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Archive for the ‘Wars in Iraq’ Category

Memorial Day Remembrance: One Hundred Years of American Wars

26 May
American Troops Land in Normandy During World War Two

American Troops Land in Normandy During World War Two

Another Memorial Day is upon us.  Today, in May of 2013, we are in the 12th year of the War in Afghanistan, we are ten years gone from the start of the War in Iraq, and now 22 years since the first War with Iraq, (better known as Operation Desert Storm),  and the 100th anniversary of start of World War One is only a year away. 

What does this roll call of wars and years really mean?  Americans like to think of themselves as a peace-loving people who only go to war when necessary.  Generally, that is not an inaccurate statement.  Americans generally speaking, do not want more war.  We are not ancient Sparta with its ingrained militaristic culture.  Nor are we an ancient Athens, with an almost obsessive desire to spread out and establish new colonies everywhere.  But we may be more like ancient Rome.  Suddenly thrust into superpower status, with economic and political ties to many regions far from home, we send our troops and our treasure far and wide.  Often, it is to protect our allies.  Frequently, there is an economic or financial relationship to an intervention.  And, most of America’s conflicts are usually couched in terms of a moral imperative.  Frequently, that moral impetus is also tied to more hard-nosed political, military, diplomatic, and/or economic realities.  All of these reasons, or excuses, if you will, add up to an amazingly large number of wars, conflicts, military interventions, and American casualties over the years.

American Troops in the Afghanistan War

American Troops in the Afghanistan War

An American born in 1913 would be one hundred years old now.  In the span of that person’s life, America has fought quite a few major wars, and has been engaged in numerous smaller wars.  Let’s look at a list of American foreign wars and conflicts since 1913. The wars that are generally considered by historians as “Major Wars,” are in bold.

