U.S. Forces Iraq Re-evaluates Priorities

WASHINGTON, May 31, 2011 — In Sep­tem­ber 2010, Oper­a­tion Iraqi Free­dom became Oper­a­tion New Dawn, as the focus of the U.S. mis­sion in Iraq changed from secu­ri­ty oper­a­tions to sta­bil­i­ty, with the capa­bil­i­ties of the fledg­ling Iraqi secu­ri­ty forces as a key fac­tor.
With the mis­sion tran­si­tion, U.S. Forces Iraq has changed some of its goals to reflect both the progress of the Iraqi forces and per­sis­tent threats in the area, Army Maj. Gen. Jef­frey Buchanan, a spokesman for the com­mand said dur­ing a May 27 “DOD Live” blog­gers round­table.

“Under Oper­a­tion New Dawn, … we have three major tasks for sta­bil­i­ty oper­a­tions,” he said. “The first one is to advise, train, assist and equip the Iraqi secu­ri­ty forces; our sec­ond task is to part­ner in coun­tert­er­ror­ism oper­a­tions; and our third task is to sup­port and pro­tect the civil­ian work­ers that come from the U.S. Mis­sion Iraq or the embassy, as they work to build civ­il capac­i­ty through­out the coun­try.”

While the joint task force has been mak­ing progress on all fronts of the mis­sion, Buchanan said, a lot of work remains to be done before U.S. forces leave Iraq at the end of the year. Al-Qai­da and oth­er ter­ror­ist groups, ille­gal arms and mili­tias, and basic crime all pose threats, he added, but thanks to the com­bined efforts of U.S. and Iraqi forces — cou­pled with the death of Osama bin Laden — al-Qaida’s influ­ence, finances, and abil­i­ty to recruit new mem­bers or bring in for­eign fight­ers has been great­ly dimin­ished.

Although al-Qaida’s effect now is iso­lat­ed, the organization’s strict adher­ence to rad­i­cal ide­olo­gies and its will­ing­ness to con­tin­u­al­ly mur­der inno­cents make the group dan­ger­ous, the gen­er­al said.

Iraqi and U.S. forces also see a prob­lem in small­er, for­eign mili­tias, the most preva­lent being the Promised Day Brigade, Asaib al-Haq and Kataib Hezbol­lah, Buchanan said. These forces, which are not Iraqi-financed, may not have the country’s best inter­ests in mind, he added.

“Because they fre­quent­ly rep­re­sent a for­eign agen­da, they under­mine Iraq’s sov­er­eign­ty,” he said. “They’re also, as I see it, an affront to all Iraqis, in that there is only one legit­i­mate secu­ri­ty force in the coun­try, and that’s the Iraqi secu­ri­ty forces.”

In addi­tion, vio­lent crimes such as armed rob­beries, assas­si­na­tions and kid­nap­pings are exac­er­bat­ed by easy access to arms and ammu­ni­tion, Buchanan acknowl­edged, not­ing that these vio­lent activ­i­ties are not nec­es­sar­i­ly relat­ed to ter­ror­ism. These vio­lent attacks have gone from 145 a day in 2007 to just about 13 a day in the first four months of 2011, the gen­er­al said, call­ing that a pos­i­tive trend and a sign the coun­try is head­ing into sta­bil­i­ty.

“You see signs of nor­mal­cy through­out the coun­try, and the traf­fic is flow­ing a lot more freely,” he said. “Police are pulling secu­ri­ty, as well as the army. The secu­ri­ty forces are increas­ing­ly pro­fes­sion­al, and the secu­ri­ty forces, in fact, deserve much of the cred­it for all of the sig­nif­i­cant secu­ri­ty improve­ments.”

U.S. Forces Iraq offi­cials hope to help the Iraqi forces in estab­lish­ing com­pe­tent intel­li­gence net­works to main­tain and even fur­ther decrease these trends, the gen­er­al said.

“One of our major efforts for the rest of the year … that we’re very much focused on [is] help­ing them build a sys­tem of sys­tems that allows them to work togeth­er across all agen­cies to bet­ter iden­ti­fy col­lec­tion require­ments, to share, to ana­lyze and then dis­sem­i­nate [intel­li­gence data] across agen­cies.”

Buchanan said offi­cials also plan to help the Iraqi forces with sus­tain­ment and logis­tics, as well as the inte­gra­tion of com­bined arms into their oper­a­tions. Right now, he said, the Iraqi forces are a force for exter­nal defense of the coun­try, but imple­ment­ing infantry, artillery and armored forces and attack avi­a­tion would bet­ter meet the country’s future secu­ri­ty needs.

Even after the mis­sion tran­si­tion, Buchanan said, he hopes that U.S. and Iraqi forces can con­tin­ue to learn from each oth­er. He added that he sees the coun­tries hav­ing a mutu­al­ly ben­e­fi­cial long-term rela­tion­ship in oth­er areas besides defense.

“If you go back and you look at the words in the strate­gic frame­work agree­ment that we signed in 2008, that aspires to a long-term endur­ing part­ner­ship, and it sets the con­di­tions for coop­er­a­tion in a wide vari­ety of areas — every­thing from coop­er­a­tion in edu­ca­tion and agri­cul­ture, eco­nom­ic devel­op­ment, sci­ence and tech­nol­o­gy as well as defense and secu­ri­ty coop­er­a­tion,” he said.

Source:
U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)

More news and arti­cles can be found on Face­book and Twit­ter.

Fol­low GlobalDefence.net on Face­book and/or on Twit­ter

Team GlobDef

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist GlobalDefence.net im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. GlobalDefenc.net war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →