Operation Red Dawn

From Academic Kids

Missing image
Saddam shortly after capture. His beard was later shaved off.

Operation Red Dawn was a military operation conducted by the United States armed forces on December 13, 2003 in the small town of ad-Dawr in Iraq, near Tikrit. The operation resulted in the capture of the country's former president Saddam Hussein, and put to rest rumors of his death.


General information

Missing image
Samir, a 34-year-old Iraqi-American, pinning deposed Iraqi leader Suddan Hussein to the ground during his capture. Samir was the translator for the U.S. Special Forces who helped find Hussein and pull him from his hiding place on December 13, 2003

The operation was assigned to the 1st Brigade Combat Team of the U.S. Army's 4th Infantry Division, the Raider Brigade. 600 soldiers participated, including cavalry, engineers, artillery, air support, and special forces, under the overall command of Colonel James Hickey of the 4th Infantry Division.

Soldiers entered two sites (codenamed Wolverine 1 and Wolverine 2) outside the village of ad-Dawr but failed initially to find Saddam. A subsequent cordon and search operation found the fugitive dictator hiding in a so-called "spider hole" at a small mud-walled compound. He was taken into custody at 20:30 local time. He was armed with a pistol, but offered no resistance during his capture. The soldiers also found two AK-47 rifles, US$750,000 in $100 bills, Mars bars, a stash of SPAM (a food prohibited under Muslim Halal), and a white and orange taxicab. Two Iraqis, believed to be Saddam's former cook Qais Namuk and his brother, were also taken into custody. Saddam was later moved to an undisclosed location as soldiers continued to search the area.

The name of the operation, Red Dawn, apparently comes from the title of a 1984 film directed by John Milius, in which a group of American teenagers band together to commit sabotage and terrorism in their Colorado town against invading Soviet forces. The teenagers, whose leader was portrayed by a young Patrick Swayze, called themselves the "Wolverines" — the name given to the targets of the U.S. forces in ad-Dawr. Incidentally, this was also the codename of a mission of the Soviets during warfare, in which they tried to expand the borders of communist Russia by mass military means.

Conspiracy theories

Conspiracy theories have surfaced, variously claiming that Hussein was not in hiding, but rather held captive by Iraqis seeking the $25 million reward for his capture, or that United States authorites somehow timed Hussein's capture to draw attention from other topics concerning George W. Bush's presidential administration. Washington State's Democratic Rep. Jim McDermott has suggested publicly that the Bush administration timed Hussein's capture to their own benefit. In a Fox News article, McDermott stated, "It's funny, when they're having all this trouble, suddenly they have to roll out something." McDermott has offered no evidence to support this assertion.

There were also press reports (which cite un-named British intelligence officers and Iraqi intelligence officers [1] (http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=1514&e=2&u=/afp/iraq_saddam_britain)[2] (http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2003/12/21/1071941609659.html)[3] (http://debka.com/article.php?aid=743)) that American intelligence did not lead to the capture of Saddam, but rather that Saddam was betrayed by the Al-Jabour tribe and captured by Kurdish partisans. According to this story, the betrayal was revenge -- Saddam's son Uday had allegedly raped a woman belonging to the tribe -- and Saddam was turned over to the Kurdish Patriotic Front, who negotiated the ex-leader's handover to U.S. forces in return for a deal with the United States that would allow the party more power.

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