July 28, 2005


Activating Iraqi forces (Anthony H. Cordesman, Jul 28, 2005, UPI)

The United States and its allied coalition may have made serious mistakes in developing Iraqi forces in the past, but a recent trip to Iraq indicates that it is now beginning to have far more success.

If current plans are successfully implemented the total number of Iraqi military, regular police, and police units that can honestly be described as \"trained and equipped\" should rise from 96,000 in September 2004, and 172,000 today, to 230,000 forces by the end of December of 2005, and 270,000 by mid-2006.

The December total could be a bit lower due to the extension of the police basic course from eight to 10 weeks, one of several initiatives to raise the quality of the police and military forces.

There will be a good balance of military, regular police, and police units. Plans call for about 85,000 military in the Iraqi Ministry of Defense by December, and 145,000 special police and police in the Iraqi Ministry of the Interior.

The 85,000 in the military will include about 83,000 in the army (including the \"national\" forces originally envisioned, along with the former National Guard; also including combat support, service support and training units). The remaining manpower will include the special operations forces and the air force and navy.

About 100,000 of the Interior Ministry personnel will be station/traffic/patrol police; in addition, nearly 20,000 more will be in the special police and the emergency response unit. The remainder covers the border forces, the highway patrol and dignitary protection. By June 2006, the total number in the Iraqi Security Forces (military, regular police and police units) will go to about 270,000. The Defense Ministry will have about 90,000, and the Interior Ministry will have about 180,000 -- provided that there is no change in the currently planned level of regular police.

Included in the numbers of individuals trained and equipped will be significant numbers of combat battalions. In July 2004, just after the Iraqi resumption of sovereignty, neither the Iraqi military nor the Iraqi police had any battalions that could be deployed nationally. Under current plans, the numbers of combat battalions in the Defense Ministry will total around 106 by December of this year.

On top of this, Iraq will have 35 brigade and 10 division headquarters providing command and control of Defense Ministry forces.

Mr. Cordesman is generally skeptical on such matters, so this bodes well.

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 28, 2005 9:07 PM

To begin with, we do not equip our client states with everything they need to constitute an effective force. We retain direct control over the good stuff. Unless we are getting ready for an ignominious bugout, we should be thinking about getting out of Iraq about the time we get out of Korea.

Notice that the article mentions bde and division HQ's. The good stuff--the stuff that involves national capabilities--mostly comes in at higher echelons.

Posted by: Lou Gots at July 29, 2005 5:53 AM

I vote for bugout, after declaring victory. I hope its not considered ignominious, but a strategic withdrawal nonetheless. The shi'ite majority (as well as the Kurds) will have adequate resources to defend their new state(s). I'll just assume the Sunni's already have enough to accomplish what they want.

We should already be out of Korea, just like we are out of the Phillipines.

Posted by: h-man at July 29, 2005 8:51 AM

Sounds good to me. Let's pull out by say May, 2006. Ok to keep a base or 2 or 3 for "future purposes" but nothing in a city.

Posted by: Bob at July 29, 2005 11:01 AM

Hey! Look at that! A sizeable Iraqi military. Just in time to help clean up that big mess in Syria.

Posted by: H.D. Miller at July 29, 2005 11:58 AM

Cordesman is the perfect news commentator, always on all sides of every issue.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at July 29, 2005 5:13 PM

the one article of cordesman's i tried to read was so unrelentingly gloomy that i had to stop after a couple of paragraphs. in one sense you could say his new found optimism is signifigant given his past views, but like HE says, it also makes him a loose sheet in the wind.

iraq is now threatening syria for helping the terrorists. sounds like leiberstraum calling to me. wonder how baby assad will like going up against well trained iraqi troops backed up by u.s. heavy weaponry.

Posted by: cjm at July 29, 2005 6:20 PM