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Iran-Iraq War and Desert Storm. Lsn 38. ID & SIG. chemical weapons, coalition, Desert Storm, human wave attacks, Iran-Iraq War, “left hook”, Khomeini, objective of Desert Storm, Republican Guards, Saddam, Schwarzkopf, shaping operations (deception and air war), Tanker War, War of the Cities.

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id sig
ID & SIG
  • chemical weapons, coalition, Desert Storm, human wave attacks, Iran-Iraq War, “left hook”, Khomeini, objective of Desert Storm, Republican Guards, Saddam, Schwarzkopf, shaping operations (deception and air war), Tanker War, War of the Cities
iran iraq war 1980 1988 background
Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988): Background
  • Underlying causes of the war included Sunni vs Shi’ite religious tensions and Persian vs Arab ethnic tensions
  • The immediate cause was that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was concerned about Iranian efforts to undermine his regime
    • Saddam hoped to curtail the spread of Islamic fundamentalism to which Iraq’s Shi’ite population seemed increasingly vulnerable
    • He also wanted to increase his influence in the Persian Gulf by seizing key geographic areas
iran iraq war 1980 1988 background1
Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988): Background
  • Saddam had spent vast sums on improving his military and he also knew the Iranian military was weakened by the upheaval of the 1979 Iranian Revolution
    • Saddam expected a short war

Iraqi President Saddam Hussein

iran iraq war 1980 1988 iraqi attack
Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988): Iraqi Attack
  • On Sept 22, 1980 Iraq launched a surprise attack against ten Iranian airfields
  • Then Iraq launched ground attacks on four separate axes
    • Most of Iran’s advanced planes were in protective hangars so the surprise aerial attack had little effect
    • The ground attack also produced little and after about a week Saddam called for a cease-fire
iran iraq war 1980 1988 iranian recovery
Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988): Iranian Recovery
  • Saddam renewed his offensive with several subsequent attacks but by March 1981 they had all exhausted themselves
  • Instead of the quick victory Saddam had hoped for, all he had done was give the Iranian revolutionary regime a rallying cry to mobilize its people
    • Now Iraq faced a total war against an enemy with far greater population and resources
iran iraq war 1980 1988 international response
Iran-Iraq War: (1980-1988):International Response
  • In spite of Saddam’s record of human rights abuses, the international community seemed more afraid of the spread of Ayatollah Khomeini’s influence in the Middle East
  • Consequently there was little support for Iran even though Iraq had initiated the aggression
    • Logistical shortages would hinder Iran throughout the war

Iran seized 66 American hostages in the revolution that brought Khomeini to power

iran iraq war 1980 1988 iranian attacks
Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988):Iranian Attacks
  • From Sept 1981 through May 1982, Iran seized the initiative through poorly coordinated attacks that relied on superior numbers to make up for inferior commanders, staffs, and equipment
  • In some cases the Iranian used human wave attacks spearheaded by religiously motivated children and old men who would race forward and use their bodies to detonate concealed mines
  • Then waves of poorly trained militia threw themselves on the barbed wire to try to make a breach
  • Finally better trained and equipped soldiers would attack over the mangled bodies of the initial waves
iran iraq war 1980 1988 iranian successes
Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988):Iranian Successes
  • As time passed the Iranians developed better tactics but still suffered huge losses
  • Nonetheless the Iranians succeeded in pushing the Iraqis back and in June 1982 Saddam ordered the evacuation of most of the territory seized from Iran
iran iraq war 1980 1988 chemical weapons
Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988): Chemical Weapons
  • Iran then shifted its emphasis from defense to offense
  • In July the Iranians attacked Basra, Iraq’s second largest city, and in October they attacked toward Baghdad
  • The Iraqis repelled the attacks, using limited amounts of mustard gas and possibly nerve gas in the process

Iranian soldier with a protective mask

iran iraq war 1980 1988 tanker war
Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988):Tanker War
  • In 1984 the war escalated to a new level when Saddam began using his superior air power to halt the shipment of Iranian oil through the Persian Gulf
  • The Iraqis shipped most of their oil by pipeline so the Iranians were not able to retaliate against Iraqi shipping
  • Instead Iran attacked the ships of Iraq’s allies, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia
    • This became known as the “Tanker War”
iran iraq war 1980 1988 war of the cities
Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988):War of the Cities
  • From March to June 1985 the “War of the Cities” occurred with both sides launching missile attacks at major population centers
  • As the Iranians increasingly dominated the ground war, Iraq stepped up its air attacks

