The 7 Different Campaigns of the Iraqi War: An Overview

Lasting from 2003 until the last day of 2011, our Soldiers battled in the Middle Eastern country of Iraq. The Iraqi War was divided into 7 different campaigns. Those campaigns were then broken down into operations.

In today’s article, we are going to provide an overview of each campaign. We will look at the operations and the outcomes of each campaign. Scroll down and learn about the 7 different campaigns of the Iraqi War.

Campaign #1

3/19/2003 – 5/1/2003 Liberation Of Iraq

In delving into this first phase of the war in Iraq, we should step back to 1998. During the Clinton Administration, the Iraq Liberation Act was passed by Congress and signed by President Clinton. This act stated that the United States would do all in its power to support a change in power in Iraq. Congress stated that:

“It should be the policy of the United States to support efforts to remove the regime headed by Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq and to promote the emergence of a democratic government to replace that regime.”

It was this act that President Bush cited when pushing for military force against Iraq. A committee was formed for the Liberation of Iraq that held some very prominent individuals.

This 21 day campaign had 3 goals:

  • Take weapons of mass destruction from Iraq.

  • End Saddam Hussein’s support for terrorist organizations.

  • Free the Iraqi people.

This operation involved coalition forces invading Iraq and fighting a conventional war. These forces made their way to the capital of Baghdad and captured it. The primary forces were from the countries of the:

  • United States

  • United Kingdom

  • Australia

  • and Poland

The campaign went smoothly. The coalition forces succeeded in taking Baghdad, Tikrit, Basra, and other locations. They secured oil fields and sent Hussein and other leaders into hiding.

Campaign #2

5/02/2003 – 6/28/2004 Transition of Iraq

It was during this period that coalition forces had many different operations. The objective was to gain trust from Iraqi citizens, defeat terrorist factions still in operation, and to set up the system for a democratic government to take over.

Some of the operations that took place during this campaign were:

  • Operation Iron Resolve. This was a constant search and raid operation with intentions of disrupting terrorists.

  • Operation Clothes For Kids. Humanitarian operation to help clothe Iraqi children.

  • Operation Trailblazer. This was an operation that was ongoing in efforts to make roads safer. The clearing of bombs and brush and trees to hide those bombs was the objective.

  • Operation Aloha. In a move that was different from before, patrols would knock on doors and ask if they could search.

  • Operation Suicide Kings. This used both U.S. troops and Iraqi Civil Defense soldiers in search operations.

  • Operation Red Dawn. This happened on December 13th, 2003. It was the operation that captured Saddam Hussein.

The main idea in this campaign was safety for civilians and to gain their trust. During this period, the Coalition Provisional Authority was the acting Government of Iraq while moves were made to install an interim Government.

Campaign #3

6/29/2004 – 12/15/2005 Iraqi Governance

During this period, priorities were given to creating a self sustaining governance with democratic elections to make sure Iraq doesn’t fall into another dictatorship.

Soldiers were still performing operations of both a humanitarian and defense nature. Some of the operations carried out during this campaign were:

  • Operation Tiger Care. This was a humanitarian operation to assist Balad Hospital in obtaining medical supplies.

  • Battle of Najaf. This battle lasted for 22 days against the Islamist Mahdi Army.

  • Operation Backpack. 200 backpacks full of school supplies given to children.

  • Operation Phantom Fury. This was an assault on insurgents in and around Fallujah.

  • Operation Open Window. Preparing to transfer responsibility of the South/Central region to the Iraqi 8th Division.

Campaign #4

12/16/2005 – 1/09/2007 National Resolution

During this campaign period, the build up of an idea of a free Iraq was the largest goal. There was still a great presence of factions of insurgents and attacks against those in positions that supported a democratic Iraq. It was also during this campaign that Saddam Hussein was hung after being found guilty of multiple charges. Some of the operations that were carried out during the National Resolution campaign included:

  • Operation Industrial Revolution. This was searching looking for facilities where insurgents manufactured roadside bombs.

  • Operation Baghdad is Beautiful. An operation to clean up the city of Baghdad.

  • Operation Northern Lights. Both Iraqi and U.S. forces worked together to completely disrupt insurgent goals by finding weapons and terrorists.

  • Battle of Ramadi. Taking complete control of Ramadi that was an insurgent haven.

  • Operation Helping Hand. Delivery of food to Kurds and others who were in need.

As you can plainly see, National Resolution was just about keeping control of an unstable country.

Campaign #5

1/10/2007 – 12/31/2008 Iraqi Surge

President Bush knew that a change had to come in Iraq. A surge of troops descended upon Iraq with efforts of eliminating all insurgents and also using humanitarian means to build up the trust. Approximately 20,000 United States troops were deployed to Iraq during this campaign which was also called A New Way Forward. Some of the operations that were carried out were:

  • Operation Warm Up. A large humanitarian operation providing food, clothes, first aid kits and school supplies to Iraqi citizens.

  • Operation Ranger Dominance. A security operation for Baghdad.

  • Operation Ithaca. Killed 29 al Qaida terrorists; captured 23 and destroyed their safe-house and weapons.

With the great surge of American troops, this campaign had a high level of counter-insurgency operations. Many al Qaida were killed or captured.

Campaign #6

1/01/2009 – 8/31/2010 Iraqi Sovereignty

The extreme surge by American troops created a confidence in the Iraqi people. Violence had decreased to its lowest level since the war had started. Now was the time for Iraq citizens to begin the realization that they own their country, and American troops would soon be leaving. The Sunni and Shiite factions would have to work together in controlling Iraq.

Operations included:

  • Operation Iron Gator. Over $2 million was spent beefing up security and infrastructure.

  • Operation New Hope and others. These operations were meant to show Iraqi troops how to keep finding and destroying and insurgent activity.

Campaign #7

9/01/2010 – 12/31/2011 New Dawn

With President Obama in control of the United States, and the belief that it was time for American troops leave the Iraq nation, New Dawn was being enacted. Troops were brought home in mass numbers. Those who were still in Iraq worked closely with Iraq forces to train them, and show them how to keep protecting their nation.

As troops left, other factions did start attacking again. The American military forces had done what they could, now it was a New Dawn, and the Iraqis would have to learn.

Final Thoughts

As we look upon Iraq now in 2015, it seems that President Obama is having to send troops back. The evil Islamic extremist group called ISIS has taken control of a large portion of Iraq.

Will stability ever come to Iraq? Is it a problem we should be involved in?

It is now time for your opinions, but please be civil. What do you think the world would be like if we would have never entered Iraq? If Hussein was still alive and in control?

We would also like to hear from any and all who spent time during any of these campaigns in Iraq. Please tell us when, where and how long.

Thank you for your service and may the Iraqi people be kept safe from the terror networks operating in and around the Middle East.

chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)

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