The Baghdad Security Operation Order of Battle: March 12, 2007

The Baghdad Order Of Battle as of March 12, 2007. Click map to view.

By DJ Elliott, CJ Radin and Bill Roggio

The Baghdad Security Plan and the greater Iraq security operation is now over four weeks into its execution. Over the past month, Baghdad has seen the sectarian murders decrease significantly. Al Qaeda in Iraq, however, is attempting to destabilize the government and force an early U.S. withdrawal. Al Qaeda in Iraq has stepped up its suicide and car bomb attacks against government targets and the Shia population in an effort to reignite the sectarian violence, which has drawn Iraq to the precipice of civil war during the past year.

The Shia pilgrimage to Karbala has been a major target for al Qaeda this past week. Over 2.5 million pilgrims traveled to Karbala to mark the end of the Shia holy month (some estimates put the number as high as 9 million). Al Qaeda conduct several suicide attacks against the Shia, resulting in the deaths of over 150 pilgrims. The Iraqi government responded by increasing security along the routes, deploying elements of 1st Iraqi National Police Mechanized Brigade and the and 9th Mechanized Army Division. U.S. Units also were called in to provide security south of Baghdad.

Inside Baghdad, Iraqi and Coalition forces continue to expand their presence in the neighborhoods. There are now 23 Joint Security Stations (JSS) established throughout the city. The JSS are the patrol bases where U.S. soldiers, Iraqi police and Army units operate from within the neighborhoods in Baghdad. While about 35 to 40 JSS were planned for Baghdad initially, the concept has yielded positive results and more stations will be opened. The Iraqi government and Coalition are now planning on opening over 70 Joint Security Stations throughout Baghdad. The Sadr City JSS will be operational shortly. A joint U.S. and Iraqi force of 1,150 soldiers and police established 23 checkpoints in Sadr City last week and conducted clearing operations inside Muqtada al Sadr's stronghold.

Currently two of the five U.S. brigades and seven of the nine Iraqi army battalions scheduled for deployment are now in Baghdad. There may be three additional Iraqi battalions in Baghdad due to the rotation of forces (the Iraqis rotate battalions every 90 days). The final two Iraqi battalions are at the Besmaya training center south of Baghdad. The Iraqi Army is training 7,500 new soldiers a month and is filling out the undermanned Iraqi battalions inside Baghdad. The Rashid district in southwest Baghdad has been split into two sectors, with Bayaa to the west and Doura to the east. The 4th Brigade of the 1st Infantry Division (U.S.) has begun to move into this region of Baghdad.

The U.S. will increase the troop commitment by an additional 4,600 soldiers. About 2,200 Military Police (MPs) will be deployed, along with 2,400 combat support troops. "The MPs will arrive in Iraq over the next few months and will be assigned to duties at detention centers, to provide route security for convoys and to mentor Iraqi police," notes American Forces Press Service. "Additionally, the Republic of Georgia has volunteered to send an additional combat brigade [about 2,000 soldiers]... and Australia will contribute 70 seasoned military trainers." The full compliment of of U.S. forces will not be in Iraq until early June, General David Petraeus, the commander of Multinational Forces Iraq noted in his first briefing from Baghdad last week.

Despite the increased security presence inside Baghdad, al Qaeda suicide and car bomb attacks inside the city will remain a challenge, both General Petraeus and Major General Bill Caldwell noted during last week's briefings. Al Qaeda in Iraq has demonstrated the ability to generate major suicide and car bomb attacks on a near regular basis. This ensures the violence remains on the front pages of the newspapers and discredits the U.S. and Iraqi government efforts. The terrorists were able to conduct 4 mass casualty attacks inside Baghdad over the past week: a car bomb was detonated at a book market (20 killed, 42 wounded); a suicide car bombing at a police checkpoint in southern Baghdad (12 police and 10 civilians killed); another suicide attack at a police checkpoint (10 killed, 43 wounded); and a suicide car bomb attack on Shia pilgrims returning from Karbala (32 killed, 42 wounded).

Outside of Baghdad there were two major attacks last week. In Balad Ruz, a suicide bomber killed 30 civilians and wounded another 25 after blowing up a cafe. In Mosul, several hundred al Qaeda fighters led by Abu Omar al Baghdadi, the leader of al Qaeda's political front organization the Islamic State of Iraq, launched a strike against a prison. The Kurdish guards were overwhelmed by over 300 al Qaeda, and called U.S. forces in Mosul for support. The prison housed several hundred high value al Qaeda targets, and al Qaeda was able to free 140 of them. All but 47 of the prisoners have been recaptured, according to Iraqi police. Abu Maysarah al Iraqi, the head of al Qaeda in Iraq's media wing was one of those released, according to Quds Press and is still free. Abu Talha, the leader of al Qaeda in Mosul up until his capture in 2005 was also freed, but subsequently recaptured.

Abu Omar al Baghdadi has been a prominent name in the news the past week. Despite numerous reports that Abu Omar al-Bagdadi, the leader of al Qaeda's political front organization the Islamic State of Iraq, was arrested yet again this week, he remains on the loose. Baghdadi was reported captured by the Iraqi Interior Ministry three separate times - once in Duluiya in Salahadin province, once in Baghdad, and once in Abu Ghraib. The March 5th raid in Duluiya is said to have netted Abdullah Latif al-Jaburi - aka Abu Abdullah - the second in command of the Islamic State of Iraq. Announcements by Iraqi officials on the capture of death of senior al Qaeda and insurgent leaders should be taken with a healthy does of skepticism after the past week's performance.

