Select Committee on Defence Sixth Report


110. Building the Iraqi military and security forces has now become the primary focus of British efforts in Iraq. This requires a major effort of security sector reform (SSR); a daunting task that extends well beyond the mere training of forces. SSR must encompass the "core security actors" such as the Armed Forces, police and para-military forces, the "security management and oversight bodies" such as the relevant ministries, security and intelligence organisations, parliamentary committees and other scrutiny arrangements, and the "justice and law enforcement institutions" such as the judiciary, prisons and the penal system.[118] We examine all these aspects later in this report. To achieve rebuilding and reform among such a spectrum of Iraqi agencies clearly requires a "'joined up' and properly sequenced approach" by the British government that will involve inputs not just from MoD but also from the Department for International Development, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Home Office, and from their various agencies.[119] Not least, Britain's SSR policy in Iraq also has to be coordinated with that of other Coalition partners and with the work of the major international institutions such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.[120]

Iraqi Security Forces

111. In this section we look at the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF). Only when they are able to act independently and effectively will the MNF-I be able to leave the front lines of the counter-insurgency campaign and take an increasingly advisory role, mentoring and training the ISF to carry out the brunt of the fighting themselves. The Prime Minister told the Liaison Committee on 8 February 2005 that the 'Iraqi-isation' of security was front and centre of the Coalition's agenda. The Prime Minister said:

112. The organisation within the structure of the MNF-I devoted to the development of the Iraqi Security Forces is the Multinational Security Transition Command—Iraq (MNSTC-I), commanded by Lieutenant General David Petraeus. General Petraeus and MNSTC-I work closely with the Ministry of Interior (MoI) and the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to train, equip, mentor, and make operational the Iraqi security forces. The MNSTC-I organisation responsible for training and equipping Iraqi police is the Civilian Police Advisory Training Team, commanded by Major General Joseph Fil.[122]

113. The UK's commitment to reforming the Iraqi Security Forces is delivered through a range of programmes, from providing strategic and policy advice to the Iraqi MoD in Baghdad, to mentoring Iraqi National Guardsmen on patrols in Basra, to running the police academy in Az Zubyah. Dr Hutton summarised the British involvement:

    On the specifics of what the UK are doing to assist in the building of the Iraqi security forces, in the Iraqi police service you are aware we have a number of advisers, we have basic level training in Basra, Jordan, and we have deployed UK police officers to assist with that and supporting contractors. Perhaps most importantly from the MoD perspective is the assistance that we give to the Iraqi National Guard which you will also be aware is merging with the Iraqi Army. That is focused on the six ING battalions in MND(SE). Those units are paired with our units which mentor and monitor their progress. The main focus is on mentoring at division and brigade level.[123]

114. Given the increasing importance of security sector reform, the Government has been at pains to stress the progress being made. Until recently, a steady stream of recruitment figures were released to illustrate the ever-growing size of the Iraqi Security Forces. On 10 January 2005, the Secretary of State told the House that 115,000 Iraqi service personnel were trained and operating across the country. One month later, the Minister for the Armed Forces told us:

    That is including approximately 57,000 Iraqi police service, 15,000 Department of Border Enforcement, 10,000 Army, 39,000 National Guard and 6,000 Intervention Force. I am advised, also, that there are around 74,000 in the Facilities Protection Service.[124]

115. Generally speaking, MoD has remained optimistic about the prospects of the Iraqi Security Forces. General McColl, who served as the Senior British Military Representative in Baghdad, cautiously told us: "there are positive signs there".[125] This was echoed by General Rollo from his perspective as a former General Officer Commanding of MND (SE). Similarly, General Houghton told us:

    It will probably not be a linear progression, there will be setbacks, but I think that, given the nature of those elections, given the undoubted willingness of vast numbers of Iraqis to volunteer for service in the various components of their security architecture, I think one can take a strong degree of comfort and confidence.[126]

116. When we visited Iraq, British officers referred to the elections to the Transitional National Asssembly, which were then in prospect, as an opportune 'starter task' for the Iraqi Security Forces i.e a manageable assignment, which could serve to augment their capabiltities and increase their confidence.

117. In the event, the elections were a significant success for the Iraqi Security Forces. Some 5,200 polling sites were secured with two rings of Iraqi security personnel, estimated to number 130,000 on polling day.  There were a small number of attacks on polling stations, to which MNF-I forces responded appropriately, but these did not have a significant impact on polling. Protection of ballot papers was carried out by ISF and personnel from a Private Security Company, contracted by the US. On numerous occasions, Iraqi security forces prevented terrorists from penetrating the security of the polling sites, and several Iraqi police officers and soldiers gave their lives to prevent suicide bombers from attacking large numbers of those waiting to vote. UK forces kept a lower profile than usual on election day itself.

118. The Minister for the Armed Forces told us:

    Their capacity is improving all the time. The important test of this, of course, was the elections. One of the key indicators in this was—again we are getting good feedback—that the Iraqi people now have the confidence in the security presence, the police presence or whatever, on the ground from their own people because, again, people felt free to vote.[127]

119. But the elections will have an even more important role than providing the Iraqi Security Forces with the confidence that comes after having successfully completed a challenging assignment. The Transitional National Government will be seen as more legitimate in the eyes of most Iraqis than its predecessor or the earlier Governing Council because it was created through national elections and, as the ISF will come under its direction, they will share in this increased legitimacy. In the words of General McColl, this should herald "a significant increase in their local effectiveness"[128] as more ordinary Iraqis come to trust and believe that the ISF are responsive to their local communities and not an unelected government.

120. We conclude that the successful conduct of the elections to the Iraqi Transitional National Assembly on 30 January 2005 will go down as a turning point in Iraq's post-conflict development. Their success demonstrated not only that Iraqis have an appetite for democracy and an enthusiasm to be involved in shaping their country's future, but also that the Iraqi Security Forces have begun to develop the capabilities to provide effective security for their own people.

121. But there is still along way to go and it is difficult to judge accurately the effective strength of the ISF. As we were told on our visits to Iraq, there was discernible pressure to report ever-increasing numbers of ISF personnel back to capitals as a sign of success and mission accomplishment. Accordingly, half a year before the Minister for the Armed Forces updated us on the size of the Iraqi Security Forces, General Petraeus wrote in the Washington Post that about 164,000 Iraqi police and soldiers (of which approximately 100,000 were trained and equipped) along with 74,000 facility protection forces were actively participating in security missions.[129] But even as this article was published others were reporting different figures.[130]

122. Most importantly, what the figures mean by way of usable forces is still not clear. The data does not distinguish between serious training and token training. While the valour of a number of Iraqi units is unquestionable, so are the desertion rates of many others, particularly when they come under attack by the insurgents. As General Houghton euphemistically referred to it: "I think the British Army would call them—'retention difficulties'".[131] Even when the Iraqi Security Forces stand their ground, their ability is questionable. As Olga Oliker, a Policy Analyst with RAND, writes:

    We should not think that as long as enough people are deemed 'trained' and given a uniform that the Iraqis will be capable of providing for their own security. We must always be asking who is being trained, to do what, and how well.[132]

123. This has been increasingly appreciated within MoD and the United States. In its report to the US Congress on developments in Iraq of 5 January 2005, the US State Department wrote that the Iraqi Security Forces will "require national, operational, and tactical level capabilities to reconstitute and regenerate forces that suffer casualties, injuries, or absentees"[133] and admits that logistical capabilities are also lacking. The Minister for the Armed Forces also qualified the figures he himself gave us:

    These figures we give are not figures which you would say would turn out and exercise maximum capability if tomorrow they wanted to do so, that would not be the real world in which we live, but it is an improving position all the time.[134]

124. Recent reviews of the Iraqi Security Forces have underlined the need to move beyond a fixation with numbers. Referring to an open-ended review of the MNF-I's security assistance conducted by retired US General Gary Luck in early January 2005, General Houghton told us what the new focus of the security assistance would be:

