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Old 02-02-2007   #1
tequila
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Default JAM infiltration of Iraqi Army?

We've read a lot about Shia militia infiltration of the Iraqi police and Interior Ministry security forces, but most reports seem to emphasize that the Iraqi Army is more professional. This report from Baghdad seems to indicate otherwise:
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U.S. Army commanders and enlisted men who are patrolling east Baghdad, which is home to more than half the city's population and the front line of al-Sadr's campaign to drive rival Sunni Muslims from their homes and neighborhoods, said al-Sadr's militias had heavily infiltrated the Iraqi police and army units that they've trained and armed.

"Half of them are JAM. They'll wave at us during the day and shoot at us during the night," said 1st Lt. Dan Quinn, a platoon leader in the Army's 1st Infantry Division, using the initials of the militia's Arabic name, Jaish al Mahdi. "People (in America) think it's bad, but that we control the city. That's not the way it is. They control it, and they let us drive around. It's hostile territory."

...

Al-Sadr's gunmen got another boost in 2005 and 2006 when American commanders handed over many Baghdad neighborhoods east of the Tigris River to Iraqi units, transitions that often were accompanied by news releases that contained variations of the phrase "Iraqis in the lead."

"There's been a lot of push to transition to Iraqis so you can show progress, but have you secured the area?" said Capt. Aaron Kaufman, a Washington, Iowa, native who works for a unit that acts as a liaison between U.S. and Iraqi forces in the Shiite enclave of Kadhamiya, across the river from east Baghdad. "I think the political pressure has hurt. ... You're wishing away, you're assuming away enemy activity, and you hurt yourself doing that."

In hindsight, many American officers said there was too much pressure to give Iraqi army units their own areas of operation, a process that left Iraqi soldiers outmanned, outgunned and easy targets for infiltration and coercion.

...

Iraqi soldiers, for example, often were pushed into the field by Iraqi commanders who didn't give them adequate food, clothing or shelter, said Etienne, a 1st Infantry Division platoon leader.

Etienne was on patrol one day when he saw Iraqi soldiers eating fresh vegetables and meat. The afternoon before, the same soldiers had complained that they had only scraps of food left. Who'd brought them their meal? It had come courtesy of Muqtada al-Sadr.

"Who's feeding the Iraqi army? Nobody. So JAM will come around and give them food and water," Etienne said. "We try to capture hearts and minds, well, JAM has done that. They're further along than us."

There's been ample evidence - despite claims to the contrary by American and Iraqi officials - that the death-squad activity isn't isolated to a few troops loyal to al-Sadr.

In the southeastern Baghdad neighborhood of Zafrainyah, an entire national police brigade was sent to be retrained last year- and much of its leadership was replaced - after its officers kidnapped 24 Sunnis, took them to a meat-processing plant and killed them.

Last month, four members of a neighborhood council in Etienne's sector - a mixed Sunni-Shiite area that abuts an al-Sadr stronghold - were leaving a meeting when national police trucks pulled up and men in Iraqi military uniforms piled out.
They grabbed the four men in broad daylight. One of the council members struggled. He was shot in the head and left to die on the street.

The remaining three were blindfolded and driven to a house. One of the four, a Shiite, listened as his two Sunni colleagues begged for their lives between beatings.

"They were pistol-whipping them and kicking them," Etienne said. "Finally, he heard the sound of a drill."

When the man's blindfold was taken off, he found that he was covered with the blood of his two friends, who were slumped over dead with drill holes in their heads.

"It was (al-Sadr's militia). They were trying to figure out who's who, and killing Sunnis," Etienne said. "They borrowed the vehicles from their friends in the Iraqi army and police who are Mahdi-affiliated."

...

A soldier with a U.S. Army tactical human-intelligence team - who goes only by his last name, Brady, because of the sensitivity of his work - gathered a group of Sunni men to ask about neighborhood security.

One of the men, who said his name was Abbas al Dulaimi, asked, "When the Mahdi Army comes here, why does the Iraqi army help them shoot people?"

"I was behind a car at the checkpoint on the bridge. I saw an Iraqi army soldier open the trunk," said another man, who gave only his first name, Ahmed. "There were two men in there. The driver showed the soldier his Mahdi Army ID, and the soldier saluted him and let him drive away."

