April Fool then sold the Iraqi false "top secret" invasion plans provided by Franks' team. With the deception mission underway, the SEAL and select Ranger elements would be inserted by MH-60K Blackhawks and four MH-6 Little Birds, supported by four AH-6 attack helicopters and two MH-60L DAPs, the other Rangers would be flown in by Marine CH-46s and CH-53 transport helicopters to establish a cordon around the hospital grounds. "Invasion of Iraq" redirects here. By February 2003, 64% of Americans supported taking military action to remove Saddam from power. Also on 23 March, a British Army engineering unit made a wrong turn near the town of Az Zubayr, which was still held by Iraqi forces. So we are going to attempt to dominate the information environment. As many as 250,000 tons of explosives were unaccounted for by October 2004.  Here these forces suffered heavy Coalition air attacks. Critics within this vein have further argued that containment would have been an effective strategy for the Saddam government, and that the top U.S. priorities in the Middle East should be encouraging a solution to the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, working for the moderation of Iran, and solidifying gains made in Afghanistan and Central Asia. Many criticized their effort as unwise, immoral, and illegal. The 60 members of D squadron, along with their 'Pinkie' DPVs (the last time the vehicles were used before their retirement), was flown 120 km into Iraq in 6 MH-47Ds in 3 waves. And last, to help the Iraqi people create conditions for a transition to a representative self-government. Iraqi president Saddam Hussein and the central leadership went into hiding as the coalition forces completed the occupation of the country. This announcement was accompanied by the doctrine of "pre-emptive" military action, later termed the Bush Doctrine. Strikes against Iraq's generals were more successful and significantly degraded the Iraqi command's ability to react to, and maneuver against, the U.S.-led invasion force. Given Saddam Hussein's history of aggression ... given what we know of his terrorist associations and given his determination to exact revenge on those who oppose him, should we take the risk that he will not some day use these weapons at a time and the place and in the manner of his choosing at a time when the world is in a much weaker position to respond?  While Lynch suffers from amnesia due to her injuries, Lynch herself has denied any mistreatment whilst in captivity. On the night of 17 March 2003, the majority of B and D squadron British 22nd SAS Regiment, designated as Task Force 14, crossed the border from Jordan to conduct a ground assault on a suspected chemical munitions site at a water-treatment plant in the city of al-Qa'im. The IrAF lost more than 100 aircraft to Coalition military action in 1991; this time round, the battle damage assessment was much harder because of the numbers of Iraqi aircraft that were already little more than junk. With their objectives completed, the 3rd Battalion and their Peshmerga returned to the green line to assist the push on Kirkuk and Mosul. It was expected that the elimination of the leadership would lead to the collapse of the Iraqi Forces and the government, and that much of the population would support the invaders once the government had been weakened.  Units of the Iraqi Special Republican Guard led the defence of the city.  Iraq's UAV fleet consisted of less than a handful of outdated Czech training drones. For example, in April 2003 John Kerry, the Democratic candidate in the presidential election, said at a campaign rally: "What we need now is not just a regime change in Saddam Hussein and Iraq, but we need a regime change in the United States. What if Eisenhower Had Driven On to Berlin? On 6 April, ODAs 051, 055, and 056 assaulted the town – ODAs 055 and 056 provided fire support along with Peshmerga heavy weapons teams, whilst ODA 51 made the actual assault on the town. The hospital was devoid of any Fedayeen, although evidence suggested they were using it as a base; the Ranger blocking teams experienced some sporadic direct fire, the SEALs and the Rangers eventually recovered the remains of eight members of Lynch's unit that had been killed or died of their wounds.  