The Objectives of United States Military Intervention in Northern Iraq Between Operation Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom
ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLL FORT LEAVENWORTH KS
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Soon after the end of the Persian Gulf War in 1991, the Kurdish people of northern Iraq rebelled against the regime of Saddam Hussein. The rebellion was violently crushed by the Iraqi military resulting in over 1 million Kurdish refugees throughout northern Iraq, northwestern Iran, and southeastern Turkey. This humanitarian tragedy prompted the United States to initiate Operation Provide Comfort. Since Operation Provide Comfort I began, and through its subsequent incarnations, Provide Comfort II and Northern Watch, the United States applied military force in order to accomplish a number of objectives. These objectives can be broken down into three categories humanitarian, military, and political. This thesis analyzes the primary objectives of the United States military under each of these three categories in order to determine the answer to the primary question. The analysis resulted in the determination that the United States military did not accomplish all of the primary objectives it set out to accomplish. Although the application of military force successfully accomplished its principal humanitarian objective the resettlement of the displaced Kurds, and although it was successfully accomplishing its primary military objective deter Hussein from again attacking the Kurdish population, it did not accomplish its chief political objective containment.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics