Operations in Iraq: Facts and Figures

A summary of key information relating to the British and International presence in Iraq.

Countries involved in the coalition in Iraq

International military support to the government of Iraq is currently co-ordinated by the Headquarters of United States Forces - Iraq (USF-I). Within this construct the UK is the sole bilateral partner, whilst 12 additional countries contribute to NATO's Training Mission in Iraq. Since 2003 a total of 37 countries contributed to the Multi-National Forces - Iraq.

Number of UK Military Personnel in Iraq

There are now around 150 British military personnel serving in Iraq.

The total number of UK personnel deployed on Operation TELIC as a whole is higher - around 850 - as this includes personnel involved in the operation but not situated in Iraq itself (for example Royal Navy ships in the Gulf).

The number of UK military personnel deployed in Iraq has changed over time:

  • Peak during Major Combat Operations (March/April 2003): 46,000 (including those stationed outside of Iraq in support of the operation)
  • At the end of May 2003: 18,000
  • At the end of May 2004: 8,600
  • At the end of May 2005: 8,500
  • At the end of May 2006: 7,200
  • At the end of May 2007: 5,500
  • At the end of May 2008: 4,100 (in southern Iraq)
  • At the end of May 2009: 4,100 (in southern Iraq)
  • At the end of Jan 2010: 150

The majority of UK personnel are based in southern Iraq mentoring the Iraqi Navy, with a smaller number based in Baghdad providing training to Iraqi officers as part of the NATO training mission.

Iraqi Security Force development

The coalition has been involved in what was probably the most ambitious security sector reform effort in modern times.  More than 585,000 members of the Iraqi Security Forces have now been trained and equipped.

Reconstruction across Iraq

The UK has pledged a total commitment of £744 million towards reconstruction in Iraq.  The UK pledged an initial £544m for reconstruction projects at the Madrid Conference in 2003.  The then Chancellor, Gordon Brown, increased this by £100m when he visited Basra in November 2006, and the former Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett pledged a further £100m in May 2007.

The funding has helped in the following areas:

  • Over five million children have received life-saving vaccinations. There has been a resulting decline in the prevalence of polio, measles, mumps, rubella, and malaria.
  • 1,000 healthcare facilities have been rehabilitated or equipped and more than 6,000 staff trained.
  • Access to safe drinking water dropped by one third under the previous regime. Twenty potable water treatment facilities have been built or rehabilitated, and nine centralized sewage treatment facilities have been rehabilitated. More than one million people in southern Iraq have improved access to water.
  • Basra International Airport has been undergoing extensive renovation and now handles some 4,000 passengers a month.
  • Iraq dropped from 76 to 126 on the Human Development Index under Saddam Hussein. Now, with the support of the international community, for example, education services are being restored, thousands of teachers are being trained and over 5,000 schools have been rehabilitated.
  • More than 100,000 primary and 40,000 secondary teachers have been trained.
  • 2,500 Iraqi NGOs are now registered with the Iraqi government and trade unions.
  • 576 judges, lawyers and prosecutors have been trained in International Human Rights Law.
  • Over 3,000 women and young people in the south have been trained in business skills.
  • Over 180 journalists have been trained in independent journalism and feature writing.
  • 250 newspapers and magazines have been launched. New TV and radio stations have been set up.
  • A new mobile phone network has been introduced with over eight million subscribers.
  • Oil production is now around two million barrels per day. Production and export facilities are much more secure. Increased oil production and prices have increased Iraq's revenues from $US18bn (2002) to $US29bn (2005,2006) and $41bn (2007).

This is a summary of reconstruction in Iraq. For detailed information, please see the website of the Department for International Development (DFID) here.

Reconstruction across Basra

Water and Sewage

  • In 2003, only 23% of Basrawis had access to piped water, by far the worst figures for any of Iraq's 18 provinces. Only 9% of Basrawis were connected to a reliable sewage system.
  • Since then, improvements to water supplies, including pumps for isolated villages, have benefited over 1.25 million people (70% of Basrawis).
  • 200km of modern piping have been laid and over 5,000 leaks repaired.
  • $160 million invested in modernising and extending sewage system.
  • 40km of sewers and 7,000 septic tanks have been cleaned.
  • A water training centre in Basra has been constructed to train and increase the skills of Iraqi engineers in water treatment and leakage repair.
  • A reverse osmosis unit has been refurbished to supply potable water to about 500,000 people.
  • Improved water supply to 60,000 people in Al Amtahiyah (Basra Province).
  • DfID power and water projects will employ around 450 people, generate almost 100,000 workdays and secure around 17,000 workdays per year for operation and maintenance.


