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The international relation has experienced unprecedented changes in various levels. About ten years ago, the International system witnessed the invasion of Iraq by the US and its coalition partners (O’Brien, 2010). The invasion of Iraq was done under the Operation Iraqi Freedom; a campaign aimed at achieving a number of objectives. With Iraq seen as a threat to the American interest because of its ties to terrorist groups, the Bush administration saw the need to remove Saddam from power and annihilate all weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. The initiation of Operation Iraqi Freedom was possible after the Congress approved the use of force in protecting the interest of the United States by removing the Saddam’s regime which was thought as a threat (Donnelly, 2004). Even with the objective of removal the then regime from power, the Operation Iraqi Freedom has extended its focus from regime removal to a mission aimed at improving the wellbeing of the Iraqi. This paper gives a succinct timeline for the Operation Iraqi Freedom before the invasion to this date.
Decision to go to war
The decision to invade Iraq was shaped by many factors. Events in the 1990s are one of the reasons as to why the Bush administration decided to attack Iraq. During the 1990s, the United States and other leaders were concerned that Iraq had weapons of mass distraction programs. In this light, Iraqi was seen as hostile to its neighbors as well as to other neighboring countries. In an attempt to tame Iraq, the Bush administration was keen on developing policies that would force Iraq to comply with UN’s resolution on arms. In addition, the Bush administration championed the idea that Iraqi comply with the resolution of the U.N. Security council calling for the inspection of Iraq. Needless to say, the resolutions of the U.N. Security Council were executed after Saddam, and his family failed to leave Iraq after being given an ultimatum to leave. Thus on March the 17, 2003, President Bush issued an ultimatum that was turned down by the Iraqi regime. This triggered the decision to invade Iraq, which followed thereafter.
Goal of the Operation Iraqi Freedom
The objectives of attacking Iraq played a central role in shaping the coalition attack on Iraq. The Bush administration, which led the coalition attacks, had the removal of the Saddam regime as a short term objective. Saddam was considered a rogue leader whose time in office was long overdue. Bush and other world leaders were thus convinced that it was time for the Iraqi to have “a new Iraq that is prosperous and free” (Dale, 2011, p. 142). The United States Central Command was keen in seeing Iraqi a free country where people would govern themselves and sustain their nation.
Military objective was also a reason as to why the Bush administration conceived the Operation Iraqi Freedom. U.S Central Command aimed at destabilizing the Iraqi regime and allowing the birth of a new government. This aim was seen as plausible through the use of military forces to accomplish the named objectives (Mauroni, 2006). Because of this reason, the U.S and its coalition partners sent their troops into Iraq to remove the Saddam’s regime and disable the regime’s WMD capability not to mention gathering of intelligence.
Planning for combat
Prior to Operation Iraqi Freedom, the U.S and its coalition partners planned in advance on certain issues central to the accomplishment of the campaign’s objectives. The U. S Central Command authorized the use of streamlined force, a new approach that the secretary of defense proposed (Malone, 2006). The original plan of the U.S was to infiltrate Iraq using the CIA team to gather and build relationships. This plan was modified to allow the use of Airpower aimed at disabling radar surveillance in Iraq and other command and control post. However, the U.S Central command adopted the use of a hybrid plan that would allow the use of air assault and ground troops to fight the Iraqi regime (Cordesman, 2003).
Major combat operations
The invasion of Iraq was done in many fronts, with the first being the infiltration of Iraq. The United States sent the CIA from the Northern and Southern Liaison Elements to gather intelligence in Iraq even before the invasion. The special operation forces also entered into Iraq long before the attacks were done. This force was made of the U.S soldiers and those from coalition partners. The special operation forces entered into Iraq and secured strategic areas before the launch of the invasion. WMD sites were secured among other strategic locations seen as vital in winning the war and preventing possible attacks on the Special operation forces
The public launch of Operation Iraqi freedom occurred on the 20th March 2003 after Saddam, and his sons defied the ultimatum to quit Iraq. Just before the attacks, the CIA had obtained intelligence that Saddam was ready to set oil wells on fire upon the attack by the special operation forces (Cooper & Yue, 2008). In addition, intelligence reports that Saddam was hiding in a farm near Dora Farms made the US Central Command dispatch their F-117 fighter to hit the farm. This air attack followed a Tomahawk attack on Iraq launched from U.S ships. The result of the initial attacks indicated the poor organization of the Iraqi army (Romes, 2007).
Apart from the air attack, the ground forces were also positioned at strategic areas and made to push toward Baghdad the capital of Iraq. The Combined Forces Land Component Command was tasked with pushing their way to Baghdad from Kuwait. On the other hand, the Expeditionary Force was assigned the role of approaching Baghdad through the Iran border. The American marines made their way to the Baghdad through eastern towns. During the process of moving towards Iraq, the ground force faced resistance, and casualties were reported. In many cases, the Iraqi’s ambushed the Special Operation Forces, but all the groups made progress towards Baghdad. Nonetheless, some section of the forces experienced a slow, but deliberate move that saw them make gains towards Baghdad.
The Special Operation Forces faced resistance in various cities in Iraq considering that other coalition partners were given their zones to handle. Moreover, the Special Operation Forces suffered from friendly fires when some units were attacked. In some cases too, sand storms were a major blow to the coalition forces in Iraq, as well the lack of territories to launch further attacks on the Iraqi army. Despite these challenges, Saddam Hussein was toppled from power on the 9th of April 20003. This was a signal to the end of a major combat in Iraq, victory was far from over.
Operation Iraqi Freedom in the Post-Saddam Era
Since the end of the major combat with the ousting of Saddam Hussein, the Operation Iraqi freedom has continued to take action in Iraqi. The coalition force changed from a formal occupation force to occupying powers that were governed by international laws. The presence of the coalition forces in Iraq has had a significant impact on affairs of Iraq. The U.N appointed interim officials to take care of Iraqi and disbanded the Iraqi army. Just before the transfer of power to the interim government, the U. N. allowed the use of multinational forces in Iraq to perform combat operations, take part in humanitarian assistance, distribute to relieve and help in the reconstructions (Dabrowska & Hann, 2008). In Iraqi today, the provincial governor is charged with taking care of security issues in the country thought the number of coalition forces had been reduced. However, the number of U. S forces in Iraqi is the highest pointing to the interest of the U.S in securing the peace of Iraqi. Nonetheless, the Operation Iraqi Freedom has transformed Iraqi to a state where security seems to be a serious threat to development.