The Iraq war, referred to as Operation Iraqi Freedom or the Second Gulf war was propagated by President Bush and his allies to oust Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein for alleged atrocities against humanity and for alleged bearing of weapons of mass destruction. The United States army led a military campaign backed by the United Kingdom and other allies beginning the month of March, 2003. The claim forwarded by the administration of Bush and Tony Blair was that they were convinced that the Saddam administration harbored weapons of mass destruction which ostensibly endangered their security as well as threatening their coalition/regional allies. In spite of concerted efforts to ascertain whether Iraqi truly possessed or was developing the weapons of mass destruction, the operation was commenced without a conclusive answer to the allegations with several mission and expeditions to establish this truth having failed. The Head weapons Inspector Hans Blix advised the Un Security Council that due to the in-active cooperation in the bid to establish the truth behind the weapons of mass destruction, months (not years or days) were enough to disarm Iraq.
Among the weapon Iraq was suspected to own included yellowcake uranium, poison gas and biological weapons which all could lead to mass destruction. The allegations that Iraq was trying to import Yellow cake from Niger fuelled by the stock piled in 1990 before the Gulf war was a major cause of alarm. It was argued that 550 tones of yellow cake Uranium had been socked at the Tuwaitha nuclear complex which was situated 20 kilometers South of Baghdad. America, through the efforts of CIA sent former Ambassador Joseph Wilson ostensibly to verify these reports and he asserted that the allegations were untrue as far as the base was concerned by question marks remained over the reluctance of the Saddam Hussein regime to let investigations deeper into the Iraqi soil.
To justify their military intent, the Bush administration held on to the claims and cited their own intelligence sources as the informants behind the assertions that indeed the Iraqi administration had bought yellowcake uranium. Later, President Obama had to regret the failure of intelligence in Iraq and decried this failure as having caused the Iraqi Invasion. The allegations of poison gas were asserted by the Iraqi foreign minister who was under the payroll of the French. Naji Sabri informed of hidden poisonous gas and the ambitions of Saddam to establish an active nuclear program. Naji continued that research was underway to establish the nuclear program in Iraq. The biological weapons were purported to have been subject to German intelligence based on information from an Iraq defector. The man who had presented the information later confessed to have lied to the Germans so as to strengthen his case against the authoritarian rule of Saddam Hussein.
The war began in 2002 when the aircraft patrolling the already declared no-fly zones increased and then followed an onset of full air offensive. The aim of the air bombing was to degrade the Iraq air defense system before the onset of the real invasion. When the US senate voted unanimously to begin the invasion, Colin Powell had readily presented sufficient information that discredited chances of the Iraq administration denying the allegations of biological or chemical weapons. Indeed, the case had so much advanced that all persons involved were convinced that Iraq had the means of attacking the Eastern Sea board through unmanned aerial vehicles. Tension rose. The Us senate’s joint resolution, endorsing the use of thee United States Armed Forces against Iraq marked the beginning of attacks on the gulf nation.
This resolution granted the authority to the president to command the military to fight what was highly perceived as anti United States violence. The ultimate goal was to forcefully remove President Saddam Hussein from power and ensure smooth transition of the Iraqi nation to a democratic regime. President George W. Bush signed the authorization of the use of the military on October 16th 2002. In the words of the Chief UN Weapons inspector, the unwillingness of Iraq to disarm ought to be countered and the operation that was o be carried out ostensibly to disarm the nation highlighted the need for restoration of confidence and assertions of peaceful co-existence of humanity.
In the advent of the eighteenth resolution which sought to give Iraq a deadline to comply with the resolutions previously adopted to alleviate chances of military action, most members of NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) were opposed to military action that was being fronted by the S and Britain. France, Germany and Canada, all NATO members questioned the use of force versus diplomacy citing the high level of risk associated with the international community. Non-NATO member, Russia joined them and sought to expedite disarmament through diplomatic orientations which they observed were vital in maintaining peace, stability and prosperity in the world.
When President George W. Bush and his British counterpart Tony Blair met at the white house they agreed on March 10th as the date for the start of the invasion. The operation would commence through bombing and the two allies decided to go it alone whether weapons of mass destruction were found or not. Indeed, the two world leaders were convinced that they had the goodwill of the Iraqi people and there would not rise opposition or inter-ethnic strife if they went ahead and got rid of the Saddam Hussein administration which they perceived as dangerous to the security of the world and more so to their nations.
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But there was opposition from certain quarters warning that the US was taking the wrong stride. The first person to voice his opposition was immediate former US President Bill Clinton who perceived the military abilities of the Iraqi military as pre-emptive. He postulated that indeed it would be an attack not on the military but on innocent civilians. The French also their belief that military action was the worst option as there were a myriad of options at the disposal of the Americans and the United Nations Security Council. Angry protests were experienced worldwide to show solidarity with the Iraqi persons with an estimated 36 million people across the globe taking part. Despite Hans Blix reporting that there was no evidence of proscribed activities leading to the development of weapons of mass destruction, America went ahead to declare the failure of diplomacy. It forced the evacuation of UN weapons inspectors from Baghdad immediately and proceeded with what was called the coalition of the willing to rid Iraq of its weapons of mass destruction.
