Al-Faw Peninsula

The al-Faw Peninsula (Arabic: شبه جزيرة الفاو‎; also transliterated as Fao or Fawr) is a peninsula in the Persian Gulf, located in the extreme southeast of Iraq. The marshy peninsula is 20 km (12 mi) southeast of Iraq's second largest city, Basra, and is part of a delta for the Shatt al-Arab (Arvand Rud) river, formed by the confluence of the major Euphrates and Tigris rivers. The al-Faw Peninsula borders Iran to the northeast, with the cities of Abadan and Khorramshahr on the opposite side of the Shatt al-Arab, and Kuwait to the southwest, opposite from Bubiyan Island and Warbah Island, near the Iraqi city of Umm Qasr.

Al-Faw, the only significant town on the peninsula and its namesake, is a fishing town and port which during Saddam Hussein's presidency featured the main naval base of the Iraqi Navy. The remainder of the al-Faw Peninsula is otherwise lightly inhabited, with few civilian buildings or settlements and most of its few residents involved in the fishing, oil, or shipping industries. It is the site of a number of important oil installations, most notably Iraq's two main oil tanker terminals: Khor al-Amaya and Mina al-Bakr, due to its chief importance as a strategic location controlling access to the Shatt al-Arab waterway and thus access to the port of Basra.

Faw Peninsula, Iraq

Iran-Iraq War

During the Iran–Iraq War in the 1980s, al-Faw was bitterly contested due to its strategic location at the head of the disputed Shatt al-Arab waterway, and was the site of many large-scale battles. On February 11, 1986, the Iranians capitalized on the weakness of the Iraqi defences located at the southernmost tip of the peninsula by launching a surprise attack against Iraqi troops defending al-Faw. The Iraqi units in charge of the defences consisted mostly of poorly trained Iraqi Popular Army conscripts that collapsed when they were suddenly attacked by Iranian Pasdaran (Revolutionary Guard) forces.

It marked the first time that the Iranians had successfully invaded and occupied Iraqi territory. The Iranians defeated several Iraqi Republican Guard counter-offensives and managed to hang on to their foothold.

The occupation of al-Faw placed Basra at risk of being attacked. The Iranians also used the peninsula as a launch pad for Silkworm missiles which were deployed against shipping and oil terminals in the Persian Gulf, and also against Kuwait, which supported Iraq throughout the war.

On April 17, 1988, the newly restructured Iraqi Army began a major operation named "Ramadan Mubarak" aimed to clear the Iranians out of the peninsula. The Iraqis concentrated well over 100,000 troops from the Republican Guard versus 15,000 second-rate Iranian Basij soldiers.[1]

By employing the use of sarin nerve gas,[2] artillery barrages and air bombardments, the Iraqis eventually expelled the Iranians from the peninsula within thirty-five hours, with much of their equipment captured intact. The event was marked as an official national holiday under the former regime of Saddam Hussein, celebrated as the Faw City Liberation Day.

British and American Occupation

The 1991 Gulf War was fought to the south and west of al-Faw, but the peninsula's military installations were heavily bombed by Allied forces during the conflict. The Allied forces effectively closed down all of Iraq's shipping activities, thus rendering its access to the Shatt al-Arab and the Persian Gulf useless.

The peninsula was one of the first targets of the Coalition forces in the 2003 invasion of Iraq, with British, American and Polish troops involved. Forces from the Royal Marines, U.S. Marines and the Polish GROM staged a successful midnight amphibious assault on the peninsula. All were attached to the British 3 Commando Brigade.[3] Their goal was to secure the port of Umm Qasr to allow humanitarian goods to be shipped in, and to secure the key oil installations located in the area before they could be sabotaged by retreating Iraqi forces. The Mina al-Bakr oil terminal was seized by SEAL teams 8 and 10; as well as U.S. Navy EOD personnel.[4] The Khor al-Amaya oil terminal was seized by GROM operators.[4] The peninsula fell quickly with minimal Iraqi resistance, although unexpected fierce resistance in Umm Qasr required several days' fighting before the town was secured.

The British, based at Camp Driftwood, provided the security and counter-smuggling force on land with the US forces providing maritime assistance. Camp Driftwood was handed to Iraqi control in March 2007 by troops from 1st Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment.

