Talk:Battle of Khafji

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Archive 1 (14 June 2006 - 18 October 2008)


Opening Comments · Cover up? · Iraqi casualties · Republican Guard · Sources conflict · Republican Guard · Wikipedia:WikiProject Military history/Assessment/Tag & Assess 2008 · Battle of Khafji Lead

Military article standard[edit]

I found out that most battles articles have the same standard. for example, strength should be a Number in the infobox and countries flags are included beside their names.  A M M A R  11:49, 21 October 2008 (UTC)

The problem is that there is no reliable source which provides the strength in terms of concrete numbers, so the best alternate method of listing strength is by listing the military units would took part in the battle. I re-added the flag icons. If anything, the issue will be resolved during the inevitable FAC (although, it seems that most featured articles on battles have flag icons). JonCatalán(Talk) 14:25, 21 October 2008 (UTC)
But writing divions names still doesn't provide the actual strength. We can find relible sources if we search more, Google never leaves a source in peace :)  A M M A R  17:08, 21 October 2008 (UTC)
None of those online sources are reliable (I have taken seven articles through FAC, trust me). I have used all the written sources that I could find (that were not self-published) and there really isn't any accurate accounting of strength. The "order of battle" is fine, and it will be ironed out during the inevitable FAC process. JonCatalán(Talk) 19:44, 21 October 2008 (UTC)

"I don't see the reason for parenthesis"[edit]

Regarding this edit summary: Since Saddam's trip back to Baghdad has nothing to do with the battle, the inclusion of the sentence departs from the logical flow of the narrative. Adding the parentheses alerts readers that the sentence is, well, parenthetical. PRRfan (talk) 19:58, 21 October 2008 (UTC)

In books, extraneous statements similar to this one aren't included in parenthesis. And, it does have to do with the battle (even if it's a very distant relationship). It's an example of Coalition control of the air before and during the battle. It just doesn't look right between parenthesis. JonCatalán(Talk) 20:00, 21 October 2008 (UTC)
After the latest edit, the sentence reads "...would be his by 30 January (during his return trip to Baghdad..." A reader would interpret that as saying that Saddam would get the news as he journeyed back to the capital city on Jan. 30. At least, he would read it that way until he continued reading the sentence ("...Saddam's convoy was attacked..."), whereupon he would have to stop and figure out just what was going on. Take the parentheses out entirely, if you like, or keep the parenthetical sentence as I had it, but it's confusing as it stands. PRRfan (talk) 20:32, 21 October 2008 (UTC)
Can you please discuss edits here first? Thank you. You are deleting entire paragraphs, probably on the "grounds" that you didn't find it relevant. Please, discuss it here before you making further copyedits. You are deleting valuable information. JonCatalán(Talk) 21:25, 21 October 2008 (UTC)
Furthermore, there was nothing wrong with the previous organization. You are just making things more redundant. JonCatalán(Talk) 21:26, 21 October 2008 (UTC)
Not deleting entire paragraphs. Have a closer look at the edits; I'm not deleting anything, actually (except for needless stuff such as the use, in consecutive sentences, of "the war would be decided on the ground"). Instead, I'm merely tightening and reordering for logic, clarity, and chronology. For example, the article's "Background" section currently moves from pre-August 1990 straight through to 17 January 1991, then goes back to January 16, then ahead to the late-January redeployment of XVIII Airborne Corps and the VII Corps, then steps back to talk about the entire KTO. My edit, now reverted, presented this in a more straightforward manner: background, Iraqi invasion, Coalition buildup, air campaign, Saddam's response to air campaign. My edit also had the virtue of not presenting the entire KTO as the main order of battle; instead, it presented those stats briefly, allowing the Khafji order of battle to assume its proper primacy of place in an article about the Battle of Khafji. I could go on about my edits, but instead I'll simply resolve, in the future, to explain them first. PRRfan (talk) 22:39, 21 October 2008 (UTC)