Both sides fired SCUD missiles at each other’s cities

iran iraq war 1980 1988 us involvement
Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988):US Involvement
  • In 1987 the US began playing an increasingly active role having concluded that an Iranian victory would be contrary to US interests in the region
  • Kuwait transferred ownership of half of its tankers to a US shipping company and US warships provided security for them in the Persian Gulf
  • There were several direct interactions between the US and Iran including the Iranian cruise missile attack against the USS Stark which killed 37 Americans

The USS Stark after the attack

iran iraq war 1980 1988 iraqi advantage
Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988):Iraqi Advantage
  • Iran began increasingly wary of even greater US involvement
  • The strategic situation was beginning to favor Iraq, and Iraq responded with renewed offensives
    • Iraq scored a huge victory in the Haur-al-Hawizeh marshes but then withdrew in an apparent attempt to signal to Iran a willingness to end the war

Donald Rumsfeld, President Reagan’s special envoy to the Middle East, meeting with Saddam in 1983

iran iraq war 1980 1988 iranian difficulties
Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988): Iranian Difficulties
  • The USS Vincennes mistakenly identified an Iranian civilian airplane with 290 people on board as a war plane and shot it down
  • The incident hurt Iranian morale
  • Iran was also suffering from serious supply shortages and increasingly successful Iraqi attacks
  • Iran could respond only with human wave attacks, but unlike in 1980, volunteers were less abundant

Iranian stamp commemorating the USS Vincennes incident

iran iraq war 1980 1988 peace
Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988):Peace
  • Finally Iran accepted a truce and the war ended on Aug 20, 1988
  • In the end, neither side gained anything of significance and instead plundered their treasuries and wasted thousands of lives
    • The war left Iraq with over $90 billion in debts
    • This is going to contribute to Saddam’s decision to invade Kuwait in 1990
iran iraq war 1980 1988 legacy
Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988):Legacy
  • The Iraqis used superior air power, attacked commercial shipping, and used chemicals
  • The Iranians were largely isolated from international support and often resorted to human wave tactics to offset their technological disadvantage
  • The war left the long standing enmity between the two countries unresolved

Iraqi soldiers celebrating in front of a bullet-ridden picture of Ayatollah Khomeini

desert storm background
Desert Storm: Background
  • Majority of region administered by Britain until post-World War II.
  • Long-standing disputes between Iraq and Kuwait.
    • Iraq argues Kuwait is an Iraqi province.
      • Iraq mobilized and prepared for invasion in 1961 immediately after Kuwait was granted independence by Britain.
    • Iraq wants Kuwait to forgive debts Iraq owes from Iran-Iraq War.
      • Claims Kuwait actually owes Iraq for “defending” it against Iran.
    • Iraq accuses Kuwait of overproduction of oil/theft of Iraqi oil.
  • On Aug 2, 1990, Iraq invaded Kuwait
the road to war
The Road to War
  • March 1990 – US Central Command (CENTCOM) conducted a Command Post Exercise with a Iraqi invasion scenario.
  • July 25 - US Ambassador April Galaspie told Iraq that their dispute with Kuwait is not a US matter
  • Aug 2 - Iraq invaded Kuwait.
  • Aug 7– Two squadrons of USAF F-15s are first US forces to arrive in Saudi Arabia.
  • Aug 9– First elements of 82nd Airborne arrived in Saudi Arabia.

Soldiers of the 82nd Airborne Division departing Fort Bragg, NC for Saudi Arabia

the road to war1
The Road to War
  • Aug 25, 1990 – UN authorized use of force.
  • Oct 31 – President Bush gave go ahead for two corps offensive and authorized doubling of force.
  • Nov 29 - UN Resolution 678 authorized all force needed to expel Iraq if they are not out by Jan 15, 1991.

