Introduction ………………………………………………………………………………………………………66
Pre‑conflict consideration of SSR …………………………………………………………………..67
SSR planning during the build‑up to invasion …………………………………………………..79
Planning the deployment of police officers ………………………………………………………85
SSR across Iraq: after the invasion ……………………………………………………………………..88
De-Ba’athification …………………………………………………………………………………………93
Views on SSR: May 2003 ……………………………………………………………………………100
SSR roles and responsibilities in Iraq ……………………………………………………………107
UK policing strategy: summer 2003 ………………………………………………………………108
Training of the Iraqi Police Service begins …………………………………………………….113
New Iraqi security structures ……………………………………………………………………….115
Global Conflict Prevention Pool Strategy ……………………………………………………….120
Policing strategy: Iraqiisation ……………………………………………………………………….122
Concerns about strategy ……………………………………………………………………………..129
The military take control of police reform ……………………………………………………….137
Security worsens and Iraqi Security Force weaknesses are exposed ………………..141
Restructuring in advance of transfer of sovereignty ………………………………………..149
SSR in the South: after the invasion …………………………………………………………………..153
Problems deploying police officers ……………………………………………………………….155
The deployment of DCC White ………………………………………………………………163
SSR progress by October 2003 ……………………………………………………………………167
Prison reform …………………………………………………………………………………………….170
The position in the South leading up to the transfer of sovereignty ……………………172
SSR across Iraq: summer 2004 to summer 2006 …………………………………………………175
UK, US and Iraqi plans for SSR ……………………………………………………………………177
UK assessments of the Iraqi Security Forces in late 2004 ……………………………….183
Further concerns about Iraqiisation …………………………………………………………185
Suggestions for improvements in SSR ………………………………………………………….191
Justice sector concerns …………………………………………………………………………198
Delays in transferring security ……………………………………………………………………..199
The “Luck Review” and strategy for 2005 ………………………………………………………204
The “Transition to Self Reliance” ……………………………………………………………. 208
2005 policing strategies ……………………………………………………………………………… 209
Strategic Conflict Assessment and SSR project review …………………………….. 219
The Iraqi Transitional Government ………………………………………………………………. 220
Police and judicial reform ……………………………………………………………………………. 221
Request for an “honest assessment” ……………………………………………………………. 223
Corruption, infiltration and abuse …………………………………………………………………. 227
The Jadiriyah bunker ……………………………………………………………………………. 229
2006 as the “Year of the Police” ………………………………………………………………….. 233
The rise in sectarianism ……………………………………………………………………………… 236
SSR in the South: summer 2004 to summer 2006 ………………………………………………. 237
A decline in security …………………………………………………………………………………… 240
Prison Service support in southern Iraq ………………………………………………………… 242
UK equipment for the Iraqi Security Forces: Project OSIRIS …………………………… 244
Police reform …………………………………………………………………………………………….. 247
Considering whether to embed personnel in Iraqi units …………………………………… 248
Concerns about strategy …………………………………………………………………………….. 251
Restructuring SSR …………………………………………………………………………………….. 254
Raising concerns with the Iraqis ………………………………………………………………….. 257
UK equipment for the Iraqi Security Forces: Project OSIRIS II ………………………… 263
Legacy in the South …………………………………………………………………………………… 265
The impact of political and tribal matters on the police in the South ……………. 268
The Jameat incident and subsequent developments ……………………………………… 270
The MOD takes the lead on policing …………………………………………………………….. 277
Strategic considerations in late 2005 ……………………………………………………………. 283
Sir Ronnie Flanagan’s review ………………………………………………………………… 285
Reforming the Iraqi Police Service: Operation CORRODE ……………………………… 288
Further reduction in troops ………………………………………………………………………….. 291
Policing reviews: ACC Barton and a Strategic Task Force ………………………………. 293
SSR across Iraq: summer 2006 to summer 2009 ………………………………………………… 294
Formation of the Iraqi Government ………………………………………………………………. 294
Improving Iraqi Security Force build‑up ………………………………………………………… 295
An Iraqi security strategy ……………………………………………………………………………. 300
Dealing with the militias ………………………………………………………………………… 302
Transition to Iraqi control of security begins ………………………………………………….. 305
Iraqi Security Force assessments in late 2006 ………………………………………………. 307
Developing the Ministry of Interior and Iraqi Ministry of Defence ……………………… 309
Reform of the Facilities Protection Service …………………………………………………….313
Iraq Forward Plan ………………………………………………………………………………………314
Focus on the Iraqi Army ………………………………………………………………………………316
Expansion of the Iraqi Security Forces ………………………………………………………….316
The justice sector ……………………………………………………………………………………….320
Mid‑2007 assessments of the Iraqi Security Forces ………………………………………..324
US views on the progress of Iraqi Security Forces ………………………………………….325
Improvements in Iraqi Security Force capability during 2007 and 2008 ……………..328
The Sons of Iraq ………………………………………………………………………………………..329
The UK’s future bilateral relationship with Iraq ……………………………………………….334
The strategy for 2009 ………………………………………………………………………………….335
SSR after the withdrawal of UK troops …………………………………………………….337
SSR in the South: summer 2006 to summer 2009 ……………………………………………….338
State of emergency …………………………………………………………………………………….338
Delivering a Better Basra …………………………………………………………………………….341
Problems with the 10th Division – mutiny and looting ……………………………………..343
Operations SALAMANCA and SINBAD …………………………………………………………344
Civilian drawdown ………………………………………………………………………………..351
Tackling the Serious Crimes Unit: Operation THYME ………………………………..352
Early assessments of Iraqi Security Force performance in Op SINBAD ……….356
Planning to leave Basra City ………………………………………………………………………..361
Continuing concerns with the Basra justice system and Iraqi Police Service ..368
Updated Better Basra Plan ……………………………………………………………………369
National Information and Investigation Agency raid …………………………………..371
Assessments of Iraqi Security Force readiness for Provincial Iraqi Control …..374
Transition in Basra ……………………………………………………………………………….377
The security situation after British withdrawal …………………………………………………382
The absence of a criminal justice system in Basra ……………………………………384
Withdrawal and Provincial Iraqi Control for Basra …………………………………………..385
Charge of the Knights …………………………………………………………………………………388
Basra ‘Sons of Iraq’ programme …………………………………………………………………..393
The UK starts embedding troops with the Iraqi Army ………………………………………394
The future of the Iraqi police in Basra ……………………………………………………………396
The US takes over SSR tasks in the South ……………………………………………………397
Training of 14th Division completed ………………………………………………………………401
SSR in Maysan province …………………………………………………………………………………..401
UK police officer numbers 2003 to 2009 ……………………………………………………………..408

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

1. This Section addresses:

• the development of the UK’s Security Sector Reform (SSR) strategies, policies
and plans;

• the decision to disband the Iraqi Army;

• the UK contribution to US‑led SSR strategy developed in Baghdad;

• the implementation of SSR in the South of Iraq; and

• the deployment of UK police officers to Iraq.

2. This Section does not address:

• broader planning and preparation for the conflict in Iraq and its aftermath, which
is described in Section 6.5;

• the decision to remove some members of the Ba’ath Party from public office
after May 2003, a process known as de‑Ba’athification, which is described in
Section 11.1;

• the UK contribution to the reconstruction of Iraq, which is described in
Sections 10.1 to 10.3; or

• the wider deployment of civilians to Iraq, which is described in Section 15.1.

Definition of terms – Security Sector Reform

The term “Security Sector Reform” (SSR) is used in this report to refer to work
to rebuild and reform Iraq’s security and justice institutions. The Organisation for
Economic Co‑operation and Development (OECD) defines SSR as development work
that helps societies to “escape from a downward spiral wherein insecurity, crime and
underdevelopment are mutually reinforcing”.1
The OECD defines the security and justice sectors to include the following:

• core security actors (for example, armed forces, police, gendarmerie,2 border
guards, customs and immigration, and intelligence and security services);

• security management and oversight bodies (for example, ministries of defence
and internal affairs);

• justice and law enforcement institutions (for example, the judiciary, prisons,
prosecution services, traditional justice systems); and

• non‑statutory security forces (for example, guerrilla armies and private militias).


1 OECD DAC, Handbook on Security System Reform, 2007.
2 A gendarmerie is a military force charged with policing duties in a civilian population.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

The term “Security Sector Reform” is not used consistently, and is sometimes used interchangeably with phrases such as “security system reform” and “Rule of Law”. The term “Rule of Law” is often used to refer specifically to the justice sector.

Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration

Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration (DDR) programmes are designed to improve security and stability in post‑conflict environments.3 DDR aims to deal with the post‑conflict security problem that arises when those who were fighting in a conflict (combatants such as soldiers or militia) are left without livelihoods or support networks.
DDR programmes usually include a process of removing weapons from combatants, taking combatants out of military structures and helping them to reintegrate into society, sometimes including integration into new security structures.

Iraqi Security Forces and Iraqi Police Service

The Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) includes both the Iraqi Army and the Iraqi Police Service (IPS). However, these terms are not used consistently and the ISF is sometimes used to refer solely to the Iraqi Army.

Police officers

For the purposes of the Report, the Inquiry has used the terms “civilians” and “police officers” but not “civilian police officers”. That adheres to the widespread distinction between police officers from the wide range of staff working within police forces who are civilians.
Some of the documents referenced in the Report refer to “civilian police officers” as a way of describing serving police officers seconded to Iraq. It appears that this description is to draw a distinction between the military police (Royal Military Police and Ministry of Defence police) and police officers from territorial forces in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. While the Inquiry may have reproduced the term “civilian police officers” (sometimes abbreviated to CivPol) in footnotes or in direct quotes, it has otherwise referred to “police officers” or “military police officers” in order to establish the same distinction.

Pre‑conflict consideration of SSR

3. Planning and preparation for the post‑conflict period is described in detail in Section 6.5. One of the earliest references to SSR in Iraq identified by the Inquiry is in a paper prepared for the Chiefs of Staff Strategic Think Tank on Iraq on 18 June 2002.4 The paper, by the Ministry of Defence (MOD) Strategic Planning Group (SPG), was circulated to a limited number of senior MOD addressees.


3 United Nations Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration Resource Centre, 31 May 2005, What is DDR?
4 Minute Driver to PSO/CDS, 13 June 2002, ‘Supporting Paper for COS Strategic Think Tank on Iraq – 18 June’ attaching Paper [SPG], 12 June 2002, [untitled].

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

4. The paper identified “post‑conflict strategy” as one of eight components of a UK
military strategy for Iraq, recognising the need to “acknowledge that there will be
a post‑conflict phase with an associated commitment, manpower and finance bill”.
Development of an SSR model, support for training and provision of equipment were
identified as tasks to be undertaken in the “medium term (six months to two years)”.

5. From 20 September, the Cabinet Office‑led Ad Hoc Group on Iraq (AHGI)
co‑ordinated all non‑military cross‑government work on post‑conflict issues. The creation and role of the AHGI is addressed in Section 2.

6. In preparation for the first meeting of the AHGI, Mr Jim Drummond, Assistant Head
(Foreign Affairs) of the Cabinet Office Overseas and Defence Secretariat (OD Sec),
wrote to Mr Desmond Bowen, Deputy Head of OD Sec, suggesting departmental
responsibilities for different strands of post‑conflict planning.5 Mr Drummond proposed
that reform of the security sector and civil service should be led by the MOD and the
Department for International Development (DFID).

7. On 27 September, the AHGI discussed a Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO)
paper on scenarios for the future of Iraq.6 The paper stated: “… we would not expect the armed forces and security services to switch allegiance to any new government en masse in the event of wholesale regime change. It is more likely that key tribal leaders would seek to establish tribal/regional power bases.”

8. The paper concluded that, in order to achieve its overarching priorities, the UK should
“if possible avoid the root and branch dismantling of Iraq’s governmental and security

9. The AHGI called for the material on SSR in the paper to be expanded.7

10. The following week, the FCO produced a paper entitled ‘Models for Administering
a Post‑Saddam Iraq’.8 Early drafts described the military challenge of providing
security, including starting a Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration (DDR)
programme (see Box, ‘Definition of terms’, earlier in this Section), but did not address
comprehensive reform of the security sector.


5 Minute Drummond to Bowen, 19 September 2002, ‘Ad Hoc Group on Iraq (AHGI)’.
6 Minute McDonald to Manning, 26 September 2002, ‘Scenarios for the Future of Iraq after Saddam’ attaching Paper, [undated], ‘Scenarios for the Future of Iraq after Saddam’.
7 Minute Dodd to Manning, 30 September 2002, ‘Ad Hoc Group on Iraq’.
8 Letter McDonald to Manning, 4 October 2002, ‘Models for Administering a Post‑Saddam Iraq’ attaching Paper [draft] FCO, [undated], ‘Models for Administering a Post‑Saddam Iraq’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

11. A later version of the paper, provided to the AHGI on 11 October, contained an additional recommendation that: “… the US and Coalition partners would need to retain overall responsibility for Iraq’s security for some time after the conflict. How the different security‑related tasks (including Security Sector Reform) should be carried out and by whom needs further consideration.”9

12. The record of the 11 October AHGI meeting did not mention SSR.10 A document describing “contingency planning work” circulated alongside it recorded that the FCO was drafting a paper on the topic.

13. During October and November 2002, the FCO produced several drafts of a paper on SSR.11 An early version, forwarded to the Cabinet Office on 18 October, listed a range of post‑conflict security issues that would need to be addressed in Iraq, including:

“• What security structures would be appropriate for a post S[addam] H[ussein] Iraqi Government? How do we arrive at an answer? What are the threats, internal and external? Should we undertake a comprehensive review of the armed forces?

• To what extent do the size, task and organisation of the new security structures depend on whether Iraq develops into a federation?

• …

• To what extent should the Kurds be integrated into the national structures? How might this be achieved?

• How do we replace an excessively large security apparatus with something ‘right sized’? Reform or abolition? Which parts of the security apparatus might be loyal to a new government and which not?

• To what extent should we punish those members of the security apparatus who have committed crimes against the Iraqi people (eg torture)?

• Are we obliged to work with the new Iraqi Government on SSR or can it be imposed?

• How do we reform the working culture of the security sector so that it operates on the basis of humanitarian values in support of legitimate government?

• How can we resettle or rehabilitate those pre‑Saddam individuals removed from the security sector so that they do not work clandestinely for the re‑establishment of a S[addam] H[ussein]‑type regime?”


9 FCO Paper, [undated version received at AHGI, 11 October 2002], ‘Models for Administering a Post‑Saddam Iraq’.
10 Minute Dodd to Manning, 14 October 2002, ‘Ad Hoc Group on Iraq’ attaching Paper, 14 October 2002, ‘Whitehall Iraq Contingency Planning’.
11 Letter Gray to Drummond, 18 October 2002, ‘Papers for the AHGI’ attaching Paper, 17 October 2002, ‘Iraq: Security Sector Reform’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

14. The draft FCO paper on SSR informed a Cabinet Office paper of 1 November which
explored what Iraq could look like after Saddam Hussein.12 The Cabinet Office paper
drew together strands of work from across Government and was written as a steering
brief for talks on post‑conflict issues in Washington with the US and Australia.

15. The paper assumed that the international community and UN would be willing to
assist with reconstruction. Following a period of transitional military government (up to
six months), the UN was expected to “rule” Iraq for about three years. SSR planning was
considered in the context of preparation for a UN administration.

16. The paper stated: “There will need to be a Security Sector Reform process … Having dismantled Saddam’s security apparatus, there will need to be a new one. This will require a comprehensive plan agreed with and led by the US. The judiciary will need a total
rebuild as will the police. Decisions will need to be taken on the size and scope of
the Army and intelligence services.”

17. The first round of talks between the US and UK on post‑conflict planning took place
in Washington on 6 November.13 Reporting on the talks to Sir David Manning, the Prime
Minister’s Foreign Policy Adviser and Head of the OD Sec, Mr Drummond wrote: “We are agreed on the need for rapid and comprehensive reform of existing security structures. Very few of the many current structures can be allowed to remain. We can expect the US to maintain a tight grip on this, but urged them to think about the wider security sector including police and the need to arrive with a plan (ie not as in Afghanistan).”

18. Mr Drummond chaired a meeting of the AHGI on 8 November.14 The Washington
talks were discussed in the meeting, but SSR was not.

19. In mid‑December, the FCO Middle East Department produced a paper describing
different models of interim administration for Iraq.15 That was shared with the US on
12 December. The FCO identified “initiating Security Sector Reform, especially the
reform of the police” as a “key element” that any international administration would need
to address in the short term.

20. The FCO Middle East Department explored further the issue of SSR in a separate
paper which was completed on 10 December.16


12 Minute Drummond to Manning, 1 November 2002, ‘Iraq: Post‑Saddam’ attaching Paper ‘Iraq: Models and Some Questions for Post‑Saddam Government’.
13 Minute Drummond to Manning, 8 November 2002, ‘Iraq: Day After’.
14 Minute Dodd to Manning, 11 November 2002, ‘Ad Hoc Group on Iraq’.
15 Paper FCO Middle East Department, 12 December 2002, ‘Interim Administrations in Iraq: Why a UN‑led Interim Administration Would be in the US Interest’.
16 Paper FCO Middle East Department, 10 December 2002, ‘Iraq: Security Sector Reform’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

21. The final version of that SSR paper was produced in consultation with officials from the MOD and DFID.17

22. As in earlier drafts, the paper did not propose how to conduct SSR, but instead sought to identify which issues would need to be addressed by an SSR strategy.18 Building on the earlier paper, it listed the issues in six categories:

• What security structures would be appropriate? That should be based on an assessment of the internal and external threats to Iraq, as well as consideration of its future constitutional shape and the relative affordability of its armed forces.

• Who should be in charge? The organisation of the international body that would manage SSR activity should be given a high priority, “ideally before military action”. That body would need to interact closely with the post‑conflict interim administration.

• Methodology. To what extent could reform be imposed by the US military or UN‑led government, and how far should the exclusion of members of the Tikriti clan (Saddam Hussein’s clan) be taken?

• DDR. Reducing the “bloated security sector” raised questions about resettling those who had been removed and identifying mechanisms to bring perpetrators of crimes against humanity to justice.

• Qualitative and quantitative change. How to reform the working culture of the security sector, “particularly the police and the courts, so that it operates on the basis of humanitarian values in support of a legitimate government”?

• Accountability. The new SSR structures should “ideally” be accountable to civilian control. Enshrining the principle of civilian oversight would be “key to establishing a fully accountable security apparatus”.

23. The FCO offered some “provisional” conclusions, including:

“• From the outset, SSR should be at the centre of post‑conflict work, rather than outside it as happened in Afghanistan … we should begin discussing the mechanism for the international community’s engagement in SSR before military action begins.

• As any SSR plan will have to address a number of complicated issues, we should set up a UK working group now to start the detailed assessment to enable us to engage with the US (and the academic community in the UK) on SSR.

• The new Iraqi administration should be involved as early as possible in the process so as to feel ownership of the new structures.


17 Minute Dodd to Manning, 3 December 2002, ‘Ad Hoc Group on Iraq’.
18 Paper FCO Middle East Department, 10 December 2002, ‘Iraq: Security Sector Reform’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

• There are some security organisations, staffed with Tikritis and Saddam’s
kinsmen and with a record of oppression, which should have no further future in
a post‑S[addam] H[ussein] Iraq.

• We need to find out more about the civilian police and the judiciary.

• Ministers will need to decide the level of engagement of the UK in SSR, given
our limited and stretched resources.”

24. The paper was tabled as a living document “open to comment and improvement”
at the AHGI meeting on 13 December.19 The AHGI was told that “a Whitehall working
group on SSR in Iraq has now been established and can undertake further work”. The
SSR paper was one of four that the FCO had handed to Mr Zalmay Khalilzad, US
National Security Council (NSC) Senior Director and Ambassador at Large to the Iraqi
Opposition, “in an attempt to shape US thinking”.

25. The second series of meetings between the UK, US and Australia to discuss
post‑conflict planning took place on 22 January 2003.20 In preparation, the FCO Middle
East Department drafted an “Annotated Agenda/overarching paper”. That was submitted
to Mr Jack Straw, Foreign Secretary, for approval of the “general line” that the UK
proposed to take in discussion.

26. On SSR, the paper stated: “Our handling of the defeated Iraqi forces will be critical. We shall need a DDR plan for them, consistent with our vision for the future of Iraq’s armed forces. Experience in Sierra Leone and Afghanistan has shown that we need to ensure consistency between first steps and a longer‑term vision on Security Sector Reform. As well as ensuring the efficient use of our own resources, we shall want to find a way to allow
partners to join in SSR implementation. Does this work require new impetus?”

27. Mr Straw approved the recommendations on 20 January. He reported that
Mr Colin Powell, US Secretary of State, had told him the US working assumption was
that the US and UK would be in Iraq for a long time after military action.21

28. The FCO paper was also shared with the US and Australia.22

29. On 16 January, Mr Tony Brenton, Deputy Head of Mission at the British Embassy
Washington, wrote to Mr Elliott Abrams, Senior Director for Near East and North African
Affairs in the US NSC, to propose a draft agenda for the talks, attaching a copy of the


19 Minute Dodd to Manning, 19 December 2002, ‘Ad Hoc Group on Iraq’.
20 Minute Chilcott to Chaplin and Private Secretary [FCO], 17 January 2003, ‘Iraq: Day‑after Issues’.
21 Minute Private Secretary [FCO] to Chilcott, 20 January 2003, ‘Iraq: Day‑After Issues’.
22 Letter Brenton to Abrams, 16 January 2003, ‘US/UK/Australia Trilateral Talks on Iraq: 22 January 2003’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

paper.23 The first suggested agenda item was security. “Key issues” for discussion included:

“• how to dismantle Iraq’s secret security agencies, and to handle the defeated armed forces?

• how to provide legitimate and transparent law and order, and the necessary civil structures to deliver them?

• the co‑operation of the Iraqi police …

• longer‑term Security Sector Reform and DDR planning.”

30. Reporting to Mr Straw after the talks, Mr Edward Chaplin, FCO Director Middle East and North Africa, said that the exchanges had gone “better than expected”, but also explained that “as we suspected, apart from on humanitarian relief and immediate post‑conflict reconstruction, the US have not yet made much progress on a lot of the day‑after agenda”.24

31. No discussion of SSR was recorded in reports of the Washington talks to Ms Clare Short, International Development Secretary, or Mr Geoff Hoon, the Defence Secretary.25 Neither was it referred to in the reporting telegram from the Embassy.

32. An FCO official who attended the talks reported to Mr Dominick Chilcott in the Middle East Department that the “key message” was that Mr Donald Rumsfeld, US Secretary of Defense, had ordered his staff to plan both the military and civil administration of Iraq, and that this work was “going ahead fast, whether we like it or not”.26 Plans were expected to be signed off in about a week’s time. Once that had happened, the official judged that it would be “very difficult to reverse what had been decided”.

33. Following the talks, Mr Drummond proposed that six working groups should be established to “pursue issues which require further planning”.27 None of those groups were tasked to consider planning for SSR.


23 Letter Brenton to Abrams, 16 January 2003, ‘US/UK/Australia Trilateral Talks on Iraq: 22 January 2003’.
24 Minute Chaplin to Secretary of State [FCO], 22 January 2003, ‘Iraq: ‘Day‑After’ Issues’.
25 Minute Chaplin to Secretary of State [FCO], 22 January 2003, ‘Iraq: ‘Day‑After’ Issues’; Telegram 89 Washington to FCO London, 23 January 2003, ‘Iraq: US/UK/Australia Consultations on Day After Issues: 22 January 2003’; Minute Lee to PS/Secretary of State [MOD], 23 January 2003, ‘Aftermath: Visit to Washington’; Minute Miller to PS/Secretary of State [DFID], 23 January 2003, ‘UK/US/Australia talks, Washington: 22 January 2003’.
26 Minute Middle East Directorate [junior official] to Chilcott, 6 February 2003, ‘Iraq: PJHQ Meeting on ‘Aftermath’.
27 Letter Drummond to Chaplin, 23 January 2003, ‘Iraq: Working Groups’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

34. On 20 January, the MOD Permanent Joint Headquarters (PJHQ) proposed the
creation of a ‘Common Document’ to provide a framework for UK Phase IV 28 planning.29
That was conceived as a “cross‑Government agreed UK ‘manifesto’, from which we
would be able to guide subsequent engagement with the US”. It would also provide a
“mechanism for systematically identifying issues that needed to be resolved”.

35. The draft described a number of elements of SSR work, including:

• disarmament/demobilisation and the future shape of the military;

• aspirations for the criminal justice system; and

• consideration of the military role in police mentoring.

36. The Chiefs of Staff discussed the Common Document at their meeting on
29 January and concluded that it “would establish a framework UK policy, which would
… provide guidance to the embedded UK staffs charged with influencing US thinking”.30

37. The same day, Mr Bowen shared a draft paper on UK campaign objectives for Iraq
with Sir David Manning.31 The paper identified a number of “immediate military priorities” for the Coalition in the aftermath of hostilities, including “lay plans for the reform of Iraq’ security forces”. Mr Bowen commented that “it will be important … that we share the same military objectives with the US, otherwise the strategic direction of the campaign risks falling apart”. The objectives are addressed in further detail in Section 6.5.

38. On 4 February, Mr Drummond proposed that a special meeting on “aftermath”
should replace the AHGI scheduled for 7 February.32 That meeting would be used to
co‑ordinate a response to two US planning papers on post‑war reconstruction and
would also cover the “state of preparedness” on a range of issues, including an agenda
item on SSR.

39. The AHGI appears to have used the meeting to focus on preparing key messages
on post‑conflict issues for Mr Hoon and Sir David Manning’s visit to Washington the
following week.33

40. A meeting about the post‑conflict period took place at PJHQ offices on 5 February.34
To support the discussion, PJHQ tabled a paper entitled ‘Iraq – Phase IV Subjects’.35


28 Phase IV is a military term that describes the time after combat operations, when activities are conducted to stabilise and reconstruct the area where combat took place. It can also be described as “Stage IV”.
29 Minute PJHQ/Hd of J9 Pol/Ops to MA/DCJO(Ops), 20 January 2003, ‘Op TELIC: Taking Forward Aftermath Planning’ attaching Paper MOD, [undated], ‘Phase IV Planning – Common Document’.
30 Minutes, 29 January 2003, Chiefs of Staff meeting.
31 Minute Bowen to Manning, 29 January 2003, ‘Iraq: Military Campaign Objectives’ attaching Paper [unattributed], [undated], ‘Iraq: Military Campaign Objectives’.
32 Letter Drummond to Chaplin, 4 February 2003, ‘Iraq: Aftermath’.
33 Letter Drummond to Chilcott, 10 February 2003, ‘Iraq: Key Messages’.
34 Minute FCO Middle East Directorate [junior official] to Chilcott, 6 February 2003, ‘Iraq: PJHQ Meeting on ‘Aftermath’ attaching Paper [unattributed], 5 February 2003, ‘Iraq – Phase IV Subjects’.
35 Paper MOD [unattributed], 5 February 2003, ‘Iraq – Phase IV Subjects’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

41. That document described for the first time some of the short and medium‑term SSR objectives for the post‑conflict management of Iraq. Following the US planning of the time, those were divided into a “stabilisation” phase covering the first six months and a “reconstruction” phase covering months six to 18.

42. The desired end state for the military and security forces was to have laid:
“… plans for the reform of Iraq’s security forces … Security Sector Reform (SSR) … to include the restructuring of the intelligence agencies, armed forces, police and criminal justice system. All elements of the Security Sector to be affordable and accountable.”

43. The military and security objectives for the UK during the stabilisation phase were described as:

• all units of Iraqi military have been accounted for and (if appropriate) disarmed;

• stability, law and order in Iraq; and

• inter‑agency or international organisation efforts to reorganise and train Iraqi law enforcement agencies begun (supported by the UK).

44. The military and security objectives for the UK during the reconstruction phase were described as:

• reform of Iraqi Armed Forces under way, with a view to organisations able to defend Iraq without threatening Iraqi citizens or neighbours;

• elimination of the Iraqi NSC and the Iraqi Special Security Organisations;

• exploitation and subsequent disbandment of the Directorate of General Security, the Directorate of General Intelligence, the Miltary Security Service, the Special Republican Guard, and Saddam’s Martyrs (Fedayeen Saddam); and

• vetting and reintegration of acceptable elements of the Republican Guard Forces Command, regular army and police.

45. The desired end state for law enforcement was to have: “Rule of Law established. Police reformed and conforming to human rights.”

46. The law enforcement objectives for the UK during the stabilisation phase were described as:

• early implementation of a clear plan for development of Iraqi police;

• framework to provide military provision of law enforcement within UK Area of Operations (see Box, ‘Area of Operations and Area of Responsibility’, later in this Section); and

• police vetted and initial capability established.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

47. The law enforcement objectives for the UK during the reconstruction phase were
described as:

• responsibility for law enforcement passed back to Iraqi police; and

• joint police/military police, transitioning to police operating alone.

48. The desired end state for justice was to have a reformed legal system established
under vetted judiciary, with unjustly jailed prisoners released.

49. The justice enforcement objectives for the UK during the stabilisation phase were
described as:

• martial law in place for minimum time possible;

• new laws agreed and promulgated;

• judges vetted, and unsuitable judges removed;

• military management of prisons; and

• unjustly jailed prisoners released.

50. The law enforcement objectives for the UK during the reconstruction phase were
described as:

• Iraqi legal system up and running before transmission. International mentoring
system provided to support judges.

• If possible, management of prisons passed over to Iraqi citizens. If not possible,
support programme to re‑establish in UK AO.

51. On 7 February 2003, Mr Peter Ricketts, FCO Political Director, informed Mr Straw
that there was inter‑departmental agreement that “the FCO should lead policy work on
planning for post‑conflict Iraq”.36

52. There were two sections in different directorates within the FCO that had a role in
relation to SSR:

• the Iraq Planning Unit (IPU); and

• the United Nations Department (UND), which had previous experience recruiting
and deploying UK police for UN missions.37

53. Lord Jay, the FCO Permanent Under Secretary from 2002 to 2006, told the Inquiry:
“I cannot recollect any discussions specifically about policing, nor have I been able
to come across any papers.”38


36 Minute Ricketts to Private Secretary [FCO], 7 February 2003, ‘Iraq Strategy’.
37 Letter Bowen to Ehrman, 5 February 2003, ‘Iraq: Operational Policy Unit’.
38 Public hearing, 30 June 2010, page 48.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

Iraq Planning Unit

The Iraq Planning Unit (IPU) was established on 10 February with Mr Dominick Chilcott, FCO Middle East Department as its head. Its remit was “to develop policy guidance to enable the administration of Iraq pending the appointment of a transitional civil administration, consistent as far as possible with the longer‑term vision for the future of Iraq”.39 Mr Bowen, defining the purpose of the Unit, wrote: “They would need to work their way, with the US, through issues as diverse as humanitarian relief, policing, administration of justice, local government and provision of utilities, environmental recovery and priorities for the return to normality.”
The IPU was inter‑departmental but based in the FCO.40

54. On 12 February, responsibility for the ‘Iraq Stage IV Subjects Document’ was transferred to the newly formed inter‑departmental IPU.41

55. On 29 January, Mr Peter Gooderham, Political Counsellor at the British Embassy Washington, reported that the NSC had asked whether the UK, as one of the Occupying Powers, would be willing to take lead responsibility for reforming the Iraqi judicial system and Iraqi Police Service (IPS).42 The NSC said that the justice sector would be run by the military Coalition in the immediate aftermath, but the Iraqis should “regain responsibility for law and order as quickly as possible”. That was described as having “something up and running within 60 days”. The UK would be “best suited” to take on this role because of its “wealth of experience and expertise”.

56. On 31 January, the UND submitted advice to Mr Straw, alerting him to the request and stating that “this would be a massive undertaking, with implications for the UK’s role as an ‘Occupying Power’, that should more properly be an international effort mandated by the UN”.43

57. Mr Straw commented that the UK “should help the US on police and judicial matters as much as possible”, but “this help has to be on the basis of what is practical”.44

58. On 4 February, Mr Drummond wrote to Mr Chilcott following a meeting between the Cabinet Office, the FCO, the MOD and DFID to consider the US request.45 He observed


39 Letter Bowen to Ehrman, 5 February 2003, ‘Iraq: Operational Policy Unit’.
40 Minute Chorley to PS/Secretary of State [MOD], 12 February 2003, ‘Iraq: Aftermath – Briefing for Meeting with OGD Ministers’.
41 Minute Chorley to PS/Secretary of State [MOD], 12 February 2003, ‘Iraq: Aftermath – Briefing for Meeting with OGD Ministers’.
42 Letter Gooderham to Chaplin, 29 January 2003, ‘Iraq: Day After: US Requests for Assistance on Judicial Issues’.
43 Minute UND [junior official] to Private Secretary [FCO], 31 January 2003, ‘Iraq the Day After – US Requests for Assistance on Judicial Issues’.
44 Minute PS Foreign Secretary [FCO] to UND [junior official], 3 February 2003, ‘Iraq the Day After – US Request for Assistance on Judicial Issues’.
45 Minute Drummond to Chilcott, 4 February 2003, ‘Iraq: Judicial Issues’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

that the management of the Iraqi police and judicial system in the first 60 days of
Occupation would “condition the longer term”. The UK would need to know more about:

“• Whether the US envisaged dismantling the Ba’ath Party.46 While this is probably
justified it would leave big gaps in the apparatus of the State.

• How much of the Saddam Hussein security structure they [the US] plan to retain.

• Whether the US envisaged a Kosovo style pillar structure, with a Coalition
member leading each part. If so, what were the other pillars and who had been
invited to lead them.

• What would the UN role be? We would need the UN to legitimise Security Sector
Reforms. We accept that the UN would not deliver in time to manage the initial
60 days, but could play a useful role in the medium term on all aspects of judicial

59. It was agreed at the meeting that Mr Chilcott would pursue those questions in
Washington at the next round of talks on 5 February between the UK, US and Australia.
The issue would then be considered at a meeting on 7 February. If it was decided to
“proceed further”, a scoping exercise would be undertaken by DFID, the MOD and
“probably” the Home Office.

60. The British Embassy Washington’s report of the talks on 5 February did not mention
the proposal of the US that the UK take lead responsibility in reform of the judicial
system and the IPS.47

61. On 10 February, Mr Drummond wrote to Mr Chilcott to share a draft of “key
messages for the Defence Secretary and David Manning to put to Donald Rumsfeld and
Condi Rice [Dr Condoleezza Rice, President Bush’s National Security Advisor]”.48 The
US request that the UK lead on the IPS and judiciary was not addressed in the paper.

62. On 12 February, in a brief written to prepare Mr Straw for a meeting with Mr Blair on
“Day After issues”, the FCO advised that the UK was still considering whether it should
accept the US request that it become “lead nation on justice throughout Iraq”.49 The FCO
stated that “it would be very difficult to do this without a UNSC [UN Security Council]
Resolution authorising a transitional administration”.


46 The Ba’ath Party, dominated by individuals linked to Saddam Hussein, were in power in Iraq at the time of the invasion.
47 Telegram 167 Washington to FCO London, 6 February 2003, ‘Iraq: US/UK/Australia Talks on “Day After” Issues, 5 February’.
48 Letter Drummond to Chilcott, 10 February 2003, ‘Iraq: Key Messages’ attaching Paper Cabinet Office, 10 February 2003, ‘Iraq Post Conflict: Key Messages’.
49 Minute IPU [junior official] to Private Secretary [FCO], 12 February 2003, ‘Meeting on Iraq Day After Issues before Cabinet, 13 Feb’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

63. Mr Drummond wrote to Sir David Manning on 14 February to outline key messages for the US on “winning the peace”.50 Addressing the US request that the UK “lead on reviving the Iraqi Justice system”, Mr Drummond reported that: “We have asked for clarification of whether they see this as a short term revival of existing structures minus the Ba’ath influence or a much longer term reform agenda.”

64. The following week, Mr Chilcott informed Mr Straw that an assessment of UK capabilities in the field of police and judicial reform had been sent to the US, and that a minute on the subject was in preparation, but was awaiting “greater clarity on UK commitments”.51 In an accompanying document, Mr Chilcott described the UK
position as: “No commitment, but UK could consider providing support for UN‑led justice sector reform, providing we had the right UN cover.”

65. Mr Straw responded the following day without comment on the UK’s role in judicial reform.52 The Government has been unable to supply evidence of any further consideration of the US request.

SSR planning during the build‑up to invasion

66. In February and early March 2003, the main effort within the FCO and No.10 was the pursuit of a further UN Security Council Resolution, as described in Section 3.7. During this period, much of the debate around post‑conflict management of Iraq focused on the prospect of the UK taking responsibility for a geographical region following the invasion, as described in Section 6.5.

67. The MOD Iraq Secretariat briefed Mr Hoon on 10 February ahead of a visit to Washington.53 They advised that US aftermath planning was “impressive on details”, but “riddled with holes at the political and strategic levels”. The MOD identified a number of factors for consideration: “SSR will be a huge issue, both in dismantling the current infrastructure and growing a new one. Will the US look to the current Iraqi police to maintain law and order, or will it train a new force? If US AID [Agency for International Development] are legally prevented from paying police or military salaries, how will SSR be funded prior to the utilisation of oil revenues? What will the new security apparatus look like, and how can it (particularly internal security organs) be made transparent and


50 Minute Drummond to Manning, 14 February 2003, ‘Iraq: Winning the Peace’.
51 Minute Chilcott to Private Secretary [FCO], 20 February 2003, ‘Iraq: Day‑After (Phase IV)’ attaching ‘Iraq Day After: Guidance for Officials at US Rock Drill’.
52 Minute Owen to Chilcott, 21 February 2003, ‘Iraq: Day‑After (Phase IV)’.
53 Minute Johnson to PS/Secretary of State [MOD], 10 February 2003, ‘Secretary of State’s Visit to Washington: Iraq’ attaching Briefing MOD Iraq Secretariat, [undated], ‘Iraq Aftermath – Summary of Key Gaps/US‑UK Policy Differences’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

accountable? … At a tactical level, UK forces will need guidance on how to treat
various wings of the Iraqi security infrastructure as they are encountered in country.”

68. On 11 February, Mr Mike O’Brien, FCO Minister of State for the Middle East, was
briefed on “Day After issues”.54 That included detail on SSR preparations. On policing,
Mr O’Brien was told that the UK’s experience in other areas, such as Bosnia, “should
mean we would be well placed to share our expertise with the US and help influence
their thinking on the issue”. A scoping paper “which could be shared with the US” on the
establishment of an independent Iraqi judiciary was also commissioned.

69. More broadly, the briefing stated: “It was agreed that the US saw themselves as the lead nation. On Security Sector Reform, we should ensure that we feed in to their decision making process. We could suggest leading on those areas where we have expertise eg: good governance.”

70. On 14 February, Mr Drummond produced a note for Sir David Manning on “key
messages for the US” which outlined a number of decisions that needed to be taken.55
On SSR he wrote: “If we are not to replicate the problems seen in Afghanistan, we will also need the US to agree early to [sic] single holistic plan for Security Sector Reform. We have
offered outline proposals on the security sector. We should offer a plan.”

71. The following week, the US hosted a Rock Drill: an inter‑agency rehearsal for the
post‑conflict administration of Iraq. It was attended by a team of UK officials led by
Mr Chilcott and is described in detail in Section 6.5.

72. On 20 February, Mr Chilcott submitted advice to Mr Straw, including an IPU
guidance note for officials participating in the Rock Drill.56 There was a brief mention
of SSR activities in the context of maximising “involvement of the Iraqis in most tasks,
including: policing … judiciary … and some security forces”.

73. In an update to Mr Blair shortly after the Rock Drill, Mr Nicholas Cannon, Mr Blair’s
Assistant Private Secretary for Foreign Affairs, provided an overview of work undertaken
by the IPU, including on humanitarian and economic issues.57 Mr Cannon did not
mention SSR.

74. On 25 February, the IPU produced a ‘UK Vision for Phase IV’.58 The paper was
sent to Sir David Manning the following day, copied to the offices of Mr Gordon Brown,


54 Minute APS/Mr O’Brien to Chilcott, 11 February 2003, ‘Iraq: Day After Issues’.
55 Minute Drummond to Manning, 14 February 2003, ‘Iraq: Winning the Peace’.
56 Minute Chilcott to Private Secretary [FCO], 20 February 2003, ‘Iraq: Day‑After (Phase IV)’ attaching Paper ‘Iraq Day After: Guidance for Officials at US ROCK Drill’.
57 Minute Cannon to Prime Minister, 24 February 2003, ‘Southern Iraq: Aftermath Issues’.
58 Paper IPU, 25 February 2002, ‘UK Vision for Phase IV’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Mr Hoon and Ms Short.59 The vision was that the UK “should aim to leave Iraq radically changed for the better”.60
75. The paper listed a number of mission objectives, including the formation of an Iraq which “has appropriately sized, reformed armed forces and intelligence/security agencies” and “has a fair justice sector”.

76. The paper was structured to match the US organisation of Phase IV into three stages:

• Alpha – military administration while UN agencies and Non‑Governmental Organisations (NGOs) “tackle the humanitarian crisis”.

• Bravo – an “international civil transitional administration”, supported by UN‑mandated Coalition military, which would “take forward the programme of ambitious reforms … to transform Iraq along the lines of the vision”.

• Charlie – the handover to a democratically elected Iraqi Government, during which the international community would continue to support the restructuring of Iraq’s economy and public administration. “Training of the armed forces and of the police and judiciary may also continue in Phase IV Charlie.”

77. The FCO sent a draft ‘Vision for Iraq and the Iraqi People’ to No.10 on 28 February.61 That version made no reference to the security sector, but did state that the UK would “help” by “supporting institutional and administrative reform”.

78. The UK’s objectives were described again in a paper prepared by the IPU for a meeting chaired by Mr Blair on 6 March.62 The paper sought Ministerial agreement to a number of objectives for the UK’s post‑conflict Occupation of Iraq, including that Iraq:

• “Has armed forces and intelligence services that are of an appropriate size (striking a balance between not threatening its neighbours and protecting the territorial integrity of Iraq) and are well on the way to being reformed”; and

• “Respects human rights and has made significant progress towards a fair and effective justice sector.”

79. The IPU paper was not discussed at the meeting, so the draft objectives for post‑conflict Iraq were incorporated into another IPU paper describing “the UK overall plan for Phase IV” and submitted to Mr Blair by Mr Matthew Rycroft, Mr Blair’s Private Secretary for Foreign Affairs, on 7 March63 and again by Mr Cannon on 12 March.64


59 Letter Owen to Rycroft, 26 February 2002, ‘Iraq: Phase IV’.
60 Paper IPU, 25 February 2002, ‘UK Vision for Phase IV’.
61 Minute Owen to Rycroft, 28 February 2003, ‘A Vision for Iraq and the Iraqi People’.
62 Paper IPU, 5 March 2003, ‘Planning for the UK’s Role in Iraq after Saddam’.
63 Minute Rycroft to Prime Minister, 7 March 2003, ‘Iraq: Weekend Papers’.
64 Minute Cannon to Prime Minister, 12 March 2003, ‘Iraq: Post‑Conflict Planning: Objectives and Principles’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

80. The MOD produced a number of papers in March that discussed SSR.

81. On 7 March, an MOD “Red Team”, which had been established within the Defence
Intelligence Staff (DIS) (as described in Section 6.2), produced a report seeking to
identify “the optimum structure of the Immediate and Interim Administrations in Iraq
and other measures most likely to obtain and retain the support of the Iraqi people”.65
The report stated that “law and order, including the judicial process, will require special
handling”. It stated that:

“• … once an assessment has been made of the effectiveness of local police
forces it should be increasingly possible to include them in military‑led law and
order operations;

• the judicial system is largely dysfunctional and … some form of interim judicial
system may be necessary;

• the prison system is likely to require a complete overhaul and supervisory
regime, although the infrastructure may be useable.”

82. The Red Team advised that: “Expectations that the Coalition Forces will be able to deliver these responsibilities [those of an Occupying Power under international law] are high; so if there is doubt over our ability to meet them in an ‘exemplary’ fashion we should take steps to lower expectations as early as possible.”

83. On 11 March, the DIS issued a further assessment of the “political and security
environment” that Coalition troops would encounter in Basra.66 Though not specifically
focused on SSR, some of the judgements in the document illustrate the UK’s
pre‑invasion understanding of the Iraqi security sector in what would become its Area
of Operations (AOR).

Area of Operations and Area of Responsibility

Area of Operations (AO) refers to the UK military’s area of combat operations during the
invasion of Iraq (Phase III of operations).
Area of Responsibility (AOR) refers to the area for which the UK military was responsible
during the post‑conflict Occupation of Iraq (Phase IV of operations).
The two terms were often used interchangeably, sometimes in the same document.


65 Minute PS/CDI to PS/SofS [MOD], 7 March 2003, ‘Iraq Red Team – Obtaining and Retaining the Support of the Iraqi People in the Aftermath of Conflict’ attaching Paper DIS Red Team, 7 March 2003, ‘Obtaining and Retaining the Support of the Iraqi People in the Aftermath of Conflict’.
66 Report DIS, 11 March 2003, ‘Basra: Post Saddam Governance’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

84. On the Iraqi police, the assessment stated: “We have very little reporting on the organisation of Iraq’s Civil Police. And we have no information specific to Basra … We have little idea as to how the police will act during a Coalition attack or in the aftermath. Limited anecdotal reporting suggest [sic] that they are likely to disappear from the street.”

85. The establishment of law and order was described as an “important” factor in the reaction of the Basra populace to Coalition control. However, the DIS judged that “in the absence of a civil police force and other security forces this will prove difficult”.

86. The paper also addressed the dismissal of Ba’ath Party members from the military and civil administration. The DIS assessed that: “Directorate of General Security (DGS), DGI (Directorate of General Intelligence), SSO (Special Security Organisations) elements and Ba’ath Party militia should be disbanded. Ba’ath leadership (Udw Firqa/Fara) might also need to be detained …
“… But within Basra City there seems to [sic] no organisation with a better understanding of tribal relationships, the civil populace, internal security matters and provision of public services than the Ba’ath Party. Many party members will not have been involved in repressive activity. We assess that Ba’ath Party members will have to be utilised by any military administration, at least in the early phases of control.”

87. On 18 March, the day before the invasion began, the MOD Defence Advisory Team (DAT) produced a paper on SSR and the future Iraqi armed forces.67 The paper was designed “to inform UK policy making and assist in advancing US thinking on these topics”. Much of its content revisited the themes discussed in the FCO paper of 10 December 2002, which had already been shared with the US.

88. The MOD paper listed the range of SSR activities in which the UK could be expected to participate as follows:

• DDR;

• clearance of unexploded ordnance (de‑mining);

• reconstruction of the Iraqi armed forces;

• non‑military security forces and intelligence services;

• police and law enforcement;

• border control; and

• judicial systems.


67 Minute IPU [junior official] to IPU Members, 18 March 2003, ‘Security Sector Reform: Future Iraqi Armed Forces’ attaching Paper Defence Advisory Team, March 2003, ‘Security Sector Reform: Future Iraqi Armed Forces’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

89. The first three were considered “defence/military elements” and potential areas for
involvement by the MOD. The MOD’s estimated total cost of those activities (for the
whole of Iraq) is set out in Table 1.

12.2 Table 1 – MOD Estimates

Table 1: MOD estimate of costs for SSR, March 2003

90. The DAT described a number of “high‑level risks”, including the potential for “a lack
of coherence between primary Coalition partners over SSR Policy”. The paper stated:
“Whilst the UK may try and influence the shape and content of such an SSR
strategy, the reality is that it will have to accommodate to the plans of the senior
Coalition partner/lead international body and their intentions for this area of activity.”

91. The Cabinet Office circulated an agreed set of “Military Campaign Objectives” on
18 March.68 The “immediate military priorities” included to:

• “contribute to the creation of a secure environment so that normal life can be
restored”; and

• “lay plans for the reform of Iraq’s security forces”.

92. The military objectives were placed in the Library of the House of Commons by
Mr Hoon on 20 March.69

93. On 19 March, Admiral Sir Michael Boyce, Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS),
issued his Directive to Lieutenant General John Reith, Chief of Joint Operations (CJO)
authorising the commencement of Operation TELIC (UK military action in Iraq).70
The tasks of relevance to SSR were:

• “Protect, and be prepared to secure, essential Iraqi political, administrative and
economic infrastructure from unnecessary destruction in order to reassure the
Iraqi people and facilitate rapid regeneration.”

