07 December 2006

Iraq Study Group

Some Highlights
Wednesday, December 06, 2006



Significant questions remain about the ethnic composition
and loyalties of some Iraqi units—specifically, whether
they will carry out missions on behalf of national goals instead
of a sectarian agenda. Of Iraq’s 10 planned divisions, those that
are even-numbered are made up of Iraqis who signed up to
serve in a specific area, and they have been reluctant to redeploy
to other areas of the country. As a result, elements of the
Army have refused to carry out missions.

The Iraqi Army is also confronted by several other significant

• Units lack leadership. They lack the ability to work together
and perform at higher levels of organization—the brigade and
division level. Leadership training and the experience of leadership
are the essential elements to improve performance.

Units lack equipment. They cannot carry out their missions
without adequate equipment. Congress has been generous
in funding requests for U.S. troops, but it has resisted fully
funding Iraqi forces. The entire appropriation for Iraqi defense
forces for FY 2006 ($3 billion) is less than the United States
spends in Iraq every two weeks.

• Units lack personnel. Soldiers are on leave one week a
month so that they can visit their families and take them
their pay. Soldiers are paid in cash because there is no banking
system. Soldiers are given leave liberally and face no
penalties for absence without leave. Unit readiness rates are
low, often at 50 percent or less.

• Units lack logistics and support. They lack the ability to sustain
their operations, the capability to transport supplies and
troops, and the capacity to provide their own indirect fire
support, close-air support, technical intelligence, and medical
evacuation. They will depend on the United States for
logistics and support through at least 2007.


Moqtada al-Sadr:

Several observers remarked to us that Sadr was following
the model of Hezbollah in Lebanon: building a political
party that controls basic services within the government
and an armed militia outside of the government.


The security situation cannot improve unless leaders
act in support of national reconciliation. Shiite leaders must
make the decision to demobilize militias. Sunni Arabs must
make the decision to seek their aims through a peaceful political
process, not through violent revolt. The Iraqi government
and Sunni Arab tribes must aggressively pursue al Qaeda.
Militias are currently seen as legitimate vehicles of political
action. Shia political leaders make distinctions between the
Sunni insurgency (which seeks to overthrow the government)
and Shia militias (which are used to fight Sunnis, secure
and maximize power within the government). Though
Prime Minister Maliki has said he will address the problem of
militias, he has taken little meaningful action to curb their
He owes his office in large part to Sadr and has shown
little willingness to take on him or his Mahdi Army.

Sunni Arabs have not made the strategic decision to abandon
violent insurgency in favor of the political process. Sunni
Politicians within the government have a limited level of support
and influence among their own population, and questionable
influence over the insurgency. Insurgents wage a campaign of
intimidation against Sunni leaders—assassinating the family members
of those who do participate in the government. Too often,
insurgents tolerate and cooperate with al Qaeda, as they share a
mutual interest in attacking U.S. and Shia forces. However, Sunni
Arab tribal leaders in Anbar province recently took the positive
step of agreeing to pursue al Qaeda and foreign fighters in their
midst, and have started to take action on those commitments.
Sunni politicians told us that the U.S. military has to take
on the militias; Shia politicians told us that the U.S. military has
to help them take out the Sunni insurgents and al Qaeda. Each
side watches the other. Sunni insurgents will not lay down arms
unless the Shia militias are disarmed. Shia militias will not disarm
until the Sunni insurgency is destroyed. To put it simply:
there are many armed groups within Iraq, and very little will to
lay down arms.

Corruption is Rampant

One senior Iraqi official estimated that official corruption costs Iraq
$5–7 billion per year. Notable steps have been taken: Iraq has a
functioning audit board and inspectors general in the ministries, and
senior leaders including the Prime Minister have identified rooting out
corruption as a national priority. But too many political leaders
still pursue their personal, sectarian, or party interests. There
are still no examples of senior officials who have been brought
before a court of law and convicted on corruption charges.

