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FrontPageMagazine.com | Wednesday, February 06, 2008


By Ed Morrissey

Early in the race, Republicans appeared headed to a brokered convention. GOP primary voters couldn't decide on a front-runner, and it looked like three or even four candidates could make it to the national convention with significant numbers of delegates, touching off a floor fight. It would have been 1976 all over again -- the convention that nominated Gerald Ford and left the Republicans flat.

Now, however, it's the Democrats who appear to be headed to a 1976 scenario instead. Chris Bowers at Open Left describes the problem accurately:

The polling picture for Super Tuesday is starting to fill out now. With only 34 hours until polls close in California, it appears virtually certain that we will have a split decision in terms of delegates. Currently, by multiplying the average polling margin by the number of delegates in each state, I arrive at an estimate of Clinton 889 delegates, Obama 799 pledged delegates earned from Super Tuesday itself. However, in virtually every state, more recent polls show better results for Obama, which should improve his standing almost across the board. At this point, a 90-delegate victory for Clinton on Super Tuesday is probably her best-case scenario, and the margin should less than 50 delegates in either direction. A narrow Obama victory on Super Tuesday is even within his reach now.

This one is going beyond Super Tuesday, folks. With only 22 states, D.C., Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands left to vote after Super Tuesday, one has to wonder if it is possible for the deadlock to be broken before the convention. Even though Clinton will probably lead by 100 or so delegates after Super Tuesday, the February schedule favors Obama. As such, with only 3,253 pledged delegates, and 2,025 needed to win, it no longer seems possible for either candidate to win without the assistance of at least some of the 796 super delegates. Consequently, it is probably time to start discussing the most democratic way to break the deadlock, such as measuring the measuring the overall popular vote or pledged delegate totals, and urging super delegates to line up behind the candidate who leads according to that metric. A situation like this makes problems such as caucuses not counting popular votes, as well as the Michigan and Florida situations, far more severe and troubling. In short, it looks like we have a real mess on our hands now.

Indeed, and Bowers doesn't mention the real nightmare scenario. Hillary Clinton has had an edge in the superdelegates, both in number and in influence. These superdelegates represent the party establishment, which owes a lot to the Clintons over the last 16 years. The two have won elections for the party establishment and raised a lot of money, something Barack Obama has hardly had a chance to do until just recently.

What happens if Obama comes to the convention -- and Hillary beats him with the superdelegates?

It could create a huge firestorm in Denver that could consume the party's oxygen for the next several years. The African-American vote would see this as a stolen nomination and could walk away from the Democrats. Rank-and-file voters, especially those who supported Obama's call for change in politics, would likely see this as smoke-filled-room maneuvering -- which is exactly what it would be. The bitterness would extend to the House and Senate members of the superdelegate assembly who backed Clinton over Obama, and it could threaten the Democrats' down-ticket races as well as their presidential election chances.

Under that scenario, would Hillary follow Bowers' suggestion and push the superdelegates to support Obama and concede power? Or will Hillary and Bill lean heavily on them, call in their chits, and fracture the party on the chance that they could unite it afterwards? Given the Clintonian attraction to power, I'd call the latter scenario a lot more likely.  Tuesday, February 5, 2008




By Mike Lester




By Michelle Malkin

Despite his loud crusading for illegal alien driver’s licenses, Sen. Barack Obama lost out to Hillary Clinton on the Latino vote tonight. Hispanic Clintonistas attribute her commanding lead on “name support.” I have a different theory. More on that in a moment. First, this:

“There is a real affection for the Clinton administration and a real familiarity with Senator Clinton,” said Cecilia Munoz, senior vice president for policy at the National Council of La Raza. In addition, she said, Clinton “got support of the big figures in the Latino political establishment quite early. So she has really terrific surrogates and they have been on board with her for a long time.”

The legacy of Bill Clinton’s administration was evident in yesterday’s exit polls from California, where Clinton beat Obama among Hispanics by 2 to 1. “There is a lot of name support,” Vargas said.