• “Deter opportunistic inter‑ethnic and inter‑communal conflict.”


68 Minute Bowen to Manning, 18 March 2003, ‘Iraq: Military Campaign Objectives’.
69 House of Commons, Official Report, 20 March 2003, column 1087.
70 Minute CDS to CJO, 19 March 2003, ‘Chief of the Defence Staff Executive Directive to the Joint Commander Operation TELIC Edition 2’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

• “As quickly as possible, contribute to a safe and secure environment within which humanitarian aid agencies are able to operate.”

• “If directed, be prepared to contribute to the reform of Iraq’s security forces.”

94. A later Directive, issued on 30 July, included a “key” priority: “To support the Coalition wider SSR effort where this can be done within the appropriate UK scale of effort.”71

95. This Directive included a further task: “Maintain public order and safety using, where possible, local law enforcement organisations supervised by military and civil police in order to achieve Iraqi support for stability operations.”

Planning the deployment of police officers

96. In his evidence to the Inquiry, Mr Stephen Pattison, Head of UND until June 2003, described UND’s involvement in police matters as “essentially operational”.72 Since 1997 UND had managed a Whitehall system to identify, train and deploy civilian police overseas. Mr Pattison said: “Obtaining sufficient UK police officers to take part in international policing was always a struggle. We needed to get the co‑operation of Chief Police Officers. And we needed to find ways of attracting volunteers … We cast the net as wide as we could, including canvassing recently retired officers.
“In most cases the overseas requirement was for armed police, which rules out most UK officers. So we focused on getting UK officers into niche roles where their expertise would add to the international police force’s skills, rather than into front line executive policing.
“… And deploying UK police was not straightforward: all UK overseas police officers are volunteers, ACPO [Association of Chief Police Officers] and the Home Office would only agree to deployment when certain conditions were met (security, in mission support structure) and the funding had to be identified.”

97. Mr Pattison told the Inquiry that UND had not been tasked to undertake any preparatory work, but had identified a potential problem and acted to address it.73 He said that there was no‑one in Whitehall pulling together knowledge of policing to design the kind of police operation needed in Iraq. In his recollection, “awareness of our responsibilities under the Geneva Convention and Hague regulations did not inform our thinking about policing in the run‑up to the war.”


71 Minute CDS to CJO, 30 July 2003, ‘Chief of the Defence Staff Executive Directive to the Joint Commander Operation TELIC Edition 3’.
72 Statement, 6 January 2011, pages 12‑13.
73 Public hearing, 31 January 2011, pages 5 and 9.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

98. Responsibilities under the Geneva and Hague regulations included that, as an
Occupying Force, the UK would assume responsibility for ensuring public order and
safety within their AO.74

99. UND had assumed that the UK would not provide an “executive” police force (“a
force to do actual policing”) for Iraq, which would be a “massive undertaking”.75 Instead
the focus would be on supplying a “small number” of UK police to provide training and
advice on SSR, as had happened in other international policing missions. It was judged
that those police would need to be armed.

100. Mr Pattison told the Inquiry: “We were aware of the constraints and we were aware of roughly how many police we could provide to do training and it wasn’t very many. This would have to be a wholly voluntary force. Any police deployed would need the approval of their Chief Constable. There were duty of care issues.
“You know, this was not going to be one of those situations where you could simply
turn on a tap of British police to go and help. It was going to be very difficult. We
[UND] certainly understood that, but I’m not aware that there was ever a serious
discussion of post‑conflict police issues.”76

101. On 23 January, a junior official wrote to the Head of the UND Peacekeeping
Section to seek authorisation to proceed with “plans for the training of a small contingent
(30 officers) of Ministry of Defence Police for immediate deployment should they be
required”.77 The Minute stated: “… we are taking these steps mindful of our experience in Kosovo, where the Prime Minister committed us to deployment of UK civpol shortly after the liberation of Pristina … In that exercise police were on the ground within a month but only following a great deal of effort.”

102. Following a Cabinet meeting on 10 April, Mr David Blunkett, the Home Secretary,
told officials that he wanted to be in a position to offer, or react very quickly to a request
for, assistance in re‑establishing policing in Iraq.78 He was reported to have been
thinking more of offering specialist advice than substantial numbers of police officers.

103. Home Office officials were told by Mr Pattison that the FCO’s preferred approach
was to proceed with the initial deployment of a small MOD police contingent before
deciding whether to ask the Home Office for any assistance from other forces.


74 Paper MOD, 9 December 2009, ‘Iraq Security Sector Reform’.
75 Public hearing Pattison and Buck, 31 January 2011, pages 3‑4.
76 Public hearing, 31 January 2011, page 14.
77 Minute FCO [junior official] to UND [junior official], 23 January 2003, ‘Post Saddam Iraq: UK Civilian Policing Contingency Planning’.
78 Email Home Office [junior official] to Kernaghan, 14 April 2003, ‘Potential Police Involvement in Iraq’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

104. Mr Blunkett was said to be “disappointed” by that response and told Mr Blair that he was “very keen to make his own contribution”. He instructed his officials to make contact with the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) to explore the possibilities, which they did on 14 April.

105. Chief Constable Paul Kernaghan, the lead on international affairs for ACPO, responded: “ACPO and I are very keen to play a full and appropriate part in supporting the UK’s contribution to liberating the people of Iraq. The form of assistance we can provide depends on the mission envisaged and crucially clear political direction.”79

106. Mr Blunkett relayed CC Kernaghan’s offer to Mr Straw, confirming his own “commitment to the rehabilitation of Iraq, and in particular to the principle of the provision of UK policing assistance as soon as practicable”.80 Mr Blunkett emphasised that both CC Kernaghan and he were “ready and willing to engage with you in working towards identifying civilian policing requirements in Iraq and how they might best be met”.

107. CC Kernaghan wrote to Mr Pattison, offering his services and suggesting that the FCO might wish to convene a meeting to bring together the key players from the FCO, Home Office and relevant policing interests to ensure a co‑ordinated approach.81 He had already discussed the matter with the Chief Constable of the MOD police and they were “agreed that an integrated response between all elements of the UK police service is the best approach”.

108. On 23 April, a meeting between the FCO, the Home Office, the MOD and ACPO agreed that the MOD police would deploy two officers – at the rank of Superintendent and either Inspector or Chief Inspector – “to enhance the police advice available to GOC [General Officer Commanding] 1 UK Armoured Division” and that the FCO would try to place a UK Chief Inspector inside the Office for Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance (ORHA).82 It was confirmed that, in the meantime, CC Kernaghan should visit Iraq to gather information “to enable FCO/ACPO/Home Office to plan the UK’s contribution”.

109. CC Kernaghan’s record of the meeting concluded that “at this point in time there is no clear shared vision of the future but instead a strong determination by the agencies represented to provide meaningful support based on a professional assessment of the situation”.


79 Email Kernaghan to Home Office [junior official], 15 April 2003, ‘Potential UK Civil Police Involvement in Iraq’.
80 Minute Blunkett to Straw, 16 April 2003, ‘UK Police Assistance for Iraq’.
81 Letter Kernaghan to Pattison, 17 April 2003, ‘Iraq and the UK Police Service’.
82 Email Kernaghan to Pattison, 23 April 2003, ‘Iraq and the UK Police Service – Meeting 23/4/03’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

110. The Ad Hoc Ministerial Group on Iraq Rehabilitation (AHMGIR – see box later
in this Section) discussed an IPU paper on SSR on 8 May.83 No Home Office Minister
was available to attend the meeting but Lord Goldsmith, the Attorney General, did
attend. In advance of the meeting Mr Blunkett spoke to Lord Goldsmith and confirmed
the Home Office’s willingness to contribute resources and expertise to assist UK efforts
to shape SSR work in Iraq. They agreed that it would be useful for their two departments
to work together on the matter.

111. The Home Office recognised that its potentially relevant expertise covered a range
of areas, including terrorism and security, immigration and asylum, drugs, policing
and prisons.

112. Lord Goldsmith reported to the AHMGIR that he and Mr Blunkett were willing to
put more resources into helping the police and justice work in Iraq.84

113. CC Kernaghan visited Iraq in late May.85 In his visit report he observed: “Effective
policing in Iraq requires operational officers to be armed.” Given that, and the fact that
the vast majority of police officers in the UK did not routinely carry firearms and so were
not trained in their use, he did not believe that they would be effective in an operational
role in Iraq.

114. CC Kernaghan thought that UK involvement in police training would be more
appropriate. He commented that the pressure to deploy police officers on operational
duties was likely to be immense.

115. Following an agreement for the UK to provide a Chief Constable to be the senior
policing adviser to the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) within the Iraqi Ministry
of Interior (MOI), on 6 June 2003 ACPO issued a notice advertising a secondment
opportunity for a senior UK police officer.86
SSR across Iraq: after the invasion

116. The progress of the Coalition invasion of Iraq is described in detail in Section 8,
and the events that followed it in Section 9.1. The start of efforts to reconstruct Iraq is set
out in Section 10.1.

117. Shortly after the start of Operation TELIC,87 the IPU circulated a “core script” on
Phase IV issues from which Ministers and officials could draw as Parliamentary and


83 Minute Acton to Riley, 7 May 2003, ‘Iraq – Security Sector Reform’.
84 Minutes, 8 May 2003, Ad Hoc Group on Iraq Rehabilitation meeting.
85 Letter Kernaghan to Blunkett, 23 May 2003, ‘Iraq – Visit by Chief Constable P R Kernaghan’ attaching Report Kernaghan, 10 May 2003, ‘Report on Visit to Iraq by Chief Constable Kernaghan [13‑20 May 2003]’.
86 Statement White, 20 June 2010, page 2.
87 Operation TELIC was the codename for the involvement of UK Armed Forces in the military campaign to remove the threat from Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

media interest grew.88 Until that point, the Government had been “reluctant” to discuss openly how post‑conflict Iraq would be managed, but this was to be given greater prominence as military action began.

118. The script was also circulated to all Embassies, High Commissions and Consulates to aid the briefing of “key contacts”.89

119. Neither document made any reference to SSR.

120. Lt Gen Reith updated the Chiefs of Staff on Phase IV planning on 21 March.90 He warned that Phase IV delivery remained subject to “uncertain US dynamics at the pol/mil [politico‑military] level” and identified a number of key issues that still required resolution (see Section 6.5), including how to approach SSR.

121. Mr Bowen circulated a draft paper to senior officials in the FCO, MOD and DFID on 25 March that set out “British Post‑Conflict Objectives” (see Section 9.1).91 On SSR, the draft stated that the UK would, with others, assist reform in Iraq by:

• supporting the observance of human rights, and legal and judicial reform; and

• helping Iraq generate reformed and accountable security forces acting in accordance with human rights standards.

122. Mr Bowen suggested that officials should show the draft paper to their Ministers, if they had not already done so: “We will then see the outcome of the Prime Ministerial visit to Camp David and consider formal submission early next week.”

123. The AHMGIR met on 10 April.92 Ministers agreed that the UK should participate in work being done by the Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Affairs (ORHA), headed by retired US Lieutenant General Jay Garner. The UK should lead a group on security sector management and planning for SSR.

The Ad Hoc Ministerial Group on Iraq Rehabilitation

The Ad Hoc Ministerial Group on Iraq Rehabilitation (AHMGIR) was a sub‑committee of Cabinet with a particular focus on the reconstruction of Iraq. It was chaired by the Foreign Secretary and was attended by the Chancellor, Defence Secretary, Development Secretary and Trade and Industry Secretary. The AHMGIR is described in detail in Section 2.


88 Minute Owen to Rycroft, 20 March 2003, ‘Iraq: Phase IV: Core Script’.
89 Telegram 150 FCO to Abidjan, 19 March 2003, ‘Iraq: Core Script – Phase IV’.
90 Minute Reith to COSSEC, 21 March 2003, ‘Phase IV Planning – Taking Stock’.
91 Letter Bowen to Chaplin, 25 March 2003, ‘Iraq: Post Conflict Objectives’ attaching Paper [draft], 25 March 2003, ‘Iraq: British Post‑Conflict Objectives’.
92 Minutes, 10 April 2003, Ad Hoc Group on Iraq Rehabilitation meeting.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

124. On 14 April, Mr Blair told the House of Commons that: “… around 2,000 police officers have reported for work, there are some joint patrols in being and the head of the civil police department, not to be confused with the special security forces, has ordered police to return to work.” 93

125. In a conversation with President Bush on 14 April, Mr Blair stated that the Iraqi
police clearly needed to be re‑organised and deployed.94 There could be a role for
foreign police contingents.

126. General Tommy Franks, Commander in Chief US Central Command (CENTCOM),
issued his ‘Freedom Message to the Iraqi People’ on 16 April 2003.95 It instructed the
Iraqi armed forces and security organisations to: “… lay down their arms … and … obey the orders of the nearest Coalition military commander. All other Iraqis should continue their normal daily activities; officials should report to their places of work until told otherwise.”

127. On 21 April, OHRA entered Iraq.96

128. In late April, the UK AO was declared “permissive”, first by UK forces on 22 April97 and a few days later by the UN Security Co‑ordinator.98 The Coalition defined
“permissive” environments as ones to which humanitarian assistance organisations
could have access, although they should use all precautionary measures and notify the
Coalition Forces.99

129. Section 8 describes the evolution of the boundaries of the UK AO. On 24 April, Ministers agreed that “the size of the UK military sector will depend on the
permissiveness of the environment and the extent of other nations’ contributions, but
the current assumption was that it would comprise four, or possibly five provinces in
the South”.100

130. As Occupying Power in those provinces, the UK had responsibility for the provision
of public order and safety under international law and resolution 1483 (2003), as set out
in Section 9.1.


93 House of Commons, Official Report, 14 April 2003, column 616.
94 Letter Cannon to McDonald, 14 April 2003, ‘Iraq: Prime Minister’s Conversation with Bush, 14 April’.
95 Statement General Tommy R Franks, 16 April 2003, ‘Freedom Message to the Iraqi People’.
96 Bowen SW Jr. Hard Lessons: The Iraq Reconstruction Experience. U.S. Government Printing Office, 2009.
97 Note MOD to No.10, 23 April 2003, ‘Iraq: Update for the Number 10 Sitrep – As at 0630 on 23 April 2003’.
98 Written evidence to the Select Committee on Defence, 16 March 2004, ‘Further Memorandum from the Ministry of Defence on Post Conflict Issues’, February 2004’, HC 57‑III.
99 Report of The Independent Panel on the Safety and Security of UN Personnel in Iraq, 20 October 2003.
100 Minutes, 24 April 2003, Ad Hoc Group on Iraq Rehabilitation meeting.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

Resolution 1483

Resolution 1483 was adopted on 22 May 2003.101 In relation to security and SSR, the Security Council called upon the Coalition to: “… promote the welfare of the Iraqi people through the effective administration of the territory, including in particular working towards the restoration of conditions of security and stability and the creation of conditions in which the Iraqi people can freely determine their own political future.”
Resolution 1483 also provided for a UN Special Representative who would, in co‑ordination with the Coalition, encourage “international efforts to rebuild the capacity of the Iraqi civilian police force” and “promote legal and judicial reforms”.

131. The report of a visit to Iraq by DFID officials described how the “justice and security teams” within ORHA had: “… drawn up extensive plans covering law and order, transitional justice, longer term institutional reform in the justice sector and limited DDR. Justice sector plans have been developed over two years, are well thought through and, with the requisite UN authority, would provide an excellent basis for future work. The likely breakdown in public administration and the implications for law and order were identified before the Iraq conflict began. Unfortunately, this advice was disregarded by the US Administration and the Coalition military.” 102

132. The AHMGIR met on 24 April.103 In discussion, it was stated that the UK had “plenty of good expertise on Security Sector Reform and should play a prominent role”. Ministers agreed that the UK should lobby the US to create a “comprehensive strategy” and to involve UK personnel in ORHA scoping studies. There was no attendee from the Home Office.

133. Ministers also agreed that UK forces should continue to exercise a policing function while attempting to revive the local police forces and courts.

134. On 2 May, ORHA issued a call to all Baghdad employees of the MOI, the IPS, Civil Defence Force, Vital Institutions Protection Force and traffic police, summoning them back to work for 4 May.104 Similar calls were also issued by individual Coalition Force Commanders “as their areas were secured”.


101 UN Security Council Resolution 1483 (2003).
102 Minute PS [DFID] to Rycroft, 22 April 2003, ‘Iraq: Engagement with ORHA’.
103 Minutes, 24 April 2003, Ad Hoc Group on Iraq Rehabilitation meeting.
104 Report CPA Interior Ministry, 30 May 2003, ‘Iraq Police: An Assessment of the Present and Recommendations for the Future’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

135. On 6 May, President Bush announced the appointment of Ambassador Paul
Bremer as the Presidential Envoy to Iraq and head of the CPA (see Section 9.1).105
The CPA quickly subsumed ORHA, retaining many of its staff.106

136. Within the CPA, Ambassador Bremer’s Senior Adviser for National Security and
Defense was Mr Walt Slocombe.107 A former New York City Police Commissioner,
Mr Bernard Kerik, became the CPA’s senior adviser to the MOI.

137. On 6 May, Mr Straw announced to Parliament that Mr John Sawers had been
appointed as the Prime Minister’s Special Representative on Iraq: “Mr Sawers will work alongside Chris Segar, head of the newly opened British office in Baghdad, particularly in relation to the political process and our work in the Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance.” 108

138. On 8 May the AHMGIR discussed a paper on SSR produced by the IPU.109
The paper stated: “Reform across the full range of security activities (armed forces, intelligenceagencies, justice and law enforcement institutions) is an essential element of the overall Coalition strategy to establish a united and representative Iraqi Government
and to create the conditions under which the Coalition can eventually disengage.
“The objective must be the transformation of Iraq’s security institutions so that
they play an effective, legitimate and democratically accountable role in providing
external and internal security for Iraq’s citizens … UK experience suggests that
a coherent strategy will need effective burden sharing and … the extended
involvement of NGOs and other SSR actors. Immediate decisions and urgent action
is needed to deal with the potential problems of unemployed and disaffected military
and security service personnel.”

139. The paper described the US approach as “embryonic” and assessed that it “tends
to approach elements of the security sector separately”. It also stated that “we must
recognise that influencing US views may prove difficult, and will undoubtedly require
considerable and sustained effort”.

140. The paper reported that Mr Slocombe was assembling a team to deploy to Iraq
later that month to establish the “Office of the Senior Advisor for the Ministry of Defence
Iraq and the Iraqi National Defence Force”. He was reported to be “actively seeking


105 Bowen SW Jr. Hard Lessons: The Iraq Reconstruction Experience. U.S. Government Printing Office, 2009.
106 Bowen SW Jr. Hard Lessons: The Iraq Reconstruction Experience. U.S. Government Printing Office, 2009.
107 Bowen SW Jr. Hard Lessons: The Iraq Reconstruction Experience. U.S. Government Printing Office, 2009.
108 House of Commons, Official Report, 6 May 2003, column 515.
109 Paper IPU, May 2003, ‘Iraq – Security Sector Reform’; Minutes, 8 May 2003, Ad Hoc Group on Iraq Rehabilitation meeting.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

Coalition partners to join his team and a number of key posts … have been identified for possible UK secondees”.

141. The paper concluded that “the UK will neither be required nor able to develop an independent policy on SSR in Iraq”.110 The immediate UK priorities were therefore aimed at seeking to influence the development of US policy. Although the paper recommended that the UK should “contribute personnel and expertise”, there was no mention of where those resources would come from or what particular role they might be expected to play.

142. In discussion, the point was made that in Afghanistan, UK influence over the approach of the US to SSR had been limited.111

143. Ministers agreed that:

• The UK should continue to encourage the US to adopt a broad concept of SSR, and “to address the employment of Iraqi defence and security personnel urgently through DDR processes”.

• UK personnel should be deployed, including the creation of an SSR secretariat within ORHA, to advise on cross‑cutting SSR issues.

• The UK should facilitate UN, international financial institutions and other donor engagement in SSR.


144. On 16 May, Ambassador Bremer issued CPA Order No.1 which eliminated all Ba’ath Party structures and banned “Senior Party Members” (the top four ranks of the Party) from serving in Iraq’s public sector.112 It also placed individuals in senior management roles (the top three levels of management) under investigation. The impact of the de‑Ba’athification process is described in more detail in Section 11.1.

145. Order No.1 had an immediate impact on the senior management of the security structures in Iraq, although Mr Slocombe observed in an interview in 2004 that: “Out of a Ba’ath Party membership of well over a million, maybe more, only about 40,000 people were in this category … only about 10 percent of the brigadier generals were in these top four ranks.”113

146. The CPA’s records indicate that, of the 860 judges and prosecutors in post at the time of CPA Order No.1, 656 were reviewed under the de‑Ba’athification scheme.114 As a result 176 were removed from their positions, with 185 new judges and prosecutors being appointed to take their place.


110 Paper IPU, May 2003, ‘Iraq – Security Sector Reform’.
111 Minutes, 8 May 2003, Ad Hoc Group on Iraq Rehabilitation meeting.
112 Coalition Provisional Authority Memorandum Number 1 – Implementation of De‑Ba’athification Order No. 1 (CPA/ORD/16 May 2003/01), 3 June 2003.
113 PBS, 26 October 2004, Interview Walter Slocombe.
114 Report Coalition Provisional Authority, [undated], ‘An Historic Review of CPA Accomplishments’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

147. In a meeting with Ambassador Bremer and Mr Sawers on 16 May, some of the
Iraqi leaders present argued that the scope of the recently announced de‑Ba’athification
policy should be “broadened to include the security services and army, private
companies set up under Saddam, and the media”.115 Bremer promised that there would
be a further proclamation on the security services and army in the days ahead.

148. On 23 May, CPA Order No.2 – “Dissolution of Entities” – “dissolved” (or disbanded)
a number of military and other security entities that had operated as part of Saddam
Hussein’s regime.116 The dissolved entities included:

• the government ministries responsible for Defence, Information and Military

• the intelligence agencies;

• the armed forces; and

• the paramilitary forces which were closely associated with Saddam Hussein.
149. CPA Order No.2 also stated that:

• military ranks were cancelled;

• conscripts were released;

• a termination payment would be paid to those dismissed, except to senior party
members; and

• pensions would continue to be paid, except to senior party members.

150. Neither the IPS nor the MOI were dissolved. Reflecting on the Order several years
later, Ambassador Bremer wrote in the New York Times that the “police force, which we
did recall to duty, has proven unreliable and is mistrusted by the very Iraqi people it is
supposed to protect”.117

151. In his book State of Denial, Mr Bob Woodward suggested that an early draft of the
Order had proposed disbanding the MOI.118 At Lt Gen Garner’s suggestion, that had not
been implemented, in order to preserve the IPS who were employed by the MOI.

152. Existing members of the organisations listed above were dismissed from their
former employment, with effect from 16 April (the date of Gen Franks’ declaration).119

153. Order No.2 also announced: “The CPA plans to create in the near future a New Iraqi Corps,120 as the first step in forming a national self‑defense capability for a free Iraq. Under civilian control,


115 Telegram 13 IraqRep to FCO London, 17 May 2003, ‘Iraq: Bremer Meets Leadership Group’.
116 Coalition Provisional Authority Order Number 2, 23 May 2003, Section 1.
117 New York Times, 6 September 2007, How I didn’t dismantle Iraq’s army.
118 Woodward B. State of Denial. Simon & Schuster UK Ltd, 2006.
119 Coalition Provisional Authority Order Number 2, 23 May 2003, Section 3(1)‑(3).
120 The New Iraqi Corps later became the New Iraqi Army.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

that Corps will be professional, non‑political, militarily effective, and representative of all Iraqis. The CPA will promulgate procedures for participation in the New Iraqi Corps.”121

154. There was nothing in CPA Order No.2 that prevented former employees of the dissolved entities – including the military – from applying to join the New Iraqi Army (NIA), although the provisions of Order No.1 would apply.

155. Hard Lessons, the account of US involvement in Iraq by the US Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, records that Order No.2 was drafted by Mr Slocombe.122

156. In a 2004 interview, Mr Slocombe observed that the reasons for disbanding the Iraqi Army were both political and practical:

• The Army had effectively disappeared after the invasion and its barracks had been heavily looted: “We didn’t disband the army. The army disbanded itself … Furthermore, even if they had come back … all the facilities were trashed.”

• The structure of the former Iraqi Army was such that it would have required substantial reform to be a suitable modern army: “… it was a conscript army with overwhelmingly Shia conscripts and overwhelmingly Sunni officers … The Iraqi Army had 11,000 general officers. The American Army … has 300 general officers.” 123

157. Lieutenant General Jonathon Riley, who served in Baghdad in 2003 as Deputy Head of the Coalition Military Assistance Training Team (CMATT), told the Inquiry that the CPA was left with no choice but to disband the army: “He [Ambassador Bremer] is criticised for doing it, but I believe that by the time he made that decree, the army had disbanded itself and what was left of its infrastructure had been largely torn apart by the population, which had lost all respect for its own army. A very bad situation to be in.”124

158. According to the RAND Report, After Saddam: Pre‑war Planning and the Occupation of Iraq: “… the decision to disband the Iraqi armed forces was … made in Washington … in early May 2003, before the deployment of Ambassador L Paul Bremer to Baghdad.”125


121 Coalition Provisional Authority Order Number 2, 23 May 2003, Section 4.
122 Bowen SW Jr. Hard Lessons: The Iraq Reconstruction Experience. U.S. Government Printing Office, 2009.
123 PBS, 26 October 2004, Interview Walter Slocombe.
124 Public hearing, 14 December 2009, pages 31‑32.
125 Bensahel N, Oliker O, Crane K, Brennan RR Jr, Gregg HS, Sullivan T & Rathmell A. After Saddam: Prewar Planning and the Occupation of Iraq. RAND Corporation, 2008.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

159. Mr Douglas Feith, the former US Under Secretary for Defense and Policy,
recorded in his memoir that he had been briefed by Ambassador Bremer and
Mr Slocombe on 9 May 2003 about “their plan to dissolve the Iraqi Army”.126

160. According to Hard Lessons, the US Department of Defense (DoD) had not
discussed the Order with senior officials from other US agencies before approving it.127
Secretary Powell recalled that “There was no meeting on it; there was no, ‘Gee, is this
a good idea?’ You couldn’t even tell who had decided it.”

161. Major General Tim Cross, a senior secondee to ORHA, told the Inquiry that
the decision to demobilise the army had been made “against all advice from Garner
and myself”.128

162. Sir Kevin Tebbit, MOD Permanent Under Secretary between 2001 and 2005,
told the Inquiry: “I was not aware of any discussion with us, with the UK, before those judgementswere taken. After they were taken, the Americans said to us … that it had to happenanyway, because the army had disappeared. Well, true, but not the 10,000 officers.
So I didn’t quite buy that.”129

163. Ambassador Bremer had specifically raised the issue of “dissolving the MOD and
the security and intelligence organisations” and “establish[ing] a new national army”
in his first meeting with Mr Sawers on 12 May.130 Mr Sawers had not expressed any
concerns and commented that Ambassador Bremer had made a “good dynamic start”.

164. Mr Slocombe met Mr Hoon in London on 13 May.131 Mr Slocombe produced a
record of this meeting for Ambassador Bremer (a leaked copy of which has appeared
on the internet), which stated:
“If some UK officers or officials think we should try to rebuild and reassemble the old
RA [regular army] they did not give any hint of it …”

165. The MOD record of Mr Hoon’s meeting with Mr Slocombe on 13 May stated that
Mr Slocombe had: “… outlined … the plans for … the new Iraqi Armed Force. He emphasised that this would be a new Army, rather than a reconstituted version of the old.”132


126 Feith DJ. War and Decision: Inside the Pentagon at the Dawn of the War on Terrorism. HarperCollins, 2008.
127 Bowen SW Jr. Hard Lessons: The Iraq Reconstruction Experience. U.S. Government Printing Office, 2009.
128 Statement, 2009, page 25.
129 Private hearing, 6 May 2010, page 36.
130 Telegram 5 IraqRep to FCO London, 12 May 2003, ‘Iraq: Bremer’s First Moves’.
131 BBC News, 29 October 2007, In full: Memo from Walt Slocombe to Bremer.
132 Minute APS/Secretary of State [MOD] to Policy Director, 13 May 2003, ‘Call on Defence Secretary by Walt Slocombe: 13 May 2003’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

166. There is nothing in the record to suggest that Mr Hoon or those accompanying him raised any concerns.

167. Mr Hoon offered UK support with the training of the NIA and stated that it was important that police reform took place in the context of a wider SSR process, “including lawyers, judges, prison officers”.

168. The Inquiry asked Mr Simon Webb, MOD Policy Director, about the meeting.133 Mr Webb said that he had expected the Iraqi Army to be retained and reformed but observed:
“Of course, life then became particularly complicated when the army disappeared, because of course Saddam [Hussein] had himself … dispersed the army so that it couldn’t become a political threat to him. Under this … strange command structure he had introduced in 2002, the army just … gave up and went away. So when Walt Slocombe showed up … it seemed a bit odd to … summon the army back in again when you knew that actually you really wanted a rather different army from a democratisation point of view.”

169. Mr Ian Lee, MOD Director General Operational Policy, told the Inquiry that although he had met Mr Slocombe when the latter visited London in May 2003, he did not recall a discussion on the disbandment of the Iraqi military.134

170. The Chiefs of Staff met on 14 May.135 Minutes of the meeting recorded that “the de‑Ba’athification process was anticipated to render all those officials senior to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel as ‘out of play’”. No concerns about that were recorded, nor do the minutes contain any mention of concern about Mr Slocombe’s plan to rebuild the Iraqi Army from scratch.

171. Adm Boyce told the Inquiry that he had “laid down … that we should not … go through de‑Ba’athification or indeed disband the Iraqi Army. I saw that as being absolutely essential for the future.”136

172. Sir David Manning told the Inquiry about the impact of dissolving Iraqi military and security entities: “… these were policies that added to the difficulties, because we might have addressed the security vacuum by trying to encourage Iraqi police, Iraqi military, to co‑operate with us, instead of which, they are disbanded and then become natural dissidents and potential insurgents.”137


133 Private hearing, 23 June 2010, pages 66‑68.
134 Private hearing, 22 June 2010, pages 55‑56.
135 Minutes, 14 May 2003, Chiefs of Staff meeting.
136 Public hearing, 27 January 2011, pages 94‑95.
137 Public hearing, 30 November 2009, page 91.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

173. That view was shared by Mr Hoon, who told the Inquiry that: “… some of the security difficulties, particularly in and around Baghdad were the result of disaffected people, no longer receiving their salary, joining the insurgency and, indeed, putting their expertise to use in the sense that there was a clear suggestion to me that some of the attacks became more sophisticated as some [former] military people became involved …
“… I think that it would have been better to have that stability in that immediate
aftermath and I think that, to some extent, disbanding the army fuelled the
insurgency in a way that made it much harder to contain.”138

174. Sir John Sawers told the Inquiry: “I don’t think it is credible to lay the insurgency, the roots of the insurgency, in the decision to disband the army … The decision to formally disband the army was not something that inspired or triggered the insurgency. It may, in some areas, have compounded it, but it wasn’t the fundamental reason behind it.”139

175. The Order to disband the army also reduced the rate at which the security forces
were later re‑established. General Sir John Reith told the Inquiry that if the army had not
been disbanded “there was still some structure there we could have built on, whereas,
as it was, we really had to start from scratch”.140

176. Lieutenant General Sir John Kiszely, who became Senior British Military
Representative – Iraq (SBMR‑I) in October 2004, described the impact on army
capability: “The Iraqi Army, of course, as a result of the Coalition Provisional Authority’s
decision to disband the army, had been starting from scratch in many areas. So the
competence of commanders was in many cases way below that which you would
expect of their rank.”141

177. Lieutenant General Sir Robert Fry, Deputy Chief of Joint Operations from
May 2003 to July 2003, told the Inquiry that: “… one advantage that the Iraqi Army has had subsequently over the Iraqi police force is that it was created ab initio and thus did not contain some of the flaws that manifested themselves in the Iraqi police force in subsequent years.”142


138 Public hearing, 19 January 2010, page 161.
139 Public hearing, 10 December 2009, page 78.
140 Private hearing, 15 January 2010, page 61.
141 Public hearing, 14 December 2009, page 11.
142 Public hearing, 16 December 2009, page 76.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

178. Mr Sawers had reported to the FCO in London on 20 May that the question of “what to do about military pay and pensions” was one of the “problems in the pipeline”.143 No further details were provided.

179. Maj Gen Cross prepared a note for Mr Blair on 22 May setting out some points to make in a forthcoming discussion with President Bush.144 Those included a reference to the recent de‑Ba’athification announcement having “created some inevitable difficulties”.

180. Maj Gen Cross also raised a concern about what he understood to be the emerging policy decision not to pay pensions to former military personnel. He commented that “there are dangers in excluding such a large and possibly well armed group” from arrangements that were to apply to other members of the public sector.

181. Although no details of the amount of that payment and the arrangements for receiving it were given in the Order itself, those dismissed by CPA Order No.2 were entitled to a termination payment (unless they were a “Senior Party Member” within the terms of the de‑Ba’athification Order).145 Those who had previously been receiving a pension from one of the dissolved organisations would continue to receive that pension (again, unless they were a “Senior Party Member”).

182. A telegram from FCO London to Washington, dated 30 May, identified the problem of large numbers of people (and in particular those with military training) out of work and without prospect of further employment.146 The FCO commented: “… the Coalition needs a policy to reduce the perverse incentives for … [that group] to drift towards the hard core actively opposing the Coalition … one solution might be to create a workfare scheme – a pool of labour drawn specifically from those left unemployed by the disbandment of the security apparatus, to meet urgent short term requirements …
“In the medium term, Security Sector Reform (SSR) will make a significant contribution to resolving this issue.”

183. An alternative proposal for re‑employing former army personnel was put forward by the Cabinet Office in the Annotated Agenda for the AHMGIR on 12 June.147 Officials suggested “pioneering the re‑employment of former Iraqi service personnel as static guards in the UK‑led military sectors”.

184. The minutes of the meeting do not record a discussion of the proposal.148


143 Telegram 18 IraqRep to FCO London, 20 May 2003, ‘Iraq: Bremer’s Impact’.
144 Letter Williams to Rycroft, 23 May 2003, ‘Iraq Reconstruction’ attaching Paper Cross, 22 May 2003, ‘Iraq Reconstruction: Some Thoughts for the PM in his Discussions with President Bush’.
145 Coalition Provisional Authority Order Number 2, 23 May 2003, Section 3(5).
146 Telegram 251 FCO London to Washington, 30 May 2003, ‘Iraq: Dismantling the Ba’athist State’.
147 Annotated Agenda, 12 June 2003, Ad Hoc Group on Iraq Rehabilitation meeting.
148 Minutes, 12 June 2003, Ad Hoc Group on Iraq Rehabilitation meeting.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

185. Mr Sawers reported on 20 June that plans were in train to pay more generous
severance payments and a monthly stipend for those with at least 15 years’ service who
were not senior Ba’athists.149 Mr Sawers’ own view was that the sums being proposed
“may not be enough to solve the problem”, adding: “Bremer has an open mind on this, though does not want to burden a future Iraqi Government more than necessary, nor be more generous to ex‑soldiers than to civilians … At a meeting with leading Iraqis today Bremer sought views on how to deal with the ex‑military. The great majority of those present – including Shia Islamists – argued that regular payments should be made to ease the security threat that the ex‑military would pose if they were marginalised.”

186. Payments for ex‑servicemen were announced on 23 June.150

187. Ms Ann Clwyd, the Prime Minister’s Special Envoy to Iraq on Human Rights from
2003 to 2009, told the Inquiry that “many people slipped through the net … senior
people, who could have been used in those early stages to help the Coalition”.151 She
recounted a meeting with a senior army officer who had queued for his stipend for
two weeks without reaching the front of the queue. He had told her: “if they want to
humiliate us, this is the way of doing it”.

188. Major General Freddie Viggers, who arrived in Baghdad in May 2003 as SBMR‑I,
described similar scenes: “I can remember going with Walt Slocombe in to see Paul Bremer and saying ‘this has got to stop. The numbers at the gate now are over 1,000, 2,000, 3,000, and we have to start giving these people a little bit of respect and the means to live on’.” 152

Views on SSR: May 2003

189. Sir David Manning visited Baghdad and Basra in May. A substantial part of his
report to Mr Blair (described in Section 9.2) dealt with policing and security, and the way
in which the UK could contribute to restoring order in the Iraqi capital. He reported to
Mr Blair that: “Baghdad remains key; and the key to Baghdad is security.”153 Sir David’s
view was that: “Police training could have a disproportionate impact. (Police are conspicuous by their absence). A quick win would be moving 16 Air Assault Brigade to Baghdad with the task of providing police training for six weeks.”


149 Telegram 46 IraqRep to FCO London, 20 June 2003, ‘Iraq: Payments to Ex‑Military, and Preparations for the New Army’.
150 CPA Press Notice, 23 June 2003, ‘Good News for Iraqi Soldiers’.
151 Public hearing, 3 February 2010, pages 26‑27.
152 Public hearing, 9 December 2009, page 29.
153 Minute Manning to Prime Minister, 22 May 2003, ‘Iraq – Visit to Baghdad and Basra’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

190. The proposal to deploy 16 Air Assault Brigade was supported by Major General David Richards, the Assistant Chief of the General Staff, who had been sent to Iraq by Mr Hoon and General Sir Michael Walker, CDS, to scope the potential for a UK role in improving SSR.154

191. The deployment was also encouraged by Mr Sawers, who emphasised the strategic importance of taking action in the immediate future to avoid further deterioration in security.155

192. On 23 May, Mr Peter Watkins, Mr Hoon’s Private Secretary, wrote to Sir David Manning to explain that the MOD advised against the deployment to Baghdad, on the basis that it was “likely to have only a marginal effect” and might divert effort away from the South of Iraq, where the UK was seeking to implement an “exemplary approach”.156

193. The Chiefs of Staff discussed SSR on 29 May, when they considered a paper prepared by the SPG.157 The paper had been circulated to the FCO and the Cabinet Office, though not to DFID, the Home Office or other departments with responsibility for wider security or justice issues.158

194. The SPG defined SSR as addressing “all aspects of the security sector (police, judiciary, penal service, border security, intelligence services and armed forces) as part of a long term holistic programme of change”. Although SSR was normally led by DFID, with the MOD, the FCO and the Home Office as stakeholders, for Iraq the IPU had been given the lead “for the development of UK strategy through the Cabinet Office”.

195. The SPG recognised that SSR in Iraq was part of both the security and reconstruction efforts, and defined the SSR goal for Phase IV as: “To establish as soon as possible the core elements of a legitimate, accountable, sustainable Security Sector – which safeguards the Rights of Citizens and provides adequate Defence of future Iraqi Sovereignty.”

196. The paper concluded with an assessment of the level of UK military resource that should be devoted to that task, commenting that “we may face a requirement to provide additional resources” and that there was “a choice about the degree of military involvement” which would “have implications for both the level [sic] resources and the length of time we are likely to be engaged”.


154 Minute ACGS to PSO/CDS, 20 May 2003, ‘Op TELIC: ACGS’ Trip to Iraq (17‑21 May 03) – Initial Findings and Recommendations’.
155 Minutes, 22 May 2003, Chiefs of Staff meeting.
156 Letter Watkins to Manning, 23 May 2003, ‘Security in Baghdad’.
157 Minutes, 29 May 2003, Chiefs of Staff meeting.
158 Minute Williams to COSSEC, 15 May 2003, ‘Iraq – Security Sector Reform’ attaching Paper [SPG], 15 May 2003, ‘Iraq – Security Sector Reform’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

197. In the area of Iraq under UK control, UK forces were “likely to be faced with a
variety of low level military activities required of Coalition Forces by the US to enable
SSR implementation (e.g. oversight of recruiting procedures, provision of training advice
and resources)”.

198. The SPG’s recommendations included:

• “We should proceed on the basis of minimal engagement in SSR in Iraq
coherent with current Ministerial intent.”

• “We should seek clarification of where the funding for engagement in SSR will
be forthcoming.”

• That the UK should seek clarification from the US on “who will decide size and
shape of internal security forces”.

199. The minutes of the Chiefs of Staff meeting recorded that the MOD “should remain
flexible on the degree to which the UK should be militarily involved, but be forward
leaning in those areas where valuable assistance could be offered.”159

The police structure in the UK

In his statement to the Inquiry, Chief Constable Paul Kernaghan described the police
structure in the UK during the Iraq conflict.160 There were 52 territorial forces: the Home
Office was responsible for the 43 forces that cover England and Wales, the Scottish
Executive for the eight forces in Scotland and the Northern Ireland Office for the Police
Service in Northern Ireland (PSNI). Each force was headed by a Chief Constable (or
Commissioner), who were members of the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO).161
Within ACPO, discrete “business areas” were led by individual Chief Constables “in
addition to other duties”.
From 2000 to 2008, CC Kernaghan was the lead on international affairs for ACPO in
addition to his role as Chief Constable of Hampshire Constabulary.

200. CC Kernaghan had first been informed of a potential requirement to deploy
police officers to Iraq in an email from a junior Home Office official on 14 April.162
That exchange is also referred to earlier in this Section. The junior official explained:
“As you know, we would expect the FCO, who lead on the UK contribution to the
policing element of international peacekeeping/crisis management operations,
to initiate any request for policing assistance in Iraq. No formal approach has yet
been made. But in view of the Home Secretary’s keen interest, I spoke to Stephen
Pattison, Head of the UN Department at the FCO, to find out what their thinking was.


159 Minutes, 29 May 2003, Chiefs of Staff meeting.
160 Statement, 9 June 2010, pages 1‑2.
161 Chief Constables of forces in Scotland were members of ACPO Scotland.
162 Email Home Office [junior official] to Kernaghan, 14 April 2003, ‘Potential police involvement in Iraq’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

He considers that an initial, fairly small, deployment of armed police officers to Basra would be useful in the first instance. The idea being that they would seek out credible elements of the local police force and encourage them (e.g. to act against looters etc).
“To meet this requirement, the International Policing Unit was looking to recruit about 20 Ministry of Defence Police officers, after the MDP [Ministry of Defence Police] had made a short reconnaissance visit … Stephen Pattison said that he would like to see how this initiative worked out, before deciding whether to ask the HO [Home Office] for any assistance from other (i.e. ACPO) forces.”

201. In his response CC Kernaghan asked a number of questions about how the UK government envisaged any civilian policing assistance fitting in with the current military role and volunteered to visit Iraq “to consult with appropriate Coalition commanders/administrators and assess the input the UK could make”.163

202. CC Kernaghan told the Inquiry that he was “quite clear” that he could not offer valid professional advice unless he had “first hand exposure to the realities of contemporary Iraq”.164

203. On 23 May, CC Kernaghan reported to Mr Blunkett and Mr Straw on his visit to Iraq the previous week, undertaken to assess the possibilities for a UK police contribution to the Coalition effort and the scale of the task involved.165 CC Kernaghan identified a number of challenges that he judged the Coalition powers would need to overcome in order to deliver effective law and order within Iraq:

• The absence of strategic direction or professionally informed planning. As well as the disorganisation he encountered in ORHA (which he attributed in part to the transition to the CPA), CC Kernaghan highlighted the absence of a clear plan from either of the two Occupying Powers for maintaining law and order or operating an effective criminal justice system. He observed that, in the course of his visit, it had become apparent that the UK had been preparing for the potential Occupation for some time and stated that it was a matter of “regret” that professional police advice from the UK had not been sought until April 2003.

• Criminal justice infrastructure was “totally degraded with police stations, courthouses and prisons having been looted by the local population and in some cases their own staff”. CC Kernaghan commented that: “Looting does not do justice to the level of destruction inflicted and I can best liken the outcome to the progress of locusts across a field of corn.” He suggested that a prison facility “meeting minimum international standards was also a high priority” and that the old Iraqi prison facilities that had been discovered indicated that “humane


163 Email Kernaghan to Home Office [junior official], 14 April 2003, ‘Potential UK civil police involvement in Iraq’.
164 Statement, 9 June 2010, page 2.
165 Letter Kernaghan to Blunkett, 23 May 2003, ‘Iraq – visit by Chief Constable P R Kernaghan’ attaching Report Kernaghan, 10 May 2003, ‘Report on Visit to Iraq by Chief Constable Kernaghan [13-20 May 2003]’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

treatment of prisoners was an unknown concept.” Prisoners were, at the time,
being held in the theatre internment facility designed for prisoners of war.

• The difference between the social norms and attitudes of the Occupying Powers
and the local people and their neighbours in the wider region. That divergence
was going to be a significant issue: “If the [Coalition Powers] are going to ensure
that their values and concept of human rights are respected in Iraq, excellent.
Equally, if they feel that legally they cannot change Iraqi society on those lines,
it would be helpful for that reality to be spelt out. This is particularly relevant to
policing, as any international officer serving in Iraq could not be associated with
operational policing which did not reflect the human rights position of their parent
country. Ambiguity and obfuscation would not survive long in the glare of media
and domestic political scrutiny.”

204. After returning to the UK from a visit to Iraq, Mr Blair sent a personal note to
President Bush.166 Sir David Manning provided copies to Mr Straw, Mr Hoon, Mr Watkins and Mr Powell, but instructed “It must not go wider”.

205. Mr Blair wrote that: “… the task is absolutely awesome and I’m not at all sure we’re geared for it. This is worse than re‑building a country from scratch.”

206. He went on to explain that security in Baghdad had to be dealt with at once; police
training was vital and urgent.

207. During May, the CPA Interior Ministry’s International Police Assistance Team (IPAT)
– comprising 15 policing experts from the UK, US, Canada and Denmark – carried
out an assessment of the Iraqi police, to inform the CPA’s plans for reconstituting and
developing policing in Iraq.167 The Coalition had originally intended to conduct the
policing assessment as part of a wider justice sector assessment; however, because
“the law and order situation was in a critical state of disarray … the … priority was
defined as establishing the police forces” and the work on policing was taken forward in
advance of wider work on the justice sector. The team produced a 56‑page assessment
of the state and future of policing in Iraq on 30 May.

208. The IPAT assessed that the law and order situation varied across Iraq. It
explained that the arrangements for recalling and reinstating the Iraqi police had varied
geographically and that individual Coalition commanders had taken different approaches
to the training and re‑use of existing police: “This effectively began the creation of four potentially different police forces in Iraq: North, Central, South Central and South.”
166 Letter Manning to McDonald, 2 June 2003, ‘Iraq: Prime Minister’s Note’ attaching Note, ‘Note’.


167 Report CPA Interior Ministry, 30 May 2003, ‘Iraq Police: An Assessment of the Present and Recommendations for the Future’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

209. The IPAT commented: “Encouragingly, the Iraqi police are co‑operating and demonstrating a willingness to work alongside the Coalition Forces in order to address the law and order situation.”

210. The IPAT explained that ORHA had:

• issued guidelines “to ensure that a standardised approach is utilised while re‑organising the police within each military area of responsibility”;

• established “criteria for vetting existing and screening newly recruited personnel”;

• stated that programmes of instruction to re‑train all existing personnel and new recruits would be complete by mid‑June;

• increased salary levels; and

• begun vetting of senior police officers in response to the de‑Ba’athification Order.

211. The IPAT assessment concluded: “The Iraqi Police, as currently constituted and trained, are unable to independently maintain law and order and need the assistance and guidance of Coalition Force assets (or some similar follow on force) to accomplish this task.”

212. The Iraqi police would need to be “redesigned and redeveloped” if they were to become capable of engendering public trust and confidence and being able to recover from the “years of neglect” and the “repressive command structure” that prohibited training, proactivity and initiative.

213. The IPAT recommended demilitarising the structure and ethos of the police and, while it recommended that the new police force should be recruited primarily from those who served in the previous Iraqi police, there should be tight vetting arrangements, retraining and “the establishment of an aggressive Office of Professional Standards … that ferrets out corruption while immediately addressing unprofessional, unethical or criminal behaviour within the Service”.

