ON POINT II: Transition to the New Campaign
The United States Army in Operation IRAQI FREEDOM May 2003-January 2005
Setting the Stage
Overview of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM: May 2003 to January 2005
Transitions of Command and Sovereignty: June–July 2004
Despite the instability in Iraq, the Coalition continued making progress toward two critical transitions in the spring and summer of 2004: the transfer of political sovereignty to the Iraqis and the major reorganization of the Coalition’s political and military command structure to make way for that transfer of political power. In the spring, serious political problems had emerged that ultimately reshaped the 15 November agreement. Iraqi politics and UN pressure forced Bremer to abandon the original plan of provincial caucuses that would elect the TNA. Instead, the process would be slower with the CPA, UN, and IGC choosing the interim government that would lead Iraq until national elections for the TNA were held in late 2004 or early 2005. The UN codified this new roadmap on 8 June 2004 when it passed Resolution 1546, a measure that endorsed the creation of a new sovereign entity called the Interim Iraqi Government (IIG), recognized the need for the continued presence of Coalition military forces in Iraq, and proposed the timetable for the IIG to follow to move Iraq toward a more democratic government. While these political transitions occurred, Coalition military leaders reorganized the command structure in Iraq to create a new strategic-level military headquarters that would free the corps headquarters of theater-strategic responsibilities and allow the corps commander to focus on the conduct of tactical operations.
The IIG’s main function was to act as a caretaker government until the elections scheduled for late January 2005 could be held and a new constitution drawn up. However, determining the structure and the membership of the IIG proved to be no easy task. UN Special Envoy Lakhdar Brahimi selected the IIG members and then nominated them to Ambassador Bremer, who held the responsibility of approving or rejecting them. Brahimi wanted a government comprised of skilled technocrats who were not strongly affiliated with the major political parties in Iraq. Getting the Iraqi political parties to go along with this idea was nearly impossible. But after much scheming and maneuvering, Bremer approved Ayad Allawi, a secular Shia politician, to be the IIG Prime Minister, and the CPA formed the new government in June 2004.
Coalition forces in Iraq underwent major high-level structural changes in preparation for the handover of sovereignty on 30 June. President Bush selected John Negroponte to be the first ambassador to the newly sovereign Iraq. DOD complemented the creation of the new embassy in Iraq by redesignating CJTF-7 as Headquarters, Multi-National Force–Iraq (MNF-I) on 15 May 2004. Lieutenant General Sanchez served temporarily as the commander of MNF-I and transferred his command to US Army General George Casey Jr. on 1 July 2004.
MNF-I’s chief function was to provide theater-strategic and operational-level planning and command for Coalition military forces in Iraq while working closely with the US Embassy and the IIG. MNF-I’s major subordinate commands consisted of the Multi-National Corps–Iraq (MNC-I), the Multi-National Security Transition Command–Iraq (MNSTC-I), and the US Army Corps of Engineer’s Gulf Region Division. MNC-I planned and conducted operations at the tactical level of war. MNSTC-I coordinated the programs to train and equip the ISF, thus taking these responsibilities from the CPA. The Gulf Region Division coordinated and supervised the American reconstruction effort in Iraq after mid-2004.
Each of these subordinate commands played a key role in how General Casey, the new MNF-I commander, envisioned the campaign in Iraq. In 30 days, Casey and his staff created a new campaign plan that characterized the Coalition military effort in Iraq as full spectrum counterinsurgency operations. In this type of campaign, MNF-I, the senior military headquarters, would coordinate and synchronize the political and economic elements of counterinsurgency operations with the Iraqi Government and Coalition political representatives, especially Ambassador Negroponte. MNC-I, MNSTC-I, and the Corps of Engineers Gulf Region Division became the commands responsible for implementing the military-led aspects of the counterinsurgency campaign.
The staff structure of MNF-I also reflected the significant challenges faced by Coalition forces in detainee operations. After its public acknowledgment in April 2004 that US Soldiers had abused detainees in Abu Ghraib in late 2003, DOD made a number of significant policy and organizational changes, including the addition of a two-star general to the MNF-I staff who was designated the deputy commanding general for detainee operations. The deputy commanding general established policies for Coalition forces and oversaw the burgeoning detainee system that held and questioned Iraqis suspected of insurgent activities.
A Decisive Month—May 2003
Military Transitions in Spring 2003
An Uncertain Summer: June–September 2003
Peaks and Valleys: October 2003–March 2004
The Caldron Boils Over: April–June 2004
Transitions of Command and Sovereignty: June–July 2004
The Sunni Arab Challenge: August–November 2004
Toward the New Iraq: December 2004–January 2005
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