  1. 1912-1933—U.S. occupation of Nicaragua, including the Sandino War (1927-1934)
  2. 1913—In the Philippines, American territory since the Spanish-American War of 1898, the U.S. Army fights the last battles against the Moros (members of a Filipino Muslim group).
  3. 1914—The U.S. seized, by force, the Mexican port city of Veracruz.
  4. 1915-1934—America militarily occupies Haiti
  5. 1916-1924– America militarily occupies the Dominican Republic
  6. 1917-1922– America militarily occupies Cuba (for the fourth time)
  7. 1916-1917—In response to a raid by the Mexican rebel Pancho Villa, the U.S. Army invaded northern Mexico in an attempt to capture Villa.
  8. 1919-U.S. military intervention in Honduras
  9. 1917-1918-The U.S. declares war on Germany and other members of the Central Powers, entering into World War One.
  10. 1919-1921—The U.S., Britain, France, Japan, and others, send troops to Russia intervene in the Russian Civil War.  U.S. troops finally leave Russia in 1921.
  11. 1924-1925–U.S. military intervention in Honduras
  12. 1927—During one of China’s civil wars, the American destroyers USS Noa and USS Preston, and the British cruiser HMS Emerald, fired shells into the Chinese city of Nanking to clear the streets, then dispersed the attackers with gunfire.
  13. 1937–USS Panay Incident.  During the Sino-Japanese War, the U.S. Navy maintained several river gunboats to protect American interests on the Yangtze River in China. In late 1937, the Japanese advance on Nanking, which served as China’s wartime capital city, caused the American embassy there to evacuate. While conducting the U.S. diplomatic evacuation and while also escorting American Standard Oil barges, one gunboat, the USS Panay, came under attack from Japanese warplanes. After several runs by the Japanese planes, the Panay and two of the oil barges were sunk. The surviving crew and passengers escaped and found shelter with friendly Chinese until they could be picked up by other U.S. ships. Two U.S. sailors and one civilian passenger were killed, while eleven others were wounded.
  14. 1940—American forces were sent to protect British military bases in Newfoundland, Bermuda, St. Lucia, the Bahamas, Jamaica, Antigua, Trinidad, and British Guiana as part of the Lend-Lease program with Britain during World War Two.  The U.S. was still officially neutral in that war.
  15. 1941—In April, American troops occupy Greenland in order to protect it from Germany.
  16. 1941–USS Tutuila Incident –Japanese aircraft bomb USS Tutuila (PR-4) at Chungking, China on July 30, 1941. 
  17. 1941—In July, the U.S. takes over the duty of protecting Iceland, replacing British troops.
  18. 1941–USS Kearny –The destroyer USS Kearny (DD-432) was torpedoed and damaged southwest of Iceland on Oct. 17, 1941 by a German submarine.
  19. 1941–USS Salinas — The oiler USS Salinas (AO-19) is torpedoed by a German submarine 700 miles east of Newfoundland on October 30, 1941. There are no casualties and the ship makes port.
  20. 1941–USS Reuben James – -The German submarine U-552 sinks the USS Reuben James (DD- 245) on Oct. 31, 1941.   The Reuben James was escorting Convoy HX 156, with the loss of 115 lives. This is the first U.S. ship lost to enemy action in the European/Atlantic Theater in World War II.
  21. 1941– In November, American troops occupy Dutch Guiana, with the permission of the Dutch government, in order to protect this colony from Germany.
  22. 1941-1945—Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, the U.S. officially enters World War Two.
  23. 1945-1949—U.S. military occupation of part of western Germany.
  24. 1945-1955—U.S. military occupation of part of Austria
  25. 1945-1952—U.S. military occupation of Japan
  26. 1945-1949—U.S. military occupation of South Korea
  27. 1945-1991—The Cold War.  U.S. forces are stationed in many parts of the world to contain the power of the Communist Bloc nations led by the Soviet Union and China.
  28. 1945-1949—Over 50,000 U.S. troops are sent to China, initially to aid in the disarmament of Japanese troops following the end of World War Two.  The mission changed to providing aid to the Nationalist Chinese in their war against the Communist Chinese forces of Mao. (part of Cold War)
  29. 1947-1949—U.S. military advisors aid the Greek military in fighting Communist rebels in the Greek Civil War.  The rebels were aided by the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia, and Bulgaria.  (part of Cold War)
  30. 1948-1949—The Berlin Airlift brings supplies to West Berlin, occupied by U.S., British, and French forces.  The airlift is in response to a Soviet Blockade of Berlin designed to force the Allies to abandon Berlin.  The Soviet effort failed. (part of Cold War)
  31. 1950-1953—The Korean War pits U.S. and allied forces against Soviet-backed Chinese and North Korean forces. The fighting ends in 1953, with an armistice, but the war officially never ended. Cross-border violence would periodically erupt along the border. (part of Cold War)
  32. 1955- U.S. military advisors are sent to the new Republic of South Vietnam to aid against the Communist insurgency. (part of Cold War).  This is the beginning of America’s role in the Vietnam War.
  33. 1958—U.S. troops land in Lebanon as an intervention in the first Lebanese Civil War.
  34. 1962— Cuban Missile Crisis.  U.S. blockades Cuba in response to Soviet nuclear missiles based in Cuba.  Nearly sparks World War Three.
  35. 1962—U.S. involvement in the Laotian Civil War begins.  U.S. aids the Laotian government against Communist Pathet Lao rebels and North Vietnamese troops.  This is a part of the larger Vietnam War for the U.S. (part of Cold War)
