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Saddam Never Expected US Tanks in Baghdad

A report on pre-war and early-war Iraq reveals that Saddam Hussein never expected American forces to push all the way to Baghdad in a complete invasion. Security Watchtower highlights a New York Times article that reveals some of the contents of a Joint Forces Command report titled Iraqi Perspectives on Operation Iraqi Freedom, Major Combat Operations. In it, Saddam's greatest fear was another Shi'ite uprising in the south, expecting the Americans to push in and take the oil fields and stop.

"We didn't believe it would go all the way to Baghdad," a senior Republican Guard staff officer later told his interrogators. "We thought the coalition would go to Basra, maybe to Amara, and then the war would end."

Hussein was so distrustful of his own military that only Republican Guard units were allowed inside Baghdad, with the regular army sent primarily well north and southeast. But even the Republican Guard units were not allowed to communicate with each other, resorting to their own recon to determine the position of sister units on their flank.



I guess we can safely say that Saddam Hussein bought into the same mindset that Osama bin Laden had, that the U.S. was a papertiger. Given the past history of retreats from Beirut and Somalia, along with almost strictly air campaigns in Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan, and the usual U.S. responses of cruise missiles and bombs, there was good reason for both men to believe the U.S. was a papertiger.

But the writing was on the wall. As early as 1998 and 1999, the U.S. brass at CENTCOM was preparing for a ground war they knew was coming. General Franks discusses this in his book "American Soldier."

...and an excellent biography.