Saddam's attacks on aircraft in no flight zone led to his regimes demise

Retaliation for attacks on coalition aircraft focused on the network of fiber-optic cable that Saddam Hussein's government used to transmit military communications. They also concentrated on radar and command centers.

"...one reason it was possible for the allies to begin the ground campaign to topple Mr. Hussein without preceding it with an extensive array of airstrikes was that 606 bombs had been dropped on 391 carefully selected targets under the plan...."

"...One major target was the network of fiber-optic cable that transmitted military communications between Baghdad and Basra and Baghdad and Nasiriya. The cables themselves were buried underground and impossible to locate. So the air war commanders focused on the 'cable repeater stations,' which relayed the signals. From June 2002 until the beginning of the Iraq war, the allies flew 21,736 sorties over southern Iraq and attacked 349 targets, including the cable stations.

"'We were able to figure out that we were getting ahead of this guy and we were breaking them up faster than he could fix them,' General Moseley said of the fiber-optic cables. 'So then we were able to push it up a little bit and effectively break up the fiber-optic backbone from Baghdad to the south.'"

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