Select Committee on Defence Sixth Report


Planning and Expectations

28. The range of scenarios planned for by the US has been widely reported in the press. We were also briefed on them by the State Department when we visited in February 2003. Clearly given the fact that the US was the lead element in the Coalition the effectiveness or otherwise of its planning was particularly important for the post-conflict phase. The UK Government anticipated a range of post-conflict insecurity and disorder scenarios, including looting and 'anti-occupation' sentiment. The prospects for a major insurgency, however, "were not the main focus of [MoD's] attention".[29] Some type of insurgency, or anti-Coalition terrorist activity was anticipated. Lord Butler's report on Review of Intelligence on Weapons of Mass Destruction refers to the Joint Intelligence Committee's (JIC) warning of the possibility of terrorist attacks on Coalition forces—specifically related to individuals associated with Al Qaeda operating in Baghdad.[30] Similarly, MoD have told us that: "Specific threats to Coalition Forces were expected from Al Qaeda-linked or sympathetic terrorists and from criminal violence"[31]; and a leaked FCO document, referred to in a press article in September 2004, was reported to have warned of an insurgency, which could persist for a long time.[32] It is clear therefore that some level of insurgency or terrorist activity was foreseen. However, there is no evidence that plans were developed to meet the range of possible terrorist threats and MoD concede that "an insurgency of the scale that subsequently developed was not foreseen before the end of major combat operations."[33] The Prime Minister told the Liaison Committee on 8 February 2005: "… you cannot foresee the particular nature of the insurgency and actually its link with international terrorism".[34] The Minister for the Armed Forces similarly told us:

    … no matter what you plan for and see if it could happen, you almost always tend to be surprised at the intensity and the focus and the direction and ability and intelligence that they [the insurgents] bring to all of this.[35]

29. In a memorandum submitted to us, MoD conceded that only limited effort was spent planning for contingencies, including the prospects of an insurgency:

    The prospects for a major insurgency were not the main focus of the MoD's attention at the time and there was very limited relevant intelligence … an insurgency on the scale that subsequently developed was not foreseen before the end of major combat operations.[36]

30. Many commentators, especially in the United States, have been very critical of this underestimation of the insurgency.[37] Professor Anthony Cordesman of the Centre for Strategic and International Studies has been particularly unfavourable:

    As late as July 2004, the Administration's senior spokesmen still seemed to live in a fantasyland in terms of their public announcements, perception of the growing Iraqi hostility to the use of Coalition forces, and the size of the threat. They were still talking about a core insurgent force of only 5,000, when many Coalition experts on the ground in Iraq saw the core as at least 12,000-16,000.[38]

31. Many analysts now consider that parts of the insurgency were planned and prepared by Saddam Hussein and that the Coalition's strategists should at least have predicted the emergence of a type of insurgency if not its exact nature. In his evidence to us, Professor Avinieri argued:

    What appears not to have been imagined was that Saddam would decide not to waste his efforts on a futile conventional defence—but prepare for a War After the War—i.e. a guerilla war, in which the resources, manpower and expertise of the Iraqi military machine in its different formations would be switched to a kind of warfare which would make Coalition control of the country impossible. Such guerilla tactics would make not only holding elections impossible, but would further alienate the population from their 'liberators'.[39]

32. He goes on to argue his case:

    It is obvious that the current violence in Iraq is the war Saddam and his regime have been preparing. What the Coalition—and the Interim Iraqi Government set up by it—are now facing is not a spontaneous rebellion by the Iraqi "people" against "occupation". It is the rear-guard war waged, quite successfully, by the Arab Sunni minority to hold on to its power by making a relatively smooth transition to another form of government impossible. The sophistication of the attacks, their coordination, the training of suicide bombers, the availability of materiel and intelligence, all point to the professional branches of Saddam's security apparatus which has just gone underground, living—in Maoist fashion—like fish in water.[40]