  36. 1964—U.S. military transport planes fly Belgian troops to the Congo to intervene in the Congolese Civil War.
  37. 1964—The Gulf of Tonkin Incident.  Two U.S. naval ships are attacked by North Vietnamese forces in the waters off of North Vietnam.  The American ships were there as support for a South Vietnamese naval raid on North Vietnam. (part of Cold War)
  38. 1964-1975—U.S. troops officially engage in combat as part of the Vietnam War (part of Cold War).
  39. 1965—U.S. troops intervene in the Dominican Republic to put down a rebellion.
  40. 1966-1969—DMZ War.  An unofficial and little-known extension of the ongoing Korean Conflict.   While the U.S. was distracted by the War in Vietnam, North Korean forces engaged U.S. and South Korean forces in a low-intensity border conflict along the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), separating North and South Korea.
  41. 1968—USS Pueblo Crisis—On January 23,  1968, North Korean forces attacked and captured the U.S. Navy reconnaissance ship, the USS Pueblo.  The crew was held captive by North Korea for eleven months.
  42. 1967–The USS Liberty Incident—during the Six-Day War between Israel and the Arab nations, the USS Liberty was attacked June 8, 1967 by Israeli armed forces, killing 34 and wounding more than 170 U.S. crew members.
  43. 1967– U.S. military transport planes again were dispatched to Congo to aid the government suppress a rebellion.
  44. 1973—U.S. engages in a massive airlift of weapons and ammunition to Israel during the 1973 Arab-Israeli War.  The Soviet Union also engages in a massive airlift in support of Syria and Egypt.  U.S. and Soviet naval forces face off in the Mediterranean Sea.  (part of Cold War)
  45. 1975—The Mayaguez Incident.  Considered the last combat action of the Vietnam conflict by American troops.   U.S. Marines attack a Cambodian island in an attempt to rescue the crew of the American ship Mayaguez, which had been seized by Cambodian Communist forces. (part of Cold War)
  46. 1978—From May to June, American transport aircraft fly Belgian and French troops to Zaire (formerly the Congo), to defeat a rebel invasion of Zaire’s Shaba Province.
  47. 1979-1981—U.S.-Iran Hostage Crisis.  The American embassy was occupied by radical Iranian forces and 52 Americans were held hostage for 444 days.  In 1980, the U.S. attempted a military rescue operation which failed miserably.
  48. 1979-1989—The U.S. provided extensive aid to Afghan rebels fighting the Soviet Invasion and Occupation of Afghanistan.  (part of Cold War)
  49. 1980-1988—The U.S. gave intelligence aid and diplomatic support to Iraq in its war against Iran.
  50. 1981—Salvadoran Civil War.  U.S. military advisors are sent to El Salvador to assist the government forces against Marxist rebels aided by Nicaragua and Cuba. (part of Cold War)
  51. 1981—The First Gulf of Sidra Incident occurs in April, when American warplanes clash with Libyan planes over waters near Libya.
  52. 1982—U.S. Marines are sent to Lebanon in August and September as part of a multi-national force assisting with the evacuation of Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) forces from the besieged city of Beirut.  This was a part of the Israeli Invasion of Lebanon in 1982.
  53. 1982-1984–Only nine days after the Marine withdrawal, they were again sent to Lebanon in greater numbers following the massacre of Palestinian civilians in the Shabra and Shatilla refugee camps.  This deployment will last until 1984 and will climax with the Bombing of the Marine Barracks in Beirut in October, 1983.  While in Lebanon, the Marines battled the Amal Shiite militia, Syrian forces, and the new Hezbollah militia.
  54. 1983—In October, the U.S. invaded the island of Grenada to effect a rescue of American medical students there and to overthrow a pro-Soviet and pro- Cuban Marxist government.
  55. 1986—Second Gulf of Sidra Incident.  American forces again clashed with the Libyan military.
  56. 1986—Operation El Dorado Canyon.  In April, American warplanes and naval forces attacked targets in Libya in retaliation for a terrorist bombing against an American target in Berlin.
  57. 1987—During the ongoing Iran-Iraq War (also called the First Persian Gulf War), the USS Stark was struck on May 17 by two Exocet anti-ship missiles fired from an Iraqi F-1 Mirage during the Iran-Iraq War, killing 37 U.S. Navy sailors.  The U.S. did not retaliate.
  58. 1987-1988—U.S. military intervention in the Iran-Iraq War as U.S. naval forces combatted Iranian forces in the Persian Gulf in Operation Nimble Archer, and Operation Earnest Will. During this conflict, the USS Vincennes shot down civilian Iran Air Flight 655.
  59. 1989—In January, American planes again engaged in combat with Libyan planes over the Gulf of Sidra.
  60. 1989—U.S. Intervention in a coup attempt in the Philippines. Known as Operation Classic Resolve, on December 1, U.S. Air Force fighters from Clark Air Base in Luzon assisted the Aquino government to repel a coup attempt. In addition, 100 marines were sent from U.S. Naval Base Subic Bay to protect the United States Embassy in Manila.
  61. 1989- In December, in the U.S. Invasion of Panama, American forces overthrew dictator Manuel Noriega.
  62. 1991—U.S. and other allied forces deployed to Saudi Arabia in response to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait.  This is known as Operation Desert Shield.
  63. 1991—In January, U.S. and allied forces liberated Kuwait in what became known as the Gulf War or the First Iraq War.  At the time, it was best known as Operation Desert Storm.