See also


  1. ^ Pollack, Kenneth M. (2004). Arabs at war: military effectiveness, 1948–1991. University of Nebraska Press. p. 225. ISBN 0-8032-8783-6.
  2. ^ Harris, Shane; Matthew M. Aid (2013-08-26). "Exclusive: CIA Files Prove America Helped Saddam as He Gassed Iran". Foreign Policy. Archived from the original on 2013-08-26. Retrieved 2013-08-26.
  3. ^ "Operations in Iraq: Lessons for the Future, The Al Faw Peninsula Operation". Ministry of Defence/National Archives. Missing or empty |url= (help)
  4. ^ a b Neville, Leigh (2008). Special Operations Forces in Iraq. Oxford: Osprey Publishing. p. 24. ISBN 978-1-84603-357-5.

Coordinates: 29°58′28″N 48°27′51″E / 29.97444°N 48.46417°E

25th Karbala Division

25th Karbala Division (Persian: لشکر 25 کربلا‎) was a division of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. It covered the Mazandaran province, which also included Golestan province back then.

It was first officially organized as the 2nd Karbala Brigade (تیپ 2 کربلا) during Iran–Iraq War, and was later expanded into a division.

According to Mohsen Rezaei, after a series of unsuccessful Iranian offensive operations in late stages of the Iran–Iraq War, it was decided to form several new brigades in the IRGC, and one new "special" division. The Karbala Division was later selected to be the special division. A team consisted of Hossein Basir, Mohammad Hassan Tusi, and other commanders were tasked to organize this division, and Morteza Ghorbani was appointed as its commander. Since then, the division was called 25th Karbala Special Division (لشکر 25 ویژه کربلا). The division was employed in the Operation Dawn-8, which was successful in capturing the strategic Al-Faw Peninsula. According to Iranian sources, Iraqi General Maher Abd al-Rashid had described the unit as a "black scorpion" that should be destroyed, possibly a reference to their black frogman suits during the operation.

The division was merged with the Basij of Mazandaran Province to form the Mazandaran Karbala Provincial Corps during the rearrangement of the IRGC units in 2008.


Al-Fao is a self-propelled artillery system designed for the former Iraqi Army by the late Canadian weapons engineer, Gerald Bull. It is one of the world's most powerful artillery pieces, with a caliber of 210 mm (8.3 in) and a range of 56 km (35 mi).

The Al-Fao system weighs 48 tons and can travel on roads with a top speed of about 72 km/h (45 mph). Its gun is claimed to be able to fire four 109 kg (240 lb) rounds a minute. The projectiles could be filled with chemical weapons such as sarin, mustard gas or phosgene, or with conventional high explosives.

The weapon is named after the Al-Faw peninsula in southern Iraq, which was the scene of heavy fighting during the Iran–Iraq War in the 1980s. (The difference in spelling is due to differing transliterations of the Arabic name.)

The Al-Fao was designed and built in Europe.

It was similar in design to the South African G6 howitzer, with which Bull was also involved as a designer, and appears to have been directly inspired by that system.

It was first displayed publicly in Baghdad in 1989, but appears never to have entered into Iraqi service. None were captured during the 1991 Gulf War; the programme was probably cancelled thereafter.


Al-Fāw (Arabic: ٱلْفَاو‎; sometimes transliterated as Fao) is a port town on Al Faw Peninsula in Iraq near the Shatt al-Arab and the Persian Gulf. The Al Faw Peninsula is part of the Basrah Governorate.

Al-Faw Palace

The Al Faw Palace (also known as the Water Palace) is located in Baghdad approximately 5 kilometers from the Baghdad International Airport, Iraq. Saddam Hussein commissioned its construction in 1990s to commemorate the Iraqi forces' re-taking of the Al-Faw Peninsula during the Iran-Iraq conflict.

Al Başrah Oil Terminal

Al Başrah Oil Terminal, commonly referred to as ABOT, is a strategically critical Iraqi offshore, deep sea crude oil marine loading terminal that lies approximately 50 km (31 mi) southeast of the Al-Faw Peninsula in the Persian Gulf. Along with its sister terminal, the Khawr al ‘Amīyah Oil Terminal (ميناء خور العمية, alt. Khor al-Amaya Oil Terminal, KAAOT), the terminals provide the principal point of export for more than eighty percent of Iraq's gross domestic product as of 2009, and all of the oil from the southern Başrah refinery.

Crude oil produced for export from the southern Iraqi oilfields is carried through three 48 in (1.2 m) diameter pipelines to the southern tip of the al-Faw Peninsula and then undersea to the ABOT(29°40′54″N 48°48′33″E) platform. One 48 in (1.2 m) and two 32 in (0.81 m) pipelines supply the KAAOT(29°47′00″N 48°48′25″E) platform.The ABOT facilities can transfer up to 3 million barrels (480,000 m3) (Mbbl) of oil per day when all four of its supertanker berths operate at maximum capacity and has a maximum draft of 21 m (69 ft). Three single-point mooring systems (SPM) were added in 2012, each with a design rating of 800 thousand barrels (130,000 m3) (kbbl) of oil per day, and two more SPMs are planned to be operational by 2013 to increase total loading capacity to 6.4–6.6 Mbbl (1,020,000–1,050,000 m3) of oil per day.The KAAOT facility has a shallower depth and its two berths can accommodate Suezmax oil tankers with capacities up to 1 Mbbl (160,000 m3) or 200,000 DWT and has the capacity to transfer about 240 kbbl (38,000 m3) of oil daily.

