeated covert attempts to acquire high-specification aluminum tubes for enrichment processes from 11 different countries, even after inspections resumed. Thus, it may be true that Baghdad had nuclear ambitions; however, it would be difficult to conjecture at what level, Iraq had reached in this regard.

Iraq’s Chemical Weapons Programme

40. There were four important points made by the US Secretary of State in the UN with regards to Iraq’s chemical weapons programme:-

a) Firstly, Saddam Hussein had used these horrific weapons on another country and on his own people. b) Second, as with biological weapons, Saddam Hussein had never accounted for vast amounts of chemical weaponry.

c) Thirdly, he said Iraq’s record on chemical weapons was replete with lies. The United Nations Special Commission, UNOSCOM had found forensic evidence to prove that Iraq had weaponised the nerve agent VX. But Iraq continued to deny this.

d) Fourthly, he said that there was information that Iraq had embedded key portions of its illicit chemical weapons infrastructure within its legitimate civilian industry. To all outward appearances, even to experts, the infrastructure looked like an ordinary civilian operation. Any inspections at such facilities would be unlikely to turn up anything prohibited, especially if there were any warning that the inspections were coming.

Iraq’s Biological Weapons Programme

41. In its 1999 final report to the U.N. Security Council, UNSCOM noted that Iraq's biological warfare programme was among the most secretive of its programmes of WMD and it was not possible to verify Iraq's statements about the extent and nature of its biological weapons programme. In mid-1995, Iraq admitted that it had weaponised biological weapons agents, but claimed that the entire biological weapons programme had been obliterated in 1991. In July 1995, Iraq also acknowledged that it had produced two biological agents in bulk namely Botulinum Toxin and Anthrax. Iraq had also developed Aerosol Generators for the dispersal of biological agents.

42. The US allegations highlighted the UNSCOM reports, and Mr. Collin Powell in his 05 February speech added, that the Iraqis had developed mobile production facilities used to make biological agents. This simple tactic he claimed made it impossible to find these mobile labs and Iraq had at least seven of these mobile, biological agent factories. In fact, they could produce enough dry, biological agents in a single month to kill thousands of people.

Delivery Means for WMD

43. The UN Council Resolution 687 forbade Iraq from possessing missiles with range beyond 150 Km. While inspectors destroyed most of the prohibited ballistic missiles, the US claimed, that Saddam Hussein retained a covert force of up to a few dozen Scud-variant ballistic missiles. These were missiles with a range of 650 to 900 Km.

44. The US also claimed that Iraq had dedicated much effort to developing and testing spray devices that could be adapted for UAVs. It also alleged that Iraq had tested an UAV, capable of nonstop 500 Km flight, which was in excess of the 150 Km, that the United Nations resolution permitted. Mr. Collin Powell maintained that Iraq was pursuing a programme for delivery means in contravention of UN resolutions and was a threat to the stability of the region.

Iraq’s Links with Terrorists

45. The US claimed that there were links between Iraq and Al Qaida. The US Secretary of State in his speech to the UN detailed this link. He said that Iraq harboured a deadly terrorist network headed by Abu Massad Al Zakawi, an associate and collaborator of Osama bin Laden. Al Zakawi established a ‘Poison and Explosives Training Centre’ in North-Eastern Iraq after the Taliban was ousted.

46. The Secretary of State claimed that Al Zakawi traveled to Baghdad in May 2002 for medical treatment and stayed in the capital of Iraq for two months. During his stay, nearly two dozen extremists converged on Baghdad and established a base of operations there.

47. The US claims and evidence were based primarily on interrogations of captured suspects conducted under unspecified circumstances of psychological pressure. In fact no credible evidence was ever presented to link Saddam Hussein with the September 11 attacks. Nevertheless, the link between the Al Qaida and Iraq was cited to be one of the main justifications for Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Access to Iraqi Oil

48. Iraq’s oil was once famously described by an OPEC founder as 'excrement of the devil'. Now oil is considered by some to be at the heart of the crisis that led to Operation Iraqi Freedom. Few outside the oil industry understand just how high the stakes are in Iraq and how much the history of the world oil industry is a history of power, national rivalry and military force.

49. Just how important is oil considered by the US, can be gauged on the basis of a report by the Baker Institute for Public Policy on the energy crisis in the USA. The Baker report highlights massive shortages in world oil supplies which leave the US facing unprecedented energy price volatility. It recommends a new viable US energy policy central to America's domestic economy and foreign policy.

50. Another reason for the US worry was that, other countries were making inroads into Iraqi oil knowing that the sanctions would have to be lifted one day. Lukoil of Russia, signed a deal for development of the West Qurna field, while Total of France obtained rights to Majnoun, and China National Oil Company to North Rumailah. The Western companies feared that they would lose their leading role in the world oil industry if these contracts with the competitors came to fruition. Thus, though never clearly stated, oil is possibly one of the main reasons for Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Failure of Policy of Containment

51. Despite the resounding success of Desert Storm, the US- Iraq confrontation since then was considered a frustrating failure for US policy. Iraq remained hostile, committed to its nuclear, biological and chemical programmes under the leadership of Saddam Hussein, perhaps the world leader, America detested most. According to the US Administration, on 12 September, 2002, Iraq defied at least 16 UN Security Council resolutions enacted since the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990. Efforts by Iraq to impede UN weapons inspections and challenge to the Allied imposed, no-fly zones over Northern and Southern Iraq resulted in further confrontations with the US and its allies. These facts convinced the US that the policy of containment was not sufficient to deal with Saddam.

Change of Regime in Iraq

52. The United States had been attempting to change Iraq’s regime since Gulf War I, although achieving this goal was not a declared policy until 1998. In November 1998, amid a crisis with Iraq over UN, WMD inspections, the Clinton Administration stated that the United States would seek to go beyond containment, to promoting a change of regime.

53. A regime change policy was endorsed by the Iraq Liberation Act (ILA) on 31 October 1998. The ILA gave the President, authority to provide up to $97 million in defence articles and $2 million in broadcasting funds to opposition organisations to be designated by the administration. Subsequently, Bush administration officials had always emphasised regime change as the cornerstone of US policy towards Iraq.

Internal Support for Regime Change

54. Senior US officials believed that a majority of Iraqis would welcome the overthrow of a regime that had long oppressed them. Disaffection from the Ba’thist regime was particularly strong among the Kurds, who had been leading targets of repression, but was reportedly also rife among other segments of the Iraqi population. Although many commentators discounted the effectiveness of Iraq’s divided opposition groups, these groups had taken steps to heal rifts and coordinate their efforts, though with mixed results.

55. To summarise, it is ironic that after so many months of fall of Baghdad, the coalition forces have not been able to prove their claims of WMD or terrorists links and are also unable in getting the desired level of support from the Iraqi people. In fact, both the US and UK are being compelled by public pressure to enquire into the intelligence inputs leading to the war. This does put serious doubts on the allegations made on Iraq but the US hostility towards Saddam, the energy requirements of the US and its perceptions of state security post 9/11 attacks, made it ride roughshod over the world opinion and go in for Operation Iraqi Freedom. Perhaps the most telling remark was made by the US National Security Advisor, Ms Condeleezza Rice on CNN network in September 02, “We don’t want the Smoking Gun to become a Mushroom Cloud”.

Possible End State Desired by the USA

56. US Army doctrine focuses primarily on the military aspects of end state and defines military end state as the required conditions that, when achieved, attain the strategic objectives or pass the main effort to other instruments of national power, to achieve the final strategic end .

57. During Gulf War II the stated US Political Objectives or Overall Strategy was: -

(a) A stable Iraq, with its territorial integrity intact and a broad-based government that renounces WMD development and use.

(b) A government which does not support terrorism or threatens its neighbours. (c) Success in Iraq leveraged to convince or compel other countries to cease support to terrorists and to deny them access to WMD.

(d) Destroy Iraqi WMD capability and infrastructure.

(e) Protect allies and supporters from Iraqi threats and attacks.

(f) Destroy terrorist networks in Iraq, gather intelligence on global terrorism; detain terrorists and war criminals, and liberate individuals, unjustly detained under the Iraqi regime.

58. Keeping these objectives in mind, the possible desired end state of USA in Iraq was the establishment of a puppet moderate regime, which did not pursue a WMD programme or aid terrorists and ensured US interests in the region.


59. As a regional system, the Gulf is at a stage, where leave aside consensus, mutual recognition of sovereignty of states is not yet all encompassing. The region thus remains conflict prone as seen by the recent wars and other armed conflicts, in which regional states have been involved. The reactions of some of the Middle Eastern countries to Operation Iraqi Freedom are given in subsequent paragraphs.


60. Traditionally an American ally, Turkey was worried about an escalation by Turkish Kurds fighting for autonomy in South-West Turkey. Iraq's Kurds had carved out a northern enclave, protected by US and British warplanes for more than a decade. Turkey feared any bid to strengthen the Iraqi Kurds' independence could resonate across the border. Thus, the Turkish Prime Minister made his priority clear on 03 January, namely to avoid a US-led war against Iraq.


