War Against Iraq: D-Day or Delay?

Soldiers traditionally view warfare as ninety percent boredom and ten percent sheer terror.

The World Today Published 1 February 2003 Updated 21 October 2020 5 minute READ

Michael Clarke

Director General, Royal United Service Institute

Those in the Gulf may experience a lot of both over the coming weeks and months. Some important markers are being put down, with the first major United Nations report on Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, the Israeli elections, and the arrival of enough forces in the region to start a significant war very soon. 

The middle of February still looks like the best time to begin a major offensive, since that would allow six weeks for a campaign that must be brought to a military conclusion before temperatures soar to 40 and 45 degrees at the end of March.

Some two hundred thousand US-led allied personnel are arriving in the region, about fifteen percent of them are likely to be British. London has sent airpower, special forces, an amphibious task force and armoured units. Some sort of D-Day appears to be drawing close.

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