Further reinforcing operations in Northern Iraq, the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable), serving as Landing Force Sixth Fleet, deployed in April to Erbil and subsequently Mosul via Marine KC-130 flights. Initially, the 1st Marine Division (United States) fought through the Rumaila oil fields, and moved north to Nasiriyah—a moderate-sized, Shi'ite-dominated city with important strategic significance as a major road junction and its proximity to nearby Tallil Airfield. On 1 April elements of the 70th Armored Regiment launched a "Thunder Run", an armored thrust through Najaf's city center, and, with air support, defeated the Iraqi forces after several days of heavy fighting and secured the city by 4 April. Accordingly, the Dutch commission concluded that the invasion violated international law. The investigation concluded that the program had not continued after the war. That is not the purpose of our action; our purpose is to disarm Iraq of weapons of mass destruction..." In November of that year, Blair further stated that, "So far as our objective, it is disarmament, not regime change – that is our objective. Many Iraqis celebrated the downfall of Saddam by vandalizing the many portraits and statues of him together with other pieces of his cult of personality. In 2006, a video of Allsopp lying on the ground surrounded by Iraqi irregular forces was discovered.  During the lead-up to the war and the aftermath of the invasion, critics cast doubt on the evidence supporting this rationale. The new Iraqi Air Force faced a similar challenge. His body was later dragged through the streets of Ash-Shatrah and hung in the town square, and later taken down and buried by sympathetic locals. Saddam Hussein had 267 planes and helicopters at his disposal, but not a single one even left the ground during the war.  Disputes within the US Defense Department led to delays in the post-invasion assessment and protection of Iraqi nuclear facilities. Facing a losing vote as well as a likely veto from France and Russia, the US, UK, Poland, Spain, Denmark, Italy, Japan, and Australia eventually withdrew their resolution. , Marine Sergeant Fernando Padilla-Ramirez was reported missing from his supply unit after an ambush north of Nasiriyah on 28 March. Wounded Totals, Willing to face Death: A History of Kurdish Military Forces – the Peshmerga – from the Ottoman Empire to Present-Day Iraq (page 67), "The Wages of War: Iraqi Combatant and Noncombatant Fatalities in the 2003 Conflict", "Wages of War – Appendix 1. The resolution "supported" and "encouraged" diplomatic efforts by President George W. Bush to "strictly enforce through the U.N. Security Council all relevant Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq" and "obtain prompt and decisive action by the Security Council to ensure that Iraq abandons its strategy of delay, evasion, and noncompliance and promptly and strictly complies with all relevant Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq." , The successful occupation of Kirkuk came after approximately two weeks of fighting that included the Battle of the Green Line (the unofficial border of the Kurdish autonomous zone) and the subsequent Battle of Kani Domlan Ridge (the ridgeline running northwest to southeast of Kirkuk), the latter fought exclusively by 3rd Battalion, 10th SFG and Kurdish peshmerga against the Iraqi 1st Corps. In practice I believe it is against Britain's interests to create a precedent for unilateral military action. Third, to search for, to capture and to drive out terrorists from that country.  At the time, there was a vigorous dispute within the intelligence community whether the CIA's conclusions about Iraq's UAV fleet were accurate.  International legal experts, including the International Commission of Jurists, a group of 31 leading Canadian law professors, and the U.S.-based Lawyers Committee on Nuclear Policy, have denounced this rationale. On 24 March 2003, the surrounding ODAs supported by Task Force 7 (British Special Air Service) and Task Force 64 (Australian Special Air Service Regiment) called in constant 24 hours of precision airstrikes on H-3 using SOFLAM target designators, the aerial bombardment forced the Iraqi military vehicles to leave the base and headed towards Baghdad. Sixth, to end sanctions and to immediately deliver humanitarian support to the displaced and to many needy Iraqi citizens.  An assertion that U.S. forces did not guard the museum because they were guarding the Ministry of Oil and Ministry of Interior is disputed by investigator Colonel Matthew Bogdanos in his 2005 book Thieves of Baghdad. Turf squabbles, deliberate or not, stymied the air defence of Baghdad. He then made the offer for Washington to send in 2000 FBI agents to confirm this.  