Brady didn't contradict any of the accounts. He took careful notes, shaking his head sympathetically at their stories of an Iraqi army gone astray.

He handed out a business card with a cell phone number to call in case of another Mahdi Army attack.

"We will send Iraqi army units that we trust," Brady said.

Abbas al Dulaimi stared at Brady, a blond man sitting in a circle of Iraqis, and spoke as if he were explaining something to a child.

"But if the Mahdi Army comes in here," Abbas al Dulaimi said, "they will come with the support of the Iraqi army."
Brady didn't contradict him.
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Old 02-03-2007   #2
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It is hardly surprising to see the Iraqi Army reflect the population from which it is drawn.

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Old 02-13-2007   #3
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Default 'The militias are embedded in everything'

how can the gen. Petraeus's team deal with that?
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Old 02-13-2007   #4
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Interesting question Rom, although it would help if you went into a bit more detail.

I haven't read much of anything about Gen Petraeus' particular approach to the current situation in Iraq, but your question does have merit when one wonders...What guidance will he give to subordinate commanders with regard to the vetting process for Army and Police new joins? Will that matter be left up to discussions between DoS and the sovereign government of Iraq? Can we expect to see things turned inside out and start anew?

Even if things are not headed in the best direction, there is still a lot of inertia out there, posing difficulties for the leaders at the helm to make course corrections.
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Old 02-13-2007   #5
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I think a good example of what rom is talking about is here.

Quote:
U.S. Army commanders and enlisted men who are patrolling east Baghdad, which is home to more than half the city's population and the front line of al-Sadr's campaign to drive rival Sunni Muslims from their homes and neighborhoods, said al-Sadr's militias had heavily infiltrated the Iraqi police and army units that they've trained and armed.

"Half of them are JAM. They'll wave at us during the day and shoot at us during the night," said 1st Lt. Dan Quinn, a platoon leader in the Army's 1st Infantry Division, using the initials of the militia's Arabic name, Jaish al Mahdi. "People (in America) think it's bad, but that we control the city. That's not the way it is. They control it, and they let us drive around. It's hostile territory."

The Bush administration's plan to secure Baghdad rests on a "surge" of some 17,000 more U.S. troops to the city, many of whom will operate from small bases throughout Baghdad. Those soldiers will work to improve Iraqi security units so that American forces can hand over control of the area and withdraw to the outskirts of the city.

The problem, many soldiers said, is that the approach has been tried before and resulted only in strengthening al-Sadr and his militia.

Amid recurring reports that al-Sadr is telling his militia leaders to stash their arms and, in some cases, leave their neighborhoods during the American push, U.S. soldiers worry that the latest plan could end up handing over those areas to units that are close to al-Sadr's militant Shiite group.

"All the Shiites have to do is tell everyone to lay low, wait for the Americans to leave, then when they leave you have a target list and within a day they'll kill every Sunni leader in the country. It'll be called the `Day of Death' or something like that," said 1st Lt. Alain Etienne, 34, of Brooklyn, N.Y. "They say, `Wait, and we will be victorious.' That's what they preach. And it will be their victory."

Quinn agreed.

"Honestly, within six months of us leaving, the way Iranian clerics run the country behind the scenes, it'll be the same way here with Sadr," said Quinn, 25, of Cleveland. "He already runs our side of the river."

...

Al-Sadr's success in infiltrating Iraqi security forces says much about the continued inability of American commanders in Iraq to counter the classic insurgent tactic of using popular support to trump superior military firepower. Lacking attack helicopters and other sophisticated weapons, al-Sadr's men have expanded their empire with borrowed trucks and free lunches for militiamen.

After U.S. units pounded al-Sadr's men in August 2004, the cleric apparently decided that instead of facing American tanks, he'd use the Americans' plans to build Iraqi security forces to rebuild his own militia.

So while Iraq's other main Shiite militia, the Badr Brigade, concentrated in 2005 on packing Iraqi intelligence bureaus with high-level officers who could coordinate sectarian assassinations, al-Sadr went after the rank and file.

