Monday, August 11, 2008

Iraqi forces to be ready by the year 2020, according to plan

The following is somewhat fragmentary and short on sources, but I think it makes a couple of important points. (Reading you might say, the newspapers we have, not those we wish we had). Here it is, from Azzaman this morning:
Iraq announced that it has commenced implementing a three-stage plan for the re-arming of its army and security forces and supplying them with medium and heavy weapons, the program to be completed by the year 2020.

The Minister of Defense Abdul Qadir Jasim alUbaydi said the Iraqi army will be capable of carrying out all of its military missions on its own and without relying on any foreign help by the middle of the end of the coming year. But military sources said the length of time of the program [talking now about the above-mentioned rearmament program to end in 2020] is quite long, and during that time the country could experience challenges that is is unable to face [on its own].

And contrary to the statements of Ubaydi, an American report has said that no more than two of the 14 new brigades are ready to fight and bear their responsibilities independently. The other brigades are unable to fight because of lack of weapons, training and support and supply equipment.

The sources [mentioned above, the ones that said 2020 is a long way away and a lot could happen in the meantime] said that the Iraqi forces that participated in the operations in Basra, Sadr City, Amarah and Diwaniya had obtained operational and logistical support from the Americans.
So (1) for logistics and "operational" aspects, the recent operations, from Basra to Diwaniya, were by units that are still reliant on American support. And (2) according to the latest plan, there won't be fully independent military capacity before the year 2020. Which reinforces the points made by knowledgable people in this JWN thread and on an earlier thread here, to the effect that the much-talked-about "withdrawal of combat troops" or "withdrawal to bases" doesn't mean loss of power and control once you consider logistics, air-support, pre-positioned equipment, etcetera. All the more so when the plan is to obtain Iraqi self-sufficiency only by the year 2020.

The journalist goes on to review earlier corruption scandals in military supply and funding, and notes that the Americans have been concerned about arms ending up in the hands of militias rather than the regular army.

Then the journalist quotes a former officer with the rank of brigadier general who spoke about efforts to establish an infrastructure upon which to build the new Iraqi army, but who added: There are some who are still trying to give priority to the militia-istic mentality over the military in structuring the national role for the army.


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