Historic video footage of the worlds funnest information minister with claims the US military was defeated by the Iraqi military led by former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein. The Iraqi Army is the ground force component of the armed forces of the Republic of Iraq, having been active in various incarnations throughout the 20th century and 21st century.
The Iraqi Army in its modern form was first created by the United Kingdom during the inter-war period of de facto British control of Mandatory Iraq. Following the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the Iraqi Army was rebuilt along American lines with enormous amounts of U.S. military assistance at every level. Because of the Iraqi insurgency that began shortly after the invasion, the Iraqi Army was designed to initially be a counter-insurgency force. With the US withdrawal in December 2011, Iraqi forces have assumed full responsibility for security. A New York Times article suggested that, between 2004 and 2014, the USA had provided the Iraqi Army with $25billion in training and equipment in addition to an even larger sum from the Iraqi treasury.
Invasion of Kuwait and the Persian Gulf War
By the eve of the Invasion of Kuwait which led to the 1991 Persian Gulf War, the Army was estimated to number 1,000,000 men. Just before the Persian Gulf War began, the force comprised grouped into 47 infantry divisions plus nine armoured and mechanised divisions, grouped in seven corps. This gave a total of about 56 army divisions, and total land force divisions reached 68 when the twelve Iraqi Republican Guard divisions were included. Although it was said at the time in Western media that Iraqi troops numbered approximately 545,000 (even 600,000) today most experts think that both the qualitative and quantitative descriptions of the Iraqi army at the time were exaggerated, as they included both temporary and auxiliary support elements. Many of the Iraqi troops were also young, under-resourced and poorly trained conscripts. Hussein did not trust the army; among counterbalancing security forces was the Iraqi Popular Army.
The widespread support for Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war meant Iraq had military equipment from almost every major dealer of the world’s weapons market. This resulted in a lack of standardization in this large heterogeneous force, which additionally suffered from poor training and poor motivation. The majority of Iraqi armoured forces still used old Chinese Type 59s and Type 69s, Soviet-made T-55s from the 1950s and 1960s, and some T-72s from the 1970s in 1991. These machines were not equipped with up-to-date equipment, such as thermal sights or laser rangefinders, and their effectiveness in modern combat was very limited. The Iraqis failed to find an effective countermeasure to the thermal sights and the sabot rounds used by the M1 Abrams, Challenger 1 and the other Coalition tanks. This equipment enabled Coalition tanks to effectively engage and destroy Iraqi tanks from more than three times the distance that Iraqi tanks could engage.
The Iraqi tank crews used old, cheap steel penetrators against the advanced Chobham Armour of these US and British tanks, with disastrous results. The Iraqi forces also failed to utilize the advantage that could be gained from using urban warfare — fighting within Kuwait City — which could have inflicted significant casualties on the attacking forces. Urban combat reduces the range at which fighting occurs and can negate some of the technological advantage that well equipped forces enjoy. Iraqis also tried to use Soviet military doctrine, but the implementation failed due to the lack of skill of their commanders and the preventive air strikes of the USAF and RAF on communication centers and bunkers.
While the exact number of Iraqi combat casualties has yet to be firmly determined, sources agree that the losses were substantial. Immediate estimates said up to 100,000 Iraqis were killed. More recent estimates indicate that Iraq probably sustained between 20,000 and 35,000 fatalities, though other figures still maintain fatalities could have been as high as 200,000. A report commissioned by the U.S. Air Force, estimated 10,000-12,000 Iraqi combat deaths in the air campaign and as many as 10,000 casualties in the ground war. This analysis is based on Iraqi prisoner of war reports. It is known that between 20,000 and 200,000 Iraqi soldiers were killed. According to the Project on Defense Alternatives study, 3,664 Iraqi civilians and between 20,000 and 26,000 military personnel were killed in the conflict. 75,000 Iraqi soldiers were wounded in the fighting.
During the 1990s
The International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) estimated the Army’s composition immediately after the 1991 War as 6 ‘armoured’/’mechanised’ divisions, 23 infantry divisions, 8 Republican Guard divisions and four Republican Guard internal security divisions.