His recruits began flooding into the Iraqi army and police, receiving training, uniforms and equipment either directly from the U.S. military or from the American-backed Iraqi Defense Ministry.

...

Etienne was on patrol one day when he saw Iraqi soldiers eating fresh vegetables and meat. The afternoon before, the same soldiers had complained that they had only scraps of food left. Who'd brought them their meal? It had come courtesy of Muqtada al-Sadr.

"Who's feeding the Iraqi army? Nobody. So JAM will come around and give them food and water," Etienne said. "We try to capture hearts and minds, well, JAM has done that. They're further along than us."

There's been ample evidence - despite claims to the contrary by American and Iraqi officials - that the death-squad activity isn't isolated to a few troops loyal to al-Sadr.

In the southeastern Baghdad neighborhood of Zafrainyah, an entire national police brigade was sent to be retrained last year- and much of its leadership was replaced - after its officers kidnapped 24 Sunnis, took them to a meat-processing plant and killed them.

Last month, four members of a neighborhood council in Etienne's sector - a mixed Sunni-Shiite area that abuts an al-Sadr stronghold - were leaving a meeting when national police trucks pulled up and men in Iraqi military uniforms piled out.

They grabbed the four men in broad daylight. One of the council members struggled. He was shot in the head and left to die on the street.

The remaining three were blindfolded and driven to a house. One of the four, a Shiite, listened as his two Sunni colleagues begged for their lives between beatings.

"They were pistol-whipping them and kicking them," Etienne said. "Finally, he heard the sound of a drill."

When the man's blindfold was taken off, he found that he was covered with the blood of his two friends, who were slumped over dead with drill holes in their heads.

"It was (al-Sadr's militia). They were trying to figure out who's who, and killing Sunnis," Etienne said. "They borrowed the vehicles from their friends in the Iraqi army and police who are Mahdi-affiliated."
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Old 03-28-2007   #6
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Angry Iraqi Police as Death Squads



From the news over the weekend, a SVIED loaded with between 7K-10K of HE went off, killing and injuring 220+ Iraqis. (With 3.5 - 5 tons of HE, that would be expected.)

Shiite policemen went on an off-duty rampage, killing 60+ Sunni's in revenge for an earlier attack that killed a number of Shi'ites.

How/why do we referee this? Perhaps back our forces off to secure Kurdistan and wait for the carnage to the south to complete before returning?

Regards,

Hugh
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Old 03-28-2007   #7
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Default Soldiers Doubtful in Iraq

This story puts a slightly different twist on things.

http://www.military.com/NewsContent/...topstories.RSS

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BAGHDAD, Iraq - Soldiers spearheading the increase in U.S. forces in Baghdad are papering car windows and storefronts with purple stickers listing telephone numbers and an e-mail address where Iraqis can send intelligence tips to help stop the violence.

U.S. officials have urged Iraqis to be patient and have cautioned that the new security operation could take months to show results. That's a hard message to swallow for Iraqis who have endured years of violence - including a triple car-bombing Monday that killed at least 78 people in the heart of the capital.

Soldiers from the Army's 1st Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment converged this week on a religiously mixed north Baghdad neighborhood of auto parts stores and "chop shops" that Iraqi commanders believed was used to rig deadly car bombs.
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Old 03-30-2007   #8
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It takes a lot of anger to muster up this type of revenge and revenge is a dish best served cold. All I can tell you is that a sh*tload of Muslims have been killed since 11-Sep-01. And that is a fact. I wonder how many of the dead and maimed were dancing in the streets on that day and didn't have a clue.

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"I used to get a big kick out of saving people's lives. Now I wonder what the hell's the point, since they all have to die anyway."
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Old 03-30-2007   #9
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Default On The Fringe In The Civilian Sector

-some are saying scorch their earth (energy production and infrastructure), leave them nothing useable and pull out as fast as we went in and let them bomb themselves back to the real stone age, use the money saved to bolster Jordan and the Kurds and prep for an assault on Iran. I'm not in that crowd but that line of thinking doesn't turn my stomach either. I like what Stan posted and I blame most of the bombings on Iranian agents. That's my .02 worth anyway.
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