Abstract 11. Introduction 22. Past experience 23. Diplomatic problems 24. Concept of Operation 35.
The campaign 35. 1. Air power 45. 2. Ground operations and special forces 55. 3.
Iraqi strategy and tactics 56. Intelligence 67. Psychological operations 68. Public relations 69. Technology 610. Casualties 711.
Weapons of mass destruction (WMD) 712. Conclusion 713. References: 814. Glossary of terms 91. warfare 92. vanguard 103.
breach 114. sortie 125. enclave 136. domain 147. envisage 158. resistance 169.
paramilitary 1710. campaign 18 Abstract This article draws together early military implications of a campaign where intensive operations lasted just about a month. The deeper insights will need much more time for the post operations reports to be written, detailed battle evaluations to be made, and the key decision-makers to record their thoughts. As far as is possible, the article deals with the purely military characteristics of the operation. The promise of a decade of development of high technology air power was expected by some to show a new way of fighting wars.
The evidence from the campaign appears to give a more mixed message. Certainly, a higher percentage of air weapons was guided in this conflict than in any previous war. Strategic intelligence appears to have been less accurate than had been expected. The unexpected initial resistance by Iraqi forces, followed by later surrender, required flexible coalition operations.
... Between 45 and 200 U. S. Army and Air Force special operations forces are under consideration, according to Pentagon sources Location ... the mysterious Delta Force, the Air Force Special Operations Forces transport and provide close-air support as an integral part of ... -- are capable of quick, compact, multi-faceted military campaigns. These units generally have more equipment, logistical and technical ...
The vision of the use of chemical and biological weapons proved groundless. The efficiency of special operations will be one area for deeper revision. The media policy will need reviewing for future operations. At this stage, the article does no more than record the sequence of events, make broad judgement’s about the strategic and tactical approaches of both the Coalition and Iraqi forces, and highlights areas where further investigation may be useful to draw firmer conclusions. 1. Introduction On 20 th March 2003 US president George W.
Bush launched a military campaign against Iraq. Its codename was Operation Iraqi Freedom. It has different names in other coalition countries, but one common denominator – it still doesn’t have a formal conclusion. Although the end of major military operations was declared on May 1 st 2003, it is clearly obvious now one year later that Bush’s speech on a deck of aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln was overhasty. The so-called coalition is now facing strong resistance from guerrilla fighters, the casualties on both sides are increasing dramatically and the end of the war seems hidden far in the future. This article will cover more or less only military angle of the operation, the political and diplomatic aspects will be included only when required.
2. Past experience In last 15 years, military tacticians have shifted the weight of military operations from traditional ground warfare to extensive use of air power. That happened mainly because of technological improvements, but also because of new public comprehension of war. If people were ready to accept millions of casualties in WWI, hundred thousands of casualties in WWII, the modern society is ready to accept only individual losses. That became very apparently in 1990 when Iraq invaded Kuwait.
The 34 nations coalition built up large ground and air forces which, under UN authorization, were attacking Iraqi defensive positions for weeks before any ground operation even started. Once ground operations were set in motion, it took only 100 hours to drive Iraqis out of Kuwait. The coalition suffered 340 deaths, but a quarter was caused by friendly fire. Same pattern was deployed in 1999 when NATO initiated air campaign against Serbs in Kosovo to prevent ethnic cleansing. Two and a half months or air raids were so effective that ground operations weren’t even necessary.
Examine the extent to which expenditure on arms and the armed forces is justifiable in the modern world. With all its wars, terrorist attacks and genocides, history might suggest that the armed forces has a critical and unquestionable role in any nation-state. However, as Steven Pinker puts it “We believe our world is riddled with terror and war, but we may be living in the most peaceable era in ...
Last larger Iraqi pre-war air operations were mounted against Taliban regime in Afghanistan. Because majority of raids were initiated from aircraft carriers in Indian Ocean, they were less intensive, but nonetheless equal effective. 3. Diplomatic problems As mentioned before, the first war against Iraq in 1990 was going ahead under authorization of United Nations and it was a joined venture of 34 countries. Second Iraqi war on the other hand was undertaken without UN authorization. The list of coalition supporters given by the White House listed 44 countries, including superpowers like Marshal Islands, Micronesia and Singapore.
Although US were able to carry out 2003 Iraqi war on their own, that would be much easily achieved if they had a local mounting bases. Kuwait and Saudi Arabia offered one, Qatar hosted Central Command Headquarters, but Turkey caused a major upset in US plans because it declined to provide another mounting base on their territory. 4. Concept of Operation The detailed concept for the military campaign was still not released to public, but judging by the events in Iraq, it did require heavy modification. The heart of the preliminary plan was the ‘shock and awe’; concept. The basic concept probably required synchronized aerial across-the-board attacks against Iraqi troops, infrastructure and military and communication centres.