61. Syria backed a resolution in November warning Iraq of serious consequences, if it obstructed UN weapons inspectors. Syria, however, strongly opposed any new proposal authorising a military strike. Syria feared being penned in by Washington, although it had gradually warmed to the West since the end of the Cold War.

Saudi Arabia and Jordan

62. Like Turkey, Saudi Arabia is a staunch ally of the US. It supported the US during the Gulf War I, but now the monarchy in Saudi Arabia frets about Muslim radicals gaining more ground. Relations between the US and Saudi Arabia are beginning to strain with more and more evidence of links of terrorists with the country emerging daily. A US military strike without UN sanction was widely seen as a potential rallying point for further extremist violence.

63. There is a belief in the region, that the US policy is utterly wrong and will cause more problems than it solves. Rising Muslim anger unnerved the pro-American royal families in Jordan and Saudi Arabia. Jordan like Saudi Arabia feared a radical backlash to any military intervention in the region, which would have an adverse affect on its internal matters.


64. Iran and Iraq fought a bloody war over the Shatt-Al-Arab for nearly a decade, yet Iran appears to face the toughest quandary. Saddam’s demise would have been widely cheered, but Iran, sandwiched between Iraq in the west, and Afghanistan and Pakistan to the North and East, felt claustrophobic. A pro-American government succeeding Saddam would leave Iran encircled by Washington Allies. Iran is on the Bush administration’s “axis of evil” radar, and top Iranian officials wondered, whether their country could be the next to be threatened.


65. Only in Kuwait, which was steamrolled by Iraqi invaders in 1990, do officials openly wish for Saddam's violent end. A Kuwaiti parliament member went as far as to say that they hoped to see Saddam’s body being dragged around in the streets of Baghdad.

66. Thus, the Middle East provides a diverse collection, with bedrock US Allies led by Turkey and Saudi Arabia, Syria with its tense relations with Washington, and the clerics ruling Iran, who scorn the United States as the "Great Satan". All felt uneasy about Saddam Hussein, but feared conflict even more. The general anxiety was about a military showdown whose fallout could make the 1991 Gulf War seem tame in terms of refugees and economic losses. But as mentioned earlier each nation had its own reasons for opposing the conflict. Iran and Syria were alarmed about encroaching US military and political influence. Turkey was worried about a possible new round of battles with separatist Kurds. Monarchies in Saudi Arabia and Jordan worried about Muslim radicals gaining more ground. So perhaps except for Kuwait, all the major countries in the Middle East opposed war.


Iraqi Strategy

67. The Iraqi response was based on the prevailing asymmetry and the experience of Gulf War I. Saddam was willing to sacrifice open space and hold only urban areas. It was clear that the mistakes committed in 1991 were not to be repeated. The endeavour was to delay the fall of Baghdad by conducting urban guerrilla warfare and harassing operations in the coalition rear areas. With this in view, defence works were prepared in built up areas and airstrips were blocked to prevent air landed assaults. The sole intention of the Iraqi regime was to delay the coalition offensive, making it costly in terms of coalition as well as civilian casualties. Prolonging the war would also assist Saddam in mobilising anti-war sentiments of the Arabs and winning international condemnation for the US, and thus hasten the demand for a ceasefire.

Iraqi Forces

68. State of Iraqi Forces. Iraq had an Army of approximately four lakhs soldiers. They were organised into five Corps comprising 17 divisions. In addition, the Republican Guards constituted a total of seven divisions. All these formations were well equipped with armour, artillery and air defence, though of a rather old vintage. The air force and navy were insignificant. The air defence resources and the available air force were dispersed, to survive the anticipated air campaign of the Coalition Air Force. In the last one decade, the Iraqi forces had not been upgraded due to the economic and military sanctions and were in a very poor state in terms of equipment. The soldiers were ill paid, ill trained and ill equipped. The dedication and motivation of almost the entire Iraqi Army was suspect, except for the Special Republican Guards, Saddam’s Fidayeen and Baath Party Activists.

69. The Iraqi armed forces had suffered considerable attrition during Gulf War I. However, over a period of time they had been reorganised and now comprised of five Corps, the Republican Guards and some irregular forces. The composition and deployment of these forces at the beginning of the war was assessed to be as follows:-

(a) 1 Corps. Comprising 2, 8, 38 Infantry Divisions and 5 Mechanised Division, with the corps HQ located at Kirkuk.(Refer Figure 1)

(b) 2 Corps. Comprising 15, 34 Infantry Divisions and 3 Armoured Division, with the corps HQ located at Deyala.

(c) 3 Corps. Comprising 11 Infantry Division, 51 Mechanised Division and 6 Armoured Division, with the corps HQ located at Al Nasiriyah.

(d) 4 Corps. Comprising 14 and 18 Infantry Divisions and 10 Armoured Division, with the corps HQ located at Al Amarah.

(e) 5 Corps. Comprising 4, 7 and 16 Infantry Divisions and 1 Mechanised Division, with the corps HQ located at Mosul.


(f) Republican Guards. The Republican Guard formations were responsible for the protection of Baghdad and comprised of the following:-

(i) Northern Corps Republican Guards.

aa) 2 Al Medina Al Munnawara Armoured Division located near Karbala.

(ab) 25 Baghdad Infantry Division guarding the Northern approaches to Baghdad. (ac) Al Abed Infantry Division located at Kirkuk in the North.

(ad) 1 Adnan Mechanised Division based at Mosul, North-West of Baghdad. . (ii) Southern Corps Republican Guards (Baghdad Region).

(aa) Al Neda Armoured Division located at Al Taji, South-West of Baghdad.

(ab) Nebuchadnezzar Infantry Division located North-East of Baghdad.

(ac) Hamurabi Mechanised Division located West of Baghdad.

(g) Special Republican Guards. These troops were responsible for the close protection of Saddam Hussein and had the following strength based at Baghdad:-

(i) Four Infantry Brigades (14 battalions). (ii) One Armoured Brigade.

(j) Saddam Fidayeen.

(k) Al Quds Army (Palestinian Guerillas).


Coalition Objectives

70. The stated objective of the Coalition Forces, as enumerated by United States Defence Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, on the eve of the war, was as follows: - a) End the regime of Saddam Hussein. b) Identify, isolate, and eliminate Iraq’s WMD and related facilities.

c) Capture or drive out terrorists sheltered in Iraq.

d) Secure Iraq’s oil fields and natural resources for the Iraqi people.

e) End sanctions and start immediate delivery of humanitarian relief and assistance.

f) Help the Iraqi people in a rapid transition to a representative form of self-government, which does not threaten its neighbours and is committed to the territorial integrity of Iraq.

Coalition Strategy

71. The Coalition based their operations on the strategy of ‘Shock and Awe’. The approach was based on the following course of action: -

(a) ‘Shock Out’. This aimed at degrading Iraqi combat potential and paralysing its command and control setup through selective and precise targetting. A lethal combination of cruise missiles and air attacks were planned, to cause extensive destruction and thus display the might of the Coalition Forces and also the capability to strike at will. The rapidity, accuracy and sheer weight of the attacks was meant to create an intense shock effect.

(b) ‘Psyche Out’. The primary target of the ‘Shock and Awe’ strategy was the mind of the entire Iraqi population. The endeavor was to force them into believingm, that resistance to such a superior adversary was futile and thereby, induce the surrender of the Iraqi forces, even before the commencement of the ground operations. In addition to a well coordinated propaganda campaign, involving the use of the electronic media and dropping of leaflets, the Coalition administration was also in covert touch with a number of Iraqi military and political leaders. The aim was to encourage defections and uprisings, and exploit the disenchantment of the Kurds in the North, and the Shias in the South.

(c) Simultaneity of Operations. This involved the launch of short, sharp and precise special forces operations, in consonance with the ground offensive, to seize oil fields, dams and other critical infrastructure to minimise the loss of resources, caused by fleeing Iraqi troops, as was done in the previous Gulf War. The protection of the oilfields was given a special emphasis, since the oil revenues were critical for the post war re-building of Iraq.

(d) Avoidance of Collateral Damage. Targetting of civil population and other non-military infrastructure was to be avoided and humanitarian missions were to follow military operations closely, so as to attend to civilian casualties.

(e) Post War Efforts. On termination of the war, immediate disarmament of the military and civil population was to be carried out, to obviate internal strife. The next step was to be the commencement of post war re-construction and the initiation of a process to establish, a democratic government in the earliest time frame.

ORBAT of Coalition Forces

72. The Coalition forces comprised primarily of troops from US and UK, and a smaller contingent from Australia. This force was equipped with the state of art weapons and equipment, and was far superior to the Iraqi military forces in terms of its motivation, leadership, fire support and command and control structure. A comparison of the opposing forces purely in numerical terms would therefore provide an unrealistic assessment.

