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IPOA_Journal_May_June

IPOA_Journal_May_June

The Future of Iraq:

The Future of Iraq: Security.FROM PREVIOUS PAGE30,000 troops launched in early 2007,violent incidents in Anbar have dropped tolevels unthinkable just a year ago.According to officials with II MarineExpeditionary Force, there were about 170“significant events” in Fallujah during thefirst week of January 2007. That includesfirefights, IED attacks, mine explosions androadside bombs that were discovered, butthat did not detonate. By the last week ofDecember, the number of "sigex," as they'recalled, in Fallujah dropped to less than 20.In Ramadi, the capital of the SunnidominatedAnbar province and a troubledhot spot for years, incidents dropped from198 in one week of February 2007, to threeby the last week of the year. And in farwestern Anbar, the Marine commanderthere reports around 15 sigex per week – andthat includes IEDs found by coalition troopsbut not detonated. Marine officials attributethis massive shift to a population fed up withal Qaeda in Iraq's terrorist tactics andrejuvenated tribal governance that cast itslot with American efforts to bolster thenational government.Whatever the reason for the reductionin violence, Marines in the field haveswitched from rifles to paint brushes andfrom bullets to handshakes. For some ofleathernecks on their first deployment toIraq, it's a bit of a let-down. One Marinewho's a veteran of the fierce Fallujah fight inNovember of 2004 said it's been tough tokeep his Marines motivated after regalingthem with stories of that epic battle. Theycame here to fight, he said, and insteadthey're patrolling streets teeming withpeople, devoid of enemy activity.In fact, 3/3’s Lima Company hadn'tfired a single shot in anger in months, itscommander, Capt. Quintin Jones, said. Andthat's just fine with him. As local police takegreater control of their towns and localcitizens help keep al Qaeda malcontentsfrom detonating bombs in their markets, theMarines here are left with little to do butreconstruction and institution building - anoverall mission that has one every Marinecan appreciate. “It might be a little boringhere now,” said Lance Cpl. Parker Winnett, aradio operator with Lima, 3/3. “But at leastI’ll come home alive.”One place it’s definitely not boring,however, is Saddam’s old stomping groundsof Tikrit. Now considered a conduit for alQaeda militants streaming north and eastout of Anbar and Baghdad, you’ve still got tokeep moving to the “sniper dance.” You’reout in the open. There are houses all aroundyou — cover and concealment for enemysharpshooters to plink off a U.S. SoldierStand there, wait a few seconds, shift to theright — then do it all over again. If you’vebeen to Iraq before, you know the routine.“We don’t want a sniper to get a good shotoff on us,” one Soldier said. “So we keepmoving all the time.”In the home region of the deposed Iraqidictator Saddam Hussein, the security thathas only recently descended is tenuous atbest. With the Iraqi army largely pushed outto the surrounding towns and villages tohelp U.S. forces root out the most tenaciousholdouts in other areas, the focus in Tikrit ison building a durable police force that canprovide security to the local population andat the same time keep the insurgency fromsparking up again.For the American Military Police unitsand the civilian advisors that help themachieve their mission it's a tall order. Withcorruption a part of everyday life and apolicing philosophy making the transitionfrom being an instrument of oppression to aforce that serves the community, putting thelocal constables on the right track takesconstant interaction and a deep reservoir ofpatience.“Our motto is ‘no free chicken,’” saidStaff Sgt. Joe Cline, a platoon sergeant withthe 56th Military Police Company, whoadded that their main mission is to cut theIraqi police’s dependence on the U.S.military.Each of the platoons with the 56thMilitary Police Company — which iscomprised of Army reservists from Arizona,California and Nevada — is divided intosmaller Police Transition Teams, called“PiTTs.” Paired with civilian contractorsdrawn from police departments from acrossthe country, the PiTT teams patrol the townsoutside the sprawling Camp Speicher basejust to the north of Tikrit, visiting policestations, meeting with their leaders andassessing what they need to keep cops on thebeat.On a patrol to the Tikrit patrol station,MPs wanted to see if a shooting incident thatoccurred the previous day showed up on thestation’s log books. After a furious series ofmistranslations and fumbling through pilesof papers, the Iraqi policeman said he didn’thave the shooting — which occurred just ablock away — on his books.“That was reported at another station,”the Iraqi policeman told the MPs.Frustrated, the MPs looked at each otherwith dismay.“One of the things we try to do is to getthese guys talking to each other,” said StaffSgt. David Heath, a platoon sergeant withthe 56th MPs. “We’ve had shooting incidentshappen right out front that they didn’trespond to.”Despite their lack of coordination withother stations and security forces in andaround Tikrit, their presence is definitely feltthroughout the area. It’s tough to pass astreet corner in Tikrit that doesn’t have somesort of police checkpoint. Pickup trucksbristling with machine guns and blue-shirtedIraqis storm through the city. You can evenhear police sirens whining across town inpursuit of criminals and miscreants.And that’s a big change for many ofthese soldiers, who expected a hard fightwhen they trained for the deployment. “It’s alot better than what I thought it would belike,” said Spec. Sadie Hagemann, 21, ofSheridan, California, who’s on her firstdeployment. “I didn’t expect the IPs to be asactive as they are.”But sometimes the mission of takingtheir hands off the reins of the IP clasheswith the still simmering terrorist threat. OnJanuary 21, the MPs received a report that inthe nearby town of Owja — which is whereSaddam Hussein’s body is interred — theentire Iraqi police force had quit en masse.This worried American military commanders,who thought the exodus was a sign thata major terrorist hit was in the works.Suspicions were high as the MPs rolled outthe next day, speeding past the understatedtomb of Saddam, whose portrait bedecks thearch above its entryway. They don’t likeOwja, where many of the residents’allegiances reportedly fall in the Baathistcamp.But after a round of hearty handshakes,cups of bitter Turkish coffee and anunhealthy round of chain smoking with thecity police chief, Maj. Qusay Abdul Razaq,things were smoothed over. “It was just amisunderstanding with the battalions,”Razaq said, referring to the so-calledEmergency Response Units paramilitarypolice, which conducted a large raid in Owjawithout informing the local police.“Everything’s okay now.”Minutes later, a squad of Soldiers fromAlpha Company, 1st Special Troops Battalionof the 101st Airborne Division came into thechief’s office. They’d heard the same reportof a mass exodus and were loaded for a fightwith an enemy assault that never came.Though all the Soldiers left the Owja policeheadquarters relieved that they didn’t haveto conduct an all-out assault, many were stillsuspicious that the underlying tensionhadn’t truly abated. “I hate Owja,” said Spec.Anthony Adamo, 21, of Tucson, Arizona, anMP with the 56th MP Company. “There’s somany terrorists there that we can’t pick up.”True, there are still places in Iraq wherebombs kill, bullets fly and mortars whistlethrough the air. But transport yourself backjust a year and it’s a very different Iraq you’llsee. Though violence is down and reconciliationis up, the big question the troops in Iraqare asking themselves is will it hold. Andnone of them really wants to come back tofind out.16JOURNAL OF INTERNATIONAL PEACE OPERATIONS — www.PeaceOps.com — VOLUME 3, NUMBER 6 : May-June 2008

