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Thread: U.S. Still Waiting For Iraqi Forces To 'Stand Up'

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    Default Abizaid: Put Faith in Iraqi Forces

    3 Jan. USA Today - Abizaid: Put Faith in Iraqi Forces.

    The top U.S. general in the Iraq region says he is optimistic the United States will succeed this year in turning a substantial part of the country over to Iraqi government control, moving U.S. forces into a backup role.

    The ability of Iraq's military to secure the country is a key condition for the eventual withdrawal of U.S. forces.

    In an interview this weekend, Gen. John Abizaid, who was on a short visit to Iraq, prodded his subordinates to turn control of their sectors over to Iraqi forces as soon as the Iraqis are ready. U.S. commanders must overcome their reluctance to turn over control to less-experienced Iraqi forces, Abizaid said.

    “Look, there is always a risk in taking a chance on the people that you've come to help,” Abizaid said. “There's also a risk of condescension (where) you look at them and say, ‘They're not ready.' ”

    Abizaid, head of U.S. Central Command, declined to speculate on what American troop levels will be at the end of 2006. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said last month that U.S. forces would be reduced to about 130,000 this year. There are 155,000 U.S. troops in Iraq now...

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    Default NATO Reports Training 1,500 Iraqi Officers

    18 Jan. Associated Press - NATO Reports Training 1,500 Iraqi Officers.

    Almost 1,500 Iraqi officers passed through NATO's training program for the country's military last year, two-thirds receiving instruction inside the country and the rest at facilities in Europe, the alliance said Wednesday.

    "The alliance aims to achieve the same results in 2006," NATO spokesman James Appathurai said in a statement.


    NATO trainers have been working in Iraq since August 2004, and focus on midlevel and senior officers. Training is based at a staff college opened by NATO last September on the outskirts of Baghdad and run by about 160 NATO personnel.

    NATO's role in Iraq has been limited to the training mission, supplying equipment to Iraqi forces and some logistical support for a Polish-led contingent of the U.S.-led coalition...

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    Default Iraqi Force Development - A Current Status Report

    Iraqi Force Development - A Current Status Report (July-December 2005)
    Executive Summary
    In spite of the problems facing Iraqi forces, they have made major progress. Changes in the US-led Coalition advisory effort have led to steadily higher selection and training standards and better equipment and facilities. Embedding US training teams in each new Iraqi unit, and pairing them with US combat units until they could operate on their own, has made a major qualitative difference in the field. More and more Iraqi units have come on-line. By the end of 2005, some 125 Iraqi battalions were active in the military and security forces, some 40-45 had achieved enough readiness to play a significant role in security operations, and over 30 were able to operate in their own battle space without direct US or other Coalition support.

    This progress occurred in spite of the fact that the Sunni Arab insurgents focused their attacks on fellow Iraqis and hit hard at every element of Iraqi forces. The insurgents also struck at virtually every other element of Iraqi society, and attacked Shi’ite Arab and Kurdish political leaders, religious figures and journalists, other members of the Iraqi elite, and ordinary citizens -- often in the form of suicide bombings that created mass casualties. The most extreme Sunni Islamists clearly had the goal of paralyzing the Iraqi political process, and such extremist groups attacked Shi’ite and Kurds in a way that seemed designed to provoke a major civil conflict.

    Such progress, however, is not yet sufficient to guarantee either any meaningful force of Iraqi victory, or the ability of the US to make major troop withdrawals and still claim success. The following remaining problems in shaping effective Iraqi forces must still be addressed:
    - Ensuring that they will act as national forces, and not Shi’ite and Kurdish forces
    - Giving Iraqi combat battalions better balance and support
    - Giving the security and police forces the same level of training and advisory support as the regular Iraqi forces
    - Matching force development with political development and inclusiveness
    - Supporting Iraqi forces with effective governance by civil authorities.

    The regular Iraqi military still lack balance. They are still lightly equipped, and an initial emphasis on putting as many combat units into the field as possible, means they lack adequate headquarters, support, and logistic units. As a result, major further improvements are still needed in the regular forces that will take well into 2007, and require sustained US advisory efforts, aid, and military support.

    As for the political dimension, most top Iraqi officials, and senior Iraqi Arab Shi’ite and Kurdish political leaders, continue to stress the importance of developing Iraqi forces that maintain a rule of law, and respect for human rights in spite of the insurgent attacks. They stress the need to fight corruption, and change the past culture of Iraq’s military and police forces to stress professionalism and promotion by merit.