73. US Forces. The US forces comprised of the following formations: -

(a) 5 Corps.

(i) 3 Infantry Division (Mechanised).

(ii) 101 Airborne Division.

(iii) Brigade of 82 Airborne Division.

(iv) 173 Air Assault Brigade.

(b) 4 Infantry Division (Mechanised).

(c) 1 Marine Expeditionary Force.

(d) 2 Marine Expeditionary Force.

(e) 2 and 3 Armoured Cavalry Regiments.

(f) 32 Air and Missile Defence Command.

74. UK Forces. The UK forces comprised of the following formations: -

(a) 1 Armoured Division.

(b) 3 Commando Brigade.

(c) 16 Air Assault Brigade.

(d) 102 Logistics Brigade.

75. Other Forces.

(a) Australia. 2000 troops including 100 SAS troops.

(b) Poland. 200 troops.

76. Command and Control. During this campaign, Coalition Forces and various arms of the services were to operate under one theatre commander. A vast C4I2 structure was established to facilitate the same. However, maximum subordinate freedom of action was built in within the scope of the commander's intentions. This ensured the concept of centralised command and decentralised control. General Tommy Franks, Commander US CENTCOM was the overall Coalition Forces Commander with his HQ based at Qatar. This Headquarter had separate land and air components called the Coalition Forces Land Component Headquarter and Coalition Forces Air Component Headquarter, working in very close coordination with each other. A separate Combined Air Operations Centre was also established in Saudi Arabia to coordinate the employment of the air effort.

Coalition Operational Plans

77. Centres of Gravity. Modern western military strategy demands, an attack upon the enemy’s centre of gravity at the highest possible levels. At the strategic level, the centre of gravity was Saddam and Baghdad, the seat of power of the regime. In military terms, the centre of gravity was the mass of Republican Guards formations deployed around Baghdad.
78. Concept of Operations. The broad concept of operations was based on the following factors:- (a) Subvert Saddam Hussein’s regime, forcing its early collapse through covert operations, elimination or decapacitation.

(b) Launch precise attacks on command and control centres and render the military leadership ineffective. (c) Shape the battle field by use of Precision Guided Munitions (PGM) strikes, preventing effective use of mechanised forces by the Iraqis.

(d) Carryout a speedy offensive by ground forces with the aim of capturing the centre of gravity, i.e. Baghdad.

(e) Bypass opposition encountered enroute for subsequent destruction.

(f) Incite local rebellions against Saddam’s regime.

(g) Capture air heads and logistic bases to ensure continuous logistic supply.

(h) Render humanitarian aid at the earliest.

79. Initial Outline Plan. Defence planners at Pentagon commenced planning for the operation as early as August 2002. The war was to be conducted in two phases as follows: -

(a) Phase I. Large scale air strikes over three to four days, using PGM, aimed towards Iraqi air defence system, Scud missile sites, command and control elements, communication infra-structure and troops in open.

(b) Phase II. Rapid advance by highly mobile ground forces, simultaneously, from Turkey in the North and from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait in the South, with Baghdad as their objective.

80. Review of Operational Plans. Unlike Gulf War I, the Coalition did not enjoy the total support of the Arab world for its unilateral offensive plans for Iraq. Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria and Iran did not grant the use of their territory. Turkey, which initially allowed the commencement of a US build up, for the proposed offensive thrust from the North, subsequently refused the use of its land and air space in deference to the prevailing public opinion. This decision effectively aborted the Northern thrust. It was only Kuwait, which allied itself with the coalition and provided the firm base for the build up and eventual launch of a ground offensive from the South.
81. The Coalition still felt the need to dominate Northern Iraq. This need stemmed from the necessity to secure the oilfields and related assets, like the refineries and oil pipelines in that region. There was also a need to thwart any Turkish misadventure against the Kurds who have been waging a violent struggle against it, for a separate state of their own. The only way do so was to resort to an airborne landing, in adequate strength.

Final Coalition Plan

82. Refer Figure 2. The Coalition Forces were to advance into Iraq on three prongs as follows:-

(a) Securing of Faw peninsula and advance towards Basra by the British 3 Commando Brigade and 7 Armoured Brigade.

(b) Advance by US 3 Infantry Division from Kuwait towards Al Najaf - Karbala and further towards Baghdad from the West.

(c) Advance by US 1 Marine Expeditionary Force from Kuwait towards Al Nasiriya – Al Kut, and further towards Baghdad from the East.

(d) Air borne landing by troops of US Airborne Assault Division near Mosul in Northern Iraq and further advance southwards, towards Kirkuk. FINAL COALITION PLAN [pic] Figure 2

Commencement of Operations

83. The operation was planned to commence on 22 March 03. However, on 19 March 03 highly reliable CIA inputs confirmed the presence of Saddam Hussein at a particular location in Baghdad. A quick decision to modify the plans was thus reached in Pentagon and in the early hours of 20 March 03, a massive decapacitating strike to eliminate Saddam Hussein was launched. Gulf War II had thus begun.


84. The conduct of Gulf War II would be covered in the following sub parts:-

a) Battle of Southern Iraq.

b) Battle of Central Iraq.

c) Battle of Northern Iraq.

d) Impact of Sea Power.

e) Impact of Air Power.


Battle Line Up

85. Regular Army Forces in Southern Iraq. The Iraqi Army had two corps that played a major role in securing Shi’ite areas and suppressing Shi’ite dissidents. There were six divisions, two of which were heavy armoured divisions as under:-

(a) 3 Corps. This was positioned near Kuwaiti border and included an armoured, an infantry and a mechanised division.

(b) 4 Corps. This corps was tasked to defend the borders with Iran and comprised of an armoured division and two infantry divisions.

86. The Southern Corps of the Republican Guard. This corps had a task on the Iranian border as well as to the South against any US led attack. This comprised of the following:- (a) Al Neda Armoured Division located at Al Taji, South-West of Baghdad.

(b) Nebuchadnezzar Infantry Division.

(c) Hamurabi Mechanised Division located West of Baghdad..

87. The Coalition Forces. The line up of the Coalition forces in Southern Iraq has already been described in the earlier part.

The Crossing Of The Line : Prelude

88. As it has been brought out some key steps of the war began long before G- day. These were as under:-

(a) The Coalition had almost a decade to improve its intelligence and targeting in Iraq. (b) It had developed basing structure in several Gulf States improving air bases and capabality to handle additional troops and air crafts.

(c) Sea lift had begun for necessary movement of heavy equipment and supplies nearly a year earlier.

(d) It also transformed its patrol of the No-Fly Zone in Iraq into suppression of Iraqi air defence.

e) Human intelligence had been established.

19/20 March: G-Day

89. Although some preliminary operations were conducted on 19 March against Iraqi air defence and missile system, that threatened Coalition forces in Kuwait, the main attacks began early on 20 March, about 20 minutes after the US ultimatum demanding that Saddam leave Iraq, expired.

90. The war began with President Bush giving a “go ahead” on confirmed reports of Saddam Hussein’s location. US launched bombs and missiles at targets aimed at ‘decapitating the Iraqi leadership’. These attacks were executed using more than 40 Tomahawk Land Attack Missile System (TLAMS) from six US war ships located in the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf. The F-117 Night Hawks and F-15 E Strike Eagles were extensively used in shaping the battle field. As the only means of retaliation, Iraq launched two surface to surface missiles which were successfully intercepted by the Patriot batteries.

91. The land operations also began on 20 March, less than 24 hours after the first air strike. The initial bombing had scattered Iraqi leadership cutting them off from their field forces and leaving Iraqi army on its own. This was the reason why US led Coalition met meagre resistance, and in one day of the offensive secured the outskirts of Umm Qasr as also the Faw Penninsula.

20/21 March

92. Refer Figure 3. Coalition forces pushed into Iraq along two thrust lines- the eastern thrust with UK 7 Armoured Brigade and US 1 Marine Expeditionary Force leading the advance; and the western thrust with US 3 Infantry Division leading and 101 Air Borne Division following. Along the Eastern thrust, the port town of Umm Qasr was isolated by 21 March, and simultaneously UK 3 Commando Brigade secured the Faw Peninsula.The speed of the offensive and effective isolation of Iraqi leadership was such that Iraqi forces could set fire to only nine oil wells of the 1000 existing.

93. Along the Western thrust, advance started on 21 March and met stiff resistance at Basra. Thus, encircling of Basra was forced upon the Coalition forces. The 3 Infantry Division eventually commenced its advance towards Baghdad with the UK component of the force, masking Basra from the West. US warships and Royal Navy submarines continued the barrage of TLAMS on high value targets to include command and control centres in Baghdad.


Figure 3

21/22 March

94. The Coalition forces had by now launched a total of 600 cruise missiles with almost 500 of these being Tomahawks, launched from ships and submarines, and the rest, air launched. The targets included Iraqi military command and control structures, installations and buildings.