Since the Baghdad Security plan has taken effect, the evidence is clear al Qaeda in Iraq has largely withdrawn from the capital and is operating from Diyala province. Al Qaeda in Iraq is using Diyala to indoctrinate, arm and sortie suicide and car bombers into Baghdad and the surrounding areas. One American military intelligence official described this to me as "launching human artillery" from the province. Several thousand al Qaeda in Iraq fighters are believed operating from Diyala.

General Petraeus has said Diyala will be a focus of the troop buildup. Major General Caldwell noted that Multinational Force Iraq is "seeing the same trends as previous Baghdad security plans," with violence migrating out to the provinces as Baghdad becomes more secure. But the operational commanders have built in flexibility into the planning, and as we noted last week, the additional U.S. combat brigades may in fact be deployed to the provinces. "There are two complete U.S. combat brigades in Baghdad, while the lead elements of the 3rd brigade is in Kuwait," said Major General Caldwell. "We are situation dependent on where the 3rd, 4th and 5th brigades will go."

Al Qaeda's activities in Diyala are stirring up local resistance to the terror group. Al Sabaah reports Local sheikhs in Diyala are organizing against al Qaeda and its Islamic State of Iraq, "which [is] spreading corruption in the province districts." The Iraqi government beginning to plan military operations in Diyala as well. The Diyala sheikhs are beginning to organize, and are said to be forming a anti al Qaeda group akin to the Anbar Salvation Front, a grouping of former insurgents and tribes that oppose and fight al Qaeda's presence in western Iraq.

As a sign al Qaeda is concerned about this development, the terror campaign against hostile tribes is now underway. The homes of Sunni and Shia tribesmen who oppose al Qaeda are being burned to the ground on the city of Muqdadiya. Unconfirmed reports indicate 30 to 100 homes have been torched in the city. Two days ago, a police station in Hibhib in Diyala province was overrun. One policeman was killed, 3 wounded and 10 have been reported missing.

Securing Baghdad over a period of time while reducing the violence in the provinces, particularly Anbar and Diyala, will be a challenging task for General Petraeus and his Iraqi partners over the next several months. The first month has seen a significant improvement in the security situation in Baghdad. Iraqi and Coalition forces must maintain the initiative in both the capital and provinces, push reconciliation and reconstruction.

The enemy also has a say in whether the security plan will succeed or fail. They will probe for weaknesses, and attack. The suicide and car bombs are one such weakness that is being exploited. Muqtada al Sadr and his Mahdi Army have been silent since the start of the security operation, but this can change. U.S and Iraqi forces must be flexible, and quickly react to as yet unseen surprises.

This week's Bgahdad Order of Battle was originally published at The Weekly Standard.


READER COMMENTS: "The Baghdad Security Operation Order of Battle: March 12, 2007"

Posted by ECH at March 12, 2007 4:17 PM ET:

I listened to the Iraq roundtable on the Pentagon channel and they confirmed the State Dept report over the number of Iraqi troops sill stuck in the mid 130 thousand level which is where it has been for quite sometime. In 6 months the growth has been almost non-existant at least in terms of pure numbers.

I can only guess this is because we achieved our build up goal 6 months ago and haven't continued to grow it.

"According to the U.S. Department of Defense, the Iraqi Army will in the end state be an approximately 137,500-person force based around an Army with 9 infantry divisions and 1 mechanized infantry division consisting of 36 brigades and 112 battalions."

Posted by Tom W. at March 12, 2007 4:37 PM ET:

"Abu" is a term of respect in the Arab world, especially when it's part of a nom de guerre.

It might be better to refer to him as Omar al-Baghdadi.

Posted by DJ Elliott at March 12, 2007 4:53 PM ET:

Obsolete data. Any fool can edit wiki. Which makes it one of the most useless and undependable sources existing.

Current planned end-state of the IA is 13 Div, 41 Bde and 132 Bns plus I SOF (~2500), Air Force and Navy by end-CY07. Not including the new Artl and support elements needed (CY08).
The numbers you were quoting are what is funded by USG only for the target end-state end-CY06. GoI is funding their own expansion beyond that.

IA was at 135,300 operational personnel in Feb (122,900 operational/12,400 support) according to FY07sup request.
There are 15,000 currently in training at IA training facs: 7,500 Individual Replacements (5 weeks training), 2200 officers (one year training), ~5,000 in training for the new formations (8 weeks).

~148,000 by end-March and still growing. New Div/Bde HQs and Bns are to be fully formed by Aug.

Which of the roundtables are you refering to?
There have been three in last two days. All three talked operational forces only. Not support elements. CMATT was the only one that talked training and that was 6 briefs ago...

Posted by GK at March 12, 2007 5:13 PM ET:

In general, how does a layperson such as myself track whether the strenght/capability of the Iraqi Army and Police is increasing?

Beyond sheer numbers, I know that there are capability categorizations.

But, if I want to know in a simple sense whether the force is stronger than it was 3, 6, or 12 months ago, how would I find that out? Can someone summarize it for me?


