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Surge: My Journey with General David Petraeus and the Remaking of the Iraq War

Peter R. Mansoor
Foreword by David Petraeus
Copyright Date: 2013
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 384
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  • Book Info
    Book Description:

    Surgeis an insider's view of the most decisive phase of the Iraq War. After exploring the dynamics of the war during its first three years, the book takes the reader on a journey to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, where the controversial new U.S. Army and Marine Corps counterinsurgency doctrine was developed; to Washington, D.C., and the halls of the Pentagon, where the Joint Chiefs of Staff struggled to understand the conflict; to the streets of Baghdad, where soldiers worked to implement the surge and reenergize the flagging war effort before the Iraqi state splintered; and to the halls of Congress, where Ambassador Ryan Crocker and General David Petraeus testified in some of the most contentious hearings in recent memory.

    eISBN: 978-0-300-19916-1
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. ix-xxiv)
    David Petraeus

    Leading the coalition military effort during the surge in Iraq in 2007 and 2008 was the most important endeavor—and greatest challenge—of my thirty-seven years in uniform. And Colonel, now Professor, Pete Mansoor, who was at my right hand for the first fifteen months of that endeavor, is uniquely qualified to write a history of what took place.

    The situation in Iraq was exceedingly grim at the end of 2006, when President Bush decided to implement the surge and selected me to command it. Indeed, when I returned to Baghdad in early February 2007, I found the conditions there...

  4. Preface
    (pp. xxv-xxviii)
  5. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xxix-xxx)
  6. List of Abbreviations
    (pp. xxxi-xxxii)
  7. Maps
    (pp. xxxiii-xxxviii)
  8. PROLOGUE: Baghdad, February 11, 2007
    (pp. 1-4)

    The Humvee column kicked up a cloud of dust as it crawled out of Camp Liberty, the sprawling coalition base near Baghdad International Airport, on a cool, clear morning in February 2007. The massive facility was home to thousands of soldiers in the 1st Cavalry Division, a Texas-based unit now responsible for security in the Iraqi capital city. Only a day before General David Petraeus had taken command of the 140,000-plus troops in Multi-National Force–Iraq (MNF-I), the coalition forces in Iraq. Accompanied by Major General Joe Fil, the division commander, as well as a sizable security detachment, Petraeus was...

  9. CHAPTER 1 A War Almost Lost
    (pp. 5-33)

    By the end of 2006, the United States, its coalition partners, and its indigenous allies were well on their way to losing the war in Iraq. By December of that year, more than three thousand Iraqis were dying violently every month.¹ Terror gripped the Iraqi people, many of whom suffered from a lack of basic services and employment. The fabric of Iraqi society had been torn by a nascent civil war that featured ethnosectarian struggles for control over state power and resources. Sunni insurgents attacked U.S., coalition, and Iraqi security forces with roadside bombs, mortar and sniper fire, and occasionally...

  10. CHAPTER 2 Designing the Surge
    (pp. 34-64)

    The new strategy for reversing Iraq’s death spiral, subsequently known as the surge, was the result of collective and individual deliberation on what went wrong in Iraq and how to fix it. Groups working for the National Security Council, the State Department, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff all wrestled in the fall of 2006 with the deteriorating situation in Iraq and what to do about it. A congressionally appointed Iraq Study Group also examined the state of affairs in the country and provided its own recommendations to the administration by the end of the year. These groups were all...

  11. CHAPTER 3 Fardh al-Qanoon
    (pp. 65-90)

    To prevail in the war in Iraq, U.S. and Iraqi security forces first had to win the battle for Baghdad. This had been the goal of the failed Together Forward operations in 2006, which had lacked sufficient forces to hold areas after they were cleared of insurgents and militiamen. In February 2007 the coalition would try again, this time with more troops and a new operational concept, code-named Fardh al-Qanoon (“Enforcing the Law”).¹ U.S. and Iraqi forces would partner together from local bases called joint security stations, combat outposts, and patrol bases. These forces would focus on securing the Iraqi...

  12. CHAPTER 4 Tower 57
    (pp. 91-119)

    In the summer of 2006, Sunni insurgents destroyed Tower 57—a large structure south of Baghdad that supported high voltage lines that transmitted electricity from the southern part of the country to the Iraqi capital. In the early days of the war, such vandalism had an economic purpose—criminals would strip electrical lines for their copper, which they would then sell on the black market. At this stage of the conflict, there was strategic design behind the attacks on the Iraqi electrical grid. Survey after survey indicated that aside from security, electricity was the most important service desired by the...

