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Psychological Operations in Iraq: Operation Iraqi Freedom, 2003
By SGM Herbert A. Friedman (Ret.)

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President George W. Bush announced the opening of the second Gulf War at 2215 on 19 March 2003 just 90 minutes after the deadline for Saddam to exile himself and his sons from Iraq. The initial strikes on Baghdad were a target of opportunity. Intelligence reports placed senior Iraqi military leaders with Saddam at a secret meeting place. The initial salvos against Baghdad consisted of 40 Tomahawk cruise missiles launched from six Navy ships in the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea, as well as precision-guided 2,000-pound bombs dropped from two F-117A Nighthawk stealth jets. Three hours after the raids began, a defiant Saddam, wearing military fatigues, appeared on state television calling on Iraqis to defend their country. Iraq retaliated by firing missiles at U.S. troop positions in Kuwait. 

On 20 March The U.S. First Marine Division crossed the border at 2100 and advanced all night through light Iraqi defenses. Cobra attack helicopters and Paladin 155mm self-propelled artillery attacked Iraqi positions across the border from Kuwait. At 2300, the U.S. Army Third Infantry Division crossed into Iraq under a protective umbrella of artillery and multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS) firing at Iraqi troops. 

Turkey's parliament voted to allow the U.S. military two zones to fly bombing missions over Turkish airspace.U.S. Marines occupied the seaport town of Umm Qsar. Coalition aircraft and cruise missiles attacked Baghdad for the second straight night. They struck the Ministry of Planning and several Republican Guard buildings. The Patriot advanced capacity missile (PAC-3) successfully intercepted two Iraqi tactical ballistic missiles. There were reports of four burning oil wells near Basra. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld warned Iraq's military to defy orders to set oil wells on fire. He said, "See those orders for what they are, the last, desperate gasp of a dying regime."  

The third day of the war was dubbed "A-Day," The Coalition finally unveiled their "shock and awe" attack, sending 1500 bombs and missiles against Baghdad, Mosul, Basra, Tikrit, and Kirkuk. Coalition troops occupied the southern city of Safwan. The Coalition grew to 45 nations. The Commander of the Iraqi 51st Infantry Division surrendered with his unit. A 20-mile long convoy of Coalition Tanks and vehicles was 100 miles inside Iraq and about 2-3 days from Baghdad. Fifteen hundred Turkish Special Forces entered Northern Iraq to set up a buffer zone. The Associated Press reported leaflets dropped over Iraq and radio broadcasts urging civilians to stay in their homes and away from military forces.

Operation Iraqi Freedom aircrews dropped more than 2 million leaflets over 29 military and civilian targets on 21 March. The mix consisted of 17 different leaflets. The Coalition previously dropped eleven of the leaflets during the "No-Fire Zone" warning phase of the campaign. They are IZD-001c, IZD-002a, IZD-019, IZD-019a,IZD-036, IZD-038, IZD-061, IZD-69, IZD-070, IZD-071, and IZD-2502. Leaflet IZD-048 was known although not previously dropped. Five of the leaflets are new. They are IZD-022a, IZD-024, IZD-047, IZD-1000 and IZD-1002. 

IZD-022a depicts a tank in front of a civilian building at the left and a happy Iraqi family and an artillery piece at the right. The text is “FOR YOUR SAFETY – Stay in your homes and avoid driving your vehicles at night.” The back of the leaflet pictures a Coalition tank at the left and a helicopter and troops at the right. The text is “Do not interfere with Coalition Forces – The Coalition wishes no harm upon the people of Iraq.” 

IZD-024 depicts a caricature of a brutal Saddam Hussein holding a map of Iraq. The text is “The Coalition is here to put an end to the oppression caused by Saddam and his regime.” The back is all text; “The Coalition wishes no harm to the people of Iraq. The Coalition is here to end the oppressive rule of Saddam and his regime.” 

IZD-047 depicts naval ships, landing craft, helicopters and fighter aircraft attacking a beach. The text is “For your safety stay away from military operations near Iraqi waterways.” The back pictures a warship and a civilian ship sailing by a peaceful beach. The text is “The Coalition does not wish harm to innocent civilians. Once Saddam’s regime is defeated, the waterways will return to the Iraqi people.”

Psychological Operations in Iraq - air-dropped leaflets
Psychological Operations in Iraq - air-dropped leaflets
Leaflet Number: IZD-022a
Psychological Operations in Iraq - air-dropped leaflets
Psychological Operations in Iraq - air-dropped leaflets
Leaflet Number: IZD-024
Psychological Operations in Iraq - air-dropped leaflets
Psychological Operations in Iraq - air-dropped leaflets
Leaflet Number: IZD-047

IZD-1000 Depicts an Iraqi family offering food to a downed Coalition pilot. The text is “ASSIST DOWNED COALITION PILOTS – Help them return to their families! You will be REWARDED for your hospitality!” The back shows a Coalition pilot in a parachute falling toward a friendly hand. The text is “If you encounter a Coalition pilot: Treat them properly. Offer them food and water. Give medical assistance. Allow for their safe return. Provide them directions to Coalition forces. Coalition forces will REWARD your hospitality!” 

The final new leaflet is IZD-1002. The front depicts two radar sites. A group of Iraqi soldiers in front of one site watches Coalition aircraft drop leaflets. One soldier reads a leaflet, “It says, ‘Don’t report Coalition aircraft positions. Doing this will result in your destruction.” The back pictures the second radar site being bombed. The soldier says, “I told you they won’t harm us if we don’t report them.” At the bottom of the leaflet is the text, “WHICH FATE DO YOU CHOOSE?” 

The leaflet, which surfaced previously, is IZD-048. The front of the leaflet depicts a Coalition warship near an Iraqi cargo ship with a helicopter on station overhead. The text is, "Do not help the Iraqi military and regime leadership attempting to escape." The back bears the warning, "ATTENTION! The Coalition is here to block the escape of Iraqi leaders attempting to flee. If you harbor, aid, or assist these individuals you risk confiscation of your vessel and endanger yourself and your crew. If you observe defectors, report it to the Coalition forces. DO NOT LET SADDAM’S REGIME ESCAPE JUSTICE!”

Psychological Operations in Iraq - air-dropped leaflets Psychological Operations in Iraq - air-dropped leaflets
Leaflet Number: IZD-1000
Psychological Operations in Iraq - air-dropped leaflets
Psychological Operations in Iraq - air-dropped leaflets
Leaflet Number: IZD-1002
Psychological Operations in Iraq - air-dropped leaflets
Psychological Operations in Iraq - air-dropped leaflets
Leaflet Number: IZD-048

The leaflets dropped previously follow:

IZD-001c is an information radio leaflet. It depicts a map of Iraq at the center and radio towers at left and right. The text is "Information Radio - “756 KHZ AM - 1800-1200, 690 KHZ AM - 1800-2300, 9715 KHZ SW - 24 hours a day, 11292 KHZ SW – 1800-1200, and 100.4 MHZ FM – 1800-2300. The same message appears on both front and back.

IZD-002a depicts a radio tower in the center and small portable radios to the left and right. The text is "Information Radio 1800-2300 daily. 756 KHZ AM, 693 KHZ AM, 9715 KHZ SW, 11292 KHZ SW, 100.4 MHZ FM." The same message appears on both front and back.

Leaflet IZD-019 shows a group of Iraqi soldiers standing in line wearing gasmasks and full protective gear.A mushroom shaped fireball is in the background. The symbol for biological hazard is at the lower left. Text is, "Do not use weapons of mass destruction." The back is all text; "Any unit that chooses to use weapons of mass destruction will face swift and severe retribution by Coalition forces. Unit commanders will be held accountable if weapons of mass destruction are used."

Psychological Operations in Iraq - air-dropped leaflets
Psychological Operations in Iraq - air-dropped leaflets
Leaflet Number: IZD-001c
Psychological Operations in Iraq - air-dropped leaflets Psychological Operations in Iraq - air-dropped leaflets
Leaflet Number: IZD-002a
Psychological Operations in Iraq - air-dropped leaflets
Psychological Operations in Iraq - air-dropped leaflets
Leaflet Number: IZD-019

Leaflet IZD-019a is similar. It pictures a group of Iraqi soldiers wearing gasmasks and full protective gear in a smoky combat scene. The symbol for radiation hazard is at the lower left. Text is "Nobody benefits from the use of weapons of mass destruction." The back is all text; "Any unit that chooses to use weapons of mass destruction will face swift and severe retribution by Coalition forces. Unit commanders will be held accountable if weapons of mass destruction are used."

IZD-036 depicts armed Coalition soldiers at the right and left and the text “Do not interfere with Coalition Forces. Coalition Special Operation Forces do not wish to harm or injure non-combatants.” The back of the leaflet pictures a helicopter unloading armed Coalition troops. The text is, “For your safety do not interfere with Coalition Forces. Coalition Special Operation Forces are here to end the oppressive rule of Saddam’s regime and liberate the people of Iraq.”