    I think I would perhaps summarise that as being less a concern with numbers, less a concern with the kit, training and recruiting bit; greater emphasis on leadership, greater emphasis on mentoring and battle and operational inoculation and a greater emphasis on growing those elements of security capability which are fundamental to the Iraqi security forces inheriting the responsibility for the prosecution of a complex counter-insurgency. By these things I definitely mean the operationalisation of an Iraqi C2 mechanism and greater capacity within its intelligence gathering capability".[135]

125. Dr Hutton confirmed General Houghton's assessment:

    It is all very well to have lots of people trained to a basic level to be the foot soldiers but they need the leadership and the command and control and they also need the enabling functions, the logistics and supply element, otherwise they do not perform as coherent formations.[136]

126. On the future direction of the reform process, Mr Howard told us:

    ... quite a lot of emphasis has been placed on getting the numbers in and making sure that they are all equipped, but it is just as important that we do the more intangible things like developing the ability of the Ministry of Defence, for example, and the Joint Headquarters to direct military operations and to support them through logistics, and, looking further ahead, that the Ministry of Defence has the ability to make forward plans for budgets, equipment and so on and so forth. These are things which are happening but on which we need to make more progress, and they are much harder to measure than just numbers of people on units.[137]

127. Finally, the issue of getting crucial equipment to the Iraqi Security Forces—including weapons, communications equipment, body armour and vehicles—has remained a problem. When we visited Iraq, several interlocutors, both from MNF-I and the Iraq Security Forces, lamented the slow delivery of equipment. Mr Howard also told us:

    … there were problems about making sure the equipment was delivered. I think there were problems early on about getting the stream of equipment delivered into all Iraqi security forces.[138]

128. According to figures published by the US Department of Defense, equipment totals for all forces will eventually reach nearly 290,000 weapons, 24,000 vehicles, 75,000 radios, and more than 190,000 pieces of body armour. The UK, US and German Governments have donated the bulk of this equipment. On 14 February 2005, MoD signed a statement of intent with the Iraqi Ministry of Defence to increase co-operation on defence equipment matters (such as requirement definition, exchange of information, supplier identification, and the availability of commercial training).[139] Mr Howard told us that he was confident the necessary equipment was now reaching the beneficiaries: "After a fairly shaky start—and there were reasons for that—I think it is actually going rather well".[140]

129. We believe that Security Sector Reform should have been given greater priority by Coalition and British forces before and immediately after the invasion in March 2003. Only belatedly, did the Coalition begin building the Iraqi Security Forces. Even then, a bottom-up, numerically-focused approach meant that the Iraqi military, security, and police did not develop in a well-coordinated manner. We are pleased to see that a more realistic approach to the build-up of the Iraqi Security Forces is now being taken with much greater emphasis on capability, effectiveness and long term sustainability.


130. Military rule in Iraq predates Saddam Hussein's regime. The International Crisis Group described the development of the Iraqi military and the crucial role played by the British in the 1920s:

131. From 1958 to 1968, the Iraqi military developed a highly politicised officer corps and the army occupied key government posts. While the Saddam Hussein regime was clearly different from its predecessors, the role of the Armed Forces continued in much the same way as before: as a state within the state. Changing this cultural and historical legacy was therefore seen as a key element of the Coalition's reform programmes.

132. The Iraqi Security Forces were placed on a legal footing through the Transitional Administrative Law, Article 5 of which states: "The Iraqi Armed Forces shall be subject to the civilian control of the Iraqi Transitional Government". It goes on to state that the Iraqi Transitional Government is to have exclusive competence over the formulation and execution of national security policy, "including creating and maintaining armed forces to secure, protect, and guarantee the security of the country's borders and to defend Iraq". There has also been an increased understanding of the need for political oversight of the Iraq Security Forces. Dr Roger Hutton, Director Joint Commitments, MoD, told us:

    My impression, having met senior people in the Iraqi MoD, is that they are very well seized of the need for democratic control of the Armed Forces, partly because it was not very long ago that they were on the receiving end of an MoD that was not democratically controlled. I think that culture is becoming inculcated in the Iraqi MoD.[142]


Ministry of Defence

133. When we visited Iraq in December 2004 we were given an overview of the Ministry of Defence. Originally the Coalition Provisional Authority had planned only for a small Iraqi Ministry of Defence and expected to have several years in which to build it up. Plans were then changed, however, in November 2003 and the Iraqi Ministry of Defence had to be established quickly before the Transfer of Authority on 28 June 2004.

134. Considerable progress has been made in only a short period of time. We were told in Iraq in December 2004 that the organisational structure of the Ministry of Defence was finally falling into place and that while recruitment of civil servants had been slow, most positions had now been filled. The projected strength is 700 and some 500 had been employed when we visited Iraq. Despite this effort, the Ministry of Defence's slow start and still limited capabilities have led some commentators to express concerns about its ability to exercise its role vis-à-vis the Iraqi Security Forces. As one of our Specialist Advisers Dr Andrew Rathmell, formerly Director of Policy Planning for the Coalition Provisional Authority, wrote in February 2005:

135. General Houghton conceded "that it is hardly surprising that the ability of organisations like the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of the Interior is still relatively rudimentary in such a short time, and, particularly, in such difficult security circumstances".[144] The need for political oversight by the Iraqi Ministry of Defence over the Iraqi Security Forces is a crucial part of Iraq's post-Saddam Security Sector Reform and we remain concerned about the slow institutional development of the Ministry.

Ministerial Committee Of National Security

136. The Ministerial Committee of National Security (MCNS) was set up following the Transfer of Authority as an Iraqi committee to issue strategic policy direction and guidance on national security issues. It was chaired by Prime Minister Allawi. Iraqi representatives normally included the Ministers for Defence, Foreign Affairs, Interior, Finance and Justice, as well as the head of the Iraqi National Intelligence Service (INIS) and National Security Adviser.[145] The MCNS normally met once a week at ministerial level. MNF [Commanding Generals] and the UK and US Ambassadors (or representatives) normally attended with supporting staff, as invited members. The MCNS normally met at Deputies level once a week, with representatives of the Ministries listed above, MNF, and the UK/US Embassies. Ad hoc working groups were established to look at specific issues (such as drafting the National Security Strategy).[146] The National Security Adviser's Office provided basic administrative support to the MCNS.

137. Immediately below the MCNS, to take charge of operational matters, the Security Committee was established. In his role as Deputy Commander of MNF-I General McColl co-chaired the Security Committee alongside representatives of the Iraqi MoD, and MoI, National Intelligence Service, and MNF. The aim of the Committee was to assess the operational situation, develop strategic options and guidance, raise strategic issues to higher levels and translate policy directives into action. A small secretariat comprising MoI, MoD and MNF personnel provided support to the committee.[147]

138. Dr Rathmell told us that the MCNS was working, but there is little sign yet of the development of true coordination between ministries at working level.[148]

139. We welcome the creation of the Ministerial Committee of National Security (MCNS) as a mechanism for the Iraqi Government to begin taking control of the Iraqi Security Forces and to coordinate military and security policy with political and economic policies. These mechanisms now need to be developed further by the Transitional Iraqi Government as well as at working-level.

Parliamentary Oversight

140. We raised the issue of parliamentary oversight of the Iraqi Security Forces with the Armed Forces Minister. In the early stages of Iraq's post-war constitutional reconstruction, no legislative body existed to assume this parliamentary responsibility. Only the Governing Council existed during the occupation and that was not a body which could exercise any independent parliamentary oversight. The Transitional Administrative Law (TAL) does not mention the role of the Transitional National Assembly in overseeing the Iraq Security Forces.

141. It did, however, set out a number of essential elements in the new constitution, which will be drawn up by the Transitional National Assembly. Article 59 of the TAL states:

    The permanent constitution shall contain guarantees to ensure that the Iraqi Armed Forces are never again used to terrorize or oppress the people of Iraq.

142. It also states in Article 34 that the Transitional National Assembly will perform a range of oversight functions and may establish committees to assist in this work. While it does not explicitly mention defence matters, we believe that these articles should be interpreted in such a way as to ensure the establishment of parliamentary oversight of the country's armed forces through, inter alia, a committee system, in both the Transitional National Assembly and the legislature to be defined in the constitution. Parliamentary oversight must be a central feature of the 'new' Iraq's security arrangements, and we call on Coalition partners and the UK Government to provide assistance to the Transitional National Assembly in establishing mechanisms for parliamentary oversight of the Iraqi Security Forces.