The original plan for a one corps-size force would have been primarily a frontal attack which would have resulted in additional casualties.

coalition operations
The end of the Cold War and Russia’s willingness to join the US in opposing Iraq created an unprecedented level of international cooperation

The United Nations adopted resolutions condemning Iraq and authorizing the use of force

Thirty-six countries (as well as Kuwait) contributed forces

Coalition Operations
coalition
Coalition
  • Coalition unity became the center of gravity (“those characteristics, capabilities or localities from which a military force derives its freedom of action, physical strength, or will to fight”) for the US
  • Saddam tried to fracture coalition unity by launching Scud missile attacks against population centers in Israel
    • Saddam hoped to goad Israel into retaliating and therefore cause the Arab members of the coalition to pull out
    • US pleaded with Israel to stay out of the war and the US deployed Patriot missile batteries to help protect Israel
combat operations
Combat Operations
  • Jan 17, 1991 - Air war began
  • Feb 23 - Ground war began
  • Feb 28 - Cease fire took effect.
  • March 2 - 24th ID fought last engagement of the war.
  • March 3 - Schwarzkopf accepted Iraqi surrender at Safwan.
shaping operations
Shaping Operations
  • Create and preserve conditions for the success of the operation
  • Air operation
    • Cut supplies bound for Iraqi forces in Kuwait from 20k tons per week to 2k tons per week and eliminated Iraqi air threat
  • Deception operation
    • Highly visible Marine rehearsals persuaded Saddam to commit an estimated four divisions to protect his flank against an amphibious assault

Leaflets such as these deceived the Iraqis into thinking the main attack would be amphibious

the ground war

As Samawah

An Nasiriyah

Tigris

Iran

Iraq

Euphrates

Al

Basrah

Al

Busayyah

Republican

Guards

Persian

Gulf

XVIII

Airborne

Corps

Iraqi Defenses

Kuwait

City

VIICorps

xxxx

JFC

North

Khafji

xxx

MARCENT

xxx

Hafir

al Batin

JFC

East

xxx

Third Army

Saudi Arabia

The Ground War
  • Massive air and artillery bombardments prior to D-Day reduced front line forces to less than 50% strength and reserves to 50-75%.
  • Feb 23 - Iraqis begin torching oil wells.
  • Feb 24 - Ground campaign kicks off.
    • Emphasized speed and maneuver.

VII Corps will be the decisive operation with the mission to destroy the enemy’s decisive point, the Republican Guards.

XVIII Abn Corps will be the shaping operation with the mission to isolate the battlefield