Psychological Operations in Iraq - air-dropped leaflets
Psychological Operations in Iraq - air-dropped leaflets
Leaflet Number: IZD-019a
Psychological Operations in Iraq - air-dropped leaflets
Psychological Operations in Iraq - air-dropped leaflets
Leaflet Number: IZD-036

Leaflet IZD-038 depicts a satellite over Iraq spotting drums of hazardous chemicals and a scud missile on a mobile launcher. Text is, "We can see everything. Do not use nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons." The back is all text, "Do not attempt to use nuclear, biological or chemical weapons. The Coalition has superior satellite technology, which allows Coalition forces to see the preparation and transportation on nuclear, biological or chemical weapons. Unit commanders will be held accountable for non-compliance.”

The front of IZD-061 shows four radio antenna and the text, “! ATTENTION ! In times of crisis, tune in to “Information Radio” for important news and information. 756 KHZ AM, 690 KHZ AM, 100.4 MHZ FM, 9715 KHZ SW, 11292 KHZ SW.” The reverse shows two hands clasping in front of a desert-style camouflage background. Text is, “Coalition forces support the people of Iraq in their desire to remove Saddam and his regime. The Coalition wishes no harm to the innocent Iraqi civilians. 

IZD-069 depicts a group of Iraqi tanks and armored vehicles with a white flag tied to their antennae at the right, and a group of unarmed Iraqi soldiers at the left. Between them is an arrow overprinted "1 Kilometer." Text above the vignette reads, "To avoid destruction, follow Coalition guidelines." The back of the leaflet is all in text. It tells the Iraqi military, “For your safety follow these Coalition Guidelines. Park vehicles in squares, no larger than battalion size. Stow artillery and Air Defense Systems in travel configuration.Display white flags on vehicles. No visible man portable air defense systems. Personnel must gather in groups, a minimum of one kilometer away from their vehicles. Officers may retain their sidearms; others must disarm. Do not approach Coalition forces. Wait for further instructions.”

Psychological Operations in Iraq - air-dropped leaflets
Psychological Operations in Iraq - air-dropped leaflets
Leaflet Number: IZD-038
Psychological Operations in Iraq - air-dropped leaflets
Psychological Operations in Iraq - air-dropped leaflets
Leaflet Number: IZD-061
Psychological Operations in Iraq - air-dropped leaflets
Psychological Operations in Iraq - air-dropped leaflets
Leaflet Number: IZD-069

IZD-070 pictures an oil refinery with a father and child at the upper left. The text is “ The oil industry is your livelihood! Your family depends on your livelihood.” The back of the leaflet depicts and Iraqi family looking at a burning oil refinery. The text is “If the oil industry is destroyed, your livelihood will be RUINED! Help to prevent the sabotage of the Iraqi oil industry! Your family depends on it!” 

The front of IZD-071 depicts an antenna at left and a map of Iraq at the right. The text is, “Information Radio. 756 KHZ AM, 693 KHZ AM, 9715 KHZ SW, 11292 KHZ SW, 100.4 MHZ FM.” The reverse shows antenna at left and right and the text, “The Coalition stands with the Iraqi people against Saddam. For your safety stay in your homes and away from military targets. The Coalition does not target civilians. Listen to information.” 

Leaflet IZD-2502 depicts three Coalition troopers and a vehicle “buttoned up” in preparation for a chemical or biological attack. The text is, “Coalition forces are prepared and well trained to defend themselves against chemical weapon attacks.” The back of the leaflet pictures dead children at the left and right, and a group of Iraqis carrying a casket in the center. The text is, “Your comrades and innocent Iraqi people will be victims if Saddam uses chemical weapons. Don’t be a part of this crime. Unit commanders will be held accountable for the use of chemical weapons.”

Psychological Operations in Iraq - air-dropped leaflets
Psychological Operations in Iraq - air-dropped leaflets
Leaflet Number: IZD-070
Psychological Operations in Iraq - air-dropped leaflets
Psychological Operations in Iraq - air-dropped leaflets
Leaflet Number: IZD-071
Psychological Operations in Iraq - air-dropped leaflets
Psychological Operations in Iraq - air-dropped leaflets
Leaflet Number: IZD-2502

Iraqi radio announced a $14,000 reward for anyone killing a Coalition soldier, and $28,000 for anyone taking a live prisoner. Iraqi officials ordered CNN staff to leave the country. They said that the film of surrendering soldiers and Coalition advances into Iraq were fabricated propaganda.

On the fourth day of the war US and British forces continued to move forward into Basra. The Coalition forces were about 24 hours ahead of schedule and the bulk of the troops had yet to enter yet Iraq. Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri complained to the United Nations that the Americans were targeting homes, schools, mosques and churches.  

Warplanes began to strike Baghdad for the third straight day about 1915 local time. The intelligence headquarters was gutted and appeared to have taken a direct hit. Allied forces crossed the Euphrates River and were now half way to Baghdad. U.S. Special Forces unsuccessfully searched for weapons of mass destruction. The Pentagon announced that it had abandoned plans to use Turkey to open a northern front. The U.S. Army 4th Infantry Division will be sent to Kuwait instead.

Al-Jazeera television reported that Iraqis had set fire to oil containers around the city to obscure targets. Iraqi state television said that Saddam met twice Saturday with senior government members. Information Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf told the Iraqi people that the government had repulsed the U.S.-British attacks, destroying five tanks in the process. He also said those captives taken by coalition troops were civilians, not Iraqi soldiers.

Coalition aircraft again dropped leaflets on 23 March. The leaflet mix consisted of 11 items. Leaflets IZD-019a, IZD-038, IZD-061, IZD-069, and IZD-2502 were dropped on 21 March and have already been described. Leaflets IZD-003 and IZD-050 were dropped earlier during the No-Fly Zone phase of the operation. Four of the leaflets are new. They are IZD-017e, IZD-022b, IZD-060a and IZD-8104.

Leaflet IZD-003 depicts a radio antenna at the left and the CENTCOM stations and frequencies in the center. The right of the leaflet pictures a map of Iraq. The front and back are identical. The text is "Information Radio. 1800-2300 Daily. 756 KHZ AM, 693 KHZ AM, 9715 KHZ SW, 11292 KHZ SW, 100.4 MHZ FM."

Leaflet IZD-050 depicts an Iraqi mother with child at the right and a smiling Saddam Hussein at the left. The text is "As your family struggles to survive – He lives in splendor." The back of the leaflet shows happy Iraqi citizens at the right and a stern-faced Iraqi military officer at the left. The text is "Who needs you more? Your family or the regime? Return to your home and family." This type of propaganda is a common theme of American PSYOP. During WWII, allied propagandists regularly attacked Nazi Party officials for the way they lived in luxury and were unaffected by rationing and deprivation. During the recent Kosovo campaign, the allies regularly attacked the family of Slobodan Milosevic for owning luxurious villas and yachts while the Serbian people starved. Good propaganda never attacks the enemy population, only their leaders.

New leaflet IZD-017e depicts Iraqi soldiers surrendering at the left and the destruction of an Iraqi tank by Coalition aircraft at the right. The text is "The Medina RGFC has been targeted for destruction." The back is all text, "FOR YOUR SAFETY – Abandon your weapons systems. Whether manned or unmanned, these weapons systems will be destroyed." The Medina Division is one of the elite Republican Guard units. It is better fed, paid, trained and armed than the regular Iraqi Army units. Their tank battalions have nine more tanks than regular army battalions. In addition, they have the most modern weaponry, such as the Russian T-72 tank. They are highly motivated volunteers rather than conscripts. The Republican Guard is subordinate to the State Special Security Apparatus, not the Defense Ministry. Five such divisions are deployed around Baghdad and one more north of the Iraqi capitol.

Psychological Operations in Iraq - air-dropped leaflets
Psychological Operations in Iraq - air-dropped leaflets
Leaflet Number: IZD-003
Psychological Operations in Iraq - air-dropped leaflets
Psychological Operations in Iraq - air-dropped leaflets
Leaflet Number: IZD-050
Psychological Operations in Iraq - air-dropped leaflets
Psychological Operations in Iraq - air-dropped leaflets
Leaflet Number: IZD-017e

IZD-022b depicts Iraqi armor in a civilian neighborhood at the left and a happy family and an artillery piece at the right. Text in the center is "FOR YOUR SAFETY – Stay in your homes and avoid driving your vehicles at night. Stay away from buildings that have military weapons near them. FOR YOUR SAFETY." The back of the leaflet pictures an American tank and helicopter at the left and Coalition soldiers at the right. The text is "Do not interfere with Coalition forces. The Coalition wishes no harm upon the people of Iraq."

IZD-060a depicts four photos on the front. There are tanks at the left and right, and a helicopter and Saddam Hussein at the center. The text is "The noble people of Iraq are not the target of Coalition military operations! The target of Coalition military operations is the ruthless regime!"

The back shows four photos of happy Iraqi children at the left. Text at the right is "Do not interfere with Coalition forces. Stay in your homes. Coalition forces will establish a curfew for your protection. Stay tuned to information radio for updates."