    Nevertheless, the Ministry of the Interior has failed to act on such goals and has allowed some elements of its special security units to act as a virtual extension of Shi’ite efforts to attack the Sunnis. This requires major new efforts to reform the forces of the Ministry of the Interior and both the special security services and police. Such efforts are only beginning to have an impact, but the Ministry of Interior has fired the commanders responsible for the worst abuses.

    More broadly, the police still cannot act as an effective force in many areas of the country, and have many elements that lacked both competence and loyalty to the central government. These problems were compounded in Sunni areas by the difficulty of finding forces loyal to the national government. They were compounded in Shi’ite areas by loyalty to Shi’ite religious parties and intimidation by -- or partnership with -- Shi’ite militias. Many of the police were also local, and lacked the training and discipline of the police units trained and equipped by the Coalition and central government.

    Both Iraqi forces and civil government are still far too slow to occupy the areas where the insurgents were defeated by the military and security forces. This lack of governance and the ability to establish security without military forces remained a major problem in many parts of the country, but made it difficult to exploit Iraqi and Coalition military victories in areas favorable to the Sunni insurgents.

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    Default Iraqi Army May Be Light and Friendly

    25 Jan. Associated Press - Iraqi Army May Be Light and Friendly.

    With American help, the Iraqi army is emerging as a lightly armed counterinsurgency force that may control more of the country than the U.S.-led coalition by this spring, U.S. military officials say.

    But in coming years the Iraqi army will remain too weak to defend the country and reliant far into the future on America to guarantee Iraq's sovereignty, experts say.

    "They're not going to be the 101st Airborne anytime soon," said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Fred Wellman, spokesman for the military transition command in Baghdad. "But in 2006, this is the year that the majority of Iraq will be secured by Iraqis."

    Wellman said that could happen by spring.

    But the Pentagon is also grappling with designing a force that assuages the worries of neighboring countries victimized by Saddam Hussein's military.

    "There is a concern in the region about giving them an offensive military capability," said U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt, deputy director of planning for the U.S. Central Command.

    The dilemma for Washington, which wants to hand off its counterinsurgency duties and depart as soon as possible, is that a weak Iraqi army could leave U.S. forces providing security for Iraq for many years...

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    Default Iraqi Security Units Lacking Gear

    6 May Washington Times - Iraqi Security Units Lacking Gear.

    Iraqi security units are being held back from taking the lead in the counterinsurgency fight by a lack of proper equipment, among other issues, says a top U.S. commander.

    "All Iraqi army units in [the north] are in the fight," said U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Thomas R. Turner II, who commands the 101st Airborne Division patrolling northern areas of Iraq. "Those that have not assumed an area of operations, it is generally due to the lack of equipment or specialized training, and those units are fighting alongside ours."

    Gen. Turner, speaking to reporters at the Pentagon via a video link, said the Iraqi police face the same shortfall.

    "For partnering with U.S. forces, they are progressing rapidly," Gen. Turner said. "As you would expect, they are plagued with the same administrative and logistical shortcomings as the army."

    His assessment dovetails with the findings of retired Army Gen. Barry McCaffrey, who reported last month that the Iraqi army is woefully short of arms and equipment.

    Army units, Gen. McCaffrey wrote in a memo to his colleagues at West Point, "are very badly equipped with only a few light vehicles, small arms, most with body armor and one or two uniforms. They have almost no mortars, heavy machine guns, decent communications equipment, artillery, armor, or [air force] transport, helicopter and strike support." ...

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    Default Fragmented Iraqi Security Forces

    From the Crisis Response Group:
    One soldier was killed on 12 May during a clash between Kurdish- and Shia Arab-dominated army units near the mainly Shia Arab city of Balad, less than 45 miles (70km) north of the capital Baghdad.

    The incident highlights deep ethnic and sectarian divisions in the Iraqi army and other local security forces. Recruitment to the army after 2003 was largely from existing militias, and loyalty to ethnic and sectarian groups, militias and commanders continues to override loyalty to the army as an institution. Efforts to establish mixed units have faced resistance and achieved success. The army is not immune to broader social and political developments, meaning a local fracturing along ethnic and sectarian lines would be likely in a crisis. These divisions are likely to persist at least for the remainder of the year, and should be taken into account in crisis management planning.

    Kurds are overrepresented in the army, accounting for 40% of troops, against 20%-25% of the population as a whole. Shia Arabs, who constitute more than 50% of the total population, account for just over 30% of the army. The army is underpaid, under-equipped and in an uneven state of combat readiness. Political appointments and patronage networks also limit its development into a more efficient force.