  64. 1991-1996—Operation Provide Comfort, an attempt to protect the Kurdish population of northern Iraq from Saddam Hussein.  This operation in effect resulted in an allied occupation of northern Iraq that enabled the Kurds to establish a semi-autonomous state.
  65. 1991—Allied intervention in Zaire.   On September 25–27, 1991, after widespread looting and rioting broke out in Kinshasa, Zaire, Air Force C-141s transported 100 Belgian troops and equipment into Kinshasa. American planes also carried 300 French troops into the Central African Republic and transported evacuated American citizens.
  66. 1992-2003—The No-Fly Zone War against Iraq.  U.S. and British warplanes enforced a no-fly zone over much of Iraq.  These operations frequently resulted in allied attacks on Iraqi air and ground targets.  In effect, this was a low-intensity continuation of the Gulf War.  As the 2003 invasion of Iraq drew closer, the attacks on Iraqi targets continued in order to soften up Iraqi defenses.
  67. 1992-1995—U.S. and allied intervention in Somalia.  While originating as a humanitarian exercise to help the civilian population, it quickly changed into a nation-building attempt that brought American and other allied forces into combat with Somali militias.  It is believed that the first al-Qaida attacks on American targets took place at this time in Somalia as the Jihadi terrorist organization aided the Somali rebels.  The infamous Blackhawk Down incident occurred during this Somali intervention.
  68. 1993-1995—U.S. and NATO intervention in the Bosnian War.  Intervention began in 1993 with the start of a no-fly zone, with actual U.S. combat involvement starting in 1994 with the shooting down of six Serb aircraft.  In August and September of 1995, U.S. and NATO forces engaged in extensive bombing of Serb ground targets in Bosnia.   This helped lead to the Dayton Peace Accords that ended the war.
  69. 1994-1995—U.S. invasion and occupation of Haiti.  While the occupation was peaceful, this is only because the Haitian government collapsed in the face of an imminent U.S. invasion.
  70. 1998—In Operation Desert Fox, U.S. and British forces engage in a major four-day bombing campaign of Iraq from December 16–19, 1998.  This was in response to an Iraqi attempt to assassinate former President George Bush while on a visit to Kuwait. This is a part of the larger No-Fly Zone War.
  71. 1998–Operation Infinite Reach.  On August 20, President Clinton ordered a cruise missile attack against two suspected al-Qaida terrorist training camps in Afghanistan and a suspected chemical factory in Sudan.  This was in response to the bombing of American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania by al-Qaida a few days earlier.
  72. 1999—Kosovo War. U.S. and NATO forces engage in an air war with Serbia in order to liberate the region of Kosovo from Serbia.
  73. 2000—In October, al-Qaida terrorists attack the naval ship USS Cole in the Yemeni port of Aden.
  74. 2001—Hainan Island Incident–On April 1, 2001, a mid-air collision between a U. S. Navy EP-3E ARIES II signals surveillance aircraft and a People’s Liberation Army Navy J-8II interceptor fighter jet resulted in an international dispute between the United States and the People’s Republic of China.  The crisis was resolved peacefully.
  75. 2001—9/11 Terrorist attacks on the U.S. mark the start of the U.S War on Terror.
  76. 2001-Present—War in Afghanistan.  In response to the al-Qaida attacks on the U.S. on September 11, 2001, American and allied forces invade Afghanistan in October, 2001.  The War in Afghanistan becomes the longest official war in U.S. history. (part of the War on Terror)
  77. 2002-Present—Drone strikes on terrorist (al-Qaida and other Jihadist) targets in Yemen begin.  (part of the War on Terror)
  78. 2002-U.S. Special Forces deploy to the Philippines to assist the Filipino government in their fight against Jihadist (and al-Qaida aligned) Muslim rebels. (part of the War on Terror)
  79. 2003-2011—U.S.-led Invasion and Occupation of IraqThe Iraq War resulted in the overthrow of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.  (Considered by the Bush Administration to be part of the War on Terror)
  80. 2004-Present—Drone War in Pakistan.  U.S. drones operating out of Afghanistan launch missile attacks on suspected al-Qaida, Taliban, and other Jihadist targets. (part of the War on Terror)
  81. 2006-Present–U.S. Operations against Jihadist (al-Qaida, Islamic Courts, others) forces in Somalia in conjunction with Ethiopian, Ugandan, Somali government, and other allied forces.  U.S. operations include air strikes, drone strikes, Special Forces raids and assistance to allied forces fighting the Jihadist militias. (part of the War on Terror)
  82.  
  83. 2011—Libyan War.  U.S, NATO, and other allied forces aid rebels fighting to overthrow Libyan dictator Muammar Khadafy.
  84. 2011—On May, 2, 2011, U.S. forces conduct a raid into Pakistan and kill Osama bin Laden.  (part of the War on Terror)
  85. 2011—U. S. Special Forces are deployed to Uganda and Central Africa to aid in the hunt for infamous war criminal Joseph Kony and his band of LRA guerrillas.
  86. 2012—Benghazi Attack.  On September 11, 2012, suspected Jihadist militants attacked the U.S. embassy in Benghazi, Libya, killing  four Americans, including the Ambassador. (part of the War on Terror)
  87. 2013—War in Mali—U.S. transport planes ferry French troops as they engage Jihadist forces in northern Mali.  (part of the War on Terror)
  88. 2013– US Air Force planes supported the French in the Bulo Marer hostage rescue attempt in Somalia. (part of the War on Terror)