It should be noted that the battle took place before Operation Desert Storm. Desert Storm was the Coalition's invasion of Iraq, not the Gulf War in general. JonCatalán(Talk) 21:44, 21 October 2008 (UTC)

Oh, of course you're right; my bad. PRRfan (talk) 22:15, 21 October 2008 (UTC)

The problem with the January 16th sentence, is that it's more relevant where it is now. It just goes back because it states an example of an Iraqi attack on the coalition, to inspire a ground war. It wouldn't actually go right in a prior sentence, because it's not in the context it was before. I will try to edit the sentence, and I've thought about changing 16 January to "early January" to make it "less confusing". JonCatalán(Talk) 01:15, 22 October 2008 (UTC)

OK, but if Saddam's efforts to draw the coalition into ground warfare predated the air campaign, then it's quite confusing to introduce them after the preceding paragraph about how the air campaign began. How about:
Saddam believed that the United States would not be willing to lose a large quantity of soldiers, and therefore sought to draw Coalition ground troops into a decisive battle.[11][12] To do this, he directed Iraqi forces to begin launching Scuds against Israel, and to threaten the destruction of oilfields in Kuwait and elsewhere. On 16 January, Iraqi artillery destroyed an oil storage tank in Al-Khafji, in Saudi Arabia.
Far from responding with grond forces, the Coalition launched on the following day a 38-day aerial campaign.[3] Flying an estimated 2,000 sorties a day[6], Coalition aircraft quickly crippled the Iraqi air defense system[7] and all but destroyed the Iraqi Air Force, whose daily sortie rate plummeted from a prewar level of an estimated 200 to almost none by 17 January.[8] On the third day of the campaign, many Iraqi pilots had begun to flee in their aircraft across the Iranian border.[9] The air campaign also targeted command-and-control sites, bridges, railroads, and petroleum storage facilities.[10]
Saddam, who is believed to have said, "The air force has never decided a war," nevertheless worried that the air campaign would erode Iraq's national morale. Having thus far failed to provoke a large ground battle,[14] Saddam decided to launch a limited offensive into Saudi Arabia.[15]

