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Old 08-28-2007   #21
Rob Thornton
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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 01:52 PM.
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Old 08-31-2007   #22
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Mixed marks for Iraqi security forces - LATIMES, 31 Aug.

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The Iraqi National Police will need an overhaul to rid the ranks of sectarian bias, according to an assessment of the Iraqi security forces to be released next week.

The report -- commissioned by Congress and headed by retired Marine Gen. James L. Jones -- gives relatively good marks to the Iraqi army, according to an administration official briefed on the report. It says the army has been well-equipped and -trained and is now conducting operations effectively, the official said.

Its assessment of the police is far more pessimistic. The report suggests starting over with the National Police, possibly by reconfiguring it as a smaller force.

The Iraqi National Police, under the Ministry of Interior, number about 25,000. The report does not recommend such an overhaul of the 325,000 local and provincial police ...
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Old 09-05-2007   #23
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Many Trainees are Complicit with 'Enemy Targets' - Washington Post, 4 Sep.

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The platoon of American soldiers was pinned down in an alley outside the holiest Shiite shrine in western Baghdad's Kadhimiyah neighborhood. Machine-gun fire sprayed from apartment windows and rooftops with a deafening clatter. The troops were 15 yards from their Humvees, but they didn't know if they could survive the dash.

Less than a mile away, a powerful Shiite parliament member stood inside an American military base, in the office of the Iraqi army brigade commander responsible for Kadhimiyah. The Americans had called for Iraqi army backup, but according to the brigade commander and American officers, the lawmaker would help ensure that no assistance arrived from the Iraqis that crucial day.

"No Iraqi army unit, of the 2,700 Iraqi security forces that are in Kadhimiyah, no Iraqi army unit would respond," said Lt. Col. Steven Miska, a deputy brigade commander based in this Shiite enclave of 200,000 people on the western shore of the Tigris River. "It shows you how difficult it is to root out the militia influence when they've got political top-cover."

The two-hour firefight under the golden domes of the Musa al-Kadhim shrine on April 29 left at least eight Iraqis dead. While no Americans were injured, it marked the start of the deterioration of security in Kadhimiyah, once one of Baghdad's safest neighborhoods. It also made plain -- "the first time the complicity was staring us right in the face," as one American soldier put it -- that the Iraqi army's problem in the area was about more than just being under-trained or ill-equipped ...
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Old 10-24-2007   #24
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I actually thought the Iraqi army was getting a bit better but after reading some of the reports here - most of all my optimicism has been crushed .
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Old 11-16-2007   #25
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CSIS, 13 Nov 07:

Fixing Iraq's Internal Security Forces: Why is Reform of the Ministry of the Interior So Hard?
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In September 2007, retired US Marine Corps General Jim Jones led an independent commission to evaluate the state of the Iraqi security forces. His team concluded that:

“The Ministry of Interior is a ministry in name only. It is widely regarded as being dysfunctional and sectarian, and suffers from ineffective leadership. Such fundamental flaws present a serious obstacle to achieving the levels of readiness, capability, and effectiveness in police and border security forces that are essential for internal security and stability in Iraq.”

Given that an effective and law-abiding interior ministry will be critical to Iraq’s future security environment and political evolution, this stark conclusion is disturbing. Moreover, it raises the question of why the heavy Coalition investment in recruiting, training, and equipping the Iraqi civil security forces and advising the Ministry of Interior (MOI) since 2003 has apparently not had a more positive impact.

