The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.

Views expressed in this archived message are those of the author, not of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.

[Main archive index/search] [List information] [Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

[casi] British troops will stay in Iraq for five years after Saddam is ousted

[ Presenting plain-text part of multi-format email ]
full&siteid=50143> &method=full&siteid=50143
Sunday 14 July 2002

British troops will stay in Iraq for five years after Saddam is ousted
By Sean Rayment and Christina Lamb
(Filed: 14/07/2002)

British troops will have to be stationed in Iraq for up to five
years as part of an "occupation force" once Saddam Hussein has
been removed from power, ministers have been told.

The warning was issued to the Cabinet last week as speculation
mounted that an invasion of Iraq was increasingly likely, probably
early next year. The Telegraph has been told by senior defence
officials that it will be necessary for a significant force to
remain in Iraq to prevent the post-Saddam state from fragmenting
into anarchy.

The disclosure comes as intelligence reports indicate that
al-Qa'eda terrorist cells are regrouping in the Middle East and
North Africa. Foreign Office officials believe that al-Qa'eda
units are becoming increasingly active in Tunisia, Morocco and
Yemen, where they are thought to have been plotting their next
wave of attacks.

A number of al-Qa'eda suspects have been arrested in Morocco and
the bombing of hotels in Tunisia has also been blamed on Osama bin
Laden's organisation. It is understood that British and American
special forces are using locally-recruited agents in an attempt to
penetrate the groups.

"The governments of Tunisia and Morocco are co-operating," said
the official. "It is Yemen we are really worried about". The
renewed al-Qa'eda activities are a concern to America and Britain
as planning for an offensive against Iraq is stepped up. Ministry
of Defence officials believe that up to 30,000 British troops will
be required to fight alongside America if the Prime Minister wants
to be a "power player" in the action.

Up to half of those troops would have to remain in the region for
several years to help support the post-Saddam government, in much
the way as an international stabilisation force now operates in

There is concern in the Foreign Office and at Cabinet level that
Saddam's removal could precipitate a civil war if the Kurds
attempt to annex homelands in northern Iraq. Worries also exist
that the Marsh Arabs in the south of the country, who have been
victimised by Saddam's regime for years, may also demand an
autonomous region.

The cost of keeping up to 15,000 British troops in Iraq for five
years would be prohibitive, but it is hoped that friendly nations
who will not commit troops to the ground war, such as Japan, will
help foot the bill as they did 11 years ago in Operation Desert
Storm. British officials have been at pains to emphasise to
American diplomats the importance of nation-building, an area in
which President Bush is known to have little interest.

A senior MoD official said yesterday: "The reason why George Bush
Snr didn't go all the way to Baghdad in 1991 was because he knew
he would be stuck there for five years. You can't remove Saddam,
destroy his army and then pull out - that would be a disaster. The
importance of nation-building has been impressed on the

Indications that the British armed forces want to be ready for
every eventuality have been revealed by significant troop
withdrawals from Bosnia, Macedonia, Sierra Leone and most recently
from Afghanistan. It is being viewed as highly significant within
the Army that Maj Gen John McColl has returned to Britain from
commanding the international stabilisation force in Afghanistan.

Gen McColl is the commander of 3(UK) Division, one of the two
operational deployable divisions in the British Army. It is highly
probable that any force sent to Iraq would include elements of his
It is also understood that another reason why American military
chiefs would prefer a war in 2003 rather than later this year is
that stocks of their most sophisticated weapons such as cruise
missiles and laser-guided bombs were seriously depleted by the war
in Afghanistan. Although the production of both weapons has been
in full swing for several months, stocks have yet to reach
pre-Afghanistan levels.

Cruise missiles are vital to any attack plan because they allow
the US to destroy Iraq's air defence capability without putting
pilots at risk.


Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
To unsubscribe, visit
To contact the list manager, email
All postings are archived on CASI's website:

[Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]