One of my major problems has to do with changing sentence's entire structures, which I don't think is really necessary. Let me respond again when I look at my sources, really quickly. JonCatalán(Talk) 03:32, 22 October 2008 (UTC)
There, slightly re-written. JonCatalán(Talk) 03:46, 22 October 2008 (UTC)
I think you've veered into giving too much detail about the various maneuvers before the battle. At least as currently presented, that's not background to the Battle of Khafji; that's just stuff that happened before it, and those earlier events are better handled at Gulf War or elsewhere.
Moreover, you've missed the point; it's not about sentence structure per se; it's about a logical presentation of relevant events. If you present all of Saddam's comments about airpower and the ground war after you introduce the allied air campaign, you tell the reader that the former flowed from the latter -- which is not the case. PRRfan (talk) 04:45, 22 October 2008 (UTC)
I don't quite get what you're saying. Saddam's decision to launch a ground war did stem from the allied air campaign. The new paragraph doesn't suggest that he's tried to start a ground war (at the time). It specifically says he used oil to dissuade the Coalition from invading, and then the air campaign began, and then he decided to draw the Coalition into the "mother of all battles". JonCatalán(Talk) 14:30, 22 October 2008 (UTC)
Furthermore, that paragraph is still relevant to the Battle of Khafji. It describes the series of events that led to it. JonCatalán(Talk) 14:33, 22 October 2008 (UTC)
Let's take this graf: "The Iraqi invasion led to a build-up of forces from a variety of different nations, led by the United States, and styled the Coalition—by January 1991, there were around half a million personnel built up on the Saudi Arabian border.[5] Initially, Saddam Hussein attempted to dissuade the Coalition from taking military action by threatening to endanger Kuwait's and Iraq's petroleum production and export. In October 1990, Iraq sent two tankers filled with oil to the Kuwaiti port of Mina al Ahmadi and, in December 1990, experimented with the use of explosives to destroy the Ahmadi loading complex (designed to load crude oil onto ships). On 16 January, Iraqi artillery destroyed an oil storage tank in Al-Khafji, in Saudi Arabia. On 19 January, the Ahmadi loading complex was opened to pour crude oil into the Persian Gulf, flowing at a pace of 200,000 barrels a day, and becoming one of the worst ecological disasters to date.[6]" So, this graf starts with the world's reaction to the Iraqi invasion, all the way up to January 1991. Then it turns to Saddam's actions, and returns in time to October 1990. It provides rather picayune detail about a potential threat to Ahmadi, and doesn't make clear whether the proposed attack was even successful. Then it advances to 19 January, just in time for the following paragraph to return to 17 January and the opening of the air campaign. There's no transition to tell the reader what the connection is (Was the air campaign a response to the oil/Scud attacks?) and no explanation of what this detailed discussion of oil attacks has to do with the Battle of Khafji. I would suggest deleting the oil-attack detail, then constructing a clear chronological narrative of the runup to the battle. PRRfan (talk) 16:12, 22 October 2008 (UTC)
I don't understand where you're making some of these connections. The Iraqi Scud attacks aren't mentioned until after the paragraph detailing the coalition's air strikes, and it's pretty clear that these scud attacks took place to draw the Coalition into a ground battle. The paragraph you quoted is detailing the Iraqi response to the Coalition's build-up across the border, to the south, not the air campaign. There is no hint that they are inter-related. As the text you quoted states, those actions were taken by Iraq to dissuade the Coalition from invading Iraq. The events of 19 January are just an extension of that, and are relevant, they just don't necessarily have anything to do with the air campaign ... which, per chance, began two days before. So, having it in "chronological order" doesn't make sense. Obviously, the "proposed attack" wasn't successful, because then the Coalition launched the air campaign. JonCatalán(Talk) 16:19, 22 October 2008 (UTC)

I'm afraid it's not obvious; did the explosives blow up or not? PRRfan (talk) 16:44, 22 October 2008 (UTC)

This is the problem. Instead of citing specific examples such as this one, you are editing entire paragraphs based and generalizing the misunderstanding. Hopefully, the sentence is clearer now. JonCatalán(Talk) 16:58, 22 October 2008 (UTC)
I should mention that the article is already in chronological order, and fairly clear. Some of the connections you're making are strange... JonCatalán(Talk) 16:21, 22 October 2008 (UTC)
Also, I should note that the background section is not necessarily only the background to the battle, but it's also a field to put the battle into the context of the war... and so a short review of events prior the battle are very relevant (and I have included these in all of my articles, including those which have made FA). JonCatalán(Talk) 16:23, 22 October 2008 (UTC)
Sorry, I seem to be having difficulty explaining why a single paragraph should not jump from the coalition response in Aug 1990 to the completion of the buildup in Jan 1991 to Saddam's oil-field shenanigans in Oct 1990 through 19 January. PRRfan (talk) 16:44, 22 October 2008 (UTC)
That paragraph is not making the "jump" you are describing. The paragraph goes from the Coalition's response to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, to the Iraqi response of the Coalition's build-up in Saudi Arabia. The air campaign is not necessarily related chronologically and logically to Iraq's threats of "wasting" petroleum resources, it was just the next event which took place. The events on 19 January, for sure, are not related to the air campaign... so it doesn't make sense to put it after the next paragraph, just because the next paragraph starts with 17 January. It would be like writing an article on the Second World War and mix and matching details about Germany's war with Russia and Germany's campaigns in North Africa, just because they took place at roughly similar times. (We had an edit conflict, so if part of this response is no longer relevant ignore it.) JonCatalán(Talk) 16:58, 22 October 2008 (UTC)

Oil attacks[edit]

