Second Gulf War
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The Second Persian Gulf War with Iraq was one of the critical episodes of American history. After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the US government was aimed at finding the source of terrorism, which was centered in Iraq. The USA started the campaign for the active intervention in Iraq to seek nuclear weapons. The war was an important historical lesson because it signified America’s diplomatic failure to solve the problem of terrorism and violation of the international conventions, especially statutes of the UN. Moreover, the war showed the character of a national policy on the Arab world, destroying the opportunity for understanding between the Western and Eastern world.
In January 1998, after Saddam Hussein’s refusal to cooperate with the international commission, the US Army in conjunction with the Royal Air Force carried out a military operation code-named “Desert Fox” (Dolan, 2004). The aim of the operation was the total destruction of terrorist objects and weapons of mass destruction. It was a historical prerequisite to the aggravation of the next conflict after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, when one of the reasons was to overthrow the Hussein’s government as a center of global threats. Thus, the reason to start the Second Gulf War was the need for a change of the ruling regime. Moreover, after the terrorist attacks, Bush was able to look for the perpetrators of terrorism, which was also “an important criterion for judging the next steps with regard to this bloody challenge” (Byman, 2007). In other words, the president retained the possibility to punish states that sponsored terrorism or pursued weapons of mass destruction that could be supplied to the terrorists (Dolan, 2004).
Another reason of the war was that Iraq was a potential threat to the United States because the US authorities supposed that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. In October 2002, the Senate and US Congress allowed President Bush to use military force against Iraq (Dolan, 2004). The US administration oiced a report that Iraq had the potential danger to the USA, so they had the right to strike. The main official reason for the war was declared and this reason was the presence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. However, it was debated among the member of the UN. For example, Russia, France, and China openly protested against the invasion of Iraq because they did not see any objective reason for the threat to the world. In order to assure the world community of the dangers of Saddam Hussein’s regime, Washington and London had openly falsified intelligence on the Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. David Kelly, who led the third weapons inspection group, recorded potential laboratory for weapons of mass destruction on camera, but in fact, it was a center for the production of hydrogen gas to fill balloons (Beaumont, Barnett, & Hinsliff, 2003).
The war in Iraq was, according to its initiators, an important step in combating international terrorism (Byman, 2007). In this sense, it was a continuation of the military campaign in Afghanistan with the aim to fight terrorists on their territory. The collaboration between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda was not confirmed, and Biggar (2013) believed that there was “no evidence of practical cooperation in the construction of WMD for terrorist use” (p. 262). However, the removal of an authoritarian regime in the Middle East should stabilize the situation, according to Washington (Byman, 2007). In addition, the solution of the Iraqi problem that existed since the First Gulf War in 1991 was intended to solve the Palestinian problem and to bring overall peace to the Middle East as well.
President Bush gave the command to start the operation on March 19, 2003 but there was no official declaration of war (Friedman, 2011). After about three weeks of fighting, coalition forces invaded Iraq, putting an end to the rule of Saddam Hussein and his Ba’ath Party. The result of intensive and lengthy search conducted by the team specifically created by the US government for searching weapons of mass destrucction was a few shells with chemical filling, which was a striking contrast with the prewar warnings about the presence of significant weapons program. After the end of active fighting and the surrender of the regular Iraqi arm, the occupation of Iraq began. Before the invasion, it was expected that the Iraqi army would have a strong resistance to the international coalition. However, this did not happen, except for some pockets of resistance that had been suppressed easily by the American and British troops. As a result, they coalition established control over the territory of Iraq.
The country was divided into four military districts: North (near Kirkuk and Mosul), the South with headquarters in Basra, the Euphrates that was to take the brunt of the Americans, and Baghdad that was attributed to the Presidential Guard. After three weeks after the beginning of the war, the coalition forces came to the Iraqi capital from the west, south, and southeast. Initial plans assumed the encirclement of Baghdad from all sides, ousting the Iraqi forces to the city center, and shelling of the city (“A Timeline,” 2006). This plan was abandoned when it became clear that most of Baghdad had already defeated the garrison in the southern suburbs. On the morning of April 9, 2003, the American command demanded the surrender of the Iraqi troops (“A Timeline,” 2006). In case of failure, they planned a large-scale assault. The Iraqi authorities refused to show further resistance. On the same day, the US troops entered the city.
By the end of 2004, it became clear that the confrontation between the resistance movement and the occupying forces moved into a fundamentally new phase. During six years of active Iraqi resistance, the fighters consistently resisted the occupation forces. Using guerrilla warfare techniques, they were able to squeeze Americans from large settlements. Then, subjected to regular attacks on army patrols and columns inside the cities, the coalition forces slowly retreated to a new line of defense, hiding in their own military bases.