Ground troops were supposed to make a swift move against softened Iraqi defenders and wipe them out. Without surprise, the main goal of quick advance in Iraqi mainland was to secure oil facilities against destruction. The emphasis in the initial stage of attack was on a use of precise high-tech weapons, such as stealth aircraft’s and guided missiles. Once again, the military saying that no plan survives the contact with the enemy was confirmed. Today is very obvious that Iraqis didn’t follow the US plan.
They were shocked, but unquestionably not in awe. The coalition commanders made a huge mistake by underestimating Iraqi defence concept. One of the high officials in US Army said that opposition of Iraqi paramilitaries was completely unanticipated. They soon learned and they are still learning that they fight well. That is surprising, because military analyse rs suggest that Saddam will mix his elite troops with regular, dress them in civilian clothes and instruct them to fight in urban areas instead in the open to slow down advancing US and British troops.
Outline The Second Persian Gulf War began August 2 nd 1990, with the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait and ended March 3 rd 1991 with the expulsion of Iraqi forces from Kuwait. There are three main reasons why Iraq invaded Kuwait. The main reason was that the small country of Kuwait was filled with oil rigs that Iraq claimed were taking Iraqi oil. Second, the Iraqi's believed that Kuwait was a part of Iraq ...
Another setback for the coalition occurred because of Turkey’s no to US plans of using Turkish border areas with Iraq as a mounting base for military operations to the north of Iraq. An additional mistake made by US planners was the anticipation of Shias in the south and Kurds in the north welcoming them as liberators. At the beginning they were, but initial enthusiasm was soon followed by frustration and anger. 5. The campaign While the diplomatic masquerade by US was played out in United Nations, military preparations for Iraq accelerated. Announcements about troop moves were increasing and it became more and more apparently that diplomatic options were wearing out.
The last hopes about peaceful solution of Iraqi crisis vanished in the early hours of 20 th March 2003. Missile strikes were launched against selected targets outside Baghdad where Iraqi leadership was supposed to be meeting. The missile attack was immediately followed by high precision bombing. The outcome of that strikes is now known, it was another kick in the dark, but that was the official beginning of a war.
The main assault began the next day with more missile strikes and continuous bombing. They were aimed against key government and military targets in major cities. Simultaneous ground attack was also set in motion and the most advanced units pushed more than 150 km into Iraq towards largest south Iraqi cities Basra, Nasiriyah and Umm Qasr, were the main objective was, surprise again, to secure large oil fields and terminals. The pace of military progress in first 3 days was fascinating. Some US ground forces came within 160 kilometres radius of Baghdad. Massive bombings against remaining military, especially anti aircraft, and government installations were still going on.
... Five months later, Operation Desert Storm commenced, with the objective of ejecting Iraq from Kuwait. After Saddam Hussein's Iraqi forces were defeated in ... 71, 204 Iraqi troops either surrendered or were captured by the end of the ground campaign. Throughout the whole operation, only a ... shot down in air-to-air engagements, without a single U. S. loss. At the time of the operation, Iraq was one of ...
Air supremacy has been achieved so that aircraft’s and planes were able to operate across whole country. In the meantime special forces in the north secured two airfields, which had to goals. The first one was to diminish a thread of Iraqi missile attacks against Israel, and the second one was to establish mounting base in Northern Iraq to surmount the consequences of Turkish no to US request for ground base. After a week of quick advancement it was time for US to sober up. All operations in Iraq came to basically full stop. Iraqi troops were evading direct confrontation with US and British troops and implemented guerrilla tactics instead.
They have retreated to the cities where coalition’s heavy armament was of no use. We could daily saw reports of fierce fighting in all major cities. The disruptions of supply and communications lines become first priority of Iraqi defenders. The last, but probably the most important factor for sudden cessation of military progress, was the poor weather with sandstorms which forged air units, particularly attack helicopters, to the ground.
Air strikes against Iraqi Republican Guard divisions, which were surrounding capital Baghdad and expected to be more difficult nut to break than regular Iraqi army, continued throughout that time. In spite of continuous day and night attacks, the Iraqi military headquarter was still functioning sufficiently to redeploy their units through besieged city. In the beginning of April things went smooth for US again. They managed to occupy Baghdad’s airport and that considerably reduced the problem of extended supply routes. Because of its capture air units were able to react to any ground resistance in minutes. The outer defence of Baghdad fell apart as soldiers abandoned their defence positions and went home.