You say: "In October 1990, Iraq sent two tankers filled with oil to the Kuwaiti port of Mina al Ahmadi..." What was this about? How were the two tankers part of the threat? PRRfan (talk) 17:17, 22 October 2008 (UTC)

The source isn't very clear itself. I'm guessing that it was a way of showcasing Iraq's control of what was at the time (both Iraq and Kuwait) the largest oil reserve in the world. Otherwise, perhaps it could have been used as a very large bomb. But, the source doesn't really expand on it. It just mentions that it was an example of using "oil as a way of "pressing the allies"". JonCatalán(Talk) 17:22, 22 October 2008 (UTC)
Let's delete that, then; no need to leave readers as confused as I. PRRfan (talk) 17:26, 22 October 2008 (UTC)
Done! JonCatalán(Talk) 17:28, 22 October 2008 (UTC)

So, "In December 1990, Iraq experimented with the use of explosives to destroy wellheads in the area of the Ahmadi loading complex, improving their capabilities of doing so at a larger scale." Is the idea here that "In December 1990, Iraq used explosives to destroy a few wellheads near the Ahmadi loading complex, an experiment that threatened wider destruction"? PRRfan (talk) 17:31, 22 October 2008 (UTC)

Your suggestion is very confusing, while I think the original sentence (as I wrote it) is much clearer and more direct to the point. The Iraqis experimented with the use of explosives to destroy Kuwaiti wellheads. These experiments were aimed at improving their capabilities of doing so "for reals" in case they had to, in order to dissuade the Coalition from invading (or at least, it would act as a deterrent ... since they thought that the Coalition would back down if Iraq threatened its petroleum reserves). JonCatalán(Talk) 17:36, 22 October 2008 (UTC)
Hmm. Did Iraq blow up Kuwaiti wellheads or not? PRRfan (talk)
The article doesn't state if any wellheads were blown up or not clearly (it just says that the Iraqis experimented with it)... but whether or not the did is irrelevant to the point being made in the article; so, I wouldn't agree with deleting that sentence (or those sentences). JonCatalán(Talk) 17:43, 22 October 2008 (UTC)
OK, so we don't know. Unfortunately, "...experimented with the use of explosives to destroy..." can be read to mean they actually blew up some wellheads, when in fact all we know is that they experimented with explosives. So I suggest: "In December 1990, the Iraqis experimented with explosives to learn how to destroy Kuwaiti wellheads." PRRfan (talk) 17:51, 22 October 2008 (UTC)
That's misleading. You are suggesting that they didn't know how to use explosives before they experimented, when this isn't true. And, it doesn't make the sentence any clearer (personally, I think it's already clear enough). JonCatalán(Talk) 17:54, 22 October 2008 (UTC)
Your sentence could be read to mean that some Kuwaiti wellheads were blown up. But we do not know that, and therefore should not allow readers to get the impression that they were. All we know is that the Iraqis conducted some explosives experiments, with the aim of learning how to blow up wellheads. Right? PRRfan (talk) 18:17, 22 October 2008 (UTC)

(Od) Actually, we can assume that some wellheads were destroyed by these experiments. JonCatalán(Talk) 18:22, 22 October 2008 (UTC)

OK, if you're comfortable reading your source that way, we can be explicit: "In December 1990, Iraq used explosives to destroy a few wellheads near the Ahmadi loading complex, experiments that threatened wider destruction." Right? PRRfan (talk) 18:30, 22 October 2008 (UTC)
No, we can't. I don't see any reason to do so. The current sentence is clear enough for the purpose of what information the sentence is trying to convey. You are getting caught up on an irrelevant detail. JonCatalán(Talk) 18:31, 22 October 2008 (UTC)
Whatever you may think of it, the sentence is not clear. It could be read to say Iraq did, or did not, actually blow up Kuwaiti stuff. You don't even know which one is the case. There's a perfectly good reason for that: your source doesn't say. But in that case, your sentence should do no harm; i.e., say only what we know for sure: that experiments were conducted. PRRfan (talk) 18:57, 22 October 2008 (UTC)
And, that's what the sentence says. You are the only person who is caught up on an irrelevant detail. The sentence is not confusing. The sentence is clear enough with the information it presents. Your proposed edits just make it very misleading and just makes it more confusing. JonCatalán(Talk) 19:02, 22 October 2008 (UTC)
Alas, I have failed again; this time to make clear why "Iraq experimented with the use of explosives to destroy wellheads..." could be read two ways, potentially leaving a false impression. Ah, well. PRRfan (talk) 19:07, 22 October 2008 (UTC)

