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Thread: Iraqi Troops: The Thin Iraqi Line

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  1. #18
    Council Member Rob Thornton's Avatar
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    First a couple of corrections to the LA Times article - Its not LTC Twitty, but COL Twitty; its not a BKC, but a PKC and Wathiq is not an IP (Iraqi Police) SGM, but the IP General over all IP forces in Mosul.

    You also have to understand there is a difference in the IP and IA in terms of how they are structured and how they are supplied. IA get their supplies from MOD (Ministry of Defense), the IP get their supplies through the MOI (Ministry of Interior). This is fundamental to the problem.

    The AIF understand that the IP are poorly equipped and paid less then the IA. As such they are a more tempting target and routinely are out-gunned and out manned. IP stations often are the primary targets of assaults and VBIEDs. Where the IA have some up armored HMMWVs mostly LVL II 998s and 1025s (but they are starting to get some 1114s), and are outfitted, organized and paid better, the IPs mostly have Ford or Chevy PUs with minimal, homespun ballistic protection.

    I disagree with the admiral's observation, IMHO I don't think he understands the situation on the ground at every single location throughout Iraq - this is a staff problem of not being able to effectively communicate problems and needs so that the ADM can take action and influence his Iraqi peers to rectify deficiencies. I dealt with this allot trying to get M76 rifles and Ammunition so that the IA could conduct sniper overwatches of Tier 1 IED sites and counter sniper operations. You have to explain the rational as though the person who approves what should already be there by MTO&E is a million miles away, because if you are in Mosul and they are in Baghdad, that is often the case.

    However, for all they lack I have some some incredible acts of bravery and some major scores by the IPs in Mosul - often my IA counterparts and I would lament over the IPs situation. I'd also add that while the IA have dedicated TTs that offer more thorough coverage, COL Twitty's BCT (when I left in MAR) did not have the resources to provide the same level of coverage to the IPs. This is important because unless you have some dedicated TT members who can identify and articulate the problem (hopefully the type of staff work that IDs a potential problem before it becomes a show-stopper) so that it gets up the CoC and is understood and addressed, you wind up with no clear cause and effect that allows you to fix shortfalls in performance.

    I'd say the IPs and IA I know in Mosul are further beyond the tribal loyalties we typically generalize them to be - however, tribal society is a fact of life in the Middle East. The more senior IA and IP officers I knew want and understand the need for a stronger central government in Iraq - this went for Arab & Kurd) - because they have a grasp of regional politics. The few I knew who did not and pursued their own agenda were asked to retire.

    With the IA its a little different. These guys are aggressive in going after AIF. I absolutely mean that. COL Twitty remarks about the drawdown of CF forces in Mosul - the IA can be credited with that. It really started about the time we got them up-armored HMMWVs, started evacuating them to our CSH, and got them some good training - much of this can be credited to the efforts of the BCTs and TTs in Mosul, but some credit should go to the MOD generals who came down and interviewed IA BN CDRs, TT members, CF partners and went out on patrols.

    The biggest problem here is CL IX flow and major end item replacement. Since the IA are more aggressive, they are taking more casualties and more of their hMMWVs are being blown up and not repaired. Creating a LOG system in the middle of a war is hard work.

    The IA and IP do many of the same tasks, but they are controlled by different ministries. MOD does a better job of meeting the needs of the war Iraq is in. Somehow the wall that separates the 2 ministries needs to be breached until such a time that the Army can do Army missions, and the IP police missions - until then, they are both doing kind of a para-military mission to combat the gamut of terrorists, insurgents and organized crime (and I might add in foreign support and interests). Take a look at the article in VOL 8 I did up about building Indig Sec Forces - I tried to explain in more depth the challenges faced by the Iraqis there. I'd also add that at least some of the IA and IP BNs/BDEs, and stations have established relationships with their counterparts to provide support.

    COL Twitty nails the problem - until ISF can conduct continuous operations independent of CF assistance, our presence will be what sees them through the rough spots. The biggest hurdles to realizing this are 1) bringing the IPs up to the standard of the IA in terms of effectiveness - which means better equipment, better pay, better training and more advisers; 2) Establishing a LOG system for all ISF which allows them to anticipate their needs and support an operational tempo which allows them to retain the initiative.

    Hope that clarifies things some, Best Regards, Rob
    Last edited by Rob Thornton; 08-28-2007 at 12:52 PM.

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