33. This may be stretching a reasonable argument too far. First, Saddam Hussein's regime did, in fact, make a number of stands against the advancing Coalition and did not immediately dissolve its forces into the population in order to fight an insurgency or more conventional urban warfare. In some cases, rather than retreat into Baghdad and wait for the advancing Coalition, Saddam Hussein decided to mount a defence in the south. And when the forward deployments initially slowed the Coalition's advance, Saddam Hussein reinforced his forces in southern Iraq thus emptying Baghdad of the commands and forces necessary to stage an urban defence or an insurgency. Second, the fact that Saddam Hussein's military establishment dissolved (or was dissolved) and that many of its former members associated with each other and used their skills, and equipment does not mean that they reconstituted themselves en masse and in a coherent organisational form. In fact, evidence suggests that their coherence was exaggerated by the Coalition itself in the early stages of the counter-insurgency campaign. Then, as we noted earlier, many believed that once Saddam Hussein and his sons were captured, the insurgency would fizzle out. This turned out to be an erroneous assumption as it overestimated the homogeneity of the insurgency.

34. Major Lincoln-Jones supported the view that the insurgency could have been predicted:

    It is likely that the Saddam regime had laid plans for post-invasion 'guerrilla' activity. This is normal for any country faced with an invasion—Britain in World War Two is an example. Furthermore, Saddam knew he would not prevail in the face of a vastly superior professional and modern force, making it more likely that plans for the post-invasion phase were well-established, and centred on the organs of power which had governed the country such as the Special Security Organisation (SSO),—a body which controlled a highly capable internal security network, but was also constituted a military body well-trained in several aspects of warfare, both conventional and unconventional.[41]

35. Colonel Langton of the Institute for International Strategic Studies agrees, but paints a more nuanced picture:

    In a country where loyalties follow ethnic and religious lines rather than any unified idea of nationhood, the overthrow and the attempt to dismantle the Ba'athist regime by the US-led Coalition was bound to raise the real possibility of a backlash or an insurgency by those who were overthrown. The same people—the Sunni Ba'athists—provided the web which held the disparate ethnic and religious groups together as a nation; and when they were overthrown, the state structures disappeared along with the brutal stability they provided. The Sunni-led army melted away with its weapons only to re-emerge as an insurgent base with the knowledge and capability to arm itself from the many arms dumps across the country which were left unsecured by the Coalition forces.[42]

36. He goes on to argue:

    Also, fuelling the insurgent campaign is an influx of foreign fighters from neighbouring and other countries who were sucked into the vacuum created by a successful military campaign which was not followed up by a robust post-conflict plan.[43]

It is difficult to avoid concluding that the Coalition, including British forces, were insufficiently prepared for the challenge represented by the insurgency. A wide range of predictions for the post-conflict situation in Iraq were made in advance of the conflict. We are concerned that there is some evidence that the extensive planning, which we know took place in both the US and the UK, did not fully reflect the extent of that range. We also believe that the Coalition should have foreseen that its presence would be resented by some Iraqis, particularly Sunni Arabs and some Shia nationalist elements, and portrayed as cultural and economic imperialism.


37. The Foreign Affairs Committee concluded in July 2004:

38. Colonel Langton agrees with this view of the insurgency, but sees Sunni disaffection as core to the problem:

    The seeds are sown amongst the disaffected which in this case, means the Sunni population dispossessed of its previous standing and led by officials from the Saddam years. The US is seen as the main enemy, and its efforts to improve security and prosperity are the target.[45]

39. This concept of the insurgency—as a marriage of convenience between a number of different forces, including Al Qaeda terrorists, former Baathists, Islamic extremists and ordinary criminals—was echoed in the evidence we took from MoD. Mr Howard, the MoD's Director-General of Operational Policy, told us:

    I think it is a complex insurgency, in the sense that it is not a single unified group of people. There are a number of components within it. At one end of the spectrum is a sense of perhaps alienation and disenfranchisement among the Sunni population, which in some cases spills over into relatively low-level violence. It is worth remembering that Iraq has traditionally been a very weapons-rich society—there have always been lots of weapons around—and also, to some extent, that may manifest itself in support and sympathy for those who are at the more extreme end. That moves forward through groups of people who were part of the former regime, who, again, even more so, feel disenfranchised and, moreover, perhaps have the training and residual organisation to carry out attacks. That then, again going through the extremes, moves into people like the Zarqawi's group, who are motivated by a wider Jahadi Islamist agenda, if you wish to characterise it that way, who have recently associated themselves with al-Qaeda. These are people, as we all know, who have carried out the most appalling atrocities and the most devastating attacks. The fourth identifiable component would be Shia extremists like Muqtada al-Sadr, who have been responsible for violence but who currently seem to be more interested in taking part in the political process—though we will have to watch that. Swirling all around that is the criminality and violence associated with that, and some of that overlaps.