This information has been used[by whom?] Jordan Aerospace Industries manufactured these aircraft under licence from the Canadian Zenair Company (which builds the Zenair Zenith 2000) and delivered during 2005. ODA 521 over watching the highway they were travelling on ambushed the convoy destroying a truck mounted ZU-23, the convoy was thrown into disarray, a sandstorm prevented the ODA calling in airstrikes and the convoy scattered into the desert. , On 2 April, Delta was engaged by half a dozen armed technicals from the same anti-special forces Fedayeen that had previously fought the SBS, two Delta operators were wounded (one serious), the squadron requested an urgent aeromedical evacuation and immediate close-air support as a company of truck-borne Iraqi reinforcements arrived. In practice, U.S. plans envisioned simultaneous air and ground assaults to incapacitate the Iraqi forces quickly which resulted in the Shock and awe military campaign attempting to bypass Iraqi military units and cities in most cases. The main allegations were: that Saddam possessed or was attempting to produce weapons of mass destruction, which Saddam Hussein had used in places such as Halabja, possessed, and made efforts to acquire, particularly considering two previous attacks on Baghdad nuclear weapons production facilities by both Iran and Israel which were alleged to have postponed weapons development progress; and, further, that he had ties to terrorists, specifically al-Qaeda. Reportedly, these were the first systems that the IrAF had acquired directly without CPA funding. , Private First Class Jessica Lynch of the 507th Maintenance Company was seriously injured and captured after her convoy was ambushed by Iraqi forces during the Battle of Nasiriyah.  In the opinon of Hayder al-Khoei, Iraq was already "destined for chaos" before 2003. But he said no-one could say whether the Iraqi defence system was being degraded faster than it was being improved. The U.S. side was carried out by Paramilitary Officers from SAD and the Army's 10th Special Forces Group. The aircraft were missing wings but, for the most part, remained fairly well-kept despite being in the sand for who-knows-how-long. The UK House of Commons held a debate on going to war on 18 March 2003 where the government motion was approved 412 to 149. The IrAF intended to be operating a total of twenty-four Mi-17s by mid-2007 from Taji Air Base in a deal worth US $105 million. The preliminary mission was to destroy the base of the Kurdish terrorist group Ansar al-Islam, believed to be linked to al-Qaeda. Iraqi Air Force MiG-21 MiG-21 Fishbed MiG-21F-13. , British troops, in what was codenamed Operation (or Op) TELIC participated in the 2003 Invasion of Iraq. SAD teams then combined with U.S. Army Special Forces to organize the Kurdish Peshmerga. Photo credit: Tom Cooper and ACIG. It started with U.S. AH-64 Apache helicopter gunships setting out on a mission to attack Republican Guard armored units; while flying low the Apaches came under heavy anti-aircraft, small arms, and RPG fire which heavily damaged many helicopters and shot one down, frustrating the attack. Allegations of a connection between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda were made by some U.S. Government officials who asserted that a highly secretive relationship existed between Saddam and the radical Islamist militant organization al-Qaeda from 1992 to 2003, specifically through a series of meetings reportedly involving the Iraqi Intelligence Service (IIS). Unlike the first Gulf War, this war had no explicit UN authorisation.  In a letter addressed to the complainants, Mr. Moreno Ocampo explained that he could only consider issues related to conduct during the war and not to its underlying legality as a possible crime of aggression because no provision had yet been adopted which "defines the crime and sets out the conditions under which the Court may exercise jurisdiction with respect to it." Now I happen to believe the regime of Saddam is a very brutal and repressive regime, I think it does enormous damage to the Iraqi people ... so I have got no doubt Saddam is very bad for Iraq, but on the other hand I have got no doubt either that the purpose of our challenge from the United Nations is the disarmament of weapons of mass destruction, it is not regime change. , On 20 September 2001, Bush addressed a joint session of Congress (simulcast live to the world), and announced his new "War on Terror". Within days, the Green Berets helped the town to elect a mayor and set up markets, get sixty percent of the electricity grid working and repair water supplies. Three companies of Marines were sent to capture him and came under heavy fire from rocket-propelled grenades, mortars, and assault rifles. Donald