214. The IPAT set out a summary of the principles to be applied to vetting. It explained that the purpose was both “to remove unacceptable personnel from the existing … service” and to prevent unsuitable individuals joining the reconstituted police service. In addition to physical fitness and basic Arabic literacy, the criteria included:

“• No affiliation with the Ba’ath Party in accordance with … CPA Order No.1;

• No reported history of human rights violations or history of mistreatment or abuse of other persons;

• No criminal history involving violence, theft or violating the public trust;

• No reported history of a propensity to engage in violence or criminal acts;

• No reported history of immoral or unethical activity.”

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

215. The IPAT explained that once applicants had met those minimum requirements,
they would be investigated in line with the de‑Ba’athification Order to check that they
were not disqualified from employment. Absolute disqualifications would include:

“• Former regime security organisation affiliation (RG [Republican Guard] or worse);

• Senior Ba’ath Party membership;

• Terrorist organisation affiliation; or

• Human rights violations and crimes against humanity.”

216. The IPAT did not provide any details of how the information on which to make
judgements about individual cases was to be obtained and evaluated. Nor was there any
information about who would make the judgements.

217. Training programmes for existing police officers were to comprise an initial
three‑week transitional training programme followed by a longer‑term capacity‑building
programme, to include monitoring and mentoring, “until an effective, locally acceptable
police force is established that incorporates principles of community policing and full
respect for the human rights of individuals”.

218. The IPAT assessed that that could not be achieved “without significant international
assistance” and estimated that “a requisite force” would comprise 6,633168 international
police advisers, an unspecified number of whom would have executive powers. Training
sites should be opened in Baghdad, Basra, al‑Anbar and Northern Iraq. Those whom the
IPAT had spoken to as part of its research had “expressed a wish for US and UK police
as trainers and supervisors”, though the IPAT was of the opinion that “consideration
should obviously be given to a wider pool than this and should also include consideration
of other Arab police forces”. There was no detail about how those advisers would be

219. The IPAT stated: “… a policy decision is needed as to the end state of the police … so that there is an overarching vision and focus … Two models are available. One is the classic
single national police force with specialised units at the centre and decentralised
administration. The second is a police force which reflects a federal government

220. Former Deputy Chief Constable (DCC) Douglas Brand, who served as the UK’s
senior policing representative in Baghdad from July 2003, told the Inquiry that he
recalled seeing the IPAT assessment prior to his deployment and thought that it was
“high on aspiration but very low on actual, practical capability … not least, there wasn’t
a great deal of understanding of the local culture and context”.169


168 The report quotes two figures; 6,663 and 6,633. The Inquiry believes the latter is the correct figure.
169 Public hearing, 29 June 2010, pages 11‑13.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

SSR roles and responsibilities in Iraq

221. On 3 June, a conference was held in Washington chaired by Mr Slocombe.170 It was attended by personnel from the MOD, the FCO, the IPU and DFID, led by Brigadier John Rose, the Chief of Defence Staff’s Liaison Officer. At the conference, Mr Slocombe proposed a new structure for the CPA’s Office of the Director of Security Affairs.

222. The “most significant” change to previous plans was the addition of the post of Deputy Director for SSR, which Mr Slocombe said would take on “the co‑ordination role”.171 The British Embassy Washington commented that “this reflected a general willingness, by Slocombe at least, to view the management of the sector in the round”. The UK delegation told Mr Slocombe that the UK “would be keen to provide someone” for the SSR role.

223. The UK also undertook to provide a Chief Constable to advise on police support, a one or two‑star civilian deputy director to work on reform of the Iraqi MOD (IMOD172), a deputy director for intelligence conversion and a one‑star deputy commander of the Coalition Military Assistance173 and Training Team (CMATT).174 The UK also offered assistance with navy and air force reform.

224. US Major General Paul Eaton arrived in Iraq on 13 June to take control of the CPA’s CMATT, which was to be responsible for developing and training the NIA.175

225. CMATT reported to Mr Slocombe’s deputy, Lieutenant General Luis Feliu of the Spanish Army.176 Maj Gen Eaton’s Deputy Commander was from the UK – Brigadier Jonathon Riley. There were a further eight UK officers seconded to CMATT.177

226. CMATT was initially given a budget of US$173m and directed to train three divisions of light or motorised infantry by September 2006.178 It was also directed to form a small aviation element and a coastal defence force.

227. In early July, responsibilities for SSR in the CPA were divided. Mr Kerik took on responsibility for the MOI including policing, fire, customs, border control, immigration,


170 Minutes, 4 June 2003, Chiefs of Staff meeting.
171 Telegram 780 Washington to FCO London, 3 June 2003, ‘Iraq: Roundtable with Walt Slocombe, CPA Director’.
172 The IMOD was also referred to as the ‘Iraqi MOD’ or simply the ‘MOD’. The Inquiry will use the term ‘IMOD’ unless quoting from a document which uses an alternative.
173 ‘Advisory’ is used instead of ‘Assistance’ in some papers.
174 Minutes, 4 June 2003, Chiefs of Staff meeting.
175 Bowen SW Jr. Hard Lessons: The Iraq Reconstruction Experience. U.S. Government Printing Office, 2009.
176 Wright Dr DP & Reese Col TR. On Point II: Transition to the New Campaign – The United States Army in Operation IRAQI FREEDOM May 2003 – January 2005. Combined Studies Institute Press, June 2008.
177 Paper MOD, 9 December 2009, ‘Iraq Security Sector Reform’.
178 Wright Dr DP & Reese Col TR. On Point II: Transition to the New Campaign – The United States Army in Operation IRAQI FREEDOM May 2003 – January 2005. Combined Studies Institute Press, June 2008.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

passports, citizenship and disaster relief and Mr Slocombe focused on the development
of the Iraqi Armed Forces.179 Mr Kerik’s team at this stage comprised 12 people with an
additional five consultants on short‑term assignments.

228. A record of the IPU’s SSR team’s visit to Iraq at the start of July stated: “Although Kerik has a clear vision on his aspirations for a police force there currently appears to be a lack of strategic direction for the whole of Iraq with his focus firmly on Baghdad. That said it is understood that guidance has been given to the regions but they have largely been left to fend for themselves. It is expected that this will change as the international policing effort is established. Kerik offered much praise for the efforts and progress made in the Basra area by UK forces.” 180

UK policing strategy: summer 2003

229. On 5 June, Mr Straw sent a number of papers to Mr Blair including a three‑page
policing strategy produced by the UND.181 It referenced the CPA’s assessment of 30 May
and commented that, in the FCO’s view, the immediate objective was “to stabilise the
security situation by creating an effective interim police force with international civilian
police working alongside Iraqi police and Coalition military forces”.

230. The strategy stated that the longer‑term objective was “to establish an effective,
viable and sustainable police force within a fully functioning security sector”. The initial
response would be deployment of “an armed International Police Monitoring Force …
to Baghdad and Basra, to conduct joint patrols with the current Iraqi police force and
Coalition military” requiring 3,000 armed police officers. Once the Iraqi police were
considered to have received sufficient initial training, the international presence would
have a longer‑term training focus, eventually taking on a mentoring role.

231. The UND paper suggested the following timetable:

“• By 14 June: CPA/Coalition agree strategy for reforming Iraq Police Force
[to include a decision on the model of police force required];

• By 21 June: Appointment of Police Commissioner to implement strategy;

• By 30 June: Police Contributors conference;

• By 14 August: Infrastructure in place for international police monitoring/
mentoring force (IPMF);

• By 31 August: Arrival of international police force (IPMF) personnel.”


179 Minute Lowe [MOD], 9 July 2003, ‘Visit Report – IPU Security Sector Reform Team Visit to Baghdad 4‑7 July’.
180 Minute Lowe [MOD], 9 July 2003, ‘Visit Report – IPU Security Sector Reform Team Visit to Baghdad 4‑7 July’.
181 Minute Straw to Blair, 5 June 2003, ‘Iraq: Winning the Peace’ attaching Paper UND, 3 June 2003, ‘Iraq: Security Sector Reform: Policing Strategy’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

232. An FCO update to the MOD’s Iraq Secretariat stated that the strategy was “broadly endorsed by the Prime Minister”.182

233. On 6 June, the UND contacted the US State Department to share its draft policing strategy.183

234. Sir Kevin Tebbit and Gen Walker visited Baghdad and Basra in early June.184 Sir Kevin reported that Ambassador Bremer had expressed a desire to draw on UK expertise from Northern Ireland and they had explored how the UK might offer assistance. Sir Kevin also recorded that Gen Walker thought that the MOD Operational Training and Advisory Group (OPTAG) should advise on the creation of a “Police and Security Sector Reform Assistance” team.

235. The UND responded with a formal minute defending the UK’s draft strategy. The minute stated: “Since 1997 there has been a Whitehall system in place for the deployment of UK civilian police … The International Policing Unit in UND, FCO is in the lead … They … have a large amount of experience and expertise to draw on. I do not see the need to ask OPTAG to advise on setting up a new team … nor indeed do I see the need for a new team to be set up at all.”185

236. The MOD’s Iraq Secretariat had also been in touch with Mr Kerik in Baghdad.186 As a result, they considered that the FCO’s policing strategy was “about three weeks behind the curve” as Mr Kerik “doesn’t want an international force, he wants trainers (about 7,000 of them).”

237. The UND commented: “Until we see a policing strategy from the Americans … I suggest we continue to sell our proposal.”

238. At the AHMGIR held on 12 June, the FCO’s policing strategy was not discussed.187 Instead discussion on SSR focused on the deployment of UK personnel.

239. The minutes also recorded: “The US had asked for our advice on how to win hearts and minds and establish security based on our Northern Ireland experience. The MOD would send a team.”


182 Letter UND [junior official] to MOD(Sec Iraq), 9 June 2003, ‘Iraq: Policing Strategy’.
183 Email UND [junior official] to [State Department], 6 June 2003, ‘Iraq Policing’.
184 Minute Tebbit to Secretary of State [MOD], 3 June 2003, ‘Visit to Basra and Baghdad’.
185 Minute UND [junior official] to MOD(Sec Iraq), 9 June 2003, ‘Iraq: Policing Strategy’.
186 Email UND [junior official] to Lowe [MOD], 9 June 2003, ‘Policing Meeting – Tuesday 10 June’.
187 Minutes, 12 June 2003, Ad Hoc Group on Iraq Rehabilitation meeting.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

240. The MOD deployed OPTAG to train US military trainers and “pass on UK expertise
in peace support operations” in June.188

241. Mr Andy Bearpark became the CPA Director of Operations and Director of
Operations and Infrastructure in June 2003. He told the Inquiry: “The training of the new Iraqi police force was perceived of as an entirely civilian lead, even though military resources might be required.”189

242. Mr Straw met Ambassador Bremer in Iraq on 2 July.190 The record of the meeting
stated that Mr Kerik had made a request for “experienced police officers to help with
training and mentoring”.

243. The nature of this request was clarified in the record of the IPU’s visit to Iraq in
early July, which stated: “… a specific request for 100 UK Police Officers in a mentoring/tutoring role for the next 18 months operating in Iraq was raised by Kerik.”191

244. Police secondees were expected to contribute in a range of areas including training
and mentoring, with some officers being expected to “have executive powers” (that is, to
be operational police officers).

245. Acting DCC Brand deployed to Iraq on 4 July.192

246. Before his deployment, the evidence seen by the Inquiry indicates that there was
no clear understanding of what his role would be. There had “been a hint that the role
will be to head up the international policing effort”, but it was decided that he should
accompany the FCO’s SSR team on a visit to Baghdad and that “if there is a substantial
role for him it is intended that he will stay on”.193

247. Former DCC Brand told the Inquiry that he had been “told that I should seek to
negotiate my way in with Bernard Kerik, but if that failed to return to the UK”.194

248. Once DCC Brand was in Iraq, agreement was reached that he would serve as
Mr Kerik’s chief adviser on policing.195 Shortly after arriving in Baghdad, DCC Brand


188 Letter Williams to Rycroft, 1 July 2003, ‘Iraq: Security and Troop Levels’; Letter Sinclair to Sheinwald, 17 October 2003, ‘Iraq Security and Policing’.
189 Public hearing, 6 July 2010, page 78.
190 Telegram 24 FCO London to IraqRep, 3 July 2003, ‘Iraq: Foreign Secretary’s Meeting with the Administrator of the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq, 2 July’.
191 Report Lowe [MOD], 9 July 2003, ‘Visit Report – IPU Security Sector Reform Team Visit to Baghdad 4‑7 July’.
192 Statement Brand, 18 June 2010, page 1.
193 Minutes, 26 June 2003, ‘Minutes of a Meeting to Discuss Security Sector Reform in Iraq Held at the IPU on Thursday 26 June 03’.
194 Statement, 18 June 2010, page 1.
195 Minute Brand, 16 July 2003, ‘Report from Iraq – Douglas Brand’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

requested “immediate augmentation of three staff” to support his work in Baghdad and drafted himself some more detailed Terms of Reference. Those included responsibility for:

• policing Baghdad (under Mr Kerik’s policy direction) – an operational function;

• developing an implementation strategy for policing in Baghdad, aimed at achieving transition from military primacy to civil police primacy;

• mentoring, coaching and training the Iraqi Chief of Police for Baghdad (once appointed) to a level that would allow the CPA to hand over authority and operational responsibility;

• advising the CPA on international support for policing in Iraq; and

• advising the CPA on the implementation of a strategy for policing in Iraq.

249. Former DCC Brand told the Inquiry that the purpose of the last two objectives was to remind Mr Kerik of his “broader responsibility for the rest of Iraq”.196

250. Former DCC Brand later added that, “with the establishing of the second chief officer to go down there [Basra], I made an early decision, rightly or wrongly, that I wasn’t going to trespass in his [Mr Kerik’s] area, apart from the fact that I had enough to get on with in Baghdad and the rest of Iraq, but also there was a slightly different set‑up”.197

251. After Mr Kerik’s tenure in Iraq ended in early September 2003,198 DCC Brand effectively acted as senior adviser to the MOI “for a couple of months”199 until late October when a US replacement, Mr Steve Casteel, was brought in.200

252. Former DCC Brand told the Inquiry that, during that period: “… it was a busy time and, of course, what got neglected was the police part.”201

The UK approach to judicial reform

By the end of June 2003, the CPA had completed a review of the Iraqi justice sector.202
DFID officials summarised the conclusions and recommendations of the report as follows:

• A holistic upgrade of legal competence was required. To practise under the current system, lawyers needed only to register and attend a one‑hour interview.

• The roles of key actors in the court system needed clarification and re‑definition: specifically, prosecutors and defence lawyers should be more active and judges should perform a less prosecutorial function.

• Steps needed to be taken to reduce the endemic corruption in the legal system.


196 Public hearing, 29 June 2010, page 37.
197 Public hearing, 29 June 2010, page 89.
198 Statement Brand, 28 June 2010, page 1.
199 Public hearing, 29 June 2010, page 92.
200 PBS, 30 December 2005, ‘Training Iraqi Police Forces’.
201 Public hearing, 29 June 2010, page 93.
202 Annotated Agenda, 26 June 2003, Ad Hoc Group on Iraq Rehabilitation meeting.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

• The legal code should be clarified; choices needed to be made about which
statutes were valid and which were not.

• Judges should be screened for Ba’ath Party status.

• Legal associations needed to be strengthened to raise standards of
professionalism and self‑regulation.

• Discrimination against women in the legal system was overwhelming. They were
not allowed to attend the judicial training course that was the basis for selection
as judges and prosecutors.203
The AHMGIR was briefed that some of the recommendations were already being put
into effect.204 On 17 June, Ambassador Bremer had announced the opening of a new
Iraqi Judicial College, the creation of a Judicial Review Committee (responsible for
de‑Ba’athification of the judiciary) and the establishment of a Central Criminal Court. The
CPA also proposed to establish an Office of Human Rights and Transitional Justice, which
would operate alongside the Ministry of Justice.
Cabinet Office officials briefed members of the AHMGIR that: “We are generally content
with the direction of CPA policy, but believe that the UN and NGOs should be more
involved in the next stages.”
Ministers discussed the Judicial Review Team’s report at the AHMGIR on 26 June and
agreed that “subject to closer scrutiny” they should support the report’s recommendations
“including by providing specialist advice”.205
A DFID‑sponsored mission by the International Legal Assistance Consortium (ILAC)
visited Iraq from 13 to 30 August to scope projects for the reconstruction of the judicial
system.206 Four of the projects recommended by the mission formed the basis of the
£2.2m DFID‑funded ILAC Justice Support Programme (see Box, ‘International Legal
Assistance Consortium’).
On 10 July, the AHMGIR considered a paper on judicial reform.207
Lord Goldsmith said that corruption and intimidation had left the Iraqi judicial system in
a “worse state than expected” and that it would take a “long term commitment from the
international community and particularly the Arab world to rebuild”. He highlighted that Iraqi people wanted a system that would deal with current crimes as well as legacy crimes.
Ministers agreed that the UK should:

• encourage qualified and vetted Iraqi legal experts to assist reconstruction of the
judicial sector;

• encourage participation of the UN, Arab and international experts;

• second suitable UK personnel where possible; and

• consider holding a conference on judicial issues in Iraq.


203 Letter Glentworth to Kossoff, 22 August 2003, ‘CPA Judicial Assessment Team (“the Williamson Report”)’.
204 Annotated Agenda, 26 June 2003, Ad Hoc Group on Iraq Rehabilitation meeting.
205 Minutes, 26 June 2003, Ad Hoc Group on Iraq Rehabilitation meeting.
206 Paper ILAC, 1 December 2003, ‘ILAC Iraq Programme – Submission for DFID’.
207 Minutes, 10 July 2003, Ad Hoc Group on Iraq Rehabilitation meeting.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

253. The AHMGIR next discussed SSR on 17 July for which the IPU – which had been renamed the ‘Iraq Policy Unit’ – provided an update paper.208 The paper stated that there had been considerable progress in various SSR areas but that there was still no cohesive strategy. That lack of strategy was described as “not necessarily … a cause for current alarm” as it was a reflection of the rapidly moving situation in Iraq.

254. The paper described the splitting of SSR responsibilities as a “set back” and informed Ministers that there were now four senior UK personnel in Baghdad working in each of the main SSR areas (policing, intelligence, army and the MOD). Agreement that DCC Brand would serve as Mr Kerik’s chief adviser was “an important gain”.

255. The paper mentioned the requirement for approximately 7,000 international police officers. The US intended to provide 700 and the UK 100.

256. At the meeting of the AHMGIR, the IPU described the 7,000 target as “ambitious” although they considered that the Organisation for Security and Co‑operation in Europe (OSCE) might provide support.209 By that stage, a police donors’ conference should have been held and international contributions established according to the original FCO timeline produced on 3 June. The fact that timelines were slipping was not mentioned at the meeting or in the update paper.

257. On 1 August, the UND wrote to DCC Brand asking him to push for a policing strategy and stating: “The UK and other states will be reluctant to engage in the reform of the Iraqi police service unless we are shown that there is a clear strategy … If the CPA Interior Ministry is genuinely considering the deployment of a significant mentoring mission, it will urgently need to address these issues and make its case to a wider audience. We fully appreciate the constraints of the operating environment, but we are keen to keep up momentum and build on progress made.”210

Training of the Iraqi Police Service begins

258. Formal police training began in late June.211 On 16 July, the first 150 students graduated from the Transition Integration Programme – a three‑week course designed for existing police officers and run by the US Military Police in Baghdad.212

259. The same month, Ambassador Bremer recommended that the training of police be accelerated and that additional international police be deployed to protect critical infrastructure.213


208 Annotated Agenda, 17 July 2003, Ad Hoc Group on Iraq Rehabilitation attaching Paper IPU, 16 July 2003, ‘Security Sector Reform the Next Steps’.
209 Minutes, 17 July 2003, Ad Hoc Group on Iraq Rehabilitation meeting.
210 Minute UND [junior official] to Brand, 1 August 2003, ‘Iraq Police Reform: UK Priorities’.
211 Minute Brand, 16 July 2003, ‘Report from Iraq – Douglas Brand’.
212 The same programme is also sometimes referred to as Training in Post (TIP).
213 Email Rumsfeld to Feith, 8 July 2003, ‘Police in Iraq’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

260. On 8 July, Secretary Rumsfeld issued instructions to work up a plan and develop a
list of requirements. He stated: “Prime Minister Blair said he agreed and would get some

261. That may be a reference to a video conference held on 3 July in which both
Secretary Rumsfeld and Mr Blair participated. Mr Blair was reported to have asked
Ambassador Bremer and Mr Sawers to draw up a list of their requirements, and said
that the UK would “do our level best to meet any demand for additional resources”.214
That discussion is described in more detail in Section 9.2.

262. In early August, Mr Kerik briefed Ambassador Bremer on the requirement for police
in Iraq.215 He estimated that Iraq needed 65,000‑75,000 police officers and said that it
would take approximately six years to develop that size of force. Ambassador Bremer
responded that it needed to be done in two years and allocated a US$120m budget from
Iraqi Government funds.

263. On 10 August, DCC Brand reported that the CPA leadership had acknowledged
that it would not be possible to attract the 6,600‑strong International Police Training
Force originally envisaged in the CPA’s May assessment and that the aspiration was
now “1,500 to 2,000”.216

264. Hard Lessons stated that the US NSC rejected the original recommendation for 6,000 international police officers: “… viewing them as too ambitious and too expensive. Ultimately, Ambassador Bremer requested IRRF 2 [Iraq Relief and Reconstruction Fund] funding for 1,500 police advisors – of whom 1,000 would be American.” 217

Police training academies

One of the practical challenges facing those delivering the police training was where it
should be carried out. Concerns about security within Iraq had led the CPA to consider
the possibility of conducting the majority of the training in Hungary, though this plan failed to materialise.218


214 Letter Cannon to McDonald, 3 July 2003, ‘Iraq: Prime Minister’s Video‑Conference with President Bush, 3 July’.
215 Bremer LP III & McConnell M. My Year in Iraq: The Struggle to Build a Future of Hope. Threshold, 2006.
216 Minute Brand, 10 August 2003, ‘Report from Iraq – Douglas Brand’.
217 Bowen SW Jr. Hard Lessons: The Iraq Reconstruction Experience. U.S. Government Printing Office, 2009.
218 Minute, 7 September 2003, ‘Report from Iraq – Douglas Brand’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

The next proposal, in September, was for a training college in Jordan which the CPA considered could be made ready by November 2003.219 That facility would provide training for 35,000 Iraqi police recruits in a series of eight‑week training courses, each taking 1,500 students.
Training of new recruits began in Jordan on 29 November with 36 UK police officers (a third of the training staff).220 A further 40 UK officers were “on standby to join the … project as it expands”. It was highlighted that: “Construction is behind schedule and conditions poor.”
The first recruits to pass through the Jordan facility were existing recruits who had been going through police training at the point of the invasion.221 Former DCC Brand described the course as “very, very basic”.
Plans also progressed for police training inside Iraq. As mentioned in the CPA’s May assessment of policing in Iraq, there were plans to open academies in Basra, Baghdad and the North of the country.
Plans for an academy near Basra were initiated by the military and then taken on by DCC Stephen White, Senior Police Adviser and Director of Law and Order for CPA(South). The academy was to be known as the Regional Police Training Academy (RPTA) and located at az‑Zubayr, near Basra.
The Baghdad facility was run by a UK Chief Inspector and staffed by US military police.222

New Iraqi security structures

265. On 23 June, Mr Slocombe announced the formation of the New Iraqi Army (NIA).223 The plans for the NIA included:

“• To have a full division equivalent of 12,000 soldiers, who would be trained and operational in one year. By two years to have three divisions of 40,000 soldiers.

• To deploy battalions as they are trained, under the command of Iraqi officers.

• The military missions of the units will include protecting the nation’s borders, provide military level security for certain routes and installations, help clear mines and UXO [unexploded ordnance].”

266. On 18 August, Ambassador Bremer signed CPA Order No.22, which set out the mission and role of the NIA.224 It was to be responsible for: “… the military defense of the nation, including defense of the national territory and the military protection of the security of critical installations, facilities, infrastructure, lines of communication and supply, and population.”


219 Annotated Agenda, 18 September 2003, Ad Hoc Group on Iraq Rehabilitation meeting.
220 Letter Owen to Rycroft, 18 December 2003, ‘UK Contribution to Iraqi Police Training’.
221 Public hearing Brand, 29 June 2010, pages 62‑65.
222 Letter Sinclair to Sheinwald, 17 October 2003, ‘Iraq: Security and Policing’; Letter Owen to Rycroft, 18 December 2003, ‘UK Contribution to Iraqi Police Training’.
223 Coalition Provisional Authority Press Release No. 006, 23 June 2003, Good news for Iraqi soldiers.
224 Coalition Provisional Authority Order Number 22: Creation of a New Iraqi Army.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

267. Although the NIA would have a role in internal disaster relief operations, the Order
was explicit that: “The New Iraqi Army shall not have or exercise, domestic law enforcement functions, nor intervene in the domestic political affairs of the nation.”

268. Ambassador Bremer was established as Commander in Chief, pending transfer of
the role to an “internationally recognised, representative government, established by the
people of Iraq”.

269. Suitability for employment in the NIA would be judged on a number of criteria,
• “the absence of evidence of human rights violations or war crimes”;

• “the absence of affiliation with the security and political control organs of the
former regime”; and

• “the absence of association with Extremist Organisations or other groups that
use or advocate the use of violence for political purposes whether internal or

270. In early August, the first 1,000 Iraqi Army recruits were sent by the CPA for basic
training in Kirkush (north east of Baghdad) by CMATT.225

271. On 5 September, Secretary Rumsfeld ordered an acceleration of the programme to
train the Iraqi Army, stating that the three planned Divisions must be ready by September
2004.226 The budget to achieve this was increased from US$173m to US$2.2bn.

272. Hard Lessons records that Secretary Rumsfeld made the decision to halve training
time to one year during a visit to Iraq in August 2003, as security was worsening.227

The Governing Council

The Governing Council (GC) was an Iraqi group with powers set out in Authorities of the
Governing Council, agreed between international forces and members of the GC. It met
for the first time on 13 July 2003 and is explained in more detail in Section 9.2.228
The agreement enabled the GC to make policy in all areas, including “the rebuilding and/
or reform of Iraq’s armed forces, police and justice sector … [and] ensuring that Iraq’s
police and military are depoliticised”.229


225 Wright Dr DP & Reese Col TR. On Point II: Transition to the New Campaign – The United States Army in Operation IRAQI FREEDOM May 2003 – January 2005. Combined Studies Institute Press, June 2008.
226 Wright Dr DP & Reese Col TR. On Point II: Transition to the New Campaign – The United States Army in Operation IRAQI FREEDOM May 2003 – January 2005. Combined Studies Institute Press, June 2008.
227 Bowen SW Jr. Hard Lessons: The Iraq Reconstruction Experience. U.S. Government Printing Office, 2009.
228 Bremer LP III & McConnell M. My Year in Iraq: The Struggle to Build a Future of Hope. Threshold, 2006.
229 Telegram 81 IraqRep to FCO London, 13 July 2003, ‘Iraq: Governing Council: Authorities’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

The GC is sometimes referred to as the Iraq Governing Council (IGC). The two titles refer to the same body. The Inquiry has chosen to refer to the GC, for consistency, except where quoting others who have used IGC.

273. In July 2003, a new temporary Iraqi security force was established by US military commanders in order to help fight the growing insurgency – the Iraqi Civil Defence Corps (ICDC).230 The concept was to:

• give Coalition operations an Iraqi face;

• keep unemployed young men out of the insurgency; and

• increase the number of security forces available.231

274. ICDC personnel were locally recruited and expected to live at home.

275. By August 2003, there were 23,000 ICDC personnel serving as linguists, security personnel, drivers and humanitarian relief providers. They also participated in patrols, convoys, cordons and checkpoints.232

276. The ICDC was formally established by CPA Order No.28, signed by Ambassador Bremer on 3 September 2003.233 The Order explained that the ICDC was intended to be:
“… a security and emergency service agency for Iraq … composed of Iraqis who will complement operations conducted by Coalition military forces in Iraq to counter organized groups and individuals employing violence against the people of Iraq and their national infrastructure.”

277. The Order authorised the ICDC to perform “constabulary duties” including:

“• patrolling urban and rural areas;

• conducting operations to search for and seize illegal weapons and other contraband;


• providing fixed site, check point, area, route and convoy security;

• providing crowd and riot control;

• disaster response services;

• search and rescue services;

• providing support to humanitarian missions and disaster recovery operations including transportation services;


230 Bowen SW Jr. Hard Lessons: The Iraq Reconstruction Experience. U.S. Government Printing Office, 2009.
231 Wright Dr DP & Reese Col TR. On Point II: Transition to the New Campaign – The United States Army in Operation IRAQI FREEDOM May 2003 – January 2005. Combined Studies Institute Press, June 2008.
232 Wright Dr DP & Reese Col TR. On Point II: Transition to the New Campaign – The United States Army in Operation IRAQI FREEDOM May 2003 – January 2005. Combined Studies Institute Press, June 2008.
233 Coalition Provisional Authority Order Number 28 – Establishment of the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps, 3 September 2003.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

• conducting joint patrols with Coalition Forces; and

• participating in other activities designed to build positive relationships between the
Iraqi people and Coalition authorities including serving as community liaisons.”

278. The ICDC operated under the authority of the Administrator of the CPA but was
subject to the supervision of Coalition Forces. Hard Lessons stated: “… Because the ICDC was not part of the original CPA security sector plan, it posed significant co‑ordination problems from its inception …There was little coordination with the Iraqi police or army and no accountability to any Iraqi ministry or the CPA.
“Some in CMATT feared the ICDC could become a parallel security structure,
competing with the police in local affairs and diluting the Iraqi Army’s authority at
the national level. But Coalition commanders valued the ICDC as a way to enable
Iraqis to provide security for their own country, while supplementing CJTF-7’s
[Combined Joint Task Force 7] overstretched forces.” 234

279. However, Major General Andrew Stewart, General Officer Commanding (GOC)
Multi‑National Division South‑East (MND(SE))235 from December 2003 to July 2004,
told the Inquiry that he believed the ICDC “was a success”.236 He described a visit
by Lieutenant General David Petraeus, Commanding General, Office of Security
Co‑operation (the creation of the OSC is described later in this Section): “He [Gen Petraeus] was responsible for the security sector, came down, saw the ICDC in Basra in particular and went away pretty impressed about it, and said ‘I haven’t seen anything approaching this’.”

An Iraqi intelligence service

In September 2003, Mr David Richmond, the Prime Minister’s Special Representative on
Iraq,237 reported that the US was preparing to set up an internal Iraqi intelligence service
linked to the police and the MOI. The interim Minister of the Interior told Mr Richmond
that he was keen to have UK advice on setting up an investigative branch and a
counter‑terrorism branch.238
DCC Brand told the Inquiry: “… an opportunity arose for us to influence the direction in which the development of the Iraqi Intelligence Service … was going to go … I argued over a series ofmeetings … that, if we had a sort of special branch system … where the intelligence


234 Bowen SW Jr. Hard Lessons: The Iraq Reconstruction Experience. U.S. Government Printing Office, 2009.
235 Multi‑National Division South‑East is described in Box, ‘Multi‑National Division (South‑East)’, later in this Section.
236 Public hearing, 9 December 2009, pages 74‑75.
237 Mr David Richmond was temporarily the Prime Minister’s Special Representative on Iraq. In September
2003 (on the arrival of Sir Jeremy Greenstock), Mr Richmond became the Deputy.
238 Telegram 150 IraqRep to FCO London, 4 September 2003, ‘Iraq: Briefing for Prime Minister’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

service does the intelligence work and the arresting and locking‑up is done by a police agency, that gives a useful balance, allows people to actually focus on their main area of expertise and doesn’t cause the problems of the intelligence people having the power to arrest and detain and do whatever else they need to do to get information. Eventually … Ambassador Bremer was persuaded … and made that as a decision. I could not get a special branch manager or somebody retired who had that skill of being able to take the concept into reality, and so we lost the opportunity and that disappeared.”239
In April 2004, the Iraqi National Intelligence Service (INIS) was established. Its operational officers and support staff had been trained and vetted and were based in Baghdad, with a planned outstation in Basra.240 It included some former intelligence officers.
INIS was initially headed by former Major General Mohammed al‑Shehwani, who had been forced into exile by Saddam Hussein in 1984.241
In a paper by the MOD dated 6 June 2006, intelligence was one of the areas described as “immature”, having been “placed deliberately at the back of the force generation process”.242
Later, in spring 2008, a new intelligence structure was developed in Basra.243 Lieutenent General Barney White‑Spunner, GOC MND(SE) from February to August 2008, described that structure to the Inquiry: “… at the end of the Charge of the Knights, General Mohammed and I put together, I hope, quite a sophisticated counter‑terrorist structure in Basra with a co‑ordination committee which brought all the Iraqi Security Forces together. We fused them into various intelligence agencies … We were able to combine police and army posts across the city.”

280. Two other security forces were created under the jurisdiction of the MOI in autumn 2003:

• CPA Order No.26, signed on 24 August 2003, created the Department of Border Enforcement (DBE).244 Previous immigration officials were prevented from employment because of their connection to Saddam Hussein’s secret police.245

• CPA Order No.27, signed on 4 September 2003, created the Facilities Protection Service (FPS).246 The FPS was designed to provide site security for ministry


239 Public hearing, 29 June 2010, pages 45‑46.
240 Minute Dodd to Quarrey, 30 April 2004, ‘Iraqi Security Force Capabilities’.
241 Bremer LP III & McConnell M. My Year in Iraq: The Struggle to Build a Future of Hope. Threshold, 2006.
242 Minute DJC/Iraq to Cabinet Office [junior official], 7 June 2006, ‘Iraq: Strategy Group Workstrands’ attaching Paper, ‘Update on Progress of the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF)’.
243 Public hearing, 7 January 2010, page 43.
244 Coalition Provisional Authority Order Number 26 – Establishment of the Department of Border Enforcement, 24 August 2003.
245 Bowen SW Jr. Hard Lessons: The Iraq Reconstruction Experience. U.S. Government Printing Office, 2009.
246 Coalition Provisional Authority Order Number 27 – Establishment of the Facilities Protection Service, 4 September 2003.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

facilities and provincial government buildings. Each ministry or governorate
administration could have its own unit. FPS training was a very basic
three‑day course.

Global Conflict Prevention Pool Strategy

281. On 1 August, Ministers from the FCO, DFID and the MOD were asked to agree a
joint FCO/DFID/MOD Iraq Strategy for the Global Conflict Prevention Pool (GCPP).247
The Strategy aimed to provide a coherent framework for UK activities aimed at
preventing conflict in Iraq. It defined its “initial focus of activity” as SSR. Work on that
element of the Strategy was the most well developed, and Ministers were invited to
agree that expenditure on SSR activities could start immediately while work continued
to define the other elements of the Strategy.

Global Conflict Prevention Pool

The Global Conflict Prevention Pool (GCPP) was a UK Government fund bringing together
the work of the FCO, the MOD and DFID in conflict prevention.248 The aim was a more
strategic and cost‑effective approach to conflict prevention and reduction. Activities
included conflict assessments, supporting peace initiatives and DDR programmes.

282. The “second element” of the Strategy was assistance to “Iraqi governorates and
local administrations within the British AO as they develop to ensure that policy decisions
are made strategically and with an understanding of conflict prevention issues.”249 That
included assistance to improve access to justice, encourage the involvement of women
in local administrations, and develop a fair and equitable prison service. The third
element was further studies and analyses to assist in the development of UK conflict
prevention strategies. The geographical spread of the programmes had not yet been
determined, although there were “good arguments” in favour of focusing in the South
to deliver an “exemplar southern model”.

283. The estimated cost of the Strategy was £7.5m per year for the UK financial years
2003/04 and 2004/05. Of the £15m total, £9.5m was allocated for SSR, £4m for local
governance and £1.5m for further studies and analyses. The implementation plan for
the Strategy listed a number of SSR activities, including:

• support for the police;

• support for customs reform including the deployment of nine HM Customs and
Excise personnel starting on 18 August;


247 Minute, 1 August 2003, ‘Global Conflict Prevention Pool – Iraq Strategy’.
248 Paper DFID, FCO and MOD, 2003, ‘The Global Conflict Prevention Pool: A Joint UK Government Approach to Reducing Conflict’.
249 Minute, 1 August 2003, ‘Global Conflict Prevention Pool – Iraq Strategy’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

• support to develop a comprehensive Borders, Customs and Immigration Policy by 2005, and for the deployment of a senior immigration representative on 18 August;

• support to develop the Iraqi armed forces, to be defined by 6 August; and

• support for intelligence reform and development, to be defined by 15 August.

284. In the last week of September, an official from UND estimated that UK spend to date on policing Iraq was almost £127,000.250 Of that amount, around £25,000 had been spent on pre‑deployment training; approximately £44,000 on equipment, travel and subsistence; around £43,000 on travel and difficult post allowances; and around £15,000 on officers’ salaries.

285. An annex to the UND paper described the cost of deploying an officer to Iraq, by rank, as:

• Constable: £68,670;

• Sergeant: £71,670;

• Inspector: £79,670;

• Chief Inspector: £81,670;

• Superintendent: £86,670; and
• Chief Constable: £141,670.251

The departure of the UN

On 19 August 2003, a bomb exploded outside the UN headquarters at the Canal Hotel, Baghdad. It killed 22 UN staff and visitors, including Mr Sérgio Vieira de Mello, the UN Special Representative in Iraq.252 A second bomb attack on the UN followed on 22 September. Sir John Sawers told the Inquiry that the attacks were subsequently attributed to Al Qaida (AQ).253
Tension in central Iraq increased after the UN bombing.254 By 29 August, the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) missions had been withdrawn, a number of NGOs were withdrawing their international staff, and the UN had withdrawn some staff temporarily while reviewing its options.255


250 Minute Khundker to Chatterton Dickson, 25 September 2003, ‘Iraq Policing Costs’.
251 The following ranks were omitted: Chief Superintendent, Assistant Chief Constable and Deputy Chief Constable.
252 Report of the Independent Panel on the Safety and Security of UN Personnel in Iraq, 20 October 2003.
253 Public hearing, 16 December 2009, page 36.
254 Brief Cabinet Office, 20 August 2003, ‘Iraq: Update for Ministers, 21 August 2003’.
255 Minute Sheinwald to Prime Minister, 29 August 2003, ‘Iraq’ attaching Note Cabinet Office, ‘Iraq: Update 29 August 2003’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

Sir David Richmond told the Inquiry: “… the decision by the UN to withdraw from Iraq which they took around about the middle of September after a security review, I think … was regrettable, and it meant for several months they were not really playing any sort of role in Iraq. It also meant when Lakhdar Brahimi [the UN’s Special Envoy to Iraq] arrived, initially in the end of January 2004 and then again in April 2004, he was really working on his own.”256

Policing strategy: Iraqiisation

286. By early September 2003, the concept of “Iraqiisation” had started being used in
Whitehall (see Section 9.2). The term “Iraqiisation” did not have a common or precise
definition, but was generally used to mean the ability of the ISF to maintain security
independently, rather than under the leadership of the international forces.

287. On 2 September, Mr Blair held a meeting of Ministers and senior personnel.257
They included Mr Straw, Mr Hoon, Mr Hilary Benn (the International Development
Secretary), Gen Walker, Sir Richard Dearlove (Chief of the Secret Intelligence Service),
Mr John Scarlett (Chairman, Joint Intelligence Committee), Sir Jeremy Greenstock (the
Prime Minister’s Special Representative on Iraq from September), Mr Sawers (from
August the FCO Director General for Political Affairs) and No.10 officials.

288. The account of the meeting stated that “the Prime Minister wanted action on
Iraq taken forward with a heightened sense of urgency” ahead of a planned telephone
conversation with President Bush to review progress. In relation to internal security, the
record stated: “The Prime Minister believes that the key to the security situation in Iraq is the rapid mobilisation of an effective Iraqi police force. This should include:

• Police manpower up to 70,000 within three months, as a stage towards a full

• Adequate trainers and secure training facilities;

• Flexible handling of de‑Ba’athification in order not to exclude recruits

• Establishment of an internal intelligence service;

• Mobilisation of the Protection Force and Civil Defence Force to protect key

289. The IPU was asked to provide a paper setting out further advice after consulting
DFID, the MOD, the FCO and the Home Office, which it did on 3 September.258


256 Public hearing, 26 January 2011, page 43.
257 Letter Cannon to Adams, 2 September 2003, ‘Iraq: Briefing for the Prime Minister’.
258 Paper IPU, 3 September 2003, ‘Iraq Security Plan’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

290. The paper reiterated that the existing strategy was to have 70,000 Iraqi police in place by mid‑2004 and a 40,000‑strong Iraqi Army in place within a year. It stated that the UK’s target was to have deployed 100 police trainers by the end of 2003, out of a planned CPA total of 600.

291. The paper reiterated that the “training of the police should be accelerated and given a proper strategy (without which potential international contributors will not come forward)” but did not give details of how this might happen. The IPU considered that the key principles for what could be achieved were:

• The Coalition should work through existing local leadership and customs and Iraqis must take increasing security responsibility.

• Intelligence on the threats should be improved.

• De‑Ba’athification principles should be applied flexibly.

• Key programmes should be accelerated and made more effective, including by bringing police and army reform under a single head and providing more resources.

• Coalition Forces should be released for counter‑terrorism tasks by giving basic security tasks to Iraqi forces.

292. In conclusion, the paper stated: “While we develop Iraqi capability and broaden the international security presence, we must keep threats under control. This means more Coalition Forces are needed in the short term …”

293. There was no proposal for where this resource should come from, nor was there an assessment of whether it was realistic to train 70,000 police officers within a three‑month period as suggested by Mr Blair.

294. Another briefing paper, produced by Mr David Richmond,259 stated that although Ambassador Bremer agreed with the importance of accelerating recruitment he did not:
“… think that a target of 70,000 within the next three months is achievable. The cost would be huge and, however successful we were in speeding up training, the overwhelming majority of new recruits would end up with no training at all. This would be counter‑productive.”260


259 Mr David Richmond was temporarily the Prime Minister’s Special Representative on Iraq. In September 2003 (on the arrival of Sir Jeremy Greenstock), Mr Richmond became the Deputy.
260 Telegram 150 IraqRep to FCO London, 4 September 2003, ‘Iraq: Briefing for Prime Minister’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

295. The IPU paper was considered by the AHMGIR on 4 September.261 The minutes
recorded that the IPU stated: “The US had elaborate plans for Security Sector Reform, but faster action was needed. We should give priority to the rapid expansion of the Civil Defence Corps and the Facilities Protection Service … We should consider encouraging
neighbourhood security schemes and working with tribal leaders in rural areas.”

296. Sir Jeremy Greenstock was recorded as warning that the proposals “were not
enough to bring the impact required in the short term”.

297. Ministers agreed that ideas in the paper were “useful but required further work
which should be taken forward urgently”.

298. Ahead of a video conference with President Bush on 5 September (see
Section 6.2), Mr Blair sent the President a Note which stated: “Iraq has 37,000 police. We need to double that. Given the number of trainers and their facilities, that will take a year. We cannot wait that long. So: if we need to treble or quadruple the trainers and expand the numbers of Iraqi police even beyond that contemplated, we should do it. Some of the Governing Council believe that in certain areas, they should decide how far to take de‑Ba’athification in order to speed up the process. There may be good constraints/reasons why these things should not happen or take time, but we have to be very clear that the priority is to get movement fast. There must also be a top quality intelligence capability given to the Iraqis to act on the threat. This is essential.”262

299. The record of the video conference between Mr Blair and President Bush stated
that Mr Blair said a “big push” was required in boosting numbers and speeding up
training of Iraqi Security Forces.263

300. The IPU provided a more detailed paper entitled ‘Security Action Plan’ for the
inaugural meeting of the Iraq Senior Officials Group on 9 September (the creation of
which is addressed in Section 9.2).264 The IPU maintained that the focus should be on
the ICDC and the police “as the most likely to produce quick results, while continuing
to support the longer‑term development of the New Iraqi Army”. It did not address
Mr Blair’s concept of trebling the trainers available or expanding Iraqi police numbers.

301. For ICDC development, the IPU said that more UK Short Term Training Teams
were required and that national funding should be used to avoid “procedural delays”.


261 Minutes, 4 September 2003, Ad Hoc Group on Iraq Rehabilitation meeting.
262 Letter Sheinwald to Rice, 5 September 2003 attaching ‘Note on Iraq’.
263 Letter Canon to Adams, 5 September 2003, ‘Iraq: Prime Minister’s Video‑Conference with Bush, 5 September’.
264 Paper IPU, 8 September 2003, ‘Iraq: Security Action Plan’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

The MOD was also pursuing deployment of 12 non-commissioned officers to assist with training of the Iraqi Army.

302. The IPU assessed that “the main problem in developing the Iraqi Police is the slowness with which CPA is developing its strategy, concept and timelines for reform” and that “in the absence of a central strategy, we are pursuing regional options”.

303. In the meeting, most of the actions in the paper were agreed although the minutes make no mention of the use of national resources to progress SSR.265 It was also suggested that DCC Brand could potentially produce a policing strategy and that Sir Jeremy Greenstock should lobby Ambassador Bremer on the “necessity of having a strategy”.

304. On 14 September, Sir Jeremy Greenstock sent a teleletter to Sir Nigel Sheinwald (Prime Minister’s Foreign Policy Adviser and Head of OD Sec), Mr Sawers, Mr Geoffrey Adams (Mr Straw’s Principal Private Secretary), Mr John Buck (Mr Straw’s Private Secretary) and Sir Hilary Synnott (Head of CPA(South)).266 It stated: “Security will colour everything. The right way forward is Iraqiisation, particularly in the police. Bremer and his advisers are clear on the principle. But there is as yet no central plan for police training, and no CPA focal point for driving it forward. I am going to have to expend ammunition on this soon. Meanwhile London (and Washington) should be maximising the input of resources into the police area, not just training but also the provision of cars, equipment, radios etc. All this should be prepared now, even if Ministers only sign it off when they see the planned requirement set out. It is truly urgent.”

305. The Annotated Agenda for the meeting of the AHMGIR on 18 September re‑affirmed the requirement for a “coherent overall policing strategy”.267 Cabinet Office officials reported that the UK was lobbying Ambassador Bremer and Washington to expedite creation of a strategy and operational plan, and was offering the services of DCC Brand to write them. The paper did not reflect Mr Blair’s desire to treble the number of police trainers.

306. Ministers discussed policing at the AHMGIR on 18 September and “endorsed the plans for police training outlined in the Annotated Agenda and agreed that they should be implemented as swiftly as possible with whatever UK help was necessary”.268


265 Letter Dodd to Sheinwald, 10 September 2003, [untitled].
266 Teleletter Greenstock to Sheinwald, 14 September 2003, ‘Iraq/CPA: Early impressions’.
267 Annotated Agenda, 18 September 2003, Ad Hoc Group on Iraq Rehabilitation meeting.
268 Minutes, 18 September 2003, Ad Hoc Group on Iraq Rehabilitation meeting.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

A co‑ordinated UK Government policy on SSR – but no mention of Iraq

In September 2003, a Whitehall policy seminar was held to look at best practice on
SSR.269 To coincide with that, officials within the FCO, the MOD and DFID had planned to publish a report on SSR best practice. The MOD minute to Ministers stated that “SSR is
an area that necessitates high levels of co‑operation and co‑ordination between all three
Departments” and that the Departments had, in the Global Conflict Prevention Pool SSR
Strategy, a “common objective of helping governments of developing and transitional
countries fulfil their legitimate security functions through reforms that will make the delivery of security more democratically accountable, as well as more effective and efficient”.
However, there was “currently no joint policy brief to guide practitioners” beyond a 1999
DFID statement on the link between poverty and security, which had become out of date.
There was no mention of Iraq in the SSR report or the Ministerial foreword.270

307. On 19 September, DCC Brand produced an “Info Memo” for Ambassador Bremer
containing a plan for Iraqi police training and development.271 DCC Brand wrote that the
goal was to establish a 65,000‑70,000 member Iraqi police force over 18 months to two
years with an estimated annual cost of US$970m. That would require 600 international
trainers and 1,500 international police advisers and mentors with executive authority.

308. DCC Brand broke the plan down into four strands:

• Police recruitment and selection (US$5m) – to identify and initially screen at
least 33,000 qualified candidates with a team of 25 police and 150 MOI staff.