40. From his position in Baghdad at the height of the insurgency, General McColl also saw it as a movement composed of different elements. He told us:

    The first element is what I would describe as the Shia militias, epitomised by al-Sadr and his people. They, in the uprising in April and then in the uprising in August, were dealt, I think, a fairly serious blow—and one can see that in some of the ways in which they have modified their behaviour—and whilst I think they will continue to be a threat, particularly in the South, I do not think they will represent a strategic threat. The second element is Jihadists, epitomised by Zarqawi and his group. I think that, as long as there is a significant Western presence in Iraq, we will continue to see significant Jihadist activity. Having said that, during the time I was there we analysed the number of attacks that were emanating from Zarqawi and his people, and it was around one per cent of the total attacks. So, whilst they are very high profile and whilst they are very effective in terms of grabbing the headlines, in terms of the numbers of attacks they are actually quite limited. Which brings us on to the third group, which is the former regime elements. I think, by common consent, over the last year they have developed in terms of coherence and sophistication. I do not think we can deny that. They are trying to represent themselves as freedom fighters, in terms of the western and multinational force and Coalition presence, and, in doing so, bind themselves with the other two groups that I have just mentioned.[46]

41. In his role as General Officer Commanding of MND (SE), General Rollo had a different perspective on the insurgency's composition:

    ... while we all share an analysis of the three different groups within the insurgency, they do of course apply at different levels in different places.[47]

42. He went on to explain that al-Sadr and the Mahdi Army were the biggest problem in MND (SE), and that they could be dealt with by a combination of force and political pressure. Speaking first about the foreign fighters, such as Musab al-Zarqawi, and then about the larger groupings of Sunni insurgents in MND (SE) General Rollo told us:

    no attraction there, no apparent interest in coming down there, and not much of a welcome to be had, for fairly obvious reasons: he does not like the Shia; they do not like him. The FRE [Former Regime Elements]—again, Sunni-based—at present, certainly in terms of activity, at very low levels: one or two bomb making teams, a trickle of incidents. They do not go away, every now and again you catch some of them, and then nothing happens for a period—which I think reflects on the fact that the numbers you are dealing with are small, because a relatively low level of attrition on them appears to have quite a major effect on their activity.[48]

Because the insurgency consists of several insurgency movements each with its own set of motivations and goals, the 'insurgency' has no unified leadership, agreed-upon strategy, or commonly accepted ideology. The disparate elements of the insurgency are only united by anti-Coalition sentiment, not a vision for the future of the country.

43. We note that there is not one anti-Coalition insurgency in Iraq, as frequently portrayed in the media, but several, anti-Coalition, anti-Iraqi Government movements. These different movements are conducting operations with very different objectives.


44. There is considerable discrepancy in estimates of the size of the insurgency. The CIA was reported to believe the insurgency to number about 50,000[49] men but this has been contradicted by General John Abizaid, Commander of U.S. Central Command, who estimated the insurgency's size to be approximately 5,000 individuals.[50] Some analysts have argued that the volume of suspected insurgents—22,000 in July 2004—who have been cycled through the Coalition-run prisons give an indication of the size of the insurgency.[51]

45. There are a number of reasons for the discrepancy in numbers. First, as noted above, there is not one insurgency, but several sources of insurgent activity. Some, like the Mahdi Army wax and wanes in size and strength according to the political process. Second, there is a disagreement over definition. The CIA's figure probably includes non-combat supporters such as couriers, spies, etc. General John Abizaid's figure probably counts only 'trigger pullers'.[52] In his submission to us, Colonel Langton highlighted this distinction of full-time and part-time insurgents, telling us that some insurgents are probably paid as full-time employees, whereas others work more like part-timers. He noted that 'part-time' insurgents were probably used for one operation, for example to drive, engage in reconnaissance, deception, or perhaps the planting an explosive device. Following an operation or 'job', a part-time insurgent will return to his or her previous life and "become indivisible from the normal Iraqi civilian".[53] 'Full-time' insurgents, according to Colonel Langton, probably handle the more complex and sensitive operations. This distinction, however, is not universally accepted. Professor Anthony Cordesman, of the Centre for Strategic and International Studies has written that the figure of 5,000 insurgents "was never more than a wag and is now clearly ridiculous".[54]