95. The US 5 Corps secured bridges over the Euphrates in its rapid advance on Baghdad. At Basra, the Irqai 51 Mechanised Division surrendered as US marines and the UK 7 Armoured Brigade secured the area. Marines from the 1 Marine Division and UK Royal Marines combined their efforts to secure key Iraqi oil infrastructure.

96. 3 Commando Brigade of the Royal Marines and the 15 Marine Expeditionary Unit secured the port of Umm Qasr by 1600 hours, laying the groundwork for the delivery of humanitarian aid. Royal Navy and US Navy mine hunters, continued clearance operations in the Southern waterways to allow supplies to be shipped into Umm Qasr. The Royal Fleet Auxiliary Sir Galahan was unable to reach the port, on account of these operations for delivering aid.

22-25 March

97. The intense air effort continued with US aircrafts alone, flying more than 1500 sorties, with more than half being strike sorties, directed at 500 aim points across Iraq. The targets included Iraqi integrated air defence system, Regime command and control, leadership and suspected WMD sites.

98. The ground offensive now involved more than 170,000 US Army, Marine and allied forces in Iraq. The advance towards North, encountered stiff resistance in some locations includilg Al Nasiryah. Considerable efforts were directed towards operations to secure the Umm Qasr Port, where sporadic resistance continued to delay the flow of humanitarian aid.

99. By 23 March, mine clearance operations in the Southern waterways made good progress, with half the route to Umm Qasr made safe. Logistics preparations continued to allow the shipping of humanitarian supplies, once the route was cleared. Coalition air attacks continued against Republican Guard formations and regime command and control and military formations, virtually all over the country with precision guided munitions. On March 24, US aircraft flew more than 1,500 sorties. Some 800 bombing sorties were flown against 500 pre planned targets. British forces completed operations to secure Umm Qasr. Hereafter the advance to Baghdad commenced.


100. The Battle of Central Iraq will be covered in two phases, advance to Baghdad and the Battle of Baghdad.

Advance To Baghdad

101. Iraq’s army was not prepared and in place to deal with the 5 Corps and 1 Marine Expeditionary Force advance. Many elements of the Iraq regular army could not move in any coherent pattern of manoeuvre. Iraq was forced to block the main thrusts of the Coalition advance by committing its Republican Guards piecemeal, in manoeuvers that made them vulnerable to air attack, despite the bad weather. Thus, they were forced to close on the advancing Coalition forces in what became a series of engagements. They were then outgunned and out-targeted by 5 Corps and 1 Marine Expeditionary Force.

102. Saddam Hussein’s regime stripped Baghdad and Tikrit of the shield of Republican Guard forces and possibly deployed elements of the Special Republican Guards as well. It may have been calculated that this would result in enough US casualties and delays to give the regime, political support and time. The end result, however, was that the Republican Guards suffered greater attrition, and lost the force structure they needed to conduct a cohesive defence of Baghdad.

22-24 March

103. By 22 March, Talil airfield was secured by 101 Airborne Division. Al Nasiriyah was contacted on 23 March. The opposing forces actively employed armoured vehicles in highly mobile attacks and counter attacks. The elements of US 3 Infantry Division and 1 Marine Infantry Division ended up in an exceptionally difficult situation. While attempting to encircle Basra from the North, and to block elements from Al Nasiriyah, both the divisions found themselves caught between the defending Iraqi forces. The Iraqi leadership used this situation and launched a decisive counter attack with upto 80 tanks in an open flank of the US forces. As a result of this counter attack, the US units were at a risk of being separated and surrounded.Due to this, the available forces were directed to protect the flanks of 3 Infantry Division, as the Coalition advance towards Najaf was halted. The Coalition action forced Iraq to pull back its troops to Eastern parts of Al Nasiriyah across the Euphrates River where they assumed defensive positions along the riverbank.

25-29 March

104. By 0700 hours on 25 March, the fighting in Al Nasiriyah stopped. The Iraqi troops from Umm Qasr and Basra were pulled out and in the meantime, advance of 3 Infantry Division along with 101 Airborne Division towards Baghdad resumed.

105. 26 March saw a tactical pause in the Coalition operations. The Coalition forces were forced into positional warfare and urgently needed the ammunition, FOL and reinforcements. Iraq used this opportunity to regroup its forces. However the fighting continued in small pockets. Iraqi special operation forces operated in small teams as they laid mines and ambushes and carried out, sniping actions on the logistic columns. The Coalition was forced to deploy the combat escort units and provide air cover to logistic convoys. Iraq reinforced Al Nasiriyah by several artillery regiments and a large number of anti tank weapons. Mining along the expected approaches were resorted to. The Coalition moved in, two armoured brigades and one marine brigade to reinforce 3 Infantry Division. The rising sand storms forced all combat activities to be seized and air strikes were far and few. The sand storms turned out to be the main enemy of the US military equipment.
106. The Iraqis took advantage of the sand storm to regroup and to reinforce the defences along the approaches of Karbala and Najaf with upto two armoured brigades These conditions forced the Allies to push in more troops and the 4 Infantry Division was reported to be air lifted to the region. The sand storms subsided by 1600 hours on 28 March. The Coalition forces were now reinforced and re supplied by ammunition and FOL.

107. . While the action was under way in Al Nasiriyah, elements of 3 Infantry Division advanced and contacted Najaf and Karbala by 28/ 29 March. Once again the coalition forces faced a stiff resistance at both the places. Fierce fighting had resumed on 28 March.

108. By 29 March, US Army 3 Infantry Division was within 80 Km of Baghdad. The fighting in towns was still on, with Iraqi soldiers discarding the uniforms and mingling with the locals. Refer Figure 4


Figure 4
01-04 April

109. By 01 April, the induction of the 4 Infantry Division was being hurried up to provide relief to the troops of 3 Infantry Division. 1 Marine Expeditionary Force was directed to advance toward Baghdad on the Central Axis, East of River Euphrates where they were able to seize a bridge intact over the river which was rigged for demolition. The force contacted Al-Diwaniyah on 01 April and was on the West of Karbala by 02 April.

110. 101 Airborne Division started engaging the elite Republican Guard units, guarding Baghdad. In a bold and daring move, Allied forces captured Baghdad airfield. Meanwhile after stiff fighting, Al Najaf was secured by 04 April by 101 Airborne Division and Karbala, by 07April by 3 Infantry Division.

111. The US 1 Marine Expeditionary Force had commenced its advance toward Baghdad on the Central thrust from Nasiriyah. After encountering and clearing pockets of resistance, it finally reached South of Baghdad by 04 April. Refer Figure 4.

The Battle of Baghdad

112. One of the most striking aspects of the much-anticipated “Battle of Baghdad” was that it involved a series of relatively small battles rather than a climactic encounter. By the time the battle began, Coalition air power had already inflicted massive damage on Iraq’s Republican Guard and other units that had actively maneuvered or fought. It had destroyed much of Iraq’s command and control capability and had shocked many units into ceasing to manoeuvre to fight or even into disbanding.

113. 5 Corps’ successful push through the Karbala Gap, and the weakness of the remaining Republican Guards, opened up the defences of Baghdad before the Iraqi regime could reposition its forces to the limited extent; it could do so in the face of Coalition airpower. It became apparent that the Republican Guards had been shattered outside Baghdad, and the large numbers of regular army forces remaining also could not manoeuvre effectively against advancing Coalition forces.
114. The sudden drive by 5 Corps, into Baghdad’s international airport exposed the overall weakness of the remaining Iraqi forces and divided them. This also enabled the Coalition to launch deep armoured penetrations and raids into Baghdad. These “thunder runs” showed that the Coalition could defeat Iraq’s remaining forces, and they proved to the Iraqi defenders, that the regime’s claims about Coalition defeats were false.

115. The sheer speed of the 5 Corps’ penetration into the regime’s center of power in Baghdad, the permeating shock of continuing precision air strikes, and the operations of special forces and the 173 Airborne Brigade largely paralysed, and then defeated most Iraqi resistance in the West and North as effective fighting forces.

116. As a result, the regime of Saddam Hussein had little or no ability to conduct any kind of mass urban warfare throughout the city. 5 Corps was able to choose their areas and lines of attack with considerable flexibility, and without encountering asymmetric tactics like mass suicide attacks or being dragged into house-to-house fighting. There was loyalist resistance, but it tended to disperse and melt away after initial defeats. The result was that the fighting inside the city became more of a pacification campaign than classic urban warfare.

117. Capture of Baghdad. By 04 April, the Baghdad International Airport had been captured. Coalition aircrafts carried out air strikes on Muthenna Military Airport, Iraqi intelligence service HQ, telecommunication centre, Al Salam palace and presidential secretariat. By then, the 3 Infantry Division commenced its cordon from south and west, and 1 Marine Expeditionary Force from South-East and East. Both these forces cut the major routes in and out of the city, eliminating the opportunity for large forces to move in and reinforce and certainly complicating the problems of anyone, trying to leave the city.

