2009 2010 2011 2012 January 2013 February 2013 March 2013 April 2013 May 2013
The consolidation of Operational Commands point toward 7 total ISF Corps in Wartime [5 Frontal/2 Reserve] being the basis of the Wartime Army structure. Additionally, Kurdish elements are not being integrated – instead the KRG is building its own 2 corps army structure. [ISF planned Wartime Structure appears to reflect late Iran-Iraq War Corps/Army Structure.]
The primary external focus is towards Iran. Jordan, Turkey, and the GCC are only a threat if they have US support and Iraq cannot win a war with the US. The reduction of Joint Corps opposite Syria is a reflection of Syria’s reduced conventional threat and the likelihood of the future Syrian Government not being allied with Iran. Iran becomes the biggest regional threat by default – Iran’s 48 divisions on mobilization, 7 of them mech/armor, is the 800 pound gorilla next door.
Forward defense is Iraq’s only real option. Too many key areas are close to the Iranian border. However, Iraq does not currently have the force to successfully defend Iraq against a conventional invasion. While the ISF is training and re-equipping for external security – it is at least a decade from being ready. Iran could occupy Iraq in less than 3 weeks at this point.
As depicted on the map, the forward defense planned by the Iraqi Security Forces utilizes the Total Mobilization Concept. The Department of Border Enforcement provides the forward screen with a mix of Iraqi Federal Police, Emergency Police, and Kurdish Regional Guards providing the primary infantry line. The Iraqi Army provides the heavy reserve.
The Iraqi Army plans to add significant armor to its force so that it’s mechanized and armor divisions [plus select IA motorized and airmobile] can operate as corps/army/strategic reserve to react to any enemy breakthrough. Supporting those reserve IA divisions will be Army Aviation Brigades paired with the Iraqi Special Operations Force Brigades as part of the quick reaction forces.
However, all of these forces are not ready for external defense. Most divisions would be only a speed-bump to the Iranian forces at this point. To put it into perspective, the 3-phase Iraqi Ministry of Defense plan is:
- Tactical Independence (2006-2010) – Internal security, effectively done.
- Operational Independence (2011-2015) – Will not meet the schedule. The IA needs to be out of internal security operations by then and the FP will not be ready to take over in time. Also, the FP needs to train and equip for its secondary role as infantry in external defense.
- Strategic Independence (2016-2020) – Will not meet the schedule. This requires a functional and credible air defense, at least 6 fully equipped heavy IA divisions, and the FP trained/equipped for its secondary role of external security. The first fighter squadron will not be operational until 2015-2016 and Iraq needs a minimum of 5 squadrons to provide a minimum air defense. Iraqi officers are talking 2024-2027 for completion of this plan.
The ISF is developing but, budget issues and politics continues to delay many key components. The planned upgrade schedules have slid to 2017-2018 for Phase 2 [Operational Independence] and 2024-2027 for Phase 3 [Strategic Independence].
ISF OOB [Updated monthly]
This Iraqi Security Force (ISF) update provides a summary of changes to the ISF during February 2013. The Iraqi Security Force Order of Battle is updated as of 28 February 2013.
- Arms deals delayed due to Parliament fight over budget.
- Fourth batch of BTR-4s accepted.
- More French and US helicopters?; AAC re-designates 3 squadrons.
- New ISOF Battalion forming?
- 2 PBs delivered; IqN/IqM Brigade organizations; Diver School.
- OPD Brigade forming in Kirkuk.
The Czech and Russian Deals remain suspended. While reporting claims they are “failed” deals, official reporting from Iraqi, Czech, and Russian Governments call them delayed or suspended due to the Iraqi Budget fight in Parliament. The Czech deal is for 28 L159 Jet Trainers and an Iraqi refit facility for T72s. The Russian negotiations covered seven weapons systems [Mi17v5, Mi28NE, BMP-3E, SU-30MK2, MiG29M2, Pantsir and TOR-M2] but, Russian reporting indicates only the contracts for 30 Mi28 Attack Helicopters and 42 Pantsir S1 Short Range SAMs are actually signed and that they can start delivering from existing stocks when payment is received.
On 7 February, representatives of IMoD and Ukrspecexport signed the document confirming the acceptance of another batch of BTR-4 armored personnel carriers. This batch consists of 40 vehicles. Reporting is that this delivery makes over 200 delivered out of 420 contracted. While most reporting refers to this as the third delivery – it is actually the fourth. The third delivery of 94 BTR-4 variants was in December and went largely unreported. A total of 222 vehicles have been accepted in 4 batches – 26, 62, 94, and now the accepted 40 more. These BTR-4 variants are being used to mechanize the 5th Mechanized Division.
A team from Eurocopter visited the Army Aviation Command where they discussed existing and future contracts. This indicates that the AAC is planning to exercise the options for additional French helicopters.
The AAC has renumbered some of its squadrons. The 200th Training Squadron at Habbaniyah operates the Bell 206s. The 300th Training Squadron at Habbaniyah operates the OH-58s. 22nd Squadron at Habbaniyah now has no helicopters but in few months will operate ARH407s. Effectively the AAC is establishing an Aviation Training Brigade at Habbaniyah’s AAC College and standing up a second Armed Reconnaissance Squadron. This indicates the option for more ARH407s is also being exercised.
Iraqi Special Operations Force
A “Special Operations Unit" has been reported operating in Maysan. This is the first report of an ISOF element operating in RaOC. While this may be just a detachment from 6th Regional Commando Battalion [Basrah], it could also be the beginning of a dedicated RCB for RaOC.
The 10th and 11th Swiftship PBs delivered. The 12th and last in the current contract is to deliver later this year. There are options for 6 more.
According to the 6 February Khaima the 1st Naval Brigade has been formed:
- 1st Patrol Squadron with Swiftship PBs.
- 2nd Patrol Squadron consisting of the 4 Saettia Patrol Ships.
- 3rd Patrol Squadron which consists of the Iraqi made Al Fao PBs used to send troops to the offshore oil terminals.
- 4th Transport and Logistics Squadron consists of the 2 OSVs and AOR.
- 5th Patrol Squadron with the Chinese made Predator PBs by the naval infantry to board vessels.
The 1st Naval Infantry Brigade has three battalions:
- 1st Marine Battalion defends the Basra and Amaya offshore terminals, including protection of vessels and boarding of ships.
- 2nd Marine Battalion defends all the shore port facilities as well as Umm Qasr and Khor al Zubair towns in collaboration with the other security forces.
- 3rd Marine Battalion acts as a mobile defense placing checkpoints along the roads between Umm Qasr and Khor al Zubair as well as protection for Haj visitors during their journey from Basra to Saudi Arabia.
The numbering of these brigades plus the additional elements, expanding responsibilities [New Al Fao Port] and excess bases indicate additional Naval and Marine Brigades are to be formed.
The 13 February Khaima reported on Navy run courses for divers that will be repeated annually at the Marine School. This supports the Frogman Squadron which is expected to expand to battalion strength.
Ministry of Interior
A Sahwa brigade is to be formed into an Oil Police Brigade in Kirkuk under the command of the Tigris Operational Command.