Al Faw peninsula landings

The Al Faw peninsula landings, also known as Operation DAWN 8, was a 1986 Iranian amphibious operation on the Al Faw peninsula. Taking place between 9 and 25 February, the assault across the Shatt al-Arab achieved significant tactical and operational surprise, allowing the Iranian forces to initially gain a quick victory over Iraqi Popular Army forces in the area. Considered a turning point in the war, unlike the tactics of human wave assaults used elsewhere at the front, the operation was a sophisticated and carefully planned amphibious operation, supported by a land-based diversion employing 100,000 troops of the Seventh Corps north of the Basra area, and using deception.

Battle of Al Faw (2003)

The Battle of Al Faw was one of the first battles of the Iraq War. One of the initial objectives of the Coalition campaign in Iraq was to capture the Gas and Oil Platforms ("GOPLATs") in the Al-Faw Peninsula intact before it could be sabotaged or destroyed by the Iraqi military. This would prevent an ecological disaster similar to the 1991 Gulf War and enable a quicker resumption of oil exports which was vital to the rebuilding of Iraq after the war.

The British Royal Marines' 3 Commando Brigade would also capture Umm Qasr at the same time so that its port, the only deep water port in Iraq, could be used to bring in humanitarian supplies once the Khawr Abd Allah waterway was cleared by the Mine Counter Measures Task group. The United States Marine Corps placed 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit under the command of 3 Commando Brigade so that the Brigade had the necessary force to capture both targets.

Battle of Mehran

In response to the loss of the strategic al-Faw Peninsula during the Iran–Iraq War, the Iraqis pushed into Iran to seize the strategic Iranian city of Mehran to trade for the strategically important territory. Saddam was able to seize the city in May 1986, for the third time. He then offered to trade it for al-Faw, but instead of negotiating, the Iranians recaptured the city in June 1986, humiliating Saddam.


FAW or Faw can refer to:

Football Association of Wales, the third-oldest national association in the world

Fellowship of Australian Writers, an Australian lobbying group

FAW Group, a Chinese automotive manufacturing company

Al-Faw Peninsula, a marshy region adjoining the Persian Gulf

Al-Faw, a small port town in Iraq

Al-Faw Palace, a palace in Baghdad

Fall armyworm, an American food pest, now spreading in Southern Africa

First Battle of al-Faw

The First Battle of al-Faw was a battle of the Iran–Iraq War, fought on the al-Faw Peninsula between 10 February and 10 March 1986.

On February 9 1986, Iran launched Operation Dawn 8, a sophisticated and carefully planned amphibious assault across the Shatt al-Arab (Arvand Rud) river against the Iraqi troops defending the strategic al-Faw Peninsula, which connects Iraq to the Persian Gulf. The Iranians defeated the Iraqi defenders, mostly Iraqi Popular Army, capturing the tip of the peninsula, including Iraq's main air control and warning center covering Persian Gulf, as well as limiting Iraq's access to the ocean. Iran managed to maintain their foothold in Al-Faw against several Iraqi counter-offensives, including Republican Guard assaults and chemical attacks, for another month despite heavy casualties until a stalemate was reached.

The First Battle of al-Faw was a major success for Iran who now held an important strategic position, but worried other states in the region, primarily in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, who increased their support for Iraq. The battle damaged the prestige of Saddam Hussein and the Iraqi government, who began extensively improving defenses for the threatened major city of Basra. Although the battle officially ended in March 1986, related fighting continued for two years until April 1988, when Iraq recaptured the al-Faw Peninsula at the Second Battle of al-Faw.

Gordon Messenger

General Sir Gordon Kenneth Messenger, (born 15 April 1962) is a senior Royal Marines officer who has been Vice Chief of the Defence Staff since May 2016, succeeding Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach. As a colonel he commanded 40 Commando during the Iraq War, and led the Commando in the assault on the Al-Faw Peninsula. He served as British Commander of Task Force Helmand, during the 3 Commando Brigade deployment to Helmand Province, Afghanistan on Operation Herrick IX from 2008 to 2009.

