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Operation Iraqi Freedom

On 19 March 2003, an ultimatum given to the regime of Saddam Hussein expired and the United States and an allied coalition began what was known to the United States as Operation Iraqi Freedom. The name of the Operation for British troops was Operation Telic. For Australian Troops involved, it was Operation Falconer.

The military objectives of Operation Iraqi Freedom consisted of first, ending the regime of Saddam Hussein; second, identifing, isolating and eliminating, Iraq's weapons of mass destruciton; third, searching for, capturing, and driving out terrorists from the country; fourth, collecting intelligence related to terrorist networks; fifth, collecting such intelligence as was related to the global network of illicit weapons of mass destruction; sixth, to end sanctions and to immediately deliver humanitarian support to the displaced and to many needed citizens; seventh, to secure Iraq's oil fields and resources, which belonged to the Iraqi people; and finally, to help the Iraqi people create conditions for a transition to a representative self-government.

At the time, Operation Iraqi Freedom consisted of the largest special operations force since the Vietnam War. While the vast majority of special operations forces were American, the United Kingdom and the Australian militaries also provided forces. In northern Iraq there was a significant special operations presence. Coalition personnel worked with Kurdish fighters against the regime. SOF helped bring in the 173rd Airborne Brigade, and marked and called in coalition air power on regime targets. Special operations forces were also responsible for attacking a number of specific targets such as airfields, weapons of mass destruction sites, and command and control headquarters. In the south, special operations personnel gave aid to conventional forces and did some of the work in the cities to help the Shi'ia elements.

Initial information regarding the number of Coalition sorties seemed to differ depending on the sources consulted. No two figures for the same day were the same, and could differ by as much as 700 sorties. References to the numbers of Tomahawks fired suffered from the same lack of accuracy.

Effective 1 September 2010, the US mission in Iraq was renamed from Operation Iraqi Freedom to Operation New Dawn to coincide with US forces' shift to an advisory, assistance, training, and equipping role.

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