Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Chilcot Inquiry Section 9.3 July 2004 To May 2005


The Chilcot Inquiry shows that the British were far more aware of the deteriorating situation in Iraq than the Americans. From July 2004 to May 2005 the U.K. was concerned about growing violence from the insurgency and militias and didn’t think that the new Iraqi political system would solve either one.

 

The British believed the insurgency was growing out of Sunni disenfranchisement. Reports noted that the insurgency was self-generating, indigenous and adapting to the changing situation on the ground. A September 30, 2004 Joint Intelligence Committee assessment found the root cause was that Sunnis did not believe in politics because they didn’t gain anything from it since it was now dominated by Shiites. They also believed that Shiites were under Iranian influence. With politics a dead end they thought that violence was the way to regain their lost power. This united them against the Coalition occupation. While a minority was involved in the violence the report believed a majority of Sunnis supported it. The result was a growing threat to the new order that the U.K. and U.S. were trying to build after Saddam. The British assessment of the insurgency at this time varied from the Americans. The latter were talking about former regime members and Baathists as the heart of the resistance rather than having widespread support. They also believed the insurgency was solely focused upon attacking the Americans. It wouldn’t be until 2006 that the U.S. military realized that Sunni anger was also aimed at Shiites.

 

The U.K. didn’t see this changing anytime soon. On February 3, 2005 the Joint Intelligence Community wrote that military campaigns against the insurgency were not effective. It said Sunni hearts and minds were being lost due to the lack of security, the lack of law and order, slow reconstruction, few jobs and the poor quality of life. With politics seen as a dead end and their conditions worsening there was no reason for Sunnis to give up their weapons.

 

London realized that the invasion of Iraq was also making the threat of international terrorism worse. An April 13, 2005 Joint Intelligence Committee report said the Iraq war had increased the threat of terrorism in the world and would continue to do so for the long term. Al Qaeda had benefited from the call for jihad in Iraq. It was using the conflict to network with other groups and expand its reach. The Bush administration believed that invading Iraq was the second phase in its war on terror. Bush said that the U.S. was fighting in Iraq so it wouldn’t have to fight terrorists in America. Instead, his decision made the situation worse as seen by a wave of attacks in Europe connected to the war.

 

The Coalition was also facing militias and Iranian interference. On August 2, 2004, a U.S. patrol passed near Moqtada al-Sadr’s house in Najaf and came under attack from his Mahdi Army which quickly spread to Baghdad, Wasit, Dhi Qar, Maysan and Basra. On December 9, 2004 the Joint Intelligence Committee reported that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard supported Sadr and other militias. They were united in their resistance to the occupation wanting the U.S. and U.K. to withdraw from Iraq. The British who were in control of Maysan and Basra provinces would become prime targets of the Mahdi Army and others in the coming months and years.

 

Finally, the Blair government was unhappy with the new Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari. In May 2005, a British official stated that Sunnis were angry with the premier because he announced his administration before Sunnis worked out a deal over how they would be represented in it. Many of the candidates for office that Sunnis put forward were rejected. The official worried that Jaafari’s Dawa Party would appoint their own Sunni as Defense Ministry which was not supported by the Sunni parties. Shiites like Jaafari and others thought the Sunnis were disorganized and making unreasonable demands. Most Sunnis for instance, boycotted the 2005 elections and the Shiites thought they excluded themselves from the government as a result. To the new Shiite political class the Sunnis wanted to take part in the government while fighting it at the same time. The response was to give them little which increased the idea that politics were not a viable avenue for Sunni aspirations.

 

SOURCES

 

The Iraq Inquiry, The Report of the Iraq Inquiry, 7/6/16

 

PREVIOUS CHILCOT REPORTS

 

Review The Report of the Iraq Inquiry, Executive Summary

 

Chilcot Inquiry Sec 1.1 UK Iraq Strategy 1990 To 2000

 

Chilcot Inquiry Section 1.2 UK Iraq strategy September 2000 To September 2001

 

Chilcot Inquiry Section 3.1 Development of UK Strategy and Options On Iraq, 9/11 to Early January 2002

 

Chilcot Inquiry Section 3.2 Development of UK Iraq Strategy and Options, January to April 2002 – “Axis of Evil” to Crawford

 

Chilcot Inquiry Section 3.3 Development of UK Iraq Strategy and Options, April to July 2002

 

Chilcot Inquiry Section 3.4 Development of UK Iraq Strategy and Options, Late July to 14 September 2002

 

Chilcot Inquiry Section 3.5 Development of UK Strategy and Options September to November 2002 – Negotiation of Resolution 1441

 

Chilcot Inquiry Section 3.6 Development of UK Strategy and Options, November 2002 to January 2003

 

Chilcot Inquiry Section 3.7 Development of UK Strategy and Options, 1 February to 7 March 2003

 

Chilcot Inquiry Section 3.8 Development of UK Strategy and Options, 8 to 20 March 2003

 

Chilcot Inquiry Section 4.1 Iraq WMD Assessments, Pre-July 2002

 

Chilcot Inquiry Section 4.2 Iraq WMD Assessments, July to September 2002

 

Chilcot Inquiry Section 4.3 Iraq WMD Assessments, October 2002 to March 2003

 

Chilcot Inquiry Section 4.4 The Search For WMD

 

Chilcot Inquiry Section 5 Advice On The Legal Basis For Military Action, November 2002 To March 2003

 

Chilcot Inquiry Section 6.1 Development of the Military Options for an Invasion of Iraq

 

Chilcot Inquiry Section 6.2 Military Planning For The Invasion, January to March 2003

 

Chilcot Inquiry Section 6.4 Planning and Preparation For A Post-Saddam Hussein Iraq, Mid-2001 To January 2003

 

Chilcot Inquiry Section 6.5 Planning And Preparation For A Post-Saddam Hussein Iraq, January to March 2003

 

Chilcot Inquiry Section 8: The Invasion

 

Chilcot Inquiry Section 9.1 March to 22 May 2003

 

Chilcot Inquiry Section 9.2 May 2003 To June 2004

 

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