In the oil sector, corruption is also debilitating. Experts estimate
150,000 to 200,000—and perhaps as many as 500,000—barrels
of oil per day are being stolen. Controlled prices for refined
products result in shortages within Iraq, which drive consumers
to the thriving black market. One senior U.S. official
told us that corruption is more responsible than insurgents for
breakdowns in the oil sector.


Funding for the Sunni insurgency comes from private individuals
within Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States, even as those governments
help facilitate U.S. military operations in Iraq by providing basing
overflight rights and by cooperating on intelligence issues.

More Troops for Iraq

Sustained increases in U.S. troop levels would not solve the
fundamental cause of violence in Iraq, which is the absence of
national reconciliation. A senior American general told us that
adding U.S. troops might temporarily help limit violence in a
highly localized area. However, past experience indicates that
the violence would simply rekindle as soon as U.S. forces are
moved to another area. As another American general told us, if
the Iraqi government does not make political progress, “all the
troops in the world will not provide security.” Meanwhile,
America’s military capacity is stretched thin: we do not have the
troops or equipment to make a substantial, sustained increase
in our troop presence. Increased deployments to Iraq would also
necessarily hamper our ability to provide adequate resources
for our efforts in Afghanistan or respond to crises around the

Devolution to Three Regions

The costs associated with devolving Iraq into three semiautonomous
regions with loose central control would be too high.
Because Iraq’s population is not neatly separated, regional
boundaries cannot be easily drawn. All eighteen Iraqi provinces
have mixed populations, as do Baghdad and most other major
cities in Iraq. A rapid devolution could result in mass population
movements, collapse of the Iraqi security forces, strengthening
of militias, ethnic cleansing, destabilization of neighboring
states, or attempts by neighboring states to dominate Iraqi regions.

RECOMMENDATION 22: The President should state that
the United States does not seek permanent military bases in
Iraq. If the Iraqi government were to request a temporary
base or bases, then the U.S. government could consider that
request as it would in the case of any other government.

(pending joint U.S.-Iraqi review)

By the end of 2006: Iraqi increase of 2007 security spending over 2006

By April 2007: Iraqi control of the Army

By September 2007: Iraqi control of provinces

By December 2007: Iraqi security self-reliance (with U.S. support)

RECOMMENDATION 25: These milestones are a good
start. The United States should consult closely with the Iraqi
government and develop additional milestones in three
areas: national reconciliation, security, and improving government
services affecting the daily lives of Iraqis. As with
the current milestones, these additional milestones should be
tied to calendar dates to the fullest extent possible.

RECOMMENDATION 34: The question of the future U.S.
force presence must be on the table for discussion as the
national reconciliation dialogue takes place. Its inclusion will
increase the likelihood of participation by insurgents and
militia leaders, and thereby increase the possibilities for

Security and Military Forces
A Military Strategy for Iraq

There is no action the American military can take that, by itself,
can bring about success in Iraq. But there are actions that the
U.S. and Iraqi governments, working together, can and should
take to increase the probability of avoiding disaster there, and
increase the chance of success.

The Iraqi government should accelerate the urgently
needed national reconciliation program to which it has already
committed. And it should accelerate assuming responsibility
for Iraqi security by increasing the number and quality of Iraqi
Army brigades. As the Iraqi Army increases in size and capability,
the Iraqi government should be able to take real responsibility
for governance.

While this process is under way, and to facilitate it, the
United States should significantly increase the number of U.S.
military personnel, including combat troops, imbedded in and
supporting Iraqi Army units. As these actions proceed, we could
begin to move combat forces out of Iraq. The primary mission of
U.S. forces in Iraq should evolve to one of supporting the Iraqi
army, which would take over primary responsibility for combat
operations. We should continue to maintain support forces,
rapid-reaction forces, special operations forces, intelligence
units, search-and-rescue units, and force protection units.