IZD-8104 is all text. The front is "Iraqi commanders and soldiers – show that you will not resist Coalition forces. Make clear your intentions." The back tells them how to make their intentions clear. "CONTACT US ON Thuraya Ascom – HF 5102.0 KHZ – Tel # 88 216 21 12 32 39 – VHF 31.2250 MHZ – UHF 381.500 MHZ. TELL US: Unit size – name – location – combat vehicles. CONTINUE to attempt contacting the COALITION on the listed frequencies until we acknowledge you. COMPLY with our instructions and you will not be DESTROYED."

Psychological Operations in Iraq - air-dropped leaflets
Psychological Operations in Iraq - air-dropped leaflets
Leaflet Number: IZD-022b
Psychological Operations in Iraq - air-dropped leaflets
Psychological Operations in Iraq - air-dropped leaflets
Leaflet Number: IZD-060a
Psychological Operations in Iraq - air-dropped leaflets
Psychological Operations in Iraq - air-dropped leaflets
Leaflet Number: IZD-8104

The CENTCOM site reported two additional leaflets. As yet, there is no report of their use. Both are tactical leaflets that mention specific Iraqi units.

Leaflet IZD-033o depicts two destroyed tanks on the front. The text is "The Ah Fad Farouq Tank Battalion of the 70th Armored Division did not comply with Coalition guidelines." The back is all text. It is "Indicate you are not a threat by following these coalition instructions: Park vehicles in squares, no larger than battalion size. Place gun barrels over back deck of vehicle. Stow artillery and air defense artillery systems in travel configuration. Display white flags on vehicles. No visible man portable air defense systems. Personnel must gather in groups, a minimum of one kilometer away from their vehicles. Officers may retain their sidearms, all others must disarm. Do not approach Coalition forces. Wait for further instructions.

Leaflet IZD-033p is very similar. It depicts the same two tanks on the front. The text is now "The 1st Tammuz Battalion of the 24th Mechanized Brigade, 10th Armored Division did not comply with Coalition guidelines. The back is all text and identical to IZD-033o.

Psychological Operations in Iraq - air-dropped leaflets
Psychological Operations in Iraq - air-dropped leaflets
Leaflet Number: IZD-033o
Psychological Operations in Iraq - air-dropped leaflets
Psychological Operations in Iraq - air-dropped leaflets
Leaflet Number: IZD-033p

On 23 March over 900 sorties were flown against Iraq. 30 cruise missiles were fired into Iraq through Turkish airspace. A huge 100-acre chemical plant and complex was overrun near An Najaf. 

There were troubling reports of stiffening Iraqi resistance. As the armored spearhead raced toward Baghdad, now just 100 miles away, pockets of enemy troops were bypassed. Not wanting to be slowed by enemy prisoners of war (EPWs) the Coalition apparently just disarmed surrendering Iraqis and continued to move forward. Some of these Iraqis may have then rearmed themselves and become a force in the Coalition rear and along the supply lines. Several groups reportedly used ruses and opened fire on Allied forces after indicating that they wished to surrender. The Fourth Infantry Division was still at sea and there was no viable second front opened in the north. There were reports of civilians being used as human shields by military forces.

U.S. Marines fought Iraqi forces near the southern city of An Nasiriyah. There were reports of fighting near Basra. Umm Qsar was allegedly pacified but fighting broke out there. Pro-Hussein Fayadeen-Saddam (a 30,000 strong force controlled by his son Qusay) was rumored to have taken over the defense of some areas. At the same time, Iraqi forces ambushed an army supply convoy that apparently took a wrong turn. Al-Jazeera television reported the capture of five American combat-support troops from the 507th Maintenance Company. They broadcast film of seven dead soldiers, who appeared to have been executed.

The Coalition dropped a mix of four leaflets on 24 March. The code numbers are IZD022, IZD022b, IZD023, and IZD024. There are no new leaflets in this mix. The total number of leaflets dropped is unknown.

A British handbill was distributed near Basra. It was a simple drawing of a British soldier designed to aid communication. The Arabic text beneath the soldier is:

British forces are active in your area.

These handbills were developed by th 15th (UK) PSYOP Group and were distributed by British Brigade troops. The British researcher Lee Richards says that Leaflet was also dropped on the Al Faw peninsula along with 32 joint direct action munitions (JDAMS) or “smart bombs” before the British assault at H hour-2..

A brief description of the British PSYOP campaign in Iraq is in order. During the course of this article we will illustrate and discuss more British leaflets, handbills, and iniatives.

The Third Report of the Select Committee on Defense to the British House of Commons outlines the PSYOP objectives for “Operation Telic,” the British name for the Iraq invasion. Air Vice-Marshal Heath said in part:

Initially, the key objective was to deter the deployment and use of weapons of mass destruction. It was to deter willful damage to the Iraqi infrastructure either by the people or by the regime; it was to promote the coalition's aims and objectives in terms of deterrents, potential hostile action and the reconstitution that came afterwards. All three were equally important. It was to prevent or limit civilian casualties, predominantly through creating an understanding with the population that they were not the target group if we moved into conflict, and how they could remain relatively safe, and also to convey to military personnel how they could surrender and remain safe throughout the process.

An unnamed author says in an untitled British Joint Services Command and Staff College abstract:

United Kingdom’s decision to contribute to the coalition was highly contentious and the intense political debate that ensued had implications on the timescales for military planning. In turn, this impacted on the pre-deployment phase and the establishment of the British PSYOP Support Element was affected.

The approval process was initially delayed by the dual nature of coalition effort and the requirement for two lines of approval – the U.K. and the U.S. This resulted in the loss of utility of products that had been developed for use prior to the conflict. One of the lessons learned was that a set or catalogue of pre-approved products might have supported the process. Lacking an air delivery capability, dissemination of product in the non-benign environment of the early part of the campaign was dependent on U.S. support.

[Note: This is an interesting comment because as early as the Vietnam War the United States PSYOP units had pre-prepared PSYOP catalogs that any military commander or organization could search and select leaflets from as needed.]

British Air Vice-Marshall Heath said:

We learned that, to be brutal, 40% of the people had neither listened to us on the radio nor read our leaflets. 60% had. Of that 60%, I would judge that about 50% were moved to listen to what we had to say. I will not say that they were swayed towards tacitly joining the coalition. I would suggest to you they were already there. What they needed was a demonstrator that we were not going to stop short of Baghdad and leave Saddam Hussein in power. They were wary of us but we encouraged them to be less wary than they had previously been. We encouraged them, quicker than we would have done on the street, to be trusting and we were then able to give them the demonstrators that we were going all the way to Baghdad and that regime change should now become a necessary element of the conflict.

Prisoners of war who were interviewed were persuaded by leaflets not to open valves in the oilfields: we saw battalions that took up defensive surrender positions that came directly out of the PSYOP messages; we had people in Basra who, when they were asked to go out into the streets and riot against the Baath Party, said:

No, the reason we are staying indoors is because you have been telling us on the radio for the last month to keep out of the way and we will be out of harm's way and we will be safe.

The British PSYOP capability is provided by the 15th Psychological Operations Group based at the Defense Intelligence and Security Centre, Chicksands. Its role is to provide PSYOP and information support capabilities. The Reserve element of 15 PSYOP includes personnel from civilian radio stations some of whom were used in the setting up of a local radio station in Basra—Radio Nahrain. The group uses equipment that was bought commercially and which is therefore not designed for the rugged situation of military operations. The 15th PSYOP is supported by information officers at battalion and regimental level within the operational units.

The conclusion of the report was that the British PSYOP campaign did not begin early enough and that their PSYOP capability is underfunded and understaffed:

We are, however, persuaded that information operations are an activity which can be expected to become of increasing importance in future operations. There were a number of successes which provide evidence of the potential effectiveness of information operations. We recommend that the Government should consider significantly enhancing our capabilities in this area.

Psychological Operations in Iraq - air-dropped leaflets
Psychological Operations in Iraq - air-dropped leaflets
Leaflet Number: IZD-027a
Psychological Operations in Iraq - air-dropped leaflets
Leaflet Number: D24

CENTCOM reported a new leaflet. It is coded IZD-027a. At the right of the leaflet, a road leading to a landmark is empty. The text is “The Coalition does not wish to destroy your landmarks.” On the left side, Coalition aircraft attack two Iraqi tanks on the road. The text is “The Coalition will destroy any viable military targets.” Text on the back is "Coalition forces do not wish to harm the noble people of Iraq. To insure your safety, avoid area occupied by military personnel.

The Coalition was reported to be just 50 miles south of Baghdad, but stalled in a sand storm. Swarms of American helicopter gunships attacked Medina Division Republican Guard emplacements around Baghdad and met fierce resistance. One Apache helicopter was downed and the crew captured. As in Desert Storm, a company of the 101st Airborne Division (Screaming Eagles) deployed deep into Iraq by helicopter to set up a forward base about 20 miles south of An Najaf. Aircraft attacked Iraq 's northern oil capitol of Kirkuk . President Bush asked Congress for 75 billion dollars to pay for the cost of the war. Brigadier General Vince Brooks said at a press briefing that the Coalition had dropped 28 million leaflets, 5 million more than was dropped during Desert Storm." 