Hossein Kharrazi

Major General Hossein Kharrazi (Persian: حسین خرازی‎) (1957 – 27 February 1987) was the commander of IRGC's 14th Imam Hussein Division during Iran–Iraq War. He supported Islamic revolution and after its victory, served and helped safeguarding it. He was engaged in many operations during the war, namely Dawn 8, in which he captured troops of Saddam's Republican Guard in al-Faw Peninsula; and in Operation Karbala-5 as the commander of the vanguard forces. Kharrazi was killed by shrapnel from a mortar bomb during Operation Karbala-5.

Khor Al Amaya Oil Terminal

Khor Al Amaya Oil Terminal is an Iraqi oil port. It lies southeast of the Al Faw peninsula in the Persian Gulf.

Khawr Al Amaya Oil Terminal is commonly referred to as "KAAOT" and it, along with its sister terminal, the Al Basrah Oil Terminal or "ABOT", provides platforms from which a large majority of Iraq's oil can be exported. ABOT and KAAOT are major players in Iraq's eventual economic stability.

List of islands of Iraq

The following is an incomplete list of islands of Iraq.

Aloos Island, Euphrates (Al Anbar Governorate)

Hajjam Island

Jubbah Island, Euphrates (Al Anbar Governorate)

Om al-Babi Island, Shatt al-Arab

Om al-Khanazeer Island (Mother of Pigs Island), Baghdad

Majnoon Island

Sindbad Island, Shatt al-Arab

Om Al-Rasas Island (Mother of Lead Island), Shatt al-Arab

List of places in Iraq

This is a list of places in Iraq. Governorates of Iraq lists the governorates, and Districts of Iraq lists the subdivisions of those governorates.

Operation Dawn 8

Operation Dawn 8 (Persian: عملیات والفجر ۸‎) was an Iranian military operation conducted during the Iran–Iraq War, part of the First Battle of al-Faw.

The Iranian operation is considered to be one of Iran's greatest achievements in the Iran–Iraq War. The Iranians were able to capture the al-Faw Peninsula, cutting off Iraqi access to the Persian Gulf in the process; this in turn hardened Iraqi attitudes to prosecute the war. The Faw Peninsula was later recaptured by Iraqi forces near the end of the war by the massive and illegal use of chemical weapons.

Second Battle of al-Faw

The Second Battle of al-Faw (also known as the Operation Ramadan Mubarak (Blessed Ramadan)), fought on 17 April 1988, was a major battle of the Iran–Iraq War. After their defeat at the First Battle of al-Faw two years earlier, the newly restructured Iraqi Army conducted a major operation to clear the Iranians out of the peninsula.

The Iraqis concentrated well over 100,000 troops from the battle-hardened Republican Guard. The heavy use of chemical weapons quickly disarrayed the Iranian defenses, which consisted of 15,000 Iranian Basij volunteers. The southern wing of the assault consisted of the Republican Guard's Madinah and Baghdad Divisions, which assaulted the Iranian lines and then allowed the Hammurabi Armoured Division to pass through and move along the southern coast of the peninsula and into al-Faw itself.

Meanwhile, the regular Iraqi Army's VII Corps attacked the northern end of the line with the 7th Infantry and 6th Armoured Divisions. While the 7th Infantry's attack became bogged down, the 6th Armoured broke through the Iranian lines, the 1st Mechanised Division pushed through, and later linked up with the Republican Guard divisions outside al-Faw. Thus the peninsula had been secured within thirty-five hours, with much of the Iranians' equipment captured intact.

Tawakalna ala Allah Operations

The Tawakalna ala Allah Operations (Arabic: توكلنا على الله‎, romanized: tawakkalnā ‘alā llāh "We Have Trusted in the God") were a series of five Iraqi offensives launched in April 1988 and lasting until July 1988, consisting of the Second Battle of al-Faw, the Battle of Fish Lake, the Battle of the Majnoon Islands, the Battle of Dehloran, and the Battle of Qasre Shirin. Iraq had originally only intended to retake the al-Faw peninsula, but following the battles' extraordinary success due to the complete collapse of the Iranian troops present, the Iraqi command decided to expand the battle into a larger offensive campaign. Massive chemical attacks played a key role in the collapse of the Iranian forces.

Umm Qasr Port

Umm Qasr Port is Iraq's only deep water port, part of the city of Umm Qasr.

Iraq's second port in scale of size and goods shipped to the port of Basra, it is strategically important, located on the western edge of the al-Faw peninsula, where the mouth of the Shatt al Arab waterway enters the Persian Gulf. It is separated from the border of Kuwait by a small inlet. Prior to the Persian Gulf War, traffic between Kuwait and Iraq flowed over a bridge.


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