While the size and composition of the Iraqi Army is ultimately
a matter for the Iraqi government to determine, we
should be firm on the urgent near-term need for significant additional
trained Army brigades, since this is the key to Iraqis
taking over full responsibility for their own security, which they
want to do and which we need them to do. It is clear that they
will still need security assistance from the United States for
some time to come as they work to achieve political and security

One of the most important elements of our support
would be the imbedding of substantially more U.S. military
personnel in all Iraqi Army battalions and brigades, as well as
within Iraqi companies. U.S. personnel would provide advice,
combat assistance, and staff assistance. The training of Iraqi
units by the United States has improved and should continue
for the coming year. In addition to this training, Iraqi combat
units need supervised on-the-job training as they move to field
operations. This on-the-job training could be best done by
imbedding more U.S. military personnel in Iraqi deployed
units. The number of imbedded personnel would be based on
the recommendation of our military commanders in Iraq, but it
should be large enough to accelerate the development of a real
combat capability in Iraqi Army units. Such a mission could involve
10,000 to 20,000 American troops instead of the 3,000 to
4,000 now in this role. This increase in imbedded troops could
be carried out without an aggregate increase over time in the
total number of troops in Iraq by making a corresponding decrease
in troops assigned to U.S. combat brigades.

Another mission of the U.S. military would be to assist
Iraqi deployed brigades with intelligence, transportation, air
support, and logistics support, as well as providing some key

A vital mission of the U.S. military would be to maintain
rapid-reaction teams and special operations teams. These
teams would be available to undertake strike missions against al
Qaeda in Iraq when the opportunity arises, as well as for o

The performance of the Iraqi Army could also be significantly
improved if it had improved equipment. One source
could be equipment left behind by departing U.S. units. The
quickest and most effective way for the Iraqi Army to get the
bulk of their equipment would be through our Foreign Military
Sales program, which they have already begun to use.

While these efforts are building up, and as additional
Iraqi brigades are being deployed, U.S. combat brigades could
begin to move out of Iraq. By the first quarter of 2008, subject
to unexpected developments in the security situation on the
ground, all combat brigades not necessary for force protection
could be out of Iraq. At that time, U.S. combat forces in Iraq
could be deployed only in units embedded with Iraqi forces, in
rapid-reaction and special operations teams, and in training,
equipping, advising, force protection, and search and rescue.
Intelligence and support efforts would continue. Even after the
United States has moved all combat brigades out of Iraq, we
would maintain a considerable military presence in the region,
with our still significant force in Iraq and with our powerful air,
ground, and naval deployments in Kuwait, Bahrain, and Qatar,
as well as an increased presence in Afghanistan. These forces
would be sufficiently robust to permit the United States, working
with the Iraqi government, to accomplish four missions:

• Provide political reassurance to the Iraqi government in order
to avoid its collapse and the disintegration of the country.

• Fight al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations in Iraq
using special operations teams.

• Train, equip, and support the Iraqi security forces.

• Deter even more destructive interference in Iraq by Syria
and Iran.

Because of the importance of Iraq to our regional security
goals and to our ongoing fight against al Qaeda, we considered
proposals to make a substantial increase (100,000 to 200,000)
in the number of U.S. troops in Iraq. We rejected this course
because we do not believe that the needed levels are available
for a sustained deployment. Further, adding more American
troops could conceivably worsen those aspects of the security
problem that are fed by the view that the U.S. presence is intended
to be a long-term “occupation.” We could, however,
support a short-term redeployment or surge of American combat
forces to stabilize Baghdad, or to speed up the training and
equipping mission, if the U.S. commander in Iraq determines
that such steps would be effective.

We also rejected the immediate withdrawal of our troops,
because we believe that so much is at stake.

We believe that our recommended actions will give the
Iraqi Army the support it needs to have a reasonable chance to
take responsibility for Iraq’s security. Given the ongoing
in the security situation, it is urgent to move as quickly
as possible to have that security role taken over by Iraqi security

The United States should not make an open-ended commitment
to keep large numbers of American troops deployed
in Iraq for three compelling reasons.

First, and most importantly, the United States faces other
security dangers in the world, and a continuing Iraqi commitment
of American ground forces at present levels will leave no
reserve available to meet other contingencies.