Posted by ECH at March 12, 2007 5:24 PM ET:

It was actually the roundtable on building the Iraqi airforce that touched upon the current number of troops in the Army.

I have watched the Iraqi Army build for years now and know when we want it to build it can grow quite a bit quickly. Yet, it hasn't grown much since last summer.

I can only guess the plan to increase the number of divisons in the IA to 13 is being planned out right now. Whatever happened time is running out on public support for being in Iraq. We have to get the Iraqi Army to at least double its current size before major troop withdrawls can start without causing significant sectarian violence in my view.

Posted by DJ Elliott at March 12, 2007 5:30 PM ET:

I wish it was that easy. With all of the chaff from the spin-meisters it is difficult.
Press rarely deals in hard numbers.
Put that together with the factors that cannot be bean-counted and it gets wierd.
Even if you do a bean-count like the monthy updated OOB at this site, capabilities vary with commanders and troops competancy, experience and training.

During 2006, at least 12 IA Bns were disbanded, redesignated or eliminated without any fanfair. Reasons for those failures or transfers are not advertised for OPSEC reasons and Iraqi political reasons (3 transfers to Baghdad; 9 disbanded Bns).

One of the factors is AWOLs. 7th IA Div (western Anbar) has been bleading troops faster than they could recruit them in 2006. That is why they are at 50-60%. That has changed in the last three months. Rest of the Divs are doing well.

Leadership and training are judgement appraisals. The only US personnel with a good feal for those factors in IA Bns are the MiTTs embeded. And their reports will not be released for OPSEC reasons.

Posted by DJ Elliott at March 12, 2007 5:48 PM ET:

The expansion planning was done last fall.
It was announced begining Nov.

The delay was for training the 18,000 replacements to bring IA to 100% and the 12,000 for the combat units overmaning plus expansion of training cadre.
- In Aug only 5-6,000 were in training.
The new troops were trained in the three Training Bns only.
- In Oct, that was ~10,000 as they added the RTCs to train new Junji.
- Now they are up to ~15,000 in training and are adding a new training Bn.

IA (if keeps on sched) will be at ~160-165,000 by Aug (including support troops). After that they will start adding the 33,000 support troops that the US budget request askes for funding for.

The briefs regularly leave out the support troops and brief that the IA has so many "combat troops". DoD preferes to be conservative in their briefs because so much of military readiness and capability is personnality and experience dependent...

Posted by JTD at March 12, 2007 6:04 PM ET:

Absolute numbers are one way of measuring "troop strength", but not the best. (See Thermopoly) The process of building strength depends most importantly on competence. The "troop strength" that matters is how well the available forces perform the tasks assigned them. The process of "blooding" the police and military has been more important than building numbers.

Posted by DJ Elliott at March 12, 2007 6:33 PM ET:

ECH: This is the brief that BG Hoog was referring back to when he said 135k. Notice that that does not include the 15k in training also mentioned in this brief. 7500 of those graduate by end-month.

JTD: Only too true. History is full of upset victories by forces out numbered.
When we went into Iraq with 5 Div eqivalents against the Iraqi 23, we should have taken heavy casualties if straight numbers were the rule.
The difference between a professional military that is well trained and experienced versus an army that did not have Boot Camps.
Giving people a rifle and a uniform does not make them a real army...

Posted by GK at March 12, 2007 6:40 PM ET:

"Absolute numbers are one way of measuring "troop strength", but not the best. (See Thermopoly) The process of building strength depends most importantly on competence. "

Agreed, but is there any way to quantify or subjectively measure whether we are progressing, stagnating, or regressing?

Is the average competence level of the IA greater than 12 months ago?

Posted by DJ Elliott at March 12, 2007 6:57 PM ET:


The turnover of operational control is the key.
That means they are doing their own operations under their own operational control (still require logistics).

8 of the 10 current IA Divisions are under Iraqi command now (in-lead is prereq).
- 6th and 9th are under Iraqi Baghdad Operational Command.
- 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 8th and 10th are under Iraqi Ground Forces Command.

That leaves 5th IAD (in-lead) under MND-N and 7th IAD (not in-lead yet) under MNF-W.

That is measurable progress. At this time last year, only the 8th IAD was in-lead; IGFC did not exist; BOC did not exist; etc. Those are milestones.

Posted by DJ Elliott at March 12, 2007 7:05 PM ET:

These reports give much more data than the press reports. New one should be out this month. Quarterly reports are the unclassified documentation that goes with the testimony to Congress you see every three months...

Posted by GK at March 12, 2007 8:09 PM ET:


Going by the metric of divisions under Iraqi command, it would appear that progress in the last 12 months is substantial.

If we project the same rate over the next 12 months (a big if), then the Iraqi Army will be a formidable, autonomous entity by then, easily an army that would compare favorably to the strength of Iran's army.

Any other metric you think can be translated into proof of real progress, in layman's terms (critically important - most average people are not familiar with military terminology, but desperately want to see no-spin metrics of real progress).

Posted by ECH at March 12, 2007 9:23 PM ET:

GK are you kidding? How exactly whould the Iraqi Army compare favorably to Iran's Army?

Iran's army has 545,000 men in the active duty componet and 350 men in reserve. Iran's military has thousands of tanks and fighter jets. Iraq's military has no fighter jets and about 70 tanks.

General Jay Garner mocked the equiping of the Iraqi Army in a December 2006 interview. Saying that the Iraqi Army has a handful of "Warsaw pact" junk.

If it were up to him they would

"Robustly" train, re-equip with American modern arms rather than Warsaw Pact junk and advise all 120 Iraqi army battalions with American combat veterans rather than neophytes.

This according to Garner would allow the US long term influence with the Iraqi Army, because without the US 'ok' for replacement parts their army would break down. Garner in the interview said the excuse the Pentagon uses that they are used to Warsaw Pact junk is something that the top brass don't actually believe. Its just an excuse, because the US is afraid to arm and equip the Iraq Army with anything but junk.

Posted by Neo-andertal at March 12, 2007 9:29 PM ET:

It seems to me that AQ is trying to make Muqadiya in Diyala Province its new center of gravity if not its base of operations. Can anyone here give me an overview on AQ activities in Diyala. Where the US and IA base camps are. Which areas we have the upper hand, which areas AQ is most active.

What's the situation in the city of Baquba. I know there were a lot of bombing throughout the summer and fall of last year. I also recall (if my memory serves me) that there was a fairly large purge if the cities police force and leadership last fall. Violence within the city itself seems to be down a bit but the area around Baquba seems to be full of AQ especially in the area North and East of Baquba extending up the east bank of the Tigris river and also up the road toward the Iranian border. The city of Muqadiya seems to be at the epicenter of AQ activity.

A nice rundown and timeline for the province would be a nice project (for those more qualified than I). This is were the heavy fighting is going to be this spring and summer.

Posted by Neo-andertal at March 12, 2007 9:43 PM ET:

GK and ECH

"GK are you kidding? How exactly would the Iraqi Army compare favorably to Iran's Army?"

Without taking a rude tone, NO their capabilities don't compare. They aren't supposed to. Iraq's army is being prepared for counterinsurgency and policing activities. While the training level of Iraq's best troops is getting fairly good, they are neither equipped nor trained for any sort of fight with another army. It's not a priority right now.

That being said equipment procurement has been an ongoing problem and the approach to arming Iraqi forces has been a bit timid IMHO.

Posted by Neo-andertal at March 12, 2007 10:23 PM ET:

As long as I'm shooting my mouth off. Why not go for three comments.

What are the chances we will see an early deployment of extra troops to Diyala Province. If so, what resources do they have available and how immediately can they go. I see the situation in Muqadiya as needing immediate attention. Do they have any troops available for aggressive counterinsurgency type operations or are things already tied up. I think that if IQ is pressed hard in the area they will stand up and fight. Diyala Province is absolutely necessary for AQ's Baghdad campaign. If they want any future chance to re-insert themselves into Baghdad's Sunni neighborhoods in a major way, they need that presence on the outskirts of the city. We don't want take anything away from the security campaign in Sadr city, but there are other areas that aren't as big a priority. I think it's such a priority that using reserves should be seriously considered. Waiting a couple months and giving AQ another chance to consolidate is too long.

If AQ is confronted in a major way in Diyala than their center of operation will get pushed northward into Saladin province (or further toward the Iranian boarder depending on how much the Iranians are willing to supply them). At that point also I think AQ operations in Baghdad's outskirts may start suffering breakdowns. AQ's operations in Baghdad would than go further underground and be more strictly terrorist in nature.
That said they probably still keep up a fairly aggressive bombing campaign in the immediate future. Putting a real stop to the bombing campaign requires complete military control of the area, cooperation of the great majority of local population, and a level of intelligence unobtainable this early in the game.

Posted by ECH at March 12, 2007 10:42 PM ET:

Without taking a rude tone, NO their capabilities don't compare. They aren't supposed to. Iraq's army is being prepared for counterinsurgency and policing activities.

I have heard this excuse from day one about why Iraqis post war Army should be kept weak. I didn't believe it then and I don't believe it now.

I remember Bremer saying that all Iraqis need an Army for is clearing mines and polcing activities three years ago. Some people still have that mindset. Within two years Congress is going to cut off funds for the Iraqi Army just like it did the ARVN and they will force us out of Iraq and there won't be anyone to stop a largescale Iranian, Syrian, etc military intervention in Iraq (no longer with terrorists), but this time with large numbers of combat troops just like what happened in Lebanon years ago, taking over the country to save it from 'Civil War'.

Iraq needs to build an military that will defend the nation against all threats foreign and domestic. We will be forced out of Iraq very soon by public opinion and if we haven't built a real Army by then Iraq will fall to its enemies foreign and domestic.

Posted by serurier at March 13, 2007 4:33 AM ET:

I think AQ from Syria into Iraq , Qaim --->Mousl--->Diyala--->Baghdad

Posted by Drazen Gemic at March 13, 2007 6:36 AM ET:

'Abu' means something like german 'von' or italian 'de'.

About Wikipedia. I am in IT business, and I have come accross some articles and comments about Wikipedia. It can be trusted, to some extent, when it is not about politics, ideology and religion. When comes to those three matters, Wikipedia becomes an advocacy and propaganda tool.


Posted by Marcello at March 13, 2007 7:10 AM ET:

What are the plans for the iraqi artillery, if any are available?
I mean things like timeframe (early, mid or late 2008), materials (US surplus weapons rather than say D-30s) and stuff like that.