  • In 2003, Basra's power stations had not enjoyed proper investment for three decades.
  • Since 2003, Department for International Development reconstruction has provided additional electricity equivalent to that needed for a city the size of Leeds.
  • The Hartha power stations chimney has been repaired as well as transmission lines from the power station to Basra city.
  • 65,000 homes now have a mains supply for the first time and 239,000 homes now have a much more reliable mains supply. This is benefiting 1.5 million residents.


  • The former Multi-National Division (South-East) (MND(SE)) has run almost 400 education projects worth $25 million.
  • In 2003, 80% of 7-13 year old Basrawi children attended school.
  • Since then, attendance has increased by 9.8% (an extra 25,000 children).
  • 61 primary schools have been refurbished to modern standards.
  • In 2003, 49% of 13-16 year old Basrawi children attended school.
  • Since then, attendance increased by 8.9% (an extra 10,700 children).
  • 18 secondary schools have been refurbished to modern standards.


  • In 2003, all 16 Basrawi hospitals discharged untreated waste back into the water supply. Saddam allowed one of the best regional health services in the 1960s to rot. Since then, over $14 million spent by the former MND(SE) alone on 189 health projects, with particular emphasis on refurbishing hospital laundries and providing appropriate sewage and sanitation.
  • The Iraqi Government has raised doctors' salaries from around $30 per month under Saddam, to up to $2,000 per month.
  • The Coalition-backed immunisation programme across Iraq protected 98% of under fives against measles/mumps/rubella, and 97% against polio.
  • Progress has been made in combating malnutrition - the number of Iraqis going hungry reduced by 75% between 2005 and 2007 (from 4 million to 930,000).


  • The Iraqis adopted a new permanent constitution by referendum in October 2005, with a turnout of 63%. The constitution defines Iraq as democratic and pluralist.
  • Elections in January 2005 saw the first true democracy in Iraq for over three decades, and those in December 2005 saw a turnout of over 12 million people, or 76% of the electorate. Iraq's Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, announced his Government of National Unity on 20 May 2006.


  • The focus of our efforts has been to build capacity of local authorities to plan for, access and spend central and local funds.
  • In Basra, supported production of the first ever Provincial Development Strategy by the Provincial Council.
  • On the back of this work, Basra Provincial Council was able to access $US172 million of central government funding in 2006 and $205 million in 2007 (after receiving none in 2005) and is undertaking more than 300 local reconstruction projects based on this work.
  • Refurbished Governorate offices; trained Governorates officials
  • Built up financial management and budgeting capacity of governorates.
  • 576 Iraqi judges, lawyers and prosecutors trained in human rights, international humanitarian law, and independence of the judiciary.
  • Private sector development

Local Business

  • Established a local Business Journal and Business Information Centre.
  • Over 3,000 women and young people in the south trained in business and enterprise skills.


  • 60 Agricultural directorate staff trained in administrative, IT and planning skills.
  • Restoration of the marshlands in Basra, Maysan and Dhi Qar, which resulted in the return of the Marsh Arabs.

Cost of UK Military action in Iraq

The costs of our operations in Iraq come from the Treasury Special Reserve.  The Ministry of Defence identifies the costs of military operations in terms of the net additional costs it has incurred, over and above planned expenditure on defence. The costs for the following financial years were:

  • 2002/03 - £847M
  • 2003/04 - £1,311M
  • 2004/05 - £910M
  • 2005/06 - £958M
  • 2006/07 - £956M
  • 2007/08 - £1,457M
  • 2008/09 - £1,381M
  • 2009/10 - £342M

The costs for 2003/04 include the costs of combat operations from 1 April 2003, the costs incurred in maintaining and supporting subsequent peacekeeping operations and the costs of recuperating operational capability afterwards.

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