• Police training (US$150m) – to be run in Iraq and Jordan. Existing police officers
would receive a three‑week Transitional Integration Programme and new recruits
would receive an eight‑week basic police skills recruit course.

• Police institutional reform and development (US$800m) – to create a
“uniformed 1,500 member International Coalition Police Force (ICPF) which
will have executive authority and authorised to be armed, and will implement
new organisational structures, standard operating procedures, training and
equipment guidelines for police throughout Iraq under command of a CPA
appointed commissioner”.

• Developing police operational capacities (US$20m) – to focus on developing
specialised skills to deal with organised kidnapping, extortion and trafficking.


269 Minute MOD [junior official] to PS/Min(AF), 11 September 2003, ‘Security Sector Reform Policy Brief’.
270 Report [DFID/MOD/FCO], November 2003, ‘Security Sector Reform Policy Brief’.
271 Minute Brand to Administrator [Bremer], 19 September 2003, ‘Iraqi Police Training and Development – Short Summary Version’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

309. The only comment on the plan seen by the Inquiry came from CC Kernaghan who expressed concerns about the ICPF, writing: “To avoid problems later on, this concept requires thought and staff work now.” 272

310. The Inquiry has not been able to establish what became of that plan: it has not seen any further reference to it in contemporary papers.

311. At a video conference with President Bush on 13 October, Mr Blair stressed the importance he attached to Iraqiisation of the police and ICDC.273

312. By mid‑October no agreed CPA policing strategy had been produced. Despite that, on 17 October an update from Mr Straw’s office to No.10 stated: “We judge that the Coalition now has a credible and deliverable strategy to train 30,000 Iraqi police over the next year.” 274 By that stage around 40,000 police officers were considered to have been trained.

313. Mr Straw told the Inquiry that he considered that judgement to be “reasonable” at the time, but that with hindsight he could see that it was not.275

International contribution to police trainers

Following US/CPA/UK discussions in Amman and London on international police trainers, lobbying efforts were agreed and shared with Sir Jeremy Greenstock and DCC Brand on 3 October.276 The UK was to act as a “clearing house” for offers of assistance from EU Member States plus Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa. The US would be approaching other members of the international community.
The Police Contributors Conference, originally planned for 30 June, was held on 20 October in London and hosted by the FCO.277 It was attended by representatives from EU Member and Accession States, the European Council, Canada, Australia, Jordan and Singapore. The focus of the event appears to have been to encourage countries to deploy police trainers to staff the training facility in Jordan (see Box, Police training academies’), rather than into Iraq. “Firm” pledges of support in the form of trainers for the Jordan facility were received from Canada (20), Poland (10) and the Czech Republic (10), with other countries reported to be likely to decide on contributions after the Madrid Donors’ Conference (later that week).


272 Email Kernaghan to Home Office [junior official], 22 September 2003, ‘Iraq – Recent Developments’.
273 Letter Cannon to Adams, 13 October 2003, ‘Iraq: Prime Minister’s Video‑Conference with President Bush, 13 October’.
274 Letter Sinclair to Sheinwald, 17 October 2003, ‘Iraq: Security and Policing’.
275 Public hearing, 2 February 2011, page 140.
276 Telegram 90 FCO London to UKRep Iraq, 3 October 2003, ‘Iraq: Iraq Police Training in Jordan’.
277 Telegram 101 FCO London to UKRep Iraq, 21 October 2003, ‘Iraq: Iraq Police Contributors Conference: 20 October, London’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

By 24 November, further pledges of police trainers had been made by Finland (five),
Slovenia (five), Austria (four) and Slovakia (two).278
By mid‑2005, additional training staff were contributed by Jordan (66), Sweden (10),
Singapore (six), Hungary (three), Belgium (two), Australia (two) and Estonia (one).279

314. On 24 October, Sir Jeremy Greenstock reported that General Ricardo Sanchez,
Commander of the Coalition’s military command – Combined Joint Taskforce 7 (CJTF‑7),
had ordered a “comprehensive internal review of the security sector”.280 Sir Jeremy
reported: “The up‑to‑date military assessment is that operations have now lost momentum … [and that] … despite plans to accelerate the generation of Iraqi Security
Forces, progress may still be too slow … The emerging view of the military is that
this structure is stovepiped, lacks oversight and results in competing roles and
responsibilities within the security sector.”

315. Sir Jeremy also highlighted that General John Abizaid, Commander US Central
Command (CENTCOM), and Ambassador Bremer would attend discussions in
Washington covering SSR later in the week.

316. On 27 October, CJTF‑7 issued an Order entitled “Acceleration of the Iraqi Police
Services” which envisaged an enhanced support requirement from CJTF‑7 for enlarged
and accelerated police training programmes.281

317. On 6 November, the AHMGIR was briefed that the new approach included:

“• accelerating recruitment, training and deployment of Iraqi security forces. The
Iraqi Civil Defence Corps is now set to increase to 36 battalions by April 2004.
The target for 70,000 police should be reached by August 2004 rather than
March 2005. As a result training of the Iraqi Army will be slowed, but the Army
will now be allowed to undertake internal as well as external security tasks.
Once trained, total Iraqi forces will number 200,000;

• changing tactics to put Iraqi forces in the front‑line with Coalition Forces in
support; and

• recruiting more expert members of the former regime’s security forces.” 282


278 Minute, 24 November 2003, ‘Update on Iraqi Police Coordination for Donors and Policy Guidance’.
279 Paper Jordan International Police Training Center, [undated], ‘Welcome to the Jordan International Police Training Center’.
280 Telegram 230 IraqRep to FCO London, 24 October 2003, ‘Iraq: Security Update’.
281 Telegram 110 FCO London [on behalf of CPA Basra] to UKRep Iraq, 31 October 2003, ‘Police Training in South Iraq’.
282 Annotated Agenda, 6 November 2003, Ad Hoc Group on Iraq Rehabilitation meeting.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

318. Former DCC Brand told the Inquiry: “Trying to persuade my military colleagues at two‑star and three‑star level that this was a long‑term investment of restructuring the police seemed to work against their sort of short‑term mission goals, and I very vividly remember the presentation that was done to the Commanding General which was entitled ‘30,000 in 30 Days’ … I had to say ‘Okay, in that case then, why don’t you give me the military to train? I have read a few war books, I have seen a few war films, it can’t be as difficult as that, or is that as ridiculous as what you are suggesting, which is we recruit 30,000 in 30 days, call them police, label them police, give them weapons and say ‘You are now in the police’ but actually have no capability to do the things that policemen should do at all?”283

Concerns about strategy

319. CC Kernaghan visited Iraq for the second time in mid‑November 2003.284 His visit was affected by a “security ‘lockdown’” which meant he was unable to travel into Basra and so met Sir Hilary Synnott in Basra Airport.285

320. In his report to the Home and Foreign Secretaries, CC Kernaghan commented:
“… the ‘bad luck’ factor has kicked in with a vengeance … The security situation is not good and will become worse, but the answer to many aspects of the problem is an effective Iraqi security infrastructure … It is quite clear that the current level of UK police assistance is unsustainable in that it is insufficient to deliver a coherent package of support and I suggest that the UK Government has to decide to either increase our assistance or withdraw our support altogether.”286

321. CC Kernaghan stated that he “detected the lack of a clear vision” for policing within Iraq and was concerned that a “hybrid US City department/UK police service” was being created. He commented that he was “unclear as to the overall CPA Iraq ‘model’ and whether or not a single tier national service is being created”. CC Kernaghan also reported that senior officials were “reluctant to be definitive as to the CP[A]’s strategic plan” because “meetings in Washington (and London) might well totally change existing plans”.


283 Public hearing, 29 June 2010, pages 24‑25.
284 Report Kernaghan to Straw, 18 November 2003, ‘Report on Second Visit to Iraq by Chief Constable Kernaghan – 11/11/03 – 14/11/03’.
285 Public hearing Synnott, Lamb and Stewart, 9 December 2009, page 21.
286 Report Kernaghan to Straw, 18 November 2003, ‘Report on Second Visit to Iraq by Chief Constable Kernaghan – 11/11/03 – 14/11/03’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

322. A Cabinet Office Ministerial update on 19 November stated: “The CPA has no current plans to draw up a formal policing strategy. Their view is that command, control and administrative arrangements for the police will depend heavily on unsettled constitutional issues and thus must await further political progress … Partly in this context, Jim Daniel, a senior ex‑HO [Home Office] adviser, sent by us to help generate a policing strategy has decided to resign.” 287

323. The update did not state the UK’s view of the CPA position but said:
“In response, we are following up a new request from DCC Brand … for additional
UK officers to support him in implementing the existing training plan.”

324. As early as May 2003, Sir David Manning and Ambassador Bremer recognised that:
“De‑Ba’athification and the dissolution of security ministries would create a new
reservoir of angry men. So there was a need to step up patrols and tighten up
security.” 288

325. At the end of 2003, as security worsened, the debate around the extent to which
de‑Ba’athification should be applied to the Iraqi Security Forces was ongoing.

326. Between October and December, the issue of re‑employing Ba’athist security
personnel was mentioned three times in communications between Mr Blair and
President Bush.

327. On 7 October, in a video conference with President Bush Mr Blair “urged
sensitive handling of demobilised ex‑Iraqi Army soldiers”.289

328. In a video conference on 27 October, Mr Blair highlighted the possibility of
re‑mobilising “former Ba’athist intelligence officers”.290

329. Before President Bush’s visit to the UK in November 2003, Mr Rycroft gave
Mr Blair a copy of a paper entitled ‘Iraq: Security’, for discussion with President Bush.291
The document was described as “Jeremy’s paper” and the Inquiry assumes that it was
written by Sir Jeremy Greenstock. Under the heading “Iraqiisation” it said:
“Must accept previously Ba’athist elements in the security forces, provided not linked
with former repression. Militias … need to be brought in in an inclusive transparent
way … plans for this should be drawn up immediately with IGC.”


287 Letter Dodd to Owen, 19 November 2003, ‘Iraq: Update for Ministers’.
288 Letter Cannon to Owen, 23 May 2003, ‘Iraq: Meeting with Gerry Bremer’.
289 Minute Cannon to Adams, 7 October 2003, ‘Iraq: Prime Minister’s Video‑Conference with President Bush, 7 October’.
290 Letter Cannon to Adams, 27 October 2003, ‘Iraq: Prime Minister’s Video‑Conference with President Bush, 27 October’.
291 Minute Rycroft to Prime Minister, 18 November 2003, ‘Bush Visit – Private Talks’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

330. Mr Blair gave President Bush a slightly revised version of Sir Jeremy’s paper, in which this text had not been altered.292

331. Mr Richmond visited Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province, in mid‑November.293 The dominant theme of his discussions was local concerns about unemployment as a result of the dismantling of Iraqi military structures.

332. Mr Richmond reported: “Unemployment had forced many to do illegal acts, including attacks on the Coalition. They wanted to help the Coalition and could do much to improve the security situation if they could be given back their jobs; they were also keen to serve their country. They complained about de‑Ba’athification which made it impossible for most of them to be employed by the State. The governor said that 50 percent had joined the Ba’ath Party not out of conviction but because it was a condition of employment; 40 percent for material gain; and only some 10 percent because they supported Ba’athist ideology …
“Jerry Thompson (CPA advisor for security affairs) explained the acceleration of recruitment to the ICDC, police and the New Iraqi Army [NIA], but he pointed out the different nature of the NIA and the fact that it would be much smaller than the old army. Recruiting in Ramadi would start in January. He encouraged them to participate.”

333. In a video conference with President Bush on 4 December, Mr Blair was recorded to have underlined the importance of Iraqiisation, including involving the Sunni community and ex‑Ba’athists.294

334. In mid‑November a new political timetable for Iraq was announced, which brought forward the assumption of power by the Iraqi Transitional Government (ITG) to June 2004.295

335. Former DCC Brand told the Inquiry that the change of timetable critically changed everyone’s outlook: “all the focus was on ‘Let’s get this over to the Iraqis’, and so our longer‑term intentions were almost squashed from there on.”296


292 Paper Greenstock, 20 November 2003, ‘Iraq: Security’.
293 Teleletter Richmond to FCO London, 23 November 2003, ‘Iraq: Sunni Outreach: Visit to Ar Ramadi’.
294 Letter Cannon to Adams, ‘Iraq: Prime Minister’s Video Conference with President Bush, 4 December’.
295 Minute Cannon to Prime Minister, 18 November 2003, ‘Iraq: Political Timetable’.
296 Public hearing, 29 June 2010, page 67.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

336. Also in November, Secretary Rumsfeld ordered Major General Karl Eikenberry,
former US Security Co‑ordinator and Chief of the Office of Military Co‑operation in
Afghanistan, to assess what reforms were necessary to produce enough capable Iraqi
forces to take over security responsibilities.297 His report, published in February 2004,
is described later in this Section.

337. In December 2003, the CPA produced a plan to achieve the accelerated timetable
for transfer of authority by the end of June 2004.298

338. The plan included a section on security which stated that to meet the accelerated
timeline, the following changes were required:

• an accelerated stand‑up of the IMOD and the National Command Authority;

• accelerated development of internal security capabilities in the MOI (Anti‑Terrorist Branch, criminal intelligence);

• a focus on anti‑corruption capacity‑building; and

• accelerated recruitment, training and deployment of Iraqi Security Forces.

339. The plan also described two key security policy decisions that were required,
as identified by CPA staff: “First, the development of a holistic approach to the Iraqi security sector, including clarification of ICDC missions and interface with other security elements. Second, decisions on the integration of former militias into security forces and on militia demobilization.”

340. On 4 December, the CPA Office of Policy Planning and Analysis produced a paper
entitled ‘Iraq: Integrated Security Sector Development’.299 It was an assessment of the
current situation and plans, the desired position and a consideration of what thinking and
action was required by the CPA and CJTF‑7 to achieve the desired position.

341. It is the first assessment the Inquiry has seen that attempted to articulate all SSR
plans in one paper and consider how they interacted. The executive summary explained
that the paper benefited from detailed input by security sector experts in both CPA and

342. The paper described the CPA‑defined end state for security in Iraq as:

“• there is a secure environment for people and property that enables citizens
to participate fully in political and economic life;


297 Bowen SW Jr. Hard Lessons: The Iraq Reconstruction Experience. U.S. Government Printing Office, 2009.
298 Coalition Provisional Authority, 2 December 2003, ‘Towards Transition in Iraq: Building Sustainability’.
299 Paper CPA, 4 December 2003, ‘Iraq: Integrated Security Sector Development’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

• the Iraqi Government has the means, including its own defense and police forces, to assume its responsibility for external and internal security, including policing of its borders;

• …

• the roles and accountabilities of organizations providing security are clearly defined within a legal framework which governs, inter alia, the ownership of weapons.”

343. The paper stated that CPA and CJTF‑7 activity had “often been driven by the short‑term requirement to address pressing security needs” and highlighted weaknesses:

“• We have not designed our security sector development program based on a thorough conflict assessment;

• There is no overarching security vision for Iraq that joins up short‑term current activities with long‑term goals;

• We are focusing on building tactical and operational capabilities – the building of Iraqi governance and oversight capacity is proceeding more slowly;

• Local ownership of the Security Sector Reform process and policy is in its infancy;

• We are focusing on ‘hard’ security force development with limited attention being paid to building ‘soft’ Iraqi capacity to prevent or manage conflicts.”

344. The paper assessed each element of the security sector before discussing its overall governance and accountability. Although the long‑term aim for the NIA was a focus on external security, it was likely that it would be employed on internal security and so a legal framework for that was needed. The ICDC would become an army reserve. The paper also mentioned plans to develop an Iraqi Coastal Defence capability and an aviation element for transportation and medical evacuation by autumn 2004. All that would be organised by a Joint Forces Headquarters which would be established by June 2004.

345. The desired end state for the IPS was a “single nation‑wide police service that combines centralized standards and policies with local accountability … Its 85,000 officers will be well‑trained through a combination of basic mandate training, mentoring, and specialist and leadership training”. The paper highlighted that the IPS was being developed whilst it was in the front line fighting the insurgency campaign.

346. Problems with individual ministerial capacity to manage the FPS were also identified.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

347. The paper described some activity on intelligence services, including the IPS
developing basic criminal intelligence capabilities in Baghdad and MOI plans for a
national criminal intelligence unit. There was an absence of a suitable legal framework.
The paper stated that oversight mechanisms which balanced effectiveness with
accountability were required.

348. On criminal justice, the paper stated that courts were “back up and running
nationwide, albeit at below their pre‑war capacity” and that prisons were being repaired
or reconstructed. There were also fundamental revisions to the penal code and
procedures. It described justice and policing systems as mutually reinforcing. It identified
a number of issues, including the vulnerability of the judiciary to violence and prison
capacity, which it recommended should be addressed.

349. The paper also contained a section on militias, where it assessed that there were
over 30 known militias with between 30,000 and 60,000 personnel. It explained that
the Coalition’s original intent for militia personnel had been DDR. However, that had
not happened due to the violence it might provoke, the absence of police to “fill the
vacuums” and the complexity of the task. The paper stated: “Since the November 15 Agreement, there has been a tendency amongst the political parties to hold on to their militias to protect their interests … The creation of an ICDC ‘special battalion’ and CT [counter‑terrorism] company from G‑5 militias is a departure from the CPA policy of seeking to disband militias but may provide an alternative means of integrating the party militias.”

350. The paper recommended that policy on militias should be clarified.

351. The governance and accountability section of the paper emphasised the
importance of civilian control, noting that the “institutionalisation of CPA/Iraqi civil
governance mechanisms is falling behind the development of fielded forces”. On police
accountability the paper stated: “The outstanding issue is the question of the structure of the national police service and the relationships of local police services with Governors and Provincial Councils. The model currently being proposed involves a higher degree of central control than initially envisaged; this has been deemed necessary in the emergency period.”

352. The paper described a series of high‑level actions required to develop governance
further including building oversight mechanisms into the Fundamental Law300 and
creating security architecture to run a counter‑insurgency campaign.


300 The ‘Fundamental Law’ is the law that determines the constitution of government.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

353. In summary, the paper stated that the CPA “still lacks an organisational mechanism for delivering joined‑up policy direction on the security sector”. It recommended that detailed planning was required to transfer security to Iraqi control.

354. It is unclear what became of the paper – there is no mention of it in contemporary papers that the Inquiry has seen.

355. Towards the end of 2003, there was awareness in the UK system that assessments given by US commanders were “exaggerated” and there were doubts about Iraqi capacity.301

356. By the middle of December, the FCO assessed that there were around 45,000 operational police throughout Iraq, all requiring some level of re‑training.302 The US assessment was that there were 63,000 operational police.

357. The Annotated Agenda for the 18 December meeting of the AHMGIR stated: “US military plans for Iraqiisation of security remain highly ambitious. [General] Abizaid foresees Coalition military withdrawal from cities and Iraqi police able to combat terrorists by April 2004. But this handover can only take place if targets for expanding Iraqi units are met.”303

358. The minutes of the meeting recorded that Ministers “noted the security situation and that Iraqi security capacity was not being built up at a sufficient rate and quality to meet CPA aspirations” and “agreed that they and officials should lobby their US counterparts to improve training of Iraqi Security Forces, particularly the police”.304

International Legal Assistance Consortium

In January 2004, DFID approved £2m (later increased to £2.2m) for the International Legal Assistance Consortium (ILAC) justice support programme,305 to provide training in international human rights law to Iraqi judges, lawyers and prosecutors.306 The programme was expected to cover a two-year period.307
By February 2005, DFID’s justice support programme had trained 218 Iraqi judges, lawyers and prosecutors in human rights, international humanitarian law and independence of the judiciary.308


301 Minute Dodd to Sheinwald, 10 December 2003, ‘Iraq: Strategy Group’.
302 Letter Owen to Rycroft, 18 December 2003, ‘UK Contribution to Iraqi Police Training’; Annotated Agenda, 18 December 2003, Ad Hoc Group on Iraq Rehabilitation meeting.
303 Annotated Agenda, 18 December 2003, Ad Hoc Group on Iraq Rehabilitation meeting.
304 Minutes, 18 December 2003, Ad Hoc Group on Iraq Rehabilitation meeting.
305 The “justice support programme” was sometimes referred to as the “justice sector programme”.
306 Report DFID, 30 June 2006, ‘Iraq International Legal Consortium Justice Sector’.
307 Paper ILAC, 1 December 2003, ‘ILAC Iraq Programme – Submission to DFID’.
308 Letter Benn to Hoon, 23 February 2005.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

An internal DFID review of the project in June 2006 concluded that although the training
(held in Dubai for security reasons) was generally of a high quality and cost‑effective,
the project was unlikely to lead to sustainable improvements in professional practice in
the absence of any continuing in‑country support for the trainees or any links to broader
institutional reform processes.309 An in‑country justice adviser had been recruited to
mitigate these weaknesses, but she had been withdrawn from Iraq after 10 days for
security reasons. The review commented:“… the project should have been used as an entry point for DFID’s work in this sector, been more flexible in the range of activities it could support, and been more closely linked to efforts at donor co‑ordination … The [review] team acknowledges that the project was put together under pressure rapidly to get programme activities started with some quick‑win activities … The pressure to move fast, however, may well have sown the seeds for the eventual, limited impact.”

359. In late January 2004, Acting DCC Brand reported that it had been agreed at a
meeting between the CPA and the US NSC to reduce the planned “Civpol police adviser
pool” – those officers who would undertake monitoring/mentoring duties – from 1,500
to 500 and to use the savings to finance specialist facilities and trainers.310 DCC Brand
was unable to attend; it is unclear whether there was any other UK representation at the
meeting. The advisers were to be provided by Dyncorps,311 with 50 being earmarked for
the South.312

360. Although training at the Jordan training facility was under way, an FCO update to
No.10 on 18 February detailed “infrastructure and contract” problems.313

361. The response from No.10 stated: “The Prime Minister was disappointed to read of continuing problems with the police training in Jordan. It is not good enough that the training school is running at only half its capacity and that at the current rate the police training programme will need to extend at least to the end of the year.”314

362. Mr Blair requested a further update detailing the steps to be taken to “get this vital
training programme back on track”.

363. Mr Blair raised his concerns over delays in funding the police training camp
in Jordan in a video conference with President Bush on 24 February, in which Vice
President Cheney and Dr Rice also participated.315 The White House team told Mr Blair


309 Report DFID, 30 June 2006, ‘Iraq International Legal Consortium Justice Sector’.
310 Minute Brand, 1 February 2004, ‘Report from Iraq – Douglas Brand’.
311 Dyncorps is a US‑based private military contractor.
312 Minute FCO [junior official] to Buck, 4 February 2004, ‘Visit to Iraq 26‑30 Jan’.
313 Letter Adams to Rycroft, 18 February 2004, ‘Iraq: Security Sector Reform’.
314 Letter Rycroft to Adams, 23 February 2004, ‘Iraq: Security Sector Reform’.
315 Letter Cannon to Adams, 24 February 2004, ‘Iraq: Prime Minister’s Video‑Conference with President Bush, 24 February’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

that funding was not an issue and that problems with equipment had been overcome. Dr Rice described police training as a “too many cooks” situation that would be improved by the new centralised military command.

364. In January 2004, the MOD deployed a Defence Advisory Team (DAT) to scope the requirements for the new Iraqi Ministry of Defence (IMOD).316 UK military trainers were also working on the creation of the Iraqi Joint Forces HQ, to provide command and control of the Iraqi Armed Forces.

365. The DAT reported its findings to Mr Webb on 30 January.317 It assessed that: “Sufficient detailed progress has been made towards the achievement of an IMOD with an initial operating capacity available from 1 May 04. Additional UK staffing assistance is warranted in the context of both immediate needs and future mentoring and implementation requirements … We find that a UK lead for an empowered mentoring implementation project, to deliver the institutional development of a fully functional MOD, would be appropriate.”

366. The DAT recommended that the UK provide immediate assistance in the areas of vetting and public affairs, and consider a longer‑term role mentoring key positions within the IMOD. The total mentoring requirement was expected to be around 17 staff, of whom five should be MOD UK‑based civilians. The project was forecast to last two years at a cost of £1.9m, rising to £3.65m if suitable mentors could not be found from the public service.

The military take control of police reform

367. In February 2004, Maj Gen Eikenberry produced an assessment of what reforms were necessary to deliver enough capable Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) to take over security responsibilities.318

368. The review team, which travelled to Iraq in January 2004, consisted of 22 members primarily from the US authorities and included a UK colonel.319

369. The key findings of the review team were:

• the need for unity of command across the security sector (the military were to assume overall command);

• the need to develop the capacity and capability of ISF (military and police) rapidly;


316 Annotated Agenda, 8 January 2004, Ad Hoc Group on Iraq Rehabilitation meeting.
317 Minute Fuller to PS/Policy Director [MOD], 30 January 2004, ‘UK Support for Establishment of Iraqi Ministry of Defence (IMOD): Defence Advisory Team (DAT) Final Report and Recommendations’.
318 Bowen SW Jr. Hard Lessons: The Iraq Reconstruction Experience. U.S. Government Printing Office, 2009.
319 Paper Clissitt, 1 February 2004, ‘Iraq Security Force Assessment Team (ISFAT) Initial Findings: Brief for OPCOS’; Annotated Agenda, 7 January 2004, Ad Hoc Group on Iraq Rehabilitation meeting.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

• the need for sustained monitoring and mentoring of the ISF beyond 1 July 2004;

• the endorsement of the CENTCOM Strategic Concept to transfer security responsibilities to Iraqi forces that would permit a reduction in the numbers of Coalition Forces needed to perform internal security tasks. The timelines envisaged were:

{{local transfer by 1 July 2004;

{{regional transfer by 1 September 2004; and

{{national transfer by September 2006.

370. The report recommended that:

• The training and equipping programmes for the IPS should be accelerated
significantly, the numbers of police increased and the Coalition military given the
task of training, equipping, mentoring and certifying them.

• The ICDC should be renamed the Iraqi Civil Guard, be recognised as an
enduring organisation (possibly a gendarmerie‑type force) under the control of
the IMOD, have its strength increased from 36 to 43 battalions and be given
professional development.

• The Iraqi Army’s focus should remain on external threats but its training rate
could be reduced (to allow more rapid development of other security forces).320

371. The summary of the report produced for the Chiefs of Staff stated: “… the UK, through MND(SE), is regarded as the leader in ‘best practice’; in particular the objective monitoring, mentoring and certification of Iraqi security forces. As such we will be asked to assist in developing this programme throughout Iraq.”321

372. The Eikenberry Review was discussed by the Iraq Senior Officials Group on
3 February.322 The minutes described Maj Gen Eikenberry’s recommendations for
security structures as “acceptable” but said that proposals that IMOD and SSR
structures should sit under the new Multi National Force (MNF) command were “less to
our liking”.


320 Paper Clissitt, 1 February 2004, ‘Iraq Security Force Assessment Team (ISFAT) Initial Findings: Brief for OPCOS’.
321 Paper Clissitt, 1 February 2004, ‘Iraq Security Force Assessment Team (ISFAT) Initial Findings: Brief for OPCOS’.
322 Minute Dodd to Buck, 5 February 2004, ‘Iraq: Senior Officials Group’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

373. Sir Nigel Sheinwald chaired a meeting of the Iraq Strategy Group on 13 February.323 A record of the meeting by Mr Tom Dodd, OD Sec, stated that “Baghdad and Washington were still divided over the future of the ICDC”: General Abizaid and Ambassador Bremer “preferred it becoming an army reserve” as opposed to Maj Gen Eikenberry’s proposed gendarmerie.

374. According to the RAND assessment of the Occupation of Iraq, Ambassador Bremer welcomed the proposal to put training of the Iraqi military under Coalition military control.324 However, he was resistant to the proposal that police training should transfer to military responsibility, arguing strongly that policing was a civilian, not a military, profession.

375. The briefing for the AHMGIR on 1 March stated that the Eikenberry Review had identified “significant shortcomings, particularly with the police”.325 Delays with deploying mentors (“1,500 international civilian police mentors have not deployed as planned”) and problems with the Jordan training school (which was running at half capacity) were assessed to be due to US funding issues. The UK contribution was described as “disproportionate” and the brief recorded that: “MND(SE)’s approach to SSR is considered a model. The British Army is active in training ICDC battalions and the New Iraqi Army. We provide the largest contingent of police trainers in Jordan (72); the UK‑run az‑Zubayr police academy is now training 300 police every three weeks; and a group of PSNI [Police Service of Northern Ireland] superintendents are about to deploy to the South to mentor provincial police chiefs. We are also considering contracting around 40 police advisers as monitors, expanding the training programme at az‑Zubayr, and offering police leadership training in the UK. The UK will also play a leading role in the formation of the new Iraqi MOD.”

376. At the meeting Ministers “noted the Coalition’s work in standing up Iraqi security forces and the UK’s disproportionate contribution to it”.326

377. Secretary Rumsfeld accepted Maj Gen Eikenberry’s recommendation that the US military should manage the training of Iraq’s army and police.327


323 Minute Dodd to Sheinwald, 16 February 2004, ‘Iraq: Strategy Group’.
324 Dobbins J, Jones SG, Runkle B & Mohandas S. Occupying Iraq: A History of the Coalition Provisional Authority. RAND Corporation, 2009.
325 Annotated Agenda, 1 March 2004, Ad Hoc Group on Iraq Rehabilitation meeting.
326 Minutes, 1 March 2004, Ad Hoc Group on Iraq Rehabilitation meeting.
327 Bowen SW Jr. Hard Lessons: The Iraq Reconstruction Experience. U.S. Government Printing Office, 2009.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

378. On 8 March, DCC Brand’s weekly report described the creation of a new “umbrella
structure”, the Office of Security Co‑operation (OSC), commanded by Major General
Paul Eaton, the former commander of CMATT. 328 CMATT and the newly named policing
equivalent – the Coalition Police Assistance Training Team (CPATT) – would report
to the OSC. A diagram of “Command and Control Relationships” showed the OSC
reporting to CJTF‑7.

379. The creation of OSC resulted in a complex structure for police reform: CPATT
became responsible for recruiting, training, equipping and mentoring the police but the
CPA/MOI retained the operational and institution‑building element of police reform.

380. CMATT and CPATT were both led by UK officers: Brigadier Nigel Aylwin‑Foster
and Brigadier Andrew MacKay respectively.329

381. Former DCC Brand told the Inquiry that the creation of OSC was: “… quite a shock to both myself and the American director [Mr Casteel] because, overnight, the Secretary of Defense in the United States had basically taken away all responsibility for policing, including the training, equipping and recruiting, and given it to the military, and that included a budget that was US$950m. We had had no indication of this and neither he nor I actually knew where it left us. So we went to see Ambassador Bremer to say, ‘Can you give us some direction as to what our responsibilities will be?’ and I don’t think he was too clear either on what the impact of this was. The military were very clear that it was just theirs and this would tidy things up … it was rather draconian in terms of its mood, and the consequences … one was that, whilst they could do the volume stuff, they still didn’t have the skill sets for basic training, and then the one thing they didn’t have, which was just so essential, and which the military training side had, is that policy advice back in
Washington on policing. They had none. So they were making it up, in that sense,
from theatre, rather than back at the policy headquarters.” 330

382. On 2 April, the Cabinet Office sent an update for Ministers, in between two
meetings of the AHMGIR, stating that police training was to be accelerated under the
new structures with a target of completing in‑service training of 43,000 officers by
January 2005.331 There were plans to expand the capacity of the Baghdad and Mosul
training academies. The update also highlighted a “critical shortfall” in equipment for the
police, the border police and the army. That was put down to issues with US contracting
and funding.


328 Minute Brand, 8 March 2004, ‘Report from Iraq – Douglas Brand’.
329 BBC News, 11 January 2006, UK officer slams US Iraq tactics; Associated Press, 10 June 2004, Iraq Police Training A Flop.
330 Public hearing, 29 June 2010, pages 94‑95.
331 Letter Dodd to Owen, 2 April 2004, ‘Iraq: Update’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

Security worsens and Iraqi Security Force weaknesses are exposed

383. On 25 March, the FCO’s Weekly Update on Iraq for No.10 stated that a CENTCOM review had concluded that transition to local control across Iraq was “likely to be delayed by up to eight months from their original over optimistic target of May 2004”.332 That was due to delays in MOI programmes. The paper stated that that was “not a surprise”:
“The Iraqi Security Forces do not just have to be hired; they must be vetted, trained, equipped, mentored and certified ie capability, not numbers, is the key … Bremer has been pushing for quality for months, without the support in Washington, where the emphasis has been on numbers. On the positive side, a lesson has now been learned.”

384. In March, Lt Gen Sanchez announced that once the ISF proved capable and credible enough to maintain local security, Coalition Forces would redeploy to bases outside major cities.333 From there they would co‑ordinate with the Iraqis and provide Quick Reaction Forces, but the ISF would have daily policing and patrolling duties.

385. Maj Gen Stewart in his evidence to the Inquiry reflected on the growing violence by February/March.334 He said: “… because we had made Security Sector Reform our main effort … because it is our ticket out of there eventually – we have seen a fight against what we are starting to achieve in terms of Security Sector Reform.
“So there are people who are clearly unhappy at the police becoming even relatively effective, because they never became anything close to being effective.”

386. In April, the security situation declined dramatically, with uprisings in Fallujah and Najaf, described in Section 9.2. Maj Gen Stewart told the Inquiry how “it was like a switch had been flicked” on 6 April, when there were “35 shooting incidents and attacks in Basra before 7.30 in the morning”.335

387. Maj Gen Stewart described another incident on 21 April in which five simultaneous car bombs were detonated in Basra and az‑Zubayr, killing around 70 people and injuring around 250. He said this was “all aimed at the Iraqi police because our SSR was working”.


332 Minute Owen to Cannon, 25 March 2004, ‘Iraq: Weekly Update’ attaching paper FCO ‘Iraq: No 10 Weekly Update’.
333 Bowen SW Jr. Hard Lessons: The Iraq Reconstruction Experience. U.S. Government Printing Office, 2009.
334 Public hearing, 9 December 2009, page 67.
335 Public hearing, 9 December 2009, pages 67‑68.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

388. Maj Gen Stewart explained that 50 percent of his force was assisting with SSR
during that time. He said that SSR continued in April (although it reduced to 25 percent
of his force’s time) but that “one or two of the major incidents we had was people …
actually moving from location to location to try and help the SSR”.

389. Hard Lessons summarised ISF performance during the violence of April 2004:
“Many elements of the newly deployed Iraqi Security Forces proved unwilling or
unable to fight. Some abandoned their posts and aided the insurgency. Others
mutinied when they came under fire. Iraqi police units collapsed in Fallujah, Najaf,
Karbala, and Kut, and the number of Iraqi police dropped by nearly 3,000 in one
week in April 2004. The Iraq Civil Defense Corps fared worst of all. From April 2 to
April 16, up to 12,000 ICDC members deserted; the rates reached up to 30 percent
in northeastern Iraq, 49 percent in Baghdad, 30 percent in the South‑Central region,
and 82 percent in Western Iraq.”336

390. A summary produced for No.10 by the Cabinet Office in late April stated that the
Iraqi police were fully recruited against a target of 75,000 but that ICDC numbers, having
risen to 35,000 in early April, had subsequently fallen to 25,000.337

391. On 13 April, Mr Richmond reported that: “The weaknesses in the new Iraqi Security Forces have been exposed by the events of the last week. Bremer and Sanchez are keen on the [Iraqi] Defence Minister’s idea of establishing a 10,000 man task force which would draw on some of the ‘non‑tainted’ elements of the former regime’s special forces, the newly trained counter terrorism company and Iraqi Army and ICDC battalions. They also want to bring former military officers back into the security structures to create an Iraqi chain of command.” 338

392. Mr Blair met President Bush on 16 April.339 At the meeting Mr Blair stated that
he was concerned by progress on recruiting, equipping and training the ICDC and
the police.

393. In April 2004, Dominic Asquith, FCO Director Iraq, reported that consideration
was being given to re‑engaging dismissed military officers.340


336 Bowen SW Jr. Hard Lessons: The Iraq Reconstruction Experience. U.S. Government Printing Office, 2009.
337 Minute Dodd to Quarrey, 30 April 2004, ‘Iraqi Security Force Capabilities’.
338 Telegram 153 IraqRep to FCO London, 13 April 2004, ‘Iraq: Four day Easter Roundup’.
339 Letter Rycroft to Adams, ‘Iraq: Prime Minister’s Meeting with Bush’.
340 Telegram 181 IraqRep to FCO London, 21 April 2004, ‘Iraq: Sunni Politics’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

394. On 23 April, Ambassador Bremer made a speech in Baghdad addressed to the Iraqi people.341 He said: “… many Iraqis have complained to me that de‑Ba’athification policy has been applied unevenly and unjustly. I have looked into these complaints and they are legitimate. The de‑Ba’athification policy was and is sound. It does not need to be changed. It is the right policy for Iraq. But it has been poorly implemented.”

395. On 26 April, Mr Blair sent a Note to President Bush.342 In it he suggested a number of ways of improving the situation in Iraq. The first suggestion was: “Do whatever it takes to get the Civil Defence and police in shape. The Coalition should hire who we need; pay what it takes; create an officer class that can lead and knows that it has a huge vested interest in success. Bremer’s speech on de‑Ba’athification etc was well received. But I’m not sure we really have our entire system focused on this; and it needs to be …”

396. Mr Blair also suggested a focus on courts. He wrote: “… very few cases can be tried at present; judges are subject to real intimidation. We need to ensure that trials of criminals and sentencing begins again. An independent judiciary will be a big step forward.”

397. Those points were reiterated in a video conference on 27 April.343

398. In early May, following a request from Mr Blair to “look again at progress with Iraqiisation, particularly training and equipment, and how it might be accelerated”, the Cabinet Office produced a paper entitled ‘Enhancing Iraqi Security Forces’.344 The Cabinet Office gave a detailed assessment of the current situation and highlighted the following elements as the main points:

• There were benefits in taking risks in handing over local control to Iraqi citizens.

• More ex‑Ba’athist army officers might be required (beyond the 4,000‑5,000 there were already plans to recruit).

• The Iraqi police were fully recruited, the focus now needed to shift to specialist and leadership training.

• “10,000 Iraqi police” were “duds” and needed to be pensioned out of the service.

• More police mentors were required; “we could consider lobbying internationally for more”.


341 Speech L. Paul Bremer III, 23 April 2004, ‘Turning the Page’.
342 Letter Sheinwald to Rice, 26 April 2004 attaching Note from PM for President Bush.
343 Letter Quarrey to Owen, 27 April 2004, ‘Prime Minister’s VTC with Bush, 27 April: Iraq’.
344 Minute Dodd to Rycroft, 7 May 2004, ‘Enhancing Iraqi Security Forces’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

• The disbursement of new equipment should be accelerated.

• There was a need to “get a wholesale grip of prisons policy and prisons

399. The paper also stated that in the lead‑up to the transfer of sovereignty, Coalition
control over the shape and form of the ISF would reduce. On incorporating militias,
the paper said: “This process needs to be taken forward carefully and systematically
with a view to the long‑term cohesiveness of Iraq’s security forces rather than on an
ad hoc basis.”

400. Mr Blair raised Iraqiisation again in a video conference with President Bush on
11 May.345 He questioned the current capability of the ISF, and concluded that a rolling
programme for Iraqiisation concentrating not just on numbers but on how to train, equip
and command the Iraqi police and ICDC, with the Iraqi Army behind them, was required.

401. In a Note to President Bush on 18 May, Mr Blair described work on developing the
ISF as “urgent” and said that nothing should stand in its way.346 He provided a paper
from the MOD and highlighted the need:

• for more international police advisers, stating that the current number was only
50 percent of that required;

• for rapid recruitment of more army battalions;

• to “fix pay, equipment and IT problems of the police and civil defence”; and

• to bring in “proper officers” even if they had a Ba’athist connection.

402. From 20 to 23 May, a team led by Major General Nicholas Houghton, Assistant
Chief of Defence Staff (Operations), and accompanied by CC Kernaghan, visited Iraq.347
The visit followed a request from Mr Blair for a UK team to visit Iraq and provide a report
on what further action was required to accelerate Iraqiisation.348

403. Maj Gen Houghton’s subsequent report noted the lack of strategy, “bureaucratic
complexity” hindering access to funds and resources, “initiative overload” and a
short‑term focus.349 However, he assessed that those mistakes were known in Iraq and
action had been taken to address them. He further stated: “The last thing the theatre needs at the moment is novel thinking imposed from outside. The concept of ‘acceleration’ is misplaced. ‘Sustained Effort’, with some change in emphasis, will produce the desired capability.”


345 Letter Sheinwald to Adams, 11 May 2004, ‘Iraq: Prime Minister’s Video Conference with President Bush, 11 May’.
346 Letter Sheinwald to Rice, 18 May 2004, [untitled] attaching Note [Blair to Bush], [undated], ‘Note on Iraq’.
347 Letter Naworynsky to Rycroft, 13 May 2004, ‘Enhancing Iraqi Security Forces’; Minute ACDS(Ops) to Rycroft, 25 May 2004, ‘How Best to Progress the Iraqiisation of the Security Sector’.
348 Letter Rycroft to Baker, 11 May 2004, ‘Enhancing Iraqi Security Forces’.
349 Minute ACDS(Ops) to Rycroft, 25 May 2004, ‘How Best to Progress the Iraqiisation of the Security Sector’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

404. Maj Gen Houghton also highlighted the need for “honest acceptance” of the likely timescales, stating: “The Iraqiisation of the Security Sector is not a deliverable on 01 July. It is a possibility that a largely Iraqiised Security Sector could deliver security for elections in Jan 05.”

405. Maj Gen Houghton assessed: “The biggest single thing that will move the creation of capability forward is the increased use of military and police assets in mentoring roles. This should involve, for example, widening the concept of embedding troops within Iraqi Civil Defence Corps (ICDC) Units. Given available assets this will mean taking risk on maintaining security.”

406. On developing a strategy, Maj Gen Houghton stated that it must be “authored, owned and executed” in Iraq, not in London. It should also deal with policy on militias and define an end‑state as there was no agreement on the constitutional, legal and judicial framework within which the security sector should operate. He also highlighted the difficulties that the transfer of sovereignty and the associated drawdown of the CPA would have in terms of loss of control and discontinuity of personnel.

407. In a “follow‑up piece” to the paper, Maj Gen Houghton provided more detail on how a strategy should be developed.350 The strategy should include a “vision”, such as: “A secure and stable Iraq maintained by credible, self‑confident and capable security structures under Iraqi governance”.

408. Derived from that vision should be an outline of the security sector architecture. Maj Gen Houghton highlighted some “key policy decisions” that would need to be made in each area: “(1) Iraqi Police Service (IPS). There needs to be agreement on the principle of Police Primacy (or not) in International Security (IS) issues. Will the Police Service be controlled nationally or regionally? … Will it have a special weapons and tactics capability; if so how much and under whose control? … “(2) Iraqi Civil Defence Corps (ICDC). Is the ICDC a temporary or a permanent creation? … “(3) Iraqi Army. What is the role of the Iraqi Army in IS? …”


350 Minute ACDS(Ops) to Rycroft, June 2004, ‘How Best to Progress the Iraqiisation of the Security Sector’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

409. A series of “transition plans” would be required “to get us from where we are now
to where we want to be”. Those would include: “(1) Capacity‑building. Capacity‑building plans for the elements of the Security Sector are well advanced but they need greater refinement to reflect the need for capability rather than just quantity ……“(3) Militias. There are assessed to be 52 militias ranging in size from 12 to 31,000.
They have represented useful short‑term expedients, and some may need to feature
as part of the longer term accepted Security Architecture. A policy for militias is
starting to emerge.… “(6) Information Operations/Strategic Communications … extant plans have: focused too much on 30 Jun as a watershed; … have dealt too much in promises and have not focused enough on achievements and tangible successes.”

410. Maj Gen Houghton judged that: “The time has already passed when a strategy
could have been imposed on the Iraqis and there is a danger that we may now be trying
to develop one too late.”

411. On the most effective method of training, Maj Gen Houghton advised that:
“Evidence from within theatre indicates that the best way to grow genuine capability
within the ISF is to embed coalition troops and International Police Advisors (IPA)
inside Iraqi units.”

412. Maj Gen Houghton provided some suggested points to stress in public statements,
including: “(1) Significant progress already made in capability/capacity‑building within ISF. “(2) ISF already achieving local control in some areas … “(3) Need to maintain a sensible balance of risk in progressing Iraqiisation with the operation realities of the security situation. The relevant timescale is spring 06 for us to assume strategic stand‑off.”

413. In an annex, Maj Gen Houghton described the status of SSR in Iraq as of 25 May:

• Over 80,000 police officers were operational with approximately 20,000 having
received training. An accelerated training programme was now being put in
place by CPATT.

• The DBE had been “successfully … reconstituted” (see Box, ‘The Iraqi border
police’, later in this Section).

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

• On the FPS, the “manpower ceiling” of 73,992 had been achieved.

• The Ministry of Justice had come under full Iraqi control on 30 May. The Higher Judicial Council had been established in Baghdad and was processing up to 3,000 cases a week. The courts were functioning “reasonably well”.

• The Iraqi Correctional Service employed 3,269 officers and was operating 18 prison facilities, with a capacity of 5,500.

• The ICDC had 32,484 personnel, against a target of 40,680. Specialist training had been hampered by a lack of equipment, such as communications equipment.

• The Iraqi Armed Forces had originally been established for external security only. Four battalions had been trained for the Army, with additional personnel in the Air Force and Coastal Defence Force.

414. On resourcing, Maj Gen Houghton commented: “The SSR process to date has been stifled by bureaucratic rules of the release of funds. If we are to be serious about sustaining the process of Iraqiisation of the Security Sector we need to take a pragmatic and flexible approach to the allocation of a combined UK source of some £37 million.”

415. Mr Blair held a meeting on 3 June at which a paper from the MOD was discussed.351 It is not clear from the record which MOD paper was considered. Mr Blair agreed that a UK team should deploy to Iraq to act “in effect as the embryonic secretariat of the MCNS [Ministerial Committee for National Security, described later in this Section] and draft the equivalent of a white paper352 on defence and security”.

416. Mr Blair asked to be informed of “any obstacles or log jams” which he might need to raise with President Bush and commissioned a round‑up on Iraqiisation every two weeks. Increased mentoring was not mentioned in the record of the discussion.

417. Mr Blair also commissioned an update “illustrating what is actually happening in MND(SE) in terms of handing over responsibility for security to the Iraqis”. The response from the MOD is discussed later in this Section.

418. Two weeks later Mr Blair again discussed Iraqiisation and again requested to be informed of any issues automatically rather than having to ask.353


351 Letter Rycroft to Baker, 3 June 2004, ‘Iraq: Prime Minister’s Meeting, 3 June’.
352 A ‘white paper’ is an authoritative report that informs readers concisely about a complex issue and sets out proposals for future action.
353 Letter Rycroft to Baker, 15 June 2004, ‘Iraq: Prime Minister’s meeting, 15 June’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

419. In five meetings and conversations with President Bush in May and June, Mr Blair
raised Iraqiisation; emphasising the importance he attached to the approach and his
hope that Lt Gen Petraeus, now Commanding General, Multi‑National Force – Iraq
(MNF‑I subsumed OSC in June 2004), and Prime Minister Designate Ayad Allawi could
agree a joint plan for publication.354

420. On 16 June, Sir Nigel Sheinwald sent Dr Rice a Note written by Mr Blair for
President Bush.355 Mr Blair envisaged that the timetable and strategy in relation to Iraq
would include the Iraqi Interim Government publishing an “action plan on Iraqiisation
of Iraq’s security” in the week before handover and an international conference in early
September. Mr Blair wrote that the problem on Iraqiisation was “obvious”:
“The numbers in the police are there. But not the quality or equipment, e.g. only
7,000 of the 80,000 police are Academy trained: 62,000 have no training; only
nine percent have proper body armour; only 30 percent of the required vehicles are
in place. Apparently the logjam on resources and equipment is now broken. But it
will take time. And the Iraqi Army isn’t really started yet.

“All of this is now urgent.”