46. We asked our MoD witnesses to provide an estimate of the size of the insurgency given the reported discrepancies in the publicly available figures. They were reluctant to do so. Mr Howard explained that MoD conducted intelligence assessments of the insurgency, but he did not think MoD tried "to put any precise numbers".[55] He furthermore told us:

    ... It is so hard: do you count someone as being part of the insurgency if, because they do not have a job and because they feel they are being excluded, they occasionally go out and take a pot-shot at a passing convoy? Is that someone you would include in the insurgency? I think that is debatable. At the other end of the extreme, someone who is making bombs and planting bombs clearly is part of it. Experience of insurgencies elsewhere suggests that sometimes the hard core could be quite small, but I think it would be very difficult for us to come up with a number that is really very meaningful.[56]

47. General Houghton also sought to explain to us the importance of going beyond a numerical analysis of the insurgency. He told us:

    There is a fascination on numbers, both on how many numbers are within the various insurgent groupings and, indeed, on the other side, what is the numerical strength of the build-up of the Iraqi security forces. But, in many respects, although it is interesting, because you can put a numerical metric against it, it is not that relevant to the pursuit of a counter-insurgency.[57]

We note that the scale of the anti-Coalition, anti-Iraqi Government insurgency movements was underestimated by the Coalition. At the same time, we acknowledge that a fixation simply on the number of insurgents does not necessarily, by itself, provide insight into their effectiveness and resilience.


48. The role of foreign fighters and Al Qaeda operatives in the Iraqi insurgency has caused debate as key British and US officials have publicly promoted the notion of them playing a prominent role. On 14 March 2005 the Secretary of State told the House: "our evidence is that a great number of those [insurgent] attacks are largely the work of foreign fighters—fanatics who have come into Iraq from other countries in order to continue a campaign against the west".[58] Previously the Secretary of State had told the House that foreign fighters were part of the insurgency and had, in all likelihood, entered Iraq through Syria:

    ... If those foreign fighters are not from Syria, they have certainly come through Syria. It is a matter of great concern that such people are able to make their way to Iraq and perpetrate the kind of atrocities that we have seen in recent weeks and months, deliberately trying to undermine the efforts of the majority of the Iraqi population to rebuild a constitutional basis for their country.[59]

49. This has been echoed by General George Casey, the Commander of the MNF-I, who has publicly warned Syria not to provide money, supplies, and direction to the insurgents. In evidence to the Committee, General McColl told us:

    I think the multinational force commander General Casey is on record as saying that the freedom with which the movement of personnel and resources across the Syrian border, particularly in association with the former regime elements, is allowed to happen, is unhelpful. And I would agree with that. From the briefings that I was given over the six months out there, they are unhelpful, deeply unhelpful.[60]

50. The ability of foreign fighters to enter Iraq is a product of the poor state of border security since the end of major combat operations. In the first phase, the responsibility fell to the Coalition forces. When we visited Iraq in May 2004 we were told that the small numbers of Coalition and Iraqi Security Forces had made it difficult initially to police the border adequately thus leading to widespread smuggling, and other criminal activities. As the build-up of the Iraqi Security Forces got under way, the responsibility for border security was shared between the Coalition and the Iraqi Border Enforcement Department. Mr Howard admitted that border security was still less than the Coalition had hoped: "I think it would be true to say that progress there [on border security] has been not as fast as it has been in the Ministry of Defence, so there is another area where more work will need to be done".[61]

51. We are concerned at the continued influx of foreign fighters into Iraq through neighbouring countries, particularly Syria and Iran, and note that this was probably facilitated by the inadequate attention paid to border security by the Coalition immediately following the invasion. More broadly, it appears to us that the Coalition failed to appreciate the potential for an insurgency in Iraq to attract foreign fighters, both from the Middle East and further afield (e.g. Chechnya).