    Incident details

    The incident was fuelled by language differences, loyalty to individual units and local Arab discontent about the presence of Kurdish soldiers. It took place after a roadside bomb killed four and injured several other soldiers from a mostly Kurdish army unit that was patrolling near Duluwiya, a Sunni Arab town near Balad. The soldiers rushed their injured comrades into Balad for medical treatment, firing their weapons to clear the streets and killing one civilian. They were confronted by an army unit made up mostly of Shia Arabs, possibly fearing retaliation against the local Arab population. The different sides had difficulty communicating in each other's language, and during the stand-off the Kurdish troops killed a Shia Arab soldier. A third Iraqi army unit set up a roadblock to prevent the Kurdish soldiers from leaving the town, but US intervention ended the confrontation.

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    Default Iraqi Force Development: Summer '06 Update

    From CSIS, 23 Aug 06: Iraqi Force Development: Summer 2006 Update

    Here's the ExecSum from the 72 page report:
    Iraqi force development in the summer of 2006 occurred against a backdrop of increasing adversity and violence. Initial events suggested cause for optimism. A new elected Iraqi government that included all major factions finally took shape in May. Al-Qa’ida in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was killed on June 7. Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki seemed poised to take the initiative with a proposal for national reconciliation and the beginning of the Baghdad security plan called Operation Forward Together. Yet security proved an elusive goal, and inability to halt waves of sectarian-motivated killing sparked renewed fears of civil war as Shi’ite versus Sunni clashes escalated. Militias and “death squads” became the primary targets for security forces.

    Securing Baghdad was clearly the central objective of Iraqi and Coalition efforts during the summer of 2006, and it proved to be an elusive goal. The “first phase” of Operation Forward Together relied on a show of strength with more Iraqi security forces on the streets manning more checkpoints. “Phase two” of the operation, formulated in late July well after the failure to slow the violence was apparent, incorporated more US troops and more elements of counterinsurgency warfare, specifically the “oil spot” strategy of creating secured areas one by one and the attempt to win the confidence of Iraqi civilians through more sensitive and subtle search operations and efforts to clean up battle-scarred neighbourhoods. “Phase two” may have been a better plan, but its true test will be when secured areas are returned to the control of Iraqi military and police units.

    While Baghdad remained a center of attention, Iraqi and US forces attempted to reassert government control in Ramadi and the Anbar province at large, which remained a hotspot for Sunni insurgents. Another major operational development of the summer was the handover of security responsibilities to Iraqi forces. In July, Muthanna became the first Iraqi province transferred to full Iraqi security control, and more transfers were being planned.

    Efforts to recruit and train Iraq’s Ministry of Defense and Ministry of Interior forces continued in the midst of the turmoil, and US military leaders reported that 268,000 Iraqi soldiers and police had been trained by midsummer, with the remainder of what was planned to be a 325,000-man force to be ready by the end of 2006. Yet the increased quantity of Iraqi “boots on the ground” did not result in immediate improvements of the security situation. Despite improved training and capabilities, persistent problems, notably sectarian militia loyalties, corruption, lack of logistical and administrative support, and a lack of trust from the Iraqi people, continued to hinder significant progress.

    Iraqi internal politics could still lead to a major civil conflict between ethnic factions and sects. It is too soon to predict how well Iraqi forces can or cannot supplement, whether they will remain unified and serve the nation and not factions, and the extent to which they can eventually replace Coalition forces. The nation-building aspects of the “war after the war” remain a struggle in progress, and there still is no way to know whether the light at the end of the tunnel is daylight or an oncoming train.

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    Default U.S. Still Waiting For Iraqi Forces To 'Stand Up'

    1 October Washington Post - U.S. Still Waiting For Iraqi Forces To 'Stand Up' by Tom Ricks.

    The strategy in Iraq, President Bush has said often over the past year, is to stand down the U.S. military as Iraq's security forces stand up.

    By strict numbers, the Iraqi side of that equation is almost complete. Training programs have developed more than 300,000 members of the Iraqi army and national police, close to the desired amount of homegrown forces. Yet as that number has grown, so, too, has violence in Iraq. The summer was worse than ever, with July the deadliest month in three years, according to U.S. military data.

    With the insurgency undiminished and Iraqi forces seemingly unable to counter it, U.S. commanders say they expect to stay at the current level of U.S. troops -- about 140,000 -- until at least next spring. That requirement is placing new strains on service members who leave Iraq and then must prepare to return a few months later. Tours of duty have been extended for two brigades in Iraq to boost troop levels.

