Iraq War

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See also: Iraq War, origins of invasion
See also: Iraq War, theater operational planning
See also: Iraq War, major combat phase
See also: Iraq War, insurgency
See also: Iraq War, Surge

The Iraq War was the invasion of Iraq in 2003 by a multinational coalition led by the United States of America. Military operations were conducted by forces from the U.S., the United Kingdom, Australia and Poland, and was supported in various ways by many other countries, some of which allowed attacks to be launched or controlled from their territory. The United Nations neither approved nor censured the invasion, which was never a formally declared a war. The U.S. refers to it as Operation IRAQI FREEDOM. Continuing operations are under the command of Multi-National Force-Iraq.

From the U.S. operational view, Operation IRAQI FREEDOM ended when the 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, the last operational brigade in Iraq, left in August 2010. [1] Six other brigades actually remain, but they are called "advise and assist" units charged with training.

This war is to be distinguished from the Gulf War of 1991, following the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990. The Gulf War had United Nations authorization. Further, both these wars should be differentiated from the Iran-Iraq War of 1980-1988.

The war had quick result of the removal (and later execution) of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein and the formation of a democratically elected parliament and ratified constitution, which won UN approval. However, an amorphous insurgency since then has produced large numbers of civilian deaths and an unstable Iraqi government. It has generated enormous political controversy in the U.S. and other countries.

It also changed the dynamics of the region. According to Anthony Zinni, [2], it produced the "first Shi'a Arab state in modern history." Earlier advocates of regime change in Iraq, such as David Wurmser, had proposed replacing Saddam Hussein with a government of Iraqi exiles centered around Ahmed Chalabi; such a government would be in close alliance with Jordan.[3] There have been constant questions of Iraq splitting along the ethnic and religious lines of the three Ottoman Empire provinces from which the British Empire created it: Shi'a, Sunni, and Kurd.

Sovereignty has been transferred to a new elected Iraqi government, with U.S. forces withdrawn from the cities. Security problems still exist, although they are reduced from the worst times of the insurgency


There had been some sentiment, in the 1991 Gulf War, that the invasion force should have continued to Baghdad and overthrown Saddam Hussein, but most agree that would have been far beyond the UN mandate and the realities of the coalition. Nevertheless, there was increasingly strong pressure among American policy influencers, from the mid-1990s on, that regime change in Iraq was important to the overall goals of American foreign policy. The 1998 Iraq Liberation Act formalized this as a Congressional statement of direction.

The main rationale for the invasion was Iraq’s continued violation of the 1991 agreement (in particular United Nations Resolution 687) that the country allow UN weapons inspectors unhindered access to nuclear facilities, as well as the country’s failure to observe several UN resolutions ordering Iraq to comply with Resolution 687. The US government cited intelligence reports that Iraq was actively supporting terrorists and developing weapons of mass destruction (WMD) as additional and acute reasons to invade. Though there was some justification before October 2002 for believing this intelligence credible, a later Senate investigation found that the intelligence was inaccurate and that the intelligence community failed to communicate this properly to the Bush administration[4].

Factors Leading Up to the Invasion

For more information, see: Iraq War, origins of invasion.

There was wide support for the view that Saddam Hussein's Iraq had a negative effect on regional and world stability, although many of the opinion makers intensely disagreed on the ways in which it was destabilizing. This idea certainly did not begin with 9/11, but 9/11 intensified the concern in the Bush Administration.[5] Nevertheless, U.S. military action against Iraq goes back to unconventional warfare during the Iran-Iraq War under Ronald Reagan, the Gulf War under George W. Bush and various operations under Bill Clinton.

Iraq had had and used chemical weapons in the Iran-Iraq War and had active missile, biological weapon and nuclear weapon development programs. These provided Saddam with both a means of threatening and deterring within the region. He also supported regional terrorists, but there is now little evidence he had operational control of terrorists acting outside the region. Saddam had attempted an assassination of former President George H. W. Bush.

The issue of non-national terrorism, however, took on new intensity after the 9-11 attack. Some analysts, such as Michael Scheuer, believe that many decision makers found it hard to accept that such an attack could come from other than a nation-state.

The Authorization for the Use of Military Force that gave the George W. Bush Administration its legal authority to attack Iraq did not specifically depend on a proven relationship between Iraq and 9-11, or a specific WMD threat to the United States. Both, however, were assumed.

Strategic preparation

Not all the planning dates may seem in proper sequence; this is not anything suspicious as some of the work was already in progress as part of routine staff activity, while other work was started by informal communications.

Even before the 9-11 attacks, regime change in Saddam Hussein's Iraq was a high priority of the George W. Bush Administration. According to This is not to suggest that previous Administrations had not been considering it, and had been steadily carrying out air attacks in support of the no-fly zones (Operation SOUTHERN WATCH and Operation NORTHERN WATCH), as well as air strikes (Operation DESERT FOX). Nevertheless, the priorities changed.

In part using the cover of the no-fly zones, in part using clandestine operations, and in part activities in areas outside Iraq, work proceeded in what is now termed Operational Preparation of the Environment. This includes Intelligence Preparation of the Battlespace, Operational Preparation of the Battlespace, and logistical and other combat support and combat service support.

Another change, in the Bush Administration, was an emphasis on not "fighting the last war". Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was a constant advocate of transformation, emphasizing higher technology, more flexibility, and smaller forces, rather than the large heavy forces that were optimized to fight the Soviet Union. This was especially true after early operations in the Afghanistan War (2001-), where large U.S. ground forces were not used, but instead extensive special operations working with Afghan forces and using air power. Every war is different, however, and the reality in Afghanistan is there was an existing civil war and substantial indigenous resistance forces.