Regional Arrangements

143. The Transitional Administrative Law also created a decentralised arrangement that mirrored the country's decentralised interim system of governance and limited the Interim Iraqi Government's writ. It granted the Kurdistan Regional Government "regional control over police forces and internal security". It also granted widespread autonomy over security affairs to the eighteen governorates. The MNF-I therefore worked to establish structures for oversight and coordination in the governorates which in many ways replicated the central structures. Some governorates saw the establishment of a Security Committee chaired by the Governor where, as General Rollo describes it "he could set out policy and say, 'Right, these are the major security issues …' whether it was security on route 6 or a spate of kidnapping or customs or the protection of the oil infrastructure".[149] When we visited Iraq in December 2004 we were told that Security Committees existed on paper in almost all the eighteen governorates, but with different approaches taken in various provinces.

144. At the operational level, Joint Coordination Centres were established to coordinate responses to security incidents. General Rollo explained the concept further:

    The idea was fairly straightforward, that there should be a single Joint Operations Centre which had the representatives of all the people present".[150]

145. The regional arrangements—the Security Committee, but especially the Joint Operations Centre—provided an embryonic Iraqi security structure, which MNF-I could cooperate with in the governorates. But, at the same time, the creation of this system may have caused problems as the central government institutions may have felt a lack of control over the security forces outside of Baghdad. General Rollo told us:

    from Baghdad's point of view, looking down at us, I suspect they felt they probably did not have enough control over what was happening.[151]

Ensuring appropriate oversight over, and coordination mechanisms for, the Iraqi Security Forces that mirror Iraq's decentralised political system is important, but we believe care needs to be taken not to undermine the Iraqi Government's control of its national security apparatus.


146. Despite this elaborate system, it is clear that the Iraqi Government did not—and still does not—exercise anything resembling command and control[152] of the military and security apparatus.

147. Through the evidence that we have taken and the in-theatre visits we have been on, we suspect that the military decision-making process functions in the following manner. Policies are developed and elaborated by the MNF-I based on intelligence that is collected primarily by MNF-I assets and analysed almost solely inside MNF-I. The finished product is then discussed with the Iraqi Government in the above-mentioned forums. The Iraqi Government then takes a decision. Once this is done, the decision passes back into the MNF-I chain of command. It gets translated into an order and is executed by the relevant Iraqi Government units. Iraqi Security Forces may participate in the subsequent operations when and if this is deemed useful (and safe).

148. This description was confirmed to us by General Houghton who used the example of the operation in Fallujah to illustrate how the operation of the system worked:

    The Ministerial Committee on National Security Transactions existed and it was at that level and Mr Allawi making the decision to prosecute the Fallujah Operation as it happened, but then what we are saying is that the absolute conduct of the operation, the orders of process, flowed down the multinational force chain of command, it did not flow down the Iraqi Armed Forces' chain of command because it was not sufficiently developed and robust.[153]

He went on to tell us:

    So there was political accountability at the highest level but the actual implementation of that political decision by and large flowed down a multinational force chain of command which was then wedded in at the local level with Iraqi security forces at a provincial level.[154]

The Secretary of State made the same point to us on 2 November 2004:

    The decision as to whether any operation will be conducted in and around Fallujah or elsewhere will be a decision for the interim Iraqi government.[155]

149. Nothing about this process is surprising. It is to be expected considering the still-nascent state of the Iraqi Security Forces. But it is not the impression the Government sought to give when it described the case for the operation in Fallujah. The following exchange took place when the Secretary of State gave evidence to us on 2 November 2004:

    Mr Jones: Secretary of State, you said that the decision, for example, on operations in Fallujah is down to the Iraqi government. What is their role once those operations have started? What is their involvement, for example, in calling a halt to action, or in the day­to­day running?

    Mr Hoon: It is their country. They will have complete authority and, indeed, responsibility for those operations. They will be briefed in the way that I have been briefed: they will expect to receive thorough detail as to what is happening and, of course, if they decide that the operation should stop at any stage, that is a matter for them. If they decide it should stop, it will stop.

    Mr Jones: How does it work then? For example, if they have control over, for example, the Iraqi forces there, which I assume from what you are saying is correct, are you saying that they have a veto or they will stop, for example, or overrule what a US commander on the ground would want to do?

    Mr Hoon: The final decision as to whether this operation will be conducted, how it will be conducted, and the nature of the operations involved is a matter for the Iraqis and it is a matter for the Committee, as I referred to earlier.[156]

150. The command chain of the Iraqi Security Forces cannot yet sustain responsibility for operations carried out in its name. At this stage of the Iraqi Security Forces' development this is unsurprising It is important, however, that we recognise the limitations which this places on the current and future capabilities of the Iraqi Security Forces.


151. Eighty percent of Iraq's revenues comes from oil exported through the country's two oil terminals Khawr Al Amaya (KAAOT) and Al Basrah (ABOT) in the Gulf. Beyond the need to protect these two key installations, Iraq needs to protect its maritime border, which has since the end of the invasion seen a number of incidents.[157] MNF-I has therefore sought to build a limited Iraqi naval capacity while acting in lieu of the Iraqis through its Naval Task Force. HMS Grafton, which we visited in May 2004 and its replacement, HMS Marlborough, which we visited in December 2004 (when we also visited the ABOT itself), are at the forefront of the Naval Task Force operating close to the oil terminals themselves. Additionally, a detachment of 40 Commando train and mentor the Iraqi Coastal Defence Force, and in Umm Qasr port, the Royal Navy train the Inland Waterways Department. The Minister for the Armed Forces told us that the Iraqi Government is expected to take on operational responsibility for the oil platforms from July 2005. Currently the Iraqi Ministry of Oil is responsible for oil infrastructure security. This is mainly undertaken by private security companies. The plan for the future is to centralise oil infrastructure security under the Ministry of Interior, with the Facilities Protection Service (FPS) taking the lead for security provision. The US are the lead for the protection of the oil terminals in the northern Gulf. The Iraqi Naval Battalion is being trained by the US, with the aspiration that they will take the lead in the future. The plan is also that the Iraqi Navy will patrol the area of the oil platforms. Protection of land-based oil terminals would remain the lead of the FPS. The Naval Task Force will continue to provide the necessary maritime protection to the oil terminals for the foreseeable future.[158]

152. In spite of these efforts, the capabilities of the Iraqi Coastal Defence Force and the Inland Waterways Department remain very limited. General Houghton confirmed this:

    At the moment, the nature of the development of the Iraqi navy is relatively modest: five patrol crafts, five inflatable boats, effectively to do things in support of riverine security and that sort of thing.[159]

153. As a result, the Inland Waterways Department only patrols the area immediately surrounding Umm Qasr port. MoD was not aware of any plans to equip the Iraqi Security Forces with larger vessels, which would allow increased capabilities. Finally, we were told that the Iraqi Ministry of Defence has no structure to command and control the country's naval assets.[160] It seems clear to us that MNF-I—and, by extension the UK—will need to assist Iraq in protecting its sea-based assets and territorial waters from terrorist attack or incursion for the foreseeable future.