Posted by DJ Elliott at March 13, 2007 9:09 AM ET:


- Thousands is an exageration. About 1700 tanks and fewer than 1000 aircraft operational.
- Most of Iran's equipment is also obsolete WP junk (T72/T55) and pre-80s US/UK obsolete junk (Chieften/M60/M48). Their best tank is T72 (Russian tank nomenclature is based on year designed). Iraq's WP junk is comparable (T72/T55).
- The Iranian Air Force and Navy are along the same lines (mostly obsolete). And much of it is non-operational.
- The Russians/Chinese arms merchants have been having fun dumping obsolete equipment (70s/80s designs) on the Iranians.

As to the Iraqi Army:
- Transition to national defense from COIN starts this year (as planned per LTG Dempsey). Look up the FY07sup Blue Book and FY08 Green Book.
- They are already adding mortars and plan to add Howitzers next year (those are not COIN requirements).
- Also, 1/3rd of the IA will be wheeled APC mounted by end-2007. By end-2008 60%. Also expanding the tracked portion
- With continued expansion and improvements they could be comparable to Iranian Army in 5-7 years.
- Iraqi Air Force and Navy is behind the power curve. Needs minimum of 5 years and probably closer to 10. Good aircraft and vessels are expensive. Training is much longer. And there is the factor that so long as USN/USAF is in neighborhood, they are low on the totempole...

Posted by DJ Elliott at March 13, 2007 9:16 AM ET:

Drazen Gemic

Then why is the data on the new Iraqi Army so far out to lunch?

I started my research on IA OOB for the same reason Chris did: Neither one of us could find a legit IA OOB online. Anywhere. Wiki is not credible in mil OOB. Too much GIGO...

Posted by DJ Elliott at March 13, 2007 9:37 AM ET:

Iranian Ground
Iranian Air

Look at those lists. Thousands of tanks and aircraft is a gross exageration. All of the equipment is pre-80s designs (most from WP).
What Iran has is an over-population problem.

That is why providing IA with WP used equipment is acceptable. They have experience with it, it is easy to maintain and (most important)
- Their biggest threat (Iran) is not equipped any better.
- Syria is not a threat since 95% of their armed forces are facing Israel and
they do not have the logistics to redeploy even if they were willing to turn their back on Israel.

The only countries bordering Iraq that have more modern equipment than Iran/Iraq are all US allies: Turkey (NATO), Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

Posted by David M at March 13, 2007 11:06 AM ET:

Trackbacked by The Thunder Run - Web Reconnaissance for 03/13/2007
A short recon of what's out there that might draw your attention.

Posted by gene at March 13, 2007 3:28 PM ET:

my son in law is back to Iraq for his second tour. he reports the citizens are now throwing rocks at our troops. he says the troops are not allowed to retaliate. you have anything on this?

Posted by ECH at March 13, 2007 3:33 PM ET:

When someone I respect greatly like General Garner says that Warsaw pack junk is not good enough for the Iraqi Army I believe him. He is one of the most honest men you will ever meet.

Forward Observer: General Garner's Lament

When it comes to Iraq, Lt. Gen. Jay Garner has been there, done that for 15 years, so his new plan for getting out of the mess there might be worth listening to.

"You couldn't have gotten the 10 most brilliant men and women in America to design a way for us to fail in Iraq that would have been any better than what we have done on our own," lamented Garner, whom President Bush dispatched to Iraq to heal the country only to stand aside as Ambassador L. Paul Bremer III gutted the very post-combat pacification program that Garner had gotten the president to approve.

But Garner, in an interview with CongressDaily, said he still thinks Iraq could be pulled back from the edge of the cliff if the United States launches a crash effort.

"Robustly" train, re-equip with American modern arms rather than Warsaw Pact junk and advise all 120 Iraqi army battalions with American combat veterans rather than neophytes.

Assign to each Iraqi battalion 20 to 25 American advisers, all combat tested, from the Army or the Marine Corps. The American advisory team would consist of a lieutenant colonel as its commander; a captain or major experienced in supplying beans and bullets, called a logistician; an artillery forward observer to call in artillery or air support; a radio operator; a medic; a captain and five sergeants with each of the three Iraqi companies in the battalion.

Structure the career paths of American advisers so they are rewarded if they make the Iraqi battalion battle ready and penalized if they do not.
Once the American advisory team certified the Iraqi battalion was combat ready, it would be inserted with that same battalion in a contested area now occupied by an American battalion. The advisory team would stick with the Iraqi battalion. It would have a quick channel for calling in helicopter gunships, fighter bombers, artillery fire and medical evacuation choppers with minimal delay. Pickup points for the medevacs would be established.

The relieved American battalion would stay intact but be redeployed in some nearby peaceful area. The Americans would stay there for several months as a 911 rescue force. If the Iraqi battalion demonstrated it could do the job on its own, the Americans would leave Iraq. "So you have a two-phased redeployment," Garner said. "In the first phase you get the U. S. faces off the street, but they stay in Iraq. In the second phase, they leave Iraq."

Posted by DJ Elliott at March 13, 2007 3:34 PM ET:


Any specific location?

