Counterinsurgency in Iraq (2003-2006)

Counterinsurgency in Iraq (2003-2006): RAND Counterinsurgency Study--Volume 2

Bruce R. Pirnie
Edward O’Connell
Copyright Date: 2008
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 134
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  • Book Info
    Counterinsurgency in Iraq (2003-2006)
    Book Description:

    Examines the deleterious effects of the U.S. failure to focus on protecting the Iraqi population for most of the military campaign in Iraq and analyzes the failure of a technologically driven counterinsurgency (COIN) approach. It outlines strategic considerations relative to COIN; presents an overview of the conflict in Iraq; describes implications for future operations; and offers recommendations to improve the U.S. capability to conduct COIN.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-4584-3
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Preface
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  4. Figures
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. Tables
    (pp. xi-xii)
  6. Summary
    (pp. xiii-xxii)
  7. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xxiii-xxiv)
  8. Abbreviations
    (pp. xxv-xxviii)
  9. CHAPTER ONE Overview of the Conflict in Iraq
    (pp. 1-20)

    The United States is in the fifth year of trying to combat an insurgency that began when it invaded and occupied Iraq. Insurgency against the United States as an occupying power is highly unusual; the only other instance was the Philippine Insurrection of 1898–1903. In the Philippines, however, an insurgency was already under way against the Spanish. Following the defeat of the Spanish, when the United States did not immediately grant the Philippines independence, most of the Filipino insurgents turned their wrath against it. Iraq is the only example of an indigenous insurgency arising in response to a U.S....

  10. CHAPTER TWO Armed Groups in Iraq
    (pp. 21-34)

    Although primarily characterized as an insurgency, the conflict in Iraq involves a mixture of armed groups with conflicting goals. Were insurgency the only challenge, U.S. and Iraqi government forces might at least contain it, but multiple challenges of separatists, insurgents, extremists, militias, and criminals threaten to destroy the country.

    At least through 2005, most of the violence in Iraq was caused by a Sunni-dominated insurgency against U.S. forces who were seen as occupiers even after the notional return of sovereignty in June 2004. The insurgency originated among Ba’athist remnants, especially the ruling family and its enforcers, who could expect to...

  11. CHAPTER THREE Counterinsurgency in Iraq
    (pp. 35-60)

    To prosecute counterinsurgency in Iraq successfully, the United States needs a comprehensive strategy that includes a range of efforts or lines of operation. All these efforts should be mutually reinforcing, implying that the United States must make all of them simultaneously, but the appropriate weight of effort varies over time and by region of the country. The challenge is to find the right balance in rapidly changing circumstances.

    DoD initially took the lead for all matters concerning Iraq. The Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance (ORHA) and later the CPA were subordinate to the Secretary of Defense, although the CPA...

  12. CHAPTER FOUR Accounting for Success and Failure
    (pp. 61-72)

    The Bush Administration did not anticipate widespread, virulent resistance to U.S. occupation and to a new Iraqi government led by Shi’te Arabs and Kurds. As a result, it was initially unprepared to conduct COIN and promoted slow-paced creation of the government, ceding time to the insurgents. Ethnic and sectarian parties dominated the new government and failed to produce a foundation for national unity, as had occurred in Bosnia and Kosovo. Moreover, the government was so weak that even Shi’ite Arabs turned to militias for the protection that coalition forces failed to provide. In the absence of effective government, extremists in...

  13. CHAPTER FIVE Building Effective Capabilities for Counterinsurgency
    (pp. 73-90)

    This chapter summarizes the capabilities required to conduct COIN successfully, based on experience in Iraq. The goal of COIN is to gain people’s allegiance to the legitimate government, implying that they are confident the government and its allies—in this case, U.S. forces—will protect them and promote a future they desire. Signs of increasing allegiance include willingness to provide information on insurgents, take part in civic life, hold public office, serve as police, and fight as soldiers. The process is reciprocal: The government can better protect its citizens as they become more willing to fight for it. The art...

  14. CHAPTER SIX Recommendations
    (pp. 91-98)

    The recommendations presented in this chapter are intended to assist the U.S. government in developing capabilities to conduct COIN. Counterinsurgency is a political-military effort that requires both good governance and military action. It follows that the entire U.S. government should conduct the effort.

    The United States needs to improve its ability to develop strategy and to modify that strategy as events unfold. Strategy implies a vision of how to attain high-level policy objectives, employing U.S. resources and those of its allies. It also implies reflection upon strategies that adversaries might develop and how to counter them. Strategy should be developed...

  15. Bibliography
    (pp. 99-106)