Iraq Army Operations in Suwayra

Operations in a city where clashes occurred with Mahdi Army just one week ago

Iraqi Army units ‘in the lead.’ Map courtesy of MNF-Iraq. Click map to view.

The Iraqi Army’s 3rd Brigade, 8th Division has conducted a large scale cordon and search operation in the city of Suwayra in Wasit province. During the operation, there were two separate engagements, both north of Suwayra, where “25 gunmen were killed and 18 others were arrested in separate incidents,” according to the Kuwaiti News Agency.

Ten ‘insurgents’ were killed and another 10 captured when the Army “stormed… an insurgents’ hideout in Al-Hufariyah,” and another 15 were killed 8 captured in the Shujairah region. A Multinational Forces Iraq press release confirmed the cordon and search operation, and noted a Polish helicopter was forced to land after taking fire from the ground. One Iraqi soldier and one unidentified Coalition soldier were injured.

Suwayra is the location of fighting between the Iraqi Army and the Mahdi Army just one week ago, after about 150 Mahdi militiamen attacked a police station in the city. Eight Mahdi fighters were killed during the engagement. While neither the Iraqi Army or MNF-Iraq identified the current ‘insurgents’ as Mahdi, the likelihood the operation was indeed directed at the Mahdi Army. Wasit province is largely Shiite, and the Sunni insurgency and al Qaeda have not been active in this region. If this is true, the Iraqi Army is continuing to erode Sadr’s support outside of Baghdad, and has given his Mahdi Army another lopsided defeat.

The Iraqi Army’s 3rd Brigade, 8th Division is ‘in the lead’ in Wasit province, one of the 30 of 36 Iraqi brigade designated in the lead. This designation means the unit plans and conducts its own missions, often from intelligence it gathers on its own, but still relies on Coalition forces for logistics, heavy weapons and air support, as needed.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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  • DJ Elliott says:

    Not so much on the logistics support compared to most.
    4th, 6th and 8th Motor Transport Regiments are the ones that are independent and assigned to their divisions. Numbering of MTRs reflect their Division subordination.

  • DJ Elliott says:

    Also, 4th and 8th IA Divisions are subordinate to Iraqi Ground Forces Command vice coalition.
    (IGFC answers to Iraqi Joint Forces Command under MoD/PM.)

  • Anand says:

    Thanks for the info DJ and Bill. I remember seeing a press release that the 6th Division HQ assumed control of its Motor Transport Regiment but did not know that the 4th and 8th division had also done so.
    Does anyone know what other Iraqi division(s) HQ are close to assuming control of their motor transport regiment, and is there any public info on how well the 4th, 6th, and 8th Motor Transport Regiments are doing relative to their performance metrics?
    Am I correct that this is one of the most important metrics for determining MOD capability, how quickly US GI’s can come home?
    Bill, great map with the breakdown of battlespace by Brigade (and the plan to transfer future battlespace by Brigade.) I have never seen this map in any MNFI or Pentagon briefing with Brigade battlespace mapped out. Where did it come from?
    I would really like it if President Bush would give a detail oriented briefing on the Iraqi armed forces with this type of information . . . the American public could sure use it . . . and it would help alleviate the concern among some that the President is not informed about the situation in Iraq.

  • DJ Elliott says:

    – 1st and 3rd MTRs are next up.
    – 5th MTR only formed in Aug.
    – No solid data on 2nd, 7th or 10th MTRs so far.
    (Recommend you research DVIDS. Most press releases and info provided are ignored by the press.)
    (Also MNF-I)
    – Chart is the BSA chart used in last Thursday’s Baghdad Brief with IA Bde numbers added. AOR borders have been there on most of the AOR slides released all along.

  • DJ Elliott says:

    Anand (posting this since previous apparently did not take.)
    – Presidents are not supposed to get into the weads – It is not Presidential.
    – It is the same BSA map used in last Thursdays Brief. Only the Bde IDs have been added. AOR borders were there on the maps all along.
    – The 4th, 6th and 8th are apparently well enough for US to give them to their Divisions to command. Next two likely to graduate are 1st and 3rd. No hard data on 2nd, 7th and 10th. 5th was only formed in August. All nine were to be formed by end-Aug and independent/assigned to their Divs by next summer.

  • Anand says:

    Thanks for the info TJ, and thanks for the link:
    Bill/TJ/anyone else,
    It seems that 2nd and 4th IA divisions, have purposely been held back by MOD/Iraqi government because they are perceived as Peshmerga heavy. For example, 5th, 6th, 9th divisions got equipment ahead of 4th & 2nd, and 2nd IA division HQs is still not in the lead.
    Why hasn’t the Congress appropriated more money for the ISF, so that they wouldn’t be so dependent on Iraqi government finances (after the fuel subsidies and Sadr’s education/health and other ministries, the MOD and Interior Ministry are starved for funding)? It would have a very high ROI, compared with $8 billion a month for the US military in Iraq.
    I keep hearing that the 10th IA division is the worst in the MOD. Why have the Brits/Italians/Aussie’s et. all messed up the training of 10th Division, local police and local government institutions? Multinational forces (unfortunately not many Americans among them) were warmly greeted as liberators in the Southern four states. An amazing window for reconstruction and building up the ISF and other governmental institutions in the far South was wasted.