So, where did all of Hillary’s Latino votes come from? Well, there’s another legacy of Bill Clinton’s administration that should not be forgotten: The corrupted, reckless Citizenship USA program. Rosemary Jenks of Numbers USA first blew the whistle on the subversion of the naturalization process, pushed by then-VP Al Gore in 1996:

The preliminary results of the INS internal review of naturalization applications approved during CUSA, as presented to the Subcommittee by Assistant Attorney General for Administration Stephen Colgate clearly show that the problems were severe. Of the 1,049,872 immigrants granted U.S. citizenship under CUSA:

* 71, 557 were found to have FBI criminal records, including INS administrative actions (e.g., deportation proceedings or other immigration violations), and misdemeanor and felony arrests and convictions;
* Of these 71,557, 10,800 had at least one felony arrest, 25,500 had at least one misdemeanor arrest, but no felonies, and 34,700 had only administrative actions initiated against them;
* 113,126 had only name checks because their fingerprint cards were returned to the INS by the FBI because they were illegible;
* 66,398 did not have FBI criminal record checks because their fingerprint cards were never submitted to the FBI by the INS; and
* 2,573 were still being processed by the FBI.

As of late February 1997, 168 of these new citizens had been found to be “presumptively, statutorily ineligible” for naturalization based on their criminal record, and in another 2,800 cases, it could not be determined based on available information whether they were eligible or not.

Former House Judiciary Cmte chief counsel David Schippers followed up on the investigation and published his findings in his book, Sellout. A relevant excerpt:

My staff and I agreed that we needed to focus on the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), which appeared to be running out of control. By the time we came to the subject, investigations by the General Accounting Office (GAO) and congressional committees had already indicated that the White House used the INS to further its political agenda. A blatant politicization of the agency took place during the 1996 presidential campaign when the White House pressured the INS into expediting its “Citizenship USA” (CUSA) program to grant citizenship to thousands of aliens that the White House counted as likely Democratic voters. To ensure maximum impact, the INS concentrated on aliens in key states — California, Florida, Illinois, New York, New Jersey, and Texas — that hold a combined 181 electoral votes, just 89 short of the total needed to win the election.

The program was placed under the direction of Vice President Al Gore. We received from the GAO a few e-mails indicating Vice President Gore’s role in the plan (which are included in Appendix A at the back of the book). He was responsible for keeping the pressure on, to make sure the aliens were pushed through by September 1, the last day to register for the presidential election.

In our investigation we uncovered a case study evidencing what is pejoratively known in political science circles as “Chicago Politics.”

Back in the early years of the twentieth century, “Hinky Dink” Kenna and “Bathouse” John Coughlin were recognized as the very models of the unsavory Chicago politician. The two once fixed an aldermanic election in Chicago’s First Ward. To do so, they imported thousands of ward heelers, friends, associates, and city workers and had them registered to vote from every building in the ward — from homes (of which there were few) to taverns and cribs (of which there were many). On Election Day the recent arrivals stopped at Hinky Dink’s tavern, picked up fifty cents, ate a free lunch, and went out to vote their consciences. Guess who won that election?

Essentially, the same tactics were used during President Clinton’s reelection in 1996. Only this time the Democrats weren’t handing out sandwiches. Instead, through CUSA, they were circumventing normal procedures for naturalizing aliens — procedures that check backgrounds and weed out criminals — and consequently they were handing out citizenship papers to questionable characters.

The possibility of using CUSA apparently occurred to the White House in February 1996, when Henry Cisneros, then Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, forwarded a memo to President Clinton. The memo, from the California Active Citizenship Campaign (ACC), complained of a backlog of alien applications for naturalization in Los Angeles. It contained the magic words: “INS inaction [on the backlog] will deny 300,000 Latinos the right to vote in the 1996 presidential elections [sic] in California.”