421. According to Hard Lessons, at the end of June 2004 only half of Iraq’s army and
two‑thirds of its police forces had received any training at all, and the quality of that
training “varied wildly”.356

Reintegrating militias

In May 2004, Mr Richmond reported that the CPA had begun to implement a “pragmatic”
strategy to reintegrate the militias into Iraqi society.357 The plan was to recruit militia
personnel into the ISF, to retire them with a pension or to reintegrate them through a
training and job placement scheme.
The largest militia groups were the two Kurdish Peshmerga (the Kurdistan Democratic
Party had an estimated strength of 41,000 and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan 31,000)
and the Badr Corps (16,000). Other smaller militia, such as the Dawa, the Iraqi National
Accord and the Iraqi National Congress, tended to consist largely of security personnel
protecting their respective political leaders.


354 Letter Quarrey to Owen, 20 May 2004, ‘Prime Minister’s VTC with Bush, 20 May: Iraq’; Letter Quarrey to Owen, 26 May 2004, ‘Iraq: Prime Minister’s VTC with Bush, 26 May’; Letter Rycroft to Adams, 30 May 2004, ‘Prime Minister’s Conversation with Bush, 30 May’; Letter Rycroft to Adams, 9 June 2004, ‘Prime Minister’s Meeting with President Bush 9 June 2004: Iraq and European Issues’; Letter Quarrey to Owen, 22 June 2004, ‘Prime Minister’s VTC with Bush, 22 June: Iraq’.
355 Letter Sheinwald to Rice, 16 June 2004, [untitled] attaching Note Blair [to Bush], [undated], ‘Note’.
356 Bowen SW Jr. Hard Lessons: The Iraq Reconstruction Experience. U.S. Government Printing Office, 2009.
357 Telegram 263 IraqRep to FCO London, 27 May 2004, ‘Iraq: Militia Strategy’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

There were also “unofficial” militias which were meant to be dismantled. Jaysh al‑Mahdi (JAM) was judged to be “the most dangerous” of those. Mr Richmond commented that dismantling militias was “Not an easy task as we have discovered”. He concluded his report to London: “It is easy to be sceptical about how quickly and effectively the militias will be dismantled. There is an element of re‑badging in the agreed approach but it is probably the only realistic way forward. A system which brings militia members within the ambit of the state, if only nominally, is better than leaving the problem unresolved. It is also an important confidence building measure. Ultimately, militias will only disappear when the economy is strong enough to offer people higher paid jobs elsewhere and the political system is sufficiently stable to remove their raison d’etre.”
On 7 June, Ambassador Bremer signed CPA Order No.91, entitled “Regulation of Armed Forces and Militias within Iraq”.358 It prohibited the existence of armed forces and militias other than those created by the CPA. Existing militia could remain only if they had a “Transition and Reintegration” plan which included timescales for their disbandment and a full list of members. Article 27 of the Transitional Administrative Law (TAL) and subsequently Article 9 of the Iraqi Constitution prohibited armed forces or militias that were not part of the Iraqi Armed Forces.359
An update to No.10 from the MOD in August 2004 stated: “The success of this initiative will not only help generate stability in Iraq, but may serve as an example of de‑militarisation in future conflicts.” 360

Restructuring in advance of transfer of sovereignty

422. CPA Order No.68, in early April 2004, established the Ministerial Committee for National Security (MCNS) and the position of National Security Adviser.361

423. The role of the MCNS was to facilitate and co‑ordinate national security policy among the ministries and agencies of the Iraqi Government tasked with national security decisions. It was to be the primary forum for ministerial‑level decision‑making on national security issues and would comprise:

• Ambassador Bremer (Chair) until transfer of sovereignty, after which the Chair would be the Prime Minister;

• Minister of Defence;

• Minister of the Interior;

• Minister for Foreign Affairs;

• Minister of Justice;


358 Coalition Provisional Authority Order 91, 7 June 2004, ‘Regulation of Armed Forces and Militias within Iraq’.
359 Report to Congress, 13 October 2005, Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq.
360 Minute Naworynsky to Phillipson, 20 August 2004, ‘Report from Lt Gen Petraeus, Multi‑National Security Transition Command – Iraq (MNSTC‑I) on developing the Iraqi Security Forces’.
361 Coalition Provisional Authority Order 68, 4 April 2004, ‘Ministerial Committee for National Security’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

• Minister of Finance;

• National Security Adviser (in an advisory capacity);

• Director of the Iraqi National Intelligence Service (in an advisory capacity);

• Senior Military Adviser (in an advisory capacity);

• MNF Commander or his representative (by invitation); and

• other appropriate individuals (by invitation).

424. The first meeting of the MCNS took place on 21 March under the chairmanship of
Ambassador Bremer.362 He later described the committee as “effectively an Iraqi version
of our [the US] National Security Council”.363

425. The MCNS met regularly from this point onwards and its meetings were often
attended by the British Ambassador and the Senior British Military Representative
in Iraq.

426. The role of National Security Adviser was to act as the primary adviser on national
security matters and to manage the National Security Advisory Staff. Dr Mowaffak
al‑Rubaie was appointed to that role in April 2004 and served until April 2009.

427. A briefing from the MOD for No.10 in May described the following structures
beneath the MCNS:

• A Commander’s Council and a Contact Group.

• Provincial and local structures, such as provincial security committees to discuss
“security issues in the broadest sense” (these became known as Provincial Joint
Co‑ordination Centres – PJCCs) and local co‑ordination structures known as
Joint Operating Centres.

• The Iraqi Army and the ICDC would be under the command and control of the
IMOD through the Joint Headquarters. However, in the short term they would
need to be under the operational command and control of the MNF.

• There was uncertainty around police command and control but it was thought
that they would report through local police chiefs to the MOI. Ideally the police
force should be the lead for all internal security but this might not be possible
straight away.

• That transition to local control would occur at different speeds in different
areas. The CJTF‑7 target for local control across Iraq had slipped from June to
December – “a target which not only will be met but which will be bettered by the
four provinces of MND(SE)”.364


362 Telegram No 102 IraqRep to FCO, 22 March 2004, ‘Iraq: First Meeting of the National
Security Committee’.
363 Bremer LP III & McConnell M. My Year in Iraq: The Struggle to Build a Future of Hope. Threshold, 2006.
364 Minute Naworynsky to Quarrey, 11 May 2004, ‘Iraq: Security Structures After 30 June’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

On 22 April, CPA Order No.73 put the ICDC under the control of the IMOD.365 The ICDC was renamed the Iraqi National Guard (ING) on 20 June 2004.

429. In response to the violence in Fallujah, Najaf and other locations in April, a number of different “elite” forces were created in an attempt to raise the capability of some of the ISF above that of the insurgents. Table 2 provides a summary of those.366

12.1 Table 2a – Iraqi Security Institutions

12.1 Table 2b – Iraqi Security Institutions

Table 2: Iraqi Security Institutions

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

430. The creation of “elite” forces within the MOI led to two types of police – national
(although not formally badged as the “National Police” until April 2006; see Box, ‘The
National Police’, later in this Section) and local. The national‑type police forces (elite
forces) reported directly to the Minister of Interior, while the local forces reported through
a Provincial Director of Police to a Deputy Minister in the MOI responsible for policing.

431. Coalition military structures were also re‑organised in preparation for the transfer
of sovereignty. Part of that re‑organisation subsumed the Office of Security Co‑operation
(OSC) into the Multi‑National Security Transition Command – Iraq (MNSTC‑I).371
Multi‑National Security Transition Command – Iraq
The Multi‑National Security Transition Command – Iraq (MNSTC‑I) came into existence
on 6 June 2004 and was led by Lt Gen Petraeus.372
MNSTC‑I was organised into three training teams:

• the Coalition Military Assistance Training Team (CMATT) – to organise, train and
equip the Iraqi Army;

• the Joint Headquarters Advisory Support Team (JHQ‑ST) – to assist the Iraqi
Army command and control system; and

• the Civilian Police Assistance Training Team (CPATT) – to organise, train and
equip the Iraqi Police.
The UK also provided a training team of approximately 10 personnel to MNSTC‑I to
carry out Basic Officer Training.373 The UK training team became part of the NATO
mission in 2005.


370 Wright DP & Reese TR. On Point II: Transition to the New Campaign – The United States Army in Operation IRAQI FREEDOM May 2003 – January 2005. Combined Studies Institute Press, June 2008.
371 Wright Dr DP & Reese Col TR. On Point II: Transition to the New Campaign – The United States Army in Operation IRAQI FREEDOM May 2003 – January 2005. Combined Studies Institute Press, June 2008.
372 Wright Dr DP & Reese Col TR. On Point II: Transition to the New Campaign – The United States Army in Operation IRAQI FREEDOM May 2003 – January 2005. Combined Studies Institute Press, June 2008.
373 Minute Vincent to Naworynsky, 21 February 2005, ‘The NATO Training Mission Iraq (NTM‑I); Minute Naworynsky to Vincent, 22 February 2005, ‘The NATO Training Mission Iraq (NTM‑I)’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

SSR in the South: after the invasion – Multi‑National Division (South‑East)

Multi‑National Division (South‑East) (MND(SE)) was established on 12 July.374 That formalised the UK’s responsibility for maintaining security in the provinces of Basra, Muthanna, Dhi Qar and Maysan, initially as an Occupying Power and, from June 2004, in support of the Iraqi Government. That area of Iraq is often referred to as ‘the South’.

432. On 14 April, Mr Blair told the House of Commons that the South of Iraq was “largely under British control”.375 In Basra:
“About 200 policemen have reported for work. Joint patrols started on 13 April. In surrounding towns, looting has either ceased or is declining, local patrols are being re‑established and co‑operation with city councils is going well.”

433. In response to a question from Mr Iain Duncan Smith, the Leader of the Opposition, Mr Blair told Members of Parliament (MPs):
“Of course the British forces will stay until there is proper security in the country, although obviously we hope to ensure that some of the policing is done by local people as soon as possible. That is why it is encouraging that joint patrols are already taking place. Although people may find this strange, much of the problem for Iraqi citizens came from the special security forces, not the ordinary civil police, if I may put it like that. Many of those people could perform an adequate and good task for the future of Iraq. Other countries are already offering help in relation to policing and security.”376

434. Responding to a proposal by Mr Jeffrey M Donaldson that the UK should draw on the experience of retired Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) officers to police Iraq, Mr Blair said: “We should look at using retired RUC officers. Indeed, the Defence Secretary tells me that representatives of our UK police have gone out to Iraq to see what assistance we can give.”377

435. Pressed by Mr Nicholas Soames to “take seriously” Mr Donaldson’s point, Mr Blair added that deploying former officers was “a priority for us, because the better we can maintain order, the better it is for the people of Iraq and the less is the pressure on our soldiers”.378


374 Report Lamb, 30 January 2004, ‘Post Operational Tour Report – Version 1 Operation Telic 2/3 11 July to 28 December 2003’.
375 House of Commons, Official Report, 14 April 2003, columns 615‑616.
376 House of Commons, Official Report, 14 April 2003, column 619.
377 House of Commons, Official Report, 14 April 2003, column 625.
378 House of Commons, Official Report, 14 April 2003, columns 628‑629.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

436. From early April, policing functions in MND(SE) were undertaken by the
military, under a Royal Military Police (RMP) lead.379 Following his visit to Iraq in May,
CC Kernaghan observed that “local volunteers had been recruited as auxiliaries and that
they, together with elements of the Saddam Hussein era police, were being trained by
the RMP in the basics of police work”. Plans were in place to refurbish police stations,
courts and prisons; to provide basic training to officers who had reported back or had
been recruited since the invasion; to select and issue new uniforms; and to re‑establish
a viable local criminal justice system.

437. CC Kernaghan judged that “the British effort was focused on providing a visible
police presence on the streets to reassure the wider population”.

438. By early July, the military had appointed a Chief of Police and outlined plans to
develop a training academy in az‑Zubayr, near Basra.380

439. The Dutch Marechaussee (Royal Military Constabulary) and Italian Carabinieri
(National Military Police) were also deployed in Muthanna and Dhi Qar provinces
respectively. They undertook basic training and mentoring of Iraqi police in their areas.
Maj Gen Stewart told the Inquiry that the Carabinieri were “just the right sort of troops
to help train [the Iraqis]”.381

440. A record of a meeting on 25 June between the FCO, ACPO and the Home Office
stated: “The Prime Minister was authoritatively quoted as wishing to see the southern AO … develop as an exemplar for the whole of Iraq. The Iraq Policy Unit (IPU) made it
clear that HMG [Her Majesty’s Government] recognised the need to make progress
in advance of any agreed CPA strategy [on SSR]. Specifically, in respect of the Iraqi
Armed Forces and the police.”382

The Basra River Service

By June, British commanders had instigated the creation of the “Basra River Service” to
employ ex‑naval personnel. Major General Adrian Bradshaw, Commander 7 Armoured
Brigade in 2003, told the Inquiry: “In the weeks after our arrival, we became very aware that the ex‑naval and military personnel in the province, of whom there were 10,000 or 12,000, had also not been paid for several months and were facing a desperate situation and … they came to us asking for us to do something about their people …


379 Letter Kernaghan to Blunkett, 23 May 2003, ‘Iraq – Visit by Chief Constable P R Kernaghan’ attaching Report Kernaghan, 10 May 2003, ‘Report on Visit to Iraq by Chief Constable Kernaghan [13-20 May 2003]’.
380 Statement White, 20 June 2010, pages 19‑20.
381 Public hearing, 9 December 2009, page 75.
382 Minute Kernaghan to UND [junior official], 26 June 2003, ‘Iraq and the UK Police Service – meeting 25/6/03’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

“It was clear to me that what was at that stage developing into quite a sort of robust peaceful protest had the potential to go a lot further … So I proposed … that we should effectively demobilise these people with a demobilisation payment and then take them on … as 10,000 more on the 180,000 civil sector workers with a marker against their name to be part of the future security structure and almost immediately then we started employing them in a force that we created called the Basra River Service which was designed to promote security on the waterway, along which a vast amount of looted copper and brass ingots were being spirited away into a sort of open black market in the Gulf and tons of steel from cables and all manner of material.”383

441. July saw a substantial reduction of military personnel within South‑East Iraq, including a reduction in RMP platoons from eight to two (approximately 800 to 200 personnel).384

Problems deploying police officers

442. Following the agreement for the UK to provide a Chief Constable to be the senior policing adviser to the CPA within the MOI, officials in the FCO continued to recommend the deployment of around 20 MOD police officers.385

443. It appears that that deployment was first mentioned to CPA(South) on 7 June when an email was sent from the UND to a junior official who was seconded to CPA(South).386 The official’s response was that it would not be feasible for the MOD police officers to come under CPA(South) as they had no authority to manage the responsibility, and no ability to provide security.

444. The IPU was concerned that that might prove a stumbling block: they were keen to ensure that the MOD police officers had some responsibility to the CPA’s policing team in Baghdad.387

445. As a result, they began to consider providing CPA(South) with “a secondee with specific responsibility for policing/SSR”.388 That idea was strongly welcomed by CPA(South).

446. In June, the FCO agreed to appoint ACC Douglas Brand from the South Yorkshire Constabulary to the post of Senior Police Adviser to the CPA in Baghdad (as described


383 Private hearing, 2 June 2010, pages 9‑10.
384 Minute FCO [junior official] to PS/Foreign Secretary, 8 July 2003, ‘Iraq: Police Reform’.
385 Minute UND [junior official] to MOD(Sec Iraq), 9 June 2003, ‘Iraq: Policing Strategy’.
386 Email MOD [junior official] to FCO [junior official], 7 June 2003, ‘Basra Police Training Team: Possible Deployment’.
387 Email Lowe [MOD] to FCO [junior official], 9 June 2003, ‘Basra Police Training Team: Possible Deployment’.
388 Email Home Office [junior official] to FCO [junior official], 10 June 2003, ‘Basra Police Training Team: Possible Deployment’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

earlier in this Section), and ACC Stephen White from the Police Service of Northern
Ireland (PSNI) to what became the post of Senior Police Adviser and Director of
Law and Order for CPA(South).389 Both individuals deployed as Acting Deputy Chief

447. The Annotated Agenda for the AHMGIR stated that the UK was “pursuing plans
to send MOD Police to begin basic training for police in Basra”, adding “this … will
subsequently be subsumed into an international policing team working in accordance
with an agreed coalition policing strategy”. It highlighted that the UK had offered two
Assistant Chief Constables to help develop the policing strategy, one in Baghdad, the
other in Basra.391

448. The AHMGIR met on 12 June and Ministers agreed that the MOD police contingent
should deploy to Basra as soon as practicable.392

449. The UND asked the MOD’s Iraq Secretariat to action this, stating that it would be
for the RMP’s Provost Marshal393 to judge the capacity of the military to accommodate
that contingent of police officers, who would be “reliant on military support for board,
accommodation, transport and security”.394

450. The FCO convened a meeting to discuss arrangements on 25 June. The only
record of the meeting identified by the Government was taken by CC Kernaghan.395
In the meeting it was agreed that, instead of deploying the full contingent of 21 MOD
officers, DCC White would deploy with three or four MOD police/PSNI officers and
conduct a training needs analysis.

451. CC Kernaghan stated that the only request for UK civilian police secondees
that had been relayed to ACPO at that time was for the two ACCs (ACC White and
ACC Brand). He highlighted the pressures on the domestic police service and the
limitations on its ability to provide large numbers of armed officers, noting that “any
request would require clear political approval and endorsement” before ACPO could
consider it, but added that ACPO “would seek to respond positively to UK Government
requests and had specialist capabilities, which might play a constructive role in police
reform generally”.


389 Email Kernaghan to Fox, 20 June 2003, ‘Assistant Chief Constables Selected by FCO for Secondment to Iraq’.
390 Minute FCO [junior official] to Kernaghan, 2 July 2003, ‘ACPO Secondments to Iraq: Initial Terms of Reference’.
391 Annotated Agenda, 12 June 2003, Ad Hoc Group on Iraq Rehabilitation meeting.
392 Minutes, 12 June 2003, Ad Hoc Group on Iraq Rehabilitation meeting.
393 Provost Marshal is the title given to a person in charge of a group of military police.
394 Minute FCO [junior official] to MOD [junior official], 13 June 2003, ‘Iraq Police Reform – MDP Trainers for Basra’.
395 Minute Kernaghan to FCO [junior official], 26 June 2003, ‘Iraq and the UK Police Service – Meeting 25/6/03’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

452. On 8 July, officials in the FCO advised Mr Straw that he should write to Mr Blunkett to seek nominations of up to 200 police officers for firearms training with a view to drawing on this pool for future deployments to Iraq when conditions were judged by DCCs White and Brand to be right.396

453. On 18 July, Mr Straw wrote to Mr Blunkett requesting the nomination of a pool of officers for firearms training in Iraq to meet the request from the CPA.397 The letter made clear that a further assessment would be needed, prior to deployment, of the security situation in Iraq and the appropriateness of deploying UK police officers.

454. The original minute to the Foreign Secretary did not propose that he should write to Ministers in the Scottish Government or to the Northern Ireland Secretary, responsible respectively for police forces in Scotland and Northern Ireland.398 ACPO Scotland was instead approached at official level.399

455. ACPO issued a letter to police forces in England and Wales on 31 July informing them of a trawl notice to be issued by the FCO seeking volunteers to form a pool of officers for potential deployment to Iraq.400

456. By September 2003, 260 police officers had applied to the pool.401

457. On 10 August, DCC Brand asked for the deployment of four police officers – ideally with a background in intelligence and operational planning – to staff a Joint Command Centre (JCC) in Baghdad designed to prevent friendly fire incidents.402

458. Former DCC Brand told the Inquiry how his request for support staff had eventually been met: “[Lt] General Viggers [the Senior British Military Representative – Iraq] … loaned me a captain … so that I had somebody who could answer my phone and make appointments whilst I was in other meetings. It wasn’t until the end of September that I had an administrative assistant, and then, sometime in October, when the Ministry of Defence police contingent came out and I was able to take somebody as a sort of … staff officer.
“It was … quite challenging to … operate at a two‑star level, engage at the highest level diplomatically and militarily – when one is answering one’s own phone and trying to do all of the administration that supports that type of activity.”403


396 Minute FCO [junior official] to Private Secretary [FCO], 8 July 2003, ‘Iraq: Police Reform’.
397 Letter Straw to Blunkett, 18 July 2003, ‘Iraq: Police Reform’.
398 Minute FCO [junior official] to Private Secretary [FCO], 8 July 2003, ‘Iraq: Police Reform’.
399 Minute UND [junior official] to Buck, 18 September 2003, ‘Iraq Police Reform: UK Contribution’.
400 Letter Kernaghan to President of ACPO, 31 July 2003, ‘Creation of a Pool of Police Officers for Possible Service in Iraq’.
401 Annotated Agenda, 18 September 2003, Ad Hoc Group on Iraq Rehabilitation meeting.
402 Minute Brand, 10 August 2003, ‘Report from Iraq – Douglas Brand’.
403 Public hearing, 29 June 2010, pages 40‑41.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

459. An IPU update for Mr Blair on 3 September stated: “In addition to the senior UK police officers already in Iraq, 15 UK trainers can be deployed within two weeks and another 60 by the end of October. Our target is 100 UK trainers deployed by end 2003 (of a planned CPA total of 600).”404

460. CC Kernaghan stated in an email to the Home Office that neither ACPO nor the
Chief Constable of the MOD police had been approached to deploy the 15 “trainers”
mentioned.405 He also stated that the FCO had not – at that point – conducted the risk
assessment it had promised nor agreed with ACPO that conditions were right to permit
UK police officers to be deployed in Iraq.

461. In his evidence to the Inquiry, Lieutenant General Sir Graeme Lamb, GOC
MND(SE) from July 2003 to December 2003, described needing “about 90 policemen”
in July, but six months later he had only two.406 He stated that “… people talked a lot,
they promised a great deal … in fact delivery was always the problem”.

462. Lt Gen Lamb said that his “sense was there was no shortage of individuals who
were prepared to volunteer” but Chief Constables were “reluctant” and “did not allow
them to come forward” because they felt it would be a breach of their duty of care given
the difficult security situation.

463. Sir Hilary Synnott agreed that he perceived a “tremendous reluctance” from ACPO
to supply police officers.407

464. In late September 2003, both DCC Brand and DCC White expressed their
frustration about the lack of additional UK police officers in Iraq.408 On 21 September,
in response to being informed that the FCO was considering asking the PSNI to provide
the four staff he requested in August, DCC Brand wrote: “… I don’t mind where they come from as long as they get here ASAP. The JCC [Joint Command Centre] is now being seen by the military as the only current solution to the problem of soldiers shooting Iraqi police officers because of a lack of awareness of deployments … They [the military] have everything in place … I made my original request … 6 weeks ago … If we are only just thinking about approaching PSNI it may be weeks or months before the officers are able to travel and we would lose all credibility with the American military … To remind you,
this was our idea … I urge you to act swiftly and not delay any longer.” 409


404 Paper IPU, 3 September 2003, ‘Iraq Security Plan’.
405 Email Kernaghan to Home Office [junior official], 4 September 2003, ‘Iraq – Iraq Rehabilitation Group Briefing Papers – 4/9/03’.
406 Public hearing, 9 December 2009, pages 19‑20.
407 Public hearing, 9 December 2009, page 21.
408 Email Brand to FCO [junior official], 21 September 2003, ‘Re: Police Training plan’; Email White to UND [junior official], 21 September 2003, ‘Re: Police Training plan’.
409 Email Brand to FCO [junior official], 21 September 2003, ‘Re: Police Training plan’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

465. The following day, DCC White wrote to a junior official in the FCO’s Iraq Security Sector Unit, to summarise his understanding of the position in MND(SE) ahead of a briefing with Sir Jeremy Greenstock and Sir Hilary Synnott: “… I would like to be able to tell them that I have been updated by FCO in relation to: my resource bids other than training staff (I am assuming they are not being addressed); MDP [MOD police] deployments to Basra (I am assuming they are not being deployed); training staff requests for mid October (I am certain they are not being met); and training staff requests for Nov/Dec (it appears they are not likely to be met).” 410

466. He summed up by saying: “Those of us on the ground are finding it difficult to fully understand what the main issues of the debate are regarding the deployment or otherwise of UK civpol.”

467. Upon receiving those emails, CC Kernaghan wrote to the Home Office to clarify the ACPO position.411 He made clear that there were “no outstanding requests with ACPO, nor have any been refused to date”. He stated that current delays were due to a lack of firearms training and that deployment without such training would require a “clear statement from the Home Office that such a move was seen as desirable”. He also said that he had “no doubt” that the FCO’s International Policing Unit could expedite selection and training if directed. He concluded by saying: “In essence, the FCO, with the support of allied departments and agencies, needs to provide quicker and more authoritative feedback to DB & SW [DCCs Brand and White].”

468. On 4 October, Ms Clwyd asked Mr Straw in a House of Commons debate when he intended to “strengthen the number of British advisers and support staff”. Mr Straw responded, saying that he intended to investigate the matter and that it was his understanding that “from this week, DCC White will be supported in his role by six Ministry of Defence police officers”.412

469. Six MOD police officers were deployed to Baghdad in October.413

470. The potential availability of PSNI officers for deployment was discussed in a meeting between DCC White and Mr Bill Rammell, FCO Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, based upon informal discussions between DCC White and Mr Hugh Orde, Chief Constable of the PSNI.414 The Iraq Security Sector Unit (ISSU) note stated that their decision not to approach the Northern Ireland Office had been based on a letter


410 Email White to UND [junior official], 21 September 2003, ‘Re: Police Training plan’.
411 Email Kernaghan to Home Office [junior official], 22 September 2003, ‘Iraq – Recent Developments’.
412 House of Commons, Official Report, 4 October 2003, column 9.
413 Letter Lee to Clarke, 18 February 2004, ‘Deployment of MDP Officers to Iraq’.
414 Minute FCO [junior official] to PS/SofS [FCO], 4 November 2003, ‘Iraq Policing’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

from 2002. The letter said that for domestic reasons the PSNI would no longer be in a
position to contribute to overseas police missions.

471. On 6 November, Ms Jane Kennedy, Minister of State for Northern Ireland, wrote
to Mr Straw stating that Mr Orde had agreed to identify at least six and up to 10 “PSNI
officers of Inspector to Superintendent ranks with operational experience in working
with the military willing to undertake a secondment to Basra”.415 Ms Kennedy stated
that Mr Orde had also indicated that he would consider further deployments under the
“auspices of ACPO”.

472. In a visit report dated 18 November (described earlier in this Section), CC
Kernaghan recommended an increase in UK police officers deployed to both Baghdad
and Basra.416 He highlighted that only 27 of the 43 police forces in England and Wales –
and six of the eight in Scotland – had nominated officers to serve in Iraq. He welcomed
the willingness of the Northern Ireland Office/PSNI to deploy police officers to Iraq but
cautioned that the PSNI should not be seen as a separate entity. In particular he was
concerned that they should not be expected to take greater risks than other UK police

473. The development of police training across Iraq is discussed in Box, ‘Police training
academies’, earlier in this Section.

474. Plans for the Jordan academy were discussed at the Iraq Senior Officials Group
on 9 September.417 The IPU briefing for the meeting stated that the 21 UK officers could
be deployed by the end of December and that other troop‑contributing nations should be
encouraged to send trainers.418

475. The minutes of the meeting stated: “The Home Secretary and ACPO were content in principle with the deployment of UK police trainers … This could happen … before the end of October. However … [they] would need to see a plan for the school including a security assessment, and a more defined strategy for policing than existed at present.”419

476. At that stage, deployment of UK police officers for the facility was being delayed
by lack of firearms training or adequate security provisions for them to deploy without
such training.420


415 Letter Kennedy to Straw, 6 November 2003, ‘UK Policing Assistance – Iraq’.
416 Report Kernaghan to Straw, 18 November 2003, ‘Report on Second Visit to Iraq by Chief Constable Kernaghan – 11/11/03‑14/11/03’.
417 Letter Dodd to Sheinwald, 10 September 2003, [untitled].
418 Paper IPU, 8 September 2003, ‘Iraq: Security Action Plan’.
419 Letter Dodd to Sheinwald, 10 September 2003, [untitled].
420 Minute FCO, 18 September 2003, ‘Iraq: Police Training: Update: 18 September’; Email White to UND [junior official], 21 September 2003, ‘Re: Police Training plan’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

477. The Iraq Senior Officials Group met on 23 September and stated that the FCO was sifting applications and hoped to supply 80 trainers for the Jordan school and 20 for training in az‑Zubayr; no timelines for deployment were provided.421

478. At an Iraq Policing Meeting on 24 October, it was agreed that FCO officials should advise Mr Straw to ask Mr Blunkett to authorise the deployment of police to Iraq.422

479. By 18 November, CC Kernaghan noted that the deployment to Basra had still “not yet been formally requested” and was “subject to an appropriate security assessment”.423

480. Mr Straw visited Iraq in late November and met DCC White. In his statement to the Inquiry, Former ACC White said: “I was shocked when he [Mr Straw] told me that he was being told that; there were no delays in getting police out to Basra (in fact none had arrived since my advance party came to the place in July, despite requests and reports); that there was no sleeping accommodation for UK police in CPA South (as there were many Portakabins available such as the one I lived in); and that the police academy was not ready (as it had been open and functioning since mid October and all I needed were some more police to help us open and use the many other empty classrooms). This final point was frustrating to hear, because to my memory only one person (a military officer attached to an FCO Iraq unit) had visited it and, in what was a classic ‘Catch 22’ situation, it appeared that (in UK) some were saying it was not open to justify not deploying trainers – yet the reason why it was not open was because no trainers were deployed to it.”424

481. Following his visit, Mr Straw wrote to Mr John Sawers, Political Director in the FCO, the next day saying: “I would be grateful if you would personally grip this issue and ensure that the key action points arising from CC Kernaghan’s report of his Iraq trip are dealt with as soon as possible. A combination of the Byzantine bureaucracy of ACPO and a lack of understanding in the FCO about police issues and practice … threaten further delays and a sub‑optimal delivery in an area where the UK has a serious contribution to make.”425

482. On the same day, Mr Straw told the AHMGIR that the “UK contribution to policing was inadequate” and that he would be writing to Mr Blunkett to encourage more police forces to release personnel.426


421 Minute, 25 September 2003, ‘Iraq Senior Officials Group meeting [23 September]’.
422 Minutes Hayward, 24 October 2003, ‘Iraq Policing Meeting – 24 Oct 03’.
423 Report Kernaghan to Straw, 18 November 2003, ‘Report on Second Visit to Iraq by Chief Constable Kernaghan – 11/11/03‑14/11/03’.
424 Statement, 20 June 2010, page 35.
425 Minute Straw to Sawers, 27 November 2003, ‘UK Police Assistance to Iraq’.
426 Minutes, 27 November 2003, Ad Hoc Group on Iraq Rehabilitation meeting.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

483. On 28 November, more than two months after applications were sifted, Mr Straw
wrote to Mr Blunkett formally requesting the deployment of 24 officers to work at the
az‑Zubayr training academy, noting that ACPO was content with the risk assessment.427

484. Mr Blunkett agreed to that request on 3 December.428

485. In a letter to No.10 in mid‑December, Mr Straw’s Private Secretary reported that
the 24 additional British officers would arrive at az‑Zubayr that week.429 He also reported that 36 officers had deployed to Jordan and a further 40 were on standby to join once capacity had been increased. In addition: “The UK’s senior input to Iraq policing remains strong. DCC Douglas Brand, senior police adviser in the CPA is responsible for overall policing strategy and implementation, and will be in place for a further 6 months. In the South, ACC Stephen White will be replaced from end January. Both officers’ teams are currently being strengthened.”

486. The UK police trainers arrived and training began on 27 December.430 The military
also supplied two lieutenant colonels as members of the project team and 20 trainers
(10 Royal Military Police (RMP) and 10 Carabinieri). Following discussions with the
military and the senior adviser to MOI, Mr Casteel, it was agreed that the military and UK
police officers would share responsibility for training at the az‑Zubayr facility.

487. By March 2004 there were over 100 UK police officers working on SSR:

• two senior police advisers (DCC Brand in Baghdad and Acting ACC Philip Read
in Basra);

• their support staff of 11, including staff manning the Baghdad joint civil‑military
co‑ordination cell;

• 73 officers in Jordan (eight of whom were retired officers);

• 24 officers at the az‑Zubayr facility;

• the commander of the Baghdad police academy; and

• five PSNI officers in the South.431

488. Acting Commander Kevin Hurley took over from Acting ACC Read in June 2004
as senior police adviser in Basra and served a seven‑month tour.432 He described the
UK police contingent as “tiny” – about 20 constables and sergeants “conducting very
rudimentary recruit training … in a derelict old barracks near az‑Zubayr” and, based at


427 Letter Straw to Blunkett, 28 November 2003, ‘Iraq: Police Reform: Deployment of UK Police Officers’.
428 Letter Blunkett to Straw, 3 December 2003, ‘Iraqi Police Reform: Deployment of UK Police Officers’.
429 Letter Owen to Rycroft, 18 December 2003, ‘UK Contribution to Iraqi Police Training’.
430 Statement White, 20 June 2010, page 35.
431 Minute FCO [junior official] to Buck, PS/Foreign Secretary, 3 March 2004, ‘Iraq – Contracting of Police Monitors’.
432 Statement, 17 June 2010, pages 3‑4.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

Basra Palace, six officers (at Inspector to Chief Superintendent rank) whose role it was to mentor the police commanders in Maysan province, Nasiriyah and Basra. There were further police officers in Baghdad working on future planning for the police service in Iraq but “they had been all but marginalised by our US allies and were effectively ignored”. He likened the arrangements for SSR in Iraq to “being in a rowing boat being towed behind a massive troop ship going somewhere, the trouble was we had most of the charts and plans in the police rowing boat”.


489. DCC White had deployed to Basra on 14 July 2003. He described the security situation upon arrival as: “… bad and … getting worse. There had been tragedies … there was no accurate data of how many people were being killed, but there were many people being killed. Old scores were being settled. Bodies were being found in the Shatt‑Al‑Arab River and in the parks and so on. So within the community, there was a lot of violence. In terms of the threat against the Coalition Forces, it was also rising … but, having come from working in Northern Ireland for 30 years, it was not, in my opinion, any worse.”433

490. DCC White was accompanied by two MOD Police officers who would be his only UK police resources for most of the next five months.434 He also worked with Danish police officers, initially a contingent of three which grew to a maximum of 15 by the end of 2003.435 He told the Inquiry that: “… you had the ridiculous situation where, as a very senior chief police officer, I was flying on my own to the scene of murders … If you have only got one British police officer and two Ministry of Defence police officers, for five months, what does that say about the priority being given to the situation? Despite the fact – the rhetoric was: the South must not fail, the South must be a success.” 436

491. DCC White’s lines of reporting were multiple – to Mr Kerik in Baghdad, to Sir Hilary Synnott in Basra and to a junior official in the FCO’s UND.

492. Despite DCC White initially being offered an operational role, he was subsequentl briefed in London that his role was to be “primarily as policing adviser” but eventually he might become police commander before handing over to the Iraqi police.437 His first task was to conduct a training needs analysis for MND(SE).


433 Public hearing, 21 July 2010, pages 17‑18.
434 Statement White, 20 June 2010, page 11.
435 Public hearing, 21 July 2010, page 24.
436 Public hearing, 21 July 2010, pages 32‑33.
437 Statement, 20 June 2010, page 5.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

493. DCC White’s role changed again on arrival in Basra where he found himself
expected to assume the role of CPA Director of Security (Law and Order), encompassing
not just security and policing but all other aspects of criminal justice. That was a
much broader role than anticipated. He had one lawyer to support the work on judicial

494. Describing how he was briefed by the military on their future plans, Former ACC
White told the Inquiry: “[I] was impressed with the comprehensiveness of the plan but somewhat surprised that [I] had not been told of it back in the UK.”439

495. Former ACC White told the Inquiry that he was viewed by the military in MND(SE)
as “their relief – from all law and order reform duties – not just police reform. This
expectation was … the cause of much tension throughout my tour of duty”.

496. Former ACC White explained: “The army were trying to move away from policing
duties. They wanted us [police secondees] to move in and we weren’t there.”440

497. Former ACC White described a confused strategic picture: “I was being told that a strategy was still being written and therefore not promulgated. However, I was also told there were advanced plans – e.g. for training in Hungary with agreed curricula. Later in Baghdad I saw a Bosnia police training curricula with the word Bosnia struck out and Iraq written on it. I was being told at one time the IPTF [International Police Training Force] for which I had been recruited as commander would be unlikely, yet the man in charge of MOI and policing in Iraq was telling me directly I would have 1,500 officers, with executive authority, to command in the South.”441

498. In August, DCC White produced a ‘Strategic Report on the Police Reform
Programme in Southern Iraq’ in which he assessed that 91 international police officers
would be required to support the policing mission within MND(SE), of whom 70 would
work with the Iraqi police and 21 would operate within the training school.442 In addition
to those, following the UK military decision to withdraw the four RMP personnel who had
been working as part of DCC White’s team and providing force protection for the UK
police, he estimated that a team of 48 would be required to provide force protection.


438 Public hearing, 21 July 2010, page 16.
439 Statement, 20 June 2010, page 11.
440 Public hearing, 21 July 2010, page 23.
441 Statement, 20 June 2010, page 16.
442 Report Elder for White to MacIntosh, 26 August 2003, ‘Report on‑UK CIVPOL Support to CPA South’; Statement White, 20 June 2010, pages 44‑46.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

499. Former ACC White told the Inquiry that that report and request caused some controversy when they were briefed to CPA and IPU staff in Baghdad, as they were considered to be inconsistent with the new ‘MOI 60/90 day Strategic Plan’ of which DCC White had had no sight.443 The request for 91 police officers was subsequently withdrawn pending further direction from CPA Baghdad.

500. On 4 September, DCC White submitted a reduced bid for 43 UK police officers to support his work in MND(SE).

501. The Iraq Security Action Plan, produced by the IPU for the Iraq Senior Officials Group in September 2003, recorded that “in the absence of a central [policing] strategy, we are pursuing regional options”.444

502. DCC White had submitted a proposal to re‑establish the Regional Police Training Academy (RPTA) at az‑Zubayr to the south of Basra, to be staffed by 21 international staff (see Box, ‘Police training academies’, earlier in this Section). Plans to train Iraqi officers in Hungary had fallen through, but three potential training sites had been identified in Jordan, with facilities for up to 3,000 recruits.

503. The IPU recommended that DCC Brand should clear the UK’s concept for the RPTA with the CPA and MOI; that it should be funded; and that its timetable should be accelerated. Twenty‑one UK officers were expected to be deployed to the Academy by the end of December. The IPU was confident that it could offer 100 officers to work in a training facility in a third country by the end of October, but needed to lobby the Jordanians for access to such facilities.

504. Ministers discussed policing at the AHMGIR on 18 September.445 The Annotated Agenda for the meeting described plans to develop the RPTA, stating that “a separate deployment of 20 UK police trainers, who will require firearms training, will be required”. That deployment would require the formal approval of ACPO and the Home Office.446

505. Ministers “endorsed the plans for police training outlined in the Annotated Agenda and agreed that they should be implemented as swiftly as possible with whatever UK help was necessary”.447

506. In September, a cross‑Whitehall project team was created to oversee the development of the Basra and Jordan training academies.448 The Iraq Police Training Project Team was based in the FCO and was led by Mr Neil Crompton, Head of the IPU.


443 Statement, 20 June 2010, pages 22‑24.
444 Paper IPU, 8 September 2003, ‘Iraq: Security Action Plan’.
445 Minutes, 18 September 2003, Ad Hoc Group on Iraq Rehabilitation meeting.
446 Annotated Agenda, 18 September 2003, Ad Hoc Group on Iraq Rehabilitation meeting.
447 Minutes, 18 September 2003, Ad Hoc Group on Iraq Rehabilitation meeting.
448 Minute FCO, 12 September 2003, ‘Iraq: Third Country Training Plan’; Minute FCO, 18 September 2003, ‘Iraq: Police Training: Update: 18 September’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

The team, which included seconded police officers as well as officials from the Home
Office and MOD, was set up to co‑ordinate the work of a virtual team of advisers from
ACPO, the Home Office, the MOD police and Bramshill College of Policing. It reported
to the Iraq Senior Officials Group.

507. A briefing by the Iraq Police Training Project Team on 18 September stated that
the first course at az‑Zubayr was due to begin on 15 October, with specialised training
courses being carried out by Danish police officers.449 At the same time, the facility was
being expanded so that it could accommodate larger courses and begin three‑week
‘Transition Integration Programme’ training. The expansion was due to be completed in December.

Training the ICDC in MND(SE)

In July 2003, military commanders from each of the areas in Iraq were instructed
to stand up ICDC battalions. In response to that, in early September an MOD force
level review concluded that a further two UK battalions should be sent to Iraq, one of
which would begin training of the ICDC in MND(SE) alongside force protection and
intelligence‑gathering/surveillance duties.450 The review did not make clear what proportion of the battalion (around 600 strong in total) would be involved in training the ICDC. The UK ICDC training team arrived in theatre in late September with the aim of training 1,200 troops by mid‑October, and 5,000 in total, for deployment in MND(SE).451
In the Security Action Plan written in September 2003, the IPU recorded that UK forces
were training 160 members of the ICDC, and that would increase to 1,700 by early
November.452 ICDC battalions would be “fully operational” by the end of the year in all four provinces of MND(SE), carrying out basic guarding and infantry tasks.
The IPU identified four actions required:

• provision of additional UK Short Term Training Teams;

• allocation of a delegated budget to MND(SE) to support the training;

• provision of CJTF and CPA central support; and

• agreement that ICDC development costs should be underwritten nationally in
order to avoid “procedural delays in CPA”.

508. In October, Sir Hilary Synnott reported that CJTF‑7 had issued an unexpected
instruction entitled ‘Acceleration of the Iraqi Police Services’ which gave the military
a greater role in accelerated police training programmes. That is described earlier in
this Section.453


449 Minute FCO, 18 September 2003, ‘Iraq: Police Training: Update: 18 September’; Email White to UND [junior official], 21 September 2003, ‘Re: Police Training Plan’.
450 Letter Williams to Rycroft, 4 September 2003, ‘Iraq: UK Forces and Resources Review’.
451 Paper MOD, 9 December 2009, ‘Iraq Security Sector Reform’.
452 Paper IPU, 8 September 2003, ‘Iraq: Security Action Plan’.
453 Telegram 110 FCO London [on behalf of CPA Basra] to UKRep Iraq, 31 October 2003, ‘Police Training in South Iraq’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

509. Sir Hilary wrote: “In the South, this has considerable implications for military resources to be devoted to police training; for our current plans, including the recently inaugurated Basra Regional Police Academy; and for the significant Danish effort at present and in future. We had no warning of this from CPA Baghdad (beyond a slight reference to such a possibility), no subsequent information from them and no consultation.”

510. Sir Hilary explained that he had come up with an action plan to adapt the approach being taken in the South in such a way as to be consistent with the instruction, cautioning:
“It will require an acceleration of the current building programme for the Police Academy and enhanced and extended engagement by the RMP. It will not negate the need for UK civil police involvement and, to enhance the civil nature of policing, it would be desirable to extend this further as soon as practicable. But the nature of the training programmes envisaged for the Academy will have to be adapted.”

SSR progress by October 2003

511. At the Chiefs of Staff meeting on 1 October, Lt Gen Reith was asked to provide an out‑of‑committee brief on SSR, which he did the same day.454

512. Lt Gen Reith described the purpose of his paper as “to summarise SSR progress to date, against CPA/CJTF‑7 targets for MND(SE), and estimate the potential development in ISF over time”.455 He informed readers that: “The CPA and CJTF‑7 tightly control SSR policy, although currently medium to long term plans lack definition, an overarching SSR strategy, resources and funding.”

513. Lt Gen Reith described eight separate Iraqi security organisations, including the NIA and the IPS. He summarised the situation in MND(SE) as:

• 8,367 police officers had been recruited, out of a total of 11,800 planned by December 2005.

• 400 members of the NIA had been recruited, out of a total of 7,855 planned by the end of 2005.

• 840 members of the ICDC had been recruited, out of a total of 6,720 planned by April 2004.

• 2,500 FPS (for critical infrastructure) had been recruited, out of a planned total of 4,200 by February 2004.

• All 4,000 planned members of local militia, to perform a “Neighbourhood Watch” role, had been recruited.


454 Minutes, 1 October 2003, Chiefs of Staff meeting.
455 Minute Reith, 1 October 2003, ‘Iraqi Security Sector Reform – MND(SE)’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

• 282 Border Police and Customs officials had been recruited, out of a total of
1,500 planned by February 2004.

• 180 members of the Iraqi Riverine Patrol Service (IRPS), out of the 380 planned
by February 2004, had been recruited.

• Recruitment for the 392‑strong Iraqi Coastal Defence Force, which would be
responsible for security in Iraqi territorial waters and anti‑smuggling activity,
would begin in two weeks.

514. Lt Gen Reith wrote that over the following 12 months only four elements of the
ISF would relieve Coalition Forces of tasks: the IPS, ICDC, IRPS and FPS. It was “too
early to judge the effectiveness or quality of these units, but the ‘Iraqiisation factor’
alone is expected to gain popular support”. Although other elements of the ISF would
help to improve the security situation, Lt Gen Reith felt there was “little likelihood that
their partial or full operational capability will permit any meaningful reduction in troop

515. On 14 October, a documentary entitled ‘Basra Beat’ which followed DCC White’s
deployment in Iraq was broadcast by BBC Northern Ireland’s Spotlight programme.456
The programme exposed DCC White’s concerns about the SSR programme in Iraq, and
the UK’s resourcing of it.

516. In his statement to the Inquiry, Former ACC White explained that, in particular,
a remark he made about his frustration with the delays in deploying officers caused
controversy back in the UK.457 He told the Inquiry that as a result many “negative
opinions were offered” about him and that he was left “feeling unsupported and isolated”
but for the support of Sir Hilary Synnott and Ms Kennedy.

517. An update from Mr Straw’s Private Secretary to Sir Nigel Sheinwald on 17 October
did not refer to the issues raised by DCC White’s documentary.458 The Private Secretary
reported that “good progress” was being made in developing the Iraqi police and that
there was a “credible and deliverable strategy to train 30,000 Iraqi police over the
next year”.

518. Mr Straw’s Private Secretary reported that efforts in Basra were focused
on developing the Regional Police Training Academy (RPTA) and that an “initial
retraining programme for serving Iraqi police officers began on 12 October under UK
management”. He reported that 24 UK police officers were about to start pre‑deployment
training and would deploy as soon as the RPTA facilities were ready to receive them.
That would bring the total deployment of UK officers in Basra and Jordan to 100.


456 BBC News, 14 October 2003, UK ‘failing to police Basra’.
457 Statement, 20 June 2010, pages 30‑31.
458 Minute Sinclair to Sheinwald, 17 October 2003. ‘Iraq: Security and Policing’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

519. DCC White met Mr Rammell, Mr Adam Ingram, Minister for the Armed Forces, and Ms Kennedy on 3 November.459 In the meeting, DCC White stated that his alleged criticisms of government strategy were taken out of context but he expressed concerns about lack of progress, the lack of UK police officers on the ground (due in part he felt to Chief Constables blocking deployment for security reasons), differences between the UK and the US approach and the absence of a delegated budget. Mr Rammell stated: “My view, having listened to him, is that he raises serious concerns which are at odds with our statements as to how the situation is improving.”

520. The Home Office record of the Iraq Senior Officials Group of 4 November recorded that Mr Straw’s initial reaction to DCC White’s documentary was to call a “special meeting of Ministers to discuss what more could be done” but FCO officials had advised that that was not necessary.460

521. An update produced for Mr Straw by the Iraq Security Sector Unit (ISSU) on 5 November acknowledged that “there had been delays in late summer” but said that these had now been resolved.461 On the specific issues about which DCC White had expressed concerned, the ISSU observed:

• risk assessments – “ACPO require very strict assurances”;

• budget – that was “a matter for CPA South and Baghdad”; and

• the new accelerated programme for training – “this is far from ideal … the risks that flow from putting large numbers of insufficiently trained police on the streets are clear”.
Security incidents involving UK SSR staff UK personnel involved in SSR were the subject of a number of security incidents between May 2003 and June 2004:

• On 24 June 2003, six members of the RMP462 who had been engaged in the training of local Iraqi police forces were killed at Majarr al Kabir, near Basra (see Sections 9.2 and 16.3).463 An MOD Board of Inquiry later concluded that that had been “a surprise attack, which could not reasonably have been predicted”.464


459 Letter Rammell to Symons, 4 November 2003, ‘Iraq – Stephen White’.
460 Minute Storr to Acton, 5 November 2003, ‘Iraq: Senior Officials Meeting on 4 November’.
461 Minute ISSU [junior official], to PS/SofS [FCO], 4 November 2003, ‘Iraq Policing’.
462 Sergeant Simon Hamilton‑Jewell, Corporal Russell Aston, Corporal Paul Long, Corporal Simon Miller, Lance Corporal Benjamin Hyde and Lance Corporal Thomas Keys.
463 House of Commons, Official Report, 24 June 2003, column 996.
464 House of Commons, Official Report, 17 November 2004, columns 90‑91WS.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

• On 23 August, three members of the RMP were killed465 and another seriously
injured in an attack in central Basra (see Section 9.2).466 Up to five Iraqis were
also understood to have been killed or seriously injured.

• On 19 November, DCC White’s convoy was subject to an Improvised Explosive
Device (IED) attack outside the Basra courthouse.467 One of his protection
officers was seriously injured.

• On 22 April 2004, the police training academy at az‑Zubayr was attacked by
suicide bombers.468 Although no UK police were injured in the attack, it led to a
review of security at the facility. A subsequent Cabinet Office paper described
the site as “isolated and exposed” but said that a more permanent and secure
site would take time to construct, and would cost between £5m and £10m, for
which there was no provision.469
The facility at az‑Zubayr remained and in June 2004 Mr Hoon stated: “The attack on the facility in April had strengthened the determination of the Iraqi
recruits (and their instructors) to deliver an effective police force. An impressive
set up.” 470

Prison reform

522. The FCO identified the development of the Iraqi prison service as a “Priority One”
area for UK support to ORHA in April 2003.471

523. Mr Martin Narey, the Home Office Commissioner for Correctional Services, wrote
to Sir Michael Jay, the Permanent Under Secretary to the FCO, on 24 April advising that
he was seeking potential secondees from the Prison Service to support the UK effort.472

524. Prison reform was also included in the Annotated Agenda for the AHMGIR on
17 July.473 The Agenda described the Government’s “continued support to the Iraq prison
reform programme” and stated that the IPU considered it “likely … that UK support
[would] be requested specifically in training and general prison management”.


465 Major Matthew Titchener, Company Sergeant Major Colin Wall and Corporal Dewi Pritchard.
466 Ministry of Defence, 23 August 2003, ‘Major Matthew Titchener, Sergeant Major Colin Wall and Corporal Dewi Pritchard Killed in Iraq’.
467 Statement White, 20 June 2010, pages 33‑34.
468 Note ISSU, 23 April 2004, ‘Security Sector Reform Meeting – Thursday 22 April 2004’.
469 Minute Dodd to Rycroft, 7 May 2004, ‘Enhancing Iraqi Security Forces’.
470 Letter Naworynsky to Owen, 15 June 2004, ‘Secretary of State for Defence Visit to Iraq – 14 June 2004’.
471 Letter Jay to Turnbull, 22 April 2003, ‘Iraq: UK Support for the Office for Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance (ORHA)’.
472 Letter Narey to Jay, 24 April 2003, ‘Iraq: UK Support for the Office for Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance (ORHA)’.
473 Annotated Agenda, 17 July 2003, Ad Hoc Group on Iraq Rehabilitation meeting.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

525. The minutes of the Security Sector Reform Meeting474 of 4 December recorded that “not much work had been done in this area” and that “there still did not appear to be a definitive US policy position”.475

526. On 25 February 2004, minutes of the Security Sector Reform Meeting recorded that Mr Gareth Davies, Senior Prisons Adviser to CPA(South), was arranging training for Iraqi Correctional Service officers.476 Canada had also “hinted” that it might support training. Two prisons in MND(SE) were being “refurbished/rebuilt”.

527. Canada’s offer to deliver training was confirmed at the Security Sector Reform Meeting on 5 April.477

528. For the same meeting, Mr Davies had prepared a paper (dated 29 March) on the progress of the Prisons Project in CPA(South). He noted that:

• The “clear separation of function” between the police, courts and prisons had been “more difficult practically than envisaged” but was now “largely complete”.

• Of the five facilities within the UK’s AOR, one was functioning (al‑Maqil) and the other four (al‑Minah, Basra Central, al‑Amarah and Nasiriyah) were under development or construction.

• The recruitment and training of managers and staff for the increase in establishments should not be difficult, but funding “Pay Running Costs” remained a problem.

• On safeguards for the treatment of prisoners there was “little or no National Correctional Policy emanating from Baghdad”, resulting in “serious” policy gaps, such as disciplinary codes for both prisoners and staff.

529. Mr Davies described al‑Maqil as being “in a very poor state of repair” and “close to collapse”. Problems with sewage had been exacerbated by severe overcrowding: in January the prison’s population reached 478 against a capacity of 230. Part of the reason for that rise had been a “weakness in the due process” where prisoners were kept on remand without judicial review. A system of referral to judges had helped alleviate the problem.

530. Mr Davies submitted a report in April 2004 with recommendations for staffing levels after 30 June.478 A joint bid from the FCO and DFID to the Global Conflict Prevention Pool (GCPP) fund for nine prison officers to be both monitors and advisers was planned. The Government has been unable to supply a copy of Mr Davies’ report.


474 The Security Sector Reform Meeting was a regular meeting of policy officers that discussed a range of SSR matters, including police training, military reform, prisons and the judiciary. It was chaired by the FCO and attended by the MOD, DFID, the Home Office and (occasionally) HM Customs and Excise.
475 Minutes, 4 December 2003, Security Sector Reform Meeting.
476 Minutes, 25 February 2004, Security Sector Reform Meeting.
477 Minutes, 5 April 2004, Security Sector Reform Meeting attaching Report Davies, 29 March 2004, ‘A Summary Against Scope of Progress in the Prisons Project in CPA(S)’.
478 Minutes, 22 April 2004, Security Sector Reform meeting.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

531. A funding bid for £5.53m for a project to support the prison service in Southern Iraq
from summer 2004 onwards stated that prisons strategy in MND(SE) was overseen by
the Director of Law and Order, who had been seconded from the UK Prison Service.479
He was supported by a Senior Prisons Adviser and an administrator. Prison monitoring
was undertaken by three members of the Military Prison Service plus two members of
the Territorial Army who were UK prison officers in their civilian careers. The bid sought
to increase staffing numbers to 15. All other staff working in the Correctional Service
were Iraqi locals.

532. The bid stated that there were approximately 800 prisoners in MND(SE). Three
new prisons were in development, with a total capacity of 1,650 places. All prisons within
the CPA(South) boundary run by the Iraqi Prison Service were overseen and maintained
by the UK.

533. A letter dated 2 July confirmed that £1.7m had been agreed for that project by the
Iraqi GCPP Strategy Committee.480

The position in the South leading up to the transfer of sovereignty

534. A record of the Iraq Senior Officials Group on 12 December 2003 stated that the
MOD intended to deploy an additional infantry battalion to assist ICDC training and more
RMP to assist police training and mentoring.481 The record stated: “The importance of
close co‑ordination between departments on police initiatives was stressed”.

535. On 19 December, Mr Lee wrote to Mr Bowen, stating there had been “some
surprise” expressed at the forthcoming deployment of additional RMP to MND(SE) and
“concern about MOD’s alleged lack of consultation over this deployment”.482

536. Mr Lee wrote: “For months now the MOD has been assured by the FCO, and MND(SE) has been assured by the CPA, that civil police were in the pipeline to provide training and mentoring … All accepted the crucial importance of standing up the IPS as rapidly as possible and thus the importance of providing proper civil police trainers to train civil police. HMG [Her Majesty’s Government] and the CPA have not … delivered …
we have repeatedly stressed that we see police training as important and that it is
best delivered by civil police.”


479 Paper Global Conflict Prevention Pool Project Bid Form, [undated, early 2004], ‘Prison Service Support in Southern Iraq’.
480 Letter Carlin to Hayward, 2 July 2004, ‘Iraq Global Conflict Prevention Pool’.
481 Minute Cabinet Office [junior official] to Sheinwald, 15 December 2003, ‘Iraq: Senior Officials Group [12 December]’.
482 Letter Lee to Bowen, 19 December 2003, ‘Iraq: Police Support for MND(SE)’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

537. In his response, Mr Bowen welcomed the deployment but said: “… I find it odd that when we have discussed police training and the like at meetings of officials and had been reassured that all is on track, this has not been challenged at the time. It is not just the MOD who see the importance of police training, so do we all. We must ensure that the information flow between departments is such that messages we need to send to Washington or the CPA (or each other) are registered before we reach crisis point … there is a clear role for senior officials to intervene if programmes are going off the rails.”483

538. A further MOD force level review at the end of January 2004 considered SSR to be “on track in MND(SE)”, although it did register problems with resourcing police training and mentoring.484 It concluded that “given the right conditions” there would be no need to replace the SSR battalion who were conducting ICDC training in July 2004 and added that “assuming the security situation continues to stabilise” further reductions in force levels might be possible by November 2004. Those recommendations were based on assumptions that “consent of the population” would be “maintained” and that SSR would continue “to deliver evermore capable and credible ISF”.

539. In early 2004, the focus in policing shifted from training to providing officers to act as monitors/mentors, terms that appear to have been used interchangeably at the time. Given the deteriorating security situation and the need for mentors to be out on the ground, deploying police officers was problematic.485 As a consequence, that role had been undertaken by the RMP.

540. Following a request from PJHQ to relieve the RMP, the FCO began considering contracting around 40 UK retired officers.486 At the same time the US was developing plans to recruit around 500 police advisers from Dyncorps to act as monitors/mentors, with 50 being earmarked for the South. The UK’s seemingly unilateral approach was met with some consternation by Mr Casteel, who reportedly said: “This isn’t two countries, you know.”

541. Sir Nigel Sheinwald chaired a meeting of the Iraq Strategy Group on 13 February.487 Mr Dodd’s record of the meeting stated that the recent attacks in Erbil showed that “terrorists felt threatened” by SSR. The US was focused on building the ISF’s capacity, “with [General] Abizaid stressing quality over quantity”. While the US planned to hand over security responsibility to Iraqi forces at a local level in July, US Commanders “were not entirely confident they would have sufficient Iraqi forces … but five months remained” to meet that deadline.


483 Letter Bowen to Lee, 22 December 2003, ‘Iraq: Police Support for MND(SE)’.
484 Paper CJO to PSO/CDS, 29 January 2004, ‘Op TELIC Force Level Review – Jan 04’.
485 Minute ISSU [junior official] to Buck and PS/Foreign Secretary, 3 March 2004, ‘Iraq – Contracting of Police Monitors’.
486 Minute ISSU [junior official] to Buck, 4 February 2004, ‘Visit to Iraq 26‑30 Jan’.
487 Minute Dodd to Sheinwald, 16 February 2004, ‘Iraq: Strategy Group’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

542. On 8 March, Mr Straw gave permission for ISSU to proceed with contracting 40 police monitors/mentors.488 Those officers would work directly to Coalition Forces
but would co‑ordinate closely with CPA(South).489 It was estimated that the cost for
six months would be around £3‑4m. In a minute from ISSU to Mr Straw, the reason
given for the unilateral approach was that the numbers of international police advisers
had been “slow to build”. There was no mention of the US Dyncorps contract.

543. DCC Brand had recommended that some of those officers should be offered to the
CPA as part of a Coalition‑wide effort. However, the assessment from ISSU was that, in
the present security environment, it would be too great a risk to deploy FCO‑contracted
British personnel to police station monitoring outside the UK AOR.

544. The minutes of the working level ‘Security Sector Reform Group’ of 22 April
mentioned US plans to deploy Dyncorps contractors to MND(SE) but stated that “it is
still unclear as to the exact deployment dates and numbers”.490 They also referred to
finalising the role for the UK contractors and efforts to ensure they “complement, not
compete” with the Dyncorps contractors.

545. ACC Read told the Inquiry that “it was made quite clear” that the Dyncorps
contractors would not answer to him and that “co‑ordinating these resources and
agreeing a common approach to police reform including the style of policing we wanted
to introduce was going to be an issue”.491

546. The separate UK contract for 40 police monitors/mentors was let to ArmorGroup492
for £5m for six months, with the intention of deploying them in early June.493 However, in light of a further decline in security and the assessment that the type of monitoring they
would do would be “of little value until the Iraqi police [in MND(SE)] have undergone
more specialist skills training”, the deployment was put on hold by the FCO until
September 2004.

547. On 26 April, Mr Rycroft wrote to Mr Straw’s Private Secretary, copying his letter
to DFID, the MOD, the Cabinet Office and UK officials in Iraq and the US (see Section
6.2).494 He reported that Mr Blair thought improvements to existing activities must be
made, including on: “(a) Iraqiisation. We must do whatever it takes to get the ICDC and Iraqi police in shape …”


488 Minute Owen to ISSU [junior official], 8 March 2004, ‘Iraq: Contracting of Police Monitors’.
489 Minute ISSU [junior official] to Buck and PS/Foreign Secretary [FCO], 3 March 2004, ‘Iraq – Contracting of Police Monitors’.
490 Minutes ISSU, 23 April 2004, ‘Security Sector Reform Meeting – Thursday 22 April 2004’.
491 Statement, 23 June 2010, page 15.
492 ArmorGroup is a UK‑based private security contractor.
493 Minute ISSU [junior official] to PS/Foreign Secretary, 11 June 2004, ‘Iraq – Deployment of Police Monitors’.
494 Letter Rycroft to Owen, 26 April 2004, ‘Iraq: 15 Reports for the Prime Minister’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

548. On 30 April, the Cabinet Office assessed that in MND(SE) most ICDC battalions and the police should be able to operate without a full‑time MNF presence by 30 June, although it conceded that the ISF in MND(SE) had not faced the level of challenge that many others faced in the April violence.495

549. Similarly, the MOD assessed that following the transfer, “by 1 July, the ISF will have the lead for security and the MNF will be operating in support of them”.496 The MOD assessed the position in Muthanna, Dhi Qar and Basra provinces positively: in some areas the ISF would “operate without any assistance at all except a standby Quick Reaction Force”. The MOD plan was to minimise its “overt presence” by, for example, relocating from Basra Palace (inside the city) to Basra Airport (outside the city). In Maysan province, the security situation was considered to be more challenging (as described later in this Section).

SSR across Iraq: summer 2004 to summer 2006

550. On 28 June 2004, the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) formally handed over to a sovereign Iraqi Government, the Iraqi Interim Government (IIG), and Dr Allawi became the Iraqi Prime Minister. The process of establishing the IIG is described in Section 9.2.

551. On 20 June, Prime Minister Designate Allawi set out his military capacity‑building strategy in a televised press statement.497

552. Dr Allawi’s strategy included a 6,000‑strong intervention force with both police and army components, the creation of a Special Forces Organisation and continued ING and army training.498

553. Mr Falah Haasan al‑Naqib was appointed as the Minister of Interior and Mr Hazem Shalan al‑Khuzaei was appointed as the Minister for Defence.499 Dr Rubaie continued to serve as the National Security Adviser. Mr Barham Saleh became Deputy Prime Minister for National Security.

554. During the CPA era, the metric used to measure progress with the ISF was the number of personnel on duty.500 Immediately after the transition, that metric was replaced by “trained and equipped” personnel. The net result was a 75 percent drop in recorded MOI force totals, from 181,297 “on duty” personnel on 15 June 2004, to 47,255 “trained and equipped” personnel on 25 August 2004.


495 Minute Dodd to Quarrey, 30 April 2004, ‘Iraqi Security Force Capabilities’.
496 Letter Naworynsky to Rycroft, 10 June 2004, ‘MND(SE): Handing over Responsibility for Security to the Iraqis’.
497 Telegram 337 Iraqrep to FCO London, 20 June 2004, ‘Iraq: Statement of Prime Minister Allawi on Iraqi Security’.
498 Letter Cabinet Office [junior official] to Sheinwald, 29 June 2004, ‘Iraq: Strategy Group’.
499 BBC News, 1 June 2004, Interim Iraqi Government.
500 Bowen SW Jr. Hard Lessons: The Iraq Reconstruction Experience. U.S. Government Printing Office, 2009.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

555. When the IIG was constituted, the UK and the US ceased to be Occupying Powers
and instead were operating under resolution 1546 (2004) and the annexed letters from
Dr Allawi and Mr Powell (see Section 9.2).501 The points of relevance for SSR were that
the Security Council:

• welcomed ongoing efforts by the incoming IIG to develop the ISF, operating
under the authority of the IIG and its successors, “which will progressively play
a greater role and ultimately assume full responsibility for the maintenance of
security and stability in Iraq”;

• recognised that the MNF would assist in building the capability of the ISF,
through a programme of recruitment, training, equipping, mentoring and

• emphasised the importance of developing effective Iraqi police and border
enforcement, under the control of the MOI, and the FPS, under the MOI and
other ministries, for the maintenance of law, order and security; it requested
Member States and international organisations to assist the IIG in building the
capability of those institutions;

• attributed a number of roles to the Special Representative to the Secretary
General and the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq including promoting the
protection of human rights, reconciliation and judicial and legal reform;

• welcomed the fact that arrangements were being put in place to establish
a security partnership between the IIG and MNF;

• noted that appropriate Iraqi Ministers were responsible for the ISF, that the IIG
had authority to commit the ISF to the MNF to engage in operations, and that
the security structures planned would serve as fora for the IIG and the MNF
to reach agreement on security and policy issues, and ensure full partnership
between Iraqi security forces and the MNF, through close co‑ordination and
consultation; and

• called on Member States and international organisations to respond to Iraqi
requests to assist Iraqi efforts to integrate Iraqi veterans and former militia
members into Iraqi society.

556. Dr Allawi’s letter annexed to the resolution asked for the support of the Security
Council and the international community in providing security and stability until Iraq was
able to provide security for itself.

557. Resolution 1546 (2004) expired in November 2005. It was replaced by resolution
1637 (2005),502 and subsequently resolutions 1723 (2006)503 and 1790 (2007).504 Those resolutions extended the authorisation for the MNF in Iraq until the end of 2008.


501 United Nations Security Council resolution 1546 (2004).
502 United Nations Security Council resolution 1637 (2005).
503 United Nations Security Council resolution 1723 (2006).
504 United Nations Security Council resolution 1790 (2007).

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

UK, US and Iraqi plans for SSR

558. On 15 July 2004, the Defence and Overseas Policy Committee (DOP) considered a paper by Mr Straw entitled ‘Iraq: the Next Six Months’.505 The paper outlined the desired position for Iraq by January 2005. For the ISF, the objective was: “Significantly increased Iraqi security capacity and capability with Iraqi forces in local control around much of the country and a reduced reliance on MNF‑I, paving the way for foreign troop reductions in 2005.”

559. The priority was identified as continued support to Iraqiisation through training, equipping and mentoring of ISF, with a focus on command and civilian oversight (particularly of the army and the Iraqi National Intelligence Service).

560. The priorities identified in Mr Straw’s paper were agreed by DOP.506

561. On 21 July, the Annotated Agenda for the AHMGIR reported that recruitment to the ISF was “buoyant” and equipment was being delivered.507 The ISF were: “… increasingly taking the lead in patrolling and on specific operations. Their credibility with the Iraqi people seems to be increasing … and local control has been achieved in some areas, particularly MND(SE).”

562. The Annotated Agenda noted that “despite the growth of capacity, significant capability gaps remain” and both the Joint Headquarters and proposed National Joint Operations Centre would “require further advice, supervision and equipment before Iraqi command is satisfactory”. ISF units would “require careful command and control training and mentoring once formed”.

563. An annex to the Annotated Agenda stated that overall numbers were already close to target (a total of 233,000 ISF personnel against a planned total of “around 260,000” by January 2005). It stated that the IPS had “already hit its full manning levels”, would “be 100 percent equipped by end 04”, and with the completion of current training programmes be “fully operational” by June 2005.

564. The IPS was also focused on the need “to slim” the police force “by up to 30,000 men”. The annex stated that “just fewer than 3,000” Iraqi Army personnel had been trained and the rate of recruitment and training was “set to go up to end 2004”.

565. Lt Gen Petraeus carried out a “Troops To Task” assessment in July and August 2004 with General George Casey, who replaced Lt Gen Sanchez as Commander of the Coalition’s military command in June 2004.508 That was to identify what the size


505 Paper FCO, 13 July 2004, ‘Iraq: the Next Six Months’.
506 Minutes, 15 July 2004, DOP meeting.
507 Annotated Agenda, 21 July 2004, Ad Hoc Group on Iraq Rehabilitation meeting.
508 Bowen SW Jr. Hard Lessons: The Iraq Reconstruction Experience. U.S. Government Printing Office, 2009.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

and shape of Iraq’s security forces should be. They concluded that Iraqi forces were
“not prepared” to combat the violent insurgency and that more forces, both police and
military, were urgently required. Their recommendations for increases in the number
of police, border patrol officers and Iraqi National Guard (ING) (shown below) brought
the proposed total number of ISF to around 271,000, all of whom would receive
counter‑insurgency training. It would later become known as the “Petraeus Plan”.

12.1 Table 3 – Summary of Troops to Task Assessment

Table 3: Summary of “Troops to Task” assessment

566. Mr Mike Naworynsky, Mr Hoon’s Private Secretary, summarised the plan produced
by Lt Gen Petraeus in a minute to Mr Antony Phillipson, Private Secretary to Mr Blair,
on 20 August.510 Mr Naworynsky reported that it would take until mid‑2006 to achieve
the proposed staffing levels for the ISF and that further (financial) resources would be
needed. The development of the Iraqi police was identified as the “main effort”.

567. Mr Naworynsky wrote: “The report shows that US thinking in this area remains very similar to our own with the key theme of Iraqiisation running through the brief. Timelines given within the briefing are broadly as we would expect across Iraq, and should be bettered in the MND(SE) area.”

568. Mr Edward Chaplin, British Ambassador to Iraq from July 2004 to June 2005,
reported that a draft National Security Strategy for Iraq was discussed on 24 July by
deputies to members of MCNS.511 The Strategy was described as “a wide‑ranging
document, which aims to underpin for the next one to five years the development of


509 Minute Naworynsky to Phillipson, 20 August 2004, ‘Report from Lt Gen Petraeus, Multi‑National Security Transition Command – Iraq (MNSTC‑I) on Developing the Iraqi Security Forces’.
510 Minute Naworynsky to Phillipson, 20 August 2004, ‘Report from Lt Gen Petraeus, Multi‑National Security Transition Command – Iraq (MNSTC‑I) on Developing the Iraqi Security Forces’.
511 Telegram 61 Baghdad to FCO London, 26 July 2004, ‘Iraq: National Security Strategy’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

Iraq’s security structures and policy, diplomatic and international relations, economic policy and investments in infrastructure”. It had been drafted by an Iraqi and MNF working group that included UK advisers. Section 9.3 details the political elements of the Strategy.

569. The Strategy was approved with minor amendments. It was agreed that it should proceed to a Ministerial discussion on 29 July and to Prime Minister Allawi on 5 August. The intention was that “the Strategy should be published shortly afterwards” but the timetable might slip given Dr Allawi’s overseas commitments.

570. Mr Chaplin wrote that “detailed work” on the chapter regarding national security institutions was ongoing and, in particular, a “troops to task study” led by MNF had “concluded that a significant increase in the planned number of conventional police, Border Police and National Guard is required”. He confirmed that Prime Minister Allawi, Defence Minister Hazem Shalan al‑Khuzaei and Interior Minister Falah Haasan al‑Naqib had been told about that but he did not know their reaction. Mr Chaplin understood that the revised ISF structure, including the additional numbers of troops and police recommended, would create a US$2.8bn shortfall and that Lt Gen Petraeus had approached Ambassador John Negroponte (who had replaced Ambassador Bremer as US Ambassador to Iraq) on 25 July to ask that these funds were found.

US and Iraqi SSR funding

The US funded SSR tasks through two funding streams:

• The Iraq Relief and Reconstruction Fund (IRRF) was the largest source of US reconstruction funding, comprising US$20.86bn made available through two appropriations, IRRF1 and IRRF2.512 US$4.94bn of IRRF2 funds were allocated to security and law enforcement. In addition to that, US$2.31 billion was allocated to “justice, public safety infrastructure, and civil society”.

• The Iraq Security Forces Fund (ISFF) was created in May 2005 and ran until June 2009.513 It made available US$18.04bn to “train, equip, and maintain all elements of the Iraqi Security Forces, including the Iraqi Army, Navy, Air Force, Special Operations Forces; Iraqi police forces; special task forces; the Iraqi Intelligence Agency; and border security forces.” That fund was administered by the DoD through MNSTC‑I.514 ISFF funding is shown in Table 4.515


512 Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, 30 July 2009, ‘Report to Congress’.
513 Letter SIGIR to Commanding General, US Forces‑Iraq, 23 April 2010, ‘Most Iraq Security Forces Fund Appropriations have been Obligated’.
514 Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, 30 July 2009, ‘Report to Congress’.
515 Letter SIGIR to Commanding General, US Forces‑Iraq, 23 April 2010, ‘Most Iraq Security Forces Fund Appropriations have been Obligated’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

12.1 Table 4 – Iraq Security Forces Fund

Table 4: Iraq Security Forces Fund

The Iraqi Government funded SSR predominantly through budgetary allocations to the
Ministries of Defence and Interior.516 The annual allocations and spends between 2005
and 2009 are shown in Table 5.

12.1 Table 5 – Iraqi Government SSR Funding

In addition, the Iraqi Government between 2006 and 2009 set aside US$5.5bn to
purchase equipment, training and services through the US’ Foreign Military Sales517


516 Report to Congress US Government Accountability Office, September 2010, ‘Iraqi‑US Cost‑Sharing’.
517 The US Foreign Military Sales programme involved the Iraqi Government identifying what needed to be procured, and transferring appropriate funds to the Federal Reserve Bank. The US would then oversee the spending.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

571. On 29 July, Mr Chaplin wrote to the FCO in London advising that the UK should resist making substantive changes to the draft Strategy which risked delaying publication and “unravelling what we have achieved so far”.518 He explained that the Strategy had been through “a laborious drafting process” for the past seven weeks and the “latest version represents a fine balance between the IIG and US/UK representatives”.

572. Mr Chaplin explained that some “confusion has crept into the Whitehall debate about different elements of the overall strategy required to deal with the insurgency”. Seeking to clarify matters, he wrote that the Strategy was “a conceptual document describing the Government’s overall approach”. The operational work “falling out” of it included:

• the MNF‑I strategic campaign plan to develop a self‑reliant ISF by January 2006;

•an operational plan to man, train, equip and assist the ISF, currently being “masterminded by Gen Petraeus”;

• a baseline “troops to task” reassessment; and

• work on the new intelligence architecture.

573. By early August, Mr Blair was concerned that neither an Iraqi security strategy nor an MNF internal review of Iraqiisation had yet appeared.519 The security strategy was particularly important for demonstrating publicly that the IIG had a plan to deal with the security situation. The FCO was instructed to press Prime Minister Allawi on the importance of issuing a public statement soon.

574. Mr Dominic Asquith, a Deputy Commissioner in the CPA, reported on 9 August that Dr Allawi understood the need to explain the IIG strategy on security, “but does not think the National Security Strategy document fits the bill”.520 Dr Allawi had, however, agreed the need to sort out the details quickly with the MNF.

575. On 14 August, Mr Asquith reported that the launch of the National Security Strategy had been the subject of a “confused discussion” at the MCNS on 12 August.521 Dr Allawi had said that the Strategy would need to be revised but it was unclear how that would be done.

576. By the time Mr Blair visited Iraq and met Dr Allawi in Baghdad on 21 December, a new plan had been drafted.522 They discussed Iraqiisation. Mr Blair stated that he had seen a draft of Dr Allawi’s new security plan which he thought was “along the right lines” and that he had agreed to review the Iraqiisation strategy with President Bush in January.


518 Telegram 78 Baghdad to FCO London, 29 July 2004, ‘Iraq: National Security Strategy’.
519 Minute Cabinet Office [junior official] to Sawers, 6 August 2004, ‘Iraq’.
520 Telegram 107 Baghdad to FCO London, 9 August 2004, ‘Iraq: Security: Prime Minister’s Views’.
521 Telegram 128 Baghdad to London, 14 August 2004, ‘Iraq: Ministerial Committee on National Security (MCNS), 12 August’.
522 Letter Quarrey to Adams, 21 December 2004, ‘Prime Minister’s Visit to Baghdad, 21 December: Meeting with Allawi’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

577. Dr Allawi suggested that the Petraeus Plan could be accelerated by more training
for the ISF command structure and more recruitment of untainted figures from the old

578. On 23 December, No. 10 reported that Mr Blair was “encouraged that Allawi is now
working on a security strategy which he intends to publish”.523

579. On 3 January 2005, Prime Minister Allawi wrote to Mr Blair, enclosing an updated
draft of the security plan.524 He had also sent the paper to President Bush that day and
shared the covering letter with Mr Blair. The letter to President Bush highlighted the
mounting security challenges facing Iraq, the lack of resources and the importance of
accelerating the recruitment, training and deployment of Iraqi forces.

580. The paper was six pages long and briefly outlined the problems with the ISF and
potential solutions. The solutions included: merging the ING with the Iraqi Army to fill
gaps caused by current depletions; a rapid extension of forces; additional training;
and giving the army responsibility for border security. It stated that a request would be
made to the IMF and World Bank to cover a “$1.9bn (or officially $2.25bn)” shortfall in
year one.

581. On 6 January, Mr Martin Howard, MOD Director General Operational Policy, sent
a draft note about the Strategy to Ms Margaret Aldred, Deputy Head OD Sec, Cabinet
Office.525 Mr Howard wrote that the letter was to go to Mr Nick Beadle, Coalition Senior
Adviser to the IMOD, and Mr Charles Heatly, Adviser to Prime Minister Allawi in Baghdad
and reflected what he and Ms Aldred had agreed the previous day. The note was broadly
supportive of the Strategy but observed that the US could be sensitive to some of the
content, including references to the slow pace of army training (“as a criticism of the
Petraeus Plan”) and to recruiting members of the former Iraqi armed forces.

582. The draft note stated that reference to “coalition embedded troops” should be
removed from the Strategy document because it had not yet been endorsed in London
and said “it would be better from Allawi’s perspective to minimise any impression that the
Iraqi security forces will remain over‑dependent on the coalition”.

583. The National Security Strategy was eventually issued on 15 January 2005.526 In it,
Dr Allawi was reported to have amended the goal of training 100,000 Iraqi soldiers by
July to 150,000 “fully qualified” soldiers by the end of the year.


523 Letter Quarrey to Owen, 23 December 2004, ‘Prime Minister’s Visit to Iraq: Follow‑up’.
524 Letter Allawi to Blair, 3 January 2005, [untitled] attaching Paper, ‘Iraqi Security Forces – Revised Recruitment and Training Strategy: 2005’.
525 Letter Howard to Aldred, 6 January 2005, ‘Iraqi National Security Strategy’.
526 New York Times, 24 February 2005, Iraqi Army Is About to Add National Guard to Its Ranks.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

Training the Iraqi Army

Training of individual army recruits followed one of two patterns:

• Recruits with former military experience went into a Direct Recruit Replacement programme. They received three weeks’ standardised training delivered by the Major Subordinate Commands at Regional Training Centres.

• Recruits without military experience were sent for training at the Iraqi Training Brigade in Kirkush. All new recruits undertook a five‑week programme followed by an additional three to seven weeks of specialist skills training.527 The five‑week programme was increased to 13 weeks in early 2007.528

In 2006, a system of six Regional Training Centres was established to develop a
non‑commissioned officer corps and a year‑long Basic Officers Commissioning Course, based on a Sandhurst curriculum, was established at three Military Academies.529
By early 2007, a National Defence University had been established and was beginning to run institutions of professional development: Iraqi Staff Colleges, a National Defence College and a Strategic Studies Institute.530

In May 2007, the Iraqi Training and Doctrine Command, part of the Joint Headquarters assumed responsibility from MNSTC‑I for training and equipping the Iraqi military.531
UK assessments of the Iraqi Security Forces in late 2004

584. On 23 September, Lieutenant General John McColl, SBMR‑I, sent Lt Gen Fry, Deputy Chief of the Defence Staff (Commitments) from July 2003 to March 2006, a paper on the UK’s options for withdrawing or reducing the number of troops in Iraq “up to and beyond January 2006” (see Section 9.3).532 He stated that the IPS would have manned, trained and equipped “77 percent” of the target 135,000 officers by the end of July 2005 and the ING numbers were also “on course” to be achieved by that date. Lt Gen McColl wrote that “these encouraging projections have, in part, prompted MNF‑I’s aspiration to establish Iraqi regional … control across all 18 provinces by 31 July 2005”.

585. Lt Gen McColl considered the goal “challenging” because of “significant shortfalls in logistics capability” of the ISF. He highlighted a lack of trained staff, a “serious rift” between the MOI and IMOD and “the need for a proper national security headquarters”.


527 Report to Congress, 13 October 2005, Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq.
528 Report to Congress, 2 March 2007, Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq.
529 Report to Congress, 17 February 2006, Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq.
530 Report to Congress, 2 March 2007, Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq.
531 Report to Congress, 14 September 2007, Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq.
532 Minute McColl to DCDS(C), 23 September 2004, Iraq up to and Beyond January 2006 – Defining a UK Position’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

586. On 20 October, Lt Gen McColl sent the Hauldown Report of his tour in Iraq.533
He wrote: “Despite their limited numbers and state of training, ISF are even now capable of strategically significant impact. Their deployment has an effect that coalition troops
cannot achieve … They are therefore in great demand and, there is a risk … that
their premature committal to operations, which are still beyond their capacity, could
irreparably dent their confidence. The risk is exacerbated by the understandable
impatience of the IIG, supported to some extent in both Washington and London …
“The critical path for the IPS will be meeting the sheer scale of the equipping and
training requirement, as well as the continued identification of tough committed
police chiefs. There are grounds for optimism, but no police force could operate in
the current levels of violence without relying on the support of the Army, including the
ING, to provide a secure framework and surge capability …
“The frustration that the UK has felt at the slow and chequered progress of ISF
generation has been understandable. Our contribution outside MND(SE) has,
however been limited (aside from helpful training team activity) to advice to US
colleagues who are themselves frustrated and doing all they can to translate the
$5 billion they are investing into security capability, whilst reconciling the somewhat
turbulent aspirations of the IIG. Within MND(SE) the flow of equipment to ING and
IPS from US suppliers has been painfully slow, a problem compounded by the
prioritisation of issue based on the prevailing security situation across the country.
There has recently been an initiative, which has yet to deliver effect that would allow
UK resources to support the equipping of the ISF within the UK area; this is to be
welcomed and is perhaps overdue.”

587. On putting the right structures in place, Lt Gen McColl referenced the need to put
particular emphasis on developing the MOI “staff planning capability”, which remained
“the most serious concern”.

588. On 27 October, a Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) Assessment reported that
the capability of the ISF was “growing” but that their effectiveness remained “patchy”.534
It stated: “The more reliable and better trained elements are in short supply and limit the
current ability of the IIG to conduct more than one or two concurrent operations.
The ISF will improve slowly up to the elections and their capability is planned to
build significantly in the early part of 2005. But we judge that they will not be able
to handle significant security responsibilities unaided until the middle of 2005 at the
earliest. The nascent Iraqi intelligence service (INIS) is also under severe pressure
and continues to suffer from assassinations and penetration.”


533 Report McColl to CDS and CJO, 20 October 2004, ‘SBMR‑I Hauldown report – Lt Gen McColl’.
534 JIC Assessment, 27 October 2004, ‘Iraq: A Long‑Term Insurgency Problem’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

589. A JIC Assessment on 11 November reported that the ISF had been attacked by insurgent groups “since their creation” and cited “one of the most serious” attacks on 23 October where a convoy of ING forces was ambushed and 49 unarmed recruits were shot.535 In describing the risk of infiltration, it stated: “We judge that all the Iraqi official institutions, including the security forces … employ individuals who give information to the insurgents, whether willingly or under threat. We estimate that nearly a third of current police officers will in time have to be dismissed due to their unsuitability, many of whom are believed to co‑operate with insurgents. In Basra the police chief has been sacked … Some attacks, such as the murders of high profile officials, suggest insider knowledge. But insurgents are also able to intimidate or attack the security forces simply because they live in and are known among the local community.”

590. On 26 November, MOD officials advised Mr Hoon that the ISF had performed well during operations in Fallujah (see Section 9.3) and that the development of the ISF was “on track”.536 Many ISF elements were “above the predicted capability” for 1 December. Although absenteeism remained a problem, it was being addressed, including through “greater use of posting away from home areas to avoid intimidation”. The minute asked Mr Hoon to note that: “ISF tasks during [the Fallujah operation] were deliberately selected so as not to be too demanding. That most of Fallujah was virtually deserted made ISF follow up operations easier; and the insurgents made little concerted attempt to disrupt them. It is not surprising therefore that [the Fallujah operation] did not reveal any significant gaps in ISF capability, training or equipment. It was never intended so to do.”


591. On 20 August 2004, Mr Phillipson wrote to Mr George Fergusson, OD Sec, commissioning a paper that set out the full picture in Iraq.537 It was to cover how Iraq could progress to successful elections in January 2005, the challenges faced and “initial thoughts” on how those challenges could be addressed.

592. The IPU produced the paper, which concluded that the strategy agreed by the DOP in July remained the right one but would need “regular fine tuning”.538 On SSR, the IPU suggested that timescales for Iraqiisation could “be compressed … but only with increased resources and at risk to quality”. Equipment supply had started “to flow” but momentum would need to be maintained and in‑country distribution improved.


535 JIC Assessment, 11 November 2004, ‘Iraq Security – Current Concerns’.
536 Minute MOD [junior official] to APS/SofS [MOD], 26 November 2004, ‘Post Fallujah – an Assessment of ISF Performance’.
537 Letter Phillipson to Fergusson, 20 August 2004, ‘Iraq: Next Steps’.
538 Minute Crompton to Private Secretary [FCO], 27 August 2004, ‘Iraq: Next Steps’ attaching Paper Iraq Policy Unit, 27 August 2004, ‘Iraq: Next Steps: Action Points’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

The paper also highlighted that the Petraeus Plan would strain budgets and require
“sustained high level lobbying” of key allies to extend their deployment as many MNF
contributors expected deployment to cease in 2005, earlier than required by the Plan.

593. Mr Phillipson, in summarising the paper to Mr Blair, described it as “too vague, and
does not tally with loss of control compared to the situation on the ground in early July,
not least in Basra”.539 On Iraqiisation, Mr Phillipson suggested: “The paper says that Iraqiisation is on track. We should ask for a more explicit assessment. What were the original timelines and benchmarks? What is our performance against them? How and where can they be tightened up and accelerated? There is a tendency to fear that this will increase costs – we should make clear that this should not be a bar to the necessary policy judgements. On timelines we also need to challenge the assertion that MNF forces will
now need to be in Iraq at present levels until 2006 – we should be looking to
move as quickly as possible to a shift from offensive MNF forces to a smaller
training and advisory deployment.”

594. On 29 August, Mr Blair produced a minute in response which expressed that
although the rationale behind Iraqiisation was “fine”, the “urgency of the situation may
overwhelm us and make our timescales … naive”.540 Mr Blair stressed the need for
immediate action: “Allawi has to be given, by hook or by crook, immediate strong, well‑armed brigades who can move into any trouble‑spot and clean up. This has got to take precedence over the General Petraeus plan. But we cannot have a row over equipment. If he needs the stuff, he has got to have it.”

595. On 9 September, Sir Nigel Sheinwald and Mr David Quarrey, a Private Secretary
in No.10, sent Mr Blair a minute reporting their recent visit to Iraq, for use in Mr Blair’s
planned video conference with President Bush.541 They reported: “Iraqiisation is on a trajectory which will take us well into 2005, and maybe into 2006, before they can stand on their own. The police are doing better than the Army. There are real capacity issues in the key ministries, though throwing more advisers at them might not help. We seriously need to make a UK national contribution to speeding up equipment supply.”

596. The minute stated that the US NSC and No.10 would need to “be all over” the
issue in coming months to ensure further progress and the need to maintain pressure for
delivery on Iraqiisation should be one of the key messages for Mr Blair’s conversation
with President Bush.


539 Minute Phillipson to Prime Minister, 27 August 2004, ‘Iraq: Next Steps’.
540 Minute Prime Minister to Sheinwald, Powell and Phillipson, 29 August 2004, ‘Iraq’.
541 Minute Sheinwald and Quarrey to Prime Minister, 9 September 2004, ‘Iraq’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

597. On 16 September, Mr Blair chaired a meeting of the Ad Hoc Ministerial Group on Iraq (AHMGI – see Section 2), called “to ensure the UK Government approach to Iraq was fully co‑ordinated in the period up to Iraqi elections in January 2005”.542 He intended that the Group should meet regularly.

598. Given an insurgency that appeared to be increasingly co‑ordinated, Mr Blair told the Group that he was “concerned that the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) did not have sufficient capability to take on the insurgents.”

599. Gen Walker reported that plans were in place for the ISF to be fully equipped and trained by mid‑2005, but that their capabilities would remain limited, especially compared with the MNF. There was little scope for accelerating the plans.

600. The Group agreed that the MOD would “make recommendations on how ISF capacity will develop and what more we can do to accelerate or refine the delivery to allow the ISF to tackle the current insurgency campaign”.

601. General Sir Mike Jackson, Chief of the General Staff, visited Iraq from 12 to 15 September.543 In his report, he observed: “… the generation of trained and equipped ISF and IPS is taking considerably more time than expected … Although General Petraeus was buoyant about the progress in ISF and the recent performance of two of their battalions in Najaf, there is an underlying reservation highlighted by many, including Gen Casey, that improvement is slow – the faster release of allocated funds will help.”

602. On 19 September, Mr Blair met Prime Minister Allawi and Iraqi Ministers at No.10.544 In Mr Quarrey’s note of the meeting to Mr Straw’s Private Secretary, he wrote that Dr Allawi had expressed frustration at the pace of Iraqiisation which had followed “the slow route of General Petraeus” and “had told Bush that he needed security capacity now, not next year”.

603. Mr Blair said that it was important that the long‑term work continued but that there was also a need rapidly to increase the capacity of Iraqi intelligence and the ISF. Prime Minister Allawi requested a meeting with senior defence and intelligence officials from the US, UK and Iraq “to discuss problems with Iraqiisation”. When Iraqi Ministers suggested a halt to de‑Ba’athification, Mr Blair and Dr Allawi agreed that the IIG needed “a practical approach”.

604. In a private meeting with Mr Blair afterwards, Dr Allawi said security was his personal focus, but was part of wider work on an overall strategy addressing national reconciliation and Sunni outreach, building the economy and building up the institutions


542 Minutes, 16 September 2004, Ad Hoc Ministerial Group on Iraq meeting.
543 Minute CGS to CDS, 17 September 2004, ‘CGS Visit to OP TELIC 12‑15 Sep 04’.
544 Minute Quarrey to Owen, 19 September 2004, ‘Iraq: Prime Minister’s Lunch with Allawi, 19 September’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

of government and the state.545 Dr Allawi made clear that tackling the security situation
was his top priority, but he lacked effective resources to achieve that. He “needed:
the two mechanised divisions, a Rapid Deployment Force,546 an effective anti‑terrorist
capability in the police, and a more rapid build up of intelligence capability”. Mr Blair
commissioned advice from Lt Gen McColl on how best to meet that requirement.

605. On 20 September, Mr Naworynsky provided two papers to No.10: “one
on the current status of the ISF, including an analysis of the Petraeus Plan and
recommendations for further work”; and a speaking note for Mr Blair’s next conversation
with President Bush.547

606. The first paper listed the current capability of the ISF as 91,000 recruited and
trained personnel, comprising:

• 34,500 police;

• 34,200 members of the National Guard;

• 14,300 border officers;

• 4,800 regular army;

• 1,900 Army Intervention Force; and

• 600 Special Forces.

607. Those forces were “totally reliant on the Multi‑National Force (MNF) for support”
and “turning quantity into quality – the key to our withdrawal” would “take time”.

608. The Petraeus Plan had forecast that by the end of 2005, total ISF strength would
be 234,000 and it would be “able to tackle the majority of threats currently present
in Iraq”. The paper noted that that was ambitious but would in time deliver security
forces to meet Iraq’s predicted needs. It could be accelerated to deliver more forces
with counter‑insurgency capability sooner, but only by taking resources from long‑term
development, and so ultimately extending the length of the programme and the presence
of UK forces in Iraq. The paper stated: “This would not be desirable.”

609. The paper stated that the UK could complement the Petraeus Plan by: continuing
to support the MOI and IMOD; procuring equipment for the ISF in MND(SE); continuing
training and mentoring the ISF; supporting NATO training of the middle and senior ranks
and “consider whether the ISF require a heavy force”.

610. Sir Nigel Sheinwald annotated the covering letter: “This is v. feeble”.548


545 Letter Sheinwald to Adams, 19 September 2004, ‘Iraq: Prime Minister’s Meeting with Prime Minister Allawi, Sunday 19 September’.
546 A Rapid Deployment Force is a military formation typically consisting of elite military units and usually trained at a higher intensity than the rest of their country’s military.
547 Letter Naworynsky to Quarrey, 20 September 2004, ‘Advice for the Prime Minister’s Next VTC with President Bush’.
548 Manuscript comment Sheinwald on Letter Naworynsky to Quarrey, 20 September 2004, ‘Advice for the Prime Minister’s Next VTC with President Bush’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

611. On 21 September, Maj Gen Houghton produced a paper for the Chiefs of Staff on “the prospects for developing capable and effective Iraqi Security Forces”.549 He described the development of the ISF as “not pretty”. The reasons given for that included de‑Ba’athification, the decision to disband the Iraqi armed forces and the absence of a strategy for Iraq’s security sector architecture. The last had now largely been addressed by the National Security Strategy, although it was not “officially signed off”.

612. Maj Gen Houghton wrote that there had been “an understandable tendency by some to ‘talk‑up’ the timescales” for delivering manpower, equipment and training. Progress had been made but “must be set in the context of significant political frustration at the highest levels of Iraq, US and UK government”. He offered that one conclusion was that:
“… the current political frustration at the lack of progress in ISF development may be mis‑directed. It is focusing too much on short‑term, physical and – to an extent – symbolic representations of capability; it is not focusing enough on the capabilities which will actually allow Iraq to fight its own campaign. The need to meet this latter requirement may be brought closer in time as a result of the elections in the new year.”

613. On 22 September, Mr Hoon wrote to Mr Blair with advice on how the ISF would develop.550 He stated: “It is clear that Allawi feels frustrated with progress on Iraqiisation … Our current assessment is that the Petraeus Plan will deliver ISF scaled to meet Iraq’s needs, including a limited offensive capability in time for the elections in January 2005. Allawi’s concerns are undoubtedly genuine.”

614. No.10 “pressed MOD for a full and imaginative response to Allawi’s request”.551 Mr Hoon was “asked for more detail and a better focus” by No.10 after writing to Mr Blair on 27 September.552

615. Mr Naworynsky addressed that request in a letter to Mr Quarrey on 30 September after receiving advice from Lt Gen Fry.553 While the MOD accepted that the pace of progress “could have been more rapid”, its judgement was:
“… that the Petraeus plan will deliver the required capability and does not need a radical overhaul. Indeed, to do so would stall momentum and delay the progress which Allawi desires. Indeed, we run the risk of a ‘new plan’ causing confusion with the existing plan.”


549 Minute ACDS(Ops) to COSSEC, 21 September 2004, ‘Developing Capable and Effective Iraqi Security Forces’.
550 Letter Hoon to Blair, 22 September 2004, ‘Iraq: Petreus Plan [sic]’.
551 Minute Quarrey to Blair, 1 October 2004, ‘Iraqi‑isation’.
552 The Inquiry has not seen the 27 September letter from Mr Hoon to Mr Blair.
553 Letter Naworynsky to Quarrey, 30 September 2004, [untitled].