Over the span of nearly 100 years, America has been engaged in 88 military conflicts.  This list does not include most cases of U.S. forces, usually Marines, going ashore to protect diplomatic missions and such.  It also does not include most cases of CIA-led coups, clashes, and proxy wars, the current Drone Wars being the exception.  More than likely, the next time Memorial Day rolls around, there will be more military engagements to add to this list, and more fallen American service members to mourn.  Let us hope that their sacrifices are not in vain.

Memorial Day Crosses

Memorial Day Crosses

 

General Petraeus and His Place in History

10 Nov

General David Petraeus, perhaps America’s best-known, and most respected military leader since Colin Powell and Norman Schwarzkopf, has resigned his post as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), as the result of an extra-marital affair.  Petraeus gained intense fame and respect for leading American forces in both Iraq and Afghanistan, serving under both Presidents Bush and Obama.

The affair apparently with Paula Broadwell, the woman who wrote a glowing biography of the general, came to light during a background investigation by the FBI.  While such a revelation is not always an automatic career-killer in civilian life, or even in politics, for both the military and the intelligence services, it is considered a serious security breach.  News reports have General Petraeus tendering his resignation to President Obama on Thursday (two days after the presidential election), and Obama accepting the resignation on Friday, November 09, 2012.

In the post-9/11 wars, General David Petraeus’ career in a way served as a roadmap to those wars against Islamic Jihadists (i.e. the Taliban, al-Qaida, Somalia’s Shabab, among others), as well as the wars against Saddam, Gaddafi, and the proxy wars against Assad and Iran.  He commanded the 101st Airborne Division in the 2003 invasion of Iraq.  From 2007 to 2008, Petraeus commanded all U.S. forces in Iraq, and implemented the controversial, but ultimately successful “surge” of troops into insurgent-infested areas of Iraq, usually in urban areas.  Following his Iraq command, Petraeus was promoted to command the U.S. Central Command (USCENTCOM), headquartered in Tampa, Florida.  In this position, Petraeus oversaw all American operations in the Middle East from Egypt to Pakistan.

General Petraeus and Paula Broadwell

General Petraeus and Paula Broadwell

In the summer of 2010, following the resignation of General Stanley McChrystal as commander of forces in Afghanistan, President Obama assigned Petraeus to take over the war in Afghanistan.

David Petraeus retired from the military on August 31, 2011, having reached the highest working rank in the U.S. Army, that of a four-star general.  Following his retirement, the President appointed Petraeus as the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.  He held this important position in the so-called War on Terror until he offered to resign due to an extra-marital affair.  His resignation was accepted by President Obama on November  9, 2012.

As a result of his various commands and the influence he had on U.S. military and intelligence policy during these post-9/11 wars, General David Petraeus holds a unique place in recent American history.  If he ever writes a book of his wartime work, it will likely be a very informative tome that could shed light on many aspects on the American way of war  in the 21st Century.

 

Iraq War Officially Over For The U.S.

15 Dec

The End of the Iraq War Video

After Eight years and 270 days, the American War in Iraq is now officially over.  Defense Secretary Leon Panetta presided over a ceremony in Baghdad on December 15, 2011.  In reality, this war truly began when the U.S. intervened in what is now known as the First Iraq War (1990-1991), and then continued with the ongoing No-Fly Zone War (1991-2003) against Saddam’s Iraq

See also: http://www.historyguy.com/GulfWar2.html

http://www.historyguy.com/no-fly_zone_war.html

http://www.historyguy.com/GulfWar.html

 

Veteran’s Day in America: A Time To Honor Heroes

11 Nov
American Veteran on Veteran's Day

American Veteran on Veteran's Day

Honoring our Heroes on Veteran’s Day

Veteran’s Day is a time to reflect upon the sacrifices, bravery, and patriotism of millions of service members whose call to duty guarantees the freedoms and way of life enjoyed by all Americans.  To my brother, cousins, father, aunt and grandfathers who served, most especially, THANK YOU!

 

Gulf War MIA Recovered

03 Aug

The one MIA in the Gulf War/1st War
with Iraq, (compared to 1,740 MIA in the Vietnam War), was Navy
pilot, Captain Michael “Scott” Speicher was shot down and was neither
rescured, nor was a body found until, on August 2, 2009, the Pentagon
announced that U.S. Marines stationed in Iraq had found Speicher’s
remains.


See also: http://www.historyguy.com/GulfWar.html#gulfwarcasualties


and


U.S.
identifies remains of pilot missing in Persian Gulf
War
–LA Times, Aug. 2,
2009


Ironically, or perhaps intentionally,
the Pentagon announced the recovery of Speicher’s on the 19th
anniversary of Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait, which occurred on
August 2, 1990, and sparked the following 19 years of war between the
U.S. and Iraq.


 

The Length of American Wars: Update for Iraq and Afghanistan

23 Mar

On March 19, 2008, the world noted the 5th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq.  The Iraq War is now the third longest war in American history, after the Vietnam War and the continuing war in Afghanistan.