The memo outlined the services that the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF) in Los Angeles could provide. The IAF offered thousands of volunteers to help process voter applications, register thousands of new voters, conduct 5,000 house meetings, encourage voting by mail, and get more than 50,000 occasional voters out to vote in the presidential election. Most interesting were the promises that the IAF would “create voter interest around issues of Affirmative Action and Minimum Wage, . . . influence 300,000 voters in the preparation for Nov. 1996, . . . produce 5,000 precinct leaders and turn out 96,000 voters for the 1996 presidential election.”

The White House discovered a problem, however: INS Commissioner Doris Meissner didn’t want to speed up the naturalization process and warned President Clinton’s people that such a push might be viewed as politically motivated…

Eventually, she gave in:

The White House wanted any applicant for citizenship to be naturalized in time to register for the November election, so the pressure on the INS was constant. On March 21 Elaine Kamarck in the Vice President’s office sent an e-mail to [National Performance Review official Douglas] Farbrother saying: “THE PRESIDENT IS SICK OF THIS AND WANTS ACTION. IF NOTHING MOVES TODAY WE’LL HAVE TO TAKE SOME PRETTY DRASTIC MEASURES.” Farbrother responded, “I favor drastic measures.” If he couldn’t get what he wanted from the INS, he wrote, he would “call for heavy artillery.”

In a March 26 e-mail to the Vice President, Farbrother reported that Chris Sale has indeed “delegated hiring authority to the five cities and increased their budgets by 20 percent.” But, he wrote, “I still don’t think the city directors have enough freedom to do the job.” Two days later Farbrother told the Vice President by e-mail, “[U]nless we blast INS headquarters loose from their grip on the frontline managers, we are going to have way too many people still waiting for citizenship in November.” He added, “I can’t make Doris Meissner delegate broad authority to her field managers. Can you?”

Gore answered, “We’ll explore it. Thanks.” By the end of March, Doris Meissner capitulated. On April 4, 1996, Elaine Kamarck, to prepare the Vice President for a lunch with Clinton, drafted a memo to Gore briefing him on the INS progress. In time, Newark, New Jersey, and Houston, Texas, would be added to the list of targeted cities, and in all, more than a million aliens would be naturalized in time to vote in the 1996 election.

The “path to citizenship” leads to Democrat votes. Too bad shamnesty Republicans refuse to learn from history.  Wednesday, February 6, 2008




By Ed Morrissey

Former UN Ambassador John Bolton wants DNI Michael McConnell to redo the National Intelligence Estimate to properly reflect the threat Iran poses to the region and the US. The do-over should emphasize the dual-use nature of its nuclear program, which Bolton claims got glossed over in the original (via Memeorandum):

Today, Director of National Intelligence Michael McConnell testifies before the Senate Intelligence Committee (and Thursday on the House side) to give the intelligence community's annual global threat analysis. These hearings are always significant, but the stakes are especially high now because of the recent National Intelligence Estimate on Iran.

Criticism of the NIE's politicized, policy-oriented "key judgments" has spanned the political spectrum and caused considerable turmoil in Congress. Few seriously doubt that the NIE gravely damaged the Bush administration's diplomatic strategy. With the intelligence community's credibility and impartiality on the line, Mr. McConnell has an excellent opportunity to correct the NIE's manifold flaws, and repair some of the damage done to international efforts to stop Iran from obtaining deliverable nuclear weapons.

Bolton wants McConnell to commit to three actions in order to rebuild confidence in future NIEs. First, explain to Congress how this NIE got distorted and commit to a rewrite that more objectively reflects the current intel and analysis on Iran. Next, Bolton wants a commitment to a more professional process in compiling future NIEs, especially on the unclassified portions. Finally, the DNI has to enforce operational security by stopping the leaks.

It all sounds great, but can McConnell really commit to this and deliver? I think McConnell would want to have already made these commitments to Congress and the nation, but like most government bureaucracies, turning the ship takes a lot of time and more than a little strength. If the intel community has been as politicized as Bolton argues -- and it certainly appears that way -- a housecleaning would be required to make the kinds of changes necessary.

Needless to say, a purge during wartime is not the best set of circumstances. Joseph Stalin found that out the hard way in June 1941. It would get messy, and it would take the focus off of national defense and counterterrorism at a time when we can least afford it.

