Forces: The Surge of Iraqis


November 23, 2007: While the five additional U.S. combat brigades sent to Iraq earlier in the year, for the "surge offensive," got lots of publicity, hardly anyone heard of the even more numerous Iraqi forces that entered the battle this year. In 2007, the Iraqi army added six more combat brigades, and the capabilities of their 44 brigades increased considerably. The police added 45,000 cops this year, for a total of over 150,000.

Police and army commando and SWAT units became more effective, and conducted several very impressive operations without any U.S. assistance. Iraq commanders, and their staffs, became more effective and reliable. American troops were often glad to work with those Iraqi army and police units that had a good reputation, and there were more of those to go around.

By world standards, the Iraqi army is still a pretty ramshackle force. Only three of the 44 brigades can carry out operations all by themselves, and that status of those three can decline very quickly if some of their best officers are removed. There is still a shortage of experienced and reliable senior officers. The NCO corps grows better month by month, but in many brigades, the overall quality of NCOs is low.

The police are still very corrupt. Again, a lot depends on the quality of the senior commanders. Fixing shortages there will take years.


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