Withdrawal from Iraq: Assessing the Readiness of Iraqi Security Forces

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CSIS, 2009 - History - 208 pages
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Iraq and the United States face a critical transition through 2011 and beyond. The awkward reality is that an Iraqi-U.S. failure to properly manage the U.S. withdrawal and the creation of effective Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) is as serious a threat to Iraq's future stability and security as any internal or external threat. Realism is a key to future success. The improvement in ISF capabilities is very real, and Iraqi forces are experiencing growing success in combat. But they are still very much a work in progress, and many Iraqi and U.S. politicians still seem unaware of how much remains to be done. U.S. forces play a critical role in developing the effectiveness of the ISF, providing stability in areas with deep sectarian and ethnic tensions and helping Iraq achieve political accommodation and more effective governance.Through detailed analyses of Iraqi force capabilities, augmented by on-site interviews with U.S. and Iraqi military officials, the authors conclude that the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq needs to be “conditions-based,” not tied to political timelines. Both Iraqi and U.S. leaders need to be careful about exaggerating Iraqi capabilities and the speed with which the United States can safely withdraw its forces and advisory teams. Conditions for success include realistic and fully resourced plans for the ISF's development; candid and accurate measures of ISF capabilities; and careful assessments of the overall level of security, stability, and political accommodation in Iraq.After years of destructive conflict, Iraq now has the chance, however tenuous, to become a stable and prosperous country. The United States, say the authors, will be judged far more by the way it leaves Iraq and what it leaves behind than by the way it entered and how it fought the counterinsurgency campaign.
  

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Contents

The Past as Prologue and the Lessons to Date
1
US versus Iraqi Force Levels
2
The Matter of Resources
7
Total ISFF Spending
12
Lessons for the Future
14
The Battle for Basra the South and Baghdad
18
The Government Offensive in March 2008
21
ISF Performance in the Battle for Basra
24
6 Sectarian and Ethnic Issues and the Problem of Local Control
121
KurdishArab Tensions
123
Kurdish Forces
126
A Key Challenge to the MoI and the Iraqi Police
131
Incorporation of Sunnis into the ISF
132
The ISF and the ReBaathification Law
133
The Iraqi Army
134
Force Levels in 2009
136

Loyalty and Desertions
25
Planning
27
Logistics and Support
29
The Battle for Sadr City
30
The Battle for Mosul
31
The Battle for Diyala
32
National Unity Political Accommodation and Governance The Ability to Hold and Build
34
Progress and NonProgress toward Political Accommodation
36
The Legacy of Legislative Issues and Benchmarks
37
The Impact of Political Tensions
40
Unemployment Underemployment and the ISF
42
Critical Elections and the Real Meaning of Political Legitimacy
44
The Sadrist Movement and the JAM
45
The Continuing Threat from AQI and Sunni Extremists
48
The Transfer of Power and Security to Iraqi Control
49
The Uncertain Rate of Past and Future Transfers of Provinces to the Iraqi Government
50
ProvincebyProvince Stability and Security in Late 2008
55
Regional and Provincial Security in the Spring of 2009
63
Transfers of Bases
67
Governance Services Investment and the Rule of Law
68
4 Force Development at the Ministerial Level
71
Ministry of Interior
79
MoIMoD Cooperation
90
Interagency and Interministerial Intelligence
91
The Joint Headquarters M2 Directorate for Intelligence and the Directorate General for Intelligence and Security DGIS
92
Institutional Interaction
93
The Way Ahead
95
Transition to Iraqi Funding and the National Budget Crisis
96
Problems in Budget Execution
98
Future Progress and the Need for Continued Aid
102
5 Crosscutting Challenges Affecting All Iraqi Forces
104
The Human Factors Aspect of Force Expansion
105
The RealWorld Manpower Situation
109
Problems with Weapons Procurement
114
Problems with Training Facilities Logistics and Sustainability
118
Prospects for Future Force Expansion
139
Manpower Totals and Leadership Issues
141
Problems in Leadership
142
Problems in the Training Cycle
143
Issues Involving US Advisers
144
Operational Competence Is Increasing But
146
Still Dependent on US Support
147
Iraqi Army Sustainability
149
Expanding the Iraqi Air Force and Navy
151
The Current State of Iraqi Air Force Development
152
Iraqi Air Force Development after 2009
156
The Iraqi Navy
157
Looking Beyond 2009
162
Expanding the Regular Iraqi Police
163
Uncertain Manning Quantity and Quality
166
Leadership Problems
168
Shifting toward Conventional Policing
170
10 The National Police
172
Manning Levels and Combat Readiness
173
Force Structure and Force Expansion
174
A Still Uncertain Future
176
11 Other Security Forces
177
Iraqi Special Operations Forces ISOF
179
Directorate of Border Enforcement DBE and Ports of Entry Directorate PoED
181
Oil Police OP
182
Facilities Protection Services FPS
183
The Criminal Justice System
184
12 The Sons of Iraq Awakening or Sahwa Councils
193
The Challenges Posed by the Sons of Iraq
196
Transferring the Sons of Iraq to the ISF and to Regular Jobs or
198
Phasing Them Out? The Growing Role of the Awakening Movement in Iraqi Politics
202
The Broader Challenge Posed by Iraqs Young Men
203
13 Conclusions
204
About the Authors
208
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About the author (2009)

Anthony H. Cordesman holds the Arleigh A. Burke Chair in Strategy at CSIS. He is also a national security analyst for ABC News and a frequent commentator on National Public Radio and the BBC. His many books include Winning in Afghanistan: Creating Effective Afghan Security Forces (CSIS, 2009), Iraq's Insurgency and the Road to Civil Conflict (Praeger, 2007), and Iraqi force Development: Conditions of Sucess, Consequences of Failure (CSIS, 2007). Adam Mausner is program coordinator and research assistant for the Burke Chair at CSIS and coauthor of Winning in Afghanistan and Iraqi Force Development

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