On 25 March the Coalition bombed Baghdad for the sixth consecutive night. Oil barrels around the city were set on fire again in an attempt to conceal targets. Most of the air attacks were aimed at Republican Guard units south of the city. Coalition aircraft struck Mosul in northern Iraq. Bad weather caused combat missions from two American aircraft carriers to be cancelled. President Bush personally called Russian President Vladimir Putin to complain that Russian companies illegally sold GPS jamming devises to Iraq. During a press briefing in Qatar, Major General Victor Renuart said that six such devices had been identified and destroyed during the last two days bombings. He went on to say that the Coalition scheduled 1,400 air sorties, but high winds and some thunderstorms continued to slow the advance of the ground forces. Coalition forces used radio broadcasts and dropped leaflets over Basra urging residents to oppose Saddam's militia within the city. 

Later in the day U.S. Marines seized a hospital in Nasiriyah. They captured 170 Iraqi soldiers and confiscated over 200 weapons, 3,000 chemical suits with masks, nerve agent antidote injectors, and a T-55 tank in the hospital compound. The Pentagon announced that 20 personnel were killed in action and another 14 were captured or missing as of that date. There was a report of an anti-Saddam uprising among the Shiite Muslims of Basra. There were reports of Feyadeen in U.S. garb killing Iraqi soldiers who attempted to surrender. The U.S. 7th Cavalry fought a battle in An Najaf and reportedly killed 300-500 Iraqi troops. The Coalition bombed Baghdad TV and put it off the air.

Coalition aircrews dropped 600,000 leaflets over Iraq on 25 March. Although the winds were clocked at well over 50 mph and there were sand storms throughout the country, the PSYOP missions continued.The aircraft dropped leaflets IZD-001, IZD-003, IZD-022a, IZD-023, IZD-027a and IZD-069. There are two new leaflets in this mix.

IZD001 is almost identical to IZD001c dropped on 21 March. It is an information radio leaflet. It depicts a map of Iraq at the center and radio towers at left and right with text "1800-2300 Daily." The text is "Information Radio - "756 KHZ AM - 693 KHZ AM - 9715 KHZ SW - 11292 KHZ SW – and 100.4 MHZ FM." The same message appears on both front and back.

Psychological Operations in Iraq - air-dropped leaflets
Psychological Operations in Iraq - air-dropped leaflets
Leaflet Number: IZD-001

IZD-023 depicts a happy Iraqi family sharing a bountiful meal together. The text is "Stay home in safety with your families." the back of the leaflet is all text, "People of Iraq, please remain in the safety of your homes. Do not travel to work or drive at night. Coalition aircraft may mistake your car for a military vehicle. Please do not attempt to interfere with Coalition operations or you will become a target. Do not allow your children to play outside. You will be given specific instructions when Coalition forces begin to distribute humanitarian aid.”

Although not yet reported dropped, CENTCOM reported two more new leaflets. The first is IZD-017d. This leaflet is nearly identical to IZD-017. The front depicts Iraqi soldiers surrendering at the left and the destruction of Iraqi rocket launchers and artillery by Coalition aircraft at the right. The text is "Artillery units have been targeted for destruction." The back is all text, "FOR YOUR SAFETY – Abandon your weapons systems. Whether manned or unmanned, these weapons systems will be destroyed.”

The second is IZD-022. This leaflet seems to be identical to IZD-022a on the front. The leaflet depicts a tank in front of a civilian building at the left and a happy Iraqi family and an artillery piece at the right. The text is “FOR YOUR SAFETY – Stay in your homes and avoid driving your vehicles at night. Stay away from buildings that have military weapons near them. FOR YOUR SAFETY.” The back of the leaflet pictures Coalition armor and an attack helicopter at the left and a soldier at the right. The text is “Do not interfere with Coalition Forces. The Coalition wishes no harm upon the people of Iraq.”

Psychological Operations in Iraq - air-dropped leaflets
Psychological Operations in Iraq - air-dropped leaflets
Leaflet Number: IZD-017a
Psychological Operations in Iraq - air-dropped leaflets
Psychological Operations in Iraq - air-dropped leaflets
Leaflet Number: IZD-022
Psychological Operations in Iraq - air-dropped leaflets
Psychological Operations in Iraq - air-dropped leaflets
Leaflet Number: IZD-023

On 26 March, sandstorms continued to hinder the advance of Coalition ground forces. There were reports that the U.S. Army Third Mechanized Division was running low on fuel and ammo and awaiting resupply. About 1000 parachutists of the U.S. Army 173rd Airborne Brigade jumped from C-17 Globemasters into northern Iraq. The total of American troops inside the country is now 76,000. British Harriers and Tornado jets attacked a 120-vehicle convoy of Iraqi armored vehicles leaving Basra under cover of the sandstorm. British troops set up loudspeakers and dropped leaflets urging Basra residents to come out and receive food and water.

The U.S. Navy aircraft carrier Constellation reported that it had prepared 5.5 million leaflets and dropped them from F-18 Hornets during the current conflict.

The possibility of a major battle loomed south of the capital as a second huge convoy of perhaps 1,000 vehicles and members of Saddam's elite Republican Guard tried to avoid the U.S. Army Third Infantry Division and advance in the direction of the smaller U.S. Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU). B-52 bombers and A-10 "Warthog" fighter-bombers struck the convoy. There were reports of Iraqi soldiers dressed in Coalition uniforms strapped with explosives, and of Baghdad bridges rigged and ready for destruction.

The Coalition dropped a mix of two leaflets. The code numbers are IZD002 and IZD069. There is one new leaflet in this mix. The total number of leaflets dropped is unknown.

IZD002 is identical to IZD-002a dropped on March 21. It depicts a radio tower in the center and small portable radios to the left and right. The text is "Information Radio 1800-2300 daily. 756 KHZ AM, 693 KHZ AM, 9715 KHZ SW, 11292 KHZ SW, 100.4 MHZ FM." The same message appears on both front and back.

Psychological Operations in Iraq - air-dropped leaflets Psychological Operations in Iraq - air-dropped leaflets
Leaflet Number: IZD-002

Coalition warplanes flew more than 600 bombing missions over Iraq on 27 March. Kurdish fighters crossed over two miles into Iraqi government-controlled territory in the first such advance since the start of the war. The United States Army Fourth Infantry Division began airlifting members to Kuwait. The Pentagon reported 100,000 U.S. and U.K. troops in Iraq. That number will double to 200,000 in April. The U.S. Army 101st Airborne Division advanced into Iraq to the west of the Third Infantry Division. Tomahawk cruise missiles trailing carbon fiber wires destroyed Iraqi electrical transmissions.

The Coalition dropped a mix of five leaflets. The code numbers are IZD002c, IZD-036a, IZD7507, IZD7509 and IZD7519. All five of the leaflets are new. The total number of leaflets dropped is unknown.

IZD-002c depicts a radio tower in the center and small portable radios to the left and right. The text is "Information Radio - 756 KHZ AM – 1800-1200, 690 KHZ AM – 1800-2300, 9715 KHZ SW – 24 hours a day, 11292 KHZ SW – 1800 -1200, 100.4 MHZ FM – 1800-2300" The same message appears on both front and back.

IZD036a depicts parachutists falling from the sky and the patch and tab of the 82nd Airborne Division. The text is "For your safety do not interfere with Coalition forces. Coalition Special Operations Forces are here to end the oppressive rule of Saddam’s regime and liberate the people of Iraq. " The back depicts two photographs of armed Special Forces. The text is "Do not interfere with Coalition forces. Coalition Special Operations Forces do not wish to harm or injure non-combatants."

IZD7507 depicts five photographs of wanted Iraqi fugitives, headed by Saddam Hussein. Text over the photographs is "Coalition forces are offering rewards for information leading to the detention of top supporters of Saddam’s terror." The back is all text, "Report any information you have on the supporters including leaders of the Ba’ath party, the SSO, the IIS, and senior military leaders.

IZD7509 depicts Saddam Hussein on the front. The text is "Our fight is against Saddam and his regime - not the Iraqi people. We wish only to liberate the people of Iraq from Saddam’s tyranny." The back depicts a happy Iraqi family walking together and the text, "For your safety, return to your homes and live in peace."

IZD7519 depicts an armed Coalition soldier at a checkpoint. Text over the photograph is "Coalition forces have established checkpoints to prevent Saddam’s war criminals from escaping." The back is all text; "All vehicles and personnel who attempt to evade checkpoints will be subject to detention and/or temporary seizure of vehicles and property. If you do not support Saddam, you have nothing to fear. For your safety, please cooperate with Coalition forces."

The Al-Amn al-Khas (Special Security Organization) referred to as the SSO, is responsible for command and control oversight of the concealment operations of Iraq 's weapons of mass destruction. There are an estimated 5,000 members in this organization mostly from Saddam's hometown of Tikrit. The International Society of Iraqi Scientists (ISS) Is a global scientific organization, established to create and maintain communications among Iraqi scientists and promote research and collaborations among various organizations.