154. Developing the capabilities of the Iraqi Police Service is now seen as a pivotal part of Security Sector Reform and establishing the Iraqi Government's writ throughout the country. Belatedly, it is also seen as part of the counter-insurgency campaign. As Mr Walt Slocombe, formerly the CPA's Director of Security Affairs, has written:

155. Mr Stephen Pattison, Director of International Security in the FCO, argued that the Coalition had intended to train Iraqi police officers from the end of major combat operations on 10 May 2003:

    given the circumstances we found ourselves in May 2003, our plan then, to try fairly rapidly to train a large number of new Iraqi police, was a plan which seemed reasonable at the time. We put it into place, actively and with commitment, and it began to produce police.[162]

156. Chief Superintendent Kevin Hurley, the Senior Police Adviser in MND (SE), however, submitted evidence to us saying that "immediately following and during the combat operations of March and April 2003 there was no plan for the maintenance of law and order amongst the civil population in Iraq".[163] He went on to contend that policing was not "part of strategic military plan".[164] Perhaps this is not surprising as UK police professionals were not part of the post-conflict planning for Operation Telic. Chief Constable Paul Kernaghan confirmed this to us:

    There was no engagement with the British police service prior to the invasion—I appreciate primarily a diplomatic and military issue—but there was no liaison with the professional police expertise prior to that. I think that was wrong.[165]

    Pre the toppling of the Saddam Hussein regime, there was no liaison that I am aware of with British police in any shape or form. I deployed to Iraq in May 2003, I think 3 May, to see what contribution, if any, British policing could make, and, if we could make any contribution, to specify what that contribution would be.[166]

This was confirmed by Mr Howard who told us the primary focus of planning was the future of the Iraqi army and not its police. He told us:

    Obviously the focus was primarily on Iraqi combat units rather than the police service which, as John [McColl] said, was very much the lowest of the low and really did not figure in our calculations.[167]

Mr Howard went on to tell us that establishing a civilian police force "from scratch" was not something MoD assumed it would be engaged in "prior to going into Iraq".[168]

157. It seems that when the Coalition was faced with the lawlessness and disorder which developed after 10 May 2003, its response was to train, equip and pay as many police officers as possible. When we visited Iraq both in May and December 2004 we were told the emphasis had been to 'churn out the numbers' irrespective of any strategic consideration of how the Iraqi Police Forces should develop, and what its tasks would be. The key, we were told, was to put 'an Iraqi face' on the security assignments. Thousands of police officers were recruited and sent on to the streets to patrol alongside Coalition forces. The reason for this approach may lie partly in the political need to be seen to be developing the Iraqi Security Forces and partly in the absence of strategic policing advice at senior levels. Even though police officers from troop-contributing countries were belatedly seconded first to the Coalition Provisional Authority and subsequently to MNF-I, it is clear that policing policy was run by the military. MoD told us that "responsibility for the training, equipping and mentoring of the Iraqi Police Service within the MNF-I resides with the Coalition Police Advisory and training team (CPATT) which is based in Baghdad and currently headed by a US military officer".[169]

158. As a result, while the police's street-level capabilities were being developed and no doubt playing an important role in ensuring that relative lawfulness returned to many areas, we were told in Iraq that the Iraqi Police Service overall were hampered by their ignorance of more sophisticated police techniques. Chief Superintendent Hurley listed the areas he considered vital for dealing with organised crime and terrorism in Iraq: "forensic science capability, sophisticated intelligence gathering and covert operations (undercover officers, 'bugging', surveillance etc)". In his submission to us, he noted that virtually no forensic work was undertaken on kidnapping, bombings or shootings during his time in Iraq. Dr Rathmell similarly writes:

    Unfortunately, the Iraqi Police Service was never designed to deal with serious crime or political violence. As the lowest tier of Saddam's security forces, the police have struggled with their sudden transformation into the first line of the security effort.[170]

159. As a result, despite having been provided with some investigative training, the IPS remain incapable of conducting investigative operations or exploiting intelligence-based policing methods.[171]

160. To remedy this, MoD and the FCO have begun training Iraqi police officers in investigative techniques, including offering technical training courses in the Adnon Palace and at the Az Zubayr Police Academy. A UK Police Advisers team in the Ministry of the Interior in Baghdad has been championing criminal intelligence and forensics, encouraging the Minister of the Interior to make these two priorities for 2005. Moreover, in early 2005 the first 50 criminal intelligence operatives began training in Jordan, under the supervision of UK and Czech Republic Intelligence advisers and equipment has arrived to set up criminal intelligence offices throughout Iraq.

161. The support currently being provided by the UK to the Iraqi police stands in contrast to the lack of involvement by British police officers in the planning for the immediate post-conflict period. During our evidence session and our visits to Iraq in May and December 2004, we were told of a litany of problems confronting the deployment of police officers from the UK. First, police officers were not included in the planning for operations. Chief Constable Paul Kernaghan from ACPO told us:

    From the perspective of the police service, once the Foreign and Commonwealth Office identify a diplomatic need and they secure the support of the Home Office, the Scottish Executive and Northern Ireland Office, they then come and I try to facilitate that from a police service point of view. I am involved and I appreciate the opportunity to be involved in early discussions with FCO colleagues. However, we as a service lack the preplanning capability. I do not have members of staff attached to PJHQ, for example, to see whether there is a police role, and that is a major failing. However, at this point in time, once there is a political will expressed, I seek to facilitate the response of the domestic service.[172]

162. This situation probably reflects the current level of mutual understanding between the police and the military. As Chief Constable Kehanghan told us:

    Yes, I think that military doctrine should include a civil police dimension but, in fairness to military colleagues, they need to know who to liaise with, and who is going to contribute to it. At this point in time there is no equivalent of the Joint Doctrines Concepts Centre in the police.[173]

163. Second, there is little institutional incentive to encourage constabularies to send police officers on missions. Policing within the UK is undertaken by over 50 forces covering three legal jurisdictions. The forty-three forces of England and Wales are regulated by the Home Office, whilst the eight forces in Scotland are regulated by the Scottish Executive, and the Police Service of Northern Ireland by the Northern Ireland Office. Additionally the Ministry of Defence Police is an executive agency of MoD. This makes 'recruitment' for international missions very difficult. The FCO and DFID have a roster of police officers willing to go on missions, but while many junior officers volunteer, senior officers rarely do so.

164. Ultimately, decisions to 'free' officers for international deployments are made by the UK's Chief Constables, not the Home Secretary. The Chief Constables will give greater priority to fulfilling their obligations at home than to international deployments. Overseas police commitments are considered marginal activities in the context of the Home Office's agenda. This amounts to a disincentive to the constabularies to volunteer police officers, especially senior ones, to international missions.

165. Third, there is little personal incentive—bar a sense of adventure—for police officers to put themselves forward for international missions. Their jobs, salaries and benefits are unaffected by any experience they may gain. Police officers on international deployments may also be passed over for promotion or career-enhancing assignments. Sir David Veness, the UN's Under-Secretary General for Safety and Security and a former high-ranking UK police officer, confirmed this, telling us that overseas assignments were seen as a 'bad career move'. No one is 'looking out for them' in the UK. They report to a superior in theatre who may or may not be a police professional (depending on the type of mission). So if problems occur, frequently they have no police superior to turn to. The same problems may be encountered across missions, but there are no official channels through which experience of these can be drawn together and lessons learnt for the future. Equally, police officers' performance on missions—good or bad—is not communicated to their constabularies. Chief Constable Paul Kernaghan explained some of the problems to us:

    Frankly, for senior officers in particular, there is no incentive and there are a lot of inhibitors. This is not a secret—I spoke publicly to the Association of Chief Police Officers and the Association of Police Authorities at their annual meeting and I basically said, "If you submit a well written and highly polished best value review report, that will do far more for your career prospects than having served for six months in Baghdad." I think that is wrong and that will be the issue, the $64 million question if I can phrase it in that way, and unless the taskforce, with political will, changes that situation, I am afraid I will still be reduced to personally canvassing individuals and whilst invariably good people—and I am not in any way decrying that—but we are sending people who are in their last months of service who have an eye to post-retirement employment. We need to be sending good people to bring them back for even more challenging domestic command appointments and, until we address that, I am afraid that we have a major issue.[174]

166. This situation is certainly very different from the military where international deployments, and work in international organisations (i.e. NATO) remains an essential part of an officer's career. Mr Stephen Rimmer, Director of Policing Policy in the Home Office, conceded to us that "There are clearly some things which, in terms of basic systems, can be properly applied to give a push to this".[175] Dr Owen Greene of Bradford University made the same point, telling us: "Awareness raising, extra inducements, changes of procedure in the margins are all essential".[176] He, however, went on to argue that no amount of incentives could substitute for the creation of a standing, deployable police capacity. He told us:

    but without a structural change, which means that there is a standing force into which professional officers circulate in and out and so on, so it is not led predominantly in terms of local policing, and structural reform, I do not think that any degree of awareness raising will overcome some of the challenges of career progression fast enough to be able to deliver what we want.[177]

167. As part of the Government's attempt to improve the coordination of its efforts on post-conflict and crisis management issues, the mechanisms for deploying police to post-conflict situations have received consideration in Whitehall. The FCO has established a 'Strategic Task Force', which is meant to recommend ways to move the issue forward. Its proposals will, of course, need to be considered in the context of the Government's wider police reform agenda.

