Occupying Iraq

Occupying Iraq: A History of the Coalition Provisional Authority

James Dobbins
Seth G. Jones
Benjamin Runkle
Siddharth Mohandas
Copyright Date: 2009
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 410
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  • Book Info
    Occupying Iraq
    Book Description:

    Focuses on the activities of the Coalition Provisional Authority during the first year of the occupation of Iraq. Based on interviews and nearly 100,000 never-before-released documents from CPA archives, the book recounts and evaluates the efforts of the United States and its coalition partners to restore public services, counter a burgeoning insurgency, and create the basis for representative government.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-4724-3
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Preface
    (pp. iii-vi)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-x)
  4. Figures
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. Summary
    (pp. xiii-xliv)
  6. Abbreviations
    (pp. xlv-xlvi)
  7. CHAPTER ONE The Origin of the CPA
    (pp. 1-10)

    As U.S. forces began their invasion of Iraq in late March of 2003, L. Paul Bremer received a phone call from Lewis (“Scooter”) Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff. “He asked whether I would be interested in coming back into the government to serve in Iraq,” recalled Bremer. “I couldn’t serve for long,” Bremer responded, “since I am busy running my company.” At the time, Bremer was chairman and chief executive officer of Marsh Crisis Consulting, a crisis management firm owned by the financial services firm Marsh & McLennan. Libby replied that “it wouldn’t be a full-time job. Perhaps...

  8. CHAPTER TWO Building the CPA
    (pp. 11-30)

    On April 16, 2003, General Tommy Franks, the commander of U.S. Central Command, issued a “Freedom Message to the Iraqi People,” in which he noted that “I am creating the Coalition Provisional Authority to exercise powers of government temporarily.”¹ He also, in this message, outlawed the Ba’ath party. Three weeks later, on May 6, President Bush announced the appointment of L. Paul Bremer III to head that organization. President Bush said that the CPA would establish “an orderly country in Iraq that is free and at peace, where the average citizen has a chance to achieve his or her dreams.”²...

  9. CHAPTER THREE Creating the Governing Council
    (pp. 31-50)

    One striking feature of the planning for postwar Iraq was the prolonged uncertainty over basic goals. At the level of strategic objectives, administration decisionmakers displayed a remarkable lack of clarity on what the United States sought to achieve politically in Iraq. Administration officials, to be sure, expressed a general desire to see Iraq become a democracy. But there was no agreement on what this would mean in practice or how it could best be achieved. Should there be an extensive occupation under the direction of an American proconsul, should an Afghan-style big-tent meeting of Iraqi notables determine the new government...

  10. CHAPTER FOUR Establishing Security
    (pp. 51-106)

    Before leaving Washington, Bremer learned that the U.S. military was still operating on the basis of an order from CENTCOM Commander General Tommy Franks that aimed to withdraw most American troops from Iraq over the next few months.¹ Concerned, Bremer raised the matter of what he considered to be inadequate troop levels with both Rumsfeld and the President. On the evening of his May 12 arrival in Baghdad, Bremer told a somber gathering of senior staff, “Establishing law and order will be our first priority.”² He repeated this statement in a letter to President Bush a week later, noting that...

  11. CHAPTER FIVE Governing Iraq
    (pp. 107-148)

    The administration’s plans for post-Saddam Iraq had assumed that the Iraqi government would remain largely intact and willing to take orders from the American authorities. ORHA’s preparations had focused on humanitarian relief operations. Garner later explained,

    The three things that worried us the most was the setting of the oil fields on fire, because [Saddam Hussein] had done that in Kuwait during the first Gulf War; large number of displaced people, refugees as a result of the war itself; or him using chemical weapons against the Shi’a or the Kurds, which he had done before several times. [Another] thing was...

  12. CHAPTER SIX Promoting the Rule of Law
    (pp. 149-196)

    Describing the condition of the Iraqi justice system, Clint Williamson, the CPA’s responsible senior advisor, reported to Bremer that it “was in a state of almost total devastation at the end of April. Most ministry buildings had suffered extensive damage from looting, and as a result were non-functional.” The Ministry of Justice in Baghdad “was a burned out shell from which all of the furniture, equipment, and records had been stolen. Of 18 courthouses in Baghdad, 12 were gutted. Approximately 75 percent of the remaining estimated 110 courthouses in Iraq were destroyed as well.” While a large contingent of ministry...

  13. CHAPTER SEVEN Growing the Economy
    (pp. 197-242)

    Iraq had achieved middle-income status in the late 1970s, but Saddam Hussein’s decision to invade Iran in September 1980 marked the beginning of a two-decade downward spiral in the country’s economy. Iraq’s port facilities were destroyed early in that conflict and Iraqi oil production came to a virtual standstill. Iraq borrowed on the international capital market to cushion the immediate revenue effects of this loss. By 1990, debt service payments were soaking up 55 percent of Iraq’s oil revenue.

    Mounting debt was one incentive for Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait that year. The second war in a decade resulted in a...

  14. CHAPTER EIGHT Running the CPA
    (pp. 243-264)

    A Defense Department team sent by Rumsfeld in late 2003 to assess the CPA’s personnel situation characterized it as “a pick-up organization in place to design and execute the most demanding transformation in U.S. history.”¹ Most of the initial State Department personnel detailed to the CPA had been on short-term assignments, and most had committed to staying only through the selection of the Governing Council, which took place on July 13, 2003. Ryan Crocker, an Arabic-speaking diplomat who had spent his professional life in the Islamic world, then departed, leaving governance matters to other capable, but less experienced, officers. A...

  15. CHAPTER NINE Promoting Democracy
    (pp. 265-296)

    In these words, the Coalition Provisional Authority laid out in the summer of 2003 its fundamental objective in Iraq. In the aftermath of decades of violent dictatorship, in a situation in which central authority had collapsed following the invasion, and in a society fractured along ethnic and sectarian lines, this was an awesome undertaking. As time went on, and with it the failure to find any weapons of mass destruction or former regime operational links to international terrorists, democratization became an ever more dominant rationale for the American presence.

    Beyond the soaring rhetoric of freedom and liberty, however, the CPA’s...

  16. CHAPTER TEN Disarming Militias and Countering Insurgents
    (pp. 297-322)

    The CPA’s closing months were dominated by mounting opposition from two groups: Sunni insurgents and Shi’ite militia. These two threats came together in the spring of 2004 in a manner that almost derailed the upcoming transfer of power.

    Among the militia, the most militant were adherents of the radical young cleric and demagogue, Muqtada al-Sadr. The CPA had first become concerned about al-Sadr in the early summer of 2003. Judge Don Campbell, the CPA senior advisor for the Ministry of Justice, told Bremer that an Iraqi judge, Raad Juhi, had found convincing evidence of al-Sadr’s direct involvement in the April...

  17. CHAPTER ELEVEN Exit and Appraisal
    (pp. 323-334)

    Washington’s decision to back off the operations against Fallujah and al-Sadr calmed the Governing Council and allowed Brahimi to proceed with the selection of a new government. Assisted by Bremer and Blackwill, Brahimi began a marathon set of consultations with members of the Governing Council and other notable Iraqis, including tribal leaders, with a view to securing agreement on the composition of an Iraqi interim government. The UN envoy’s initial preference for the post of prime minister was Shi’ite nuclear scientist Hussein Shahrastani. Bremer and Blackwill, however, felt that he was too pro-Shi’ite to be a unifying figure and Brahimi...

  18. Bibliography
    (pp. 335-340)
  19. Index
    (pp. 341-364)