Psychological Operations in Iraq - air-dropped leaflets Psychological Operations in Iraq - air-dropped leaflets
Leaflet Number: IZD-002C
Psychological Operations in Iraq - air-dropped leaflets
Psychological Operations in Iraq - air-dropped leaflets
Leaflet Number: IZD-036A
Psychological Operations in Iraq - air-dropped leaflets
Psychological Operations in Iraq - air-dropped leaflets
Leaflet Number: IZD-7507
Psychological Operations in Iraq - air-dropped leaflets
Psychological Operations in Iraq - air-dropped leaflets
Leaflet Number: IZD-7509
Psychological Operations in Iraq - air-dropped leaflets
Psychological Operations in Iraq - air-dropped leaflets
Leaflet Number: IZD-7519

On 28 March a U.S.A.F. B-2 batwing Stealth bomber dropped two 4,700-pound "bunker buster" bombs on the al-Alawiya communications tower. The USS Theodore Roosevelt printed PSYOP leaflets at sea. Kurdish rebels slowly advanced to the south as Coalition bombing drove Iraqi forces from forward defensive positions north of the oil capitol of Kirkuk.

The Coalition dropped a mix of five leaflets. The code numbers are IZD002c, IZD036a, IZD7507, IZD7509, and IZD7519. There are no new leaflets in this mix. The total number of leaflets dropped is unknown.

The Ministry of Information in Baghdad was struck by cruise missiles on 29 March. The building was damaged, but not destroyed. The Coalition ordered a 4-6 day "pause" by ground forces to resupply advance elements with food, ammunition and fuel. There are reports that the ground forces started the attack with supplies for a seven-day advance. The first of the threatened suicide bomber attacks occurred near Al Najaf. Four Coalition soldiers were killed. The number of leaflets dropped on Iraq topped thirty-three million.

The Coalition dropped a mix of nine leaflets. The code numbers are IZD001a, IZD019a, IZD022, IZD024, IZD027, IZD041, IZD7507, IZD7509 and IZD7519. There are three new leaflets in this mix. The total number of leaflets dropped is unknown.

IZD001a is the third variation of the horizontal information radio leaflet. It depicts a map of Iraq at the center and radio towers at left and right with text "1800-2300 Daily." The text is "Information Radio - "756 KHZ AM - 690 KHZ AM - 9715 KHZ SW - 11292 KHZ SW – and 100.4 MHZ FM." The same message appears on both front and back.

IZD027 was dropped a number of times during the no-fly zone operations over Iraq. It depicts school children visiting the Shaheed (Martyr’s Monument) at the front-right of the full-color leaflet. This quarter-billion dollar blue-tile monument commemorates the Iraqi dead in the Iraq-Iran war. At the left of the leaflet, Coalition jets are shown firing rockets at Iraqi tanks hiding near the monument. Text on the back of the leaflet is "Coalition forces do not wish to harm the noble people of Iraq. To insure your safety, avoid areas occupied by military personnel."

IZD041 depicts Iraqi anti-aircraft guns, missiles and radar on the ground. A Coalition aircraft drops leaflets overhead and the leaflet is shown to be one of the standard warning leaflets. The text is "You have been warned not to target Coalition aircraft." The back depicts the scene after the aircraft has bombed the Iraqis and all the vehicles and sites are ablaze. The text is "If you ignore this warning you will be destroyed! Will this be your fate? Do not target or fire upon Coalition aircraft."

Psychological Operations in Iraq - air-dropped leaflets
Psychological Operations in Iraq - air-dropped leaflets
Leaflet Number: IZD-001a
Psychological Operations in Iraq - air-dropped leaflets
Psychological Operations in Iraq - air-dropped leaflets
Leaflet Number: IZD-027
Psychological Operations in Iraq - air-dropped leaflets
Psychological Operations in Iraq - air-dropped leaflets
Leaflet Number: IZD-041

The Pentagon announced that 180,000 troops were in Iraq on 30 March. The Coalition dropped and fired over 6000 bombs and 600 Tomahawk cruise missiles in the first ten days of the war. The ground war "pause" may be as a long as two weeks. The Coalition targeted the Republican Guard around Baghdad for destruction. The air war took priority with the decision to decimate the RG forces before the eventual ground attack. Coalition aircraft attacked a train loaded with Republic Guard tanks, the Karada military intelligence Complex, the Abu Garayb Presidential Palace, and the main training facility of the Iraqi paramilitary forces. There were reports of British Commando PSYOPs teams at work in Umm Qsar. The PSYOPs team promise support and explain the intent of the British troops.

The Coalition dropped a mix of four leaflets. The code numbers are IZD001a, IZD022, IZD036, and IZD069. There are no new leaflets in this mix. The total number of leaflets dropped is unknown.

On 31 March, advanced units of the U.S. 3rd Infanty Division battled elements of the Republican Guard Nebuchadnezzar Division in Hindiyah. The 101st Airborne Division was poised to take An Najaf. The Coalition fought artillery battles with units guarding Baghdad. The American death count rose to 37 killed by hostile fire. The Coalition held 8,000 Iraqi EPWs. BG Brooks announced at the regular press briefing that CENTCOM dropped leaflets daily, and has sent an additional Combat Talon airborne broadcasting system to Iraq. CNN reportedly showed a leaflet with a drawing of a British soldier and the text "This time we will not abandon you."

The Coalition dropped a mix of nine leaflets. The code numbers are IZD003, IZD019a, IZD022a, IZD023, IZD024, IZD027a, IZD027b, IZD069 and IZD071. There is one new leaflets in this mix. The total number of leaflets dropped is unknown.

IZD027b depicts a peaceful scene of an Iraqi city at the right. At the left of the leaflet U.S. fighter-bombers attack tanks and artillery placed near buildings. The text is “The Coalition will destroy any viable military targets.” The back is all text, “Coalition forces do not wish to harm the noble people of Iraq. To insure your safety, avoid areas occupied by military personnel.”

Psychological Operations in Iraq - air-dropped leaflets
Psychological Operations in Iraq - air-dropped leaflets
Leaflet Number: IZD-027b

Coalition aircraft continued to pound Baghdad and destroyed one of Saddam's palaces, an Iraqi Air Force Officers club, and Saddam's son Uday's Olympic headquarters on 1 April. Most of the Baghdad telephone system is out of service. The British death toll reached 26. A belated report told of U.S. Marines capturing the Ba'ath Party headquarters in Umm Qasr. They found weapons, munitions, and stacks of U.S. propaganda leaflets, apparently collected to keep them out of the public's hands.

The Coalition dropped a mix of three leaflets. The code numbers are IZD001a, IZD002c, and IZD022. There are no new leaflets in this mix. The total number of leaflets dropped is unknown.

The New York Times reported that Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and Army commanders have argued over their belief that he has not sent enough troops to properly fight the war with Iraq. Mr. Rumsfeld initially vowed to transform the military and create an armed force emphasizing combat by long-range, precision strikes. At one point, his advisers proposed cutting two of the Army's ten active divisions to pay for an arsenal of new high-technology weapons. Rumsfeld continued to defend the plan of attack and stated that the Coalition was "right on schedule." After a halt of several days, the Coalition resumed it's relentless movement north towards Baghdad.

On 2 April, the Coalition claimed victory in Karbala and Kut. CENTCOM reported the destruction of the Baghdad Division of the Republican Guard. Scout elements of the U.S. Army advanced to just 19 miles south of Baghdad. The Coalition captured Qadisiyah Dam and found it rigged with explosives. The Iraqis planned to flood the landscape, bogging down the U.S. attack. As the Coalition advanced, old allies eased their opposition to the war. Turkey agreed to open supply routes to U.S. forces in Northern Iraq. The French Foreign Minister said that France would stand by the United States and the United Kingdom. 

The British "Desert Rats" continued to distribute a leaflet around Basrah. The leaflet depicted a British soldier shaking hands with an Iraqi. The text is "This time we won't abandon you. Be patient - together we will win." The back is all text, "People of Al Basrah, we are here to liberate the people of Iraq. Our enemy is the regime and not the people. We need your help. To identify the enemy. To rebuild Iraq. English speakers please come forward. We will stay as long as it takes. Listen to Radio Nahrain 100-4 FM (94-6 in the evenings) for important news and information." British Radio Nahrain [Two Rivers Radio], programming is similar to Information Radio, with a mixture of Iraqi songs, job offers, western pop music, and messages to the local population. On 31 March a report on CNN said that the transmissions were being "stepped up".

