Iraqi Security Forces
Yarbz, from Juggernuts.com, asked me to talk about the IP (Iraqi Police) and IA (Iraqi Army). I guess they are portrayed as incompetent, lazy and rife with turncoats by the MSM. So, here goes...
The IPs that we deal with here in our area are very well trained, motivated, and dedicated as a whole. The photo above is me (kneeling, left) and some other squadmembers at Kirkuk IP HQ. This group of guys were very professional. They carried themselves and their weapons with confidence. The IP here seem to be very well equipped, with Glock pistols, AK-47 rifles, and body armor. Their uniforms are mostly standardized, with the exception of their footwear. Their footwear ranges from American desert boots (no doubt given to them by soldiers trying to lighten their load on the way back to the land of the big PX) to simple leather shoes, and everything in between. They are constantly conducting mounted patrols around the city, and manning traffic checkpoints everywhere.
Here in Kirkuk, the IP have an ESU, or Emergency Services Unit. This is the IP SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) team. In our effort to transfer power to the new Iraqi government, we are transitioning responsibilities to them for different missions. I cannot divulge which missions we now allow them to take over, nor can I expound on what role we play with them. I can say this: These guys have their stuff wired tight. They are tactically sound and technically proficient.
As to the issue of them being full of turncoats and traitors, or of them being infiltrated with AIF (anti-Iraqi forces), I cannot speak to that with any authority. I have no doubts that that problem exists, but to its spread and depth within the rank and file of the IP, I cannot say.
I have not really had as much contact with the IA as I have had with the IP. In my less numerous dealings with the IA, I have noticed that they are green, very green. Green, in and of itself, is not a bad thing, but they need to grow. They need time to train, time to sweat it out in the field, to make mistakes and learn from them. The problem is that they do not have time to train, and they make mistakes in live combat, where the smell of cordite burns the air (I really LOVE that smell), the bullets crack as they pass you, you get showered with the dirt and the hot embers and the shrapnel of the explosions of RPGs and IEDs. They have not been afforded the opportunity to learn any other way except for men dying.
The IA need to select and train a strong NCO (Non-Commissioned Officer) corps; corporals and sergeants, with authority to give orders and maintain discipline. Discipline is another thing the IA lacks. Their basic line soldiers seem to non-chalantly go about their missions, with no hurry or fear of consequence. A lot of these soldiers could use, and learn a lot from, a good smoking (remedial PT), some extra duty, and some developmental counseling from their senior leadership.
So, this question is posed in the media all the time: "Is Iraq ready to govern and secure itself?" NO. Not yet. But they are getting there. I do not believe it is possible to man, equip and train an army and a national police force to a self-sufficient level in less than 2 years. But I tell you what, they have a good start.
Oh, and Mustang 23, I haven't forgotten about you. Just gathering some information from Omar, so as to be as factually correct as possible.
Michael, another milblogger, at A Day In Iraq has a good blog up. Check it out. Plus, his he is a new father, so go there and have a cigar with him. I believe the brand he is smoking is "ItsaBoy".
That is all for today, folks.......Scouts Out.