Walters, no evidence has since surfaced to support this scenario and it is generally accepted that the soldiers were killed in action. , The central U.S. justification for launching the war was that Saddam Hussein's alleged development of nuclear and biological weapons and purported ties to al-Qaeda made his regime a "grave and growing" threat to the United States and the world community. The Pentagon denies that either Wolfowitz or Rumsfeld, Duran's bosses, were aware of the plan. While it never made an explicit connection between Iraq and the 11 September attacks, the George W. Bush administration repeatedly insinuated a link, thereby creating a false impression for the U.S. public. During the night, four AC-130 gunships maintained the pressure on the retreating Ansar al-Islam terrorists as they pulled back toward the Iranian border; the next day, Task Force Viking seized the high ground and pushed down through the valley – surrounding and killing small pockets of remnants from Ansar al-Islam. This attracted considerable media coverage at the time.  Their leaders argued that there was no evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and that invading that country was not justified in the context of UNMOVIC's 12 February 2003 report. According to General Tommy Franks, April Fool, an American officer working undercover as a diplomat, was approached by an Iraqi intelligence agent. Despite the rapid advance of the invasion forces, some 44 oil wells were destroyed and set ablaze by Iraqi explosives or by incidental fire. When my colleague at the site, Maryam Moussa, and I asked military personnel in charge that the helipad be shut down, the response was that it had to remain open for security reasons, for the safety of the troops. , Opposition to the invasion coalesced in the worldwide 15 February 2003 anti-war protest that attracted between six and ten million people in more than 800 cities, the largest such protest in human history according to the Guinness Book of World Records. Ground elements of Task Force Dagger, Task Force 20, Task force 14, and Task Force 64 breached the sand berms along the Iraqi border with Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait in the early morning hours and drove into Iraq. Powell, in his address to the UN Security Council just before the war, referred to the aluminum tubes. Over 100 Fedayeen fighters were killed and four armed technicals were destroyed. American officials were reported as saying US and British warplanes had more than doubled their patrols over the no-fly zones to at least 500 a day.  On 7 March 2003, the U.S. submitted intelligence documents as evidence to the International Atomic Energy Agency. In the first Gulf War, while retreating from Kuwait, the Iraqi army had set many oil wells on fire and had dumped oil into the Gulf waters; this was to disguise troop movements and to distract Coalition forces. Iraqi Airfields Pre-2003 The mission of the Iraqi Air Force under Saddam … The daily flights of the helicopters rattle the ancient walls and the winds created by their rotors blast sand against the fragile bricks. , Bravo company turned its attention to Ar Rutbah, signals intercepts by SOT-A (Support Operations Team – Alpha) and an informer network among the Bedouins as well as inhabitants of the town indicated that around 800 Fedayeen remained in the town; Fedayeen patrols from the town were engaged by surrounding Green Berets and captured. On 9 April, nine ODAs secured the main roads into the town and commenced a day of near continuous final airstrikes from fix-wing aircraft and Apache helicopters.  A Marine from Marine Air Control Group 28 was killed by enemy fire, and two Marine engineers drowned in the Saddam Canal. This joint team combined to defeat Ansar al-Islam, an ally of Al Qaida, in a battle in the northeast corner of Iraq. , CIA Special Activities Division (SAD) Paramilitary teams entered Iraq in July 2002 before the 2003 invasion. Security Council members France and Russia made clear that they did not consider these consequences to include the use of force to overthrow the Iraqi government. In the face of the escalating security situation, from November 2005 the United States Air Force (USAF) in theatre worked to stand up the new IrAF as quickly as possible. The Iraqi cities of Al-Kut and Nasiriyah launched attacks on each other immediately following the fall of Baghdad to establish dominance in the new country, and the U.S.