Psychological Operations in Iraq - air-dropped leaflets Psychological Operations in Iraq - air-dropped leaflets
© REUTERS/Chris Helgren, 4 April 2003
Psychological Operations in Iraq - air-dropped leaflets
© REUTERS/Chris Helgren, 4 April 2003

The Coalition continued to attack and decimate the Republican Guard on 3 April. The Pentagon said that Saddam's government was on the verge of collapse. The U.S. Army Third Infantry Division advanced to within 6 miles of Baghdad and prepared to seize Saddam International Airport. The U.S. Marines were 4 miles from the city gates driving down roads littered with black combat boots as Saddam's Army shed their uniforms and switched back to tribal robes hoping to avoid capture. Baghdad was without electrical power. The Coalition total death count was 53, with 41 killed in combat. Iraqi forces near Karbala used a surface-to-air (SAM) missile to shoot down a F/A 18C Hornet from the U.S.S. Kitty Hawk. They also downed a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter. The Iraqis have disabled as many as five M1-A2 Abrams tanks. They may be using the Kornet-E, a Russian laser-guided missile that can destroy tanks fitted with explosive reactive armor. The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry had denied reports that Ukrainian firms had supplied several hundred such anti-tank missiles to Iraq.

The Coalition dropped a mix of thirteen leaflets. The code numbers are IZD001, IZD002, IZD019, IZD019a, IZD022, IZD022a, IZD023, IZD029, IZD036, IZD038, IZD-061, IZD069 and IZD1000. There is one new leaflets in this mix. The total number of leaflets dropped is unknown.

IZD029 depicts an Iraqi soldier at the right and two more walking away at the left. At the bottom left are abandoned troop carries and armor. The text is “Saddam is losing support of his military forces.” The back is all text, “Saddam’s oppressive rule is coming to an end. Many of Saddam’s supporters are siding with Coalition forces. Iraq's military units are choosing not to fight for Saddam. Soldiers are laying down their weapons and leaving their posts to return to their families. Shortly the people of Iraq will be free from his brutal regime.”

Psychological Operations in Iraq - air-dropped leaflets
Psychological Operations in Iraq - air-dropped leaflets
Leaflet Number: IZD-027b

On 4 April, the Coalition flew 900 air strikes. Allied troops seized a cache of 56 surface-to-surface missiles south of Basrah. 2500 members of the Baghdad Republican Guard Division surrendered to U.S. Marines. The U.S. Army Third Infantry Division occupied Saddam International Airport and renamed it Baghdad International Airport. German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder said that he hoped that the Coalition victory would be swift. The U.S. Congress passed a supplementary budget amendment that excluded France, Germany, Russia and Syria from taking part in the rebuilding of Iraq. The Coalition reported that the Medina and Baghdad Republican Guard divisions were crushed and the Nebuchadnezzar and Adnan Republican Guard divisions had been attacked and severely mauled.

On the PSYOP front, a report stated that the souvenir-collecting Allied troops had gathered so many leaflets that "The bottom has literally fallen out of the exchange rate for both allied and Iraqi propaganda leaflets. Most have been pressed into service as toilet paper." This is the first mention of Iraqi propaganda leaflets in any publication. Iraqi Information Minister al-Sahhaf said that the Coalition lied and their forces were over 100 miles from Baghdad. Saddam Hussein (or a replica) took to the streets of Baghdad for the first time since the initial attack on Iraq.

The Coalition dropped a mix of seven leaflets. The code numbers are IZD001, IZD002, IZD019a, IZD023, IZD-061, IZD069 and IZD1000. There are no new leaflets in this mix. The total number of leaflets dropped is unknown.

Saddam's regime appeared ready to collapse on 5 April, day 17 of the war. U.S. Army V Corps advanced elements were probing near the center of Baghdad and meeting sporadic resistance. They reported 2000-3000 Iraqi defenders killed. Coalition forces pummeled the al-Nida Division of the Republican Guard. U.S. troops captured the Medina Division Republican Guard headquarters in Suwayah. The Coalition reportedly fired 725 Tomahawk cruise missiles and dropped 12,000 precision-guided munitions since the start of the war. CENTCOM announced that around 200,000 flyers were dropped over Baghdad urging Iraqi civilians to stay in their homes. The U.S. body count is 57 dead, 16 missing, and 7 captured. The British body count is 27 dead.

In the north, Kurdish Peshmerga (those who face death) attacked Feyadeen Saddam (self-sacrificers for Saddam) near Mankubah. In a friendly fire incident, an F-15 Strike Eagle dropped a bomb on a convoy of Kurdish fighters accompanied by U.S. Special Forces. French President Jacques Chirac apologized for the desecration by anti-war vandals of allied graves of those who had died to liberate France in WW2. 

The Coalition continued to tighten the noose around Baghdad on 6 April. American forces blocked all but one major highway leaving the city. American armor raided parts of Baghdad for a second straight day. An American C-130 Hercules cargo plane was the first aircraft to land at the newly named Baghdad International Airport (BIA). U.S. Department of Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz said that it might take six months to create a new Government in Iraq. Ali Hassan al-Majid (Chemical Ali), one of Saddam's inner circle, was killed when his Basrah home was bombed.The British distributed propaganda posters around Basrah. One depicted three pictures of Iraqi soldiers. In the first, they stack their rifles, in the second, they walk forward with hands in the air, and in the third, they are safely among their comrades. The text is, "Unload your weapons and put them in a pile. Raise your hands and move away from your weapons. Wait for further instructions from Coalition soldiers." 

The Pentagon reported on 7 April that Ahmad Chalabi, leader of the opposition Iraqi National Congress (INC) and 700 fighters would assist coalition forces in southern Iraq. Chalabi's father was the president of Iraq's senate in 1958. Coalition forces occupied two of Saddam's palaces within the Baghdad city limits. An Iraqi POW led Coalition troops to an Albu Mahawish site allegedly containing barrels of the nerve gasses sarin and tabun, and the blister agent lewisite. Testing seemed to indicate that the site contained pesticides. There was an unconfirmed National Public Radio report of Coalition troops finding 20 medium-range missiles filled with nerve agents. A B2 bomber dropped four 2000-pound laser-guided GBU-24 bunker-buster bombs on the Al Saa Restaurant in the al Mansour District of Baghdad that Intelligence sources claimed was a meeting place of Saddam Hussein, his two sons, and senior Iraqi regime leaders. The U.S. death count reached 80; the British count is 30.

A Coalition spokesman illustrated a leaflet during a Central Command news briefing at Camp As Sayliyah, in Doha, Qatar. It warns the Iraqi people not to carry weapons. The leaflet depicts an Iraqi carrying a weapon on the front with the "prohibited" symbol drawn over the individual. The text is: "Iraqi Citizens! For your safety Please do not carry weapons! You may be mistaken for Saddam's military or security forces". The back depicts an AK-47 assault rifle with the same symbol. The text is: "Coalition Forces do not wish to harm the Iraqi people. For your safety and the safety of others DO NOT CARRY WEAPONS! Remain in your homes!". The code on this leaflet is EZ D45-41.

Psychological Operations in Iraq - air-dropped leaflets
Psychological Operations in Iraq - air-dropped leaflets
Leaflet Number: EZ D45-41

On 8 April, the Coalition continued to attack Baghdad from the air. They bombed the Planning and the Information Ministry as well as the headquarters of the Republican Guard and the Special Republican Guard. The U.S. Marines captured Rasheed Military Airport in eastern Baghdad. The Marines also released 100 imprisoned young children jailed for refusing to join Saddam's youth brigades. 

Two British newspapers claimed that Saddam and his sons survived the bombing attack on his life and was trying to escape to Syria. Two new British propaganda posters appeared on the streets of Basrah. The first is all text except for a British flag in full color at the top. The text is, “We are here to work with you cooperatively to make things better. Try to get back to your normal routine. Obey the rule of law. Support the new interim administration. Do not carry weapons on the street. Follow the instructions of Coalition forces. Listen to Radio Nahrain 100.4 FM for important news and information.” 

The second poster shows a vertical strip of five cartoons of Iraqis in a car meeting a Coalition soldier. Again, a British flag is at the top of the poster. The text is “Coalition forces steering towards a better future. We are here to work with you cooperatively to make things better. Try to get back to your normal routine. Obey the rule of law. Support the new interim administration. Do not carry weapons on the street. Follow the instructions of Coalition forces. Our stay will be temporary, when we have finished our work we will leave. Listen to Radio Nahrain 100.4 FM for important news and information.”  

The Iraqis fought back. They shot down a U.S. A-10 Warthog ground attack fighter conducting a close air-support mission at low altitude near Baghdad Airport. The pilot was rescued. The Iraqis also shot down an F-15E Strike Eagle deployed from Seymour Johnson AFB in North Carolina. In Basrah, the citizens looted the Iraqi National Bank. The Coalition government that eventually rules Iraq will likely print a new currency for the country. 

Order broke down in Baghdad on April 9. The military and paramilitary forces fled the city or threw away their uniforms and attempted to blend in with the population. The foreign "martyrs" who had entered Iraq to fight for Saddam fled to the Palestine Hotel where they could mingle with the International press in safety. There was widespread looting of government buildings. For the first time the citizens took to the street and cheered Coalition troops and identified Republican Guard strong points. The grip of the Saddam regime was broken. Mohammed al-Douri, Iraq's Ambassador to the United Nations seemed to agree, "The game is over...I hope for a peaceful life for all Iraqis." The Swiss government said that it was freezing all Iraqi funds in Swiss banks. The 21,000-pound Massive Ordinance Air Blast (MOAB) bomb arrived in Iraq for possible use against diehard holdouts in the north. 