168. We believe the problems in developing the Iraqi Police Service were partly caused by deficiencies in the way that the UK handles the contribution of police officers in Peace Support Operations generally. Iraq was not, by any means, the first occasion on which difficulties with the early and effective deployment of police officers to a Peace Support Operation were encountered. And even in Iraq the absence of police support was acknowledged as an issue in July 2003. Yet it has taken until the end of 2004 for the FCO (the lead department in these matters) to establish a 'Strategic Task Force'. This is in effect no more than a cross-departmental committee of officials. It is expected to report within the next six months. But Mr Pattison—who chairs the task force—could give us no assurance that its report would be followed by effective action.[178]

169. The Coalition's early efforts at Security Sector Reform—particularly in the civil policing area—were characterised by short-termism and indecision. Weaknesses in that reform programme came close to undermining the success of the initial military operations. We are disappointed that two years after the start of those operations the Government's response to the systemic shortcomings, which contributed to those weaknesses, has amounted only to the establishment of a 'Strategic Task Force'.

170. We welcome recent initiatives by the Government and the EU to train the Iraqi Police Service in complex policing techniques. We note, however, that assistance to develop Iraq's policing arrangements was not incorporated in the post-conflict planning. As a result, there was an absence of strategic policing advice at senior levels in the Coalition while the policing policy was unduly 'militarised'. Consequently, the kind of police forces that were established in Iraq were unprepared for the complex policing tasks subsequently expected of them.


171. Intelligence reform is one of the less recognised aspects of Security Sector Reform in Peace Support Operations.[179] In Bosnia & Herzegovina, it took eight years of peace implementation before the international community began a process of intelligence reform. Part of the reason is that in virtually all authoritarian regimes, the intelligence apparatus was a key means for maintaining power and therefore a source of abuse. Intelligence reform has been further complicated because of the pervasive public distrust of intelligence institutions, as well as the common problem of politicisation of the intelligence bureaucracy, and the consequent lack of a corporate culture or tradition of public service and transparency. Despite these concerns, establishing a functioning intelligence system can be one of the most important assets provided to a country's nascent national security apparatus if properly structured and controlled. This is even more the case if the country's government is confronted by an insurgency, which can only be defeated through an intelligence-led process.

172. In Iraq, it is our impression that this task was deliberately overlooked. As Dr Rathmell has written:

    The Coalition was understandably reluctant to rebuild Iraqi intelligence services, preferring that future Iraqi governments deal with the morally and political tricky subject of how to build effective but accountable services.[180]

173. In many ways, the Coalition made the eventual task of rebuilding an Iraqi intelligence apparatus more difficult by purging many of the professionals who had previously served in the Mukhabarat (external intelligence) and the Istikhabarat Al Amn Al Askariya (the military intelligence). Major Lincoln-Jones points out that maintaining many of the existing professionals, however morally disquieting, could have made a real difference in building an intelligence apparatus. He told us:

    Post WW2 experience and more recently the overthrow of the Shah proves the utility of purging the leadership but utilising the officials left behind after the collapse of a regime.[181]

He went on to tell us:

    Whereas many of them were distinctly unsavoury by western democratic standards our squeamishness is reaping terrible consequences both for our own forces and for the unfortunate Iraqis.[182]

174. General Houghton admitted problems in confronting the insurgency were caused by the lack of attention paid to creating an intelligence apparatus:

    I would not pretend that we are a long way down the track of developing a comprehensive internal Iraqi national intelligence gathering apparatus that it has been clearly recognised as one of the key factors that they will need in order to be able to continue to prosecute a counter-insurgency campaign.[183]

175. Mr Walt Slocombe, a former Director for Security Affairs at the CPA, has subsequently written:

    The development of indigenous Iraqi intelligence capabilities will be an increasingly important element in this effort.[184]

176. General Rollo, speaking about experiences in MND (SE), told us that he had sought to utilise the Joint Operations Centres established in each governorate to develop Iraqi intelligence capabilities. But he also made clear that problems remained: "I would certainly say that is an area where there is further progress to be made".[185]

177. Increased effort is now being put into re-building the Iraqi National Intelligence Service. General Houghton told us that increased assistance was being offered: "We are providing a number of advisers as to the sorts of techniques they need to develop".[186] He further told us:

    A significant amount of work and advice is being launched at this moment to attempt to give them some of those skills as much on procedures and assessments and those sorts of things.[187]

We accept that there was good reason for the Coalition not to retain the intelligence apparatus, which Saddam Hussein used to terrorise Iraq's citizens. At the same time, we acknowledge that developing indigenous Iraqi intelligence capabilities is necessary for the Iraqi Security Forces to engage the insurgency. We call on MoD to provide assistance to the Iraqi Transitional Government and National Assembly so that the need for intelligence is balanced with the need to maintain judicial and political oversight of all intelligence activities.


178. Reporting to the UN Security Council in 17 July 2003, the UN Secretary-General expressed his envoy's "concern … at the potentially serious implications of the recent dissolution of the Iraqi Army, which numbers half a million personnel".[188] The concern was that disbanding the Iraqi army would leave no indigenous force to maintain order, and would also provide the insurgency with a large pool of armed and trained fighters.

179. General Houghton similarly told us:

    I think it is fair to say that in the immediate aftermath of the conflict phase judgments were reached that it was probably a mistake to have a disbandment of the whole Iraqi Armed Forces root and branch, as it were, but there was a tendency then for a local bottom-up initiative to dictate the way in which Iraqi security forces were first drawn up.[189]

180. Dr Rathmell makes the same point: "With hindsight, it is arguable that a more gradual transition from the previous military to a new, democratic military would have been desirable".[190] In September 2004, the Prime Minister conceded:

    I do accept that there was probably one, as I've said before, one error that was made, which is that, I think in retrospect, to disband the Iraqi Army in its entirety and to 'de-Baath-ify', in other words to remove all elements of the Baath Party from positions of authority in Iraq was done too quickly.[191]

181. However, many of those involved the decision at the time now argue that Saddam Hussein's army effectively disbanded itself and only the Sunni-dominated officer corps would have remained. Moreover, the decision to disband the army should not be seen in isolation from the CPA's related decisions, for example, the decision to outlaw the Baath Party and disband the intelligence services (the Mukhabarat and the Istikhabarat Al Amn Al Askariya). Writing about the causes of the insurgency, Colonel Langton sees the disbandment of the army in a larger context: "Overall the decision to disband the army, or to allow it to disperse; the decision to prohibit previous Ba'athist officials from having any role in reconstruction when they were the only people with the knowledge and experience to do so; the lack of resources for fast post-conflict reconstruction; and the absence of a broader regime to prevent external threats entering the country all contributed to the promotion of an insurgency which had in all probability been pre-planned".[192]

182. Since the original decision in May 2003, re-building the Iraqi Army has been at the centre of the Coalition's Security Sector Reform programme. We were told in Iraq in December 2004 that the original plan for the Iraqi Army envisaged three Army Divisions, six National Guard Divisions and Special Forces. But Prime Minister Allawi apparently forced a reconsideration of the original plans as he sought the creation of a Mechanised Brigade, which had not originally been envisaged. The new plan therefore included four Army Divisions. In September 2004, General Petraeus, Commander of the Multinational Security Transition Command in Iraq, wrote that six regular Army and Intervention Force battalions would become operational sometime within the next two months and that nine more regular Army battalions would have completed training by January 2005.[193] The Iraqi National Guard, which was previously known as the Iraq Civil Defense Corps (ICDC) will be absorbed into the regular Army.[194]

183. The Iraqi Army is a central element of the Iraqi Security Forces both at the present time and in the future. We note that time has been lost in establishing the Iraqi Army and that changes in policy have slowed down its full establishment. It will be important to ensure that the future development of the Iraqi Army, including its prospective merger with the Iraqi National Guard, does not compromise its operational effectiveness or organisational coherence.

