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The Roggio Report

The Baghdad Security Plan beefs up, AQI responds.

12:00 AM, Apr 2, 2007 • By BILL ROGGIO
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Prior to the enactment of these two laws, the Iraqi Army did not have a viable way of punishing AWOLs and deserters. The AWOL rates were between 5 to 8 percent per unit, and the liberal leave policy accounted for another 25 percent of the units being unavailable. There were no acceptable procedures that existed for Iraqi commanders to enforce discipline. With the passing of these two laws, Iraqi Army commanders now have the legal procedures, limits, and punishments codified. This gives the Iraqi Army the equivalent of the U.S. Military's "Uniform Code of Military Justice" and "Articles of Courts Marshal." The laws provide a uniform code of conduct, discipline, and punishment within the Iraqi Military that will curtail desertions, AWOLs, and other breaches of discipline. As the new laws promulgate and troops become familiar with them, disciplinary problems such as AWOL should be reduced to acceptable levels.

One example of the improvement in the staffing of the Iraq Army units can be seen in the deployment of forces into Baghdad. In a recent briefing, Lieutenant General Raymond Odierno, the Commanding General of Multinational Corps Iraq, explained how the Iraqi battalions arriving in Baghdad improved its manning strengths. The first seven units that arrived in Baghdad in January were manned at between 55 and 65 percent strength. The next seven were staffed at between 65 and 85 percent of capacity. The last four that deployed were staffed at over 95 percent strength, and one unit arrived at 103 percent strength. The government of Iraq is training 7,500 Soldiers every five weeks as replacements for the units already deployed to Baghdad, which allows the Army units to over man their formations, continue with training, and conduct future deployments.

While the three major attacks in Baghdad, Tal Afar and Khalis have proven al Qaeda is still capable of conducting major strikes against civilian targets, the sectarian violence continues to remain at a level well below the numbers prior to the implementation of the Baghdad Security Plan in mid-February. Al Qaeda will continue to adjust their tactics and probe for weakness. But the U.S. deployment has yet to complete, and will not be fully manned until early June. The Coalition, Iraqi Army, and police are still in the process of securing Baghdad and the outer belts. As U.S. generals have repeatedly cautioned, the results from the Baghdad Security Plan cannot be assessed until some point in the summer, when all of the pieces of the puzzle are in place.

Bill Roggio writes on the war at billroggio.com. You can read daily updates on the war in Iraq from Bill Roggio at THE WORLDWIDE STANDARD. DJ Elliott and CJ Radin also contributed to this report.