Why the Iraqi Resistance to the Coalition Invasion Was So Weak

Why the Iraqi Resistance to the Coalition Invasion Was So Weak

STEPHEN T. HOSMER
Copyright Date: 2007
Edition: 1
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 176
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7249/mg544af
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Why the Iraqi Resistance to the Coalition Invasion Was So Weak
    Book Description:

    Draws upon information derived primarily from interviews with and interrogations of senior Iraqi military and civilian officials to examine why the Iraqi resistance in March and April 2003 was so weak. It focuses on two questions: (1) Why did the Iraqi Regular Army and Republican Guard forces do so little fighting? and (2) Why did Iraqi leaders fail to adopt certain defensive measures that would have made the Coalition's task more difficult?

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-4260-6
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Preface
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  4. Summary
    (pp. ix-xx)
  5. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xxi-xxii)
  6. Abbreviations
    (pp. xxiii-xxiv)
  7. CHAPTER ONE Introduction
    (pp. 1-6)

    In Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), U.S. forces captured Baghdad and deposed Saddam Hussein’s regime within a period of less than three weeks. The British units that constituted the other part of the Coalition’s invasion force were also able to capture Basra, Iraq’s second-largest city, within a similar time period. This document focuses on two questions relating to the rapidity and ease of that military success: (1) Why did the vast majority of Iraqi forces fail to offer significant or effective resistance? and (2) Why did the Iraqi leaders eschew adopting certain defensive measures that would have made the Coalition invasion...

  8. CHAPTER TWO Saddam Made Strategic Miscalculations
    (pp. 7-30)

    That Saddam Hussein seriously miscalculated the prospects of conflict with the United States, and the nature and intensity of the attacks that Iraq might face, should war come about, was a major reason Iraq failed to adopt the more robust defensive measures that could have made the Coalition invasion more difficult and costly. Saddam had a propensity for such miscalculation, stemming in large part from his dysfunctional personality and cognitive traits, his limited grasp of international and military affairs, and the cultures of “fear” and “lying” that his rule engendered, which discouraged the offer of countervailing advice and information from...

  9. CHAPTER THREE Saddam’s Internal Security Concerns Weakened Iraqi Defenses Against External Attack
    (pp. 31-40)

    Saddam’s preoccupation with internal threats also importantly shaped Iraq’s defensive posture. Although Saddam believed that much of the Iraqi military and populace would fight to defend Iraq, he trusted neither group as far as his own personal security and that of his regime was concerned. His caution was based on hard experience, as he had been the target of multiple uprisings, coups, and assassination attempts during the course of his rule.

    According to the testimony of his associates, Saddam believed he was under the constant threat of an attack and, as a consequence, gave priority to preserving his personal security...

  10. CHAPTER FOUR Iraq’s Military Strategy and Operations Were Poorly Designed and Executed
    (pp. 41-76)

    Saddam’s strategic miscalculations and the policies and practices that flowed from his preoccupation with internal threats significantly degraded the Iraqi defense in OIF. Indeed, the Iraqi leader’s perceptions, decisions, and practices explain in large measure why the Iraqi resistance against OIF was so poorly planned and led. The pernicious effects of these shortcomings were compounded by the fact that Iraqi units were poorly positioned on the battlefield, lacked situational awareness, were inadequately trained, and were equipped with weaponry that was decidedly inferior to that of the Coalition.

    As noted in preceding chapters, Saddam believed that the United State would limit...

  11. CHAPTER FIVE Poor Motivation and Morale Decisively Undermined the Iraqi Defense
    (pp. 77-112)

    Poor planning, leadership, training, and equipment contributed to the rapid Iraqi defeat. However, the prime reason for the lack of resistance was the Iraqi military’s extremely poor motivation and morale. The vast majority of the officers and troops in the Regular Army, Republican Guard, and Special Republican Guard did little if any fighting, and they deserted their units before being engaged by Coalition ground forces. The reasons for this lack of fighting will and the high desertion rate were several: (1) the poor morale that existed prior to the outbreak of hostilities, (2) the widespread conviction that resistance was futile,...

  12. CHAPTER SIX Superior Military Capabilities Gave Coalition Forces an Overwhelming Advantage
    (pp. 113-122)

    The Coalition’s domination of the battlefield in OIF was also due to its capability to deploy highly trained and motivated fighting forces, gain air supremacy, find targets and strike them promptly with accurate aerial and ground firepower, and advance ground forces rapidly and sustain them over long distances. The Coalition’s objective of securing a prompt, low-casualty takedown of Saddam’s regime was also facilitated by a battle plan that identified Baghdad as the Iraqi regime’s center of gravity and that provided for a scheme of maneuver that would allow U.S. forces to seize the capital rapidly.¹

    In almost every aspect of...

  13. CHAPTER SEVEN Concluding Observations
    (pp. 123-144)

    Four issues relating to OIF deserve further discussion: (1) How the speed and costs of Saddam’s overthrow closely tracked prewar predictions, (2) how the extreme weakness of the Iraqi resistance undermines the validity of lessons about military strategy and force sizing that can be drawn from OIF, (3) how Iraqi behavior in OIF paved the way for the insurgency that followed, and (4) how OIF may influence the behavior of future adversaries.

    In terms of the immediate Coalition objective of bringing down Saddam Hussein’s regime, OIF was a manifest success. Victory was achieved (1) rapidly and (2) at a comparatively...

  14. Bibliography
    (pp. 145-152)