The Iraqi people continued to loot and burn government buildings on 10 April. There were reports of an uprising in Mosul, Iraq's largest northern city. American troops continued to protect Saddam's foreign volunteers from the vengeful Iraqi people. Fighters of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan took the northern oil city of Kirkuk after U.S.A.F B-52 bombers pounded it. The U.S. Marines reported that they had found a refrigerated truck that could be a bio-lab on wheels. There was an unconfirmed report of traces of weapons-grade plutonium found near al-Tuwaitha. 

The 22nd day of the war was perhaps the busiest day of PSYOP activity. MG Victor Renuart said that Iraqi oil workers read the Coalition leaflets warning and spared the oil wells wired for destruction. The leaflets told them that to destroy the oil wells would be to destroy their own economy and future. He also said that the reason the Coalition had 7,300 POWs instead of the 50,000 expected was that the leaflets did not ask them to surrender. The leaflets told them to leave their weapons and go home. Apparently, they read the leaflets and followed directions. He stated that the Coalition dropped 40 million leaflets since the start of the war. 

Many of the leaflets dropped over Iraq were printed in black and white due to the sheer volume produced. BBC News said that the U.S. intended to distribute leaflets in Baghdad suggesting that Iraqi civilians rise up against any outstanding members of Saddam's regime. The Coalition dropped leaflets over Kirkut advising the inhabitants that Saddam's rule was finished and that they should not die for a dead regime. Leaflets dropped over Tikrit (Saddam's hometown) gave Iraqi troops instructions for surrendering. Hercules C-130 Commando Solo aircraft broadcast President Bush's and Prime Minister Blair's message to the Iraqi people on the new Hahwa Al-Hurrieh (Towards Freedom) TV station. They assured the people of Iraq that Coalition soldiers are "friends and liberators, not your conquerors." The Coalition also distributed the message on radio and printed leaflets throughout Iraq. In addition, the Coalition published a newspaper called "The Times" with an initial circulation of 10,000 copies. 

The entire Iraqi Army Fifth Corps surrendered in the northern city of Mosul on 11 April. The citizens immediately looted the government buildings and the banks. Thousands of Iraqi soldiers in civilian clothes, many barefoot, walked south on the highway toward Baghdad and their homes hundreds of miles away. Tikrit is now the only major city still in the hands of the old regime. A B-1B bomber dropped five JDAM "smart bombs" on the home of Saddam's half-brother Barzan al-Tikrit in the region of Ramadi west of Baghdad. Barzan died in the bombing. The U.S. dead number 107, with 10 missing and seven captured. The British death count is 31. More than 300,000 allied troops are in the region, 255,000 Americans, 45,000 British troops, 2,000 Australia troops, 400 Czech and Slovak troops and 200 Polish troops. The Coalition flew 36,275 sorties against Iraq since the start of the war. Aircraft dropped 31 million leaflets on Iraq during the war, 50 million since October 2002. U.S. radio intercepts of Iraqi officials heard “Saddam is dead.” The information could be true or could be Iraqi disinformation. 

The U.S. military issued an illustrated deck of cards depicting the 55 "most wanted" members of the Saddam Hussein regime to thousands of U.S. troops in the field. They printed the same data on posters and leaflets for the Iraqi public. The four aces showed the most wanted fugitives, Saddam Hussein, his sons Uday and Qusay, and the presidential secretary Abid Hamid Mahmud Al-Tikriti. Deputy Prime Minister Tareq Aziz adorns the eight of hearts. The only woman in the pack is Huda Salih Mahdi Ammash, AKA "Mrs. Anthrax." Information Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf did not make the list. The other cards showed lower ranking officials of the regime. The Coalition forces have orders to pursue, capture or kill each of the fugitives.

Psychological Operations in Iraq - air-dropped leaflets Psychological Operations in Iraq - air-dropped leaflets

On 12 April the shooting war slowed and the major story was the search for fugitives and weapons of mass destruction. The first of the 55 most wanted Iraqi officials surrendered to Coalition forces. Saddam's special scientific advisor Lt. Gen. Amer al-Saadi (the seven of diamonds) said that he had spent the war in his cellar and emerged after he saw a TV report that he was being sought. U.S. Marines searching a Baghdad elementary school found more than 40 black leather suicide bomber vests packed with C-4 explosive and ball-bearings. Nearby, a junior high school held hundreds of huge crates of weapons, rocket-propelled grenades, surface-to-air missiles and shoulder-launched rockets. Several crates of weapons were marked "GHQ Jordan Armed Forces, director of planning and organization, Amman, Jordan." U.S. Special Forces detained a busload of 59 military-aged men carrying 630,000 U.S. dollars in 100-dollar bills and letters offering rewards for killing U.S. soldiers. Searchers found papers in Iraqi intelligence files that indicated that Russian officers had aided Saddam to plan the defense of Baghdad and that the Russians gave Saddam secret reports of British Prime Minister Tony Blair's talks with other world leaders.

On 13 April, Members of the U.S. 1st Marine Expeditionary Force marching north toward Tikrit were met by Iraqi soldiers north of Samarra who turned over seven American POWs. Over 3000 U. S. Marines backed by 250 armored vehicles and attack helicopters entered Saddam's birthplace of Tikrit and met moderate opposition. Meanwhile, the Coalition flew 450 air strikes against Tikrit to soften up the defenses. Saddam's half brother and presidential advisor, Watban Ibrahim Hasan al-Tikriti, was captured planning to cross the border to Syria. President Bush warned Syria about harboring members of Saddam's regime and sending fighters to Iraq.

U.S. Marines overran Saddam loyalists staging a last stand in Tikrit on 14 April. The Pentagon announced that the major combat phase of Operation Iraqi Freedom is over. During the daily CENTCOM briefing BG Brooks was asked why there was so little resistance at Tikrit. He mentioned several ways that the Coalition dealt with the defenders. One was, "We communicated with them directly by leaflets, telling them that it was in their best interests to not fight for a dying regime...we were successful." The Coalition announced that they controlled all the oil fields in Iraq. The aircraft carriers USS Kitty Hawk and USS Constellation received orders to depart the Gulf. Three carriers still remain on station. The Air Force announced that four B-2 stealth bombers had already returned to their home base. The White House branded Syria a terrorist state and a rogue nation. It threatened diplomatic, economic or other sanctions in an attempt to force Syria to close its border with Iraq.

General Mohammed Jarawi, commander of the Iraqi army's Anbar sector command, with control extending to the Syrian border, surrendered to US forces on 15 April. Lt. Gen. Jay Garner, a retired American general, flew to Iraq to preside over a meeting of Iraqis and Iraqi exiles in Nasiriyah intended to form the basis of a representative government for Iraq. The U.S. said that it had no plans to attack Syria, but reportedly shut down the illegal Iraq-Syria oil pipeline. U.S. Commandos captured Abul Abbas in Baghdad. He is the terrorist leader who hijacked the cruise ship Achille Lauro in 1985 and murdered wheelchair-bound Leon Klinghoffer. U.S. troops distributed leaflets in Baghdad urging Iraqis to stay at home at night because of persisting security threats. It reportedly says, "During this time, terrorist forces associated with the former regime of Saddam Hussein, as well as various criminal elements, are known to move through the area and engage in hostile acts."

The war continued to wind down on April 16. The Coalition repaired damaged utilities and Baghdad had partial electricity and water. Barzan Ibrahim Hasan Al-Tikriti was taken into coalition custody. He is number 52 on the US Central Command Iraqi Top 55 list. He is a member of the Ba'ath Party and Saddam Hussein’s half-brother. The U.S. Army and Marines began anti-looting and anti-vandalism patrols alongside Iraqi policemen. President Bush urged the United Nations to lift economic sanctions on Iraq, a move which would clear the way for the country to sell oil to help pay for post-war reconstruction. Television broadcasts are ongoing from airborne broadcast systems. The Coalition continues to drop leaflets to inform the Iraqis that the former regime is gone, and that Iraq is now on a path to the future that they will choose. Leaflets tell of a peaceful return to normal life for the Iraqis. One leaflet illustrated by BG Brooks at the daily CENTCOM briefing discourages looting.

The front of the leaflet depicts Iraqi citizens looting. The text is, “STOP LOOTING! Looting and violence prevents the distribution of humanitarian aid - delays the reconstruction of Iraq - steals from the future prosperity of Iraq - ruins the future for generations to come.” The back depicts a group of happy Iraqi children. The text is, “The Choice is yours. You can choose to help rebuild Iraq to a nation of great prosperity for all Iraqis, OR you can condemn future generations to poverty. Do what you know in your heart is right. Stop looting and violence!” The code number of this leaflet is unknown.