RECOMMENDATION 40: The United States should not
make an open-ended commitment to keep large numbers of
American troops deployed in Iraq.

RECOMMENDATION 41: The United States must make it
clear to the Iraqi government that the United States could
carry out its plans, including planned redeployments, even if
Iraq does not implement its planned changes. America’s
other security needs and the future of our military cannot be
made hostage to the actions or inactions of the Iraqi government.

RECOMMENDATION 42: We should seek to complete the
training and equipping mission by the first quarter of 2008,
as stated by General George Casey on October 24, 2006.

RECOMMENDATION 43: Military priorities in Iraq must
change, with the highest priority given to the training, equipping,
advising, and support mission and to counterterrorism

RECOMMENDATION 44: The most highly qualified U.S. officers
and military personnel should be assigned to the
imbedded teams, and American teams should be present with
Iraqi units down to the company level. The U.S. military
should establish suitable career-enhancing incentives for
these officers and personnel.

RECOMMENDATION 45: The United States should support
more and better equipment for the Iraqi Army by encouraging
the Iraqi government to accelerate its Foreign
Military Sales requests and, as American combat brigades
move out of Iraq, by leaving behind some American equipment
for Iraqi forces.

Restoring the U.S. Military

RECOMMENDATION 46: The new Secretary of Defense
should make every effort to build healthy civil-military relations,
by creating an environment in which the senior military
feel free to offer independent advice not only to the
civilian leadership in the Pentagon but also to the President
and the National Security Council, as envisioned in the Goldwater-
Nichols legislation.

RECOMMENDATION 47: As redeployment proceeds, the
Pentagon leadership should emphasize training and education
programs for the forces that have returned to the continental United States in order to “reset” the force and restore
the U.S. military to a high level of readiness for global

RECOMMENDATION 48: As equipment returns to the
United States, Congress should appropriate sufficient funds
to restore the equipment to full functionality over the next
five years.

RECOMMENDATION 49: The administration, in full consultation
with the relevant committees of Congress, should
assess the full future budgetary impact of the war in Iraq and
its potential impact on the future readiness of the force, the
ability to recruit and retain high-quality personnel, needed
investments in procurement and in research and development,
and the budgets of other U.S. government agencies involved
in the stability and reconstruction effort.

Budget Preparation, Presentation, and Review

RECOMMENDATION 72: Costs for the war in Iraq should
be included in the President’s annual budget request, starting
in FY 2008: the war is in its fourth year, and the normal
budget process should not be circumvented. Funding requests
for the war in Iraq should be presented clearly to
Congress and the American people. Congress must carry out
its constitutional responsibility to review budget requests for
the war in Iraq carefully and to conduct oversight.

Finding: This is a non-starter. OMB tried to get the MilDepts to
the war costs in their FY08 budget requests. The result was the Army
didn't submit the POM 08 until last Monday – three months late. The
asked for $25 B addition to the 08 budget, only got $7 B relief from
OMB. OMB gave up and the MilDepts requested a $150 B Second FY07

RECOMMENDATION 75: For the longer term, the United States government needs to improve how its constituent
agencies—Defense, State, Agency for International Development,
Treasury, Justice, the intelligence community, and others—
respond to a complex stability operation like that
represented by this decade’s Iraq and Afghanistan wars and
the previous decade’s operations in the Balkans. They need to
train for, and conduct, joint operations across agency boundaries,
following the Goldwater-Nichols model that has
proved so successful in the U.S. armed services.

We were told that there are fewer than 10 analysts on the
job at the Defense Intelligence Agency who have more than two
years’ experience in analyzing the insurgency.

Our embassy of 1,000 has 33 Arabic speakers, just six
of whom are at the level of fluency.

RECOMMENDATION 77: The Director of National Intelligence
and the Secretary of Defense should devote significantly
greater analytic resources to the task of understanding
the threats and sources of violence in Iraq.


In accordance with Title 17 Section 107, this material
is distributed without profit or payment to those who have expressed a
prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit research
educational purposes only.


Ted Cormaney
Mount St. Albans
Washington, DC


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