Iraqi security and military services: challenges and difficulties

I'm an image! 2020 / 08 / Apr

The security function is one of the four most important functions that the state performs within its main responsibility. Despite the relative security that Iraq currently enjoys, there is a major challenge that continues to face the Iraqi state. It is a sustainable security building that relies on solid professional institutions, effective capabilities, and highly trained and specialized human resources. Despite the significant decline in the severity of terrorist threats compared to what was happening in the years of the rise of terrorist organizations, the type and degree of threat is still high, and security risks continue to be a priority in The list of threats that Iraqis feel at the individual and societal levels, and while security and defense are closely intertwined with political stability and affect it, the economy is also directly affected by the degree of feeling of psychological and practical security and safety, which makes the equation of the state’s stability and its performance of its functions linked to what the security and defense sector is witnessing. Its efficiency fluctuated up and down.

The modern Iraqi state was re-established again after its first establishment in 1921. The establishment of the Iraqi army was historically earlier than the announcement of the establishment of the state, in fact an indication of the importance of the military arm of the state. Although the historical narrative tries to pass over these facts quickly, the stability of the rest of the state’s structures has always been dependent on the establishment and formation of defense brigades, security and law agencies, and the monopoly of legitimate force to prevent threats, curb ambitions externally, and prevent internal rebellions.

This issue was repeated in 2003, shortly after the collapse of the totalitarian state system and the disintegration of its institutions. It is imperative to rebuild these institutions with a new ideology that adapts to the new trends of a political system that adopts the concepts of democracy, justice, and balance in Iraq’s foreign relations, and turns to itself to face the challenges of rebuilding the state. After seventeen years of confrontation and strenuous work, Iraq emerged with a security, defense, and intelligence institution whose men number more than one million and one hundred thousand people, and whose institutions and structures vary between newly established and reconstituted.

However, questions continue to arise about the capabilities and efficiency of utilizing and employing this large number of members. And about the level of security and defense achievement in light of the continuing threats, whether from terrorist cells that are again active, or from members and individuals of organized crime, or from manifestations of political violence, including unknown assassinations, kidnappings and threats, armed robbery and extortion, or cases of security chaos represented by defying the law and resorting to... Individual or tribal weapons, and resistance to state authorities.

All of these manifestations indicate the inadequacy of the efforts made. The money that was spent to build a fearsome, resolute, and successful military and security institution capable of carrying out the security mission without external interference and conditional foreign aid, which created a societal division between radical forces that reject foreign presence (the American one in particular), and forces that do not see anything wrong or wrong with the presence of those forces. As long as it came at an official Iraqi request.

There is no doubt that this division brings to mind that Iraq remains within the classification of a fragile state, meaning that the state’s condition does not qualify it to emerge from fragility, which is determined by multiple criteria, the most important of which is the state’s ability to protect its citizens and provide the necessary security for the continuation of social and economic mobility, political participation, and ensuring a decent life while ensuring freedoms. Public and achieving general satisfaction.

Security represents one of the largest aspects of government spending in Iraq, as it occupies a top priority and drains about a quarter of the state’s annual budget (about $20 billion). This high financial cost, in a country suffering from a rentier economy, the low level of its infrastructure, and the increasing humanitarian needs of its citizens, constitutes a major dilemma. The security achievement and institutional strength are equivalent to the volume of financial spending, and it has not achieved public satisfaction. Complaints are still rising about the slow response in cases of security breaches and terrorist threats. Moreover, talk about financial and administrative corruption has not diminished over these years, which prevents us from saying that Iraq has succeeded, or at least is on its way to success. To build an effective security institution.

The setback of 2014 is still fresh in our minds, as it constituted a severe blow to the image of the military and security establishment, holding it responsible for the collapse that occurred, and because overcoming that required general mobilization and the issuance of a fatwa by the supreme authority demanding volunteering to defend the country. However, this revealed weak institutional performance and gross mistakes in restoring the country. Building the loyalty and belief of the establishment’s members to the new political system, in addition to their inability to confront an ideological religious organization such as Al-Qaeda and ISIS. Its members commit suicide and die by immersion, which has created a state of panic and psychological collapse among the ranks of the regular forces.