Only incident I had heard of was in Karadah District a month ago and that was mud at Kurdish troops. (unconfirmed report)

Posted by DJ Elliott at March 13, 2007 3:47 PM ET:


He is an American General.
- Of course he considers WP equipment worthless.
- That is his trained prejudice.

I am a retired Intel Spec.
- My view is you need the weapons to deal with probable threat.
- Most probable threat to Iraq is Iran.
- Iran is equipped with the same "junk" that the General considers worthless.
- Only our allies neighboring Iraq have better equippment than the WP junk.

A. Do you want Iraq to be a threat to US allies?
B. Or do you just want Iraq to have the ability to deal with Iran?

- I want B and not A.
Just in case the Goverment of Iraq goes rouge some time in the future.
- What do you want?

(Contingency planning 101. Cover your bets.)

Posted by ECH at March 13, 2007 3:56 PM ET:

Do you want Iraq to be a threat to US allies?


I went to a speech Gardner gave and he made the point that Warsaw pack junk is very easy for Iraq to replace. But, if we equipped them with American weapons there is nowhere in the world they could go to replace the spare parts on their tanks other then the United States.

Which means according to Gardner no matter what happens in Iraq politically if there is a government in place we don't like we could stop sending repair parts to the Iraqi Army and it would be useless in no time at all.

So, yes Garder did think about that possibility and determined that we could actually have more long term control of the Iraqi military if they were reliant on parts from the US instead of parts from Russia.

Posted by DJ Elliott at March 13, 2007 5:07 PM ET:


Yet Iran is still flying its US equipment and we cut them off in 1979. Their US/UK tanks still work and they were cut off in 1979.
He is not being realistic. Most of the parts used in US combat vehicles/Aircraft are also made in Europe and Japan (and others). The parts are available on the grey/black markets.

E.G.: There are three main components that make the M1 so good.
- The engine, parts available on open market.
- The gun, German made under license in US and Europe.
- The armor, does not require maintenance.
- Every other component in that tank is available on the open market.

Most US aircraft are also flown by NATO and other allies. That makes the parts available on the grey/black markets.

If Iran can keep F14s flying after over 25 years of sanctions and the F14 was only operated by USN and IRAF, then that arguement is unrealistic. Iran still is flying F14s and they are the only country left flying them.

Learn some professional paranoia 101 from a 22 year veteran spook:
- Don't arm a question mark country better than necissary or we could find ourselves facing our own gear (again).
- WP junk is good enough for Iraq to deal with Iran.
- And if they go rougue, we will not have to face our own equipment.

P.S. Several of the former-WP/now-NATO have plenty of that "good-enough" equipment for sale real cheap. They are upgrading to the good stuff in-case the Bear gets aggressive again. Those sales help them buy new gear.

Posted by ECH at March 13, 2007 5:45 PM ET:

Then why are we arming Pakistan and Saudi Arabia two very question mark countries with better weapons?

Why are we now building a nuclear power plant for Lybia?

Tanks are something our air force can deal with easily, regardless of if they are American or Soviet.

Even if the Iraqi Army in 2003 had American tanks and equipment they still would have lost just as decisively. In the end of the day the weapons stockpiles Saddam scattered around Iraq were a greater threat then Saddam's tanks, missles, and artillery. And, that would have been true if the Iraqi Army had Abrams tanks.

Posted by Michael at March 13, 2007 6:03 PM ET:

DJ, thanks for your insight. Truly appreciate the feedback you provide.

All of this info is valuable for rebuttal material.

Posted by ECH at March 13, 2007 6:31 PM ET:


I respect your opinion. Mine is simply that I believe even if lets say somehow another Saddam came to power and had access to modern American tanks and fighting vehicles if we decided we had to go to war with Iraq they would be taken out very quickly in the battle from the air. Irregular fighters are what our military has trouble with not tanks.

But, that said I would just content for the Iraqi Army to actually be equipped with humvees and many more Russian tanks at this point in time. Seeing Iraqi soliders patrol Baghdad still in pickup trucks angers me greatly.

The Iraqi Army has years to go before it is even as strong as it was in 2002. The stronger the Army is the sooner we can get our troops back to our bases and influence Iraq long term.

If we don't have a 250,000 man well equipped Iraqi Army by early to mid 2008 the country will be a failed state IMHO, because the money and support for the war will end.

Posted by DJ Elliott at March 13, 2007 6:31 PM ET:

Saudi Arabia has a population of 14 million (including expat oil workers).
They cannot field a large army because they do not have a population to man it.
The extra division set of "Saudi" Armor (Made in USA) is unofficial US prepositioning funded by Saudi in case they need to invite US in again.

As to Pakistan.
How many of what types of equipment?
With what electronics/avionics?
F16 without ECM gear is dead meat to US but still capable otherwise.
PK is not getting first line gear or much gear from the US at all...

"The devil is in the details."
If you are going to argue a subject, do some basic research first please...

Posted by ECH at March 13, 2007 6:46 PM ET:

Yes, I was talking about the F16 to Pakistan.

I heard that Russia and the UK may be fighting over who will provide the first jets to Iraq that should come in 2008.

The UK wants to sell something called the Eurofighter to Iraq while Russia wants to sell them MiGs.

