IRAQ: MILITARY CAMPAIGN OBJECTIVES
Our policy objectives were set out in Parliament on 7 January 2003. The prime objective remains to rid Iraq of its weapons of mass destruction and their associated programmes and means of delivery, including prohibited ballistic missiles, as set out in relevant United Nations Security Council Resolutions (UNSCRs).
In UNSCR 1441, the Security Council decided that Iraq was in material breach of its obligations under UNSCR 687 and other relevant resolutions. The Council gave Iraq a final opportunity to comply by co-operating with the enhanced inspection regime established by UNSCR 1441, but warned of the serious consequences of failing to do so. The evidence shows that Iraq has failed to comply with the terms of UNSCR 1441 and is now in further material breach of its obligations. In these circumstances, UNSCR 678 authorises the use of force to enforce Iraq’s compliance with its disarmament obligations.
The obstacle to Iraq’s compliance with its disarmament obligations under relevant UNSCRs is the current Iraqi regime, supported by the security forces under its control. The British Government has therefore concluded that military action is necessary to enforce Iraqi compliance and that it is therefore necessary that the current Iraqi regime be removed from power. All military action must be limited to what is necessary to achieve that end. The UK is contributing maritime, land and air forces as part of a US-led coalition.
The UK’s overall objective for the military campaign is to create the conditions in which Iraq disarms in accordance with its obligations under UNSCRs and remains so disarmed in the long term. Tasks which flow from this objective are set out below.
In aiming to achieve this objective as swiftly as possible, every effort will be made to minimise civilian casualties and damage to essential economic infrastructure, and to minimise and address adverse humanitarian consequences. The main tasks of the coalition are to:
overcome the resistance of Iraqi security forces;
deny the Iraqi regime the use of weapons of mass destruction now and in the future;
remove the Iraqi regime, given its clear and unyielding refusal to comply with the UN Security Council’s demands;
identify and secure the sites where weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery are located;
secure essential economic infrastructure, including for utilities and transport, from sabotage and wilful destruction by Iraq; and
deter wider conflict both inside Iraq and in the region.