-led Coalition quickly found themselves embroiled in a potential civil war. , On 21 February, Maloof informed Duran in an email that Richard Perle wished to meet with Hage and the Iraqis if the Pentagon would clear it. When operation Iraqi Freedom came to an end only about 50 per cent remained and most of these had been badly damaged by crude Iraqi concealment efforts. However, the wells were quickly capped and the fires put out, preventing the ecological damage and loss of oil production capacity that had occurred at the end of the Gulf War. , On 15 February 2003, a month before the invasion, there were worldwide protests against the Iraq War, including a rally of three million people in Rome, which the Guinness Book of Records listed as the largest ever anti-war rally. The 10th Armored Brigade from the Medina Division and the 22nd Armored Brigade from the Nebuchadnezzar Division, supported by artillery, launched night attacks against the U.S. bridgehead at Musayyib. The invasion force did not see the entire Iraqi military thrown against it; U.S. and UK units had orders to move to and seize objective target points rather than seek to engage Iraqi units. , On 1 May 2003, Bush landed on the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln, in a Lockheed S-3 Viking, where he gave a speech announcing the end of major combat operations in the Iraq war. In February 2006, Luis Moreno Ocampo, the lead prosecutor for the International Criminal Court, reported that he had received 240 separate communications regarding the legality of the war, many of which concerned British participation in the invasion. Allowing for a conservatively similar number lost to Iranian ground fire, only about half those remaining were likely to be serviceable (with the other 50 per cent cannibalized for spares). Task Force 20 carried out the first successful US POW rescue mission since World War II.. Later during the military occupation period after the invasion, on 22 July 2003 during a raid by the U.S. 101st Airborne Division and men from Task Force 20, Saddam Hussein's sons Uday and Qusay, and one of his grandsons were killed in a massive fire-fight. The Bush administration asserted that the Saddam government had sought to purchase yellowcake uranium from Niger. Also notable was the usage "death squads" to refer to Fedayeen paramilitary forces. It was captured by Coalition forces during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003. Two MH-60K Blackhawks carrying a para jumper medical team and two MH-60L DAPs of the 160th SOAR responded and engaged the Iraqis, which allowed the Delta operators to move their casualties to an emergency HLZ and they were medevaced to H-1 escorted by a pair of A-10As, however Master Sergeant George Fernandez died. The 101st Airborne Division continued its attack north in support of the 3rd Infantry Division. ODAs 523 and 524 searched a suspected Scud-B storage facility while ODAs 521 and 525 were tasked with clearing several abandoned airfields, with no sign of Scud launchers, ODA 525 deployed a Special Reconnaissance team to conduct pattern of life surveillance on the town of Ar Rutba. ... the White House appears to be encouraging this false impression, as it seeks to maintain American support for a possible war against Iraq and demonstrate seriousness of purpose to Saddam's regime." 3 Squadron. Air cover as provided by an AC-130 Spectre and a Marine EA-6 Prowler to jam any enemy SAM systems that might be present. To dislodge the terrorists, the Combat Controllers attached to the ODAs vectored in US Navy F/A-18s which dropped six 500 lb JDAMs that shut down any further resistance. ‘In the past the Air Force only supported Saddam. In the process, the New Iraqi Army was expanded to include an Army, Air Force, Coastal Defense Force, reserve forces, and other elements. By 28 March, a severe sandstorm slowed the Coalition advance as the 3rd Infantry Division halted its northward drive halfway between Najaf and Karbala. The British Army's 16 Air Assault Brigade also secured the oil fields in southern Iraq in places like Rumaila while the Polish commandos captured offshore oil platforms near the port, preventing their destruction. In this respect, as provocations designed to start a war, leaked British Foreign Office legal advice concluded that such attacks were illegal under international law.. 23 Squadron had first moved to new Al Muthana in January 2006. the base provided the foundation on which Iraq’s air force could rebuild with help from its Coalition allies. On 7 March, Perle met with Hage in Knightsbridge, and stated that he wanted to pursue the matter further with people in Washington (both have acknowledged the meeting). 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