53-BZ with UN markings inflight during operation TARPAN in 2003
(Credit photo Adj Trestard, ERS 1/91)
In April 1992, the U.N. Security Council passed Resolution 688, calling on Baghdad to cease its crackdown on Iraq’s rebellious Shia majority and “ensure that the human and political rights of all Iraqi citizens are respected.”
Operation Southern Watch, the U.S.-led coalition effort to patrol the air space over southern Iraq, began that August. Its goal — to protect the Shia in line with Resolution 688.
But as French pilots soon discovered, the Iraqi air force didn’t just roll over and let coalition planes operate unopposed over Iraqi territory.