Below is a look at America’s major wars and their length in months. Time periods are rounded up or down for ease of comparison. Current conflicts are italicized and are colored red. The longest wars are listed first in descending order by length. The start dates reflect when the United States entered the wars.

Vietnam War–August, 1964 to April, 1975= 129   months (American involvement began in the late    1950s, but major U.S. combat forces began taking part in large-unit combat in 1964.  August, 1964 is the month of the Gulf of Tonkin incident and the U.S. bombing of North Vietnamese targets.)       

American Revolution–April, 1775 to September, 1783= 100    months

       

Afghanistan–    October, 2001 to Present (as of March, 2008)= 78    months

       

Iraq WarMarch,    2003 to Present (as of March, 2008)= 60 months

       

U.S. Civil War–April, 1861 to April, 1865= 48    months

       

World War II–December, 1941 to September, 1945= 45    months

       

World War I–April, 1917 to November, 1918= 19    months

       

Korean War– June, 1950 to July, 1953= 37 months

       

War of 1812–June, 1812 to February, 1815= 32 months

       

U.S.-Mexican War– May, 1846 to February, 1848= 21    months

       

Spanish-American War–April, 1898 to August, 1898= 5    months

       

Gulf War–January, 1991 to March, 1991= 3 months


Source:  http://www.historyguy.com/american_wars_by_length_of_time.html

       

 

Turkish Attacks on Kurds Raises Questions

17 Dec

Turkish forces bombed Kurdish PKK rebels based in northern Iraq in aerial attacks on December 1st and on December 16th, with both attacks aided by intelligence supplied by the United States. Earlier in the Autumn, Turkey hinted at an invasion of northern Iraq to get at the rebels, a move opposed by both the U.S. and the Iraqi government.

While the Turks are within their rights to strike at an enemy combatant force with whom they have been at war with since the 1980s, the U.S. is not the sovereign power in Iraq; officially, sovereign power rests with the Iraqi government in Baghdad, and reports indicate that the government, especially the Kurdish members of the government are quite angry at this attack and at U.S. complicity.

While the U.S. can claim that it is aiding a fellow NATO member defend itself, and that the PKK is considered a terrorist group, allowing the Turks to strike inside Iraq does open up the question of what the Bush Administration would do if Iran launched a similar cross-border strike against their own Kurdish rebels who also use northern Iraq as a base.

U.S. Helps Turkey Hit Rebel Kurds In Iraq: Intelligence Role Could Complicate Diplomacy–Washington Post, December 18, 2007

Turkey’s U.S.-Backed Strike in Iraq–Time, Dec. 17, 2007

 

Anglo-Iraqi Wars

17 Nov

This page lists and explains the five wars fought between the United Kingdom and Iraq. The word "Anglo" refers to England, once known as "Angle Land," which is part of the island of Great Britain, which is the primary part of the United Kingdom.

1st Anglo-Iraq War: May 1920 to Feb. 1921

The Great Iraqi Revolution (known in Iraq as Ath Thawra al Iraqiyya al Kubra and by the British as the Arab Revolt of 1920-Rebellion by Iraqi Arabs against the rule of the British Mandate. The rebellion was suppressed by the British military. This can be considered the First Anglo-Iraqi War.

The immediate causes of this conflict arose out of the results of the British conquest of the Mesopotamian region from the Ottoman Turks during World War I. Following that war, the British established, with League of Nations approval, a colonial-style Mandate over the region now named “Iraq.” Many Iraqi nationalists, who believed independence would result from the ejection of the Turks, were severely disappointed with the establishment of the British Mandate. Other, related events and issues also inflamed Iraqi Arab opinion against the British. The Mandate government almost completely excluded Iraqis, as the British imported experienced civil servants from India (also ruled by Britain) to help administer the country. In northern Iraq, the British allowed thousands of Christian refugees escaping persecution in Turkey, to settle in mostly Muslim Iraq.

2nd Anglo-Iraq War: April 18, 1941 to May 30, 1941

The Anglo-Iraqi War of 1941, also known as the Rashid Ali Coup, was a relatively small, but very significant part of the Second World War. Since the ending of the British Mandate and the advent of full Iraqi independence in 1932, Britain retained a great deal of military influence in Iraq, despite lingering opposition from many Arab nationalists. One of these nationalists, Rashid Ali, seized power in Baghdad and refused British requests to allow British military forces to enter Iraq. Britain at this time was fighting German and Italian forces in North Africa and were preparing to invade Vichy French-held Syria. (The Vichy French were working with the Germans and British and Free French forces needed to secure the region). Believing promises of German support, Rashid Ali ordered his forces to attack British bases in western Iraq and to oppose the landing of British forces at the southern city of Basra. German support appeared in the form of a small number of Luftwaffe fighter planes, and the British forces quickly defeated the Iraqi military.