New subhead[edit]

Colons were getting out of control. :) I deleted the mention of the coalition force's size as of Jan 1991. The article comes back to it in "Order of Battle." Unless you're particularly attached to it, that deletion resolves one of the organizational issues. PRRfan (talk) 17:13, 22 October 2008 (UTC)

That's fine. JonCatalán(Talk) 17:19, 22 October 2008 (UTC)

GA Review[edit]

This review is transcluded from Talk:Battle of Khafji/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

Hi, sorry I was hoping to get to this sooner but got busy. Essentially its a very good article but with deficiencies in prose. I'll give the article a copyedit over the next few days and then do a full review which I anticipate it will pass quite comfortably.--Jackyd101 (talk) 18:06, 22 October 2008 (UTC)


  • "In December 1990, Iraq experimented with the use of explosives to destroy wellheads in the area of the Ahmadi loading complex, improving their capabilities of doing so at a larger scale." - improving whose capabilities of doing what exactly?
  • "on 19 January the Ahmadi loading complex was opened" - what at the loading complex was opened? The taps? pipes?
  • "lummeted from a prewar level of an estimated 200 to almost none by 17 January." - Is this per day?
  • "so Saddam decided" - is it correct to refer to him as Saddam? surely Hussein would be more appropriate?
  • "A Company of the 2nd Light Infantry Armored Battalion" - I assume this is an American unit? It would be helpful to clarify.
  • "two Army heavy equipment transporters" - which army?
  • "and served as an example of what would occur throughout the rest of the war" - is there a better way to phrase this?
Most of it should be fixed. Instances of Saddam have been changed to "Saddam Hussein" (I've read and hear the use of Saddam, as opposed to Hussein, but just to be safe I'm adding both parts of his name). I didn't mark the nationality of the 2nd Light Infantry Armored Battalion, since it is mentioned under "order of battle". Finally, I rephrased that final sentence, but I don't know if it sounds any better now. Thanks! JonCatalán(Talk) 14:20, 23 October 2008 (UTC)

Passed GA[edit]

Hi there, I am happy to tell you that this article has passed GA without the need for any further improvement. Listed below is information on how the article fared against the Wikipedia:good article criteria, with suggestions for future development. These are not required to achieve GA standard, but they might help in future A-class or FAC review process.

  • It is reasonably well written.
    a (prose): b (MoS):
Still needs some work, but in general around 8/10.
  • It is factually accurate and verifiable.
    a (references): b (citations to reliable sources): c (OR):
  • It is broad in its coverage.
    a (major aspects): b (focused):
  • It follows the neutral point of view policy.
    a (fair representation): b (all significant views):
  • It is stable.
  • It contains images, where possible, to illustrate the topic.
    a (tagged and captioned): b (lack of images does not in itself exclude GA): c (non-free images have fair use rationales):
  • Overall:
    a Pass/Fail:

Thankyou and congratulations, an excellent addition to Wikipedia:Good Articles. All the best.--Jackyd101 (talk) 15:29, 23 October 2008 (UTC)

Air power[edit]

Details of air sorties, models of aircraft involved, and perhaps their capabilities / armament, are rather sparse for an article about a battle which was apparently dominated and made decisive by air power. Hohum (talk) 20:25, 11 November 2008 (UTC)