  • DJ Elliott says:

    2nd and 4th ARE Peshmerga heavy.
    Even Numbered Divisions started as National Guard recruited locally. 2nd and 4th Div AORs encompass the KRG. 8th and 10th the Shia south. 6th was mixed because Baghdad is mixed.
    As to holding them back: Not really.
    – If anything they have got equipment ahead of the southern Divisions. The Northern Divisions (2/3/4/5) got wheeled APCs (OTOKAR) before the southern Divisions (DZIK3) and have been getting HMMWVs earlier than the southern Divisions (6/8/10). (8th and 10th only started getting uparmored HMMWVs in Aug. Northern Divs started getting them in Mar/Apr.)
    – Also, nine of the 26 Bns that I have identified as Air Assault quallified are in 2nd and 4th IADs.
    The 7th Div (western Anbar) is the furthest behind (only formed less than 1 year ago).
    As to the 10th Div:
    – Three of its Brigades are in-lead with the only two areas to go PIC (2-10/Muthanna and 3-10/DhiQar) located in its AOR.
    – The RSU (Nasariyah) supporting them was the first to go in-lead.
    – MTR reportedly has a delay in receiving trucks. (That may be because they changed TO/E of MTRs to 4 Transport Cos vice 3. Trucks went to other MTRs that were further along.)
    – Problems in that area are located in Basrah (1-10) and Maysan (4-10). Competing militias in their AOR (Badr/Mahdi). They were recruited locally like the other former National Guard.

  • Anand says:

    DJ, you are an amazing source of information. is 2nd best source of info on the Iraqi security forces after MNFI’s website.
    Knowing that the IA has 26 Air Assault qualified battalions really cheers my spirits. (They have enough helicopters, artillery, logistics and heavy equipment to pull it off. Amazing.)
    What is “RSU” (Regional supply unit)?
    What is “PIC” (Provincial Iraqi Control)?
    Analysts such as Juan Cole insist that 10th IA is infiltrated by Badr (and by extension Iran) who are using 10th IA to pound Mahdi and strengthen SCIRI at the expense of Fadhili, Muqtada and Dawa. (What do all of you think about Juan Cole? I think he understates the capabilities of the IA.)
    Any information on when 2nd/3rd division HQ take the lead and assumes BS, and how long before IGFC takes command of 2nd and 3rd division?
    Has the date when IGFC takes command of 6th and 9th division been delayed until sectarian violence in Bagdad ebbs slightly (maybe to improve coordination between MNF-Bagdad and 6th and 9th division)? 6th division until this summer was widely regarded as the best division in the Iraqi Army, and the 9th Army Division is thought to have more firepower than the rest of the IA put together. Why have 6th and 9th IA had so much difficulty reducing violence in operation together/forward?

  • DJ Elliott says:

    “Knowing that the IA has 26 Air Assault qualified battalions really cheers my spirits. (They have enough helicopters, artillery, logistics and heavy equipment to pull it off. Amazing.)”
    – False assumption.
    – AAslt Quallified Battalions means they have that many infantry Bns (with HMMWVs and 60mm Mortars) that are trained and conduct AAslt.
    – AAslt Bns do not have heavy equipment since they are Air Mobile.
    – 26 Bns does not include IA 1st SOF Bdes two Bns.
    – The regular IA has been doing AAslt operations using coalition helos for ~18 months now (SOF prior to that).
    – The helos are still mostly ours. (Note: The 101st can only lift 1/3 of its AAslt Bns at a time.) US Aviation Brigade sent to Iraq above and beyond US forces to provide capability until Iraqis is stood up.
    – Only 16 of 30 Huey IIs have been confirmed delivered to IZAF. All due by next summer. Pilot training is ongoing.
    – Only 10 of 34 MI-17s have been delivered. They are due to be dilivered by mid-summer. Additional 20 in current FMS requests. Pilot training is ongoing.
    – Sokal W3 order of 20 was canx due to delivery schedual.
    “DJ, you are an amazing source of information”
    – Thanks but no, this is all open source. IS1 SW USN Ret’s hobby.
    22 years as a spook is hard to walk away from…

  • Tony says:

    Do you have any info on when the 11th IA Division will be formed? Also I’m trying to track down the names of the Iraqi Army Division commanding generals. I can’t seem to find the name of the 7th IA Division commander.


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