52. More important than understanding the size of the insurgency is understanding the organisation and tactics of the insurgency. As General Houghton explained to us, the resilience of an insurgency has more "to do with the motivation of the leadership and the mechanisms that command control, intelligence feed, and those sorts of things". He went on to explain that a relatively small number of people, well motivated, well-led and with "a good cellular structure which is intelligence-fed"[62] could present a significant challenge even though it may be relatively small in numerical terms.[63] It is not possible for us to comment on the structure of the insurgency beyond what we have said above. But as important as structure is the question of the insurgency movements' tactics.

53. The insurgents have no hope of matching the military might of the MNF-I, but hope to increase the cost of reconstruction and stabilisation. The goal is to create tension between the population and the MNF-I or even between segments of the Iraqi population, for example pitting Sunnis against Shias. The insurgents rely on psychological operations fuelled by terrorism, riots, guerrilla raids, sabotage, civilian casualties, and uprisings. The various groups have employed different methods since the end of major combat operations. In the northern and central areas of Iraq, the insurgency has used suicide bombers combined with close-quarter attacks on MNF-I.

54. In targeting Iraqi politicians and officials, the insurgents have also used traditional hit-and-run assassinations. As MNF-I and the Iraqi Government have become increasingly cautious, for example minimizing operationally unnecessary traffic outside the Green Zone in Baghdad, the insurgents' target list has expanded to include Iraqi civilians and recruits to the Iraqi Security Forces, Iraqis working with the Coalition, and infrastructure installations such as oil and water pipelines or electrical stations. In the south, when the Mahdi Army took arms against MNF-I in summer 2004, most attacks followed a more traditional pattern characterised by attacks on Coalition and Iraqi forces coupled with the use of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). In the future, MNF-I will probably witness episodic rioting and localized uprisings. There will be firefights similar to those that have occurred in traditional guerilla wars; but these will be of a smaller scale than in previous conflicts and more similar to the firefights that have already occurred in Iraq.[64]

55. Despite the sophistication of the insurgency tactics, especially their use of psychological operations through the internet, some analysts argue that the insurgency has not yet shown that it can progress. Steven Metz of the US Army War College's Strategic Studies Institute, described the next logical step as being able "to use global information technology, interconnectedness, and émigré communities to develop networks of political support, financing, and recruitment and potentially to launch terrorist operations in the United States. It has not yet solidified linkages with the global Islamic radical movement; global organized crime; or other radical, anti-US movements".[65] The various insurgency movements have also shown no signs of developing into a genuine national war of liberation.

56. We note that the various insurgency movements have been structured, motivated and resourced to inflict significant military and civilian causalities. They have employed a range of tactics from assassinations to suicide bombings depending on their motivations and goals, but foreign fighters, such as Musab al-Zarqawi and other Islamic extremists, have been particularly skilled at using psychological operations such as kidnappings and beheadings. In the foreseeable future, MNF-I and the Iraqi Government will continue to be attacked, but the various insurgency movements have not developed into a genuine national war of liberation and are unlikely to do so in the future.

Counter-Insurgency Campaign

57. It is difficult to measure how successful the MNF-I's counter-insurgency operations have been. Certainly MNF-I faced very difficult conditions. The indigenous security apparatus had evaporated or was dismantled and MNF-I did not have a history of contacts with local institutions and inhabitants. Dr Rod Thornton, a British counter-insurgency expert, wrote to us that British forces went into Iraq 'cold' in counter-insurgency terms:

58. The fact that the invasion of Iraq was controversial and that many countries in the international community did not support the war or the post-war stabilisation efforts, even after the passage of UNSCR 1546, also meant that the insurgents were encouraged in their belief that they could be victorious. Dr Thornton contrasts this with previously successful counter-insurgency campaigns such as in Cyprus and Malaya. He wrote to us:

    … the way the Army dealt with the insurgency then was helped immeasurably by the general impression given that whatever the rebels did the British, as a great power, would prevail. The rebels, short as they were of weapons and ammunition, realised that they could not match an implacable foe who could simply bring in from abroad more and more men and materiel.

