Iraq war: General Sir Mike Jackson recalls the lead-up to the conflict

General Sir Mike Jackson, Chief of the General Staff during the Iraq war, recalls the lead-up tol the conflict and some of the shortcomings that emerged.

It is almost 10 years since Coalition forces, including a very significant British contingent, crossed the border into Iraq.

At that time in late March 2003 opinion polls indicated some two-thirds of the British people were in favour of this military action against Saddam Hussein's Iraq; such support rapidly waned, not least because early conventional military success was not borne out by what followed.

We need, however, to go further back in time to establish the full context. Over a decade before, in August 1990, Saddam sent his armed forces to occupy Kuwait in an act of outright aggression against that neighbouring small country.

In response to this blatant breach of international law, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 687 which gave a final demand for the withdrawal of Iraqi forces; should there not be compliance, international military action would follow.

As indeed it did, since Saddam defied the Resolution. That short and militarily decisive action in early 1991 - known to the British Armed Forces as Gulf War 1 - evicted the occupying Iraqi forces from Kuwait.


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