Assumed links between 9/11 and Iraq

Late in the evening of 9/11, the President had been told, by CIA chief George Tenet, that there was strong linkage to al-Qaeda and the 9/11 attack proper. Tenet did not discuss Iraq in this context. [6] On September 12, President Bush directed counterterrorism adviser Richard Clarke to review all information and reconsider if Saddam was involved in 9/11.[7]

Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz sent Rumsfeld a memo, on September 17, called "Preventing More Events"; it argued that there was a better than 1 in 10 chance that Saddam was behind 9/11. [8] He had been told, by the CIA and FBI, that there was clear linkage to al-Qaeda, but said the CIA lacked imagination. [9] On September 19, 2001, the Defense Advisory Board, chaired by Richard Perle, met for two days. Iraq was the focus. Among the speakers was Ahmed Chalabi, a controversial Iraqi exile who argued for an approach similar to the not-yet-executed approach to Afghanistan: U.S. air and other support to insurgent Iraqis. [10] Chalabi had the greatest support among Republican-identified neoconservatives, but also had Democratic supporters such as former Director of Central Intelligence R. James Woolsey.[11]

One reason Wolfowitz pushed for attacking Iraq was that he worried about what was then assumed would be a large American force in the treacherous terrain of Afghanistan. Since he believed, although without specific evidence, that there was between a 10 and 50 percent chance that Saddam was involved in 9/11, he thought Iraq, a brittle regime, might be the easier target. [12]

On the same day, Bush had told Tenet that he wanted links between Iraq and 9/11 explored. [13]

While Tenet agreed there was a connection between al-Qaeda and 9-11, and that Saddam was supporting Palestinian and European terrorists, he said that the CIA could not make a firm connection between al-Qaeda and Iraq. While CIA continued its analysis, it accepted a briefing from a Pentagon group, under Douglas Feith, to share its ideas about an Iran-9/11 connection. This was presented at CIA headquarters on August 14, 2002. According to Tenet, while Feith's team felt they had found things, in raw reports, that CIA had missed, they were not using the skills of professional intelligence analysts to consider other than the desired conclusion. His attention immediately was caught by a naval reservist working for Feith, Tina Shelton, who said the relationship between al-Qaeda and Iraq was an "open and shut further analysis is required." A slide said there was a "mature, symbiotic relationship", which Tenet did not believe was supported. Pre-9/11 coordination between al-Qaeda operative Mohammed Atta, in Prague, with the Iraqi intelligence service had become likely; Tenet described this association, which was later disproved, He called aside VADM Jake Jacoby, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, and telling him he worked for Rumsfeld and Tenet, and was to remove himself from Feith's policy channels. Later, Tenet learned that the Feith team was presenting to the White House, NSC, and Office of the Vice President. [14]

It appeared a matter of certainty in the White House, especially with Cheney, that a link existed between al-Qaeda and 9/11, and Iraq War policy assumed it. A February 2007 report by the Department of Defense Inspector General said no laws were broken, but Feith's group bypassed Intelligence Community safeguards [15] On June 1, 2009, Cheney agreed that the evidence shows no direct link, but the invasion was still warranted due to Saddam's general support of terror.[16]

W. Patrick Lang, DIA national intelligence officer for the Middle East, said

The Pentagon has banded together to dominate the government’s foreign policy, and they’ve pulled it off. They’re running Chalabi. The D.I.A. has been intimidated and beaten to a pulp. And there’s no guts at all in the C.I.A.”Cite error: Closing </ref> missing for <ref> tag

Informally, Franks had called it "DESERT STORM II", using three corps as in 1991, but to force collapse of Saddam Hussein's regime. On November 27, he told the Secretary of Defense that he had a new concept, but that detailed planning would be needed. [17] Franks told Rumsfeld, during a videoconference on December 4, 2001, that it was a stale, troop-heavy concept. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS) Dick Myers, Vice CJCS Peter Pace, and Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith were on the Washington end. Franks intended to ignore Feith, who he described as a "master of the off-the-wall question that rarely had relevance to operational problems." [18]

Franks proposed three basic options:

  • ROBUST OPTION: Every country in the region providing support; operations from Turkey in the north, Jordan and Saudi Arabia and Kuwait in the south, air and naval bases in the Gulf states, with support bases in Egypt, Central Asia, Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria. This would allow near-simultaneous ground and air operations.
  • REDUCED OPTION: A lesser number of countries supporting would mean a sequential air and ground operation.
  • UNILATERAL OPTION: If launching forces from Kuwait, U.S. ships, and U.S. aircraft from distant bases, the air and ground operations would be "absolutely sequential" due to the lack of infrastructure to bring in all ground forces at once.

Franks wrote that during the Afghanistan planning, he had developed a technique that presented, visually, the tasks to be done ("lines of operation") and the country or resource that would be affected by these tasks ("slices"). It is not clear when he first drew this visual aid for Iraq, although it was part of the December 12 briefing to Rumsfeld; the version reproduced in his book was dated December 8.

Franks model, from sketch dated December 8, 2001

In this model, operational fires are strikes by aircraft, artillery, and missiles. Special Operations Forces operations are principally special reconnaissance and direct action (military); unconventional warfare involves both military and CIA guerrillas. Information operations, as a line, includes psychological operations, electronic warfare, deception, and computer network operations; politicomilitary and civil-military operations are doctrinally part of information operations but are shown separately here. RG and SRG are, respectively, the Iraqi Republican Guard and Special Republican Guard elite combat formations.

Rumsfeld liked the presentation. He asked Franks what came next, and Franks said improving the forces in the region. Rumsfeld cautioned him that the President had not made the go-to-war decision, and Franks clarified that he referred to preparation:

  • Triple the size of the ground forces now in Kuwait
  • Increase the number of carrier strike groups in the area
  • Improve infrastructure
  • Discuss contingency requirements with allies

Franks said the activities could look like routine training. He pointed out that an additional 100,000 troops and 250 aircraft would not fit into Kuwait, and more basing would be needed. Rumsfeld urged that it would have to be done faster "more quickly than the military usually works". The next step was a face-to-face briefing on December 27. [19]

Rumsfeld calls for new planning

Early warning of Rumsfeld's desires came to LTC Thomas Reilly, chief of planning for Third United States Army, still based at Fort McPherson in the U.S. While Third Army would become the Coalition Forces Land Component of CENTCOM, it had not yet been so designated, when Reilly received the notice on September 13, 2001. It used the term POLO STEP, the code word for Franks' concept of operations. [20]

On October 9, 2002, GEN Eric Shinseki, Chief of Staff of the Army, told staff officers "From today forward the main effort of the US Army must be to prepare for war with Iraq". [21]

In the planning process, there were two key areas of friction between the civilians in the Department of Defense and the military:[22]

  • The role of the civilians in detailed operational planning
  • Caps on the number and type of troops that would be assigned

Intensified overt operations

For a number of years, the US and UK had been patrolling the "no-fly" zones of Iraq, and attacking air defense sites that directly threatened them. On September 4, 2002, however, there was a 100-aircraft strike that expanded the scope of Operation SOUTHERN WATCH, doing major damage to the H-3 and al-Baghdadi air bases near Jordan. These were more general-purpose than strictly air defense sites, and degraded a range of Iraqi capabilities. [23]

Secret operations in Iraq

The Central Intelligence Agency, as well as military special operations, conducted a wide range of activities in Iraq well before the invasion. They included Intelligence Preparation of the Battlespace such as adding intelligence collection, and Operational Preparation of the Battlespace such as destabilization and planning for using Iraqis in combat.