This paper examines the charge laid out in the Jones report, explains why institution building and reform at the MOI have proved so difficult, and notes flaws in the international capacity building effort that need to be addressed. The central argument is that Iraq’s political dynamics, combined with the unprecedented burdens being placed upon the MOI, will continue to make institutional development and reform terribly difficult. However, assessments such as the Jones report ignore the fact that the ministry is more functional than it may at first appear. Furthermore, there are signs of incipient, MOI-led reforms; these provide hopeful pointers. In order to take advantage of these incipient reforms, the international assistance effort needs to significantly raise its game. If this can be achieved, then, gradually and painfully, the ministry could become a more positive force in Iraqi society. However, even if technical institutional reforms are successful, it will be important to understand that the ministry will reflect Iraq’s political make-up; it cannot stand above national politics.....
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Old 12-08-2007   #26
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GAO, 30 Nov 07: DOD Assessment of Iraqi Security Forces’ Units as Independent Not Clear Because ISF Support Capabilities Are Not Fully Developed
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...Although DOD has, in multiple reports, stated that a certain number of ISF units are either “independent” or “fully independent,” it is unclear how DOD arrived at this determination for three reasons. First, since spring 2006 the process that Coalition transition teams use to assess ISF units does not allow the option of giving a rating of independent or fully independent; according to Multi-National Corps-Iraq’s (MNC-I) Transitional Readiness Assessment Report Implementing Instructions Update, the highest rating any ISF unit can attain is “capable of planning, executing, and sustaining counterinsurgency operations.”8 Second, in each of the reports in which DOD asserts that a certain number of ISF units are independent or fully independent it apparently contradicts this assertion by appending significant qualifiers to the achievement of ISF independence. For example, DOD reported in June 2007 that a certain number of MOD units were either “in the lead with Coalition enablers” or “fully independent” but then added the qualifying statements that fielded MOD forces “often do not get the support they require without substantial Coalition assistance” and “MOD’s continued limited logistics and sustainment capacity is a key hindrance to Iraqi forces’ ability to assume missions from the Coalition.” Third, the MOD and MOI have yet to develop those support capabilities by which they can logistically sustain their forces, effectively command and control their forces, and provide intelligence to their forces—all of which are inherent to independence. As a result of DOD’s lack of clarity, Congress and other decision makers may not obtain a clear picture of the progress of the ISF and whether it is becoming capable of truly conducting its operations independently, i.e., without Coalition assistance and support. Therefore, we recommend that DOD clarify its use of the terms “independent” or “fully independent” as they relate to the assessed capabilities of ISF units, and particularly as they relate to the logistical, command and control, and intelligence capabilities of those units. We also recommend that it clarify the process it uses to make this assessment......
Complete 33 page report at the link.
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Old 12-09-2007   #27
Ron Humphrey
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Post Upon reflection

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Originally Posted by Jedburgh View Post
I am going to read through the entire report, but in so much as my own personal grain of salt that I take everything with I would ask this.

Considering how often we here in US tend to establish metrics to the umteenth degree for accepting anything as complete or finished, wouldn't it already be acceptable to believe that unless every single unit, with every little soldier had every little thing down to the extra pair of shoe laces, That those at the GAO would not consider them independant.

I couldn't say for sure but I'll bet 40 to 50 guys with weapons, leadership, and direction for a operation can be quite effective despite not having their complete standard issue.

From my own mil history I honestly remember almost never having everything I was supposed to , yet somehow I got the job done and so did others around me.

I for one will take what the commander on the ground tells me about their capabilities before I necessarily rely on check the bloc stuff from folks who aren't there.

Just another take on it...
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Old 12-09-2007   #28
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Quote:
I actually thought the Iraqi army was getting a bit better but after reading some of the reports here - most of all my optimicism has been crushed
Not yet. A lot of these reports are old. I've been attached to an IA battalion for about a week now, and the IA are pretty good to go. The biggest problem is, of course, logistics and outfitting. But they're getting by. They're not starving or running out of ammo, and more often than not they have fuel. The differences in how they operate and how we operate are strictly superficial. What an American sees as "wrong" is not necessarily wrong, it's just not how we would do things.

Best of all they are motivated as hell. They've got a pretty brutal operational tempo, in my opinion, and are handling it just fine. I wouldn't want to go up against these guys, and I feel very secure patrolling with them every day.

I'll have to let you know what I think of the IP when I have more contact with them. I live/hang out with the IA so I'm getting more exposure to them. All I've seen of the IP are their positions and occasionally a patrol.
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Old 12-09-2007   #29
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Not yet. A lot of these reports are old. I've been attached to an IA battalion for about a week now, and the IA are pretty good to go. The biggest problem is, of course, logistics and outfitting. But they're getting by. They're not starving or running out of ammo, and more often than not they have fuel. The differences in how they operate and how we operate are strictly superficial. What an American sees as "wrong" is not necessarily wrong, it's just not how we would do things.
Interesting insight. What's the level of ethnic/religious integration in your unit, and how does that relate to their area of deployment and primary targets? (In other words, does the motivation stem from a predominately Shi'ite or Kurdish unit operating in/against primarily Sunni targets, or does it appear to have gelled as a "national" military unit?)

If you can comment at all, you might prefer to do so in an email or PM.
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Old 01-17-2008   #30
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17 Jan 08 HASC testimony of LTG James Dubik, Cdr MNSTC-I, on Iraqi Security Forces.
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....Just one final word about perspective here, if I may. When I was in command out at Fort Lewis, I was tasked to grow three Stryker Brigades. I encountered four main problems in doing so. It’s hard to produce leaders as fast as you stand up a unit. It’s hard to synchronize arrival of those leaders with soldiers. It’s hard to synchronize the training of those soldiers with the delivery of their equipment. And it’s a whole lot easier to build units than it is to build bases.....
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Old 01-22-2008   #31
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Out of curiosity, does anyone know of any effort by the US and host nation to arm, train and supply communities of the internally displaced and minorities? With a pool of some 2 million people who voted with their feet not to participate in the insurgency, seems a bit of a waste to wait for some number of enterprising sheikhs to make good on the idea first.

