After Saddam: Prewar Planning and the Occupation of Iraq

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Equinor has been granted consent by the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate to use the facilities on Tordis and Vigdis fields in the North Sea beyond their respective December and March consents. Equinor is progressing with oil spill recovery at the South Riding Point terminal in the Bahamas after the impact of Hurricane Dorian. An onshore team has started to recover oil and move it into tank storage.

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More in Home. OGJ editors. In fact, Istrabadi rejects the view that the State Department was a holdout against Iraqi democracy.

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Not one. Although Istrabadi is an admirer of Wolfowitz, he says that the rivalry between State and Defense was so intense that the Future of Iraq Project became anathema to the Pentagon simply because it was a State Department project. The Future of Iraq Project did draw up detailed reports, which were eventually released to Congress last month and made available to reporters for The New York Times.

The 13 volumes, according to The Times, warned that ''the period immediately after regime change might offer.

But the Defense Department, which came to oversee postwar planning, would pay little heed to the work of the Future of Iraq Project. Jay Garner, the retired Army officer who was later given the job of leading the reconstruction of Iraq, says he was instructed by Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld to ignore the Future of Iraq Project. Garner has said that he asked for Warrick to be added to his staff and that he was turned down by his superiors. Judith Yaphe, a former C.

After Saddam: Prewar Planning and the Occupation of Iraq - RAND

Yaphe's answer is unhesitant: ''Ahmad Chalabi. None of the senior American officials involved in the Future of Iraq Project were taken on board by the Pentagon's planners. And this loss was considerable.

To say all this is not to claim that the Future of Iraq Project alone would have prevented the postwar situation from deteriorating as it did. Robert Perito, a former State Department official who is one of the world's leading experts on postconflict police work, says of the Future of Iraq Project: ''It was a good idea. It brought the exiles together, a lot of smart people, and its reports were very impressive. But the project never got to the point where things were in place that could be implemented. Nonetheless, Istrabadi points out that ''we in the Future of Iraq Project predicted widespread looting.

You didn't have to have a degree from a Boston university to figure that one out. Look at what happened in L. It was entirely predictable that in the absence of any authority in Baghdad that you'd have chaos and lawlessness. According to one participant, Iraqi exiles on the project specifically warned of the dangers of policing postwar Iraq: ''Adnan Pachaci's first question to U. They told him not to worry, that things would get back to normal very soon.

Because the Pentagon had insisted on essentially throwing out the work and the personnel of the Future of Iraq Project, Garner and his planners had to start more or less from scratch. ORHA had only two months to figure out what to plan for, plan for it and find the people to implement it. A senior Defense official later admitted that in late January ''we only had three or four people''; in mid-February, the office conducted a two-day ''rehearsal'' of the postwar period at the National Defense University in Washington.

Judith Yaphe says that ''even the Messiah couldn't have organized a program in that short a time. Although ORHA simply didn't have the time, resources or expertise in early to formulate a coherent postwar plan, Feith and others in the Defense Department were telling a different story to Congress.

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Much of the postwar planning that did get done before the invasion focused on humanitarian efforts -- Garner's area of expertise. Through the U. Agency for International Development, Washington was planning for a possible humanitarian emergency akin to the one that occurred after the first gulf war, when hundreds of thousands of Kurds fled their homes in northern Iraq and needed both emergency relief and protection from Saddam Hussein. This operation, led by Garner, had succeeded brilliantly. American planners in imagined and planned for a similar emergency taking place. There were plans drawn up for housing and feeding Iraqi refugees.

But there was little thought given to other contingencies -- like widespread looting. Garner told me that while he had expected Iraqis to loot the symbols of the old regime, like Hussein's palaces, he had been utterly unprepared for the systematic looting and destruction of practically every public building in Baghdad. In fairness to Garner, many of the Iraqis I spoke with during my trips were also caught by surprise.

One mullah in Sadr City observed to me caustically that he had never seen such wickedness. But while I do not say it is the Americans' fault, I simply cannot understand how your soldiers could have stood by and watched. Maybe they are weak, too. Or maybe they are wicked. One reason for the looting in Baghdad was that there were so many intact buildings to loot. In contrast to their strategy in the first gulf war, American war planners had been careful not to attack Iraqi infrastructure. This was partly because of their understanding of the laws of war and partly because of their desire to get Iraq back up and running as quickly and smoothly as possible.

They seem to have imagined that once Hussein fell, things would go back to normal fairly quickly. But on the ground, the looting and the violence went on and on, and for the most part American forces largely did nothing. Or rather, they did only one thing -- station troops to protect the Iraqi Oil Ministry.