At the least, though, the DNI needs to revisit the NIE and explain how we could go from a high confidence in one year that Iran had continued its nuclear-weapons program to a high confidence the next year that it had been dormant for four years. The nation's confidence in its intel is not even moderate any more, and thanks to over a decade of bad calls, missing data, and dramatic reversals, it's not likely to improve much without that destructive housecleaning.  Tuesday, February 5, 2008




Click image to view the slideshow of the leadership of al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.

This presentation looks at some of the major leaders of al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb in the past and present. Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) is the result of Al Qaeda's efforts to unite the various Salafist terror groups in North Africa. AQIM is made up of the Algerian-based Salafist Group for Prayer and Combat (GSPC), the Moroccan Islamic Combat Group, the Tunisian Combatant Group, and elements of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group. The GSPC forms the nucleus of al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. The GSPC officially merged with al Qaeda in September 2006 and renamed the group al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb in January 2007.  Tuesday, February 5, 2008




By Ed Morrissey

China knows that the Olympic Games will bring great scrutiny this summer, and no more so than when the athletes of the world arrive. Thousands of Westerners will expect to have the same level of communications available to them, and the Beijing government will have to decide whether to suspend its tight control over Internet access. Unlike their citizens, these Western athletes, reporters, and tourists will leave China and tell their stories:

China is debating whether to relax control of the Internet during the Olympics, allowing access to banned websites such as the BBC, a spokeswoman for the organising committee said Tuesday.

Plans to tear down the so-called Great Firewall of China were being debated and a decision was expected soon, said Wang Hui, head of media relations for the organising committee.

"We are studying this now based on suggestions of some journalists and a study of the experiences of other countries, so during the Olympics there may be some changes," she said. "This is one of the ways the Olympics may promote progress in China."

China tightly polices cyberspace and Chinese web surfers see a stripped-down version of the Internet minus some news sites such as the BBC and those belonging to human rights groups or any other sites judged subversive by the country's communist rulers.

The firewall does more than just block the BBC. China uses it to track down subversives who believe in freedom and liberty. Unfortunately, some Western companies assist China in this regard -- the same Western companies that helped build the Great Firewall. Google created a separate version of its database for China, only without all of those nasty websites that promote dangerous ideas like democracy and freedom of speech -- you know, the ideas that helped create Google in the first place. Yahoo has collaborated with Chinese authorities to prosecute journalists who have bravely tried to promote freedom.

Now, China wants to present itself as a happy nation of people who simply choose to live in ignorance of liberty. It can't allow Westerners visiting for the next few weeks get 404s when attempting to hit the BBC website and other dangerous sources of real information about the world. They may -- may -- have to lower the shields and allow access to the entire Internet for the first time in order to pull off that little masquerade. That will allow them to win a propaganda coup, with Olympics participants and tourists going back to their home countries and telling everyone how remarkably open China has become.

It might give a window for Chinese activists to report other aspects of China's rule to the world as well. Of course, with a little more Western help, Beijing will be able to track them down again -- and maybe the kind and helpful Western companies that helped build the Great Firewall can help create the Tiny Firewall Portal that will keep the rest of the nation locked down during the Games.  Tuesday, February 5, 2008




By Charles Johnson

Here’s an interesting report at the Investigative Project on some pushback against the Council on American Islamic Relations and the Muslim American Society: Government Reminds Court of CAIR/MAS Ties to Terrorists.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is demanding that the Air Force Academy alter a panel of speakers slated for a terrorist symposium this week, saying it’s an unbalanced presentation dominated by anti-Muslim speakers. But recently, and for at least the third time, federal prosecutors have called out CAIR as part of a covert Muslim Brotherhood effort in the United States. First, CAIR was named an unindicted co-conspirator in the Hamas-support trial of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF). CAIR was listed among “entities who are and/or were members of the US Muslim Brotherhood’s Palestine Committee.” Then, when the group petitioned to remove its name from that list, prosecutors said such relief “will not prevent its conspiratorial involvement with HLF, and others affiliated with Hamas, from becoming a matter of public record.”