Judicial Reform

184. Beyond executive and parliamentary control, the Iraqi Security Forces will need to respect the rule of law. As Walt Slocombe has written: "Success requires that the security services that will serve the governmental order not only be strong enough to manage the nation's security, but must also be fully responsive to Iraq's new legal and constitutional order and respectful of the rights of its people".[195] Dr Hutton made the same point: "… you need a functioning criminal justice system to which to hand over detainees and to create stability".[196]

185. The United Nation's report "Comprehensive Review of the Whole Question of Peacekeeping Operations in All Their Aspects" (also known as the Brahimi report) concludes that peacekeeping operations require the rapid deployment not only of military forces, but also of missions that incorporate a wide range of civilian expertise needed to render viable the consolidation of peace, including a reformed judiciary.[197]

186. Following the cessation of major combat operations, the majority of the Iraqi Ministry of Justice's buildings had suffered extensive damage from looting and were, as a result, non-functional. Out of Baghdad's eighteen courthouses, twelve had been emptied by looters, with approximately 75 per cent of the remaining estimated 110 courthouses in Iraq destroyed as well. At the time, neither the Ministry of Justice or the courts were operating. While many Ministry employees continued to report for work, no work could be performed. Moreover, the Coalition's judicial reform programmes appear to have been slow to get underway. To quote Dr Rathmell: "The Coalition worked to bolster and reform the criminal and civil justice systems but the sector never received the support it deserved".[198]

187. Commentators have pointed to many alleged instances of extra-judicial use of force by the Iraqi Security Forces.[199] Human Rights Watch wrote to us:

    Iraqi police and intelligence services routinely conduct arrests without warrants issued by an appropriate judicial authority. Human Rights Watch spoke to fifty-four detainees at the Central Criminal Court whom police had accused of a variety of serious crimes. The vast majority were in court for the first time, having already been in jail for several weeks, well beyond what is permitted by Iraqi law. At least twenty were blindfolded, and of those the ones that Human Rights Watch spoke with said they had been blindfolded since their arrest days earlier. The detainees spoke of dire conditions of detention, including severe overcrowding.[200]

188. Human Rights Watch also relayed to us anecdotal evidence of the Iraqi Interim Government carrying out mass raids which led to several arrests but few actual charges against those arrested. The report is worth quoting in full:

    This report highlights two such raids conducted in late June and early July 2004 by Ministry of Interior personnel, with backup provided by Multinational Force personnel […] In both of the cases we investigated, the police released the majority of the suspects within a day or two after the raids, though that received little press attention. Human Rights Watch followed the remaining cases through the court system, and found that in many of those, investigative judges ordered the suspects released because of insufficient evidence once they were brought before them. The police appear to have arrested a large number of them randomly during the operations, either because they happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, or on the basis of unverified tip-offs from locals. By the time of the release of these detainees, the police had held them for weeks or months without bringing them to court, and in some cases certainly tortured or otherwise ill-treated them.

    Only in six of the cases Human Rights Watch investigated at the Central Criminal Court had officials brought the defendants before an investigative judge within twenty-four hours of their arrest. In the majority of cases, the defendants had no access to defence counsel before being brought to court, where they were represented by court-appointed lawyers who lacked knowledge of their cases and had no prior access to the evidence against them.[201]

189. Dr Hutton told us what progress had been made by January 2005:

    The progress which has been made so far is the establishment of a Judicial Council which has been formed with 23 members and a budget which is independent of the Ministry of Justice, thereby creating independence from the political side of things as any good judicial system ought to have. The Judicial Council is recruiting 876 judges; court administration and the staff are now under the direct control of the Judicial Council. It is currently looking at ways of improving court infrastructure, including buildings and communication, and improving notification procedures to ensure the faster processing of people through the courts. A central criminal court has been formed to hear cases which are of national importance and to provide a model of judicial integrity for the rest of the judicial system. The court is staffed by vetted judges and prosecutors and operates within the regular Iraqi judicial framework.[202]

190. Reforming the Iraqi judicial system is key to the country's post-Saddam transition. We welcome MoD's assurance that progress is being made. It is moreover essential that Iraqi Security Forces act within the parameters of the judicial process and it is incumbent upon MNF-I to do what they can to ensure that they do.


191. A number of regional, sectarian, and political groups control large and well-armed militias which operate apart from the Iraqi Security Forces and outside the Iraqi Government's control. Estimates of their size vary, but some analysts have placed the figure as high as around 100,000.[203] This figure is unlikely to represent a standing capability, but rather a 'surge' capacity i.e. the number of fighters that could be mobilised when necessary. Speaking about his experiences in Basra, General Rollo made the following comment:

    If you have a vision of Ireland in 1914, with people drilling on street corners, it is not normally like that. It is a very shifting bunch of people, both in terms of the leadership and the membership, of a very varied size depending on how strongly people feel about a particular issue at a particular moment.[204]

The most well-known militia is probably the Kurdish Peshmerga. But there are also Shia formations, notably the Badr Corps and Muqtadr al-Sadr's 'Mahdi's Army', which we discussed above. The militias are a natural outgrowth of Iraq's recent history: the Kurds relied on their militia formations to protect them during Saddam Hussein's rule. Mr Howard explained it thus: "The first thing I would say is that militias have traditionally been a part of the Iraqi politics of this. Most political parties have had a militia associated with them".[205] This, of course, was only the case in Kurdish-controlled north east of the country where the two main Kurdish political parties raised militias during Saddam Hussein's rule; Shia militias were largely formed or returned from exile following the invasion in 2003.

192. Following the end of major combat operations on 10 May 2003, the militias have taken up various positions towards MNF-I and the Iraqi Government, which largely reflect where their political masters are placed in the political process. Some militias, like Muqtadr al-Sadr's 'Mahdi's Army', have taken hostile action against MNF-I; others, like the Kurdish Peshmerga, have supported the MNF-I's stabilisation efforts. As General Houghton told us: "There has been some pragmatic use of militias". Despite this, the militias stand outside the legally constituted security structure. For this reason, in a February 2004 report, the UN warned that the continued existence of the militias would represent a long-term problem. In our report Lessons of Iraq, we gave a similar warning. "We are concerned that local militias which have been allowed to operate in the south-east of Iraq may represent vested interests. There is a danger that these may seek to use their position to pursue agendas which might not be to the advantage of the people of Iraq more generally".[206]

193. Before the Transfer of Authority on 28 June 2004, the CPA had developed a transition strategy for disbanding or controlling these militias. The CPA issued an order in June 2004—Order 91—outlawing non-governmental militias. Since the Transfer of Authority, however, little has happened and the militias remain. MNF-I still seems aware of the need to deal with the militias, but is confronted with the greater threat of the insurgency. They appear to be postponing consideration of the issue. Mr Howard summed up the MoD's position:

    From a British point of view, and, I am sure, from an American point of view, we would like to see the militias either disbanded or integrated as appropriate into the Iraqi security forces as they go on, but this now has to be an Iraqi decision on how they operate. In practical terms, I suspect it is not something you can just do overnight. I think it is a question of persuasion and developing mature political institutions and mature security institutions which make the need for militias redundant. But I do not think that is something that can happen quickly; nor can it happen at our behest or American behest alone. It has to be an Iraqi decision.[207]

194. Mr Howard did, however, assure us that MNF-I would be willing to assist any disbandment process, but he gave no indication that this was an integral element of the Security Sector Reform process. This may be in part because MoD does not necessarily see the militias or other personally loyal military formations as a threat to the Iraqi Security Forces. The Armed Forces Minister told us:

    There is no indication that private armies are developing under the control of one powerful minister to be used in the way in which Saddam Hussein would have used his security forces.[208]

195. Paramilitary militias continue to exercise considerable power in Iraq. We understand the need to prioritise MNF-I's limited forces in the counter-insurgency campaign and we realise that some militias made a contribution to the stabilisation of the country. But militias exist to protect particular sectional interests and we believe that until all Iraq's militias are disbanded, questions will continue to hang over the Iraqi Security Forces' authority. We welcome MoD's assurance that MNF-I will be willing to assist the Iraqi Government in dismantling the militias if circumstances should so require.