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

616. Despite that judgement, Lt Gen Fry had identified that the ING could be provided
with more firepower, mobility and logistic support. To do that, Mr Naworynsky listed six
proposals at an estimated total cost of US$107m. He wrote that those proposals would
“accelerate the development of capable ISF” but were “costly and unfunded” with no
provision for meeting them within the MOD’s budget. He concluded by pointing out that
“even if all this is done, the impact on Iraqi capability for high end counter‑insurgency
operations before elections will remain very limited”. It would, however, “give a highly
visible Iraqi face to such operations which would be at least as important in perception
terms as the military effect achieved”.

617. Mr Quarrey summarised the MOD’s proposals to Mr Blair as “effectively brush[ing]
aside Allawi’s demands”.554 He accepted that there was logic in the proposals but the
focus on ING instead of the main counter‑insurgency forces would not deliver what
Allawi “really wants”. He advised Mr Blair to speak to Mr Hoon, “emphasising the need for him to take a personal interest in the issue”.

618. Referring to the MOD’s proposals, Mr Blair responded: “It may be right but it’s
definitely not a response to Allawi.”555

619. On 5 October, Dr Allawi wrote a letter to President Bush and Mr Blair.556 The Inquiry has not seen this letter.

620. On the same day, Mr Blair and President Bush spoke by video conference.557
Mr Blair’s brief for the conversation suggested that he should ask the President if there
had been progress on accelerating Iraqiisation; Secretary Rumsfeld was believed to be
resisting such a move.558

621. In discussion, Mr Blair said that Prime Minister Allawi was pushing ahead with
Iraqiisation as fast as he could. Mr Blair suggested that Dr Allawi’s “twin track of political
outreach and increased military capability” plus a statement from the US and UK that
they were “in this until the job was done”, was “key”.559

622. Mr Blair and Prime Minister Allawi spoke on 22 October.560 Mr Quarrey recorded
that Dr Allawi said that Iraqiisation was “finally moving” and that “people – even including Rumsfeld – now accepted that Allawi was right about the need to accelerate this”. Dr Allawi was expecting a detailed plan the following week.


554 Minute Quarrey to Blair, 1 October 2004, ‘Iraqi‑isation’.
555 Manuscript comment Blair on Minute Quarrey to Blair, 1 October 2004, ‘Iraqi‑isation’.
556 Letter Adams to Quarrey, 22 October 2004, ‘Prime Minister Allawi’s Letter on Developing ISF Capability’.
557 Letter Phillipson to Adams, 5 October 2004, ‘Prime Minister’s VTC with President Bush, 5 October: US Elections, Iraq, Iran, MEPP’.
558 Minute Phillipson to Prime Minister, 4 October 2004, ‘VTC with President Bush, 5 October’.
559 Letter Phillipson to Adams, 5 October 2004, ‘Prime Minister’s VTC with President Bush, 5 October: US elections, Iraq, Iran, MEPP’.
560 Letter Quarrey to Wilson, 22 October 2004, ‘Iraq: Prime Minister’s Conversation with Allawi, 22 October’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

Global Conflict Prevention Pool strategy update

On 29 September 2004, Mr Stuart Jack, FCO Director Iraq, provided an update on a revised Global Conflict Prevention Pool (GCPP) Strategy to Mr Straw’s Private Secretary.561 The Strategy had three objectives:

• building the capacity of the Iraqi Government and civil society to carry out conflict prevention and resolution;

• preventing further polarisation and reducing underlying tensions between different elements of Iraqi society; and

• building the capacity of the security sector, with special emphasis on the police and prisons.

On funding, Mr Jack wrote that Mr Blair had asked the GCPP to fund up to £2m for a project supporting the MOI. That was in addition to a £2.5m MOD bid approved by AHMGI on 16 September to purchase equipment for the ISF.562 Both projects were considered to serve “our broader Iraq objectives”, although the ISF project only “just about” met published eligibility criteria for the supply of military equipment.
Mr Straw wrote to Mr Hoon and Mr Benn on 4 October with the revised Strategy, recommending that the FCO, the MOD and DFID endorse it.563 Mr Straw flagged that funding was “over‑committed” that financial year and warned that future project proposals for Iraq would need to be carefully considered in that light.
There is no record that Mr Benn or Mr Hoon formally endorsed the Strategy.

Suggestions for improvements in SSR

623. Mr Robert Davies, Chief Police Adviser to the MOI, produced a briefing on the IPS for Mr Straw on 6 October.564 He wrote: “The impatient focus on increasing its size (aspiration force of 130K – there are 130K on current payroll but only 90K accounted for!) has led to a large number of police joining the service as a result of General Petraeus’ drive for ‘30K in 30 days’, who have not received any training and who are of questionable integrity and quality.”

624. Mr Davies summarised the IPS as “… brave but subject to intimidation, in part poorly led, weak in structures according to western standards, and in need of further equipment”.

625. Mr Davies also noted that there was no forensic examination of serious crime, intelligence gathering was weak and “the inability of the IPS to plan operations is causing all sorts of serious problems in combined operations”.


561 Minute Jack to Private Secretary [FCO], 29 September 2004, ‘Global Conflict Prevention Pool – Iraq Strategy’.
562 Minutes, 16 September 2004, Ad Hoc Ministerial Group on Iraq meeting.
563 Letter Straw to Benn, 4 October 2004, ‘Global Conflict Prevention Pool – Iraq Strategy’.
564 Minute Owen to Crompton, 12 October 2004, ‘Iraq: Police Service’ attaching Email Davies to Owen and Hurley, 6 October 2004, ‘The Iraqi Police Service’ and Paper, [undated], ‘The Iraq Police Service [IPS]’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

626. Mr Davies stated that two regiments of police were being formed from soldiers
who were “simply changing the colour of their shirts” to form assault brigades. He also
said: “The poor quality of leadership is being buttressed by Generals with a military
background being transferred to the police.”

627. Mr Davies suggested that the UK could offer further assistance through:

• developing a professional facility to deal with kidnapping and hostage taking;

• continued support for “operational planning training”;

• doubling UK advisers to bolster support to senior IPS officers and cover other UK officers’ leave periods; and

• supporting the development of the IPS intelligence strategy.

628. Following Mr Davies’ report, Mr Straw requested advice from the IPU.565 A junior
official responded on 5 November, indicating that Mr Davies was in “daily contact” with
the IPU on policing in Iraq and that the emphasis was “now on quality not quantity”. The
two most significant problems were identified as “the dysfunctional MOI and equipment
shortages” and IPU highlighted the two recent GCPP funded initiatives to address those
(see Box, ‘Global Conflict Prevention Pool strategy update’, earlier in this Section).

629. In November, DCC Brand produced a report highlighting a range of issues from his
time in Baghdad and recommendations to address them.566 Those included that:

• police involvement in pre‑conflict planning could have helped to ensure the IPS
were better prepared for their new role;

• the FCO providing terms of reference for seconded senior police officers would
help to manage expectations for each mission; and

• a “fundamental shift should occur in HMG’s [Her Majesty’s Government’s] policy
on the raising of police officers to support international missions” to create a
standing reserve of officers that are able to be deployed quickly.

630. In his conclusion, DCC Brand observed that many of his suggestions echoed
earlier reports (including the Brahimi Report567) whose recommendations had been
“largely ignored”. He commented that he had “called this report ‘lessons identified’, as
only time will tell whether any lessons have been learned”.

631. The Inquiry has seen no acknowledgement of or response to DCC Brand’s report
by the Government.


565 Minute IPU [junior official] to PS [FCO], 5 November 2004, ‘Iraq: Advice to FS Following Robert Davies Paper on IPS’.
566 Report Brand, November 2004, ‘Iraq 2003‑2004 Domestic Lessons Identified for Police Deployments’.
567 UN Report, 21 August 2000, ‘Report of the Panel on United Nations Peace Operations’.

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NATO training mission – Iraq

On 22 June 2004, NATO received a request from Dr Allawi seeking support to Iraq through “training and other forms of technical assistance”.568
On the same day, in a video conference with President Bush, Mr Blair suggested using the NATO conference in Istanbul, scheduled for later in the month, to secure agreement to Dr Allawi’s request for NATO help with training.569
The matter was discussed at the Istanbul conference on 28 June and all Heads of State and Government in attendance agreed to offer assistance to the IIG with the training of its security forces.570 A training mission was deployed in August to conduct training of Iraqi Headquarters personnel.
NATO’s previous role had been limited to logistical support of the multinational division led by the Poles in MND(CS).571 Personnel from Canada, Hungary, Norway, the Netherlands and Italy were all involved.
On 8 October, the North Atlantic Council agreed a Concept of Operations for enhancing NATO’s assistance to the IIG by taking a role in training of the security forces.572 Lt Gen Petraeus was given the additional role of the head of the NATO training mission.
On 21 February 2005, Mr Hoon was briefed that NATO was encountering problems fully manning its training mission in Iraq, with a shortfall of 25 posts (around a quarter of the total). At that stage, the UK had 11 personnel working in the NATO training mission.573 To address pressure from NATO for a greater UK role Mr Hoon agreed that the UK could rebadge 11 personnel from MNSTC‑I involved in Basic Officer Training as NATO personnel. Mr Hoon agreed with advice from officials that the UK should resist requests to take the lead on the Junior Officer Leadership Training Module.574
On 2 June 2005, Mr Roger Cornish, MOD Deputy Director Iraq, recommended the UK take leadership of the Basic Officer training module when it transferred to NATO.575 That did not take effect until 1 July 2006, and then only after agreeing a Memorandum of Understanding that stipulated the UK would not be expected to make up any personnel or funding shortfalls.576


568 NATO website, ‘NATO in Iraq: the Evolution of NATO’s Training Effort in Iraq’.
569 Letter Quarrey to Owen, 22 June 2004, ‘Prime Minister’s VTC with Bush, 22 June: Iraq’.
570 NATO Press Release (2004) 098, 28 June 2004, ‘Statement on Iraq’.
571 Wright DP & Reese TR. On Point II: Transition to the New Campaign – The United States Army in Operation IRAQI FREEDOM May 2003 – January 2005. Combined Studies Institute Press, June 2008; NATO Press Release (2003) 059, 3 June 2003, ‘Final Communiqué: Ministerial Meeting of the North Atlantic Council held in Madrid on 3 June 2003’.
572 NATO Press Release (224) 134, 8 October 2004, ‘NATO Nations Agree Next Step in Implementing Training in Iraq’.
573 Minute MOD [junior official] to PS/Secretary of State [MOD], 21 February 2005, ‘The NATO Training Mission Iraq (NTM‑I)’.
574 Minute Naworynsky to MOD [junior official], 22 February 2005, ‘The NATO Training Mission Iraq (NTM‑I)’.
575 Minute Cornish to PS/Secretary of State [MOD], 2 June 2005, ‘Iraq: UK Short‑Term Commitment to Bilateral Defence Relations’.
576 Minute DCDS(C)/Policy Director to PS/SofS [MOD], 2 June 2006, ‘NATO Training Missions – Iraq (NTM‑I) Memorandum Of Understanding (MoU) for Basic Officer Training’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

By July 2007, the UK contribution to the NATO training mission had reduced to
18 personnel, and was expected to decrease further to 14.577
The UK provided personnel to the NATO training mission until its withdrawal from Iraq on 31 December 2011.578 The mission’s mandate was not extended, as agreement could not be reached on the legal status of NATO troops operating in country. Over the seven‑year period, the mission trained over 5,000 military personnel and over 10,000 police personnel at a cost of over €17.5m.

632. On 18 August 2004, Mr Hoon wrote to Mr Blunkett about the importance of
offering training and mentoring to the IPS.579 He wrote that the MOI lacked “the ability
to conduct even rudimentary operational planning” which restricted both “their ability to
plan and execute police operations” and “the ability of the Iraqi police to assume greater
responsibility from the Multi‑National Force in Iraq”.

633. The MOD planned to run a training course “in September/October for some
50‑60 senior Iraqi police officers”. Nine UK military personnel would be deployed to
work with UK police officers in Iraq “to ensure that a coherent approach is maintained”.

634. Mr Hoon wrote that the MOD’s experience suggested “that the benefits of such
training initiatives will fade quickly unless they are followed up with longer‑term support
and underpinned by mentoring”. He had asked officials in the MOD to continue working
with officials from the Home Office and the FCO to consider who should provide this
support and how.

635. On 13 September, Mr Chaplin sought the FCO’s views about a “high priority”
programme of assistance to the MOI.580 He described the MOI as: “… highly dysfunctional … and in need of significant assistance in a range of areas,
from operational planning to the basics like recording minutes of meetings and
following up action points.”

636. Mr Chaplin reported that, while the UK and US had resources allocated to
operational advice and supporting the IPS’s development, nothing “adequately
addresses the need for capacity‑building” within the MOI. A meeting with the MOD, DFID
and UK Police Advisers had concluded that a programme of assistance was needed to
address this gap, and that the GCPP “would be the most appropriate source” of funding.
The key elements of the programme were:

• operational planning;

• basic capacity‑building – “getting effective structures and working practices
in place”;


577 Report MOD, 5 July 2007, ‘PJHQ Manning Tables: MNSTC‑I, NTM‑I and NaTT’.
578 NATO website, ‘NATO in Iraq: the Evolution of NATO’s Training Effort in Iraq’.
579 Letter Hoon to Blunkett, 18 August 2004, ‘Iraq: Training and Mentoring Senior Iraqi Police Officers’.
580 Telegram 203 Baghdad to London, 13 September 2004, ‘Iraq: Ideas for Further Help to the Ministry of Interior’.

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• communications strategy;

•mentoring; and

• a training needs assessment.

637. In mid‑October, the UK agreed to provide funds from the GCPP to build the capacity of the MOI, which was described as “a weak link in efforts to make the Iraqi police effective enough to operate without MNF support”.581

638. At the SSR meeting on 7 October, it was reported that £3.5m of GCPP funding had been agreed for the MOI project over the next 12 to 18 months.582 The first phase would be a scoping visit. The second phase would include two advisers until January 2005 and then four advisers for a further year. There was potential to use civil servants from the Home Office, such as a senior policy maker.

639. On 19 October, a group comprising Defence Advisory Team (DAT) personnel and a consultant were deployed to Iraq to do the initial scoping for the MOI project.583 It reported that the MOI was “unable to carry out basic management functions”.584 Basic management information, including the number of police, remained unavailable. Decision‑making at the top of the Ministry was improving, helped significantly by US mentors, but it was very difficult to translate decisions into action: “Iraqi politicians currently find it hard to work with their official colleagues and deputies, who have often been selected to achieve balance as part of a political settlement rather than on merit or because they share a political programme. In an unstable political and security environment, politicians are understandably reluctant to trust people whom they do not know, and prefer to work with trustworthy family and tribal members, regardless of formal structures or job titles.”

640. The DAT also reported that the MOI was located outside the Green Zone585 and that visits were currently limited to three two‑hour slots per week.

641. The team recommended that UK support should focus on strengthening the capabilities of a small, permanent cadre of Iraqi officials who could provide a policy implementation capacity to any Minister within any overall structure. They also reported that in the absence of an agreed constitution they could not make recommendations to increase political accountability, and that they had been unable to consult civil society on their recommendations due to the security situation and because few representative


581 Minute Jack to Private Secretary [FCO], 29 September 2004, ‘Global Conflict Prevention Pool – Iraq Strategy’; Minutes, 13 October 2004, ‘Record of Strategy Managers Meeting, 13 October 2004’.
582 Minutes, 7 October 2004, Security Sector Reform meeting.
583 Minute IPU [junior official] to PS [FCO], 5 November 2004, ‘Iraq: Advice to FS following Robert Davies Paper on IPS’.
584 Report, October 2004, ‘GCPP Proposal, Iraq: Interim Security Sector Reform, Phase One Report’.
585 The ‘Green Zone’ is also described as the ‘International Zone’ and refers to the centre of the international presence in Baghdad.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

bodies yet existed. Capacity would be built through a series of events focused on
particular issues facing the Ministry, supplemented by a team of long‑term advisers.

642. On 14 January 2005, a commercial proposal was submitted to DFID by Crown
Agents, the company responsible for delivering the MOI project.586 That was a revision
of two earlier proposals (in December and January), following on from the project design
team’s visit in October. The project was scheduled to run for 15 months at a cost of
£2.3m, “with a provisional start date of January 2005”. The proposal stated that two
international advisers and two Iraqi advisers seconded from the MOI would be based
in the Minister of the Interior’s office to ensure continuity and “a link to wider Ministerial,
governmental and donor concerns”.

643. Mr Howard visited Baghdad from 13 to 15 January.587 He noted that increased
UK assistance to the IMOD and the MOI (“by stepping up efforts … to fill key advisory
posts”) was important in helping Iraqis achieve effective leadership of their security
forces. He encouraged UK support in developing an Iraqi tactical intelligence capability
by setting up a “Special Branch” function.588 He described the relationship between the
MOI and the police as “very tenuous”.

644. The MOD had been providing a team of civilian personnel to advise and assist
with the development of the IMOD since January 2004.589 UK military trainers were also
working on the creation of the Iraqi Joint Forces HQ, to provide command and control of
the Iraqi Armed Forces.

645. On 4 March, Mr Howard wrote to Mr Hoon about future UK support to the IMOD.590
He stated that there was: “… definite value in increasing UK efforts in this area by proactively identifying posts where we think we can provide targeted expertise … and by finding the right people to fill them early on.”

646. He also reported: “We are currently looking at the possibility of increasing UK civilian support to the MOI with FCO and DFID …”

647. Minutes from the GCPP Strategy Meeting on 8 March recorded that two
consultants had withdrawn from the MOI project.591 Three new candidates had been
identified and a decision would be taken later that week to confirm the appointments.


586 Paper Crown Agents, 14 January 2005, ‘Interim Iraq Security Sector Support’.
587 Minute Howard to DCDS(C), 19 January 2005, ‘DG Op Pol visit to Baghdad 10‑13 January 2005’.
588 ‘Special Branch’ is normally used to identify police units responsible for national security.
589 Annotated Agenda, 8 January 2004, Ad Hoc Group on Iraq Rehabilitation meeting.
590 Minute Howard to Hoon, 4 March 2005, ‘UK Support to the Iraqi Ministry of Defence’.
591 Minutes, 8 March 2005, Iraq GCPP Strategy meeting.

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The meeting heard that that could delay the project until early April, but that it could “prove beneficial, as the project will require the new Minister’s backing if it is to be effective”.

648. At the next Iraq GCPP Strategy Meeting on 16 March, the meeting was told that two new consultants had been appointed and would be deployed to Iraq mid‑April.592

649. In his May 2005 review of policing priorities and resources, Acting Deputy Chief Constable Colin Smith, Chief Police Adviser Iraq, identified the need for a senior UK civil servant (from the Home Office) with experience in police strategic development and police structure to assist the MOI.593

650. That request was picked up by Mr Michael Gillespie, Home Office Head of the Public Order and Police Co‑Operation Unit.594 He advised Mr Peter Storr, Home Office International Director, that there were financial implications to the request, as the FCO would not reimburse salary or the additional costs of deployment. Aside from the financial implications, Mr Gillespie raised “the issue of whether this is a good use of Home Office resources”.

651. On 27 November 2009, a draft review of the support provided to the MOI and IPS was circulated.595 It stated that the MOI project had been merged with the FCO‑led IPS training programme in 2007 following the last external review, to create “greater co‑ordination and a more cross‑sectoral approach to Security Sector Reform”. Responsibility for the MOI element was transferred to the US in June 2009.

Fraud and assassinations in the Iraqi MOD

In his book The Occupation of Iraq, Mr Ali A Allawi, former IGC Defence Minister gave details of a major corruption scandal in the Iraqi IMOD (IMOD).596 He stated that the Ministry of Finance was instructed to appropriate US$1.7bn in one lump sum, and put it at the disposal of the IMOD. The money was to be used for the formation of two rapid deployment divisions but no justification was given for the amount required and limits on spending were removed.
On 16 May 2005, the Iraqi Bureau of Supreme Audit597 presented a “damning report” to the incoming Prime Minister. Later in 2005, the Director General of Finance at the IMOD was arrested and helped in exposing the involvement of senior IMOD officials. Two of her colleagues, the Director General of Planning and the Inspector General, were subsequently murdered.


592 Minutes, 16 March 2005, Iraq GCPP Strategy meeting.
593 Report Smith, 15 May 2005, ‘Next Steps on Policing – Review’.
594 Minute Gillespie to Storr, 26 May 2005, ‘Iraq: Request for a UK Civil Servant (Home Office) to act as Ministry of Interior Civilian Police Adviser: Baghdad’.
595 Paper Stabilisation Unit [junior official] and Howlett‑Bolton, 27 November 2009, ‘Review of the support to the Ministry of Interior and Iraqi Police Service Programme’.
596 Allawi AA. The Occupation of Iraq: Winning the War, Losing the Peace. Yale University Press, 2007.
597 The Iraqi Bureau of Supreme Audit was responsible for anti‑corruption.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry


652. The Justice Sector Adviser for the International Legal Assistance Consortium
(ILAC) and DFID arrived at the British Embassy Baghdad on 22 September.598 Her
report described the positive reception of training programmes, but noted that that was
“accompanied by clear statements of need for more”. Reform of the Iraqi Bar Association
would continue to be “complex and difficult due to the factional and political in‑fighting”; it was seen as a “long‑term project”.

653. The consultant identified factors which should inform future training and strategy
of the justice sector, including the importance of increasing the number of jurists being
trained, to involving women and the regions, and for all training sessions to include the
basic requirements of a fair trial (civil and criminal). She also recommended establishing
a donor co‑ordination mechanism under Iraqi leadership which would help to provide a
clear picture of all assistance being provided and planned and identify outstanding areas
of need.

654. At the AHMGIR on 9 December the point was made in discussion that “there
was a demand in Iraq for more judicial assistance”.599 The minutes recorded that Lord
Goldsmith was “exploring what more help we could offer”.

655. On 15 December, a junior DFID official advised Mr Benn to write to Lord Goldsmith
explaining DFID’s work in the justice sector.600 The official wrote that, following the
AHMGIR on 9 December, Lord Goldsmith had “made clear his frustration” to officials that
“more was not being done and that he [was] not being kept sufficiently informed”.

656. Mr Benn wrote to Lord Goldsmith on 13 January 2005.601 Mr Benn wrote that
“DFID’s bilateral assistance” had focused on the ILAC project and that, to date:

• 93 judges had received training on the independence of the judiciary;

• 263 judges, prosecutors and lawyers had received training by the International
Bar Association in International Human Rights Law; and

• 13 trainers had been trained with “cascade training” reported for between
100 and 200 lawyers in Iraq.

657. The letter also highlighted two programmes being funded by the GCPP: the
Southern Iraq Prison Programme (to ensure accordance with international minimum
standards for the treatment of prisoners and monitoring capacity, and the MOI
capacity‑building programme. Mr Benn wrote that the work was undertaken “against the


598 Email Hoddinott to [Consultant], 10 October 2004, ‘Olivia’s Initial Report’ attaching Report Holdsworth, 9 October 2004, ‘Initial Report – Justice Sector Adviser, Baghdad’.
599 Minutes, 9 December 2004, Ad Hoc Group on Iraq Rehabilitation meeting.
600 Minute DFID [junior official] to Private Secretary [DFID], 15 December 2004, ‘Iraq: Letter to the Attorney General on Work in the Justice Sector’.
601 Letter Benn to Goldsmith, 13 January 2005, [untitled] attaching Paper, ‘Iraq: Update on Donor Support to the Justice Sector’.


12.1 | Security Sector Reform

backdrop of the very difficult security environment in Iraq” and that “security concerns have inevitably delayed some of ILAC’s work”.

658. An update on donor support to the Iraqi justice sector was attached to Mr Benn’s letter. This identified a number of constraints that were limiting access to justice, including the lack of scrutiny over court procedures, irregular sentencing, and weak integration between the police, courts and prisons. The update stated that “donor activity would benefit from a more co‑ordinated and strategic approach, under the guidance of the Iraqi Minister of Justice and Chief Justice”.

659. On 12 January, ILAC submitted their annual report on the Justice Sector Support programme to DFID.602 Security was described as “the major constraint faced by legal professionals” and was listed as a risk to delivery against all programme outputs. ILAC warned that costs would be £182,000 higher than their grant proposal because the assumption had been that in 2005 training would be delivered inside Iraq; the security situation dictated that training would have to continue outside.

660. ILAC reported “no substantial progress” with regard to strengthening the admission requirements or disciplinary procedures of the Iraqi Bar Association (IBA). It wrote that “politicking” by the IBA leadership would continue to be a risk to the selection of delegation members. ILAC plans for 2005 included “ways of ameliorating this”. The Judicial Training Institute remained closed with “no immediate plans to reopen”. It was “disappointing” that it had “not been possible to engage that important institution”.

661. A draft version of a Strategic Conflict Assessment (SCA) dated 27 December 2004 was circulated amongst officials on 2 March 2005 (it is described in more detail later in this Section).603 The report recommended “the continuation of training of judiciary and linking aid to independence of judiciary”.

662. In the Global Conflict Prevention Pool (GCPP) Strategy meeting on 7 April, it was reported that the SCA recommended “supporting the justice sector”.604 However, while there were “clear links” to the IMOD, MOI and SSR activities, “it was decided that the GCPP could not fund any sustainable development in the area with funds available”.

Delays in transferring security

663. In Mr Blair’s weekly Iraq update on 9 December 2004, Mr Quarrey reported that an upcoming JIC Assessment on Iraqiisation was likely to conclude that “progress remains slow” and that “we will not hit a key target for handing over ‘provincial control’ to Iraqi security forces across the country by mid‑2005”.605


602 Letter Hoddinott to [Consultant], 12 January 2005, ‘ILAC Iraq Justice Sector Support – Annual Report 2004, Grant AG3737’.
603 Email DFID [junior official] to DFID [junior official], 2 March 2005, ‘Review of policing work’ attaching Paper ‘Strategic Conflict Assessment – Iraq’.
604 Minutes, 7 April 2005, Iraq GCPP Strategy meeting.
605 Minute Quarrey to Blair, 9 December 2004, ‘Iraq Update’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

664. The update also included the “latest version” of a paper on handling Iraq in 2005
sent by Ms Kara Owen, Private Secretary to Mr Straw, to Mr Quarrey on 9 December.
Mr Quarrey wrote that Mr Blair had seen earlier versions of the paper and that it was
“mostly fine, but it remains very much work in progress and will need to be revisited
depending on progress with elections and Iraqiisation”.

665. The FCO paper, described as an agenda for discussion with the US, considered
that continued progress on Iraqiisation would allow MNF to change during 2005 from
primary responsibility for security in all areas to a supportive role, either in support of
ISF operationally or as trainers or mentors.606 A transfer of security lead to the ISF could
occur in summer 2005.

666. In a note dated 12 December to his No.10 staff, Mr Blair commented that the
situation in Iraq was “worrying”.607 He gave six reasons for that assessment (see
Section 9.3), one of which was that the Petraeus Plan did “not seem to be yielding the
looked‑for progress”. His note called for a “proper strategy based on a hard‑headed
reality check”; the FCO paper was deemed “inadequate”.

667. In a discussion with President Bush on 14 December, Mr Blair said that training
issues needed careful consideration but he was not clear whether the problem was the
strategy, or simply that it needed time.608 He wondered “were we missing something that
was holding back the reconstruction and Iraqiisation programmes?”

668. A JIC Assessment produced on 15 December considering the ISF found:

• On force levels; that ISF figures did “not provide a guide to real capability and
quality”, an example being that only “some 50 percent” of the 87,000 police “on
duty” were classified as trained and equipped.

• On effectiveness; that while “some progress” had been made among elements
of the ISF, the overall performance of the ISF continued to be “inadequate”.
There was a lack of “equipment, training, leadership, command and control, and,
in many cases, determination to oppose insurgents, particularly when they feel
vulnerable with little or no MNF support close by”.

• On the environment; that the ISF had been “under sustained attack” and was
“being undermined by increasing penetration and intimidation by insurgents”.
Over 300 ISF members had been killed since August.609


606 Letter Owen to Quarrey, 9 December 2004, ‘Iraq: 2005’ attaching Paper ‘Iraq: 2005: Forward Look’.
607 Note Blair, 12 December 2004, ‘Iraq’.
608 Letter Phillipson to Adams, 14 December 2004, ‘Prime Minister’s VTC with President Bush, 14 December: Iraq and the MEPP’.
609 JIC Assessment, 15 December 2004, ‘Iraq: the Iraqi Security Forces’.

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669. The JIC described the plan to address those issues: “Prime Minister Allawi wants more capable Iraqi forces to take on the hard‑line elements of the insurgency and reduce his reliance on the MNF. More army units are coming on line: elements of a mechanised brigade (including some tanks and armoured personnel carriers) and two new army brigades are deploying this month, one to Mosul and one to Baghdad. Three more police special commando battalions are planned. But these units have limited operational capability (the new brigade in Mosul is doing badly and is being replaced). This will restrict their employability in the short term and may jeopardise longer‑term ISF aspirations. A plan has been put forward to address some of the command and control problems: by the end of January 2005 a national command and control system will be in place linking the Prime Minister, MOD and MOI to the national Joint Co‑ordination Centre (JCC) and provincial JCCs. This will help, but better political leadership and overall management by the MOI and MOD is required.”

670. On prospects, JIC stated: “Through 2005 ISF capability will grow incrementally and significant units, up to brigade size should be deployable by the summer. The ISF should benefit from the planned improved training and equipment procurement programmes. After significant delays these are now reported to be on track, however the planned expansion of trained and equipped police from some 47,000 to 135,000 and the army from some 3,000 to 27,000 between now and July 2005 seems very ambitious. The more modest increases planned for specialist units may be more achievable. The NATO mission to assist leadership training is stalled. The ISF will remain reliant on support from the MNF in many areas, in particular heavy fire support and logistics. There is little sign of the development of a coherent intelligence capability, which is critical to success. Leadership and discipline will remain chronic problems affecting capability; … Attacks and intimidation will also continue to undermine effectiveness. Policing crime will have to remain a second priority in many areas.
“According to the MNF, 15 out of 18 provinces will be under local control – requiring only limited support by the MNF – by the end of the year. But we judge local control, even in some Shia and Kurdish areas, will remain fragile. We assessed in October that the ISF would not be able to handle significant security responsibilities unaided until the middle of 2005 at the earliest. We have also previously judged that the MNF are constraining, not containing, the insurgency. We now judge that, if the Iraqi Government and the MNF are unable to improve the security situation significantly, particularly in and around Baghdad, a credible ISF capable of managing the insurgency unaided will not emerge until 2006 at the earliest.”

671. The JIC advised that plans for Iraqi military forces had grown from three infantry divisions to two infantry divisions, six ING divisions, an Iraqi Intervention Force division and a mechanised brigade.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

672. The JIC Assessment was discussed at the AHMGI on 16 December, where the
consequences of slow ISF development on MNF drawdown were reiterated.610 Ministers
agreed that a number of papers should be prepared, including practical suggestions to
adjust the Petraeus Plan, ways of improving the IMOD and MOI, a list of security and
funding issues for Mr Blair to raise with President Bush and a list of useful activities that
other countries could be asked to undertake.

673. In a Note to President Bush on 10 January 2005, Mr Blair described the Iraqiisation
of security forces as critical but said that he was not convinced that the plan to deliver
it was robust enough.611 He identified work on ISF leadership – both Ministerial and
operational – as necessary as well as the provision of “the equipment they need to be
a match for the insurgents”. Mr Blair suggested that the objective should be “more and
tougher quality, while building quantity” and confirmed that he had authorised “an extra
$78m from our MOD for the Iraqi Forces in the South”. Although he could not be sure
that funding was essential, Mr Blair wrote “I’ll take the risk rather than find six months
later it was”.

674. When Mr Blair spoke to President Bush by video conference the following day, he
suggested that the “Luck Review” (described later in this Section) would “give us a better
idea of what was required on Iraqiisation”.612

675. On 16 January, Mr Phillipson sent a note to Mr Geoffrey Adams, Mr Straw’s
Principal Private Secretary, with details of Mr Sheinwald’s visit to Washington a couple of
days earlier.613 When he met Dr Rice, Mr Sheinwald raised the “gloomy assessment” that
“only a few thousand of Iraqi Security Forces personnel were properly trained and led”.

676. Mr Sheinwald said: “This showed the scale of the problem, as the official numbers
for those trained and equipped was 120,000.” Dr Rice was recorded as saying that “the
problem with the police was simple. They were trained to walk a beat but were now
facing terrorists with RPGs [Rocket Propelled Grenades]. They were either fleeing or
dying, but not fighting.”

677. On 21 January, Mr Phillipson wrote to Mr Chris Baker, Principal Private Secretary
to Mr Hoon, with a summary of a meeting held between Mr Blair and Mr Hoon that
morning.614 Gen Walker, Ms Aldred, Mr Phillipson and Mr Jonathan Powell, Mr Blair’s
Chief of Staff, were also present. Mr Blair “said that his primary concern remained that
the Iraqiisation programme was not working”. Gen Walker “conceded that it certainly was
not happening as fast as we had hoped” and that “all of Gen Petraeus’ timelines had
been missed”. He said that there remained a “crucial need to accelerate the Iraqiisation
programme to advance the date when ISF could take over security”.


610 Minutes, 16 December 2004, Ad Hoc Ministerial Group on Iraq meeting.
611 Letter Sheinwald to Hadley, 10 January 2005, [untitled] attaching Prime Minister to President Bush, 10 January 2005, ‘Note’.
612 Letter Quarrey to Owen, 11 January 2005, ‘Prime Minister’s VTC with President Bush, 11 January’.
613 Letter Phillipson to Adams, 16 January 2005, ‘Nigel Sheinwald’s Visit to Washington: Iraq’.
614 Minute Phillipson to Baker, 21 January 2005, ‘Iraq: Future Strategy’.

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Allegations of abuse by Iraqi police

On 25 January 2005, Human Rights Watch (HRW) published a report which alleged that the abuse of detainees by Iraqi police and intelligence forces had become “routine and commonplace”.615 The report was based on interviews with 90 detainees in Iraq between July and October 2004 and described “serious and widespread human rights violations”. It alleged “the systematic use of arbitrary arrest, prolonged pre‑trial detention without judicial review, torture and ill‑treatment of detainees, denial of access by families and lawyers to detainees, improper treatment of detained children, and abysmal conditions in pre‑trial detention facilities”.
The report made a number of recommendations to MNF governments, including the immediate prioritisation of an investigation into allegations of torture or ill‑treatment of detainees by the IPS, establishing new mechanisms to investigate allegations of abuse and an increase in the number of advisers deployed in detention facilities.
The press release issued by HRW on the same day stated: “International police advisers, primarily US citizens funded through the United States government, have turned a blind eye to these rampant abuses.”616
A note highlighting the publication of the report was sent from a junior official in IPU to the Private Secretary of Mr Bill Rammell, FCO Parliamentary Under‑Secretary, on 24 January.617 It stated that the report had been expected for “some time” and that “Ministers were aware it was pending”. The junior official wrote: “A preliminary reading would suggest that it is well‑researched, although it appears to be biased towards conditions in central Iraq with relatively limited coverage of southern Iraq where the UK has a more direct influence on conditions.”
The junior official outlined the support provided to the Iraqi police and prison services, and the procedures in place to ensure compliance with international law. The official wrote: “We will have to review our assistance in the light of this report.”
The Inquiry has seen no reporting of this review in contemporaneous documents.
A telegram from Baghdad on 6 February stated that Mr Andrew Hood, Legal Adviser, had met Mr Bakhtiar Amin, Iraqi Minister of Human Rights, on 3 February to establish Mr Amin’s response to the HRW report.618 Mr Amin was “critical of HRW for issuing a report without bothering to check with him what corrective action was in hand”. He explained his Ministry’s team of prison inspectors had already raised the concerns highlighted in the report to the MOI and those responsible for individual facilities. He did, however, recognise that work was ad hoc and needed to be better established.


615 Report Human Rights Watch, 25 January 2005, ‘The New Iraq? Torture and Ill‑Treatment of Detainees in Iraqi Custody’.
616 Press Release Human Rights Watch, 25 January 2005, ‘Iraq: Torture continues at hands of new government’.
617 Minute IPU [junior official] to PS/PUS [FCO], 24 January 2005, ‘Human Rights Watch Report Alleging Abuse by Iraqi Police’.
618 Telegram 90 Baghdad to FCO, 6 February 2005, ‘Iraq: Call on Minister of Human Rights’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

Mr Amin thanked the UK for its continued support of his Ministry, especially the training for prison inspectors in Basra, and asked Mr Hood to investigate whether additional funding might be available to extend the training to all inspectors.
The telegram reported that security concerns had prevented the International Committee
of the Red Cross (ICRC) carrying out “all but a few” inspections of detention facilities and
the Minister of Justice was reticent to appoint an independent prison ombudsman. That
meant there was “an even greater need” to support the training of Iraqi officials to carry
out inspections.

The “Luck Review” and strategy for 2005

678. A telegram from Mr Chaplin on 21 January 2005 reported that the retired US
General Gary Luck had left Iraq on 20 January after a week‑long assessment of the
ISF’s development.619 Gen Luck had been appointed by Secretary Rumsfeld to head a
20‑strong team “asked to validate” the Petraeus Plan and “examine whether anything
could be done to speed up the delivery of capable Iraqi forces”.

679. Gen Luck would not be producing a written report but would brief
Secretary Rumsfeld and the President on his findings. Mr Chaplin understood that
Gen Luck would “broadly endorse the emerging MNF‑I plan for ISF development” and:

• suggest departments other than Defense play a bigger role;

• “rubber‑stamp the MNF‑I’s intention to switch its main effort from operations to
training and mentoring” since that had worked well in MND(SE);

• recommend additional advisers in the Ministries to coach and mentor Iraqis; and

• recommend a fundamental overhaul of intelligence structures.

680. Mr Chaplin also referred to the Police Advisory Teams (PATs) concept, whereby a
small number of MNF‑I soldiers and police advisers would be placed in IPS stations. He
wrote that there were different views on its viability. Iraqi advice was that this would “be
a backward step politically”, be resented by the IPS and “raise serious force protection
issues” for those involved. Gen Luck had indicated that he did not intend to reflect any of
those concerns to Secretary Rumsfeld, “presumably because [Gen] Casey was dead set
on PATs, which he sold heavily in Washington”. Mr Chaplin thought that PATs had “now
got so much momentum that it will go ahead in some format” but that the UK “should
influence the eventual shape it takes by encouraging MNF‑I to engage seriously with the
Iraqi concerns”.

681. Mr Chaplin wrote that Gen Luck was “particularly impressed” by the UK’s policing
work in the South and that he was “seriously thinking of recommending that the UK
should take the lead for all police work in Iraq”. Mr Chaplin thought that “this would
probably be a step too far for us, and possibly for the Americans as well”, but that the


619 Telegram 58 Baghdad to FCO London, 21 January 2005, ‘Iraq: ISF Assessment Team Visit’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

UK should consider how to use that opportunity to influence the strategic direction of policing in Iraq.

682. Mr Chaplin also reported that the importance of human rights had been raised with Gen Luck: “These were not nice to have add‑ons but were fundamental to our chances of defeating the insurgency and sustaining democracy in Iraq.” Mr Chaplin said that Gen Luck “agreed entirely” but “did not say whether he intended to flag this up”.

683. On 23 January 2005, DCC Smith wrote a report about his role in the “Luck Review”.620 DCC Smith wrote that the review’s “key recommendation” would be PATs, and to embed these “to a far greater degree than current International Police Advisors (IPAs)”. He noted that the concept was not “universally supported” and cited concerns raised by US advisers, existing IPAs and the Minister of the Interior. DCC Smith did suggest that PATs could address other police issues such as leadership training and the “post initial training, quality and morale issues”. DCC Smith later became the UK Chief Police Adviser in Iraq (in May 2005), a role that combined the two previous Senior Police Adviser positions in Baghdad and Basra. His reports feature extensively in this Section.

684. During a video conference on 17 January, Mr Blair told President Bush that they had to give a sense that Iraqiisation was “going somewhere” and that things would change after the elections.621 He suggested that the Luck Review should feed quickly into a new, public, security plan. In Mr Blair’s view the weakness of Iraqi structures remained “a real problem”.

685. Ms Aldred and her team in the Cabinet Office co‑ordinated a strategy paper for the 9 February AHMGI, which focused on how to achieve coalition objectives in post‑election Iraq (see Section 9.3).622 The draft ‘Iraq: Strategy for 2005’, sent to Mr Quarrey on 8 February, summarised General Luck’s key recommendations:

• improve ISF capacity to conduct independent counter‑insurgency operations as well as to maintain domestic order;

• establish partnerships between Iraqi and coalition units and develop military, special police, border force, and PATs from the coalition and embed them within Iraqi forces;

• build the institutional capabilities of the Government (MOD and MOI) to plan and direct counter‑insurgency operations; and

• develop the concept of bureaucratic assistance teams to help Iraqi ministries establish a Government that functions across all the ‘lines of operation’ needed for the campaign.


620 Report Smith, 23 January 2005, ‘Iraq Security Assessment Team’ attaching Paper Smith, [undated], ‘Iraq Security Assessment’.
621 Letter Quarrey to Owen, 17 January 2005, ‘Prime Minister’s VTC with President Bush, 17 January: Iraq and MEPP’.
622 Paper Cabinet Office, 7 February 2005, ‘Iraq: Strategy for 2005’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

686. One of the key elements of the “Strategy for 2005” was “building up the capability
of the Iraqi Security Forces”. It predicted that the incoming Iraqi Transitional Government
(ITG) would regard security as a top priority and that they should be “encouraged to
build on Allawi’s new security plan” of which key elements were likely to include:

• an overarching and visible Iraqi structure responsible for security, under a single,
senior minister;

• effective governance at provincial level to provide a political framework for ISF

• developing proposals on how to make SSR work and secure Iraqi ownership of
the plan;

• adequate top end capability, including agreement on the size of the Iraqi
Intervention Force (IIF) and Police Commandos and plans to deliver them;

• development of a “policing plan” setting out the role of the police, including
self‑protection, development of a paramilitary capability, its relationship with the
military, and areas of police primacy; and

• resolving the de‑Ba’athification dilemma to allow SSR to work.

687. The Strategy proposed offering further UK assistance with:

• continued training effort in MND(SE);

• development of a strategy for the IPS (deployment of experienced, senior
officers to both the MOI and MNF could achieve considerable impact);

• provision of suitably qualified and experienced advisers to mentor senior Iraqi
officials and support to build institutional capacity;

• development of Iraqi intelligence capability;

• building on MND(SE) practices to provide the conditions for handover to Iraqi
regional control as soon as practicable;

• helping the Iraqis to co‑ordinate international assistance; and

• encouraging other international forces (such as the Dutch and Portuguese) to
keep at least some forces in Iraq in a training role, to mitigate the impact of their
withdrawal from military operations.

688. The paper noted that there was no “silver bullet” for reforming the ISF.

689. The AHMGI approved the paper on 9 February, subject to various points including
the need to cover judicial issues, which had not been addressed in the Strategy.623


623 Minutes, 9 February 2005, Ad Hoc Ministerial Group on Iraq meeting.

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690. A revised version of the Strategy was shared with the US on 11 February.624 That version had removed references to the current security situation and to Military Assistance Teams (MATs) and Police Advisory Teams (PATs). However, on training the ISF, it did state the need to embed “military teams to mentor Iraqi forces in operational roles”. Also added was the need to introduce a criminal justice system, Iraqi criminal tribunal and “improved regimes for detention facilities”.

Military Assistance Teams and Police Advisory Teams

From November 2003 to November 2004, the number of US soldiers whose primary mission was to advise Iraqi units grew from 350 to 1,200.625 Gen Luck advocated doubling or tripling the number of advisers partnering Iraqi units and MNSTC‑I expanded the programme in response.
The ‘Iraq: Strategy for 2005’ paper considered by AHMGI on 9 February 2005 highlighted that the idea of Military Assistance Teams (MATs) was supported (as this followed practice in MND(SE)), but did “not favour” Police Advisory Teams (PATs).626 It stated: “It is not yet clear whether the US will adopt the latter proposal, which carries a high risk for those embedded at local level.”
On MATs, the paper said that the UK “would not anticipate providing personnel for Military Assistance Teams … outside our current area of operations”.627
On 18 February, Mr Cornish advised Mr Hoon on an MOD review of the Iraq campaign, looking at why the plan “was not delivering the required results”.628 In considering the UK’s involvement in “campaign enhancement”, Mr Cornish wrote: “The US has accepted that the Security Sector Reform (SSR) models which the UK are developing in MND(SE) to train and mentor ISF are likely to be different from those that they might use elsewhere in Iraq.”
Delivering MATs was listed as one of the possible UK military initiatives. A footnote explained: “The MATs concept will be implemented using the UK model, which is based on developing partner arrangements between UK and Iraq units, rather than embedding individuals in Iraqi units (the US approach) … Because of Iraqi Ministerial objections and force protection concerns, the PATs concept, as originally conceived (including with MNF‑I embedded in local police stations), is now all but dead.”


624 Minute Sheinwald to Hadley, 11 February 2005, ‘Iraq’ attaching ‘Iraq: Strategy for 2005’.
625 Bowen SW Jr. Hard Lessons: The Iraq Reconstruction Experience. U.S. Government Printing Office, 2009.
626 Minute Quarrey to Prime Minister, 8 February 2005, ‘Iraq: 2005 Strategy’.
627 Paper Cabinet Office, 7 February 2005, ‘Iraq: Strategy for 2005’.
628 Minute Cornish to Private Secretary [MOD], 18 February 2005, ‘Iraq – Key findings of the Iraq Stocktake’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

Major General Peter Wall, Deputy Chief of Joint Operations, attended a CENTCOM
conference on the post‑election strategy for Iraq on 21 to 23 February.629 He reported:
“MNF‑I have walked back from their original PATs concept, though remained adamant
that the principle of hands‑on help to the police would still be required in areas where
the insurgency was at its strongest … We are making progress in MND(SE). But we
also need to find a way of forcing this issue in Baghdad.”


691. On 22 April 2005, Gen Casey circulated a paper entitled ‘MNF‑I Campaign Action
Plan for 2005 – Transition to Self‑Reliance’.630 The paper stated that the Iraqi Armed
Forces would be “largely trained and equipped” by mid‑2005 and that training of the
police and Border Police would extend into 2006. Gen Casey wrote:
“Generally, while Iraqi forces still lack the capacity to conduct and sustain
independent counter‑insurgency operations, they now have the capacity to begin
assuming the lead in counter‑insurgency operations across the country, and the
coalition can begin to progressively transition that responsibility to them.”

692. That would be “executed in four phases”:

• Phase I, Implement the Transition Team Concept – MNF‑I would “establish
partnerships between Iraqi and coalition units” and embed Transition Teams
in designated ISF units by 15 June 2005. Concurrently MNF‑I with IRMO [Iraq
Reconstruction and Management Office] advisers would “build capacity to
continue the development of ISF leaders, organizations, supporting institutions
and Iraqi security Ministries”.

• Phase II, Transition to Provincial Iraqi Security Control – coalition forces
would “pass the lead for conducting counter‑insurgency operations to capable
ISF as conditions warrant”. The goal was to have the ISF in all provinces
“well‑postured” to provide security for the elections in December, with the
coalition’s visibility reduced.

• Phase III, Transition to National Iraqi Security Control – coalition forces to
“progressively reduce their levels of support and presence” as the ISF became
“increasingly capable”. Given the training timescales, it was “unlikely” that that
would occur “before mid‑2006”.

• Phase IV, Iraqi Security Self‑Reliance – coalition forces would be “postured
in strategic overwatch outside of Iraq with training, security co‑operation
and advisory presence remaining”, with the “exact nature” of support being
“determined in close co‑ordination with the Government of Iraq”.


629 Minute DCJO(Ops) to CJO, 28 February 2005, ‘CENTCOM Post Iraqi Election coalition Conference, Bucharest 21‑23 Feb 05’.
630 Paper Casey, 22 April 2005, ‘MNF‑I Campaign Action Plan for 2005 – Transition to Self‑Reliance’.

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693. Gen Casey stated that implementation of the strategy would “vary across Iraq based on the security situation and the readiness of Iraqi security forces and Ministries”.