Instead of anticipated heavy resistance in the outskirts of the city, progressing coalition troops faced just random exchanges of fire with Saddam’s loyalists. The symbolic end to the old regime came on 9 th April with the statue of Saddam Hussein being thrown from the pedestal in the centre of the city. Kirkuk, Hussein’s home town fell the next day. Then once again US underestimation of Iraqi situation became obvious when looting in captured cities begun. Instead of protecting priceless artefacts in museums, US troops, again without surprise, secured just one building. Ministry of oil.
Iraqi War There were several wars in the twentieth century that caught the attention of the people. World War II, Vietnam War and The Cold War are only a few of the many wars we lived by. Now, in the twentieth first century the first war we have lived is the Iraqi War. The United States started a war against Iraq for causes that brought more negative than positive effects for the Iraqi people. II. ...
Throughout April US tried to reinstate the peace, again without much success and questions about sufficiency of troop numbers were raised. On May 1 st US president Bush declared end of major combat operations in Iraq. 5. 1. Air power On the contrary to previous operations in Iraq, Kosovo and A, public was less informed about aims and impact of air operations.
They were conducted by cruise missiles, guided and free fall bombs. On average, there were around 1000 daily strikes, but almost 70 % of them were made by precision guided weapons and they were much more effective than strikes in first Iraqi war. The primary targets of those strikes were Iraqi air defence systems, which were already softened in constant attacks in the years after first Iraqi war. The secondary goal was to destroy communication centres in order to separate military commanders from their units. Aircrafts and helicopters were constantly used in support of ground forces. A special attention was paid to divisions of Republican Guard units in southern parts of Baghdad.
They were continually being attacked and some sources reports that their operational strength was lowered to just 18-44 % of their full strength in the first 3 days of attack. The city of Baghdad was the demonstration al scene of accurate bombing. The main focus was on communication facilities and the lack of consistency in Iraqi defence forces is most likely direct outcome of these attacks. There are indications that some targets were spared because of a high chance of civilian casualties. Some conventional targets, such as bridges, electrical power plants and major routes were also left intact, mainly because of a swift ground progress and concerns about potential humanitarian problems. We can easily conclude that successful air operations were the key to the quick degradation of Iraqi defence and also to the relatively straightforward ground victory.
5. 2. Ground operations and special forces Prior to first bombardments, small platoons of special forces were deployed all over Iraq. Their goal was to secure key targets, provide intelligence data and gather information about possible targets. They also had to reduce a chance of Iraqi’s weapon of mass destruction being launched towards Israel and US bases in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. As no surprise came one of their most urgent priorities, the protection of oil facilities, which has been reached at an early phase.
The Frames of the Iraqi War There are many views, theories, perspectives, and ideas pertaining to the War in Iraq. Throughout the last three years, as more and more information becomes available, the reasons for going to war with Iraq has changed. The War in Iraq would be considered a social movement. Therefore, it has many collective action frames, which legitimize a set of beliefs about a ...
While everything went smooth for special forces in western Iraq, the situation in the north wasn’t so brilliant. Plans had to be adjusted because of Turkish reluctance to permit a major offensive towards Iraq from their territory. Instead of 60. 000 troops US had only around 1000 available paratroopers. Those then worked mutually with Kurds to hold territory and to oversee the captivating of Mosul and Kirkuk.
The south-east of Iraq was British playground. They had to secure the city of Basra and take over important port Umm Qasr. The plan of advancing US troops was to eliminate the thread of Iraqi Republican Guards in the outskirts of Baghdad as soon as possible. To realize that objective, major towns on the route to Baghdad were bypassed. The strong resistance from Iraqi paramilitary forces caused some anxiety among observers, but it appears that use of quick air raids leaned the initiative back to US forces. The last stage of the ground operations met noticeably fewer struggling than expected.
The main defensive positions were more or less destroyed in previous air raids and only few of the severe confrontations didn’t come from regular army but from paramilitaries. Once again US air supremacy tipped the scales in their favour. Because US forces controlled the airfields around Baghdad, armed helicopters and close support aircraft’s have been assisting ground forces around the clock thus removing all obstacles from their path. 5. 3. Iraqi strategy and tactics Intelligence sources reported significant size of Iraqi pre-war military forces.
It’s approximated they included little less than 400. 000 active duty personnel, between 2. 400 and 2. 600 main battle tanks, 3.
700 other armoured vehicles and around 2. 400 major artillery weapons, but because of years of the sanctions the equipment was degraded. Iraqi air forces had around 300 aircraft’s, but they were old models and were not a real threat to modern fighters. Much more concerning were ground-based air defence systems.
It is believed Iraqis had approximately 850 missile launchers and 300 anti-aircraft gun systems. As already said before, these were one of the main targets in the early stages of war. Iraqi navy represented no real threat. Only 9 small vessels were capable only of laying mines in the waters of Persian Gulf. The coalition forces also anticipated use of chemical weapons.