    So is the "stand down as they stand up" policy defunct? Not according to the Bush administration. But the meaning of the phrase appears to have changed, as leaders have begun shifting the blame for Iraq's problems away from the U.S. military and onto the country's own social and governmental institutions...

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    CSIS 4 Oct 06 update to a report most of have read before:

    Iraqi Force Development and the Challenge of Civil War: Can Iraqi Forces Do the Job?
    ...The effort to create effective Iraqi military, national security, and police forces is marginally more successful than Iraq political and economic efforts, but scarcely the level of success the US planned even at the beginning of 2005.

    Ministry of Defense: Still very much a work in progress. Poorly organized, divided along sectarian and ethnic lines, poor planning and fiscal control capability, problems with corruption.

    The regular army, air force, and navy (130,000 claimed to be operational; real number unknown): Army (128,230 men) merging as a real force at the infantry battalion level with some light mechanized and armored elements. Beginning to emerge as real divisions and brigades, although many headquarters, command and control, combat and service support, logistic and
    intelligence elements are missing or having little capability. The regular Iraqi military still cannot operate without massive MNF-I support, embedded US and other coalition advisory teams, and largely US mechanized infantry, rmor, artillery, fixed and rotary wing air support, air mobility, and logistic and service support, Air Force (740 men) is at best a small cadre of forces with token reconnaissance and air transport capability. Navy (1,130 men) is slowly emerging as capable of carrying out own patrol missions, but is severely limited in operational capability with little real support capability.

    Efforts that say the regular Iraqi forces are taking the lead, and that turnover command to Iraqi forces are not cosmetic. The regular military and some paramilitary National Police units are making real progress – although most units are severely undermanned, have critical problems in officer and NCO quality and leadership, are too lightly equipped and poorly facilitized, and many are Shi’ite or Kurdish dominated.

    Iraqi forces will, however, be highly dependent on US and other MNF-I support well into 2008, and probably through 2010. Only a truly radical improvement in political conciliation could reduce this dependence, and the present drift towards added civil conflict could sharply increase it.

    Ministry of Interior: Still very much a work in progress and lags behind the MoD in capability. Poorly organized, with elements more loyal to Shi’ite and Kurdish parties than nation. Poor planning and fiscal control capability, serious problems with corruption.

    The National Police (24,400 claimed to be trained and equipped; real number unknown): Some elements have been properly reorganized and are as effective as regular army units. Most still present problems in terms of both loyalty and effectiveness. Still are some ties to Shi’ite and Kurdish militias. A number of units have critical problems in officer and NCO quality and
    leadership, are too lightly equipped and poorly facilitized

    Other MOI Forces (27,510 claimed to be trained and equipped; real number unknown): Most elements, like the Border Police, are just acquiring proper training and have only light equipment and poor facilities. Some elements are capable in undemanding missions. Most are underpaid,
    underequipped, badly-led, and corrupt. Many are poorly facilitized.

    The Regular Police (120,190 claimed to be trained and equipped; real number probably under 100,000): Underpaid, underequipped, badly-led, and corrupt. Many will not fight or act if face a local threat. Desertion and absence rates high. Generally only function where security exists for
    other reasons, or are tied to sectarian, ethnic, and tribal forces. Many are poorly facilitized.

    The problems in the “trained and equipped police” forces are compounded by large number of locally recruited “police” and security forces loyal to local leaders and sectarian and ethnic factions. Various sectarian and ethnic militias are the real “police” in many areas.

    Facilities Protection Force, Pipeline Protection Force, and other limited security forces: Underpaid, underequipped, badly-led, and corrupt. Generally only function where security exists for other reasons, or are tied to sectarian, ethnic, and tribal forces.

    The US and MNF-I plans that called for Iraqi forces to allow significant Coalition troop reductions in 2006 have failed, and the so-called “year of the police” has barely begun and will at best gather momentum in 2007. Real-world Iraqi dependence on the present scale of US and allied military support and advisory efforts will continue well into 2008 at the earliest and probably to 2010. Major US and allied troop reductions need to be put on hold indefinitely.

    The only way to avoid this continuing dependence on the US and other outside power without greatly increasing the risk of a major civil war, and collapse of the Iraqi force development effort, would be a level of political conciliation so great as to fundamentally undermine the insurgency and end the drift towards civil war....

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    Default Which Comes First?

    It is awfully hard to stand up a unit of any kind if you do not have people, both in leadership and rank and file positions, deserting on a large scale. It is expected that large numbers of Iraq police and military units will desert when they go home on leave. While large scale desertions are crippling to any unit they hit new units harder as there is no official or unofficial cadre that can take in new replacements and bring them up to speed.
    Until the desertion issue is solved it will be near impossible to build effective units.