I will tell you that the eqipping of the Iraqi Army has been a big thing angering me for some time since Gardner lambased the Iraqi Army's equipment in the speech I listened to and General Mccaffrey who I also respect greatly said the Iraqi Army went to Iraq to report to President Bush on the condition of the Iraqi Army and said that many units hadn't been paid in months, didn't have uniforms, road in the back of pickup trucks, and didn't even have many of the the heavy weapons that Medhi Army fighters possessed.

Clearly, the Iraqi MoD bears a great deal of blame for that. But, given the fact the political process we set up has led to 4 different governments in Baghdad in recient years, we should have been the ones to oversee these things until we had a system in place that we could hand off to the Iraqis'

Posted by DJ Elliott at March 13, 2007 6:50 PM ET:

"If we don't have a 250,000 man well equipped Iraqi Army by early to mid 2008 the country will be a failed state IMHO, because the money and support for the war will end."

- Do the math (from previous comment):
"- Now they are up to ~15,000 in training and are adding a new training Bn.
IA (if keeps on sched) will be at ~160-165,000 by Aug (including support troops). After that they will start adding the 33,000 support troops that the US budget request askes for funding for."

That is ~198,000 in the IA by end-2007. Minimum.

In 2008 the plan is to add to the Artl component. At 15,000 every 8 weeks, the IA should be ~240,000 by mid-2008. That is if the IA is unable to further accelerate training and expand training units. Yet I already know of three new training commands standing up this year (1xTraining Bn/2xIZAF training commands).

As to Vehicles, 35% mounted on Wheeled armor by end-2007. Some of the vehicles they are getting are better than what we have (cougar/badger/ILAV). 70% mounted on Wheeled armor by end-2008. Rest in 2009.

Adding 300 more tracked APCs this year (6x Bns) in addition to the above. My guess is they are starting to establish a second Mech Division to go with 9th Tank Div, correction 9th "Mech" Div. (I still do not have hard data on how or where they got the extra 2xBns of tanks that 9th has.) Current Bn count in 9th is 2xMech (MTLB), 2xMech (BMP1), 2xTank (T72), 3xTank (T55) and five support Bns.

Most of the pickups you see are INP, not IA. And they are getting more M1117/Revas according to the purchase orders.

Delay is in manufacture. Iraq is not the only purchaser...

Posted by DJ Elliott at March 13, 2007 7:00 PM ET:

"the Iraqi MoD bears a great deal of blame for that. But, given the fact the political process we set up has led to 4 different governments in Baghdad in recient years, we should have been the ones to oversee these things until we had a system in place that we could hand off to the Iraqis'"

They are learning. The MoD put 1.5 Billion into an open US FMS account in 2006. That provides an audit trail and makes corruption very difficult. The MoD is using the Pentagon as a check and balance.

Considering they are a soveriegn nation, that is a very big step. I would love to know how much of the GoI 7.3 Billion dollar ISF budget will also go thru US FMS...

P.S. Those Cougar/Badger/ILAVs. The US Army and USMC in Iraq have reportably been complaining about Iraq getting more of them than we have. Much better than HMMWVs.

Posted by DJ Elliott at March 13, 2007 7:03 PM ET:

I heard that Russia and the UK may be fighting over who will provide the first jets to Iraq that should come in 2008.

The UK wants to sell something called the Eurofighter to Iraq while Russia wants to sell them MiGs.

- Any links or details? That is the serious deficit that I see in Iraqi Military. I was thinking we were going to sell them some used F16s real cheap. Eurofighter would be comparable. Which MiG or did you mean Sukois?

Posted by ECH at March 13, 2007 7:18 PM ET:

On Euronews last week they stated that UK companies were in compitition with Russia over who would provide the first jets to the the Iraqi Air Force. They didn't state which MiGs Iraq was considering buying. At the end of the report they had a clip with an Iraqi offical who just said Iraq was in negotiations for who would supply their first jets by 2008.

Posted by DJ Elliott at March 13, 2007 7:23 PM ET:

That has not shown up in the briefs so far.

My bet is UK has the inside track.

All of the Iraqi purchases have been with coalition countries or thru coalition countries so far (except for Turkey).

Posted by ECH at March 13, 2007 7:27 PM ET:

I googled it and this was all I could find from print articles.

Iraq's Air Force was once the envy of its Arab neighbours, with hundreds of Russian fighter jets, particularly during the war with Iran in the 1980s, but no jets remain in service.

Asked when the Air Force would have fighter jets, Ubeidi said: "We are planning for that in 2008."

He declined to say whether U.S, Russian or other makers might win lucrative contracts to supply them.

The Air Force already has three Bell Jet Rangers -- small helicopters used for training -- and 10 Russian MI-17s. Ubeidi said the number of MI-17s would hit 28 next month and by the end of 2007, it should have between 50 and 60 helicopters in all.

Posted by DJ Elliott at March 13, 2007 7:47 PM ET:

Nothing hard then.

It fits with apparent schedule for IZAF.

Standing up flight (Kirkuk) and technical (Taji) schools by Oct07. Grow to 100 pilots in school by mid-08. From BG Hoog Brief.

Why train so many pilots when you do not have birds for them?

The MoD is definately learning about long-lead time purchases if they are shopping now for strike/fighter aircraft to deliver sometime in 2008.

