Iraq: Policing Tile Peace

By Tripodi, Paolo | Contemporary Review, July 2003 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Iraq: Policing Tile Peace


Tripodi, Paolo, Contemporary Review


IT took less than a month for the US-led coalition to achieve military supremacy in Iraq. After 21 days, although political and military leaders decided not to declare victory, it was quite clear that no serious threat could be directed against the troops of 'Operation Iraqi Freedom'. Considering the size of Iraq, the likely presence of chemical weapons and the uncertainties of a regional environment that is certainly not favourable to the US, the positive outcome of the campaign went beyond the best expectations of those who thought and planned it. The military operation in Iraq was a further demonstration of how well sharpened is today the warfighting edge of American and British soldiers. In addition to a clear and overwhelming technological superiority, the human element, the warrior component, played a major role. Marines and GIs rode through the desert and destroyed any Iraqi opposition on their way to Baghdad. Few doubted the final result of the war, none could have predicted such a quick result.

The real problem, however, began when the coalition had to switch from warfighting to stabilizing the country. That became the crucial moment to 'win' the campaign for Iraqis' hearts and minds. Iraqi people, and in general the Arab world, will judge the war on whether, after being liberated from Saddam Hussein's repressive regime, they will enjoy a quality of life significantly better than that they had before coalition troops crossed the Iraqi border. The events that followed the fall of Baghdad were disappointing.

The initial uncertainties of this campaign lasted just a few days. There were a number of issues that represented a serious concern. Would Saddam Hussein use weapons of mass destruction? How would public opinion in the US and the UK respond to the war and how complicated would the international reaction prove for the Bush Administration. In a few days it was clear that Iraq did not intend to use chemical weapons against the coalition. American people, with relatively minor exceptions, gave their leader full support, and, despite some serious tension, France, Germany and Russia ended up accepting the final outcome of the US military campaign. Things could not have turned out any better for Bush and Blair. Finally, troops deployed in Iraq showed evidence of their high-quality combat skill. Even the concerns about overstretching the lines of supply disappeared once it became clear that the pockets of resistance the coalition left behind, did not represent a serious threat to the rear front. Thus it was a success ful campaign.

Once troops entered Baghdad the perception was that soon the war would be over and Iraq could start a new political course. The nightmare for the coalition military and political leadership had been the possibility that Iraq's best military units might surround the capital in a 'last' stronghold and engage coalition troops in a modern version of Stalingrad. A battle for a few inches of terrain, a building, a cross road or a square could have claimed the lives of many soldiers and many more civilians. The wound caused by such a clash would have taken years to heal.

Every possible measure to minimize coalition casualties was taken. Things turned out in a very different way. In a matter of days and then hours after US troops crossed the Red Rings around the Iraqi capital, soldiers entered Baghdad finding none of the tough resistance promised by Saddam. Nobody dared to say too loudly 'mission accomplished', but the general impression was that the war was over.

Yet, once enemy guns were put to silence in such a smooth fashion, the coalition faced the greatest, and, it seems, unexpected challenge: managing the peace. In a few weeks from the beginning of military operations, city after city had lost its electricity, gas, water, food and medicine supply, security became a dangerous issue. Evidence that the situation was precipitating into a state of grave emergency came about when international aid organizations expressed serious concern about a possible humanitarian disaster in Basra.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Iraq: Policing Tile Peace
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?