George Tenet, Director of Central Intelligence, had a major role in the decision to go to war, but also how it was to be fought. A lesson learned from Afghanistan was that "covert action, effectively coupled with a larger military plan, could succeed. What we were telling the vice president that day [in early 2002] was that CIA could not go it alone in toppling Iraq, unlike in Afghanistan, CIA's role was to provide information to the military...assess the political environment...coordinate the efforts of indigenous networks of supporters for U.S. military advances..." In February 2002, the Agency re-created the Northern Iraq Liaison Element (NILE) teams to work with the Kurds. Later, CIA officers worked to encourage surrender, but this soon proved impractical; the U.S. forces were so small that the prisoners would have outnumbered the invaders. [24]

DBANABASIS: Destabilization

At White House direction, the CIA had created a program, under the cryptonym DBANABASIS, for destabilizing Saddam. The deputy chief of the Iraq Operations Group assigned, by Deputy Director for Operations James Pavitt, to run the program, starting in late 2001, was John Maguire; the other, whose identity remains classified, is known as Luis. In the mid-nineties, CIA had found that a first coup attempt simply had gotten Iraqi CIA assets killed; Maguire had been involved in that operation, the failure of which he blamed, in large part, on Ahmed Chalabi. [25]

On February 16, 2002, the President signed a Finding authorizing ANABASIS operations. The Congressional leadership was briefed. As opposed to the 1995 plan, ANABASIS would involve considerably more lethal activities. When they mentioned, for example, destroying railroad likes, Tyler Drumheller, chief of the European Division, said "you're going to kill people if you do this." Cofer Black, director of the Counterterrorism Center, had said "the gloves are off" soon after 9/11; this was an example of that change. Again as with Afghanistan, the CIA would make the initial political contacts with the resistance groups:

Maguire's team entered in April, and met with both Barzani and Talabani. They met Iraqi troops who seemed eager for an American invasion. [26]

DBROCKSTARS: intelligence collection

In July 2002, a CIA team drove from Turkey to a base at Sulaymaniyah, 125 miles into Iraq from the Turkish border, and a few miles from the Iranian border. Turkey had been told that they were there primarily for collecting intelligence on Ansar al-Islam, a radical group opposed to the secular Kurdish parties, allied with al-Qaeda, and experimenting with poisons. It was based at Sargat, 25 miles from his base, at a location called Khurmal. The team was helped by Jalal Talabani's Patriotic Union of Kurdistan.

The supplementary assignment for the team, beyond Anwar al-Islam, was for covert action to overthrow Saddam. They had been ordered to penetrate the regime's military, intelligence, and security services. Confusing the situation was that they had Turkish escorts. Even with difficulties, they established liaison with a well-connected religious group, which access to the inner circles of Saddam's organizations, and irritation with the PUK. Their reports were to be identified as DBROCKSTARS. [27] By February 2003, the informants were providing significant information, including communications from Saddam's Special Security Organization. Air defense installations were confirmed and bombed. [28] 87 secure satellite telephones were made available, but, probably in early March, one asset was captured; 30 of the assets never reported again. [29]

Unconventional warfare

Franks also intensively explored the potential for military special operations, both direct action by U.S. personnel, and, as in Afghanistan, using native resistance elements. In particular, it was agreed that United States Army Special Forces teams could lead up to 10,000 Kurds in guerrilla warfare, a number large enough to be effective but not large enough to threaten Turkish sensitivity about spillover of Kurdish nationalism into Turkey. [30] The usually antagonistic KDP and PUK worked with Special Forces against units of Saddam Hussein's military at the start of the war, although [31] yhis was later to result in partitioning Kurdistan into KDP and PUK areas. There eventually was a unified Kurdistan Regional Government by 2008.

On March 15, a Kurdish group, with CIA technical assistance, derailed an Iraqi troop train by blowing up the railroad tracks, a more visible activity than expected by Washington. There were several dozen harassing attacks in Kurdistan, and a march by 20,000 protesters on Ba'ath Party headquarters in Kirkuk.[32]

JTFI: WMD intelligence

Separate from DBANABASIS was the Joint Task Force on Iraq (JTFI) in the Counterproliferation Division. Its mission was not destabilization, but precise intelligence on WMD. Valerie Plame Wilson was its operations chief. JTFI developed sources inside Iraq, but worked from outside the country. Isikoff and Corn wrote that JTFI felt accurate intelligence was important, but "Bush, Cheney, and a handful of other senior officials already believed they had enough information to know what to do about Iraq". Rumsfeld, Perle, Wolfowitz, Libby and Feith believed Saddam was the principal danger to the U.S. and "we know what we are doing." [33] They considered Saddam a greater threat than bin Laden.

Legislative authorization

Joint Resolution 114 of October 11, 2002 is the primary legislative authorization for combat operations, although some advocates of presidential authority maintained it was within the inherent powers of the Presidency.

Voting was not strictly on party lines. In the Senate, it was opposed by the Independent and some Democrats.

The House also was not on strict party lines. Voting against were:

+ Deceased
§ Retired from office
° Now Governor

Theater/operational planning

For more information, see: Iraq War, theater operational planning.

Detailed planning by CENTCOM began while active combat was ongoing in Afghanistan, in December 2002.[34] At the time, GEN Eric Shinseki, then Chief of Staff of the Army, testified to Congress that the number of troops approved by Rumsfeld was inadequate. Shinseki, however, was not in the chain of command for operational deployment. Although the Chief of Staff is the senior officer of the United States Army, he is responsible for developing doctrine and preparing forces for use by the combatant commanders.

