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ON POINT II: Transition to the New Campaign

The United States Army in Operation IRAQI FREEDOM May 2003-January 2005





Part II

Transition to a New Campaign


Chapter 4
Leading the New Campaign: Transitions in Command and Control in Operation IRAQI FREEDOM

 

The United States: An Occupying Power

During the initial invasion of Iraq in late March and early April 2003, both Secretary of State Colin Powell and National Security Advisor Rice had publicly stated that the United States intended to rapidly turn over power to the Iraqis once Saddam was overthrown. Prewar plans had assumed no more than a 2 or 3 month period before this transition occurred. Garner had taken steps to do just that when he arrived in Iraq. Bremer, however, brought a radically different view with him, one that he maintains was approved by the Secretary of State and the President.93 Once in Baghdad, Bremer quickly rejected Garner’s intentions to convene a meeting in late May of Iraqi leaders to form a new Iraqi Government. He instead opted for a more methodical approach that he thought necessary to ensure the government enjoyed support from both the population and institutions of civil society that he called “shock absorbers.”94 As with Bremer’s policies on the de-Baathification of Iraqi society and the dismantling of Iraq’s security forces discussed in chapter 3, his decision to launch a slow, deliberate transition to Iraqi sovereignty would have a tremendous impact on the Army’s mission in Iraq.

Ultimately, in mid-July 2003, the CPA formed the Iraqi Governing Council (IGC), a body solely advisory in nature, as a quasi-partner until free and fair elections could elect a truly representative Iraqi Government. The IGC replaced the self-appointed Iraqi Leadership Council (ILC), which Iraqi exiles in London had created in December 2002, and entered Iraq in late April 2003. The 25-member IGC included 13 Shia, 5 Sunni Arabs, 5 Sunni Kurds, 1 Sunni Turkoman, and 1 Assyrian Christian.§ The transition to a sovereign Iraqi Government would take another 11 months, ending on 28 June 2004 when the Interim Iraqi Government (IIG) assumed political authority from the CPA.

As the previous chapter recounted, the first two orders issued by the CPA in May 2003—the policy of de-Baathification and the dissolution of the Saddam-era military, security, and intelligence institutions—had significant and long-lasting impacts on Iraqis and on US forces in Iraq. Taken together, these two orders marked the official end to the Saddam regime. Unlike in Afghanistan, however, where an internationally approved interim Afghan leadership took power immediately after the fall of the Taliban in the spring of 2002, in Iraq, these and other CPA decisions demonstrated that the Coalition would function as an occupying power for an indefinite period. Unfortunately, US military forces and the US Government had not prepared for that mission. That lack of preparation had enormous influence on events after May 2003.


§ Among its most prominent members were Ahmed Chalabi, Adnan Pachachi, Massoud Barzani, Muhammad Bakr al-Hakim, Ghazi Mashal Ajil al-Yawer (the first Interim President of Iraq), Jalal Talabani (the first permanent President), Ayad Allawi (the first Interim Prime Minister of Iraq), and Ibrahim al-Jaafari (the second Interim Prime Minister). Three of the council members were women.


Chapter 4. Leading the New Campaign: Transitions in Command and Control in Operation IRAQI FREEDOM





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