G RAHAM KERRSecurity in Iraq: The Private Security Perspective“THE most certain test by which wejudge whether a country is reallyfree is the amount of securityenjoyed by minorities.”[1]Tahsin al Sheikhly was the IraqiGovernment’s spokesman on its recentsecurity crackdown, when the government ofPrime Minister Nouri al Maliki movedagainst the Shia Militia, in particular JeyshAl Mahdi (JAM). During the resultantupsurge in violence in Baghdad, Mr. alSheikhly’s family home was assaulted byaround 40 Militia fighters armed with smallarms and rockets launchers; his house wasburnt down during the ensuing gun battleand he was taken hostage. He was releasedafter five days when a tentative agreementwas brokered with the assistance of Iran. Mr.al Sheikhly recounted his ordeal in aninterview with a British journalist from TheTimes newspaper. He recognized most of hiskidnappers, who made no attempt todisguise themselves, but he will not behunting them down now.“Maybe later. Now everything isconfusing, there is nothing clear for us.Maybe after we settled everything we willlook for them, we will impose the law...”[2]He also commented reflectively upon onthe state of the various houses in which hewas held during his ordeal.“Most of the houses were very, verysimple and very, very poor. They haven’t anashtray. They haven’t a table, a plastic one,they are drinking not clean water. If theGovernment doesn’t take care to improvetheir lives, everything will be gone ... ourstrategy was looking always at security, notfor peace. We need social peace more thansecurity.”[3]One feels that Lord Acton would bedisappointed at this stage. Nonetheless,security is one of the central pillars of anycivilized society; its interrelated mainstaysare: effective government (hallmarked withgood governance); strong institutions ofstate (especially those of law and order); asound education system; and a welldeveloped social and economicinfrastructure.[4] Most would agree thatdespite its potential, particularly economic,Iraq’s mainstays are currently of inadequatestrength and it will take years rather thanmonths to rectify this.Any article, especially on Iraq, isinevitably a snapshot to some extent;underlying trends tend to remain relativelyconsistent but the degree to which theirinfluence is felt fluctuates considerably. Forexample, at the apogee of the internalviolence in late 2006 and early 2007, thereIraq Still Poses Significant Security ChallengesStill the most desirable way to get around Iraq.PHOTO: U.S. ARMY.were a series of high level assessments thatstated that some key parts of the countrywere virtually ungovernable and civil warwas inevitable (especially some quarters ofBaghdad and Al Anbar Region). This diresituation spawned the ‘Surge’ of some30,000 American fighting troops during theSpring and Summer of last year. This actionpulled Iraq back from the brink.When I initially drafted this assessmentin mid-March, I was focused on thedurability of the significantly lower levels ofviolence, which had been the predominantsuccess of the Surge. A week is a long time inpolitics, and this adage is no more true thanin Iraq. My focus shifted to take into accountthe Iraqi Prime Minister’s premature moveagainst the Militia.[5] Its lack of success waslargely due to both the plans and the troopsinvolved being inadequately prepared. Thissnapshot attempts to capture the underlyingtrends and their current degrees ofinfluence.The Future of Iraq: Security.Following the removal of SaddamHussein, the democratically-electedgovernment has not been able to assert itsauthority, and Iraq’s internal securitydeclined steadily until mid 2007. Thisimpeded all reconstruction efforts andengendered a state of lawlessness.Corruption, nepotism and economicstagnation have all exacerbated the malaiseand remain significant problems.Polarization into the dominant groupings(Sunni, Shia and Kurd) has been a furtherconsequence with fears that an alreadypartisan dominated insurgency coulddegenerate into a full-blown civil war. Themulti-faceted nature of the insurgency andthe lack of any unifying purpose increases itscomplexity. Foreign fighters, inter-sectarianCONTINUED NEXT PAGEE-mail GKerr@hartsecurity.comThe author is Chief Operating Officer of HartSecurity.JOURNAL OF INTERNATIONAL PEACE OPERATIONS — www.PeaceOps.com — VOLUME 3, NUMBER 6 : May-June 200817

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