slide29

As Samawah

An Nasiriyah

Iraq

Iran

Tigris

Euphrates

Al

Basrah

49

N

AL

Al

Busayyah

AD

H

E

M

52

51

10

T

XX

17

26

Persian

Gulf

FR

6

6

2

12

XX

D

101

47

21

48

Kuwait

City

25

15

28

XX

27

11

XX

82

20

30

24

19

16

36

1

III

III

3

2

3

7

XX

XX

XX

1

1

UK

XVIII

Airborne

Corps

JFN

14

18

XX

XX

X

29

1

2

3

xxxx

XX

JFC

North

5

1

XX

2

VIICorps

XX

xxx

XX

Marine

Hafir

al Batin

1

xxx

JFE

Marine

MARCENT

JFC

East

US Third Army

xxx

Saudi Arabia

Situation, 23 February 1991

slide30

As Samawah

An Nasiriyah

Iraq

Iran

Tigris

Euphrates

Al

Basrah

49

N

AL

AD

Al

Busayyah

H

E

M

52

51

10

Persian

Gulf

T

XX

17

26

FR

6

6

2

12

XX

D

101

47

21

48

Kuwait

City

25

15

28

XX

27

11

XX

82

20

30

24

19

16

36

1

III

III

3

2

3

7

XX

XX

XX

1

1

UK

JFN

14

18

XX

XVIII

Airborne

Corps

XX

X

29

1

2

3

xxxx

XX

5

JFC

North

1

XX

2

VIICorps

XX

XX

Marine

xxx

Hafir

al Batin

1

xxx

JFE

Marine

MARCENT

JFC

East

US Third Army

xxx

Saudi Arabia

Situation, 24 February 1991

slide31

As Samawah

An Nasiriyah

Iraq

Tigris

Iran

Euphrates

Al

Basrah

49

N

AL

AD

Al

Busayyah

H

E

M

52

51

10

Persian

Gulf

T

XX

17

FR

6

6

XVIII

Airborne

Corps

2

12

XX

D

101

47

21

Kuwait

City

15

XX

27

11

XX

82

24

19

1

III

III

3

2

3

XX

XX

JFC

North

XX

1

1

UK

VIICorps

JFN

XX

XX

X

1

2

3

XX

xxxx

1

xxx

XX

2

XX

MARCENT

XX

Marine

1

Hafir

al Batin

JFE

JFC

East

xxx

Marine

US Third Army

xxx

Saudi Arabia

Situation, 25 February 1991

slide32

As Samawah

An Nasiriyah

Iraq

Iran

Tigris

Euphrates

Al

Basrah

49

N

AL

AD

XVIII

Airborne

Corps

Al

Busayyah

H

E

M

52

51

10

Persian

Gulf

T

XX

17

FR

6

6

2

12

XX

D

101

47

Kuwait

City

XX

XX

82

24

VIICorps

III

III

JFC

North

2

3

XX

XX

XX

1

1

UK

JFN

XX

XX

X

1

2

3

xxxx

XX

xxx

1

XX

2

MARCENT

XX

JFC

East

XX

Marine

Hafir

al Batin

1

JFE

xxx

Marine

US Third Army

xxx

Saudi Arabia

Situation, 26 February 1991

slide33

As Samawah

An Nasiriyah

Iraq

Iran

Tigris

Al

Basrah

XVIII

Airborne

Corps

N

AL

AD

H

Al

Busayyah

M

52

51

10

Persian

Gulf

XX

FR

6

6

2

VIICorps

xxx

XX

101

Kuwait

City

XX

XX

82

24

III

III

2

3

JFC

North

XX

XX

XX

xxx

1

1

UK

JFN

XX

XX

X

xxxx

1

2

3

XX

US Third Army

1

XX

MARCENT

2

xxx

XX

XX

Marine

JFC

East

1

JFE

Hafir

al Batin

Marine

Saudi Arabia

Situation, 27 February 1991

Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney reported the Iraqis were now conducting “the mother of all retreats”

slide35

As Samawah

An Nasiriyah

Iraq

Iran

Tigris

Al

Basrah

XVIII

Airborne

Corps

AL

AD

Al

Busayyah

VIICorps

Persian

Gulf

XX

FR

6

XX

xxx

101

Kuwait

City

XX

XX

82

24

III

III

2

3

JFC

North

XX

XX

XX

1

1

UK

JFN

XX

xxx

XX

X

US Third Army

1

2

3

XX

xxxx

1

XX

MARCENT

2

JFC

East

XX

XX

Marine

1

Hafir

al Batin

JFE

xxx

Marine

Saudi Arabia

Situation, 28 February 1991

partial escape
Partial Escape
  • However much of the Hammurabi Division escaped intact
    • Throughout the fighting Schwarzkopf had been pressing VII Corps commander Frederick Franks to pursue faster while Franks felt he still had enemy in contact to deal with
    • The two never effectively communicated and a gap in the encirclement was the result

Franks and Schwarzkopf would provide conflicting versions of events in their post-war writings

slide37
Iraq
  • The objective of Desert Storm was to liberate Kuwait, not to destroy the Iraqi army or remove Saddam
  • Even though the coalition experienced amazing military success, Saddam remained in power and crushed short-lived uprisings by the Kurds in the north and the Shia in the south
  • Iraqi Freedom would have the objective of changing the regime in Iraq
review
Review
  • Ground war emphasized mass, speed, and maneuver
    • Still largely a linear battlefield
    • Iraqi Freedom would be much more nonlinear and trade mass for speed
  • Renewed Air Force arguments about the relative superiority of air power
  • Technology, low casualties, short war would lead to increased demands for use of military
  • Importance of media
    • Felt somewhat used
      • Would lead to embedded journalists in Iraqi Freedom
  • Limited objective (liberate Kuwait) left Saddam in power and the Republican Guards largely in tact
    • Set stage for Iraqi Freedom
legacy of desert storm
Legacy of Desert Storm
  • Won with an operational concept that sought in a single climatic operation to destroy the enemy’s center of gravity
  • In 100 hours of combat, American forces destroyed or captured more than 3,000 tanks, 1,400 armored carriers, and 2,200 artillery pieces
  • The “Great Wheel” swept over and captured almost 20,000 square miles of territory
  • Only 140 soldiers died in direct combat
  • Erased the “Vietnam Syndrome”
      • Scales, Certain Victory, p. 382-383
slide40
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