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    from the Russian website

    Coalition Losses in Iraq
    Last updated: June 15, 2003


    The war in Iraq was full of surprises even before it begun: unexpectedly stiff opposition from France, Germany and Russia, widespread anti-war sentiment in the rest of Europe and indeed in the entire world, lack of cooperation on the part of Turkey, complete inability of the US diplomacy to create at least an appearance of some international support for the war, a personal feud between the Bush administration and the French government, small but persistent discrepancies and inconsistencies in the positions of the two primary allies in the upcoming war - the US and the UK.

    The first day of the war was also a complete surprise: an impromptu bombing of Baghdad followed by unsupported and unverified reports - the first of many to come - of Saddam's death. This was immediately followed by a ground invasions without the expected aerial bombardment campaign. The first week of the war revealed unexpectedly strong resistance by the Iraqi forces. For three weeks superior coalition forces were fighting with several battalions of Iraqi regular forces and paramilitary units for the control of Umm Quasar - a borderline village with a population of 1,200. The British forces spent weeks struggling to advance a few miles along the Fao peninsula. Two months later it was revealed by the US military that its entire command HQ in Qatar was nearly wiped out by an Iraqi ballistic missile.

    Immediately the US military command and their British counterparts restricted the flow of information from the areas of combat. The information void was quickly filled by propaganda and misinformation. In the first days of the war there claims of an entire Iraqi division surrendering near Basra - claims later admitted to have been false. Fore the entire war both the British and the American troops claimed about 10,000 Iraqi POWs - a very small number considering the size of the Iraqi army. But even this modest number was never verified - most of the captured Iraqis turned out to be civilians or paramilitary troops. Nearly all have since been released (if they were ever captured in the first place - there's no way to verify anything now).

    After putting up stiff resistance for about two weeks the Iraqi regular forces have simply melted away, leaving behind small pockets of resistance consisting primarily of paramilitary units, which would also soon disappear. The Iraqi army disappeared along with its government, its command, its weapons and equipment. Saddam Hussein made a rare public appearance in Baghdad on April 9 while the city was under continuous aerial bombardment with US troops just a few miles outside of the city. And then he disappeared as well.

    Suddenly, the US forces entered Baghdad encountering only sporadic resistance. At about the same time the British troops entered Basra - again, with little or no resistance (after nearly three weeks of gaining and losing ground on the outskirts of the city). All major centers of Iraqi resistance immediately collapsed. No burned Iraqi tanks, artillery, army trucks, APCs were seen in any significant numbers. Only a small number of the Iraqi air defense systems were found here and there - mostly abandoned by their crews. Out of the entire Iraqi Air Force we have seen only a picture of a single MiG-25 trainer - a model that Iraq never had. The Australian special forces claimed to have found 57 Iraqi MiGs intact. But, as with the rest of the coalition claims, this claim was only supported by several dozen photos - from every possible angle - of that single MiG-25.

    Today in Iraq the war continues. The US military command claims to have captured some Iraqi government and military officials. But we are yet to see any of them. Indeed the only Iraqi official who tried to surrender was Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf - aka "Comical Ali" - Iraq's Information Minister. No weapons of mass destruction were found. No illegal ballistic missiles were found. No signs were found that any of these illegal weapons existed in Iraq. No Saddam Hussein. But an interesting find was made at the Iraqi Information Ministry - Saddam's manuscript for his new novel - "The Great Awakening" - that was supposed to be published before the war. In that novel Saddam talks about a country's president stepping down from power during a war and leaving for a neighboring Arab country to wage a secret war against the invaders.

    Since the end of major combat in Iraq was pronounced by Bush on May 1 some 50 US soldiers were killed and well over a hundred troops were wounded. The security situation in Iraq is rapidly deteriorating as popular resistance to coalition occupation is growing. There has been a sharp increase in the number and intensity of hit-and-run attacks against the US troops in Iraq. Large pockets of armed resistance still remain active in northern and western parts of Iraq. Already the US taxpayers spent tens of billions of dollars to support this war and they will spend much more in the years to come.

    This project does not deal with money, however, but with the human aspect of the war. Thousand of people have lost their lives - soldiers and civilians - in the past few months to satisfy imperial ambitions in Washington. Thousands more will die as the result of this war. This project is a product of collaboration among the members of the Russian Military History Forum and the Iraqwar project to maintain a complete and accurate count of all official and reported casualties of this war.

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