Mutiny in the Ranks

Newsweek: Mutiny in the Ranks

During his prime-time press conference last week, George W. Bush promised that, someday, “Iraqi security is going to be handled by the Iraq people themselves.â€

That day isn̢۪t coming any time soon.

As fierce fighting erupted in parts of Iraq in early April, the U.S.-led coalition tried to deploy U.S.-trained Iraqi units to quell the fighting. The results were disastrous: During the violence, many Iraqi police and civil defense personnel abandoned their posts, or joined Shiite militants loyal to renegade cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. What’s more, some soldiers of the first U.S.-trained battalion of the New Iraqi Army (NIA) deserted their unit or refused to follow orders. “There were a number of troops, there were a number of police that didn’t stand up when their country called,†concedes coalition military spokesperson Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt.

A vivid account of the incident ensues over the next several paragraphs.

The interesting thing is this:

Senior officers in the New Iraqi Army say riot police and other civilian security forces should have been used on the mission rather than army troops. “The idea of using the army to carry out [such] functions against civilians inside the cities is a grave mistake,†says staff colonel Dakhil Hammood, commander of the first battalion of the Salahuddin Brigade based in Tikrit. “No Iraqi would ever welcome this idea. The army must focus on foreign threats and be deployed to defend the country’s porous borders.†He has called for a review of the types of missions that would fall to the new Iraqi army over the long term.

The problem, of course, is that the target here wasn’t “civilians” in any ordinary sense but rather a collection of stateless guerillas, insurgents, and terrorists. Riot police are woefully overmatched for such a situation. Counterinsurgency is a military mission.

FILED UNDER: Iraq War, , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. MrX says:

    Well those stupid us rednecks thought that Iraqis
    would fire at Iraqis, just because they were orderd by some coward us militarys. Ha ha what a bunch of losers!

    Let the americans do the dying.
    Let them dy like flies in a rotten cowshit.
    Why don’t you send dumbya to Iraq. He owes the us army a year or two.

    Glad to read that the Spaniards are showing the us redneck army their asses.