Serious legal questions arose over the manner in which the United States had handled the issue of Iraq, particularly from UN with Kofi Annan questioning its conformity to the UN and distancing itself with the actions of the United States. Indeed, the UN under the patronage of Kofi Annan declared the invasion illegal. Other quarters also echoed the sentiments of Kofi Anna, with some going as far as declaring the invasion as a serious violation of human rights and freedom. It also dully violated the international law and legal experts were astonished at the cynicism espoused by the Americans and their flat accusations of Iraq as harboring nuclear ambitions and also as party to the proliferation of small arms. Theorist Francis Fukuyama perfectly capture the attitudes of those opposed to the invasion when he stated that the close association created by the war in Iraq encompassing military invasion in the pretext of promoting democracy tarnished the values and foundations within which democracy is hinged on. Indeed, critics were convinced that the invasion had nothing good towards the claimed objectives including assuring the security of the United States and her allies but it compounded the desire of the United States in cementing its position as the world superpower.
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The invasion begun by the entering of the CIA team which was comprised of the special activities department and the Armed Forces Special Activities department. They engaged in diplomatic military action by persuading the Iraqi militia to surrender rather than pose challenges to the invasions. They also had the responsibility to identify the key men for Saddam Hussein’s regime. Entering via the North, the official invasion of Iraq began in March 20 in the leadership of Tommy Franks, the then U.S. army General. It bore the codename ‘operation Iraqi Freedom.’ Troops, equipment, food, security and Special Forces were provided from other coalition partners in collaboration with the local Kurdish militia who had for long opposed the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein. The main aims included putting an end to the Saddam regime, searching and destroying weapons of mass destruction, eliminating Islamist militants believed to be residing in Iraq, establishing links used by the militias and obtaining important intelligence on the militia’s networks, ensuring a sound petroleum infrastructure, and assisting in the establishment of a democratic government (Lansford, 2009). The quick and decisive operation encountered severe resistance though not to the anticipated heights. The Iraqi regime seemed to have been adequately prepared for the conventional attacks and succeeded in launching armored attacks in he rear and conceding territory once they felt that they had been out maneuvered.
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Coalition troops launched air and amphibious attacks on the oil-fields and important ports. Major road junctions were also targeted as well s air strips. Severe sand and storm stopped the coalition troops advance in regions like Karbala and the supply lines needed to be secured before forcing bridges over the Euphrates River. This assisted their entry into Baghdad where the troops fought till the fall of Baghdad, signaling the end of 24 year rule of Saddam Hussein. The sudden fall of Baghdad led to gratitude of invaders and massive disorder which precipitated the culpable looting of property and government premises. The loot provided sufficient supply for insurgents and even ammunition to assist in their fight. The fall of the Saddam Hussein rule signaled the end of the invasion but it also called for the commencement of the rebuilding of Iraq. The American virtually had control over all infrastructure and the resources including the huge petroleum deposits. They also controlled the operations of the port and provided security to the government officers and civilians at the time.
The invasion erased doubts of a possible nuclear, chemical and biological programs and managed to indeed confirm that the programs had been halted in 1991. However, the Iraqi administration was keen to resume the operations once sanctions imposed by the UN and the international community were lifted. The weapons found were of a lesser magnitude even though the invasion facilitated the capture of the dictator, self-declared-president-for life- Saddam Hussein. In addition, the United States government asserted the financial support offered to Palestinian insurgents as well as financial and military support of world’s most feared terrorist network; the Al Qaeda. There were remnants of chemical weapons believed to have been ingrained to the previous attempts to give rise to the nuclear plant in the earlier years. The remnants were outdated. Saddam Hussein was captured and later tried at an Iraqi Court of law and executed by the new Iraqi government.
The completion of the invasion was challenged by the rise of insurgency with reports showing attacks on coalition forces and sectarian groups. The strife between the Sunni and Shia widened and a new Al-Qaeda branch of Iraq emerged. The number of people who lost their lives was incredible and so was the number of orphaned children. This called for speedy humanitarian intervention as food and water remained scarce and millions of Iraqis struggled to make ends meet. The security concerns and economic situation was volatile and really took time to improve to a situation that could sustain the populace. In addition, with the country’s infrastructure completely destroyed it was almost impossible to control the movement of people and goods amidst the fragile and volatile regions.
To conclude, for the facilitation of efforts of the coalition forces to withdraw, it was imperative that reliable systems were established. This was enabled through the conducting of elections and the collaborated training of the American and Iraqi forces so as to adequately provide security and stability. By the year 2008 with the election of President Obama, a withdrawal plan that would the smooth transition of the government and power was established and would seek all coalition troops leave peacefully and the few troops which remained assist the Iraqis establish sufficient and efficient structures for self- rule and in a democratic setting. The plan envisioned a populace that would control and benefit from the resources available within their country mainly the huge chunks of petroleum deposits. Even then, the invasion and the Iraq war marked a dark history as far as American Intelligence is concerned but also elaborates a point in time when Americans used their powers to a lesser power and effectively generated a sense of respect among the nations; more so in their determination to go it all alone.