Now, in a federal court filing from December, federal prosecutors have described CAIR as “having conspired with other affiliates of the Muslim Brotherhood to support terrorists.” The government also stated that “proof that the conspirators used deception to conceal from the American public their connections to terrorists was introduced” in the Dallas Holy Land Foundation trial last year and the Chicago trial of the Hamas men in 2006.

The government also stated that another organization, the Muslim American Society (MAS) was “founded as the overt arm of the Muslim Brotherhood in the United States.” This appears to be the first time the US government has officially described the true origins and ulterior agenda of the Muslim American Society.


By Charles Johnson

The Israeli Air Force struck at Hamas today, killing seven terrorists in Gaza, and Hamas retaliated with yet another barrage of rockets into the Israeli town of Sderot: Three people wounded in latest rocket barrage on Sderot.

Three people were wounded and several suffered from shock early Tuesday evening as ten Kassam rockets hit Sderot.

One of the rockets hit a house, moderately wounding a 14-year-old girl and lightly wounding two other people. The house itself was also reported to be heavily damaged. Power outages were also reported in some parts of the city, apparently a result of one of the rockets hitting electricity infrastructure.

The latest barrage came shortly after seven Hamas operatives were killed in an IAF strike on a Hamas post in the Gaza Strip.  Tuesday, February 5, 2008



Iraqi & Coalition forces Order of Battle as of Jan 31, 2008.

The February 2008 updates to the Iraqi Security Forces Order of Battle are now available at the ISF OOB homepage. The significant changes to the Order of Battle that occurred in January are summarized below.

Anbar is the next scheduled Iraqi province to transfer to provincial Iraqi control (PIC). Anbar is planned to go PIC in March 2008, with the official ceremony to be held in April. Prior to this, an Anbar Operational Command is expected to be formed in order to coordinate security throughout the province. On January 21st, the DhiQar Operational Command was ordered stood up in DhiQar province and, on January 22nd, the Ninawa Operational Command also became active in Ninawa province. These "Operational Commands" are the interim stage to forming the future corps and army group headquarters.

Of note: The Iraqi Army unauthorized absentee (AWOL) rate, has fallen to 1.2 percent over the last six months and the current goal is 601,000-640,000 Iraqi Security Force (ISF) members.

Presidential Brigade

Multi-National Security Transition Command-Iraqi (MNSTC-I) has clarified the command and organization of the newly forming Presidential Brigade. The Government of Iraq has not yet determined the subordination or organization of the Iraqi Army’s Presidential Brigade. It is under orders and being formed with forces generated. Resources have been allocated for the brigade's formation but, as of January 2008, it has not been determined who the Brigade will report to.

"When completed, the Presidential Brigade will be a five battalion force responsible for the immediate local security of key government facilities and leaders, as well as ceremonial functions, within Baghdad. It will operate under MoD [Iraq Ministry of Defense] control, though exact command-and-control lines have yet to be determined. It does not yet have an approved MTOE [military table of organization and equipment], but will consist of a mixed armor, motorized and light infantry force. The brigade is now undergoing force-generation."

Logistics, Training, and Equipping

The Iraqi Army continues to expand its logistics support. "Ten new logistics centers, to be completed in May, are designed to speed up the transition by giving the Iraqi military a place to warehouse parts and equipment and to send hardware that needs repair." This represents the expanding divisional base support units, which are gaining maintenance battalions. The five existing regional support units are also adding maintenance battalions, and the Taji National Depot has already stood up fourth level maintenance depots for wheeled vehicles, tracked vehicles, small arms, and support equipment. That’s a de-facto maintenance brigade. Iraqi Army became life-support self-sufficient as of November 25, 2007. This means they supply their own basic supply items for their own units. Also, to alleviate the bureaucratic delays in ammunition issue, second and third level ammo issue is a push system now. In a push system, the higher support automatically issues ammo based on the expected needs. Previously, ammo was issued under the pull system, in which units have to request resupply.