Posted by ECH at March 13, 2007 8:39 PM ET:

When will the Iraqi military get more tanks? They have only 70 right now?

They need at least a thousand maybe two thousand IMHO.

Posted by DJ Elliott at March 13, 2007 9:03 PM ET:

77x T72
At least 100x T55 (3xBns)
Plus 148+x BMP1 (could be used as light tanks and have anti-tank capability-ATGM).

Only reports so far are of 300x tracked APCs by end-year.
Yet they found enough additional T55s to form two more Bns somewhere.
I suspect low key donations from former WP.

Tanks are a useful offensive weapon.
More BMPs with ATGMs would be a more reasuring defensive armor.

500-1000 Tanks would do the trick.
If they were decent tanks and supported by BMPs.
Take a close look at Iranian GOB.
Much of their 1800 tanks are 60/70s builds.
What I would like to see is Ukraine offer a good deal on used T72s and BMPs...

Posted by Anand at March 13, 2007 11:28 PM ET:

Great conversation. It was informative to "listen in."

I think most of us agree that Congress provided far too little in grants to the ISF 2003-2006 (DJ too if I can speak for you). They should have had a lot more ILAV (Infantry Light Armored Vehicles) at a minimum.

I would have contracted out back in April 2003 for $10 billion worth of ISF military equipment, and contracted out for a total of $30 billion by the end of 2003. The deliveries would have been staggered 2004-2008.

The ISF should have accepted deliver of more than a thousand ILAV by end 2005, and more than 500 tanks by end 2006.

On taking a chance that "Iraq might go rogue again." That's a chance we HAVE to take. Because we were cheap on the ISF, the Iraq adventure is going to cost us (American taxpayers who have plenty of good uses for their money other than paying taxes) $700 billion to $1 trillion [that's being conservative on the long term health care costs of wounded vets] before all is said and done. Had Congress appropriated $100 billion in grants (majority dedicated to the ISF) back in 2002 [and created an efficient way to disperse the money], the cost of the operation would have been significantly cheaper. More importantly, less costly in American lives. [Not to mention a successful Iraq would have been a major PR blow to jihadis the world over and probably set off a chain reaction of positive change and stronger civil society in the Arab (to a lesser degree in Iran). If we decide to bet several hundred billion on a successful Iraq, lets go all out and not pre-occupy ourselves with the consequences that we fail and Iraq goes rogue.

Congress appropriating $100 billion in grants for Iraq in 2002 would have also helped reduce the widely held perceptions by muslims around the world (who in general know little about Iraq and have almost no desire to learn anything about Iraq) that we (America) went to Iraq to steal from them. [Note, I am not arguing that this widely held perception makes sense.]

Regarding Tanks in the IA:

I think that the IA needs more than 500 refurbished T72/T80/Challenger/"old M1" tanks, out of more than 1000 total. (Hope the IA can get a decent deal with the Ukraine.)

DJ argues that there aren't many old M1s left to refurbish (many have been upgraded to M1A2), but I think we could retire a few of our old M1s, Bradleys and APCs-refurbishing them and transferring them to the ISF.

I agree with DJ that the IA doesn't need many M1A1 or M1A2. It wouldn't be cost effective. But maybe we could consider providing them one battalion of used M1A1s, if we really don't have any M1s left.

Posted by Drazen Gemic at March 14, 2007 7:54 AM ET:

Elliot, an explanation. The strength of Iraqi army is very much political matter theese days. That's why Wikipedia CAN NOT be trusted as a source.

As I said, Wikipedia often becomes a tool for activists when politics, ideology or religion are the topics.


Posted by DJ Elliott at March 14, 2007 9:32 AM ET:

DG: True enough, but then, what is not political these days?

ECH: Did some checking. Story on Iraqi jet shopping is bogus report. Nothing showing up in the arms dealer world. Press may have been fed a con (again). It was plausable though. I would expect MoD to be shopping this year (lead-time for production).

Anand: Until the structure of the IA was trained and established, adding "toys" and their accompanying training was a waste.
8th IAD was the only in-lead Div a year ago.
The rest is the snowball effect of training/experience kicking in.
The ILAV (cougar/badger) is being introduced to five IA Divisions' Engineer elemnets this year.
The rest of the IA Divs get theirs next year.
(Delivery rate of 44 per month or 1 Bn's worth per month.)
Those are engineer configured vehicles and the IA has to fight with the USA/USMC/UK for vehicles constructed.

Of note: USMC is taking every M1 that the US Army wants to give up. There are no spares available. And the line is closed. US will provide for USA/USMC first thank you. (USMC wants to ditch all HMMWVs for MRVs.)

All 10 IADs are to be in-lead/Iraqi command by Jun.
Adding support capabilities is the priority after they go in-lead.

Phases and levels of training.
If you give a mob off the street leathal toys and uniforms, they will not be an army.
Requires dicipline, training and experience.
Three years is how long it takes to train a Sgt in the US Army.
We have built a 10 Division Light Infantry Army in only three years.
Plus 5 Border Guards and 2 INP Divisions.
In less than one US military enlistment (4 years).


Posted by Drazen Gemic at March 15, 2007 11:04 PM ET:

DJ, it is off topic, but one can find a lot of good atricles on physics, biology, medicine, chemistry, technical data, IT topics. That's what is Wikipedia good for.