The Urban Insurgency in Iraq; U.S.-Trained Forces Are a Winning Strategy

Article excerpt


What if they gave an insurgency and nobody came? That's how we'll know when we've finally won in Iraq. The urban insurgency in Iraq has likely been won already; the pundits and retired military commentators just haven't figured it out. It was won by a decision made in Washington and Tampa to let the Iraqis themselves win it.

The counter-insurgency campaign will be won by U.S.-trained Iraqi security forces. These include the police, local security guards and the new Iraqi Civil Defense Corps (ICDC). The creation of the ICDC takes a page from the Small Wars manual that outlines the successful strategy employed by the Marine Corps in winning similar insurgencies in Haiti and Nicaragua in the first half of the last century.

Central Command is recruiting and training the ICDC as a gendarme force. Although its primary mission is counter insurgency, it will likely also engage in nation building civic action projects. As was the case in the Banana Wars and the successful Philippine counter insurgency campaign, the ICDC constabulary will be trained and equipped by U.S. and coalition forces. Partner coalition units will mentor the ICDC troops as they begin assuming point defense and patrolling missions in the neighborhood of the triangle and elsewhere in the country.

The mentors will not throw the green ICDC to the wolves; rather, they will judge when each Iraqi unit is ready to solo on its own. This will be done on a case-by-case basis. Eventually however, the coalition forces will turn over day-to-day security of the cities to the Iraqis and go into a reserve reaction force mode. This will also free up mobile U.S. forces who are more suited to patrolling the outlying power grid and oil pipelines; that is a mission far more suited to the heavily armored and mobile U.S. forces now in the triangle from urban patrolling missions that are not their forte. This mission change will speed up reconstruction.

The ICDC is a good idea on several levels. No one likes to see foreign occupiers patrolling the streets of his nation's towns and cities. The ICDC sends a clear signal that the Iraqis are regaining control of their nation, and that those in control will not be Ba'athist thugs or fundamentalist nut cases. …