The expansion of the maintenance elements has also been accompanied by additional maintenance schools. A mechanic school has recently stood up at Taji. This is the fourth maintenance school the Iraqi Army has formed. This is very timely since the ISF are receiving 8,500 HMMWVs by 2010 from the US Iraqi fund. The HMMWVs are used vehicles, and their refurbishment will probably be used to train Iraqi maintenance personnel.

"The goal is to transfer 4,244 vehicles to the Iraqi security forces by the end of 2008. The refurbishment process is a 13-month program, which includes light maintenance and painting. The contract can be extended by an additional six months. This contract will generate more than 500 jobs and has the potential to serve as an on-the-job training mechanism for Iraqi soldiers who have completed their initial training. It’ll serve as a mechanism to ensure the long-term capability to maintain this fleet of vehicles by the Iraqi army. Officials aim for the program to complete the transfer of more than 8,000 vehicles to the Iraqi government by the end of 2009."

A new Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO) Academy has been established at Forward Operating Base Kalsu. Combined with the existing commando training there, this could be the start of converting Kalsu to an Iraqi Army Training Base. All other NCO training is conducted at established Iraqi Army training centers and bases. Iraqi leadership is improving. "We're at 68 percent fill in officers and 64 to 65 percent fill in sergeants." This almost doubles the number of NCOs in the Iraqi Army, but the army’s expansion means even more NCOs are needed. "The maneuver side is the most mature, because that is the choice that we made," Lieutenant General Dubik said. "In the last six months we established two division headquarters, three brigade headquarters and 10 battalion headquarters. That’s a huge growth in their size -- about 40,000."

In addition to the 8,500 HMMWVs, the Iraqi Army is working to get heavier armor. A total of 35 EE9 Caravels transferred to 4-9 Brigade. "More than 90 civilian contracted mechanics, many of whom are former soldiers in the Iraqi Army, have worked more than 11 months to completely refurbish these vehicles including, replacement of key drive shaft components, body work, suspension systems, and electrical wiring. They are very proud of their contribution to the Iraqi army." These 90mm gun armed scout cars will provide 4-9 Brigade with heavy direct fire support that their BTR80s do not have.

The donation of T72s from NATO to fill out the 9th Iraqi Army Division continues to be a work in progress. According to MNSTC-I's RFI reply: "The potential Slovakian T-72 donation is in the pre-inspection phase. Iraqi/NATO team will inspect the T-72s in April or MAY." While NATO Training Mission-Iraq's reply was:

"The status of the 70 T-72s Iraq request is that the donation is being validated. A team made up of members of the Iraqi military, NATO Training Mission-Iraq’s Training and Equipment Coordination Cell members and Multinational Security Transition Command-Iraq members will travel to Slovenia to validate the equipment. The team will inspect and validate the equipment in April or May. Please note that the transportation of the equipment into theatre and refurbishment of equipment-up to standards is not always funded by the donating nation. The cushion of time between the announcement to fulfil the request and the receipt of equipment is used to request funding from other nations, NATO’s Partnership for Peace members or the Iraqis for transportation and refurbishment."

Also, the Iraqi Minister of Defense is testing the waters and looking to buy M1 tanks.

MTLB Armored Personnel Carriers that formerly belonged to the 9th Division have shown up in Adhamiyah with bumper markings indicating they are in the 1-1-11 Battalion. This is the second battalion in the new 11th Division to get tracked armored vehicles. The 3-3-11 Battalion received BMP1s when it formed at Besmaya. Combined these factors with the New York Times report that the new 2-11 (graduated Besmaya on January 2nd) and 3-11 Brigades were only 2,000 personnel each while the Iraqi Ground Forces Command spokesman was saying they were 110 percent manned. A standard Iraqi infantry brigade has 2,750 troops at 110 percent manning. An armor brigade would be approximately 2,000 and the 3rd Brigade has received a mechanized battalion. The 11th Division is apparently organizing as an armor division with its 2nd and 3rd Brigades being future armor brigades while the 1st and 4th Brigades are mechanized.