Last edited by Presley Cannady; 01-22-2008 at 03:32 PM.
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Old 01-22-2008   #32
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Originally Posted by Presley Cannady
Out of curiosity, does anyone know of any effort by the US and host nation to arm, train and supply communities of internally isplaced persons? With a pool of some 2 million people who footed with their feet not to participate in the insurgency, seems a bit of a waste to wait for some number of enterprising sheikhs to make good on the idea first.
I don't believe that you can categorize the majority of IDPs as "voting with their feet not to participate in the insurgency". Most are simply families who were forced out of where they orginally lived by one sectarian militia or the other - or fled due to the violence brought down upon them by the presence of insurgents or foreign terrorists in their midst. If the violence had not come home to them, they were actually less likely to end up as members of any one of the spectrum of armed organizations that make up the insurgency.

The majority of unemployed unattached males of military age among the IDPs have already chosen to either serve with one of the opposition militias or with the ISF. Recruiting efforts for the ISF certainly reaches these people, although I can't state how effective it is. But I don't see the wisdom of recruiting, arming and training a militia made up solely of IDPs. Those who wish to exact revenge for their plight have already joined the opposing militia (more emotionally satisfying than ISF duty) - establishing such an entity under government sponsorship would appear to be counterproductive.
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Old 01-22-2008   #33
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Originally Posted by Jedburgh View Post
I don't believe that you can categorize the majority of IDPs as "voting with their feet not to participate in the insurgency". Most are simply families who were forced out of where they orginally lived by one sectarian militia or the other - or fled due to the violence brought down upon them by the presence of insurgents or foreign terrorists in their midst. If the violence had not come home to them, they were actually less likely to end up as members of any one of the spectrum of armed organizations that make up the insurgency.
No argument here.

Quote:
The majority of unemployed unattached males of military age among the IDPs have already chosen to either serve with one of the opposition militias or with the ISF. Recruiting efforts for the ISF certainly reaches these people, although I can't state how effective it is. But I don't see the wisdom of recruiting, arming and training a militia made up solely of IDPs. Those who wish to exact revenge for their plight have already joined the opposing militia (more emotionally satisfying than ISF duty) - establishing such an entity under government sponsorship would appear to be counterproductive.
As I understand it, their choices are to fight for revenge wherever their militias ranges, to fight for the central authority where Baghdad chooses, or fight for spots in camps for the displaced. With the ISF, they can hope to remain in the same governorate for a long period of time, although this doesn't seem to me a guarantee that they'll ever play a part in retaking their homes and communities. With the militias, they can hope for the chance that regional will see things their way and make a stand against the opposing insurgents who forced them out in the first place--and that's only if the group they sign up with has the muscle to bring about that day. Given the anemic state of the provincial police forces, isn't there a fourth option available for these IDPs? Are there enough able bodies to organize municipal militias under the the national flag to return and push back the invaders?
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Old 01-29-2008   #34
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Hey All,
Its been a while since I've been in SWJ...I promise to do a better job!

I've been doing some reading on how we organized our "Ministry of Defense" before, during and after WWII. When you look at the amount of time it took to get the DoD to where its (semi) functional, its almost no wonder there are so many issues trying to get the Iraqi ministries up to speed. Throw in the fact that after living under a dictatorship for decades, you are trying to overcome numerous obstacles. As good as our SF teams are, there really aren't any military units trained to get ministries up to speed. Heck, where are they in the federal government?

That being said, while you are seeing on the ground improvements at the IA battalion and BDE levels, until you get the ministries both functional and effective, its still a band-aid solution.
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Old 05-28-2008   #35
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CSIS, 28 May 08: Iraqi Force Development 2008
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The Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) remain very much a work in progress, and MNF-I reporting continues to sharply exaggerate the real-world readiness of Iraqi Army units, and the ability of the ISF to takeover security responsibility in given governorates. Congress and outside observers, however, need to recognize that very real progress is being made and that the exaggerations and flaws in MNF-I and US government reporting do not mean that the ISF cannot steadily reduce the need for US and allied forces over time. The development of the ISF faces a number of uncertainties:

Battle of Basra: The poor performance of some elements of the ISF in Basra should come as no surprise. Even the most capable force needs adequate preparation and planning.....

Performance outside Basra and in Baghdad: The ISF performed better in smaller operations outside of Basra in southern Iraq. The ISF did not, however, initially perform well in Baghdad, particularly in Sadr City. Only US forces were ready to deal with the threat posed by the Mahdi Army (JAM).....

The Battle of Mosul: The city of Mosul, and parts of Ninewah province, are the last major stronghold of AQI. There are relatively few US forces located in Mosul, and operations to destroy this stronghold are being led largely by the ISF. There are also almost no Sons of Iraq groups in Mosul, so the IA and IP must face AQI largely by themselves. Progress in launching the battle was slow although AQI remained on the defensive.....

Localization of Security in the forces of the MoD and the MoI: The regular Iraqi armed forces seem to be gradually becoming a more national force, with fewer highly Kurdish and Shi‘ite elements, and fewer problems with Sunni officers. This progress, however, is slow and uncertain. No such progress is taking place in the regular police.....

Iraqi Police Force: Progress in developing the IP is extremely uncertain. There has been little useful official reporting on the progress of the Iraqi Police Force.....

Slow Progress in the Local Rule of Law: There has been some progress at the highest levels in establishing courts and some rule of law. Yet the central government lacks an effective presence in many areas, and the criminal justice and courts system is unable to support the police.....

National Police: Until 2007, the National Police acted largely as a Shi‘ite force within the MOI, and were responsible for much sectarian violence against Sunnis. Far from being a central-government run nationwide police force, they more often resembled a government funded tool of sectarian intimidation. MNF-I instituted a massive reform program in the NP in 2007.....

Sons of Iraq: This large mostly Sunni and tribal force is supposed to be temporary, and the ultimate destination of the over 90,000 men in these units is a major uncertainty. While MNSTC-I believes that 20-25% of the Sons of Iraq will be absorbed into the ISFii, progress has been slow in this area. What will become of the other 75-80% of these heavily armed men, accustomed to their relatively high salaries, is also a major concern....

Political and militia influence in the ISF: The "competition among ethnic and sectarian communities" that Gen. Petraeus believes is at the heart of conflict in Iraq includes the struggle for control of the MOD and MOI.....

Intelligence: Iraq‘s intelligence apparatus remains divided between a CIA-supported "official" agency (the Iraqi National Intelligence Service or INIS) and a Shi‘ite-run agency (under the auspices of the minister of state for national security, Shirwan al-Waely).....

Provincial Powers Law: The balance of power between the central and Provincial governments remains undecided. How power shifts between the provinces and Baghdad will affect the ISF is also unclear.....

Equipment and Logistics: The ISF has made significant progress in the areas of logistics and equipping forces in the field. However, many units, especially in the IP, remain critically short of equipment.....

Metrics: MNF-I and the GOI continue to provide misleading and optimistic public reporting and metrics on ISF performance. The ISF is making progress in many areas, but MNF-I and GOI reporting and metrics sharply understate the real-world timelines and efforts needed to deal with problems and delays in shaping credible force plans, getting proper training facilities and throughput, embedding competent advisors, providing effective equipment, getting competent Iraqi leaders and force retention, and dealing with ethnic and sectarian issues. Official reporting on the MOI and the IP in particular is extremely misleading.
Complete 71 page paper at the link.
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Old 09-17-2008   #36
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CSIS, 11 Sep 08: How Soon is Safe? Iraqi Force Development and Conditions-Based US Withdrawals
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No one can be certain whether setting a timeframe for US withdrawals that ends in 2011 will lead to instability in Iraq, or that such a timeline will lead the US to hand over responsibility to Iraqi Security Forces before they are able to do the job. There also is nothing wrong with setting broad goals for withdrawing US forces from Iraq. The US wants to leave as soon as this is feasible, and at least since 2004, Iraq's Kurds have been the only group in Iraq that showed a consistent desire for the US to stay.

It also is impossible to be certain that the risks of early withdrawal will really be greater than the risks of trying to stay longer than Iraqi politics permit. There are good reasons to extend the US military and advisory presence at steadily diminishing levels until Iraq has developed security forces that are fully ready to take over key missions without US support, and Iraq has achieved a greater degree of stability.

It is at least possible that setting early timelines will force Iraqis to move towards political accommodation, to take hard decisions, and to develop security forces that are more effective. In fact, if all goes well in Iraq, deadlines like 2011 may prove practical – particularly if such deadlines do not preclude a large number of US military advisors. Moreover, the US ―occupation‖ is so controversial and unpopular that the cost of staying long enough to do every job right could be far higher in terms of Iraqi resentment and political backlash than the security benefits would be worth.

At the same time, it is not a good idea to bet a country -- and the outcome of a war -- on the strategic equivalent of filling an inside straight. Political rhetoric often makes such "bets on the outcome;" it also often loses the bet. Iraq still faces a large number of risks and problems where a US military presence does more to stabilize the situation than destabilize it, and where both Iraqi and US leaders will need to be careful and realistic about how quickly they can move......
Complete 166-page document at the link.
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