Disarmament and Small Arms

196. Iraq is believed to harbour enough guns to arm every one of its 24 million citizens.[209] Iraqi civilians also have access to other light weapons, such as rocket-propelled grenades, and mortars. Iraq's pervasive 'gun culture' is nothing new and was always going to present a problem.[210] As we were told in Iraq, after 10 May 2003 when the Iraqi authorities disintegrated, previously protected arms depots were left unguarded and many people helped themselves to their contents. This created an additional source of weaponry for the insurgents.

197. When we visited Iraq in December 2004 we were told that there were simply too many weapons in circulation for a buy-back scheme to make sense. The fear was that people would trade in their old weapons and use the funds provided in the buy-back scheme to buy new weapons on the open market. As the security situation deteriorated, the ability of MNF-I to dissuade Iraqis from keeping their weaponry naturally declined. Pilot projects seem to have confirmed this. One, in summer 2003, succeeded in encouraging Iraqis to turn in light weapons as well as hand-fired missiles and rocket-propelled grenades, but the Coalition was forced to allow many Iraqis to keep automatic rifles.

198. Alternative solutions have been proposed. Rachel Stohl, of the Centre for Defence Information, suggested "community-based weapons-collection programmes. Rather than turning in weapons for cash, a neighbourhood could receive increased security patrols; provision of electricity; or assistance with rebuilding schools, roads, and shops, for a target number of weapons turned in".[211]

199. Dr Rathmell has been critical of the MNF-I's lack of attention to disarmament from the outset when making an effort could have mattered more. "Long experience with disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR) in post-conflict situations was largely ignored by the Coalition Provisional Authority since it was felt that the armed forces had self-demobilised. A more structured and better resourced approach towards former Iraqi military personnel would have been beneficial".[212]

200. Understandably, small arms were low on the list of Coalition priorities, which, in the initial stages, were focused on finding weapons of mass destruction and securing heavier conventional weapons. But the well-armed insurgency, which subsequently emerged, suggests that focusing on small arms could have been beneficial in the longer-term and that in the medium-term ways must be found to reduce the very large amounts of small arms in circulation. It also appears that more planning and resources should have been devoted by the Coalition to securing Iraq's many arms depots immediately following the invasion. These arms depots have now become a key source of the insurgency's material for Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and heavy weapons.

Private Security Companies

201. From the beginning of operations in March 2003, the security environment in Iraq has presented grave risks for humanitarian workers, contractors and their local associates. As of 31 December 2004, 232 civilians working on US contracts in Iraq had been killed, according to the United States Department of Labor. The exacting security environment has also prevented contractors performing their daily work and completing projects on time. The Project and Contracting Office reported that in central Iraq, 16.5 per cent of their construction projects were delayed for more than two weeks; in northern Iraq, 14.8 per cent of reconstruction projects were delayed. Attacks on sites, employees, and convoys related to reconstruction projects are and remain frequent. Mr Jim Drummond told us about the difficult circumstances in which DFID staff have to work in Iraq:

    … this is a very difficult operating environment. Even in the south we had periods in April and May [2004] where our staff could not travel and were locked down in the consulate. We had the same again in August and parts of September [2004], a lock-down in the consulate and DFID staff could not get out.[214]

202. Far more than in previous conflicts, FCO and DFID and even MoD have therefore relied on private security companies for the security of their personnel, and materiel. The work of private security contractors, many of whom are ex-soldiers, has been material to the conduct of the Government's activities in Iraq. Even though the outsourcing of protective services to private security companies is not new, the scale of their involvement in Iraq is unprecedented.[215] It is estimated that more than 60 security companies with over 20,000 personnel are engaged in Iraq.[216] As many commentators have noted, the numbers of private security companies dwarfs the current military contribution of any contributing nation to MNF-I except the United States. In a number of reported cases, these companies have become involved in combat, prompting concerns about the lack of distinction between professional troops and private commandos.[217]

203. With this reliance has come a significant bill. As at December 2004 DFID had disbursed £249 million on humanitarian and reconstruction work in Iraq: £186 million through multilateral agencies, NGOs and the Red Cross; and £63 million bilaterally. Of this bilateral disbursement, £17 million had been spent on security (armed protection, armoured vehicles, hostile environment and first aid training, and the posting of security managers) and on security for DFID's own staff and offices in Baghdad and Basra. The UK has also funded security for a number of local politicians.[218]

204. The extensive presence of private security companies has raised a number of issues. It is not clear how private security companies are controlled or held accountable for violations of law. The more unscrupulous private security companies may take advantage of this vacuum and engage in illegal or other inappropriate activities and there have been a number of reports of private security company personnel violating human rights. As the Foreign Affairs Committee wrote in July 2004: "The US has made use of a number of private security firms and private contractors are now known to have supervised interrogations at the Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad".[219] In Christopher Langton's words: private security companies "have the disadvantage of lacking in accountability".[220] Above all, because of the lack of regulation, in Iraq the many respectable and professional companies have not always been clearly differentiated from the inexperienced, uncontrolled companies. Chief Constable Paul Kernaghan put it aptly when he told us that the industry "ranges from what we call blue chip to frankly cowboys".[221] And the activities of some companies have garnered negative publicity for the entire sector.[222] The important distinction between companies which offer legitimate security services and those which are prepared to engage in paramilitary, mercenary activities is not always well-understood by commentators. Too often the headline grabbing antics of the latter are used to attack the often essential work of the former.

205. On 12th February 2002 in response to a recommendation from the Foreign Affairs Committee the Government issued a Green Paper Private Military Companies: Options for Regulation, which considered various options for regulation, their advantages and disadvantages, but ultimately did not propose any policy. The Green Paper examines the following policy options: (1) a national and international ban on mercenary activity, (2) national licensing of private military companies and exports and (3) the self-regulation of the industry. [223]

206. Mr Pattison brought us up to speed with subsequent developments:

    There is certainly thinking going on. As you said, a few years ago, the Government produced a Green Paper and we followed that up with consultations with interested parties including representatives of a number of companies in this sector and, as a result of that, what we are now trying to do is to look quite carefully at what proposals for regulation might be brought forward.[224]

207. He explained that the question of defining private military companies was difficult: "We all know the difference between a private military company and private security company when we see it but actually trying to define it for the purposes of legislation is rather difficult".[225] The FCO, he told us, was currently examining two broad options. One option would be to license companies. The second option would be to focus on the licensing of contracts, which, Mr Pattison told us, were "similar to the procedures we have for the licensing of defence exports". [226]

208. In their memorandum to us, the FCO explained that "a senior FCO official, in close consultation with his colleagues from other Government Departments, has been conducting a review of policy options for the regulation of Private Military Companies". The review, is expected to be finalised in by spring 2005.[227]

209. As a result of the lack of regulation, the UK has to resort to tightly drafted and negotiated contracts to ensure that the private security companies that MoD, DFID or the FCO employs follow appropriate standards. Mr Pattison explained: "What we have done with Armour Group is actually draw up an extremely detailed contract with them which covers a very wide area of issues including the sort of people they recruit, their answerability".[228]

210. But while such contracts are better than nothing, they do give rise to a number of problems as the National Audit Office (NAO) has identified.[229] Complex contracts require close monitoring and may involve frequent payments in the course of a year. As such, they may be labour-intensive, risk-prone and possibly cost inefficient. They are not an effective or appropriate substitute for proper regulation.

211. It is now three years since the Government published its Green Paper on Private Military Companies. We recommend the Government urgently brings forward proposals for the regulation of the overseas activities of private security and military companies. We do not believe that the current reliance on contracts is sufficient. We are well aware of the complexities involved in a licensing regime for individual contracts not least from our experience of the export control regime. We suggest that the FCO should enter into discussions with the Security Industry Authority to find ways in which its offices could be used. Once a mechanism has been established to regulate these companies, Parliament should consider how best it could undertake the necessary oversight.

