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Iraq: the Military Campaign Objectives

Iraq: the Military Campaign Objectives

The UK Government has published the military campaign objectives during operations in Iraq:

1. Our policy objectives were set out in Parliament on 7 January 2003. The prime objective remains to rid Iraq of its weapons of mass destruction and their associated programmes and means of delivery, including prohibited ballistic missiles, as set out in relevant United Nations Security Council Resolutions (UNSCRs).

2. In UNSCR 1441, the Security Council decided that Iraq was in material breach of its obligations under UNSCR 687 and other relevant resolutions. The Council gave Iraq a final opportunity to comply by co-operating with the enhanced inspection regime established by UNSCR 1441, but warned of the serious consequences of failing to do so. The evidence shows that Iraq has failed to comply with the terms of UNSCR 1441 and is now in further material breach of its obligations. In these circumstances, UNSCR 678 authorises the use of force to enforce Iraq's compliance with its disarmament obligations.

3. The obstacle to Iraq's compliance with its disarmament obligations under relevant UNSCRs is the current Iraqi regime, supported by the security forces under its control. The British Government has therefore concluded that military action is necessary to enforce Iraqi compliance and that it is therefore necessary that the current Iraqi regime be removed from power. All military action must be limited to what is necessary to achieve that end. The UK is contributing maritime, land and air forces as part of a US-led coalition.

4. The UK's overall objective for the military campaign is to create the conditions in which Iraq disarms in accordance with its obligations under UNSCRs and remains so disarmed in the long term. Tasks which flow from this objective are set out below.

5. In aiming to achieve this objective as swiftly as possible, every effort will be made to minimise civilian casualties and damage to essential economic infrastructure, and to minimise and address adverse humanitarian consequences. The main tasks of the coalition are to:


a. overcome the resistance of Iraqi security forces;

b. deny the Iraqi regime the use of weapons of mass destruction now and in the future;

c. remove the Iraqi regime, given its clear and unyielding refusal to comply with the UN Security Council's demands;

d. identify and secure the sites where weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery are located;

e. secure essential economic infrastructure, including for utilities and transport, from sabotage and wilful destruction by Iraq; and

f. deter wider conflict both inside Iraq and in the region.

Military action will be conducted in conformity with international law, including the UN Charter and international humanitarian law.

6. Our wider political objectives in support of the military campaign are to:

a. demonstrate to the Iraqi people that our quarrel is not with them and that their security and well-being is our concern;

b. work with the United Nations to lift sanctions affecting the supply of humanitarian and reconstruction goods, and to enable Iraq's own resources, including oil, to be available to meet the needs of the Iraqi people;

c. sustain the widest possible international and regional coalition in support of military action;

d. preserve wider regional security, including by maintaining the territorial integrity of Iraq and mitigating the humanitarian and other consequences of conflict for Iraq's neighbours;

e. help create conditions for a future, stable and law-abiding government of Iraq; and

f. further our policy of eliminating terrorism as a force in international affairs.

7. In the wake of hostilities, the immediate military priorities for the coalition are to:

a. provide for the security of friendly forces;

b. contribute to the creation of a secure environment so that normal life can be restored;

c. work in support of humanitarian organisations to mitigate the consequences of hostilities and, in the absence of such civilian humanitarian capacity, provide relief where it is needed;

d. work with UNMOVIC/IAEA to rid Iraq of its weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery;

e. facilitate remedial action where environmental damage has occurred;

f. enable the reconstruction and recommissioning of essential infrastructure for the political and economic development of Iraq, and the immediate benefit of the Iraqi people; and

g. lay plans for the reform of Iraq's security forces.

Wherever possible, these tasks will be carried out in co-operation with the United Nations.

8. British military forces will withdraw as soon as practicable. We hope to see the early establishment of a transitional civilian administration. We will work with the international community to build the widest possible international and regional support for the reconstruction of Iraq and the move to representative government.

9. It remains our wish to see Iraq become a stable, united and law abiding state, within its present borders, co-operating with the international community, no longer posing a threat to its neighbours or to international security, abiding by all its international obligations and providing effective representative government for its own people.

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