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A Political History of UN Security Council Resolution 1441
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This would contain an offensive action by a force of 40,000-90,000 personnel and assault helicopters against the core of the Iraqi regime in Baghdad and Tikrit. In support, extensive air power would target and paralyze the movement of Iraqi forces deployed, their communications, supply lines as well all other strategic targets. Additionally, they hoped that, as Anthony Cordesman put it:
“The [Iraqi] regime may not be fragile enough to produce uprisings and mass defections, but few are likely to rush in to rescue it. (...) While the US cannot count on the collapse of the Iraqi armed forces, Saddam cannot count on their aggressive loyalty and willingness to counterattack.”
The only catch, although implausible, would be in the fact that a “light” or “intermediate” war might be defeated.
7. Air campaign and large-scale ground intervention
Finally, many analysts believed that the US objective of regime change would require an extensive air presence accompanied by a large-scale ground intervention in style of the Desert Storm. About 250,000 soldiers were to be used, supported by heavy armor and artillery. Supporters of this approach could be found in the International Institute for Strategic Studies and Foreign Policy Studies at the Brookings Institution. Gordon, Indyk and O’Hanlon stated:
“If Saddam’s regime is to be removed militarily, the action must be quick and decisive and order must be subsequently maintained (...) These requirements mean that the United States must be prepared to deploy a large invasion force – perhaps 200,000 troops, backed by some 1,000 aircraft – and to keep many of them in the region for some time.”
The ground intervention and the air campaign would require a use of substantial number of bases across the region, particularly in Saudi Arabia and Turkey. Possible two-pronged attack from both north and south would allow taking the northern and southern no-fly zones followed by Baghdad as its final destination.
It’s likely that the Iraqi Republican Guard would retreat to the cities employing tactics of urban warfare. In this scenario, casualties on the civilian as well as the US side would be significantly higher.
After analyzing the main possibilities to solve the Iraq’s non-compliance to the UN Resolutions, let’s examine the real political actions linked with the Iraq issue taken in 2002.
One way of approaching the Iraqi issue that was really followed was reconsidering the UN economic sanctions regime. This development was supported by the concern over the embargo’s humanitarian impact on the people in the country.