Iraqi Ground Forces Command (IGFC)

With the open acknowledgement that operational commands are future corps headquarters, a request for information was sent to MNSTC-I as to how many corps are to be formed. "No firm decision on number of IA Corps to be formed. J-3 recommendation is five." This compares to the seven already formed operational commands and another planned for Anbar. The additional headquarters probably are future army command headquarters (Northern and Southern Army) and a future sixth corps headquarters (Anbar).

Iraqi units are becoming much more capable. "With less than a week's notice the 3rd Brigade of the 1st Iraqi Army Division was alerted to deploy from Anbar province to Diyala province to support combat operations in the Diyala River Valley. This was a good Iraqi decision and was executed solely by the Iraqis. Within 36 hours upon arrival, the 3rd Brigade uncovered two sizeable caches, gathered significant intelligence and aggressively hunted down al Qaeda in tough terrain and demanding climatic conditions." The experienced 3-1 Brigade will probably cover Diyala until the newly formed 4-5 Brigade is operational. The 1st and 9th Divisions are operating as national quick-response forces in practice, although only the 9th Division is acknowledged in this role.

Ninawa Province is also being reinforced for major operations. Elements of the 9th Division arrived January 27th in Mosul. Also the Ninawa Operational Command was stood up under the command of the 9th Division's general.

The Iraqi Ground Forces Command will probably gain three more divisions in 2008. According to MNSTC-I:

"The Minister of Defense recently directed a study for the generation of an additional IA division (15th IA). However, IA force generation remains conditions-based subject to the security situation on the ground, as well as decisions undertaken by the GoI. Other than what has been expressed in reports from OSD [Office of the Secretary Defense] to the Congress which are matters of public record, such as the calendar year 2007 9010 Reports which addressed Government of Iraq (GoI) consideration of adding two Peshmerga divisions, there are no official orders to force-generate additional Iraqi divisions."

The 15th Division is probably envisioned for south Baghdad and Babil Provinces. "...the army is clearly capable in our area, with the 8th Iraqi Division and the one brigade from the 6th Iraqi Division, very capable commanders and capable units. And they're growing five more battalions in the 8th Division over the next six months." The area south of Baghdad and north of 8th Division areas is covered only by the five battalions of the 4-6 Brigade, two brigades of Iraqi National Police and coalition forces. Major General Lynch has said he needs seven more Iraqi Army battalions for that area and that he expects to get them. The five battalions of the 4-6 Brigade and the additional seven battalions that he is getting would equal the strength of a new division. Of note: The 6th Division is five battalions over-strength.

Reporting on budget negotiations in the Government of Iraq has confirmed that the transfer of two Peshmerga divisions is still in the works. Overall Peshmerga strength is at 101,000 active, of which 25,000 are to be in two IA Divisions while 76,000 remain under the Kurdish Regional Government. An additional 90,000 are to be retired from Peshmerga. While the ISF budget was hung up in negotiations, those have ended with the original deal still in effect.

The expansion of the Iraqi Army's line brigades has delayed forming fire-support battalions for Iraqi brigades into 2009. According to MNSTC-I:

"The force generation of artillery units is addressed as part of the existing Iraqi Army Service plan. As part of that plan, MoD intends to field one direct-support artillery battalion per Iraqi Army brigade. However, current estimates, given other priority areas and commitment of available resources, are that force generation of Iraqi Army artillery units will not start fielding until sometime in 2009."

Ministry of Interior

The Iraqi National Police is establishing North, South, Central, and Western Regional Commands as part of phase IV. These will probably be de-facto divisions. The Iraqi Police is establishing regional maintenance facilities as well. Mosul Police plan to add 3,000 personnel, of which 1,000 are to be from families of victims of violence and formed into an Emergency Response Battalion. The National Police forces to be deployed to Mosul are unidentified at this time.

For further details, graphics, organizational data, and definitions of terms, go to the ISF OOB homepageTuesday, February 5, 2008




By Chuck Asay


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