118. The Republican Guards had taken a massive hammering at every level and were now scattered and deployed erratically. Some five Republican Guard divisions were said to have elements fighting in the South. Two of these, the Al Medina and Baghdad Divisions, were said to be crippled and to have lost well over 80 percent of their effectiveness. Coalition troops consolidated their control of much of Baghdad. Refer Figure 5.


Figure 5

119. The regime in Baghdad effectively ceased to function on 09 April. The U.S. forces secured all of the major routes leading into Baghdad, while continuing operations to eliminate resistance within the city. Coalition aircrafts targeted a building near Ar Ramadi inhabited by Saddam Hussein’s half–brother, Barzan Ibrahim Hasan al-Tikriti, a regime presidential adviser. The building was targeted with six Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAMs) as part of the continuing effort to degrade the Hussein regime.

120. The outer cordon in the vicinity of Baghdad was now completed. On 09 April, large crowds of Iraqis pulled down a massive statue of Saddam in the center of the city. By 10/11 April 2003, Coalition forces had effectively defeated organised resistance in Baghdad and could begin to deploy elements of their land forces toward Tikrit.


121. A major portion of Iraq’s oil reserves lies in the Northern Regions. Kirkuk and Mosul, key cities in Northern Iraq, are oil-rich centers on the periphery of the Kurdish enclave that lies near the border with Turkey and Iran. The Kurds have enjoyed virtual autonomy there in the last decade under the protection of the US and British-enforced, no-fly zone. Tikrit is another important hub centre which would have had to be captured for any worthwhile control to be exercised over the regions to the North.

122. The rugged terrain of Northern Iraq and the sway of power enjoyed by the Kurds in most parts dictated the requirement of incorporating and amalgamating the local Kurdish guerrilla forces in the battle against the Iraqi regime in the North. With difficulty, the Americans managed to persuade the Kurds, to promise to refrain from making a lunge towards the oil fields at Kirkuk (just outside their enclave), and to agree to place their 60,000 peshmergas, or guerrillas, under American command.

123. Over half a century of strategic ties between Turks and Americans had been under unprecedented strain before the war, when the Turkish parliament rejected a measure that would have allowed tens of thousands of American combat troops to use Turkey as a launch-pad for a Northern front, striking the Iraqis through the Kurdish-controlled enclave. However, after several threatened economic sanctions, the Turkish government looked the other way as American troops and equipment were quietly moved into Northern Iraq, a key feature that dictated the outcome of the battle for this region.

124. The Battle of Northern Iraq was one of the pivotal conflicts of Operation Iraqi freedom, not only for the stakes, which revolved around a major concentration of oil fields, one of the pivotal reasons for the war, but also for the unconventional nature of the conflict, which involved the amalgamation and command of local Kurdish fighters.

Opposing Ground Forces Operating In Northern Iraq

125. Coalition Forces. Two Special Operations Groups of CIA and special forces teams had long been present in the Kurdish Zone in Northern Iraq. The CIA had reportedly made extensive efforts to persuade or bribe Iraqi commanders not to fight. The forces deployed in Northern Iraq were:-

(a) 173 Air Borne Brigade.

(b) 26 Marine Expeditionary Unit.

(c) 1 Infantry Division

126. Iraqi Forces. Gen Franks deliberately exploited Turkey’s decision, not to allow the US and Britain to base forces in Turkey. Ships carrying 4 Infantry Division (Mechanised) were held off shore, as a deception plan that successfully pinned down 13 Iraqi divisions deployed North of Baghdad. The forces deployed in Northern Iraq were:-

(a) 5 Corps. The 5 Corps, based at Mosul, consisted of 4 Infantry Division at Bashiqah, North East of Mosul; 7 Infantry Division at Altun Kupri, North West of Kirkuk; 16 Infantry Division at Mosul and 1 Mechanised Division at Makhmur, South East of Mosul.

(b) 1 Corps. The 1 Corps, based at Kirkuk, consisted of 2 Infantry Division , 8 Infantry Division in the Shuwan Area, North East of Kirkuk; 38 Infantry Division at Tappahlo, South East of Kirkuk; and 5 Mechanised Division in Kirkuk/ Shuwan Area.

(c) Republican Guards. The Northern Corp s HQ was located at Tikrit, where 2 Al Medina Al Munnawra Armoured Division and 2 Baghdad Infantry Division guarded the Northern approaches to Baghdad. Al Abed Infantry Division of the Northern Corps was located at Kirkuk and 1 Adnan Mechanised Division was based at Mosul.
Battle Of The North

127. During the war in Northern Iraq, Kurdish fighters largely worked under or alongside US forces. Kurdish fighters did go into Kirkuk and Mosul two strategic northern cities ahead of US troops.The battle for Northern Iraq spanned a period of approximately three weeks.

128. Week One ( 22 Mar- 29 Mar 03).

(a) Various reports from both local and international sources indicated that between 1,000 and 1,500 Turkish soldiers had crossed into Northern Iraq. Turkish officials refused to confirm these reports though there was evidence that even more forces were preparing to cross the border.

(b) In Northern Iraq, the US launched an attack with 40 to 50 cruise missiles on forces of two Islamist parties opposed to the Pro-US Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK). These two groups are Ansar al-Islam (Spers of Islam), believed to be associated with Osama bin Laden's Al-Qaida and Komala Islami Kurdistan (Islamic Society of Kurdistan).

(c) Special Forces secured the Kurdish security zone and conducted small operations in a wide range of areas in Northern Iraq. They also continued to coordinate close air support.

(d) Aproximately 1,000 paratroopers of the US Army's 173 Airborne Brigade parachuted onto Bashur airfield on 27 March 03, in an effort to open a Northern front against Iraqi forces.

(e) Following bombardment by Coalition aircrafts on 28 March 03, Iraqi forces pulled out of positions at Chamchamal, near Kirkuk. Kurdish forces later seized these positions. Elsewhere, US Special Forces and Kurdish Peshmerga fighters attacked and cleared several positons held by a Kurdish Islamist extremist group, Ansar al-Islam, near Halabjah.

(f) Iraqi forces withdrew from positions at Qush Tapah and Taqtaq.

129. Week Two (30 March- 07 April 03).

(a) Expressing confidence over the Coalition force capability, deployed in Northern Iraq, General Franks stated, “The Coalition has in fact introduced a very capable ground force into Northern Iraq. These forces, along with large numbers of special operations troops, have prevented the rekindling of historic fueding which we’ve seen in years past between the Turks and the Kurds, and these forces do in fact represent a serious Northern threat to regime forces.”

(b) Allied troops along with Kurdish fighters destroyed a massive terrorist facility on 30 March 03, that was reportedly held by the Islamic militia Ansar al- Islam.

(c) The 173 Airborne Brigade completed its deployment in Northern Iraq by 31 March.

(d) Coalition special operations forces coordinated air attacks against the 15 Mechanised Division, a regular army unit. They had communication with Iraqi divisions along the “green line” separating the Kurdish controlled enclaves in the North from the areas controlled by Saddam’s regime and provided information to them about the potential damage that would occur in the future if they continued to fight.

(e) Special operations forces moved into a number of positions to deny regime movement along the road Tikrit-Baghdad. There were several skirmishes in those areas. Special forces were also positioned in key locations, to prevent movement of ballistic missiles and deny free movement by regime forces or leaders. These forces were also positioned along several key roads to locate regime facilities or strategic systems, and to direct precision fires to destroy them.

(f) Kurdish forces captured the town of Khazar in Northern Iraq on 04 April 03 after more than a day of fighting. (g) Coalition Special Forces in conjunction with Kurdish forces maintained pressure on the Iraqis, preventing enemy movement to Tikrit or Baghdad wherein:-

(i) Near Arbil, special operations forces in conjunction with close air support destroyed a force of several armoured personnel carriers, tanks, and infantry.

(ii) Near Kirkuk, a special operations element defeated an armoured counter attack, destroying several tanks, trucks and armoured personnel carriers.


Figure 6

130. Week Three ( 08 April – 15 April 03). (a) Coalition forces began moving out North, from Baghdad, towards Tikrit. Intelligence estimates revealed that, of the three Iraqi corps including 10 mechanised divisions in Northern Iraq, only elements of a Republican Guard Brigade and special Republican Guard forces remained in the North. (b) Kurdish fighters seized the northern city of Kirkuk from the Iraqi forces on 10 April 03 while US and Kurdish troops entered Mosul on 11 April 03.

(c) The US land component continued its attack to defeat any remainining forces North of Baghdad. US Marines from the 26 Marine Expeditionary Unit encountered sporadic resistance as they moved into Tikrit. Coalition forces surrounded Tikrit to prevent Saddam’s henchmen from escaping, while US military personnel began meetings with local civilian leaders to set additional conditions for stability.

(d) US Forces entered Saddam's hometown of Tikrit on 13 April 03. US Marines secured the presidential palace, and Tikrit became the last major Iraqi city to come under Coalition control.