The responsible combatant commander was GEN Tommy Franks, commanding United States Central Command. Franks had already begun contingency planning. Franks discussed high-level concepts with Rumsfeld and his staff, and returned with alternatives. Once the broad theater-level concept was ready, Franks tasked his subordinate land, air, special operations and naval commanders to go to the next level.

Criticism by senior officers

A number of generals were highly critical of the plan or its execution, focused especially on what they considered the unrealistic goals of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, or on Rumsfeld's management of the occupation. [35] They include Paul Eaton, who headed training of the Iraqi military in 2003-2004;[36] former chiefs of United States Central Command (Anthony Zinni and Joseph Hoar); Greg Newbold, Director of the Joint staff from 2000 to 2002;[37] John Riggs, a planner who had criticized personnel levels, in public, while on duty; division commanders Charles Swannack and John Batiste.

Newbold regretted he had not resigned when the proposals were first made. Swannack retired two days after ending a command tour in Iraq. Eaton also quit his assignment in Iraq.

Major combat phase

For more information, see: Iraq War, major combat phase.

Ground combat was directed by an intermediate headquarters in Iraq, based on Third United States Army, called Coalition Forces Land Combat Command (CFLCC) under LTG David McKiernan.

While the start of major combat is often stated as March 20, 2003, operations actually had started well before then. Special operations forces were in the country, and there had been a gradual intensification of bombing under the "no-fly" programs, Operation NORTHERN WATCH and Operation SOUTHERN WATCH.

A "running start" had been planned, and it was fully expected that the plan would alter with events, as it is a truism no plan survives contact with the enemy. Both sides did consider Baghdad the key center of gravity, but both made incorrect assumptions about the enemy's plans. The U.S. was still sensitive over the casualties taken by a too-light raid in Operation GOTHIC SERPENT in Mogadishu, Somalia. As a result, the initial concept of operations was to surround Baghdad with tanks, while airborne and air assault infantry cleared it block-by-block. [38] Iraq, in turn, both assumed a siege of Iraq, but, unknown to the Coalition, expected to use irregulars to harass the supply lines of advancing forces.

The Coalition did not expect to be able to reach Baghdad in a single bound; there was always an intention to make entry, regroup, and then make a final assault. Baghdad was not the only target; there were urgent needs to secure the oilfields against destruction, and to take control of the southern port of Umm Qasr. Kurds in the north were already semi-autonomous and wanted to take action; the relations between the Kurds in Iraq and Kurds in Turkey was extremely sensitive.

Baghdad was effectively in U.S. hands by April 9. Deputy CENTCOM commander Mike DeLong said three factors made looting much worse than expected:[39]

  • Saddam opened his prison doors and let prisoners free; these were primarily "ordinary decent criminals" rather than dissenters; it added 30,000-50,000 outlaws to the confusion
  • The "resignation" of the Iraqi police, which DeLong said was the most unexpected. He is unsure that the information operations campaign urging the military to disarm also affected the police
  • The dissolution of the Iraqi army, both by its soldiers and as a political decision, putting large numbers of unemployed young men onto the streets.

Interim Military Government

There had been confusion on who was planning Phase IV, and there was even more confusion as to who would execute it. "At the most fundamental level, many were not sure who was in charge of the overall Phase IV effort: Ambassador L. Paul Bremer (Garner’s successor) or the CJTF-7 commander. Military officers believed there was a clear division of labor between the military and civilian elements – CJTF-7 handled all military efforts, for example – while civilians believed CPA led the entire effort."[40] The bureaucratic infighting was worst between State and Defense, probably with involvement from the Office of the Vice President and the National Security Council. The role of the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, in such circumstances, is supposed to be collecting the positions and submitting them to the President when he is the only one that can make the decision. This did not happen.

While the fighting was in progress, Franks asked for a provisional government to be established.

Changes from the White House

Rumsfeld and the White House made rapid changes. The decision was made to bring in L. Paul "Jerry" Bremer, who had been Henry Kissinger's chief of staff, Ambassador to the Netherlands, and head of the State Department counterterrorism office. He had no Middle East experience, which Rumsfeld considered an advantage: Rumsfeld had rejected some of Garner's appointments because they were State Department Arabists who might not be sympathetic to the President's goal of remaking Iraqi society.

President Bush publicly announced the decision on 6 May 2003, 17 days after Garner arrived in Baghdad as the head of ORHA. The US Government never issued a formal order dissolving the ORHA. Some of its staff members, such as Meghan O'Sullivan. joined the CPA, and Garner returned to civilian life.[41]

Bremer, in turn, wanted full authority. At first, he was to share authority with Khalizad, who was the point of contact to Iraqis who might be in a full government. When Bremer's appointment was announced on May 6 by the White House, Khalizad had just been told he was not included in the solution, amazing Powell. When Powell asked Rice for an explanation, she said she had nothing to do with it.[42]

Force drawdown and command reorganization

On April 16, Franks declared the end of major combat,[43] and ordered the withdrawal of the major U.S. combat units. The CENTCOM forward headquarters in Qatar and I MEF were to be withdrawn. U.S. forces would be reduced to 30,000 by the end of August, which the U.S. believed was adequate. [44]

While regular Iraqi military units were no longer fighting, resistance by irregulars continued, first by Ba'ath loyalists, then random Iraqis objecting to an invasion, but then sectarian fighting among the Shi'a, Sunni and Kurds, and their various factions. A full-fledged insurgency, however, was not underway until July. Since the Iraqi police as well as the Iraqi army had dissolved, providing population security fell to the military, which was not organized for it, as, for example, the WWII Constabulary in Germany had been.

CFLCC was redesignated Combined Joint Task Force 7 (CJTF-7) on May 1, but McKiernan's headquarters was replaced by V Corps, then under LTG Wallace. MG Ricardo Sanchez, then commanding 1st Armored Division (U.S.) in Germany, was promoted to LTG and given command of V Corps. According to Sanchez, Franks had not specified a specific Phase IV role for CENTCOM or V Corps. [45]

De-Ba'athification, retention of Army and Police

For more information, see: De-Ba'athification.

Franks and DeLong recommended that only the senior Ba'ath Party leadership be blacklisted, on the assumption, much as with the Soviet Communist Party, that Party members ran most of the basic government services. Nevertheless, the Party was dissolved on May 12, and CENTCOM was faced with the job of creating a new civilian infrastructure. Garner said that he had protested full de-Ba'athification to Bremer, who said "These are the directions I have. I have directions to execute this..." [46]

Resources from other nations

CENTCOM tried to get peacekeeping resources from other nations. The Administration preemption doctrine had assumed that while the US might have acted unilaterally, successful operations might cause allies to share the postwar work. The immediate operations were so confused, however, that this was never really evaluated.

Promises of a Muslim peacekeeping unit did not materialize. The Saudis did not want to be under U.S. command, and the US was nervous about the hospital they did volunteer, believing the staff might contain Wahhabist activists. The United Arab Emirates was not interested in policing the south.

India considered sending troops, in response to a request delivered by BG E.J. Sinclair, assistant division commander of the 101st Airborne Division. From the Indian perspective, reasons to participate were to be recognized as more of a great power. Reasons against included an April parliamentary resolution that the war was illegal, and a general question of risks and benefits for India. India is extensively experienced in peacekeeping, but always under UN auspices. The proposal was that it put its troops under US and UK command. Given the unpopularity of the war, what would be the Indian public perception of Indian lives lost, and Indians seen as occupiers, especially among India's Muslim population and in the Middle East? How would this affect US support of Pakistan, or would Pakistan seize the opportunity if India did not?[47]

Poland led a division, but of uneven quality. A Polish official, Marek Belka, was deputy head of ORHA. Poland does have peacekeeping experience, but not in this sensitive environment. It would get general assistance from NATO, but NATO was not itself going to be seen as part of the peacekeeping force.[48] The Poles also would command a Spanish force with restrictive rules of engagement.

A Ukrainian brigade was sent, but was of minimal ability; only the UK forces, with Italian and other NATO supplements, were effective. [49]

Security operations

CJTF-7 conducted operations to root out resistance, especially by Saddam loyalists. Operation PENINSULA STRIKE, on June 9-12, cordoned and swept areas of the Sunni Triangle.[50] Operation DESERT SCORPION, from June 15 to 19, swept the Sunni Triangle with raids based on targeted intelligence, and also conducted some humanitarian operations. [51]"These are highly coordinated, intelligence- driven operations," according to a V Corps spokesman. "These are places where we've been shot at, ambushed from and we have tracked the actions to these people."

Operation VICTORY BOUNTY went through the same areas on July 26 to 29, but Sanchez decided to reduce the sweep operations, in part innocent Iraqis were being taken into custody, and the custody facilities were overloaded. It was unclear how to treat detainees that were not clearly military, but he ordered, in June, for them to be treated under the rules of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Following VICTORY BOUNTY, he examined the Abu Ghraib and Khan Bani Sadh prisons as potential detention sites, but found the second essentially destroyed. Abu Ghraib was the only available facility, although Sanchez ruled that the torture and execution chambers had to be sealed. [52] It was not fully understood that the division commanders were doing little screening of detainees, which contributed to overcrowding. BG Barbara Karpinski said the 4th ID was the least selective, the 82nd Airborne the best, the 101st fairly good, and the 1st Armored would also send too many.[22]

While it is a danger to micromanage, some officers felt Sanchez had little overall vision and the various divisions had different styles. In the north, the 101st Airborne Division, under MG David Petraeus, was having good success both with security and nation-building, but it was also dealing with the more cooperative Kurds. Still, Petraeus was the Army's counterinsurgency expert and took a different approach than other commanders.[53] The 4th Infantry Division, under MG Ray Odierno, was having a difficult time in the Sunni Triangle, and used the most force; a retired general at CPA said it fueled the insurgency [54] The 101st Airborne Division, commanded by MG Charles Swannack, was having slightly better luck closer to Baghdad. [55]

There were also personality clashes and communications failures between Bremer and Sanchez. In the summer of 2003, COL Teddy Spain, the military police commander in Baghdad, could get no clear answer to "who is in charge". In theory, Bremer and Sanchez ultimately reported to Rumsfeld, but Rumsfeld generally assumed he reported to the White House. Spain said he would get conflicting orders from the CPA and from CJTF-7.[56]

WMD assessment

In October, David Kay, under the direction of Tenet, issued a report saying:[57]

  • Saddam had a significant history, capabilities and programs related to WMD; laboratories existed within the security organizations
  • Saddam had no WMD stockpiles

Feith believes that the finding of infrastructure supported the WMD justification for the war, but the Administration quickly got off-message with it and essentially changed arguments to democracy promotion.

American civilian government

There was a brief period in which the Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance was responsible for peace operations, but the responsibility soon passed to the #Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA). L. Paul Bremer, head of CPA, told Feith he wanted to arrive with one key message: "the Ba'athists are not coming back."

As the senior official, Garner was replaced in a month, on May 7, by L. Paul Bremer of the U.S. Department of State, although Bremer took control 9 days later. [58] Bremer established the Coalition Provisional Authority, which was not well coordinated with the military. Garner had assumed a quick transition to Iraqi provisional rule.

Bremer reversed Garner’s plans for an early turnover of political power and announced the indefinite postponement of the formation of an Interim Iraqi Government. Instead of a temporary Iraqi sovereign body, the CPA would continue to serve as the chief political authority and the Coalition armed forces as the military arm of that authority. This decision, in the eyes of many Iraqis, transformed the intent of United Nations (UN) Resolution 1483, which recognized the United States and Great Britain as “occupying powers” and urged the two powers to promote the welfare of Iraqis and to administer the country until Iraqis were capable of self-governance. The resolution appeared to formalize the sense that the Coalition powers were acting like occupiers rather than liberators, and this perception fueled the disaffection of some in Iraq.[41]


For more information, see: Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance.