    One of the great tools used by counter-insurgency forces in the past is the message that 'we are more powerful than you and we will outlast you'. Such a message brings indigenous people to your side and away from that of the rebel because they can see which way the wind is blowing and where the future lies. But with Coalition governments pointing out that troops would be withdrawn as soon as possible it becomes very difficult for the population to throw in their lot and provide assistance to foreigners who may be here today, but gone tomorrow (the problem in Aden in 1967).[67]

A number of analysts have argued that these unfavourable circumstances were made worse by the Coalition's approach to its counter-insurgency operations.

59. First, counter-insurgency theory highlights the need for an "appropriate" use of military force.[68] General Houghton told us that there are:

    enduring principles in relation to counter-insurgency which are familiar ones, and that is that there is not a straightforward militarily attrition-based approach to defeating it, it is the treatment of the symptoms of it, whether or not they are based on political aspiration, on the economy or a desire for a better life and those sorts of things.[69]

Many Iraqis have been angered by the levels of force frequently used by US soldiers in response to attacks and civil disruptions. The more Iraqis there are who have a negative image of the US presence, the greater the risk that otherwise uninvolved Iraqis will either cooperate, support, or sympathise with anti-Coalition insurgents. Colonel Langton described the US Army as relying "heavily on war-fighting as being the cornerstone of its doctrine and has found it hard to lower its profile at times when it might be considered prudent to do so".[70] He added that "a flexible approach is crucially important in counter-insurgency where (as has been said) the collective mind of the population is the territory to be captured, and where it is vital that civilians on the 'battlefield' are assured that we share the risks with them".[71]

60. The operation to dislodge insurgents from Fallujah has been criticized by some analysts as an example of the weakness of the US approach. As the International Crisis Group wrote:

    … the devastation of city infrastructure, failure to immediately resettle and compensate civilians fleeing impending hostilities, the use of tactics reminiscent of Israeli ones to most Iraqi minds, and the indiscriminate handling of all men between the ages of fifteen and 55 during the offensive risk both further alienating the town's citizens (supposedly among the intended beneficiaries of the operation) and being used by insurgents as propaganda tools in the battle for hearts and minds (purportedly the principal target of any counter-insurgency war).[72]

61. In his submission, Dr Thornton wrote:

    One may be able to trace all the subsequent problems the Americans had in Fallujah to a particular incident where US forces displayed a singular lack of restraint. Just after the war itself had finished and when there seemed to be no opposition in Fallujah, US Marines opened fire on a crowd outside their barracks who were peacefully protesting over a fairly trivial local matter. The fact that many unarmed people were killed can be said to have turned the whole of Fallujah against US forces. Down the line and months later US forces had to move into Fallujah to root out the insurgents who had set up base there. The destruction of that city in the process is redolent of an attitude during the Vietnam War. To paraphrase an officer from that time, 'we had to destroy the city in order to save it'.[73]

62. More recently, increased efforts have been made to integrate the military and the civilian aspects of the counter-insurgency campaign. In his submission, Colonel Langton wrote the following:

    One aspect of this work should look at how best to profit from successful military operations in a timely fashion so that the civil population sees advantage in what has just occurred, and to give the Coalition more than just a tactical success.[74]

63. He told us that in his view the military plan should have been accompanied by a "civil reconstruction plan able to be activated as soon as possible after military operations. "This", he wrote, "is all part of prising the population away from any nascent insurgency".[75]

64. This seems to have been appreciated in MND (SE) where we heard from General Rollo and Mr Howard how the political process, coupled with the threat of military action, increasingly pacified Shia-based elements of the insurgency such as al-Sadr and the Mahdi Army. General Houghton told us: "… we attempt to have an approach which is multi-faceted and has lines of operation with the military only supporting those which are to do with politics, good governance, economic reform".[76]

65. General McColl similarly told us how the integration of the military and civilian aspects of the campaign had been prioritised even in MNF-I's headquarters following the change of both civilian and military command in the summer of 2004. He told us:

    ... I particularly make the point that when General Casey arrived and Ambassador Negroponte arrived they were very clear that an integrated campaign which wrapped together the security line of operation, the governance line, the economic line and the information line, was absolutely critical. In fact, when General Casey arrived, part of our initial conversations was a comparison of the way operations were conducted in Vietnam and the way in which they were conducted in Malaya and the lessons that could be drawn from that and the requirement for this kind of integrated approach. He set in train a set of work, in which British officers were centrally involved, to produce a campaign which did wrap together all of those lines of operation and, indeed, which integrated with the Iraqis—because of course the Iraqis were critical to this as well.[77]

66. A second strand of criticism has maintained that MNF-I has not cooperated sufficiently with the Iraqi Security Forces, especially the police. As Chief Constable Paul Kernaghan, ACPO's Coordinator on International Policing, told us: "In any overseas country the people who will provide the policing, be it what we would call routine policing or counter-insurgency policing, have to be the local officers. That is the key".[78] We discuss this issue further below (see paragraphs 154-170).

