At the outset of the Gulf War, the Baghdad area nominally fell under II Corps, but by 24 February 1991 most of its units were deployed to Kuwait and Basra. At least one source suggests that II Corps was responsible for the Iran front [where it reportedly remained during the Gulf War], and that the units reportedl assigned to II Corps were in fact assigned to VIII Corps, but all other sources agree that II Corps rather than VIII Corps was one of the four Corps deployed for the Mother of All Battles.
The Iraqi commanders estimated that there would be an amphibious landing from the Gulf. By a process of elimination, they concluded that the landing would probably be north of Kuwait City. From there it would be possible to cut the north-south highway to Basra and cut off the forces to the south. To guard this approach, two infantry divisions were dug-in and supported by anti-aircraft guns for use against the U.S. marine helicopters. Hundreds of anti-ship mines were laid in the sea to prevent coalition ships and landing craft from approaching the coast. Behind these infantry divisions were Army mechanized and armored divisions.
In the early 1990s the Iraqi National Congress began to build an army, and the CIA trained the INC to coordinate a March 1995 attack. On the eve of the planned attack, the US withdrew support and the March 1995 attack failed. In March 1995, according to the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan [PUK] three army corps (the First, the Second and the Fifth) massed against the Kurdish region. These three corps reportedly included a total of 17 divisions comprising nine infantry divisions, one armored division, two mechanized infantry divisions, four Republican Guard divisions including an armored division, and one Border Guard division. In addition to these, a further 25 tank units (katiba), eight armored regiments (fawj), seven mechanized regiments, four armored units and 27 infantry brigades were deployed. On 02 March 1995 Iraqi armed forces attacked Kurdish positions near Chemchamal, on the road between Kirkuk and Sulaimaniya. Iraqi reinforcements have been observed to take position in the no-man-land in formations indicating imminent offensive action. The Iraqi forces unleashed a barrage of artillery and heavy machine-gun fire on Kurdish positions and the nearby district town of Shorish.
In February 1997 there was a wide campaign of arrests within the ranks of the officers of the Iraqi Army's Second Corps (commanded by Staff General Yaseen Al-Ma'eeni). The corps' divisions were deployed along an axis extending from the oil city of Kirkuk to the city of Khanaqeen on the Iran-Iraq border east of Baghdad. The campaign, under the personal supervision of Saddam Hussain, reportedly came as a result of the regime's discovery that two of the corps' divisions intended to carry out a coup attempt with the cooperation of other officers.
On 15 January 1999, Izzet Al Douri, the commander of the Northern Region, headquartered at the Civil Defense Directorate in the city of Kirkuk (Operations Room), issued orders to the First Corps (headquartered in Kirkuk) and the Second Corps (headquartered in Al-Mansouriyah mountain in Diayala) to raise the emergency level to 100% for their units. Furthermore, they were supplied with first and second line ammunition and gas masks. Execution brigades were formed under the command of Military Intelligence to stem any drive towards desertion among the rank and file.
In December 2000 it was reported that Iraqi forces had deployed along the border with Kurdistan, with some speculating that these forces may exploit the intra-Kurdish feuding to invade Patriotic Union of Kurdistan [PUK] controlled territory. PUK sources pointed to the deployment of Iraqi forces in areas controlled by the 1st Corps, on the Kirkuk border, and the 2nd Corps, on the Diyala border. Additionally, there reportedly are Republican Guard artillery units, infantry divisions, and an armored division deployed in that region.
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