    Having said that, it must be realized that large scale desertion is merely a single symptom of the overall condition. As Arthur Speyer pointed out in his SWJ Oct 2006 article Disarming the Local Population “In Iraq, the first responsibility of every male is to protect his family”. I would hazard to venture that most of the Iraqi security force members have family situations that if one of our service members had the same family situation he would received an expedited hardship discharge so that he could go home and take care of his family.

    We should empathize with the average Iraqi security force member. Let’s put ourselves in his shoes for just a moment.

    1. You joined because there was no work and your family desperately needs the money.
    2. You have inadequate equipment to do your job. (uniform shirt v. body armor, an AK with three mags v. an American’s minimum of seven mags and supporting arms, and no consistent logistic support or long term medical care)
    3. Your leadership is as untrained as you are and possibly corrupt.
    4. Your pay is late and or less than you thought it should be.
    5. Your family is in physical danger specifically because you are a member of the security forces.
    6. You feel you protect your family better from home than by fighting other Iraqis in some other part of the country.

    How many of us would guarantee that we would not take an “extended” leave of absence in a similar situation? During the American Civil Way the South had a similar problem. During Sherman’s march to the sea large number of troops from the effected states left the army to take care of their families. It was not unusual for a junior member of the Confederate military to have enlisted two or even three times. He would simply discharge himself to take care of some family emergency/situation and then join up again to get back into the fight.

    This is the classic chicken and egg quandary, which came first? In this case you need some measurable measure of stability in order to build professional military forces, but in order to gain that stability you need professional security forces. This was/is the case in Haiti, Afghanistan, and Iraq. How we solve it remains to be seen, but my feeling is that it can only be solved by a major change in local attitudes which will change behaviors and local conditions.
    Last edited by Mondor; 10-10-2006 at 03:32 PM.

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    CSIS, 2 Nov 06: Options for Expanding Iraqi Forces: Goals and Realities
    ...The basic problem with all Iraqi forces is that while over 300,000 have been trained and equipped, many have since left and deserted, substantial numbers have been killed and wounded, and some 10-20% of those who remain are absent at any given time because they leave to take care of their families and transfer their pay in a country where there is no meaningful banking system. The Iraqi regular forces and National Police are probably only about 20-25% short of the totals reported for trained and equipped manpower. The figures for the regular police and Facilities Protection Force are much larger, probably well in excess of 30% of the total of men reported as trained and equipped, but there is no accurate way to track the total.

    The problem is further complicated by the fact that all Iraqi forces, including the army, were recruited and equipped to serve locally in limited defensive roles, not act as mobile forces trained and equipped to act as active combat units deployable throughout the country to deal with insurgency and civil conflict. This means the recruiting base must now be changed, new pay and arrangements are needed to create a nationally deployable force, and new equipment and facilities will be need for the deployable units thrust into more serious combat...

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    Default U.S. Trains Iraqis in River Warfare Tactics

    4 November Los Angeles Times - U.S. Trains Iraqis in River Warfare Tactics by Tony Perry.

    Hoping to restrict the smuggling of weapons and fighters along the Euphrates and Tigris rivers, the U.S. Navy has brought Iraqi security forces to America for training on river warfare tactics.

    On Thursday, 16 members of the Iraqi Riverine Police Force finished a six-week course at a Navy training facility in Mississippi to prepare them to patrol the wide waterways that have served as smuggling corridors and danger zones for centuries.

    The Navy routinely trains foreign military forces in such tactics. For the Iraqis, the training emphasized the possibility of combat.

    "We know the likelihood of them getting shot at is very high," said Navy Cmdr. Lance Bach. "We practiced on how to return fire and how to get out of the kill zone."

    Navy officials hope the 16 will teach other Iraqi security personnel techniques for guiding small boats, inspecting suspicious vessels, and landing or evacuating "friendlies" on the shore.

    Additional Iraqis are likely to take the course given at the Naval Small Craft Instruction and Technical Training School at Stennis Space Center, Miss. The school is part of the Naval Special Warfare Center, based in Coronado, Calif..

    Assisted by four interpreters, Navy instructors taught the group techniques for patrolling in 25-foot boats armed with M60 machine guns. Much of the training was on how to react to ambush attacks...

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    Default U.S. Military to Increase Trainers as Key to Developing Iraqi Forces

    17 November Voice of America - U.S. Military to Increase Trainers as Key to Developing Iraqi Forces by Al Pessin. Reposted here in full per USG guidelines.

    The colonel who commands the U.S. Marines in and around Fallujah, west of Baghdad, says the key to transferring security responsibility to Iraqi forces, and eventually reducing the U.S. troop presence in the country, is to put more American trainers into Iraqi units. The colonel spoke just two days after the commander of all U.S. forces in the Middle East told Congress that is what he is planning to do.

    Speaking via satellite, Colonel Larry Nicholson said he has already doubled the number of his troops living and working with Iraqi units, and he would like to double the number again.

    "We've taken Marines and soldiers out of our combat formations so that they can work more closely with the Iraqi security forces," he said. "My principal mission is Iraqi security force development. And I can best do that by working more closely with them every day."

    Colonel Nicholson says he has about 250 of his troops embedded with Iraqi units now. He says the practice instills both procedures and values in the minds of the Iraqi troops that will help them long after the U.S. Marines have left Fallujah. And he says it is a way of putting into practice the goal often stated by senior officers and political leaders of having the Iraqi forces to do more, and the Americans and other coalition troops do less.

    In congressional testimony on Wednesday, the commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East, General John Abizaid, said increasing the number of embedded American trainers in Iraqi units is a key part of his strategy for pushing Iraqi forces to handle more of their country's security needs.

    In Fallujah, Colonel Nicholson says he also works with local elected officials to promote what he calls an economic boom in the city, in spite of some ongoing violence. Fallujah was the site of fierce fighting between U.S. Marines and insurgent forces two years ago. The colonel says he tells the Iraqi civilian and military leaders they must work together to bring stability and prosperity to the city, and they must work fast.

    "We also emphasize to the locals that time is fleeting," he said. "U.S. forces will not be here forever. We have no colonial aspirations. We must work together and get the heavy lifting done while we are here."

    The colonel says there is also a political problem in Fallujah, which is nearly all Sunni Muslim. He says officials and residents are not satisfied with the performance of the Shi'ite-led national government, and do not trust officials there to provide for their needs.

    "There is a Sunni disenfranchisement that is palpable in the city of Fallujah," he said. "They just don't believe that the government right now in Baghdad is as inclusive as it ought to be, is not reaching out as much as it ought to be."

    Colonel Nicholson says U.S. forces often find themselves having to advocate for Sunni areas in talks with the Iraqi government about the funding of local projects.

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    Default Army Expands Training for Advisers Who Will Try to Improve Iraq’s Security Forces

    25 November New York Times - Army Expands Training for Advisers Who Will Try to Improve Iraq’s Security Forces by Michael Gordon.

    This wind-swept stretch of Kansas has become the hub of a major new push by the United States Army to overhaul its effort to advise Iraq’s fledgling security forces.

    Following a disappointing performance by many Iraqi units and complaints that earlier efforts to train American advisers had been handicapped by bureaucratic inertia, the Army has handed the mission to Maj. Gen. Carter F. Ham, who had a previous stint as a commander in Iraq.

    Along with nearly 1,000 soldiers from his First Infantry Division, General Ham has sought to improve the training of the advisers as the Army has moved to upgrade the quality of these teams.

    The revamped effort began with little fanfare this summer, but has gained prominence in recent weeks as experts inside and outside the government have recommended that the military expand the advisers’ ranks as part of a renewed push to strengthen the Iraqi security forces.

    The Army is “transitioning from an endeavor that has been less than a high priority to one that is of the highest priority,” said Jack Keane, a retired four-star general who served as the Army vice chief of staff during the first months of the war. “And it is long overdue.”

    Senior American military commanders calculate that strengthening the Iraqi forces, paired with efforts at political reconciliation by the Iraqi government, will enable the Iraqis to take more responsibility for their security and allow the United States to eventually begin withdrawing its forces...

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    Default U.S. Tests Indirect Approach in Iraq

    25 November Baltimore Sun - U.S. Tests Indirect Approach in Iraq by David Wood.

    Tens of thousands of American troops are shifting from combat operations against insurgents to training, advising and supporting Iraqi security forces in what military officials say will require a long-term U.S. military presence in Iraq.

    Rather than allowing American troops to withdraw to the sidelines, the new campaign will keep them directly in the violent middle ground between Iraq's warring factions, as increasing numbers of soldiers and Marines embed as combat advisers with Iraqi army and paramilitary police units. Already, some 6,000 Americans serve as advisers with Iraqi police units, for instance, in high-risk operations similar to those that have killed 4,000 Iraqi police officers over the past two years.

    The latest strategic phase, which began this fall and will accelerate in the months ahead, may even require a short-term increase from the 141,000 U.S. troops currently serving in Iraq, senior commanders have said.

    In addition to the advisers, thousands of other U.S. troops are directly supporting Iraq's security forces with communications, logistics and transportation expertise, running convoys and maintenance depots, and providing air support and other assistance the Iraqi units need to operate.

    To protect all these American military personnel - the final numbers aren't yet determined - a sizable "force protection package" will be required in Iraq: quick-reaction combat forces, search and rescue teams, and attack and transport helicopters and strike fighters. These U.S. forces, in turn, will require their own maintenance, logistics, medical, administrative and other support...

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    ...current look at Iraqi forces by Cordesman at CSIS, 30 Nov 06:

    Iraqi Force Development and the Challenge of Civil War: The Critical Problems and Failures the US Must Address if Iraqi Forces Are to Eventually Do the Job
    ...There is no way to summarize Iraqi force development in simple terms, particularly because so much depends in the near term on whether Iraqi efforts at political conciliation, effective governance, and a government presence in the field do or do not succeed. The ISF development effort cannot succeed without major progress in all of these areas, any more than they can succeed without the creation of effective Iraqi forces and Iraqi popular belief that MNF-I forces will leave as soon as possible and Iraq will be truly sovereign.

    The one critical punch line that does emerge from this analysis, however, is that there is no near term prospect that Iraqi force development will allow major reductions in MNF-I forces, and that ISF force development can only succeed if the MNF-I provides active combat support well into 2008 and major advisory and aid support through 2010. Every element of ISF development still requires years of effort and support, and any successful policy towards Iraq that offers serious hope of avoiding massive increases in sectarian and ethnic violence, and continued insurgency, requires an honest recognition of this fact.

    The US can only do more harm to Iraqi force development if it continues to exaggerate Iraqi capability, attempts to expand Iraqi forces even more quickly, and transfers responsibility before Iraqi forces can do the job. As in Afghanistan, the US can only win in Iraq if it is willing to fight a "long war." Rushing Iraqi forces in, and American forces out, is a strategy where "exit" is given far higher priority than success. It may provide a cosmetic rationale to disguise failure and defeat, but not prevent it.

    To put it bluntly, the US government and Department of Defense must stop lying about the true nature of Iraqi readiness and the Iraqi force development. As this report describes in detail, there are many very real successes. The nearly meaningless metrics of success the US has adopted, however, can easily lead the US to choose the wrong options in Iraq, continue to fail to provide adequate resources, and encourage US and allied withdrawals because of political decisions made for the wrong reasons. Like all elements of strategy, Iraqi force development needs to be based on honesty and realism, not "spin," false claims, and political expediency.

  17. #17
    Small Wars Journal SWJED's Avatar
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    Default U.S. Military Shifts Troops in Iraq Into Advisory Roles

    5 December NY Times - U.S. Military Shifts Troops in Iraq Into Advisory Roles by Thom Shanker and Edward Wong.

    American commanders in Iraq are already shifting thousands of combat troops into advisory positions with Iraqi Army and police units, especially in the capital, in their latest attempt to bring sectarian violence under control.

    Changes in troop assignments over just the past three weeks included moving about 1,000 American soldiers in Baghdad from traditional combat roles to serve as trainers and advisers to Iraqi units, senior American officers said in interviews here. Commanders say they believe that a major influx of American advisers can add spine and muscle to Iraqi units that will help them to move into the lead in improving security.

    The troops have been reassigned by commanders, who have not sought additional combat troops to replace them. While the troops have not been through the special program for trainers set up by the military, they are working in their areas of expertise, commanders said.

    American generals in Iraq have made the reassignments in recent weeks even though President Bush and his senior national security advisers have not yet made a formal decision about whether to expand the American contingent sent to Iraq specifically to serve on military training teams.

    Before the transfers began, between 4,000 and 5,000 troops had been assigned to about 400 training teams...

  18. #18
    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Default General Garner's Lament

    As posted on the E Bird:
    "You couldn't have gotten the 10 most brilliant men and women in America to design a way for us to fail in Iraq that would have been any better than what we have done on our own," lamented Garner, whom President Bush dispatched to Iraq to heal the country only to stand aside as Ambassador L. Paul Bremer III gutted the very post-combat pacification program that Garner had gotten the president to approve.
    *"Robustly" train, re-equip with American modern arms rather than Warsaw Pact junk and advise all 120 Iraqi army battalions with American combat veterans rather than neophytes.

    *Assign to each Iraqi battalion 20 to 25 American advisers, all combat tested, from the Army or the Marine Corps. The American advisory team would consist of a lieutenant colonel as its commander; a captain or major experienced in supplying beans and bullets, called a logistician; an artillery forward observer to call in artillery or air support; a radio operator; a medic; a captain and five sergeants with each of the three Iraqi companies in the battalion.

    *Structure the career paths of American advisers so they are rewarded if they make the Iraqi battalion battle ready and penalized if they do not.

    *Once the American advisory team certified the Iraqi battalion was combat ready, it would be inserted with that same battalion in a contested area now occupied by an American battalion. The advisory team would stick with the Iraqi battalion. It would have a quick channel for calling in helicopter gunships, fighter bombers, artillery fire and medical evacuation choppers with minimal delay. Pickup points for the medevacs would be established.

    *The relieved American battalion would stay intact but be redeployed in some nearby peaceful area. The Americans would stay there for several months as a 911 rescue force. If the Iraqi battalion demonstrated it could do the job on its own, the Americans would leave Iraq. "So you have a two-phased redeployment," Garner said. "In the first phase you get the U. S. faces off the street, but they stay in Iraq. In the second phase, they leave Iraq."

    *Gerrymander the parts of the country outside of Baghdad into three regions, drawn up in accordance with referenda asking the citizens the kind of regional government they preferred to live under: Shia, Sunni or Kurd. Each region would have its own governor and para-military force to protect its facilities and citizens. The federal constitution would remain in force but be strengthened to make sure Iraq's oil revenues were apportioned to every area of the country on the basis of population.

    "You're never going to find a leader for Iraq whom everybody is happy with," Garner contended, on the basis of dealing with the Iraqis since 1991 when he was an Army officer protecting the Kurds in Iraq's mountains. "But if you split Iraq into regions whose governments are elected, you'll find leaders everybody coalesces around, like Massoud Barzani up north in Kurdistan."
    Best

    Tom

  19. #19
    Council Member jcustis's Avatar
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    Default Will a bolstered Iraqi Army really be able to do the job?

    I'm all for a surge in forces and increasing our advisory role, but have been a bit more hesitant of late. Getting more Iraqi troops and police online will relieve our burden and is the #1 condition for a phased withdrawal, but then what?

    Has anyone seen analysis that digs into the dynamics of the insurgency, and claims a phased withdrawal will actually result in an reduction of attacks against the government? Put another way, if we are less of a fly in the ointment due to our presence, will some elements of the insurgency put down their arms simply because "the invaders have left"?

    Given our technology, training, and skill sets, why are we having such a difficult time (beyond the simple matter of not enough boots on the ground) resolving the conflict? It's sort of a rhetorical question, and I have referred to Frank Snepp's Decent Interval to highlight the dangers of withdrawal when we probably don't have a solid grasp on what is motivating a bulk of the insurgency, or what the true insurgent capabilities are. And don't say it's AQ, because I'm not buying that in whole.

    If we are having such a tough time, are there policy-makers out there who actually think that the Iraqi security and military apparatus can handle this when we've scaled down? This sort of goes back to a point earlier; are planners assuming that some elements of the insurgency will wane when we are not around?

    EDITED TO ADD: And why is there talk of recommendations for withdrawal when we still haven't decided on the larger political issue of governance (e.g. partitioning). We've jacked things up so bad that I'd love to be a fly on the wall when some DoS representative goes to the Iraqi government and says, "You know guys, the elections and referendums were all great, and we're glad you got some sovereignty back, but you really need to split this country up into three parts." He'd be lucky to escape with his skin, because too many legislators have lost their lives for the hope of a peaceful and united Iraq. I think there will be a substantial amount of emotion (except perhaps with the Kurds) when they begin hearing that we want to dump the contents of the flask out and begin with a new experiment. It is, after all, there country now...right?
    Last edited by jcustis; 12-05-2006 at 02:59 PM.

  20. #20
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    Default

    From Parliamentary Brief, 1 Dec 06: No Law and No Order
    ...There are not enough civilian police advisors to advise the many IPS units. Military Police are backing up the civilians, but they lack the appropriate policing background to appropriately support the community-policing IPS. Similarly, although Italian Carbinieri have been involved in training and advisory roles, the majority of National Police advisers are also US military personnel.

    This reinforces the military nature of National Police training and the combination may preclude the development of a force guided by policing, rather than war-fighting principles.

    A police-focused counterinsurgency effort leverages the law and order aspect of the fight, and emphasises the protection of Iraqi civilians. A military-focused effort drops the bar for internal use of the armed forces, and for the use of military, rather than police tactics in a domestic framework. This can turn the population against the government and government forces which are seen as combatants rather than protectors, and feeds continued fighting....

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