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Old 03-31-2009   #1
SmithDE4
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Default Developing Iraqi Soldiers

Before I began, I need to let you know that I am neither a State Department guru, nor an operator who has frequently trained foreign fighters!

I have trained Iraqi Soldiers on two occassions, and this is meant to provide some very basic understanding of Iraqi culture, and observations of Iraqi Soldier/Officer capabilities to help facilitate future training of Iraqi Army Soldiers.

First, I was a U.S. operations officer assigned to a military transition team (MiTT) at the Division and Battalion levels. I had trained Iraqi Army Soldiers on basic division and battalion level operations and tactical procedures.

The first thing you can do to help yourself is to learn and understand the culture/s, that you are working with. The Iraqi community has several different populations, tribes, religions, and beliefs within the Iraqi Army. Like are Army we have several different cultures religions and beliefs, but with the common understanding and belief in our national interest and goals. Most will tell you that you are a Soldier 24/7. To some degree that is correct, but I attend Catholic mass on Sundays, the Soldier across from me may be southern Baptist, and the man in front of me me be Muslim. With that said we understand that we have a common purpose.

So, first understand the different people in the Iraqi Army, second learn the language or understand as much as you possibly can, and continue to learn more. I constantly kept a book with Arabic, Kurdish, and Turkish words that were not taught in normal training settings. During mission, and training it helped immensly to understand what the hell the Mulasim's (LTs) where saying to there Jundi (Privates).

Third, follow up what your Muterchums (interpretors are saying), you can easily do that by writing down what they say and compare and contrast dialects. I actually had a kurdish COL kick an interpretor out of his office because his Arabic was horrible and he said that I spoke better Arabic than the interpretor. Later after speaking with other interpretors that I had, they confirmed that he was illiterate.

Next, Observe every aspect of their training and functioning in day to day operations and missions. The Iraqi's wake up early take a mid day nap, then get up and work till 10 or 11pm. Usually trying to avoid the heat during the day. Work around their schedule, but you may need to push on occassion depending on your units Battle Rythm.

You may have to develop SOP's from scratch. Hopefully you have a unit which had had an influential MiTT or ODA team that has helped develop SOPs. Most have not created written SOPs.

Basic security task must be practiced and rehearsed, most units had not had any form of consequence management training, so VBIED interdiction, or CASEVAC training, which is always a high priority.

Expect high turn-over rates, if you monitor their pay and ensure that the leadership is not skimming off the top usually this will prevent high turn over. (Physically monitor the Jundi getting paid and follow up any issues).

Lastly, take every opportunity you can to train and prepare key staff elements and Soldiers. There are some very good and very bad Officers and NCOs in the ranks, so make sure that you challenge their leaders to do the right thing and never be affraid to question them, just understand the situation and how to do it.

This was a very rewarding and challenging experience, and you will create friendships and gain an understanding of the Iraqi people that you probably would not have gotten otherwise.

MAJ Donald Smith
ILE 30A
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Old 03-31-2009   #2
davidbfpo
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Default Excellent

Thanks for the quick guide. I know training often appears here as a topic, but cannot recall one on interaction with Iraqi soldiers.

On a seperate point: if you please, you might want to introduce yourself briefly in this thread, in the About Me section of your User CP or here, the Introduction thread: http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...t=1441&page=47.

davidbfpo

Last edited by davidbfpo; 03-31-2009 at 07:15 PM. Reason: Add link and text
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