67. Professor Cordesman has argued that that the US military were unprepared at the senior command level for counter-insurgency operations, and especially for developing any serious partnership and interoperability with the new Iraqi forces. Even when cooperation took place, little effort was made to expand the Iraqi participation to the higher-level decisions. In particular, we were told in Iraq that little or no intelligence was passed from the Coalition to the Iraqi security forces.

68. Mr Howard admitted this had been a problem. He told us: "The issue of sharing intelligence is obviously a potentially sensitive one".[79] General Rollo also agreed that intelligence-sharing had not been optimal: "That is an area which, I was quite clear, we needed to improve".[80]

69. We heard from MoD how British forces in the south were trying to address this problem. The Iraqi National Guards' Divisional headquarters have now been co-located with the MND (SE) divisional headquarters. General Rollo told us:

    … over the last two months that I was there, there were an increasing number of operations where we were working jointly. For instance, if we were doing search operations we always wanted to have Iraqi police with us, and if an arrest were to be made then ideally we wanted an Iraqi to arrest somebody. But increasingly we produced more integrated operations, not only between us and the Iraqis, where, for instance we might provide a cordon and an element of Iraqi police would do the search, but also to get the Iraqi forces to work with each other: so you would have Iraqi police doing a search, with the National Guard doing the cordon, and we would be further out or just in over-watch. That feeling of mutual competence, both between them and us, and—frankly, much more important for the future—between the police and the National Guard, takes time to build and we had a number of joint training programmes designed to build it.[81]

70. He went on to explain how he had sought to share intelligence with the Iraqi Security Forces without compromising confidential sources or methods:

    ... we put in place mechanisms to share intelligence. Part of the joint OPS for us was a section where intelligence could be produced, stored and analysed.[82]

71. The third criticism has been the Coalition's perceived 'militarisation' of the counter-insurgency campaign. It has been argued that lessons from other counter-insurgency campaigns should have militated against giving the Iraqi Army the primary role over the Iraqi Police Service. In June 2004, General Houghton explained to us how the Interim Iraqi Government saw the different security organisations and their respective roles in the counter-insurgency campaign.

    It is quite clear that they see their police force as more of a community­based force, clearly to be the front end of what one might call routine crime and protecting against that … in terms of the core responsible for the delivery of security domestically they still see a leading and primary role for their army.[83]

72. Mr Howard indicated that this position was shared by the Coalition, telling us that the role of the police was to provide "general security, general policing" and that MNF-I were not developing the IPS's "ability to counter insurgency".[84] On the other hand, Major Lincoln-Jones has argued that "one of the Northern Ireland milestones was the transition from Army to Police primacy in the campaign".[85] Similar lessons were 'learnt' in Kosovo and Bosnia & Herzegovina where the army has worked very closely with the security services in targeting the nexus of criminals and para-military forces, but this has not happened in Iraq. The IPS have not been trained in the necessary investigative techniques. We were told that when insurgent attacks take place, no crime-scene investigations follow and little or no forensic capabilities currently exist within the IPS. Naturally, one needs to exercise caution against directly transferring counter-insurgency "lessons" across different cultures and campaigns, but there appear to have been number of valuable lessons that could have informed the Coalition's policies in Iraq.