This decision to protect only the Oil Ministry -- not the National Museum, not the National Library, not the Health Ministry -- probably did more than anything else to convince Iraqis uneasy with the occupation that the United States was in Iraq only for the oil. The Oil Ministry is not off by itself.

It's surrounded by other ministries, all of which the Americans allowed to be looted. So what else do you want us to think except that you want our oil? As Istrabadi, the Iraqi-American lawyer from the Future of Iraq Project, says, ''When the Oil Ministry is the only thing you protect, what do you expect people to think? All you have to do is follow the signs -- they're in English!

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  8. For its part, the Hawza could do little to protect the 17 out of 23 Iraqi ministries that were gutted by looters, or the National Library, or the National Museum though sheiks repeatedly called on looters to return the stolen artifacts. But it was the Hawza, and not American forces, that protected many of Baghdad's hospitals from looters -- which Hawza leaders never fail to point out when asked whether they would concede that the United States is now doing a great deal of good in Iraq.

    The memory of this looting is like a bone in Iraq's collective throat and has given rise to conspiracy theories about American motives and actions. Cheney, for Bechtel, for all American corporations. On Feb. Eric Shinseki, warned Congress that postwar Iraq would require a commitment of ''several hundred thousand'' U. Shinseki's estimate was dismissed out of hand by Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz and other civilian officials at the Pentagon, where war plans called for a smaller, more agile force than had been used in the first gulf war.

    Wolfowitz, for example, told Congress on Feb. But Shinseki wasn't the only official who thought there were going to be insufficient troops on the ground to police Iraq in the aftermath of the war. The lack of adequate personnel in the military's plan, especially the military police needed for postconflict work, was pointed out by both senior members of the uniformed military and by seasoned peacekeeping officials in the United Nations secretariat. The Department of Defense did not lack for military and civilian officials -- men and women who supported the war -- counseling in private that policing a country militarily would not be easy.

    As Robert Perito recalls: ''The military was warned there would be looting. There has been major looting in every important postconflict situation of the past decade. The looting in Panama City in the aftermath of the U. And there was vast looting and disorder in Kosovo. We know this. Phases I through III were the various stages of the invasion itself; Phase IV involved so-called stability and support operations -- in other words, the postwar.

    The military itself, six months into the occupation, is willing to acknowledge -- at least to itself -- that it did not plan sufficiently for Phase IV. In its secret report ''Operation Iraqi Freedom: Strategic Lessons Learned,'' a draft of which was obtained by The Washington Times in August, the Department of Defense concedes that ''late formation of Department of Defense [Phase IV] organizations limited time available for the development of detailed plans and pre-deployment coordination.

    The planning stages of the invasion itself were marked by detailed preparations and frequent rehearsals. Scott Rutter is a highly decorated U. He says that individual units rehearsed their own roles and the contingencies they might face over and over again.

    By contrast, the lack of postwar planning made the difficulties the United States faced almost inevitable. Rutter was on active duty when I spoke to him, but he is scheduled to retire this month. Rutter's unit controlled a section of Baghdad in the immediate postwar period, and he was forced to make decisions on his own on everything from how to deal with looters to whether to distribute food.

    When I asked him in Baghdad in September whether he had rehearsed this or, indeed, whether he received any instructions from up the chain of command, he simply smiled and shook his head. Rutter's view is confirmed by the ''After Action'' report of the Third Infantry Division, a document that is available on an Army Web site but that has received little attention. Running pages and marked ''official use only,'' it is a comprehensive evaluation of the division's performance during the war in Iraq, covering every aspect of operations, from the initial invasion to the postwar period.

    The tone of the report is mostly self-congratulatory. If the report contains one pre-eminent lesson, it is that extensive training is what made the division's success possible. But as the report makes clear, no such intensive training was undertaken for postwar operations. The report concludes that ''division planners should have drafted detailed plans on Phase IV operations that would have allowed it'' -- the Third Infantry Division -- ''to operate independently outside of guidance from higher headquarters.

    Critical requirements should have been identified prior to'' the beginning of the war, the report states. The division also should have had ''a plan to execute'' a stability-and-support operation ''for at least 30 days. Without a plan, without meticulous rehearsal and without orders or, at the very least, guidance from higher up the chain of command, the military is all but paralyzed.

    And in those crucial first postwar days in Baghdad, American forces and not only those in the Third Infantry Division behaved that way, as all around them Baghdad was ransacked and most of the categories of infrastructure named in the report were destroyed or seriously damaged. Some military analysts go beyond the lack of Phase IV planning and more generally blame the Bush administration's insistence, upon coming into office, that it would no longer commit American armed forces to nation-building missions -- a position symbolized by the decision, now being reconsidered, to close the Peacekeeping Institute at the Army War College in Carlisle, Penn.