(e) Coalition declared the war to be effectively over after the fall of Tikrit on 15 April. Despite this declaration, violence continued, which has now escalated into a low-grade guerrilla war, similar to the Indian experience in Jammu and Kashmir.


131. The Coalition had a near monopoly of sea power. Iraq had a small 2,000-man navy with nine small, obsolete or obsolescent combat ships, an unknown number of mines, and Silkworm land-based anti-ship missiles.

132. The United States had five carrier task forces, two amphibious task forces, and a total of 47 major surface ships, 12 submarines, and extensive additional support ships. These included roughly one-third of the total in the US Navy. There were some 70,000 sailors and airmen deployed in the region. The US Navy was able to sustain sorties at the rate of roughly 65 combat aircrafts per carrier, and launch some 700 sea-based cruise missiles. At the same time, naval forces provided warning and air defence assets and radar support to the operation of the Patriot missile defence system. This was a massive commitment in terms of total US naval forces, both in the theatre and in terms of worldwide naval activity. According to the US Congressional Research Service, the US Navy put to sea 67 per cent of its ships. These forces included seven of its 12 aircraft carriers, seven of its 11 carrier air wings, 25 of its 38 amphibious ships, and, nine of the Navy’s 12 “large-deck” amphibious assault ships.

133. The British Royal Navy deployed Naval Task Group 2003. The task group was headed by the aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal, accompanied by the helicopter carrier HMS Ocean, the destroyers HMS Liverpool, HMS Edinburgh, and HMS York, and a nuclear powered submarine. The amphibious force deployed with the ships included the 3 Commando Brigade, 40 Commando Royal Marines, the 42 Commando Royal Marines (a total of some 4,000 men), and helicopter air groups aboard Ark Royal and Ocean. The Royal Navy also deployed a Maritime Counter Measures Group to deal with the Iraqi mine threat, and an Afloat Support Group.

134. The Royal Australian Navy deployed the frigates HMAS Anzac and Darwin in the Persian Gulf and the sea transport ship HMAS Kanimbla, which carried about 350 sailors and soldiers, a Sea King helicopter, army landing craft, an army air defence detachment, and a specialist explosives ordnance team. The result was that the United States, Britain, and Australia not only had total domination of the sea, but could operate carriers and cruise-missile launch ships from virtual sanctuaries. Iraq had been effectively “landlocked” since the summer of 1990, shortly after its invasion of Kuwait, by UN sanctions that denied it the ability to import arms, military supplies, and many dual-use items. Iraq’s chief source of export income was under UN control, as were the items it imported. Although it did smuggle out oil through Turkey, Iranian waters, and Syria—and smuggled in some arms and military spare parts through Syria—Iraq had lost access not only to the sea but also to the land for most military purposes, and its overall military modernisation and sustainability efforts had been crippled for more than a decade.


135. Air power had a tremendous impact in the conflict. As it appears, the coalition forces applied a combination of two options.

(a) Option I - Rapid Dominance “Shock & Awe. The purpose of the plan was to induce sufficient "shock and awe" to render Iraqi forces impotent. A Rapid Dominance strategy applied to Iraq included hundreds of Tomahawk cruise missiles and precision-guided munitions used in the opening hours of the war and in the days following.

(b) Option II - Operations Inside Out/Baghdad First. The concept of operations was to conduct what used to be called a coup de main, with a rapid seizure of key installations in Baghdad and elsewhere, involving focused airs strikes combined with a rapid advance of ground forces from Kuwait to Baghdad. The operation would probably include intense air attacks, followed by a combined airborne and ground assault on strategic targets.

Target Selection

136. Planning for the air campaign included the development of a list of potential targets that would help the coalition to achieve its overall objectives. Over 900 potential target areas were identified in advance. All targets were derived from the campaign plan and were selected to achieve a particular military effect (such as the degradation of Iraqi command and control systems). Commanders taking targeting decisions had legal advice available to them at all times during the conflict. Extensive scientific support including detailed computer modelling was used in assessing potential targets. Strong coordination at all levels helped ensure coherent target planning (a lesson from previous operations). The Department for International Development was also consulted on key humanitarian infrastructure issues.

The Air Campaign
137. The 1991 Gulf War began with an intense 38-day air campaign. In contrast, in Gulf War II, there was no need for a protracted attrition of half the enemy’s forces before the ground offensive could be launched. Battlefield preparations actually began, as early as June 2002, when Operations Southern Watch and Northern Watch air patrols, systematically eliminated much of the Iraqi air defenses in response to heightened attacks on Coalition aircrafts. A major psychological campaign was also conducted, with 37 million leaflets showered down on Iraqi troops, beginning more than a month in advance; in an effort to convince them that they could not win and that they would be spared, if they surrendered.

138. Tasks. The main tasks assigned to the air campaign were as under:-

(a) To neutralize the Iraqi air force and integrated air defence system.

(b) To conduct strategic attacks against regime targets.

(c) To provide air support to Coalition land forces;

(d) To deter and counter the threat from theatre ballistic missiles, especially West of Iraq.

(e) To destroy the Republican Guard Divisions.

139. The air campaign began in earnest on the evening of 21 March, with precision strikes using cruise missiles and guided bombs on several hundred military targets throughout Iraq. Precision strikes continued at lower intensity for several weeks, whilst direct support to ground forces became an increasing proportion of the overall air effort. The combat power of the Republican Guard Divisions defending Baghdad was considerably reduced by precision air attacks, before they were engaged by Coalition ground forces.
140. With intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, command and control, and strike aircraft working together with ground forces in Gulf War II, the “overwhelming airpower available” gave commanders a far wider array of choices than in earlier wars. There were really “five parallel air operations” going on in Iraq. These are as under:- (a) Scud-hunting mission in the western desert, which had been practiced in Nevada beforehand.

(b) Strategic campaign against leadership targets in Baghdad. (c) Airlift of ground forces in the North. (d) Air attacks against Iraqi defenses. (e) Support for the advancing 5 Corps and 1 Marine Expeditionary Force in the South.
141. It would be important to analyse the various reasons for lack of any credible resistance by the Iraqi Air Force. Some of these reasons could be:-

(a) Very few aircraft with the Iraqi air force since the aircrafts, which had defected to Iran in 1991 were not given back to Iraq.

(b) Due to the “no fly Zone” the pilots had not flown at all in the last few years.

(c) Very low serviceability of the aircrafts due to sanctions in the last few years.

d) Low Motivation of Pilots.

(e) Coalition Command of the Air.

142. However, use of anti-aircraft guns and surface to air missiles (SAMs) by Iraqi forces, in the first few days indicates that the sensors and the command and control facilities were functional in a coherent manner. During the air operations over 37,000 sorties were flown, Sorties originated from as far away as Whitman Air Force Base USA, the Indian Ocean, and the United Kingdom, being flown from 30 locations throughout the CENTCOM area of responsibility and five naval aircraft carriers. The B-2s flew the longest missions, lasting approximately 34 hours round-trip.

Major Attributes of the Air Campaign
143. Effects-Based Bombing. Coalition used a new approach to targeting, fundamentally changing the effectiveness of airpower which limited civilian casualties and collateral damage. This approach was called “effects-based bombing”. It involved the selective use of precision airpower to strike at targets to produce effects, rather than physical damage. The major facet was to demonstrate resolve and capability, and thus apply military coercion in the classical sense. US made use of new targeting aids like the “bugsplat” programme. This allowed US Air Force to choose the munitions and angle of attack with the exact footprint. Thus they could destroy the target to a point, necessary to produce the desired effect using the smallest munitions. This not only minimised the risk to civilians and collateral damage, but also achieved results.

144. True Precision Air Strike Capability. The evolution of precision air strike technology, greatly, enhanced coalition forces capabilities in carrying out strikes. In Gulf War-I, only a small number of aircraft, like the F-117, F-111, and F-15E were properly equipped for advanced precision strike missions. However in the present war, virtually all US aircrafts had the avionics necessary to make use of a wide variety of precision weapons. To put these differences in perspective, only one out of five strike aircraft could launch laser-guided bombs in the Gulf War-I, whereas all strike aircraft could launch laser-guided bombs in the present Iraq War. Thus with ammunition like the GBU –82, JDAM etc, targets were struck inside the cities at will.

145. Time-Sensitive Strikes. The United States flew approximately 156 time-sensitive missions against Iraqi leadership, missiles and WMD targets that involved rapid re-targeting in periods from minutes to two hours. This rapid retargeting capability enabled the US to respond to active intelligence, rather than bomb predetermined or fixed targets by the numbers. Heavily armed B-1B, with variety of ammunition remained on airborne alert and could be brought to bear on targets by networked targeting systems. For the first time, it deprived enemy leaders of the sanctuary they had enjoyed in terms of the slow response time between acquiring intelligence and actual strikes.

146. An aspect which is too premature to explain as yet is the reduced battle space between the surface combatants and the air war. Network centric warfare was a major contributor. The United States effectively set up urban “kill boxes” over Baghdad with strike aircraft on patrols, armed with a variety of munitions. It used a variety of UAVs for surveillance and targeting, including the Predator and high-flying Global Hawk. This allowed strikes to be called in with munitions suited to the precision, and warhead size needed for such attacks. One possible aspect that comes to light is to force the enemy to move forward and to engage outside the urban area. The fact that the Republican Guards were forced into engagements outside ensured that Baghdad could not be defended effectively. If air warfare can prevent reliance on urban defenses, it greatly increases the effectiveness of every element of joint warfare. Air and space assets were able to tell ground forces almost exactly what lay ahead and, in most cases, destroyed threats before the ground units reached them.

147. Airborne ISR systems provided an unparalleled view of activity and could spot and track enemy’s ground forces and missiles. Global Hawk and Predator UAVs provided continuous real-time pictures of tanks, troops, and artillery. The Combined Forces Air Component Commander, USAF Lt Gen T Michael Moseley, had access to some 50 US satellites for surveillance, warning, weather forecasting, and other needs.

148. Overall, Air and Space power allowed “the whole joint force to function at its most optimum level”. The emplacement of US Air Force controllers with ground and sea units smoothed out the bumps and allowed unprecedented coordination of effort.



149. America has created, by occupying Iraq, a new international disorder which will lead to new blocs that will oppose America’s international system of unipolarism in a multipolar world. America’s repeated success in winning wars has always been by choosing the weaker foe. The war was never an equal one, but a new colonial aggression using state of the art technology in warfare to ensure quick success for the aggressor. In the 21 Century, planning and training for conflict termination, peace making and nation building have to be given the same priority as planning for peace.

Post Conflict Scenario / Emerging Situation

150. Iraq is increasingly seen as a surrogate battlefield in the wider ongoing conflict of fundamentalist Islam versus the western world. Certain important post war developments in Iraq are as follows:-

(a) Fragile and Vulnerable Security situation. Internal Security situation is highly sensitive and not in control of Coalition Forces.

(b) Skepticism amongst Iraqis. Arabs including the Iraqi opposition are highly skeptical of real motives, intentions and future strategy of US/Coalition forces. Deep rooted anti US feelings exist, especially among Sunnis.

(c) Tardy pace of Reconstruction and Rehabilitation. Total disruption of essential services, failure to establish law and order, widespread unemployment, and lack of Iraqi involvement in reconstruction effort is increasing the frustration amongst the ordinary Iraqis.

(d) Islamic Jihad. Ongoing Resistance Movement could soon acquire the dynamics and dimensions of an Islamic Jihad. Likelihood of terrorist strikes by Islamic terrorist groups seemed to have links to Al Qaeda. The bombings of the Jordanian Embassy, UN HQ and UN Red Cross HQ are ascribed to this group. However in the long term, Coalition forces may be able to enforce stabilisation in Iraq.

(e) US Casualties. Mounting casualties on the Coalition force is reflecting adversely on their morale. Support for Bush is also likely to decline at home. The resistance groups are targeting soft objectives to make the life of the occupying forces as well as the lives of ordinary people as intolerable as possible to make them resentful of the Americans.

International Fallout

151. Operation Iraqi Freedom may have brought about a changed world order and may have exposed certain countries’ and leaders’ future intention. But one thing is common, the need to fight global terrorism. Few likely fallouts of this conflict could be:-

(a) Position of European Power Houses. France, Germany and Russia which vehemently opposed the war, finally came around and lent their support to US-UK resolution 1483 in the Security Council and thereby, for the first time conferred UN legitimacy on the occupation of a member of the UN by a coalition of powers headed by the US. During the G-8 summit at France, the French were unrepentant over their opposition to the war.

(b) Status of UN. Initially despite winning the arguments, the UN failed to stop the conflict. Now after the war, the UN probably has become little more than an office of aid distribution. Washington insists that Iraq is too strategic, too wealthy and too much of a test case for things to be left to the UN. But in the last few months, US has realised that it needs the UN more than any other country. The interim administration that it has set up in Iraq will desperately seek legitimacy, which only UN can accord. The IMF, the World Bank and many potential donors have said that, they will contribute funds for humanitarian needs, only via the UN.

(c) Feeling Among Islamic Countries. The people in the Islamic countries are seething with anger, even when the monarchist and feudal regimes are equivocal in expressing their reservations about the US action. This is despite their condemnation of Saddam and his regime of terror in Iraq.

(d) US’s Dilemma. The compelling set of factors that took US to war with Iraq is not valid in case of Syria, or for that matter Iran. There are no UN resolutions against these countries. Iran has a clean chit from IAEA. While the US gloats over its swift victory in Iraq, it is still smarting from the traumatic defeat it suffered in the UN Security Council. The serious rift with two of its NATO allies, France and Germany was another blow to its credibility. The US will keep its grip on Iraq’s oil resources and ensure that it has a pro-American regime in power. At the same time it wants other nations to step in and help with the task of rehabilitation. The other priority for America is to mend its relationship with its Trans – Atlantic allies. How America deals with the Muslim world, especially the Middle East will be critical.

(e) Gains of the US. US have gained substantially on a few fronts. Firstly, they have secured the home front substantially. In the US, where the population was split before the war, patriotic fervor helped Bush win a three fourths majority to his side, although lately some of the initial support for Bush administration’s action seem to have wavered somewhat, because of the growing evidence that the case for war had been built on unsubstantiated and dubious grounds. Secondly, the US has managed to split the European Union, a major political aim at the moment, with the UK, Spain, Italy, Portugal and a number of smaller countries supporting Washington against the Franco – German position.

(f) Sharing the Spoils of war. “Let’s party, the war is over”. But who all will get an invitation to the $180 billions Iraq reconstruction fete, to be spread over 10 years. There are two aspects to the Iraq reconstruction; first is the reconstruction of what US missiles and bombs and 12 years of UN sanctions destroyed in Iraq, and second, managing the world’s second largest oil reserves. George Bush would like it to be an all American affair but Tony Blair is trying to keep the interest of British companies afloat.

(g) The Asian Worry. The Asian investor is worried that their reeling stock portfolios is ravaged by war, while businessmen fear that oil price hikes will clobber export-led economies. Political leaders meanwhile are wary of more terrorist actions in Asia. Nowhere is anti-US feeling stronger than in the Islamic crescent of South and South-East Asia, where political leaders worry that, a moderate Muslim majority has been radicalised by the Gulf conflict. One of Asia’s biggest worries is that such radicalism could result in more bloodshed in the region. Meanwhile, global oil prices are an economic worry especially for huge oil importers like Japan and South Korea.

Socio- Political Developments

152. Resurgence of Shias in Iraq.

(a) With the collapse of Saddam’s Sunni dominated regime, the Shiites aspire to claim political dominance for the first time, and are opposing both US Forces and exiled leaders now returning to Iraq. The final Government in Iraq is sure to have a strong component of the dominant Shia population.

(b) The Shias are, however divided from within. The lust for power may descend the Shia community into a bloody war which can destabilise the already precarious security environment within Iraq.

153. Islamic Fundamentalism. It is already manifesting itself in the form of vocal opposition to occupation and has the potential to pose a serious challenge to the Coalition forces.

154. Kurd - Arab Hostilities. Being US allies, Kurds would seek a greater role in Post War Iraq. Ethnic clashes have occurred in Northern Iraq between Kurds and Sunnis over areas claimed by Kurds. Keeping the sensitivity of Turkey to this region, and the growing Kurdish aspirations, Northern Iraq can turn out to be a future flash point.

155. Iraqi Governing Council. The 25 member Iraqi Governing Council having representatives of all communities nominated by the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) is yet to find acceptability amongst the Iraqis, and is viewed as a US puppet.


Post War US Policy

156. The US in future is likely to focus its policy on the following:-

a) Fostering a modern, secular and democratic Arab State in Iraq.

b) Resolving the Palestinian – Israeli Issue.

c) Boost the Economic Activity in the region.

Reconstruction of Iraq

157. Major challenges ahead are of restoring law and order, developing social infrastructure, filling up the political vacuum and bring up the shattered economy which is on the edge. Rebuilding Iraq is an enormous task as its infrastructure and service delivery mechanisms have suffered decades of severe degradation and under- investment.

158. Mission Matrix for Reconstruction. The mission matrix for reconstruction of Iraq has four distinct phases:-

(a) Security. Securing the state, stop the fighting, detain resistors, round up regime elements, repair vital infrastructure and establish public relation.

(b) Stability. Services to expand and incorporate civil agencies, establish bases of new Iraq, continue state security, continue humanitarian assistance / infrastructure repair/ public services, begin military reorganisation, destroy WMD, establish local government, process detainees and repatriate refugees.

(c) Institution Building. Assist NGOs, establish police force, encourage investment, establish higher level government, institute educational programmes and handover services to local authorities.

