The CIA War in Kurdistan
The Untold Story of the Northern Front in the Iraq War
“A valuable history [and] a stark warning to Washington policy and strategy makers.” —James Stejskal, former US Army Special Forces and CIA officer
In 2002, Sam Faddis was named to head a CIA team that would enter Iraq to facilitate the deployment of follow-on conventional military forces numbering over 40,000 American soldiers. This force, built around the 4th Infantry Division, would, in partnership with Kurdish forces and with the assistance of Turkey, engage Saddam’s army in the North as part of a coming invasion. Faddis expected to be on the ground in Iraq within weeks, the entire campaign likely to be over by summer. Over the course of the next year, virtually every aspect of that plan for the conduct of the war in northern Iraq fell apart.
The 4th Infantry Division never arrived, nor did any other conventional forces in substantial number. The Turks not only refused to provide support, they worked overtime to prevent the United States from achieving success. And an Arab army that was to assist US forces fell apart before it ever made it to the field.
Alone, hopelessly outnumbered, short on supplies, and threatened by Iraqi assassination teams and Islamic extremists, Faddis’s team, working with Kurdish peshmerga, miraculously paved the way for a brilliant and largely bloodless victory in the North and the fall of Saddam’s Iraq. That victory, handed over to Washington and the Department of Defense on a silver platter, was then squandered. The decisions that followed would lead to catastrophic consequences that continue to this day.
This is the story of the brave and effective team of men and women who overcame massive odds to help end the nightmare of Saddam’s rule. It is also the story of how incompetence, bureaucracy, and ignorance threw that success away and condemned Iraq and the surrounding region to chaos