73. We commend British forces for their approach to counter-insurgency in their areas of operations. We are convinced that their approach has been a contributing factor in the development of the more permissive environment in southern Iraq, which has resulted in relatively little insurgent activity. We do, however, remain concerned about a number of tactics employed by MNF-I generally. We urge MoD to use its influence to affect MNF-I's posture and approach. We also encourage MoD to ensure that the Iraqi civilian powers are given a prominent role in the counter-insurgency campaign. Finally, we emphasise and endorse the need to combine politico-economic and military strands of the counter-insurgency campaign. We have been told that this approach was adopted following the appointments of General Casey and Ambassador Negroponte,[86] but we are concerned about the state of civil-military cooperation in the counter-insurgency campaign preceding their appointments, i.e. from May 2003 until June 2004 when Ambassador Bremer was head of the Coalition Provisional Authority.

29   Ev 145 Back

30   Rt Hon The Lord Butler of Brockwell, Review of Intelligence on Weapons of Mass Destruction, HC (2003-04) 898, paras 483-484 Back

31   Ev 145 Back

32   Fresh hostilities don't alter the justice of deposing Saddam, The Daily Telegraph, 21 September 2004 Back

33   Ev 145 Back

34   Liaison Committee, 8 February 2005, HC 381-i, Q 34 (uncorrected evidence) Back

35   Q 609 Back

36   Ev 145 Back

37   'Insurgency In Iraq: A Historical Perspective', Ian F W Beckett, Strategic Studies Institute, US Army War College, January 2005 Back

38   'The Developing Iraqi Insurgency: Status at End-2004', Anthony H Cordesman, 22 December 2004 Back

39   Ev 138 Back

40   Ibid Back

41   Not printed Back

42   Ev 139 Back

43   Ibid Back

44   HC (2003-04) 441-I, para 20 Back

45   Ev 139 Back

46   Q 354 Back

47   Q 361 Back

48   Ibid Back

49   'CIA Says Resistance Forces 50,000 Strong; "We could lose", Julian Borger and Rory McCarthy, The Guardian, 12 November 2003 Back

50   'No more than 5,000 Iraqis fighting U.S., commander says,' Jonathan S Landay, Knight Ridder Newspapers, 13 November 2003 Back

51   'Iraq Insurgency Larger Than Thought', Jim Krane, Associated Press, 9 July 2004 Back

52   According to the Washington Monthly, the ratio of trigger pullers to support troops in the US military is approximately 1:7. And given the large number of private contractors supporting MNF troops in Iraq, that do not count in this ratio, the 1:10 ratio cited by the CIA could be reasonable. "G I Woe", Washington Monthly, Nicholas Confessore, March 2003. Back

53   Ev 140 Back

54   "Iraq Insurgency Larger Than Thought", Jim Krane, Associated Press, 9 July 2004. Back

55   Q 360 Back

56   Q 360. The US Secretary of Defence has similarly declined to tell the US House of Representatives Armed Services Committee the numerical strength of the insurgency. "Estimates on Iraq Insurgency Unreliable -Rumsfeld" Will Dunham, Reuters, 16 February 2005. Back

57   Q 361 Back

58   HC Deb, 14 March 2005, col 2 Back

59   HC Deb, 10 January 2005, col 10 Back

60   Q 355 Back

61   Q 405 Back

62   Q 361 Back

63   Ibid Back

64   "The Sunni Insurgency in Iraq," Ahmed Hashim, Middle East Institute Policy Brief, 15 August 2003 Back

65   'Insurgency and Counterinsurgency in Iraq', Stephen Metz, The Washington Quarterly , Winter 2003-04 Back

66   Ev 141 Back

67   Ev 142 Back

68   Insurgency In Iraq: A Historical Perspective, Ian F W Beckett, January 2005, Strategic Studies Institute (SSI) Monograph Back

69   Q 609 Back

70   Ev 140 Back

71   Ibid Back

72   'What Can the U.S. Do in Iraq?', Middle East Report No. 34, 22 December 2004, International Crisis Group Back

73   Ev 144 Back

74   Ev 140 Back

75   Ibid Back

76   Q 609 Back

77   Q 366 Back

78   Q 259  Back

79   Q 372 Back

80   Q 372 Back

81   Ibid Back

82   Ibid; Joints OPS here refers to the Joint Operations Centres established, with MNF-I assistance, in the governorates to coordinate MNF-I and ISF operations Back

83   Q 101 Back

84   Q 415 Back

85   Not printed Back

86   Ambassador John Negroponte was appointed US Ambassador to Iraq following the transfer of authority in June 2004. Back

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Prepared 24 March 2005