(d) Handing over and Redeployment. Handover governance to Iraqi people, commences Iraqi policing, and redeploy Coalition forces.

159. Political Reconstruction Challenge. Iraq has a majority of Shi’ite population, but has been ruled by Sunni elite, not even based on broad representation of the entire Sunni community. The Kurds, the Shia and the Sunni Minority, all view the recognition of the interests of the others as a threat to their own. These major players are divided amongst themselves as well; making the Iraqi society an unstable foundation for a democracy.Thus, political reconstruction of Iraq is going to be a daunting task. The Coalition Provisional Authority is likely to face the following problems in imposing democracy in Iraq:-

a) Absence of meaningful democratic tradition and a decimated civil society in Iraq.

b) Absence of any organised indigenous political alternative apart from the mosque, the mullahs and militant Islamists.

c) Restoring the essential services to the people to stem their anger and frustration.

d) Trigger happy attitude of the society in general.

e) Unwillingness to allow non-Coalition countries to participate in the reconstruction effort.

f) The growing violent resistance.

Future of Iraq’s Neighbours

160. Until now the US had to form a coalition with Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman and Saudi Arabia to wage any military action in Gulf / Arab world. Now with Iraq under US occupation, the US becomes the dominant military power in West Asia. The purpose of this war therefore was to redefine the geopolitics of the region and to put the US in a position where it can put pressure on countries like Syria, Saudi Arabia and Iran in its war against global terrorism.

161. Israel. There is no reason to assume that the “new” Iraq will be a major military threat to Israel or be willing to subsidise Palestinian suicide bombers. At the same time, there is no reason to assume that Iraq will emerge as pro-Israel unless it comes under intense pressure from the US or there is a settlement to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Many in the Arab world see the end of the Iraq War as the time for more American action to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict.

162. Iran. Iran, on one hand, has seen a key threat disappear, but on the other hand, a triumphant US on its borders with its threatening rhetoric. Iran’s interests are, ideological (Iran favors a more theological Shi’ite power structure), security (avoiding another war and limiting the impact of a US presence on its border and in the Gulf), power-political (a weak Iraq is a strong Iran in terms of Gulf power politics), energy (oil production and quotas), and economy (Iran has reparations claims left over from the Iran-Iraq War). Iran’s ongoing missile program has also demonstrated a growing Iranian capability to deliver WMD. This has inevitably increased tensions with the US, Israel, and other neighbours. Iraq now has to find some way of protecting itself from a real, albeit distant, threat from Iran.

163. Turkey. Turkey fears Kurdish autonomy and a lack of security along the border of its own Kurdish area. Itneeds oil pipeline revenues from Iraq, and sees Iraq as a major trading partner. As a result, Turkey does not want to see Kurdish control of Mosul or Kirkuk, or a major Kurdish role in control of Iraq’s Northern oilfields.

164. Syria. Syria has lost a major trading partner and counter-balance to Israel. Syria clearly sees the US victory as “anti-Arab”, removing a potential ally against Israel and placing American forces next to Syria for the first time. Syria has been accused by US of supporting the Iraqi regime, providing shelter to fleeing Iraqi leaders and of possessing biological and chemical weapons. Syria has always been considered a stabilising factor and is considered the only country that opposes Israeli aggression against the Palestinians, and its expansionist attitude towards the Arab world. US have recently taken up a case to impose trade sanctions against it.

165. Saudi Arabia and the Southern Gulf States. Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Arab states fear the break up of Iraq’s territorial integrity, a loss of Sunni control, and a shift in the balance of power in the Gulf. The Southern Gulf states are afraid that Shi’ite separatism or control of Iraq would create a major new pro-Iranian power center in the Gulf, potentially destabilising the balance of power in the Gulf. If anything, there is the risk that any failure on part of the Coalition forces in nation-building in Iraq will provide more ammunition to those conservative and extremist Islamists in Saudi Arabia (and the rest of the region), who oppose secular reform and see the US as a hostile, neo-imperialist power. Being the world’s largest oil producer, Saudi support is pivotal for gaining oil control in the Persian Gulf. However rise of support to terrorism in the country has distanced US after 9/11. The situation has further deteriorated by its not offering any direct support to US for the war.

166. Jordan. The Iraq War has removed a potential military and political threat to Jordan’s regime. However, Jordan has experienced loss of trade and low-cost oil. Jordan has long benefited from Iraqi oil subsidies, and from imported goods through the port of Aqaba because of the Iranian closing of the Shatt-al-Arab and UN sanctions. The future of such subsidies and trade is now unclear.

167. Kuwait. It can now look forward to peaceful times, with the hostile regime having been effectively neutralized.


218. Ladies and Gentlemen, the world recently observed the first anniversary of Op Iraqi Freedom. The world wide demonstrations that marked the day, again brought to fore the debate about the veracity of the reasons given by United States for going into this war. The fact that, no credible evidence has been recovered till date to support any of the allegations made by US against Iraq, makes the reasons appear far from convincing. However, this is a harsh reality of a unipolar world and has to be accepted. Now with Saddam having been caught and weapons of mass destruction still nowhere in sight, it is left to conjecture that the control of Iraq’s vast resource of oil, could possibly have been one of the major reasons for Op Iraqi Freedom.

219. The Coalition war plans predicted quick capitulation of Saddam’s regime and also expected mass anti Saddam uprisings in Shia dominated areas, which failed to materialize. The opposition in Iraq was more than expected and still continues. As a result Iraq is still unstable and strife torn. The Coalition Forces and even the United Nations representatives have been at the receiving end of attacks from some sections of Iraqi’s, who are not interested in welcoming their liberators. The casualties suffered by the Coalition Forces in the Post conflict phase are much higher than in the war itself. This fact has caused intense domestic pressure on the governments in United States and United Kingdom. The political repercussions, recently witnessed in Spain have added yet another dimension to the whole issue and have led to other coalition partners to ponder over their future. Meanwhile, with the Presidential Elections round the corner, the Bush administration is desperate to reduce its military presence in Iraq and has turned to NATO to play an active role in the administration of the turbulent country. All this goes to prove that winning a War is much easier than winning Peace.

220. However, purely from a military point of view, Gulf War II was an outstanding illustration of successful amalgamation of technology, sound strategy and tactical prowess with a focused national policy. As of today, only a few of the lessons may be applicable in our operational milieu, due to the state of near parity with our adversaries, yet the war can define the road map for building up our National Capability in the times to come.























1st Marine

3rd Mech





R Tigris

R Tigris

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...administration 1981 from King Abdul-Aziz University in Jeddah. At secondary school and university he adopted the main trend of many educated Muslims at that time, Muslim Brotherhood. There was a collection of Muslim scholars in Jeddah and Mecca at that period. There was nothing extraordinary in his personality and that trend was rather very non-confrontational. He was killed May 2, 2011 by a small group of U.S. Forces, including Navy Seals that raided a high wall, and fortified compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. Osama was married 6 times, and he had 24 children. He was the founder of al-Qaeda; a broad-based militant Islamist organization. Al-Qaeda began as a logistical network to support Muslims fighting against the Soviet Union during the Afghan war. When the Soviets withdrew from Afghanistan in 1989, the organization dispersed but continued to oppose what its leaders considered corrupt Islamic regimes, and foreign presence in Islamic lands. Bin Laden returned to Saudi Arabia to step up fundraising for this new and more complicated mission. This led to the Iraqi Invasion of Kuwait, which was Saddam Hussein’s idea. Then, adding insult to injury, they sought help from the “infidel” U.S. instead. Furious about being snubbed, bin Laden vowed that it was al-Qaeda, and not the Americans, who would one day prove to be “master of this world.” Iraq maintained the world’s fourth–largest military and had mobilized an overwhelming invading force. Bin Laden was expelled by the Saudi......

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Dhahran Roads

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American Policies Towards the Middle East

...currently being dominated by the issue of the Middle East and the US relationship. It is, therefore, important to look at the factors that have resulted in a fragile relationship between the world superpower and the Middle East. For decades, the Middle East has been dealing with power struggles, Israeli-Palestinian border conflict, and the Arab-Israeli war. Some states in the region are pushing for constitutional monarchies or liberal democracies. My essay will examine the underlying animosity between these nations. It will also look at the pros and con of the American policies towards the Middle East and the ways it has succeeded. Hypothesis The USA is doing enough in its dealings with the Middle East. Analysis There has been an ongoing debate regarding the question of what the US’s foreign policies are towards the Middle East. Two main defense strategy objectives were resulting from the Pentagon’s Defense Planning Guidance between the year 1994 and 1999 (Reveron et al., 2014). This period was prior to President Bush Jr. Administration and has since then become more relevant. The primary objective was to deter another world war or an extreme enmity like the one portrayed between the former Soviet Union towards America. A new region strategy has therefore been put in place to prevent a hostile power from dominating the Middle East. If such a power controls this area with a consolidation control potential, then it can utilize the available resources resulting in the......

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Common Sence

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Persian Gulf Crisis

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