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Two New Iraqi Army Divisions forming in Baghdad?
11/25/2009

baghdad pattern-nov09

Western Baghdad is the location of nomenclature and force composition oddities that indicate further Iraqi Army expansion.  Only two of the nine Iraqi Army brigades in western Baghdad are numbered and assigned in accordance with the standard brigade numbering system.  Those seven brigades are the only seven non-standard designations in the entire Iraqi Army. 

      

Western Baghdad current Iraqi Army forces:

     

Independent Brigades: 

  • 1st Presidential Brigade (3 battalions).  Presidential Division forming?
  • 2nd Presidential Brigade (2 battalions).  Presidential Division forming?
  • 56th Brigade [former Baghdad Brigade] (1 battalion).  This is a 15th Division brigade number.

6th Division: 

  • 22nd Brigade (5 battalions).
  • 24th Brigade (4 battalions).
  • 54th Brigade (4 battalions).  This is a 15th Division brigade number.

17th Division: 

  • 23rd Brigade (3 battalions).  This is a 6th Division brigade number.
  • 25th Brigade (3 battalions).  This is a 6th Division brigade number.
  • 55th Brigade (3 battalions).  This is a 15th Division brigade number. 

   

Based on standard Iraqi Army brigade numbering, the brigade’s designations indicate the formation of a Presidential Division and a 15th Division.  Per Iraqi Ministry of Defense order 151, Iraqi Army brigades are numbered consecutively skipping the number 13.  

  • 1st Division has 1st thru 4th Brigades;
  • 2nd Division has 5th thru 8th Brigades;
  • 3rd Division has 9th thru 12th Brigades;
  • 4th Division has 14th thru 17th Brigades;
  • 5th Division has 18th thru 21st Brigades;
  • 6th Division should have 22nd thru 25th Brigades, Instead it has the 22nd Brigade, 24th Brigade, and 54th Brigade;
  • 7th Division has 26th thru 29th Brigades;
  • 8th Division has 30th thru 33rd Brigades;
  • 9th Division has 34th thru 37th Brigades;
  • 10th Division has 38th thru 41st Brigades;
  • 11th Division has 42nd thru 45th Brigades;
  • 12th Division has 46th thru 49th Brigades;
  • 14th Division has 50th thru 53rd Brigades;
  • 15th Division is not formed but, should have 54th thru 57th Brigades; Instead the 54th Brigade is with 6th Division, 55th Brigade is with 17th Division, and 56th Brigade is independent.
  • 16th Division is not formed but, should have 58th thru 61st Brigades;
  • 17th Division should have  62nd thru 65th Brigades;, Instead it has the 23rd Brigade, 25th Brigade, and 55th Brigade;
  • 18th Division is not formed but, should have 66th thru 69th Brigades;
  • 19th Division is not formed but, should have 70th thru 73th Brigades;
  • 20th Division is not formed but, should have 74th thru 77th Brigades;
  • The Presidential brigades do not fit this standardized system.

    

Possible change in forces results in:

  • Presidential Division:  1st Presidential Brigade and 2nd Presidential Brigade combined only have five battalions.  Division Troops, two more brigade HQs, and seven more battalions would be needed to fill out this division.
  • 6th Division:  22nd Brigade and 24th Brigade have nine battalions.  Two brigade HQs and three battalions would be needed to fill out this division. 
  • 15th Division:  54th Brigade, 55th Brigade, and 56th Brigade have eight battalions.  Division Troops, one brigade HQ and four battalions would be needed to fill out this division.  
  • ·17th Division:  23rd Brigade and 25th Brigade have six total battalions and should be re-designated.  Two brigade HQs and six battalions would be needed to fill out this division.  There is unconfirmed reporting that this division is transferring south.  If correct, then only two brigade HQs and one battalion would be required as the over strength 8th Division would probably transfer its excess five battalions.

    

This indicates the planned formation of two divisions, seven brigades, and 15 battalions in the Baghdad Sector and the probable transfer of one of the existing divisions to the Mid-Euphrates Sector to fill the gap in forces there.

     

Two to three army divisions are the required force for the western half of Baghdad, yet there are indications of growth to four divisions.  This could be due to the large number of training facilities in the Baghdad area and at least one of the western Baghdad divisions [17th Division] appears to be transferring to the Mid-Euphrates Sector.  The 6th Division appears to be taking over the Abu Graib and Baghdad International Airport areas as the US reduces forces there.

   

In Maysan province, the 18th Division’s support structure continues to slowly form.  This adds another division, four brigades and 12 battalions to the currently forming Iraqi Army force structure.  This makes for a total of three divisions, 11 brigades, and 27 battalions in the process of being built.

   

From January 2007 to current, the Iraqi Army added 4 divisions, 21 brigades, and 69 battalions.  This indicates that the Iraqi Army has the capacity to complete the forces already identified as building as well as the projected 19th Division in Wassit by 2012, if budget priorities permit.   Combined with the planned transfer of two Peshmerga divisions, this would increase the Iraqi Army from its current 14 divisions to 20 divisions in 2012.

 

DJ Elliott