When the ground offensive started on 24 February 1991, Iraqi ground forces remained in defensive positions in the KTO. There were no indications of any Iraqi troop withdrawal. Iraqi front line units, including the 7th, 14th and 29th Infantry divisions in the I MEF zone and the 19th Infantry Division in the Joint Forces Command - East [JFC-E] zone, offered sporadic, but sometimes stiff, resistance. These forces were bypassed, withdrew or surrendered. Despite these initial setbacks, the Iraqi III Corps, opposite I MEF and Joint Forces Command - East [JFC-E] and the Iraqi IV Corps, generally opposite Joint Forces Command - North [JFC-N], still could counterattack with units from the 3rd Armored Division south of Kuwait International Airport.
As the ground offensive progressed, by 25 February 1991 Iraqi units' ineffectiveness became more clear. In the Iraqi IV Corps area of western Kuwait, in front of I MEF and JFC-N, the Iraqi 20th and 30th Infantry divisions were assessed as combat ineffective by the end of the first day of the ground offensive. The 21st and 16th Infantry divisions appeared to be falling back to a defensive line south and west of 'Ali As-Salim Airfield. The 6th Armored Division, west of 'Ali As-Salim Airfield, was heavily reduced.
In November 1996 Iraqi Army and Republican Guard units manoeuvred towards Arbil and the contact lines in the Iraqi Kurdistan areas, which were still out of the regime's control. The movements included the 44th Brigade of the 8th Division towards Isma'il Bik hill, which overlooks the basin opposite the Haybat Sultan area. Personnel from the Military Intelligence and Military Security units of the 1st Army Corps were deployed in the Dighalah area. Unconfirmed reports said that forces from the 17th Mechanized Brigade of the 10th Armored Division, the Nasr Forces Command of the 4th Army Corps, were deployed in the same sector.
As of February 1997 Iraq had initiated a massive troop build-up of four Corps: two infantry, one armoured, and one of the Republican Guard, in the areas of Kut, Amara, Nassiriya, Basra, and the marshes facing the Iranian border in southern Iraq. This included the transfer of forces from the First and Fifth Corps from the North, to the South. The Fourth Corps was centered at its base in the Mijar Al-Kabeer area in Amara, and had been joined by units from the Fifth and Second Corps equivalent to an infantry division, in addition to its units which consist of the 10th Armored Division, 14th Infantry Division, and 18th Infantry Division.
In November 1998, security forces, the Third and Fourth Army Corps, and Ba'ath Party militia staged a 5-day assault, including heavy artillery bombardment, in the Bani Malik area and the al Suwaib district of Basra province, and widespread areas of Nasiriyah and Amara provinces, nearly to the Iranian border. Hundreds of persons reportedly were killed in late November 1998 in Amara as part of a security sweep personally directed by Qusay Hussein, Saddam's son and his Principal Deputy on the State Council. In December 1998, commandos arrested 39 persons in the aftermath of an alleged attempt in Karbala to kill Revolutionary Command Council Vice President Izzat ad-Douri. Some sources in the opposition claimed that the attempt on ad-Douri's life was staged in order to justify the crackdown. Others indicate that the 39 persons arrested were executed summarily.
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