The still not found chemical weapons were one of the main official explanations for the invasion. At the end not even single evidence of such weapons existence was found. 6. Intelligence As always, it is really hard to assess the success of coalition intelligence achievements.
The success in targeting command and communication facilities shows high quality tactical intelligence. On the other hand, failure to find any weapon of mass destruction and very poor judgement of paramilitaries capabilities in the first days of war leaves a lot of questions that need to be answered. The main sources of intelligence data were special aircraft’s, including non-manned drones, extensive usage of satellite images and there have also been implications of human intelligence resources. 7. Psychological operations As in every war a special attention was paid to psychological operations.
In around 160 missions nearly 32, 000. 000 leaflets were dropped over Iraq. Official assessments of how effective these operations were are not know yet, for now we can say only one thing: ‘What a waste of paper.’ ; Planes, broadcasting radio and TV signals were also used. 8. Public relations The importance of public relations strategy has been much greater in this war than in any other. According with ‘shock and awe’; strategy its aim was to persuade Iraqi forces that resistance is useless.
Another aim was to persuade critical domestic public that the operation is going on according to plan with negligible human casualties on both sides and minimum damage to civilian infrastructure. A modern media centre was established in Qatar where daily briefings of journalists were provided. International journalists were embedded with military units on the battlefield. We can only guess how that fact influenced on their objectivity. There were also few journalists operating directly from Baghdad. 9.
Technology major contributor to US swift success was the use of precise smart weapons. In first Iraqi war over 3 quarters of ammunition used were unguided, ‘dumb’; bombs. Even the smart bombs had requested laser designation of the target either from the air or from the ground, which made them vulnerable to bad weather conditions. On the contrary, more then 3 quarters of ammunition used in second Iraqi war, were guided smart bombs.
The advancement in military technology rendered cheap precision guidance from GPS satellites even to dumb bombs. The amount of dropped bombs (6. 500 smart bombs and 800 cruise missiles) shows how handy this war was for US defence industry was. Old stockpiles of weapons were used in war and a place for new production was made.
For the first time unmanned air vehicles were used in reconnaissance and coordination role. All aspects of warfare have been integrated together and thus reducing the reaction time. The first analyses show that much improvement will be necessary in this field. The time lags when attacking even the most important strategic targets were measured in hours instead in minutes.
10. Casualties One of the most sensitive questions in this war (beside question of its legitimacy) was the question of expected casualties. A strong wish in all participating countries was to diminish Iraqi civilian and coalition forces casualties to as low as possible. The real number of deaths will probably never be known, but estimates of coalition losses are around 170 deaths (to the May 1 st, 2003).
More than 50 of these deaths are results of friendly fire and various accidents. The death toll rose to nearly 900 casualties to the May, 2004. On the other side, the death toll among Iraqi soldiers is not known yet and there is also no effort to find it out. The estimation of civilian deaths varies between 5. 400 and 7.
400 (in last year, this number has risen substantially).
The coalition forces suffered surprisingly low number of deaths. Nonetheless, serious investigation will have to be required to answer enquiries about high number of friendly fire occurrences. Especially because in first Iraqi war a similar high levels of friendly fire fatalities were experienced and it had been expected that some actions would be taken to avert such mishaps in future wars.
11. Weapons of mass destruction (WMD) The official basis of war was Iraqis non-cooperation with United Nations inspectors who were trying to find out the extent of their WMD programmes. Although one might expect that finding them would be priority in coalition war plans, there is a little evidence that they were very important in concepts of operations. When no traces of WMD have been found, the coalition’s claims immediately change. They started to claim that main reason for military action was to prevent Iraqi regime to use its WMD. During the military operations there were some false alarms about chemical danger, but not even a trace of WMD has been found to the date.
12. Conclusion As all previous wars, this one will have to be analyzed too and lessons will have to be learnt from it. Many questions will have to be answered, a lot of them very unpleasant for White House. Legitimacy of the war is very questionable; the reasons for it (WMD) are more than dubious too.
Looking from a strictly military perspective, questions which arise from this war are: • Has the nature of warfare change? • Does technology replace troops? • Can air power now eliminate the power of armies to defend? • Do logistics still constrain rates of advancement? • Are special forces assuming greater importance for future warfare? • Did the coalition get its media strategy right? • How accurate was intelligence? • How important are allies? • What are the combat applications of the need to rebuild a nation after a conflict? Now, more than a year after the official end of the war, one thing is clear. Only the military part of the operation went approximately according to plan. Everything else went wrong. The peace still hasn’t returned to the country and it seems that occupational forces can’t provide it.
The country is on the edge of religious war and it will be hard to extinguish that flame. Iraqis and democracy had to pay high price for cheap gasoline in the United States.