As a result, these problems were overcome by forming the Popular Mobilization Forces brigades with high psychological and moral preparation, and the entry of the Mobilization Forces into the battle against ISIS was an important qualitative addition that strengthened the military establishment and raised the morale of the army and the federal police. The high training and special attention given to the elite forces (the Counter-Terrorism Service), which has ten thousand men, also succeeded in presenting a bright picture of the Iraqi fighter as he fought to liberate the areas occupied by ISIS. However, the great victory achieved by Iraq in 2017 did not end the terrorist challenge and did not eliminate it completely, and American and Iraqi warnings are still being issued about the possibility of the return of the terrorist organization’s activity despite the killing of its terrorist leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, in October 2019. Statistics have recorded an increase in attacks by the organization’s sleeper cells. In soft and rugged areas, the ends of remote villages, and relatively remote population centers, the number of attacks rose to nearly a thousand attacks within two years of the official declaration of victory in December 2017.

What weakens the performance of the Iraqi security institution is weak coordination between similar agencies, or its absence in many cases. Each apparatus possesses information for itself and uses it to confirm its own effectiveness, and private agendas play a negative role in thwarting the effectiveness of these agencies. In addition to the quality of loyalty and ideological orientation, while the management of the Popular Mobilization Forces focuses on religious ideological preparation and this is manifested in a type of public behavior and media and political orientations, to the point that the Mobilization Forces are classified among the institutions of the axis of resistance and resistance, the Counter-Terrorism Service appears as if it is a creation of special American training and preparation, and the same applies when it is... Focusing on the role of NATO and its training in Iraq, versus forces that deeply doubt this role, especially the American part of it.

Accusations are still being made against the security and military establishment forces that they do not adhere to human rights standards in their dealings with suspects and suspects who fall into their custody, which prevents the extension of trust between them and the general public, taking into account the corruption of some investigators, the blackmail of others, and the exploitation of a third party.

Many experts believe that the absence of institutional organization prevents the integration of the branches of the security and military establishment, which have remained divided in resources and with divergent visions, even though their goals are supposedly unified.

The lack of a general command for the armed forces and an office to assist it may not have provided the security and military establishment with the necessary expertise and an influential staff capable of mobilizing the capabilities to build a national army, a security institution, and a renewed intelligence mind. As the world enters the stage of what is known as hybrid wars and soft tools supported by hard tools, the extent of fragility becomes clear. The structure of the military institution that was rebuilt after 2003. The old traditional mentalities still dominate decision-making, and the basic units in the ground forces have not transformed into light, fast-moving units, highly equipped to engage in rapid battles that are appropriate for the task of suppressing terrorist cells, and the airspace has not yet been covered. With high surveillance and monitoring, it protects the sovereignty of Iraq and prevents the penetration of its airspace with modern and effective air defense. There is still a strong need for the presence of international coalition aircraft, to assist the intelligence efforts and offensive operations of the Iraqi forces in attacking the fortifications, hideouts, and caves of terrorist cells deep in the Iraqi mountains and deserts.

The Iraqi Air Force did not rise to the level that qualifies it to equip its aircraft for continuous operation without the need for allied aircraft, even though it possesses 32 F-16 aircraft, Korean Kyoto aircraft, and Czech Seznacaravan aircraft.

What happened in the summer of 2019 of drone attacks on Iraqi camps and weapons stores (affiliated with the Popular Mobilization Forces), without Iraqi success in confronting them, revealed a clear exposure and weak points in the Iraqi defense system, and the Iraqis are still wondering about the feasibility of having training missions and military aid. To the countries of the international coalition in Iraq, as they had spent many years without improving the performance of the Iraqi military and security system in accordance with advanced plans and standards, such that they no longer needed direct international support, which support has become a political dilemma in Iraq due to the political division between two teams, a team allied with Iran. A team that prefers American-Western support in general for technical, military and logistical necessities.

Since political stability has become dependent on the rapid growth of the power of the state, the security authority, the military system, and the monopoly of weapons and legitimate violence, Iraq has a long way to go to end the ongoing political debate and controversy and resolve the Iraqi will towards a vision that is not influenced by political ideologies, but rather by the requirements of Iraqi national security, defense strategies, mobilization, social discipline, and appreciation of interests. And the risks.