The battle was mostly fought on the ground. The aircraft which sortied (helicopters and A-10s) are mentioned in the article. Although their actions were brief and repetitive (which is why they aren't mentioned more), air support is what decimated Iraqi military power. The ground troops just occupied Khafji (and, admittedly, a lot of the fighting in Khafji was done on the ground). I don't think that Coalition air power had to do much to prove that they were the anchor of the Coalition's success. JonCatalán(Talk) 20:34, 11 November 2008 (UTC)
Fair enough. Perhaps it's just a psychological thing about their importance being stressed but the details being glossed over in my mind. I assume it's not possible to mention what squadrons / strengths were involved in the order of battle section, since they are unknown? Perhaps it's appropriate to add key aircraft types that were involved to the vehicles table, are they at least as important? Hohum (talk) 01:40, 12 November 2008 (UTC)

Weird transformations[edit]

So, Road range for Iraqi tanks: 342.8 km is 300 miles but 500 km is 310.7 mi?? Tijfo098 (talk) 12:12, 13 May 2011 (UTC)

I checked the reference cited - it says 300 miles, so I have corrected the number of kilometers. (Hohum @) 12:11, 14 May 2011 (UTC)

Orphan reference[edit]

There is a reference Ogorkiewicz, p. 73., but no Ogorkiewicz in the sources. Dudley Miles (talk) 22:00, 13 May 2011 (UTC)

Now fixed. (Hohum @) 12:02, 14 May 2011 (UTC)

Muted Press Coverage[edit]

My own recollection and searches of the internet seem to suggest the coverage of this engagement was more muted than I think it should have been. This might be something the article could reflect and reflect upon. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:49, 14 May 2011 (UTC)

Spirit 03[edit]

I'm concerned about the apparent lack of coverage in the loss of th AC-130, callsign Spirit 03. A full quarter of the Coalition servicemen killed were on that plane and I think it is worth more than a single non-descript sentence. Normally, I'd be bold and add it myself, but this is an FA and I think my inputs should be coordinated with more veteran editors. Where do you think it would be best to put in this information? Perhaps in a paragraph where it fits best chronologically? Elsewhere? It's own section? — BQZip01 — talk 02:05, 16 May 2011 (UTC)

Possible source of good info: . — BQZip01 — talk 02:08, 16 May 2011 (UTC)

UK involvement[edit]

The UK is listed in the infobox as providing a fighting force - the only mention in the main text is a single mention of 'British aircraft'. What was the UK's involvement? How many troops did each of the US, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UK provide? (talk) 09:41, 29 January 2013 (UTC)


Were there any civilian casualties? If not why not? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:38, 29 January 2016 (UTC)


I removed the following discussion / comment from the article to where it belongs, the talk page for discussion. --Dual Freq (talk) 14:36, 30 January 2016 (UTC)

Unfortunately, your article on the Battle for Khafji is so incorrect as to be almost irretrievable. Westermeyers articles on Kuwait City are equally inaccurate -- I was Co, 1st Anglico, for both. (There were no Army Rangers in Theater, and after the light armored battle on the night of the 29th the only American Ground Forces involved in the remaining days of the battle were multiple teams of the Marine 1st Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company and a single USMC Recon Team that allowed itself to be trapped in the city. The 3d Marine Regiment's only contribution was artillery fire on Qatari units. None of the 2d Marine Division Units listed here were anywhere close to the Khafji Battle. Likewise the Moroccans were not engaged. The attempt to rescue the US soldiers captured was by a 6 Marine team from 1st Anglico, not 30 Marines from 3d Marines. The crux of the battle was the Saudi NG and 8th Army Brigade successful encirclement of the city - the only reason the Saudis attacked into the city was to save the US recon team - which they did while taking significant casualties to save Americans. 653 Iraqi soldiers surrendered in the City at the end of the battle.) --— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 05:26, January 30, 2016

Please provide published verifiable and reliable sources. --Dual Freq (talk) 14:36, 30 January 2016 (UTC)