  13. CHAPTER 5 The Awakening
    (pp. 120-147)

    The tribal rebellion against al-Qaeda in Iraq, known as the Awakening, was as unexpected as it was welcome. It predated the surge by several months, but its ultimate success and expansion outside the boundaries of al-Anbar province were uncertain when General Petraeus took command of Multi-National Force–Iraq in February 2007. By the summer of that year, the surge had acted as a catalyst for the spread of the tribal rebellion across much of western and central Iraq. The Awakening was based in large part on a political calculation among Sunni tribal leaders. They had experienced a taste of what...

  14. CHAPTER 6 Turning the Tide
    (pp. 148-176)

    The first five months of the surge were a shaping period to set the conditions required to secure the Iraqi people, defeat al-Qaeda, and rein in or co-opt Sunni insurgent groups and Shi’a militias. Reinforcements deployed to Iraq, units left their forward operating bases to establish smaller joint security stations and combat outposts, U.S. and Iraqi forces cleared many of Baghdad’s neighborhoods, the Awakening was nurtured, and special operations forces continued their relentless campaign to gut al-Qaeda. It was a bloody fight—in fact, the five months from February to June 2007 brought the most coalition deaths of any five-month...

  15. Illustrations
    (pp. None)
  16. CHAPTER 7 Testimony
    (pp. 177-208)

    The testimony by Ambassador Ryan Crocker and General David Petraeus to Congress in September 2007 was the key political moment of the surge. Time was running out on the Washington clock as the American people tired of the seemingly unwinnable conflict in Iraq. Democrats, now the majority party in both houses of Congress, hoped to use the hearings as a springboard to mandate a withdrawal timeline for U.S. military forces and an end to American involvement in the war. Although the surge had succeeded in reducing the levels of violence in Iraq, most of the advances had come in the...

  17. CHAPTER 8 Power Politics
    (pp. 209-232)

    Nine months into the surge Multi-National Force–Iraq and Iraqi security forces had made substantial progress in improving security conditions in Iraq, but every political and military leader involved in the conflict understood that without political progress, any success would be short-lived. Ambassador Crocker and General Petraeus returned from Washington with a clear goal to prod Iraqi political leaders into making the concessions and compromises necessary to end the civil war and place the conflict over power and resources into the political arena. There was only so much they could do in this regard, but the attempt had to be...

  18. CHAPTER 9 Charge of the Knights
    (pp. 233-259)

    Three major developments changed the face of the Iraq War in 2007 and 2008. The surge and the Awakening are relatively well known, and covered elsewhere. The final event, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s military actions in the spring of 2008 to clear the Jaish al-Mahdi out of Basra, Sadr City, and Amarah, is unknown to most Western observers. But the “Charge of the Knights” (Saulat al-Farsan), as the Iraqi government labeled the operation, arguably was at least as important as the Awakening, for it changed the political calculations of many Iraqi leaders and made politics the operative forum for the...

  19. CHAPTER 10 The Surge in Retrospect
    (pp. 260-276)

    War is a contest of wills. In late 2006, after nearly four years of drift in U.S. strategy, President George W. Bush decided to stake his administration’s legacy on the outcome of the war in Iraq. His determination to succeed in a conflict of choice gave renewed purpose and authority to the surge. Had the president wavered, the U.S. effort in Iraq would have ended in ignominious defeat, one largely of our own making. In the moment of crisis, President Bush grasped the levers of power and decisively exercised the powers of his office to change course in a difficult...

  20. APPENDIX 1 Report to Congress on the Situation in Iraq
    (pp. 277-286)
    David H. Petraeus
  21. APPENDIX 2 Multi-National Force–Iraq Commander’s Counterinsurgency Guidance
    (pp. 287-290)
    David H. Petraeus
  22. APPENDIX 3 Anaconda Strategy versus al-Qaeda in Iraq
    (pp. 291-291)
  23. APPENDIX 4 Security Incidents in Iraq
    (pp. 292-292)
  24. Notes
    (pp. 293-324)
  25. Index
    (pp. 325-341)