Operation Telic: The British Campaign in Iraq 2003-2009 by Tim Ripley is on sale now for mobile devices using Amazon’s Kindle platform, offering a revealing insight into what many regard as Britain’s Most Unpopular War.
The campaign in Iraq between March 2003 and June 2009 deeply polarised British politics, contributing to the fall from power of Prime Minister Tony Blair and seriously damaging the reputation, at home and abroad, of the British armed forces. Eleven years on from the start of the war, it is now possible to learn real lessons from the campaign. Delays in publishing the Chilcott Inquiry into the Iraq make it even more important to learn from the Iraq experience, yet the Ministry of Defence refused to co-operate with the author in the writing of this book.
The book has already attracted high praise, with Major General Jonathan Shaw, commander British forces in Basra during 2007 calling it “the best I have yet read on Iraq”, while Lt Gen Robin Brims, who was Commander 1 (UK) Armoured Division during the assault on Basra in 2003 describes it as “Thought provoking… I hope people will buy the book and debate the points its raises.”
“It is clear the politicians dealt the military commanders a very poor hand, but at the same time, on some occasions, the military command played the cards badly,” notes an Amazon reviewer of the book. “The bruising experiences for the politicians and the military of Iraq and now Afghanistan will produce consequences that will echo across at least their next two generations and have already changed strategic and tactical perspectives.
“For anyone with personal experience of Iraq, or interest in the machinations of the application of military force in the modern environment, this is an absolutely vital book.”
Operation Telic: The British Campaign in Iraq 2003-2009 book draws upon many new sources of information about Operation Telic, including:
- Using for first time uncensored British and Coalition military documents and maps from units that participated in the campaign
- Internal British Army publications, giving first hand accounts of the campaign
- Exclusive interviews with senior British commanders and military personnel
Tim Ripley’s Operation Telic reveals startling new information about the conduct of Britain’s war ill-fated in Iraq. For the first time it tells the story of the campaign from the perspective of commanders and troops on the ground, establishing a new standard for historical accounts of Britain’s wars in the 21st Century.
- Far from having a ‘secret master plan’ to take Britain to war in Iraq, Prime Minister Tony Blair’s haphazard and chaotic ‘sofa government’ left Britain’s commanders and troops struggling to get to the Middle East with the right equipment and plans in the days before the war.
- For the first time, senior British officers and soldiers tell the inside story of the Battle for Basra in 2003, including – How British Special Forces and Intelligence chiefs misjudged the Iraqi army’s will to fight and launched dangerous and ill-conceived missions to persuade Saddam Hussein’s generals and troops to surrender. – The real story of how Saddam Hussein’s henchman Chemical Ali escaped the city after repeated British attempts to kill him despite claims by the British military ‘spin machine’ that he was dead. – For the first time, the story of how British airborne troops were stopped at an hours notice from joining the US advance on Baghdad is revealed.
- How the British Army rushed to withdraw its troops from Iraq after the defeat of Saddam Hussein army, leaving the occupation forces hard-pressed to cope with the resulting mayhem. Secret documents and testimony reveal that army chiefs knew Iraq was on the edge of anarchy but refused to ask ministers for more troops.
- Dramatic accounts of Special Forces operations in southern Iraq from 2003 to 2008 as they waged an increasingly brutal war against Shia militia fighters.
- How the drive to train up the fledgling Iraqi army stumbled as a result of confusion in the British military establishment and obstruction from Iraq’s prime minister Nouri al-Maliki.
- The secret decisions by military chiefs to switch troops from Iraq to Afghanistan that left Britain “waging a war on two front”, with not enough resources to succeed in either theatre.
- The deadly duel to defeat militia road side bombs and enhance the protection of British armoured vehicles, including for the first time the full story of the battle to replace the infamous ‘Snatch Land Rover”, revealing how military bureaucracy and government penny pinching delayed the hunt for a replacement to the thinly armoured vehicle, costing the lives of dozens of soldiers.
- British troops describe for the first time their experiences guarding a controversial prison camp in Basra, including how military chiefs and ministers ignored requests to improve conditions.
- The secret missions into the heart of Basra by British troops during the Charge of Knights offensive in 2008 that defeated Iraq’s Shia militia are revealed for the first time.
- How the ‘business as usual’ attitude in the Ministry of Defence in London was out of touch with the escalating conflict in Iraq. Priority was give to officer promotions over combat effectiveness, which undermined the adoption of an effective war strategy in Iraq.