In April, Leonard Di Rita, a close aide of Rumsfeld, came to Kuwait and joined ORHA. Di Rita said State had mismanaged other peace operations, and this would be different, following Rumsfeld's "Beyond Nation-Building" doctrine. When asked by an AID official about reconstruction, he said "We don't owe the people of Iraq anything," Di Rita said. "We're giving them their freedom. That's enough," according to Packer. The U.S. wouldn't get bogged down in Iraq, Di Rita later told war planners at a major meeting: "We're going to stand up an interim Iraqi government, hand power over to them, and get out of there in three to four months," Di Rita said, speaking for Rumsfeld.[59]

Garner waited in Kuwait, in early May, to come to Baghdad. The original plan had him arriving 60 days after the end of the war, with the initial preparation being done by CENTCOM civil affairs teams and engineers. The White House assumed the Americans would be welcomed. Rice had said "The concept was that we would defeat the army, but the institutions would hold, everything from ministries to police forces. You would be able to bring new leadership but keep the body in place." Under the changing situation, Garner saw himself in that leadership role, but as a partner, not director, of Iraqis. [60]

In the PBS interview, Garner's interviewer asked him if his superiors wanted him simply prepare for Chalabi, a neoconservative favorite, to take over. Garner denied this was Rumsfeld's plan, quoting him as saying "I don't have a candidate. The best man will rise." Garner did say that Chalabi "certainly he was the darling of Doug Feith and [former Defense Policy Board Chairman] Richard Perle and probably ...Paul Wolfowitz, perhaps (Vice-President) Dick Cheney. I'm not sure." He said that he was prepared to bring back the Army,

By the 15th of May, we had a large number of Iraqi army located that were ready to come back, and the Treasury guys were ready to pay them. When the order came out to disband, [it] shocked me, because I didn't know we were going to do that. All along I thought we were bringing back the Iraqi army. ... Why we didn't do that, I don't know.

Coalition Provisional Authority

For more information, see: Coalition Provisional Authority.

Bremer, before leaving with Iraq, met with Rumsfeld's staff, specifically being sent to Douglas Feith to draft the de-Ba'athification order. Feith said his staff had briefed Bremer extensively about the interagency work on de-Ba'athification, which had been approved, in draft form, by the President on March 10. Bremer asked for a delay, wanting to make he announcement himself. Walter Slocombe, who had drafted Orders 1 and 2 with Bremer, showed them to Feith on May 9. [61]

Bremer did have some concerns about conflicting advice from James Dobbins, later a RAND Corporation researcher and a former State Department expert on nation-building. While Dobbins did not want to join CPA, he did point Bremer to a recent study that, among other things, suggested large peacekeeping forces were better than small ones. [62] Dobbins was concerned that the Administration was dangerously ignoring lessons from the Balkans. While Rumsfeld had given a February speech "Beyond Nation-Building" that emphasized NATO's errors, Dobbins thought it taught much. In particular, using the same force levels as NATO had used would have called for 450,000 occupation troops. [63]

Bremer believed he reported directly to the President, and, in his book, said that some called him the “American viceroy” in Iraq.[64] At first, he was subordinate to the Secretary of Defense on paper, but had his reporting changed to the National Security Council in November 2003.

The Coalition Provisional Authority took control on 16 May 2003, effectively taking over from ORHA. [65] Its Regulation Number 1 designated CENTCOM for military support. “As the Commander of Coalition Forces, the Commander of US Central Command shall directly support the CPA by deterring hostilities; maintaining Iraq’s territorial integrity and security; searching for, securing and destroying weapons of mass destruction; and assisting in carrying out Coalition policy generally.”

It quickly issued orders for de-Ba'athification, and disbanded the Iraqi Army. It was advised by the Iraqi Governing Council, and worked in parallel with the Coalition military. On June 28, 2004, it was replaced by the Interim Iraqi Government.

De-Ba'athification and the military

For more information, see: De-Ba'athification.

Bremer issued more extensive de-Ba'athification orders than had existed under military government, dissolved the Iraqi military, and then handed the de-Ba'athification exception program to the Iraqi Governing Council. The IGC delegated it to a committee headed by Ahmed Chalabi.

The CPA started to create a local security force rather than an army, called the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps. CENTCOM developed a separate program for Iraqis that could help in their operations.

Writing the Constitution

Bremer, in February 2004, still saw the major constitutional problem as the role of Islam. The working draft read,

Islam is the official religion of the State, and is to be considered a principal source among other sources of legislation. This Law shall respect the Islamic identity of the majority of the people of Iraq, but guarantees the complete freedom of all religions and their religious practices.[66]

He saw the sticking point as the Shi'ite Islamist demand to reword it to have Islam as the principal soure, which was unacceptable to the non-Islamist members of the IGC, as well as to Bremer and his staff. Sistani accepted a compromise that kept a, but added that "no law contradicting the 'basic tenets of Islam' could be enacted." Washington approved this language, which he considered better than the language in the recent Afghan constitution.

February 29th opened with some Kurdish issues, which Bremer negotiated personally.

  1. Block grants from the treasury which was resolved
  2. The role of their militia, the peshmerga; an earlier compromise was tabled
  3. veto of the ratification of the constitution

As Bremer negotiated this, Chalabi introduced new and "draconian" de-Ba'athification policy. When this came to Bremer, he told the Kurds that if he helped them on the demands above, he wanted their support against this proposal. Later, al-Rubaie spoke for unity and got acceptance of the language about Islam.

As the constitutional wrangling continued, there was increasing intra-Shi'a agitation, with Muqtada al-Sadr pushing militarily for power[67] as his rival, Sistani, pressured in the arguments over the TAL. Al-Sadr, son of Ayatollah Baqir al-Sadr, killed by Saddam, but not Sistani, believed they had authority for clerical rule under the doctrine of Wilawat al-faqih, or rule of the jurisprudent. Ayatollah Sistani told Bremer that he could not accept the idea that a two-thirds majority in any three provinces could block the ratification of the permanent constitution, which he called a "Kurdish veto". Bremer was angry, and concerned that the Shi'a were about to overturn the compromises that had gotten the document to that point.

March 2 saw deadly attacks during the Shi'ite observance of Ashura; a three-day mourning period was observed. At 2 PM on the 5th, many IGC members wer ready for the ceremony, unaware of the tension; some, such as Ahmed Chalabi, were very aware and threatened to resign if the IGC did not sign. The Shi'a split, and the Kurds hesitated. Chalabi and al-Rubaie mediated after talking with Bremer. There was no compromise that day. Eventually, the Council convened at 7:37 PM. From Washington, Rice kept suggesting to Bremer that the Kurds be pressured to soften their position on ratification, which offended Sistani. By 10:30, the meeting broke down. Bremer told Rice that keeping pressure on the Shi'a and Sistani was high-risk, but it was his best judgment. [68]

The Shi'a returned to Najaf to work with Sistani. Late on the 7th, Dr. al-Rubaie, an obstetrician when not delivering new nations, came to Bremer and said, "It was a forceps delivery, but we got what we wanted." Sistani approved.