118   Department for International Development, Understanding and Supporting Security Sector Reform, Issues Paper, undated. Back

119   DFID, Ibid. Back

120   On judicial aspects of policy see, Department for International Development, Making Government Work for Poor People: Building State Capability, Strategy Paper, 2001, Sections 2.5, 2.6. Back

121   Liaison Committee, 8 February 2005, HC 318-I (uncorrected evidence) Back

122   Second report to the Security Council by the United States, on behalf of the Multinational Force, describing the efforts and progress of the Multinational Force in fulfilling its mandate under United Nations Security Council Resolution 1546. Back

123   Q 595 Back

124   Q 567 Back

125   Q 359 Back

126   Q 387 Back

127   Q 567 Back

128   Q 373 Back

129   Battling for Iraq, Washington Post, 26 September 2004 Back

130   Iraq's Unready Security Forces: An Interim Assessment "Barak A Salmoni, Middle East Review of International Affairs, Vol 8, No 3, September 2004; The Critical Role of Iraqi Military, Security and Police Forces: Necessity, Problems and Process, Anthony Cordesman, 7 October 2004, In January 2005 Senator Joseph Biden described the US Administrations figures for Iraqi Security Forces as "malarkey", General Seeking Faster Training of Iraq Soldiers, Eric Schmitt, New York Times, 23 January 2005 Back

131   Q 386 Back

132   'Iraqi Security Forces: Numbers and Needs', Olga Oliker, Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service, 20 October 2004. Back

133   Section 2207 Report from the US State Department to the US Congress, 5 January 2005 Back

134   Q 567 Back

135   Q 318 Back

136   Q 595 Back

137   Q 406 Back

138   Q 415 Back

139   HC Deb, 3 March 2005, col 93WS Back

140   Q 415 Back

141   'Iraq: Building a New Security Structure', Middle East Report No. 20, International Crisis Group, 23 December 2003 Back

142   Q 595 Back

143   'Reforming Iraq's Security Sector', RUSI Journal, Andrew Rathmell, February 2005 Back

144   Q 374 Back

145   Ev 125 Back

146   Ev 123-124 Back

147   Ev 124 Back

148   Reforming Iraq's Security Sector: Our Exit Strategy from Iraq?,Andrew Rathmell, RUSI, February 2005 Back

149   Q 418 Back

150   Ibid Back

151   Q 410 Back

152   Command and control is defined as the exercise of authority and direction by a properly designated commander over assigned and attached forces in the accomplishment of the mission. Command and control functions are performed through an arrangement of personnel, equipment, communications, facilities, and procedures employed by a commander in planning, directing, coordinating, and controlling forces and operations in the accomplishment of the mission Back

153   594 Back

154   Ibid Back

155   Q 152 Back

156   Qq 154, 156 Back

157   'Incident in the Shatt al-Arab Waterway: Iran's Border Sensitivities' , Policy Watch No. 879, Washington Institute for Near East Policy Simon Henderson, 28 June 2004 Back

158   Q 55 Back

159   Q 386 Back

160   Q 553 Back

161   Iraq's Special Challenge: Security Sector Reform 'Under Fire', Walter B. Slocombe, Reform and Reconstruction of the Security Sector, BRYDEN, Alan and Heiner HÄNGGI (eds). Back

162   Q 256 Back

163   Ev 148 Back

164   Ev 149 Back

165   Q 248 Back

166   Q 249 Back

167   Q 311 Back

168   Q 315 Back

169   Ev 147, emphasis added Back

170   Reforming Iraq's Security Sector, RUSI Journal, Andrew Rathmell, February 2005 Back

171   Intelligence-led policing is defined as the application of criminal intelligence analysis as a rigorous decision making tool to facilitate crime reduction and prevention through effective policing strategies. Three structures (criminal environment, intelligence and the decision maker) and three processes (interpret, influence and impact) are identified as necessary for an intelligence-led policing model to work. Back

172   Q 241 Back

173   Q 258 Back

174   Q 286 Back

175   Q 287 Back

176   Ibid Back

177   Ibid Back

178   Qq 239-240 Back

179   Democratic and Parliamentary Oversight of the Intelligence Services: Best Practices and Procedures, Hans Born, DCAF, Working paper no. 20. May 2002 Back

180   Reforming Iraq's Security Sector, RUSI Journal, Andrew Rathmell, February 2005 Back

181   Not Printed Back

182   Ibid Back

183   Q 597 Back

184   Iraq's Special Challenge: Security Sector in Reform 'Under Fire' , Walter B. Slocombe, Reform and Reconstruction of the Security Sector, BRYDEN, Alan and Heiner HÄNGGI (eds). Back

185   Q 372 Back

186   Q 597 Back

187   Ibid Back

188   'Report of the Secretary-General pursuant to paragraph 24 of Security Council resolution 1483 (2003)', 17 July 2003, available at: Back

189   Q 601 Back

190   Reforming Iraq's Security Sector, RUSI Journal, Andrew Rathmell, February 2005 Back

191   Disbanding Iraqi army was a mistake, says Blair, ABC News, 26 September 2004 Back

192   Ev 139 Back

193   In his 26 September 2004, op-ed in the Washington Post Back

194   Q 601 Back

195   'Iraq's Special Challenge: Security Sector Reform 'Under Fire'', Walter B. Slocombe, Reform and Reconstruction of the Security Sector BRYDEN, Alan Bryden and Heiner Hanggi (eds) Back

196   Q 638 Back

197   'Report of the Panel on United Nations Peace Operations', 17 August 2000 Back

198   'Reforming Iraq's Security Sector', RUSI Journal, Andrew Rathmell, February 2005 Back

199   'Legal Standards Governing Treatment of Iraqi Detainees by Iraqi Security Forces During US Occupation', Steven C. Welsh, CDI Law Watch, 31 January 2005. Back

200   Ev 136 Back

201   Ibid Back

202   Q 639 Back

203   'Iraq's Special Challenge: Security Sector Reform 'Under Fire'', Walter B. Slocombe, Reform and Reconstruction of the Security Sector BRYDEN, Alan Bryden and Heiner Hanggi (eds) Back

204   Q 427 Back

205   Q 424 Back

206   HC (2003-04) 57-I, para 417 Back

207   Q 424 Back

208   Q 600 Back

209   'Proliferation of small arms: A menace that must be controlled', Rachel Stohl, International Herald Tribune, 30 June 2003  Back

210   'Small Arms are Continuing Threat in Iraq', Rachel Stohl, CDI Policy Paper, 5 May 2003  Back

211   'Iraq Small Arms are a Big Threat', Rachel Stohl, Christian Science Monitor, 5 November 2003 Back

212   'Reforming Iraq's Security Sector', RUSI Journal, Andrew Rathmell, February 2005 Back

213   Q 432 Back

214   Q 463 Back

215   'Controlling Private Military Companies: The United Kingdom and Germany', Elke Krahmann, paper Delivered at International Studies Association Annual Convention, 25 February-1 March 2003  Back

216   'The Private Military Industry and Iraq: What Have We Learned and Where to Next', Peter W Singer, DCAF Policy Paper, November 2004. Back

217   'Security Companies: Shadow Soldiers in Iraq', David Barstow, James Glanz, Richard A. Oppel Jr. and Kate Zernike, New York Times, 19 April 2004. It has even been suggested that a "contractor brigade" be raised to supplement regular military forces. 'Washington Urged To Save Money By Raising Private Military 'Contractor Brigade', Nathan Hodge, Wall Street Journal, 10 February 2005 Back

218   Figures provided by International Development Committee Back

219   HC (2003-04) 441-I, para 27 Back

220   Ev 141 Back

221   Q 305 Back

222   'In Iraq, it's security Rambo-style', Michael Georgy, Jordan Times, 10 November 2003 Back

223   'The Regulation Of Private Military Companies: A Reaction To The Foreign Office Green Paper', 'Memorandum from Bruce George and Simon H Cooper, submitted to the Foreign Affairs Committee, July 2002; 'Controlling Private Military Companies: The United Kingdom and Germany', Elke Krahmann, Paper Delivered at International Studies Association Annual Convention, 25 February-1 March 2003  Back

224   Q 302 Back

225   Ibid Back

226   Q 302 Back

227   Ev 131 Back

228   Q 302 Back

229   'Kosovo: The Financial Management of Military Operations', Report by the Comptroller and Auditor-General, 5 June 2000 Back

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