Psychological Operations in Iraq - air-dropped leaflets
© REUTERS/Andrew Winning, 16 April 2003

Another new leaflet surfaced. It depicts the open cell door of a prison on the front. The text is, “Saddam’s Regime can no longer hold you prisoner in your own country! Your time of suffering is over! Saddam’s Regime is no longer in power!” The back depicts scenes of Coalition soldiers giving humanitarian aid to Iraqis and the text, “Coalition Forces want to help the Iraqi people! Coalition Forces support a brighter future for Iraq!” This leaflet is coded IZD-073.

Marines and Special Operations forces captured Saddam's half-brother and former chief of Iraqi intelligence Barzan Ibrahim Hasan al-Tikriti (the five of spades on the most wanted list) on 17 April.

On 18 April, tens of thousands of Baghdad protesters calling themselves the Iraqi National United Movement ironically invoked their American protected right of free speech to demand that the Americans leave their country. Shi'ite Muslims called for an Islamic state to be established. Iraqi Kurds captured and handed over Samir Abul Aziz al-Najim, a senior Baghdad official of Saddam's Baath Party. Abu Dhabi television aired footage said to show Saddam and his son Qusay addressing a crowd in Baghdad on April 9. Australian Special Forces found 51 MIG fighter planes hidden at an airfield in western Iraq. The U.S. Military Released 927 Prisoners Captured in Iraq. There are 6,850 Iraqis still in custody.

The Iraqi police force arrested Saddam Hussein's finance minister Hikmat Mizban Ibrahim al-Azzawi on 19 April. About 400 Iraqi police returned to their posts under U.S. oversight. In Baghdad, U.S. PSYOPS troops handed out leaflets telling the people about a curfew in effect within the city and warning citizens not to touch unexploded ordinance (UXO).

Psychological Operations in Iraq - air-dropped leaflets
© AP Photo/Spc. Joshua M. Risner, HO, 20 April 2003

On 20 April, An Australian report said that The United States and its allies will declare victory in the war in Iraq in the next few days. The U.S. military have already started to pull U.S. Marines, who helped seize Baghdad on April 9, out of the capitol and replace them with U.S. Army troops better equipped to tackle the reconstruction and policing of the battered city. U.S. military officials hope to maintain four bases in Iraq; one at Baghdad international airport, one at Tallil in the south, one at airstrip in the western desert, and one at the Bashur air field in the Kurdish north. Saddam Hussein's son-in-law Jamal Mustafa Abdallah Sultan al-Tikriti left the Syrian capital and surrendered to the Iraqi National Congress in Baghdad, Syrian President Bashar Assad said that the country would not give asylum to war crimes suspects from Iraq.

Muhammad Hazmaq al-Zubaydi, a former member of the Iraqi Revolutionary Command Council and a former prime minister was arrested on 21 April. He was one of the key figures in suppressing the Shi’ite uprising that followed Iraq's defeat in the 1991 Gulf War.

On 22 April, The U.S. military in Iraq agreed to a cease-fire with the Mujahideen i-Khalq (People's Mujahideen), an armed group of Iranian dissidents. A U.S. official said, "We dropped a lot of leaflets telling people how to surrender and that's exactly what they've done. They've put their equipment and themselves in a position that they're clearly not a fighting formation."  Coalition forces arrested Jamal Mustafa Abdullah Sultan al Tikriti in Baghdad. He was the Deputy Chief of Tribal Affairs and is No. 40 on the U.S. Central Command 'Iraqi Top 55' list. In a surprise move, France proposed immediately suspending U.N. sanctions targeting Iraq, an important step toward the goal of ending trade embargoes that have crippled the country's economy.

Oil from Iraq's southern fields began flowing through pipelines on 23 April. The Coalition restored electric power to parts of Baghdad. Six Iraqi scientists working at Baghdad research institutions said that they were ordered to destroy bacteria and equipment and hide more before visits from U.N. weapons inspectors in the months leading up to the war. U.S. Intelligence believes that Iranian-trained agents have crossed into southern Iraq and are working in the cities of Najaf, Karbala and Basrato advance Iranian interests. American forces in Iraq captured four top officials of Saddam Hussein's former government. The first is Muzahim Sa'b Hassan al-Tikriti, who headed Iraq's air defenses. He also reportedly helped train the paramilitary Fedayeen Saddam forces. He was the queen of diamonds in the military's deck of playing cards. The second is Gen. Zuhayr Talib Abd al-Sattar al-Naqib, the former head of the Directorate of Military Intelligence. The directorate collected intelligence on military forces opposing Iraq. He is the seven of hearts. The third is Muhammad Mahdi al-Salih, the former Iraqi trade minister and the six of hearts in the military's deck. The final captive is Salim Said Khalaf al-Jumayli, a Mukhabarat officer formerly in charge of American operations. He might know the names of Iraqi spies in America. He was not among the 55 most wanted.

On 24 April, U.S. forces in Iraq took custody of Tariq Aziz (the eight of spades), the former deputy prime minister and the most visible Iraqi leader other than Saddam Hussein. American B-52 bombers began returning to their bases in the Continental United States and the United Kingdom. Russia backed a temporary suspension of sanctions against Iraq.

There was a report on 25 April that President Bush will declare the shooting phase of Operation Iraqi Freedom over on 1 May when he gives a speech on the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln. In Baghdad, unexploded cluster bombs are a major problem and have killed at least three civilians who were trying to clean them up. Unexploded ordnance is everywhere around Mosul too. U.S. forces have printed three leaflets with pictures of the ordnance that litters Mosul and its outskirts, warning citizens not to touch it.

On April 26, the first members of a team of 150 Iraqi exiles designated by the Pentagon to be in charge of the ministries of oil, planning and industry left for Kuwait on their way to Baghdad. By May 7, at least 25 are expected to be in Baghdad.

Lt. Gen. Hossam Mohammed Amin, chief Iraqi liaison with U.N. weapons inspectors, was arrested on 27 April. Amin, also known as Hossem Mohammed Amin al-Yasin, was the six of clubs on the U.S. deck of cards listing the most wanted figures. The Pentagon stated that a Special Forces reconnaissance team found 14 unmarked barrels of chemicals, a dozen missiles, and 150 gas masks at a site east of Baiji, 112 miles northwest of Baghdad. Initial tests have detected nerve and blistering agents. The chemicals will be sent to Maryland for testing because the military does not have testing equipment in Iraq sophisticated enough to eliminate all pesticides.

About 250 members of Iraq's diverse political and ethnic groups agreed at a U.S.-sponsored meeting on 28 April to hold a national conference within four weeks to choose an interim government. President Bush, speaking in Dearborn, Michigan, stressed that "America has no intention of imposing our form of government or our culture on Iraq. Pentagon planners say a U.S. force of 125,000 soldiers is likely to be needed for at least a year to stabilize Iraq. If postwar Iraq remains generally peaceful and stable, the force could drop to 60,000 troops in a year.

Amir Rashid Muhammad al-Ubaydi surrendered to Coalition forces on 29 April. He was a Presidential Advisor and Oil Minister and is No. 47 on the U.S. Central Command ‘Iraqi Top 55’ list. Also held is Saddam Hussein's veteran oil minister, Amir Muhammed Rasheed, whose wife is bio-weapons scientist Rehab Tara, widely known as "Dr Germ." A U.S. cease-fire with the Mujahedeen Khalq allows the terrorist group to keep its weapons to defend itself from attacks by Iranian-backed groups such as the Badr Brigade. The brigade is the military wing of the Iran-based anti-Saddam group, the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq. The United States said that it was ending military operations in Saudi Arabia and removing virtually all its forces from the kingdom by mutual agreement following the Iraq war. U.S. officials said that the Pentagon had begun moving operations of a key combat air control center from Prince Sultan airbase to the neighboring state of Qatar.

On 30 April, Walid Hamed Tawfiq al-Tikriti, the former governor of Iraq's southern Basra province surrendered to the Iraqi National Congress in Baghdad. He was the six of spades in the deck of cards issued to coalition forces to help identify wanted Iraqi officials. EUCOM announced that Operation Northern Watch will officially stand down on 1 May. This inspection of Iraqi airspace spanned the 12 years between Operation Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom. In Basra, Red Cross team recently found 450 mortars stashed inside a kindergarten. British military there uncovered rocket-propelled grenades, mortars and machine guns behind a university's walls. Working with the Iraqi Red Crescent, the Red Cross has fanned into the city to put up posters and hand out leaflets warning people to avoid ordnance.

The Combined Task Force Operation Northern Watch guidon was encased in a May 1 ceremony at Incirlik Air Base signifying the successful end to its mission of enforcing U.N. Security Council Resolutions above the 36th parallel. President Bush flew to the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln in a four-person Navy S-3B Viking anti-submarine aircraft. The aircraft was code-named "Navy One." A former fighter pilot, Mr. Bush playfully joked that he would take the controls and land the plane. During his speech given the same evening, he proclaimed that the major combat phase of Operation Iraqi Freedom was over. As a result, this article is completed. We will continue to observe activities in Iraq and report on additional psychological operations under the heading of "Allied Consolidation PSYOP in Iraq"

Readers who care to comment on any aspect of this article are encouraged to write the author at sgmbert@hotmail.com.

(Illustrations kindly supplied by U.S. Department of Defense)



 

 

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