3rd Anglo-Iraq War: Aug. 2, 1990 to Feb. 1991

The Second Persian Gulf War (Also known as “Operation Desert Storm”)— On August 2, 1990, Iraqi forces invaded and quickly conquered the small, oil-rich emirate of Kuwait. Almost immediately, an international coalition of nations gathered a powerful military force under the authority of the United Nations and the leadership of the United States, first to defend the oil-rich kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and secondly, to force Iraq to withdraw from occupied Kuwait. From the beginning of the crisis, the United Kingdom, led by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, worked very closely with the U.S. in assuming a determined posture against Saddam Hussein’s territorial ambition. Click on the blue link above for more detail on the war.

4th Anglo-Iraq War: 1991 to March 19, 2003

The "No-Fly Zone War" pitted the air and naval forces of the United States and the United Kingdom against the air defenses of Iraq. This conflict was a direct result of the agreements which ended the fighting in the Second Persian Gulf War (Also known as “Operation Desert Storm”). Click on the blue "No-Fly Zone War" link above for more detail on the war.

5th Anglo-Iraq War: March 19, 2003 to Present

The Third Persian Gulf War , known as "Operation Telic" by the British, and "Operation Iraqi Freedom" by the U.S., ousted Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein from power and led to the occupation of Iraq by British and American forces. Click on the blue link above for more detail on the war.

Please cite this source when appropriate:

Lee, R. "The History Guy: Anglo-Iraq Wars

http://www.historyguy.com/anglo-iraq_wars.html


Pages on Middle Eastern History


Iraq War

Gulf War

Arab-Israeli Conflict

Wars of Egypt

The Barbary Wars

Wars of Iraq

Anglo-Iraqi Wars

Anglo-Iraqi War of 1941

Saudi-Yemen Conflict

Iranian HostageCrisis 

"No-Fly Zone" War

Attack on the USS Cole

Yemeni Tribal Uprising (1998)

 

Kurds At War: Turkey, Iraq, and Iran

22 Oct

The latest news on the Kurds’ fight for independence from and/or autonomy from Turkey threatens to drag the U.S. into a conflict (or at least an argument) that it neither wants nor needs right now. Though it may also prove the spark that sets the whole region aflame.

The Kurdish resistance forces fighting the Turkish government call themselves the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK), a group formed in the late 1970s which took up arms against the Ankara government in 1984.  The PKK has long enjoyed a safe haven in northern Iraq, which is home to the closest thing the Kurds have to an actual country.  The PKK recently killed a dozen Turkish soldiers in southeastern Turkey (aka Turkish Kurdistan), prompting the Turkish government to threaten an invasion of Iraqi Kurdistan in an attempt to root out the PKK bases there.  It should be noted that in recent weeks, Iran has been shelling the bases of its own Kurdish resistance movement, called Kurdish Party of Free Life in Kurdistan (PEJAK).  Those bases are also located in Iraqi Kurdistan.

The problem for the United States is that the Iraqi Kurds are America’s only real allies in Iraq, and they have set up a thriving enclave of freedom and relative prosperity for themselves in the post-Saddam era.  An era that is possible only due to the military and diplomatic protection offered by the United States.  Of course, if one looks at history, it is clear that the U.S actually owes the Kurds quite a bit for America’s past betrayals of the Iraqi Kurds. 

In the 1970s, the CIA, along with the Shah of Iran (pre-Islamic Republic, of course), supported the Kurds in their long struggle against Saddam’s tyranny; until it no longer remained in America’s or Iran’s best interest to support them. In 1975, Saddam and the Shah (two thoroughly undemocratic despots) struck a deal that settled some old border disputes between them, and the Shah and his CIA buddies quickly shut off the flow of arms to the Kurds, and denied them border bases from which to fight Baghdad.  Saddam then crushed the Kurds.  In the 1980s, Saddam was at war with the post-Shah Iran and the Kurds rose up once again in their struggle for freedom.  Saddam gassed them.  Since Iraq was temporarily America’s ally against Iran, not much was said in Washington about this act of genocide.  Then, in the ultimate act of hypocrisy, the first Bush Administration, which normally got things right in the foreign policy department, encouraged both the northern Kurds and the southern Shiites to rise up against Saddam, but then stood by while his elite and ruthless  Republican Guard, which largely escaped the thrashing by the Allies in Kuwait, crushed both revolts while America’s huge army in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia stood by and did nothing.