On 8 March 2004, the CPA issued the Law of Administration for the State of Iraq for the Transitional Period[69] It created or schedules:

IGC President Bahr al-Uloum said

We gather today for a great historical meeting in the spirit of brotherhood and true love that unites all Iraqi people. All the brothers, when they spoke, put the interests of the nation above all other interets. Let it be known that we came to this place and we are all one person today and one opinion.

Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani simply said, "For the first time in my life I feel like an Iraqi."

Iraqi interim governance

The goal was to transfer power to the Interim Iraqi Government after the TAL was signed, but the process was not automatic.

Involving the UN

It was planned to have the UN envoy, UN envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, appoint the members, with the legitimacy of the UN. Unfortunately, there were Shi'ite objections to Brahimi, who they suspected as a Sunni nationalist. He had, in their opinion, not spoken strongly enough of Saddam's brutality, and a picture had been circulated of Brahimi smoking a cigar with Saddam. Bremer appealed to Sistani that no one group would be completely satisfied, but it was to Iraq's, and Sistani's interest to bring back the UN. On March 17th, there was a full Governing Council meeting, at which Bremer said "if the UN cannot help form an interim government, the Iraqi people will know who to bleme." Jaafari pointed out the Council had invited the UN back in January, and they accepted Brahimi's return. [70]

Brahimi would become a key figure in the transition, arguably being in a better position than Bremer to negotiate terms acceptable to Sistani. [71]

Brahimi was not only controversial in Iraq; he was strongly criticized by Americans, opponents of Pan-Arab nationalism, about his silence, while Algerian foreign minister or an Arab League official, about Saddam's atrocities in the past. Fouad Ajami accused him of sympathies with Saddam's system: "Mr. Brahimi hails from the very same political class that has wrecked the Arab world..his technocracy is, in truth, but a cover for the restoration of the old edifice of power."[72] Michael Rubin had similar comments in the National Review.

Security crises

Both the Shi'ite and Sunni regions had significant escalations of violence, which presented the problem that forceful suppression by the US might cause a backlash for the new government. Bremer expected violence to increase in the months before transition.

Brahimi threatened to leave over the potential bloodshed in Fallujah; Bremer lectured him about Muqtada as an equal menace to Iraq. [73] According to Feith, Bremer was also worried that Sunni members of the IGC might resign if the Council were not given an opportunity to resolve the Fallujah crisis by negotiation. Feith acknowledged that Abizaid believed that Council-requested delays could cause a collapse of security; Abizaid also said the Iraqis "don't want to fight for Americans."[74]

Some have claimed that not only IGC stability, but to the sensitivity of the American Presidential politics contributed to calling off the military stabilization of Fallujah.

During the May 13 visit of Rumsfeld and Myers, Bremer was not optimistic about easy answers with Muqtada and Fallujah. Sanchez said he was running out of specific Mahdi Army targets, and they agreed that they could move to economic stimuli in the south, engaging military targets that interfered. Fallujah remained more difficult; Bremer was not pleased with the lack of initiative of the new commander of the Iraqi Fallujah Brigade. Muqtada, while allegedly seeking negotiations, also appeared to be trying to lure provocative attacks on holy places he was using.

The broader issue they discussed was involving the new Iraqi government in security, such as giving them a voice in combat tactics and air support to be used after the IIG took over. He warned they "will want to show distance from us, and they will make mistakes." They would also want security for the January elections, which would be difficult with both the shortage of Coalition troops and some restrictive rules of engagements.

Abu Ghraib effects

For more information, see: Abu Ghraib prison.

CBS News broke the Abu Ghraib prison photographs in late April.[75] Feith said that Rumsfeld, who offered to resign over it, saw it having critical strategic impacts, and that he and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff GEN Richard Myers would deal with the matter. Rumsfeld told Wolfowitz, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff GEN Peter Pace, and Feith not to become involved in the affair. [76]

Bremer, with Sanchez, met with the IGC on May 12, beginning with an apology. Council members, according to Bremer, "regretted the Abu Ghraib misconduct, but most went on to criticize the Arab and international news media for having ignored Saddam's repression for years." Rumsfeld and Myers arrived on the 13th, and they discussed the frustration of difficulty of separating criminals who should be transferred to the Iraqi courts, and the true security cases. Suggestions including the creation of an Iraqi prisoner's ombudsman, putting Iraqi observers into field detention and screening centers, imroving screening, and reducing the authority of US intelligence to put indefinite holds on prisoners. The last was an action item for Sanchez. [77]

Sanchez also said the Council asked why the American press was not discussing Saddam's abuses. He said there was a wide range of responses. Questions from the council included whether there were Israeli interrogators there, what interrogation methods were in use. The council, accorded to Sanchez, did distinguish between abuse by guards and torture during interrogation, but expected there would be a worldwide call to response by jihadists. He said that the Defense Department had no clear public relations plan, and the situation escalated on a partisan basis in Congress.[78]

Building the interim government

Since meeting with the full Council was awkward, Brahimi set up conferences with himself, Bremer and Blackwill, with a "troika" of the Council's immediate past, present, and future presidents:

Bremer had recommended that any new government should include ministers who had demonstrated they were doing a good job, especially those that were effectively technocrats. The real challenge would be the president and prime minister. He was also concerned about security in his last 60 days, and, through very private channels, requested more troops. This need became especially obvious when a car bomb killed Salim on May 17th. Ghazi stepped up in the rotation, and President Bush called him to offer condolences. Bush and Ghazi formed a quick rapport, leading to Blackwill and Bremer considering him for the presidency.

Prime Minister

As of May 19, no clear Prime Minister candidate had emerged. Allawi was the first choice for Defense Minister, but he refused to serve under certain prime ministerial candidates.

In the May 25 troika meeting, all supported Allawi for prime minister. They were concerned he might not be acceptable to Sistani, as too secular.

Transitional issues

It was important, in Bremer's view, that the Governing Council disband once the new government was in place. He could order them disbanded, but preferred to do it. He offered a proposal that they disband a day before the new government took over, showing a peaceful transfer, and offered to "sweeten" the idea by creating a paid National Consultative Council that would take the IGC members that did not join the new government. It was also agreed to add a few face-saving ministers without portfolio. They agreed to the dissolution on May 27.