So, what does the history of Iraq’s brutality towards Iraqi Kurds and America’s continual betrayal have to do with Turkey’s movements along the border with Iraqi Kurdistan?  Consider that Turkey is a long-time American ally, as are the Iraqi Kurds.  A war between them will greatly damage America’s interests in the region, endanger American forces, and serve as a huge failure of American diplomacy in the region.  And, if the U.S. stands by and lets Turkey attack across the border, what justification will the Bush Administration have if Iran decides to do the same thing to punish PEJAK?

Now, those who are of a mind to think of conspiracies, it is possible that this scenario is exactly what President Bush (or more likely, Vice-President Cheney) have in mind to occur.  Regardless of the hypocrisy of allowing one attack (by the Turks), and then responding militarily to another attack (by Iran), such a cross-border incursion by Tehran, even in a "legal" hot-pursuit situation, could provide the casus belli that some in Washington seek in order to attack Iran and end the embryonic nuclear threat posed by the Islamic Fascists in Tehran.

The Kurds, who are the world’s largest ethnic group without a country to call their own, are once again caught in the cross-fire of Middle East politics, and the confused dynamics of American foreign policy.

Links of Interest:

Who are the PKK?–National Public Radio, Oct. 22, 2007

Kurdish Secessionism Looms Over the Middle East–Robert Lindsay: Independent Left Journalist From California,May 11, 2006

Iranians shell anti-Iranian Kurdish PEJAK guerrillas in Iraqi Kurdistan–Kurd Net, May 23, 2007 

 

Stormfront: The Consequences of September 11 and America’s Wars Around the World

11 Sep

So, what are the real consequences of September 11, 2001 on how America wages war around the world?  That would seem to be an stupid question with an obvious answer:  The U.S. invaded Afghanistan to retaliate against al-Qaida and its Taliban allies, and later invaded Iraq to prevent Saddam Hussein from developing weapons of mass destruction and initiating a nuclear (or biological/chemical) 9/11.  (Those are the "official" versions of the reasons, by the way).

What many do not realize, largely because the mainstream media ignores or downplays them, is that the United States (and its allies) have been very, very active militarily around the world since the terrorist attacks of September 11 in their efforts to combat radical Islamic militants.

One of the first publicly acknowledged military efforts (after Afghanistan), was the deployment of U.S. Special Forces troops to the Philippines to aid the government there against the Abu Sayyaf rebels in the largely Muslim southern islands.

Another area the U.S. intervened in was the ongoing struggle in Yemen, an Arab country to the south of Saudi Arabia.  There, some of the tribes in the countryside who traditionally cause trouble for the central government, began working with al-Qaida.  This resulted in the U.S. providing aid to the Yemeni government and occasionally popping fugitive al-Qaida terrorists with Hellfire missiles fired from Predator drone aircraft.

Those Predator drones, by the way, are based in tiny Djibouti, a former French colony across the Mandab Straits from Yemen.  American Special Forces, (and, one would assume, Central Intelligence Agency officers), are based as a quick-reaction force for the entire Horn of Africa region.  A more recent, and so far tactically successful intervention, was American aid for the Ethiopian invasion/intervention against Islamist forces in Somalia in December of 2006. U.S. Special Forces traveled with the Ethiopian Army, and the U.S. military launched air and missile attacks on suspected Somali Islamists and al-Qaida fugitives.

American Special Forces also have aided allied nations in improving their defenses, including the Republic of Georgia (formerly an oppressed region of the late, unlamented Soviet Union), who have their own issues as a neighbor of Russia and the rebellious Muslim Russian region of Chechnya.

During last summer’s war in the Mid-East between Israel and Hezbollah, the U.S. re-supplied the Israeli military with ammunition and other materiel to aid the Israelis in their fight against the Islamic militant army.

The U.S. has also given significant material aid to Lebanon in its recent fight against al-Qaida allies in northern Lebanon.

Al-Qaida of course, has not been idle, as bin Laden’s organization maintains insurgencies against U.S. allies in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Thailand, Algeria, Egypt, Libya (yes, the U.S. and Libya kissed and made up, largely because Kaddafy saw the ease with which American forces seized Baghdad), Ethiopia, and is active in undermining government authority in other nations. 

Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaida declared war on America in 1996, and few Americans paid him any attention.  He attacked us in 1998, with the African Embassy bombings, and again in 2000, with an attack on the USS Cole.  The assault on 9/11/2001 finally snapped America out of its comfortable sense of security, and the United States launched its Global War on Terror.  Does anyone doubt that this is truly a "World War?"

We will come back to this theme in the future…