During this period, issues arose with Chalabi. A financial investigation, and search of his facilities, took place in late April. There was also a May 3 report from Newsweek that Chalabi was providing secret information to Iran.


According to Bremer, the TAL had not assumed that the Presidency would have an activist role, which Adnan Pachachi, clearly wanting the job, expected. Ghazni, whom Pachachi regarded as his protege, also wanted the job.

Brahimi, on May 28, decided on Pachachi. Blackwill, on May 30, expressed concern about Pachachi's vision of the role. Rice told the CPA that either man was acceptable to the U.S. On the 31st, the plan was to offer it to Pachachi, but that assumed Ghazi would agree, gracefully, to end his quest. When Brahimi and the CPA leadership met with Ghazi on April 1, however, he said he could not withdraw, and left the meeting. Barzani was furious with the selection of Pahachi.

Brahimi called Bremer to tell him that he was "dumbfounded", but Pachachi had declined the Presidency. With Barzani still there, Bremer told Brahimi to offer the Presidency to Ghazni and "pray to God he accepts it." Barzani and the others, at that point, could only laugh.

Ghazi did accept, and, that afternoon, Brahimi, Ghazi, and Allawi presented the government to the world. They were able to announce that the IGC had agreed to dissolve.[79] On June 8, the UN Security Council welcomed the new government with Resolution 1546.


While the announced date of transfer was June 30, security threats suggested that it would be wise to surprise opponents, and do the transfer on the 28th. It was agreed, and sovereignty passe at 10:26, Iraq time.

Bremer flew out of Iraq, having videotaped his departure speech. It closed with "Long live Iraq!"

Transfer of power

The Iraqi Interim Government was appointed, on 1 June 2004, UN envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, with the most input from the Iraqi Governing Council, and advice from Bremer and Ambassador Robert Blackwill, representing Condaleeza Rice, had significant input. According to the Council on Foreign Relations, the Iraqi Governing Council (IGC), which dissolved itself on itself June 1, had the most influence.[80]

Bremer and Sanchez announced the actual handover on June 28, a deliberate early transfer to avoid disruption by insurgents. Allawi was Prime Minister and Sheikh al-Yawar was President. Feith wrote that the Allawi government did no worse than the CPA; even though it was primarily made up of externals, it had legitimacy. He argues that it could have been created fourteen months earlier, and the delay was the State-CIA opposition to Chalabi.[81]

As Bremer left, a viceroy no longer needed, he was replaced by an ambassador accredited to the Iraqi government, John Negroponte. George Casey, a four-star general, took command of the strategic-level Multi-National Force-Iraq. Negroponte and Casey formed a good working relationship, different, however, than that of the United States Mission to the Republic of Vietnam. In the Vietnam War, the military commander reported to the Ambassador, but the military and civilian sides in Iraq had parallel chains of command.

U.S. politics

There was increasing domestic opposition. A Out of Iraq Caucus formed in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2005, but there was never a major antiwar movement as there was during the Vietnam War.

Insurgency and communal conflict

For more information, see: Iraq War, insurgency.

A full-fledged insurgency was in progress by July or August, although there was not a public announcement. There had been specific warnings, certainly as early as May. Also in 2004, conflict on ethnic and religious lines were growing more severe. [82]

In May, Gen al-Shawani, leader of the Scorpions and CIA-favored (as opposed to Chalabi), met with Bush, Cheney, Rice, Tenet and Card. He said

Sir, I'm going to tell you something. You need to know the truth. Baghdad is almost surrounded by insurgents. If you can't secure the airport highway, you can't secure all of Iraq.[83]

The CIA station confirmed Shawani's impression. Bremer said he saw an Iraqi intelligence service document, toward the end of July 2003, describing how to conduct insurgency, followed by three major bombings in August.. [84] The large attacks in August were on the Jordanian Embassy, then the UN Mission, and then in the holy Shi'ite areas of Najaf. Feith considers the UN bombing, on August 19th, as the start of the insurgency. [85]

Military organization

GEN John Abizaid, Franks' deputy, took over the command, on July 8, when Franks retired. On the 11th, he stopped the troop withdrawal ordered by Franks.

The operational environment in Iraq is light of the current situation, [forces previously intended to redeploy]] will remain in Iraq until replaced by equivalent U.S. or coalition capability.[86]

The original headquarters for Phase IV was Multi-National Corps-Iraq, based on the assets of V Corps, now under Ricardo Sanchez.

The headquarters for foreign military units in Iraq is now Multi-national Force-Iraq (MNF-I), which was created, under Sanchez, on 15 May 2004. On an overall basis, it reports to the United States Central Command, which also commands the U.S. troops in MNF-I. Other units report to their home nations, although there are a number of non-US commanders from the MNF-I Deputy Commanding General, and Australian, British and Polish commanders at division level.

Perceptions of insurgency

Abizaid used the term "classic insurgency" in a press conference in May, and was immediately corrected by Rumsfeld. As Abizaid told Sanchez afterwards, "Well, there's no appetite in Washington to use the word 'insurgency'. And, by the way, we're not 'occupiers', either. We're 'liberators'"[87]

Not all commanders agreed they then faced an insurgency. MG Ray Odierno, commanding the 4th Infantry Division (U.S.), told reporters, on June 18, "this is not guerrilla warfare. It is not close to guerrilla warfare," and described the operations he launched as mopping up. Asked about it a year later, he said "I didn't believe it was an insurgency until about July. What we really thought was, Remnant."[88]

The Surge

For more information, see: Iraq War, Surge.

Security remained a problem, but the US could not do the job alone or stay indefinitely. In January 2007, President Bush announced a US-Iraqi agreement to augment the US security forces temporarily, to bring down violence to a level that the Iraqis could handle.

Transfer of sovereignty

Full authority passed to the elected Iraqi government on 30 June 2009. Muqtada and the fighters in Fallujah were still active, and there were major acts of infrastructure sabotage. Iraqis, however, could begin to fight for an Iraqi government.

Thomas Ricks said that

The best-case scenario is that Iraq isn’t going to look anything like a success to Americans. It’s not going to be democratic, it’s not going to be stable, and it’s not going to be pro-American. Ambassador Crocker predicts in the book that the future of Iraq is probably something like Lebanon today. Most of the other experts I’ve talked to consider that wildly optimistic.[89]


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