ISF performance during the January elections

Beginning on 28 January 2005, two days before the election, Iraqi authorities implemented curfews, imposed severe restrictions on traffic, closed Iraq’s borders and banned the carrying of weapons by civilians.631 Approximately 130,000 ISF personnel secured over 5,000 polling sites throughout the country.
Reflecting on the election in a telephone call with President Bush on 31 January, Mr Blair said it was encouraging that so many ISF had reported for duty over the weekend, but the problem remained that they were not able to cope with “big battle situations” against a well‑armed and motivated enemy.632 They lacked the necessary training and leadership. The key question remained whether they could “take over, hold and run a major city”.
On 3 February, the JIC assessed: “On election day, the Iraqi security forces reportedly performed effectively at static guarding duties. But overall, their operational performance continues to be inadequate, particularly in Sunni Arab areas.” 633
The Iraqi elections passed smoothly in MND(SE) with the GOC commenting that “the ISF needed our help but their momentum gathered. They had the courage to stand up and be counted.”634 For the elections, Provincial Joint Operations Centres were established in MND(SE) to improve co‑ordination between different security elements. Maj Gen Riley described them as “a crucial element in the security system that managed election‑day security”.

2005 policing strategies

694. On 21 February 2005, the FCO produced a paper for the AHMGIR (on 24 February) on UK support to civil policing in Iraq.635 Drawing on the “Strategy for 2005” and the Luck Review, it contained proposals for a greater focus at the national level where there was “an urgent need for an Iraqi national policing strategy, supported by an appropriate training syllabus to address established weaknesses”. There were 56,900 IPS officers now trained and equipped but there was still a need for the development of leadership, technical capabilities, forensics, crime scene management and investigative techniques.


631 Wright DP & Reese TR. On Point II: Transition to the New Campaign – The United States Army in Operation IRAQI FREEDOM May 2003 – January 2005. Combined Studies Institute Press, June 2008.
632 Letter Phillipson to Adams, 31 January 2005, ‘Prime Minister’s discussion with President Bush, 31 January: Iraq and MEPP’.
633 JIC Assessment, 3 February 2005, ‘Iraq: Insurgency and Counter‑Insurgency’.
634 Report Farquhar, 2 February 2005, ‘CG MND(SE) – Southern Iraq Update – 2 February 2005’.
635 Note FCO, 21 February 2005, ‘Iraq – UK Support to Civil Policing in Iraq – 2005’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

695. Current UK commitments were summarised as:

• support for basic training – 86 officers in Jordan, az‑Zubayr and Baghdad;
including a combination of serving and retired police officers and MOD
police officers, at a cost of £7.3m per annum from the GCPP International
Peacekeeping Fund;

• enhancement of capabilities in MND(SE) – six senior and middle‑ranking officers
mentoring Iraqi Provincial Chiefs of Police at a cost of £500,000 from the GCPP
International Peacekeeping Fund; 40 IPAs providing mentoring in the South
(through ArmorGroup), costing £4.8m for six months; and

• enhancement of national capabilities – Mr Davies’ role as Senior Civilian Adviser,
reporting to the Minister of Interior and supported by 12 officers in advisory roles
at a cost of £500,000 from the GCPP International Peacekeeping Fund.

696. Two new priorities were identified arising from the 2005 Strategy: the development
of national strategies and the development of Iraqi intelligence capability. Developing
a Special Branch capability was still a UK priority but the Metropolitan Police would
currently not deploy staff to Baghdad on security grounds.

697. The GCPP International Peacekeeping Fund could cover existing commitments but
was not able to meet new ones. New expenditure would therefore fall to the GCPP (Iraq)
fund. SSR so far amounted to £5.5m for 2005/06, not including the project to support the
MOI (£2.57m) or the human rights programme (£950,000). While funding was “available
for all planned police activity for the next six months”, an extension of the ArmorGroup
contract for a further six months would create an overspend. That would leave no
funding for renewing other contracts, such as the Prison Mentoring Contract, or for new
projects such as additional support for the Iraqi Special Tribunal (IST– for trying crimes
committed under the Saddam Hussein regime).

698. At the AHMGIR, the FCO said the “key message” from the paper was that funding
beyond September was “extremely tight”.636 One of the points made in discussion was:
“The Government would need to be prepared to make tough decisions and prioritise
carefully on funding for activity in Iraq. There should be no expectation of drawing
down on the Treasury Reserve.”

699. Officials were tasked with taking forward funding issues, with the close involvement
of the Home Office and ACPO.


636 Minutes, 24 February 2005, Ad Hoc Group on Iraq Rehabilitation meeting.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

700. On 25 February, Mr Blair wrote a note to his Private Secretary, instructing that Mr Straw be “put in charge” of the AHMGI and that each week a report is provided containing actions on “e.g. reconstruction in the South; Sunni outreach; progress on security plan”.637

701. On 10 March, at the first meeting of the AHMGI under his chairmanship, Mr Straw explained that Mr Blair “had asked a core group of ministers to meet on a weekly basis to focus more closely on the delivery of policy in Iraq”.638

702. One point made in discussion was that there was pressure within Iraq for some unofficial militia to be incorporated into the ISF: “The benefits of bringing them under greater control needed to be balanced against risk to ISF cohesion and political complications”.

EU integrated police and Rule of Law mission for Iraq

On 21 February 2005, the EU announced that it had decided to establish an integrated police and Rule of Law mission for Iraq, known as ‘EU JustLex’.639
Mr Straw’s Private Secretary outlined the main elements of that mission in a letter to No.10 on 10 March:

• a planning office in Brussels to arrange senior management and specialist technical training for 520 judges and criminal justice officials and 250 senior police officers;

• a five‑man liaison office in Baghdad to identify specific projects where EU member states could provide assistance;

• training that would take place in Member States or the region, but not in Iraq until the security situation had improved.640
Mr Straw’s Private Secretary wrote that the 21 February package had “followed months of internal deliberations and a tough final negotiation”. While there was a “more positive political mood, opposition to any association with MNF programmes or training in Iraq remains strong”. He stated: “… the package as it stands … is modest given the scale of the task and the immediacy of the needs. If all goes to plan over the next year, the EU will provide training for some 250 police officers. During this time, we [MNF] plan to train over 40,000 policemen through the academies in Baghdad, Basra and Amman.”


637 Manuscript comment Blair on minute Quarrey to Prime Minister, 25 February 2005, ‘Iraq Update’.
638 Minutes, 10 March 2005, Ad Hoc Ministerial Group on Iraq meeting.
639 Official Journal of the European Union, 9 March 2005, Council Joint Action 2005/190/CFSP of 7 March 2005.
640 Letter Siddiq to Quarrey, 10 March 2005, ‘Iraq: Policing’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

The operational phase of the mission began in July 2005 and was initially mandated to
run until 2006. Between 2005 and the end of 2009 it was headed by Former ACC Stephen
White, who had served as the UK’s Senior Police Adviser in Basra in 2003.641 The mission
comprised around 40 staff and by June 2009 had spent €30m. Former ACC White
described the purpose of the mission as to: “… focus … on the most senior members of the Iraqi police, judiciary and penitentiary services … [to] create a critical mass of credible, influential leaders who are properly equipped to make plans and decisions relevant to their responsibilities … in Iraq.”642
In 2009, the mission began to scope the provision of training and advice in Iraq and then
to progressively shift its focus to in‑country work, opening additional offices in Erbil and
Basra.643 By July 2010, the mission had trained, advised and mentored:

• 805 judges (over 60 percent of the Iraqi judiciary);

• 1702 senior police officers (around four percent of senior police officers); and

• 903 prison officers (nearly 80 percent of senior prisons staff).

703. On 14 March 2005, Mr Quarrey asked the MOD for an update on progress
against the Petraeus Plan.644 Mr Naworynsky replied on 17 March and reported that ISF
development was: “… largely on track, meeting the demands of a well‑entrenched counter insurgency campaign and the evolving expectation of the Iraqi leadership … From January 2006 the ISF should be approaching full strength and the transfer of regional control will
be under way. Over the next six months of 2006, the generation of ISF units should
be complete, the Multi National Force (MNF) training and mentoring commitment
is expected to reduce, and in all but the most volatile provinces, Iraqi‑led security
operations should become the norm.
“Trained and equipped MOI forces currently number almost 82,000 personnel, but
this includes a large number of absentees due to intimidation, injury, and corruption,
varying dramatically in proportion across the country … The largest component
(135,000) will be Iraqi Police Service (IPS), which remains an area for improvement.
Conceived for peace time constabulary duties, the rate of IPS development
continues to lag, as standards of equipment, personnel and training are reviewed to
answer the demands of the insurgency.”


641 Council of the European Union Press Release, 30 June 2009, ‘Javier Solana, EU High Representative for the CFSP, welcomes the extension of the EU Integrated Rule of Law Mission for Iraq (EUJUST LEX)’; enclosing Factsheet, June 2009, ‘EU Rule of Law Mission for Iraq (EUJUST LEX)’.
642 European Security and Defence Policy, July 2007, ‘EUJUST LEX The European Union’s Integrated Rule of Law Mission for Iraq’.
643 EU JUSTLEX Press Release, 22 July 2010, ‘EU JUST LEX – Iraq, more than 3,400 officials trained’.
644 Letter Naworynsky to Quarrey, 17 March 2005, ‘Petraeus Plan Update’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

704. The covering note for Mr Blair from Mr Quarrey described the MOD’s paper as “rather insubstantial, and almost certainly too optimistic in its assessment of the quality of much of the ISF”.645

705. Lieutenent General Sir Graeme Lamb, General Officer Commanding (GOC) MND(SE) from July to December 2003, reflected on the quality of the ISF in his evidence to the Inquiry.646 He said: “The point of corruption in this part of the world is with the police and at the lowest level and yet we somehow were looking to try and make them into state troopers. We were never going to achieve that. It was an aspect of us approaching in many ways the problem seen through a Westminster or Washington perspective rather than one that was very much more locally focused …”

706. In a telephone call with President Bush on 22 April, Mr Blair commented that “the Iraqiisation plan did seem to be going well”.647 However, the insurgency remained well armed and well financed. Mr Blair felt that there would be a greater sense of momentum after the formation of the ITG.

707. Lieutenant General John Kiszely served as the SBMR‑I from October 2004 to April 2005. His Hauldown Report contained an assessment of the ISF.648 He described the leadership of the IMOD as “completely out of their depth” and the MOI as “dysfunctional”, with the Minister bringing in his uncle to set up and run the Special Police.

708. In relation to the IPS, Lt Gen Kiszely assessed: “… the selection process for these policemen … is rudimentary; they undertake only eight weeks training; they are paid a very low wage; leadership at all levels is generally poor; corruption is high. To expect such a force, mostly under‑strength and poorly equipped, to perform well in the face of a ruthless insurgency is unrealistic, and there have been occasions (for example in Mosul in November) when the whole of a city’s police force has deserted their police stations in the face of attack or the threat of it.”

709. Lt Gen Kiszely expressed concern about the Iraqi Special Police Commandos. He considered that they had been “highly effective in tackling the insurgency” but he stated that they had “no police training and are more akin to Black‑and‑Tans; many are former members of the Republican Guard. Their methods are robust, and there have been several cases of serious abuse, duly investigated, and no doubt many more that have not been.”


645 Minute Quarrey to Prime Minister, 18 March 2005, ‘Iraq Update’.
646 Public hearing, 9 December 2009, page 42.
647 Letter Quarrey to Siddiq, 22 April 2005, ‘Prime Minister’s Phone Call with President Bush’.
648 Minute Kiszely to CDS, 16 April 2005, ‘SBMR‑I’s Hauldown Report’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

710. On the insurgency, Lt Gen Kiszely assessed:
“The high level of intimidation has been the insurgency’s biggest gain of the past
six months and, helped by a weak, incompetent and corrupt police force, has led
in many Sunni areas to a complete absence of law and order – in effect, anarchy.
Initially intimidation was used by the insurgency to gain control of cities and towns,
the favoured method being to capture and execute (blindfold, hands tied behind
back) anyone who stood in the way of the insurgents or who was associated with
the coalition or the government. In one city (Mosul) in one five week‑period (from
12 November to 19 December) the bodies of 220 victims executed in this way
were found, and in one single incident (Baquba, 23 October) a busload of 50 army
trainees were similarly murdered.”

711. On INIS he wrote: “In the past six months, INIS has been somewhat discredited in the eyes of both the IIG and the coalition due to evidence of incompetence, corruption and penetration by hostile agencies, both Iraqi and external … this is an area ripe for UK advice
and input.”

712. On 15 May 2005, DCC Smith produced a report of his review of UK policing
support to the development of the IPS.649 His report described UK efforts in both
Baghdad and Basra; those recommendations relating to policing specifically in MND(SE)
are described later in this Section.

713. DCC Smith observed a weakening of UK influence in Baghdad. Following the Luck
Review, the US was increasing resource for police training at a rate that the UK was
unable to match. He also reported that the “UK inability to ‘walk the talk’ and tendency to
write long, strategic doctrinal papers … has been interpreted by the US as typical British

714. DCC Smith recommended targeting UK resources on a number of priority areas to
increase influence at a strategic level in Baghdad. They included:

• the strategic development of the IPS – “there are currently no resources, except
myself, dedicated to this key activity”;

• intelligence and crime investigation, including forensics, identified as “one of the
few areas where the UK still has a foothold”, thanks, in part to the introduction of
the TIPS scheme (described below); and

• continuing the Police Centre of Excellence – staffed primarily by Canadians,
this was described as “a small resource but a disproportionate influence [which]
helps to ‘fly the flag’ for policing in a land dominated by the Military”.


649 Paper Smith, 15 May 2005, ‘Next Steps on Policing – Review’.

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TIPS hotline

The ‘Police Forward Look’ paper produced in November 2006 described TIPS as:
“… the UK’s biggest success story, and one where we have delivered more than we promised. The scheme has developed beyond the original plan, a ‘Crimestoppers’‑style hotline, into a sophisticated intelligence system, including source cultivation.”650
Former DCC Brand told the Inquiry: “Because we had British policemen in there, there was a huge uptake of people calling in, telling us about weapons and missiles and all sorts of things like that … It was so successful that one of the last things that Mr Kerik did before he left was to announce: ‘It was so successful we are now handing it over to the Iraqis’, and all the calls stopped. So we had to reinstitute, because we understood after a while that it was … the fact that people knew there were British police at the other end of the phone made for the calls to happen, and that was a really successful part of our small contribution.”651
In his statement to the Inquiry, Former ACC Smith stated: “TIPS in Baghdad generated increasing ‘actionable intelligence’ for coalition and Iraqi Security Forces with reports averaging from 150 per week in early 2005 to over 400 per week by the end of that year … TIPS was one of the real successes of the UK work which … brought in a large volume of intelligence that undoubtedly saved many Iraqi and coalition lives.”652
In his report dated August 2006, Former Chief Superintendent Barton stated that there were 14 ArmorGroup contractors working on the TIPS hotline.653 He added:
“The day‑to‑day successes (terrorist related arms finds, source development, target development) is extremely successful [sic] and receives accolades from coalition partners.
“However, to date, whilst Iraqi staff man the telephones there is no Iraqi ‘lead’ and no Iraqi trainers.”
A recently developed Basra TIPS line was described by Former Chief Superintendent Barton as “new and slow to start”.

715. Five key areas were prioritised in DCC Smith’s report:

“• Training: Basic, Leadership and Developmental areas to be prioritised. Courses and regional, provincial or local training arranged;

• Police Support Infrastructure: at Police Headquarters level – Human Resources, Finance (and contracts), Communications, Logistics;


650 Paper BE Baghdad, November 2006, ‘Police Forward Look’.
651 Public hearing, 29 June 2010, pages 98‑99.
652 Statement, 25 June 2010, page 10.
653 Report Barton, August 2006, ‘The window of opportunity’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

• Intelligence Capability: the Collections, Collation, Analysis, Action and
Dissemination of Intelligence – criminal, terrorist and counter‑insurgency;

• Operational Capability: Police to have effective Command and Control Systems
with aim of Policy Primacy; Co‑Ordination; Specialist Support SWAT [Special
Weapons and Tactics] and TSU [Tactical Support Unit]; Criminal Investigation
(inc. Forensic); and

• Public Support: Development of Police interaction with the Criminal Justice
System (Courts, Prisons etc), Media and Public; Development of Public and
Civil Accountability; Ability to remove corrupt and inefficient police officers
through a robust, transparent and accountable Complaints System (Professional

716. The report also analysed the UK resource requirement to meet those priorities and
sought to identify any gaps. DCC Smith commented that, while he knew how many UK
personnel were currently working on policing in Iraq, he was: “… unsighted on … the overall ‘staffing’ allocation or budget for Iraq. There is no clear indication of the number of posts that are budgeted by the FCO either in Baghdad or Basra … This is not a personal failing on any department but reflects a sometimes unstructured approach.”

717. In his statement to the Inquiry, Former ACC Smith wrote that, although those five
areas became “the focus of successive plans”, the strategy itself “did not become, in the
long run, the driver in MND(SE)”.655 He wrote: “Why? Perhaps lack of adequate consultation and explanation with the military, possibly the changing situation on the ground or the military expectation that as the main provider of resources etc they had the better understanding of the issues. Attempts to support a strategic aim of ‘developing an efficient, effective, credible and community‑based accountable police service’ rapidly became subsumed within military operational and logistical plans …
“In the absence of an agreed strategy, plans were driven on the ground by
successive six month military and staff rotations and changes in security and
political expectations.”

718. On 10 June, DFID commissioned a consultant to “assist the FCO in drawing
together a cross‑Whitehall strategy for UK support to the development of Iraqi policing
capacity”.656 The Terms of Reference for the strategy stated that UK support needed “a
more strategic focus” and that FCO’s draft strategy now needed to be “expanded and
amended by inputs from the various department specialists”. The strategy should be
completed by 17 June.


654 Report Barton, August 2006, ‘The window of opportunity’.
655 Statement, 14 June 2010, pages 2‑3.
656 Letter DFID [junior official] to [Consultant], 10 June 2005, ‘Cross‑Whitehall Strategy for UK support to Iraqi Policing’.

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719. A junior DFID official emailed the FCO on 14 July to say that DFID felt that the strategy could not be agreed across Whitehall.657 He wrote: “We see your paper as something that we have tried very hard to inform and influence, but have failed. It’s way off something that we would wish to put our name to.” He suggested that it was instead presented as an FCO‑led document.

720. On the same day, Commander Simon Huntingdon, MOD, emailed the FCO to say that the MOD also did not feel the strategy represented an agreed FCO, DFID and MOD position on policing in Iraq.658

721. On 18 July, MOD, DFID and FCO officials met to discuss policing in Iraq.659 They agreed that the strategy could not be viewed as “complete and usable” until additional information was sent by the British Embassy. The minutes recorded:
“In the meantime, we should avoid giving the impression that policing was on track when the reality was that we did not know.”

722. The group agreed that a background paper on the strategy should be submitted to senior officials on 22 July and possibly to Ministers afterwards. A second cross‑departmental paper would be submitted by the end of August outlining the intended “end state” for the IPS, including “a route map of how to get there”, an analysis of the risks (such as the sustainability of policing) and “an indication of the resources required”. While the FCO accepted that it led policing activity in Iraq, it “stressed” the need for all relevant departments to agree the papers; there was a “shared responsibility for delivering policing”.

723. Commenting on the draft background paper, an FCO junior official described policing as “the Cinderella of SSR”.660 The “reasons/factors” for that included:

• “The insurgency broke the original plan, but no‑one was prepared to admit it.”

• “The international policing community has not responded adequately to Iraq” – even the reduced figure of 1,500 (from 6,000) International Police Liaison Officers (IPLOs) had not been achieved.

• As the US was “the monopoly supplier of assets and people”, its “military vision [had] prevailed”.

• “The original vision of the Iraqi police force as a community based service is (and was) idealistic pie‑in‑the‑sky. It does not fit with the culture or environment.”

• The Iraqis were seeking to balance the police against the army to prevent a coup.


657 Email DFID [junior official] to FCO [junior official], 14 July 2005, ‘Cover note to Strategy Group’.
658 Email Huntingdon to FCO [junior official], 14 July 2005, ‘Police Cross‑Departmental Strategy’.
659 Minutes FCO, 18 July 2005, ‘Cross‑Departmental Meeting on Policing in Iraq – 18 July 2005’.
660 Email FCO [junior official] to FCO [junior official], 21 July 2005, ‘Background paper on police’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

724. The official wrote that the UK had:

• “over‑promised and under‑delivered”;

• “sent the wrong people and not enough of them”; and

• “fixated on strategies that gather dust”, gaining a reputation with the US “for
procrastination rather than delivery”.

725. The official wrote that there were “a lot of lessons to be learnt” and that the
absence of Home Office officials from the addressee list “tells its own story”.

726. On 7 August, a junior official from the British Embassy Office Basra circulated a
draft of a policing transition paper.661 He wrote that “the level of micro‑management”
had “at times almost beggared belief” but that the police team in Basra had remained
committed to making it work “if only so the police here can get on with implementing it,
rather than sitting around re‑editing it all day!”

727. The final version of the document was circulated on 7 September and is discussed
later in this Section.662

Training the IPS

Training for IPS officers took two forms:

• Basic Recruit Training was for personnel with no previous police or military
experience. That took eight weeks, increasing to ten weeks in mid‑2005.

• Transition Integration Programme was a three‑week programme for personnel
with previous police or military experience.663 In July 2006, TIP training was
offered to serving officers who had not been trained but had been serving for
over a year.664
Training took place at the Jordan International Police Training College (JIPTC), the
Baghdad Police College and seven smaller regional academies; including az‑Zubayr near
Basra.665 By the end of 2006 all regional Iraqi Police academies had transitioned to Iraqi
control.666 Basic recruit training ceased at JIPTC at the end of February 2007.667
Leadership training began in 2006 with the Bagdad Police College running police officer
commissioning courses.668


661 Email FCO [junior official] to FCO [junior official], 7 August 2005, ‘Policing Transition Paper: final draft?’.
662 Letter FCO [junior official] to OD Sec, Cabinet Office [junior official], 7 September 2005, ‘Iraqi Police Service Transition Plan for Southern Iraq attaching Paper Consulate Basra, 7 September 2005, ‘Southern Iraq: Iraqi Police Service – Transitional Plan’.
663 Report to Congress, 13 October 2005, Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq.
664 Report to Congress, 29 August 2006, Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq.
665 Report to Congress, 13 October 2005, Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq.
666 Report to Congress, 2 March 2007, Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq.
667 Report to Congress, 7 June 2007, Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq.
668 Report to Congress, 17 February 2006, Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

By September 2008 there were 18 MOI training establishments and plans for another 12, to include a training centre in every province.669 Only Camp Dublin670 was still supported by MNSTC‑I.671


728. In October 2004, DFID commissioned a Strategic Conflict Assessment (SCA), an analysis of conflict drivers in Iraq to help the UK Government identify conflict prevention and reduction opportunities.672

729. A draft version of the SCA (dated 27 December 2004) was circulated amongst officials on 2 March 2005.673 The official circulating the document raised the need for an objective assessment of the SSR work being done to “ensure we are on track, are getting value for money, achieving aims” and making improvements where necessary. An email from a DFID junior official in response said that Mr Benn was in support of such a review.

730. At the Iraq GCPP Strategy meeting on 7 April, it was reported that the final SCA would be produced within a week and would feed into a revised GCPP Strategy for 2005/06.674 In addition, the team conducting the SSR review would depart for Basra on 14 April and report in May. It would only focus on GCPP‑funded activity.

731. The SCA’s findings were discussed at the Iraq GCPP Strategy meeting on 28 April.675 Concerns were raised about the quality of the report; amendments were necessary before it could be disseminated more widely. While the GCPP Strategy could draw on the SCA, it was not to be the only source used.

732. Minutes from a meeting about Iraq policing and SSR on 28 April reported that an SSR review team would be giving feedback on their findings at DFID on 9 May.676 It would have “both positive and negative aspects”.

733. The Government has been unable to provide any record of the SSR review team mission or of its conclusions, but understands that the views of the review team were expected to be incorporated into a report by DCC Smith examining the UK effort on policing in Iraq (described earlier in this Section).677 The review also informed the revised GCPP Strategy.


669 Report to Congress, 26 September 2008, Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq.
670 Camp Dublin was part of a US military installation near Baghdad.
671 Report to Congress, 26 September 2008, Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq.
672 Paper GCPP bid, [undated], ‘Strategic Conflict Analysis (SCA)’.
673 Email DFID [junior official] to DFID [junior official], 2 March 2005, ‘Review of policing work’ attaching Paper ‘Strategic Conflict Assessment – Iraq, Draft Report 27 December 2004’.
674 Minutes, 7 April 2005, Iraq GCPP Strategy meeting.
675 Minutes, 28 April 2005, Iraq GCPP Strategy meeting.
676 Minutes, 9 May 2005, ‘Iraq Policing and Security Sector Reform – 28 April 2005’.
677 eGram 4472/05, 13 May 2005, IPU to Baghdad, ‘Iraq: Police Training’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

734. Minutes of the Iraq GCPP Strategy meeting on 3 August recorded that a draft of
the GCPP Strategy had been circulated but the final version still needed to be “drawn

735. The objectives outlined in the GCPP Strategy for 2005/06 remained similar to
those in 2004/05 but were re‑ordered and re‑worded to reflect their “condensed scope”
and the shift in prioritisation.679 They were:

“• Build the capacity of the security sector to prevent and manage conflict, with
special emphasis on police and prisons.

• Support government and civil society institutions in preventing and resolving

• Promote good relations between groups inside Iraq.”

736. It was identified that the 2004/05 Strategy had “proved too ambitious in the
worsening security context” and therefore 2005/06 objectives had been “narrowed
down” to reflect the difficulties surrounding implementation. Some of the SCA’s
recommendations would not be taken forward at that time, such as the recommendation
“for more support to the ISF in favour of the IPS”. The Strategy stated that the MOD had
a “large budget” for that purpose. The recommendations of the SSR review had been
accepted in their entirety.

The Iraqi Transitional Government

737. On 24 March, Mr Straw sent his first report to Mr Blair on the AHMGI, which dealt
with the first three meetings of the Group (described in more detail in Section 9.3).680 On
the political process Mr Straw wrote that messages to Iraqi contacts had emphasised
“the importance of getting good people into the key security related Ministerial positions
(Defence and Interior)” and of the “enormous damage that could be done to efforts at
outreach by a significant renewal of the de‑Ba’athification drive”.

738. On 28 April, Prime Minister Designate Ibrahim al‑Ja’afari presented the majority of
his Cabinet to the Transitional National Assembly for ratification.681 The new Minister of
Interior was Mr Bayan Jabr and the new post of Minister of State for National Security
was given to Mr Abdul Kareem Al‑Anizi. Dr Sadoun Dulaimi was confirmed as the new
Minister of Defence some days later.682


678 Minutes, 3 August 2005, Iraq GCPP Strategy meeting.
679 Paper, [undated], ‘Iraq GCPP Strategy 05/06 Update’.
680 Minute Straw to Prime Minister, 24 March 2005, ‘Iraq: Ad Hoc Ministerial Meetings’.
681 eGram 3590/05 Baghdad to FCO London, 28 April 2005, ‘Iraq: New Cabinet Ratified by the TNA’.
682 Telegram 4430 Baghdad to FCO London, 12 May 2005, ‘Iraq: Call on Minister of Defence,
12 May 2005’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

739. On 11 May, a JIC Assessment on the ISF stated: “There is no coherent Iraqi counter‑insurgency strategy and the balance of responsibility between the MOD and MOI and other government departments is undefined.”683

740. Mr Blair spoke to Prime Minister Ja’afari for the first time on 26 May and said that “we stood ready to help in any way we could”, in particular on developing the ISF.684

741. On 3 August, a junior official in Baghdad emailed FCO officials and No.10 to inform them that Prime Minister Ja’afari would announce a 12‑point security plan the following day.685 The official described the intended announcement as “nothing particularly new”, with the exception of a plan to co‑ordinate intelligence, “neighbourhood watch”, and a possible amnesty for political groups. The purpose of the plan was to structure activities that the government and MNF‑I had been taking into measurable objectives with actions assigned to specific Ministers.

742. Following the announcement, the official told Mr Asquith that Prime Minister Ja’afari had been “ultra‑cautious” and omitted “many of the details that were most interesting”. He reported that the possible amnesty had been toned down to “national dialogue with those with whom a dialogue is possible”.

743. The JIC reported on 12 October that: “The Iraqi Transitional Government (ITG) has failed to develop a coherent national security strategy. This will not change in the short time remaining before the December election. Nor will there be a significant increase of capacity in the security ministries or development of intelligence capability. The need to establish a new Iraqi administration following the elections means that we are likely to see little momentum in these critical areas over much of the next year.”686
Police and judicial reform

744. At the Ministerial Committee on Defence and Overseas Policy ‑ Iraq (DOP(I)) on 16 June, there was a discussion of progress on police and judicial reform within Iraq.687 The following points were raised: “Having effective police would be one condition for achieving the successful drawdown of the coalition’s military forces in Iraq.


683 JIC Assessment, 11 May 2005, ‘The Iraqi Security Forces’.
684 Letter Quarrey to Siddiq, 26 May 2005, ‘Iraq: Prime Minister’s Conversation with Ja’afari’.
685 Email FCO [junior official] to various, 3 August 2005, ‘Iraq Media Grp Mtg 3.00pm 3 August’.
686 JIC Assessment, 12 October 2005, ‘The Iraqi Security Forces: Very Slow Progress’.
687 Minutes, 16 June 2005, DOP(I) meeting.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

“The requirement in Iraq was for paramilitary style policing. A plan was now in place
but it would take time to deliver. There was also a funding gap in the Global Conflict
Prevention Pool that would need to be addressed.”

745. On judicial reform, the minutes indicated that the discussion focused on the
arrangements for the Iraqi Special Tribunal (IST) rather than on the wider criminal court
system. The Committee agreed that the UK “needed to concentrate on seeing progress
on the judicial process including the IST, and the police”.

746. Mr Blair wrote to President Bush on 27 June, to share concerns raised with him by
Ms Clwyd during her recent visit to Iraq.688 On the IST, Mr Blair wrote: “Our people are already working together on plans to help build the capacity of the Iraq Special Tribunal. We are making some progress, but there is much still to be done. A credible IST process which delivers – and is seen to deliver – justice for the appalling crimes of the previous regime will have major political impact … We may need to make sure, however, that they do not rush to try the most serious cases before they are ready.”

747. The discussion at DOP(I) on 7 July under the item “Progress on the Iraqi Special
Tribunal (IST) and judicial issues” focused exclusively on the IST.689
Developing Iraq’s intelligence organisations
In April 2004, the Iraqi National Intelligence Service (INIS) had been established (see Box, ‘An Iraqi intelligence service’, earlier in this Section).690
On 15 July 2004, Prime Minister Allawi announced the creation of a new intelligence
organisation – the General Security Directorate – that reported to the IMOD.691
General Luck’s Review in January 2005 assessed the intelligence structures as very weak
and in need of a fundamental overhaul.692
In May 2005, the Criminal Intelligence Unit was established in Basra as part of an MOI
project. It reported directly to the MOI and was structured similarly to the US FBI.693
The National Information and Intelligence Agency (NIIA) was re‑named the National
Information and Investigations Agency in September 2005.694


688 Letter Sheinwald to Hadley, 27 June 2005, ‘Iraq’ attaching Note Blair to Bush, [undated], ‘Note from the Prime Minister to President Bush’.
689 Minutes, 8 July 2005, DOP(I) meeting.
690 Minute Dodd to Quarrey, 30 April 2004, ‘Iraqi Security Force Capabilities’.
691 BBC News, 15 July 2004, Iraqi PM vows to crush insurgents.
692 Telegram 58 Baghdad to FCO London, 21 January 2005, ‘Iraq: ISF Assessment Team Visit’.
693 Email Innes to FCO [junior official], 4 July 2005, ‘Basra: Police’.
694 Minute Smith, 11 September 2005, ‘Weekly Report – Week Ending Sunday 11th September 2005’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

On 11 May 2005, the JIC assessed: “Iraqi intelligence organisations will be critical for success: they are developing but are still largely unproductive and unco‑ordinated … Provincial and local structures are also emerging. A number of these are under the control of rival militias and political groups; some are Iranian financed. The degree to which these organisations are able – or willing – to be absorbed into a national structure is unclear. The tensions between the Ministers of Defence and Interior, and the addition of a new Ministry of State for National Security, will complicate the issue.”695
On 12 October, the JIC assessed: “Some progress has been made, including establishing central co‑ordinating mechanisms … There is some co‑ordination between INIS and DGIS, but overall co‑ordination remains poor. INIS is perceived by local politicians as run by the CIA; DGIS is making some progress but is undeveloped and under‑resourced; and the MOI’s relationship with other agencies remains difficult …”696
On 6 September 2007, a report from the Independent Commission on the Security Forces in Iraq stated: “The level of information sharing and cooperation between the Iraqi intelligence community and the Iraqi Security Forces is not satisfactory – a problem exacerbated by bureaucratic competition and distrust among duplicative intelligence organisations.” 697
The report advocated low technology solutions, describing Iraq as “principally a human intelligence theatre of operations” and commended the TIPS hotline set up by UK police officers (see Box, ‘TIPS hotline’, earlier in this Section).

Request for an “honest assessment”

748. On 21 July 2005, Mr Naworynsky forwarded to Mr Quarrey an update from Lieutenant General Robin Brims, now SBMR‑I, on the ISF’s progress.698 Lt Gen Brims wrote:

• The Iraqi Army was “steadily building in confidence and competence” though units “were not yet able to conduct complex operations”.

• The IPS was “lagging the Iraqi Army”. Personnel were “of a doubtful quality” but plans were being implemented “to address these shortcomings”. The “broad judgement” was that the IPS would “not fail when Multinational Forces step back, but we may be uneasy about their methods”.

• The IMOD was “immature and struggling with implementation of its policies”.


695 JIC Assessment, 11 May 2005, ‘The Iraqi Security Forces’.
696 JIC Assessment, 12 October 2005, ‘The Iraqi Security Forces: Very Slow Progress’.
697 Report, 6 September 2007, ‘Independent Commission on the Security Forces in Iraq’.
698 Letter Naworynsky to Quarrey, 21 July 2005, ‘Update on Progress of Iraqi Security Forces’ attaching Paper 20 July 2005, ‘Update on Progress of Iraqi Security Forces’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

749. Mr Roger Cornish, MOD Deputy Director Iraq, wrote to Mr Ingram’s Private
Secretary on 10 August with a draft note on ISF capacity‑building.699 He wrote that,
having read Lt Gen Brims’ report, Mr Blair had asked for further advice, giving “greater
clarity on ISF capacity‑building. Specifically: exploring the detail beneath headline
numbers; discussing the delivery of equipment and training; assessing the Iraqi
command structure; and an honest assessment of the progress of Iraqiisation.”

750. Dr John Reid became Defence Secretary in May 2005. Dr Reid sent Mr Cornish’s
note to Mr Blair on 28 August, advising that “numerically, generation of ISF remains on
track, but significant development in key capability areas is still needed”.700 The problem
areas were:

• the ability of IMOD forces to direct and sustain independent operations;

• equipment maintenance and effective command and control;

• IMOD’s financial management, acquisition and logistics; and

• IPS’s progress – its capability thought to be 12 months behind the Iraqi Army.

751. Dr Reid wrote that those issues were being addressed but that “with the focus on
quantity rather than quality, this inevitably will take time”. On the political control of the
ISF by the Iraqi Government, he stated: “… the succession of short term ‘power sharing’ governments has not created the conditions for the generation of coherent policies … Armed militias are a reality and cannot be ignored; both the Kurds and Shia have them and their presence is implicit in the form of local militias to protect businesses mentioned in PM Ja’afari’s twelve‑point security statement. We must beware that the ISF we are creating does not migrate into yet more locally owned militias.”

752. The IPS remained “riven with bribery, corruption, intimidation and politicisation” and Special Police Commandos had been “linked to human rights abuses and extra judicial
killings”. Dr Reid wrote: “Across Iraq, the Rule of Law is hampered by institutional fragility in the police and criminal justice system. Shortcomings in basic infrastructure, equipment, training and specialist capabilities such as forensics continue to limit IPS performance.”


699 Minute Cornish to PS/Minister (AF), 10 August 2005, ‘Update on the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) and the Process of Iraqiisation’.
700 Minute Reid to Blair, 28 August 2005, ‘Update on Progress of the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF)’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

Progress on disbanding militias

A report to Congress in July 2005 stated that, under CPA Order No.91, nine militias were to be integrated into the ISF.701 Of those nine, only the Kurdistan Democratic Party, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan Peshmergas and the Badr Organisation remained as “significant entities”. The other six organisations had either disbanded or been “assigned to personal security details”. JAM was not part of the integration process as it was viewed as a potential insurgent organisation rather than a militia. The report assessed:
“The ITG and its predecessor have had some success in integrating militias into the ISF, but militia elements integrated into the ISF typically remain within pre‑existing organisational structures and retain their original loyalties or affiliations.”
The nature of the insurgency was discussed at the DOP(I) on 26 May.702 Mr William Ehrman, Chairman of the JIC, said that it was looking likely that elements of JAM would be absorbed into the ISF. In discussion, concerns were raised about the Minister and the Ministry of Interior, with rumours that the MOI was sanctioning sectarian attacks.

A JIC Assessment on 12 October stated: “The issue of militias and their incorporation into the ISF has still not been resolved … In the absence of an effective local ISF, the MOD with MNF support has begun to recruit a Sunni tribal militia in Anbar province to help deal with AQ. In both Shia and Sunni areas of Baghdad there have been calls for local militias to be raised to improve security. We judge the perpetuation of militia forces, on ethnic, tribal, or political lines, carries significant risks for the future.”703

753. Dr Reid’s letter to the Prime Minister on 28 August 2005 made clear that the original timescale for the completion of the Petraeus Plan (mid‑2006) was not achievable.704 The number of trained and equipped IMOD forces was “just below 80,000” and would “reach full authorised strength (currently 106,000) in November 2006”. MOI force numbers were “just over 95,000” and “should reach full strength (193,500) in 2007”.

754. A JIC Assessment about the ISF on 12 October reported that the forces had “again expanded rapidly”: the Iraqi Armed Forces stood at 91,000 personnel and MOI forces 106,000 personnel.705 The JIC cautioned that those figures did not take account of absenteeism or “provide an indication of true capability”. MNF planners foresaw a continued need for substantial MNF forces, capable of conducting combat operations,


701 Report to Congress, July 2005, Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq.
702 Minutes, 26 May 2005, DOP(I) meeting.
703 JIC Assessment, 12 October 2005, ‘The Iraqi Security Forces: Very Slow Progress’.
704 Minute Reid to Blair, 28 August 2005, ‘Update on Progress of the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF)’.
705 JIC Assessment, 12 October 2005, ‘The Iraqi Security Forces: Very Slow Progress’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

to support the ISF until the end of 2007, and for advisory teams at least until 2009.
Assessing those targets, the JIC judged: “… the ISF and MNF together have been unable to contain the level of violence, which continues to grow. If the insurgency persists at anywhere near current levels, these timeframes will be unachievable, at least in Baghdad and the Sunni heartlands.”

755. A report to Congress on 13 October stated that IMOD force generation was due
to be complete by late 2006 and MOI force generation complete by August 2007.706

Assessing readiness for Provincial Iraqi Control

On 27 September 2005, an IPU official wrote to Mr Straw with details of the Joint Committee to Transfer Security Responsibility (JCTSR). The JCTSR had been established in July and tasked with establishing the conditions to permit transfer of security responsibility to the Iraqi civilian authorities.707 Membership included the Iraqi Interior and Defence Ministers, the National Security Adviser, the UK and the US Ambassadors and the Commander and Deputy Commander of MNF‑I.
The Committee published its conditions for transferring security responsibility to an Iraqi
civilian authority on 10 October 2005.708 Those fell into four categories for both urban and provincial areas:

• Threat assessment: MOI, IMOD, MNF‑I and the National Intelligence
Coordination Council (NICC) assess the threat from terrorist/insurgents as
low, and steady or on a downward trend determined by the IMOD, MOI and
MNF‑I. For provincial areas, the threat to critical infrastructure and lines of
communication should also be assessed as low.

• Iraqi Security Forces readiness: The IPS has capacity (at TRA level 2 [TRA
levels are explained in Box, ‘Provincial Iraqi Control’]) to maintain domestic order
and prevent the resurgence of terrorism. The Iraqi Army are able to respond to
requests for assistance from the city and able to contain the insurgency in the
provinces with appropriate support.

• Governance: The Governor must be capable of overseeing security operations
in the urban area and province, as assessed by the IMOD, MOI, Ministry of
Justice, the Ministry of Human Rights, the US Embassy and MNF‑I. The PJCC
must be operational and co‑ordinating operations and there must be systems in
place for detention, trial and incarceration under Iraqi law.

• Coalition forces: must maintain the capability to reinforce if ISF capabilities
are exceeded; co‑ordinate civil construction activities; provide support and
force protection for Transition Teams; and retain freedom of movement and the
capability to conduct counter‑terrorism operations.


706 Report to Congress, 13 October 2005, Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq.
707 Minute IPU [junior official] to Straw, 27 September 2005, ‘Iraq: Transition: The Joint Committee to Transfer Security Responsibility’.
708 Paper Republic of Iraq National Security Council, 10 October 2005, ‘Joint Committee to Transfer Security Responsibility’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

Corruption, infiltration and abuse

756. Despite improvements in size and performance of the ISF, concerns about corruption, infiltration and abuse continued to grow during 2005. The incident on 19 September at the Jameat Police Station in Basra is described later in this Section.

757. In its 12 October Assessment, the JIC reported that both the IMOD and the MOI were “dysfunctional, with their capacities developing very slowly if at all” and that neither could “administer their forces effectively”.709 Units were unpaid and unsupplied for significant periods and nepotism was ingrained.

758. The JIC repeated its warnings about the IPS, judging: “Elements of the ISF, primarily those under Ministry of Interior (MOI) control, are involved in sectarian violence. This is fuelling broader tensions across Iraq.
“The Iraqi police are a particular concern. They often suffer from divided loyalties and a significant number are involved in criminality for financial gain. Their command and control mechanisms remain confused, as does the exact relationship between local police and the MOI in Baghdad.”

759. The JIC reported that some senior Iraqi politicians viewed MOI paramilitary units as “a particular problem: they are seen as a Shia force and as perpetrating a campaign of violence against Sunnis”.

760. On 25 October, Mr Blair and President Bush held a video conference between London, Washington and Baghdad.710 Mr Straw and a number of officials and military officers were in attendance. They discussed Iraqiisation. Mr Blair said that the development of the police seemed to be lagging behind that of the army and asked what more could be done. He also asked how important were the Ministries of Interior and Defence. He was told that a major effort was required with the police in 2006 and that the Ministries were crucial. Lieutenant General Nicholas Houghton, SBMR-I from October 2005 to March 2006, said that the problem with the police was not limited to their quantity and quality; there was also an issue with the commitment to national goals. Strong national leadership was required at the political level.

761. In response to a question from President Bush about the situation in the South, Sir William Patey, British Ambassador to Iraq, stated that the political process had exposed deep divisions within the Shia and that those had impacted on local government. He warned of “local turf wars”, declining consent for the MNF, and Iranian interference. He stated that the police were key and training efforts needed to be stepped up. Lt Gen Houghton said that the situation in the South remained much calmer than in other parts of the country. Progress had been made on SSR and the South might well be able to lead the process of security transition.


709 JIC Assessment, 12 October 2005, ‘The Iraqi Security Forces: Very Slow Progress’.
710 Letter Quarrey to Siddiq, 25 October 2005, ‘Iraq: London/Washington/Baghdad VTC’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

Responsibility for the security ministries moves to MNSTC‑I

A report to Congress on 13 October 2005 stated that the US Embassy Iraq and MNF‑I had
“recently agreed” to assign responsibility for the Iraqi security ministries’ development to
MNSTC‑I with effect from 1 October 2005.711
A paper produced by the MOD for DOP(I) on 15 November stated: “MNSTC‑I has overall responsibility for providing assistance … to the IG [Iraqi Government] in the development of the MOD and MOI. This helps to generate some short‑term capacity assistance; however, the UK must use its senior representation within this Command to help the Iraqis build indigenous capacity within the security sector. This can be achieved through full manning of agreed liaison posts throughout the IG and recognising the need for local participation and ownership at all stages of the capacity‑building project.”712
An eGram from Baghdad on 2 November reported that merging efforts on MOI
reform “should combine IRMO civilian expertise with MNSTC‑I military resources and
manpower”.713 The “bedding‑in process [was] still under way” and “some tension between the civilian element and the military” remained.
In his weekly report of 1 January 2006, DCC Smith stated that military personnel were
gradually replacing police officers in key CPATT roles.714 He cited the upcoming vacancy for a Senior IPLO Advisor post at CPATT as “a further opportunity for Senior UK influence” and that if the UK was to embed officers into CPATT, it was “essential” that it include a senior strategic position or the UK would “simply be providing more ‘indians’”. DCC Smith was “not convinced” that the US would allow the post to be taken by a “non‑American”. He described “a weakening morale among IPLO colleagues and … increased military encroachment”.
A report to Congress on 26 May reported that MNSTC‑I had awarded a contract to provide civilian experts to help build organisational capacity by working alongside Iraqi officials in the IMOD and MOI in February that year.715
An eGram was sent from Baghdad on 8 September about the development of the MOI
and progress of the GCPP‑funded project (as described earlier in this Section).716 It said
that a new structure for the MOI was “now more or less in place”, although there were still
insufficient systems in place to reduce corruption and staff had difficulties delegating tasks
because they lacked the understanding about how responsibility should be matched with
accountability and authority.
The eGram acknowledged that capacity‑building was a long‑term process but that
“measurable progress” had been made. Collaboration with MNSTC‑I had been “very
good” and represented “an example of how civilian (DFID) and military (MNSTC‑I) efforts can effectively complement each other”.


711 Report to Congress, 13 October 2005, Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq.
712 Paper MOD, 11 November 2005, ‘Strategy for the UK’s Contribution to Iraq Security’.
713 eGram 17261/05 Baghdad to FCO, 2 November 2005, ‘Iraq: Ministry of the Interior and Policing’.
714 Minute Smith, 1 January 2006, ‘UK Chief Police Advisor – Iraq: Weekly Report: Week Ending Sunday 1st Jan 2006’.
715 Report to Congress, 26 May 2006, Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq.
716 eGram 39420/06 Baghdad to FCO, 8 September 2006, ‘Iraq: Institutional Development in the Ministry of Interior’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform


762. On 13 November, the US military visited an MOI‑controlled detention facility in Baghdad, known as the Jadiriyah bunker, to facilitate the release of a detainee.717 Upon entering the facility they discovered “around 170 detainees” in an emaciated state. Instruments of torture, including belts, rubber hoses, electrical cable and truncheons were recovered and there was evidence of links to the Badr Corps militia.

763. The following day, Gen Casey and Mr David Satterfield, the US Deputy Chief of Mission, made a strong demarche718 to Mr Jabr, and demanded both a full criminal investigation and a nationwide audit and inspection of MOI facilities conducted by Iraqi and US officials.

764. In the Chairman’s brief for DOP(I) to be held on 15 November, Mr Blair was advised that Mr Patey should raise the issue “in the strongest terms” with Prime Minister Ja’afari and Mr Jabr.719

765. A note from an IPU official to Mr Straw on 22 November stated that Prime Minister Ja’afari had announced on 15 November that a full investigation into the matter would be held.720

766. The official advised Mr Straw that the Embassy had “first picked up suspicions about maltreatment” at the facility on 4 and 5 September in “an uncorroborated informant report to a police adviser”. The Embassy’s Senior Police Adviser had accompanied the US military to the location on 24 October but saw no evidence of abuse in the areas where he was allowed access. The official wrote that before follow‑up action could be taken, the US had “stumbled” upon the mis‑treated detainees.

767. There were indications that Mr Jabr had “been in direct contact with MOI operatives at the Bunker” and that there were “suspicions of other illegal detention centres”. The media had reported Mr Jabr was “playing down the incident significantly”.

768. The IPU would “instruct Baghdad to maintain pressure” on Prime Minister Ja’afari to address the issues.

769. Mr Straw issued a statement the same day, welcoming this decision and condemning illegal detention and torture.


717 Telegram 18170 Baghdad to FCO London, 14 November 2005, ‘Iraq: Detainees Found in Bunker’.
718 Demarche is the term used to describe a protest by diplomats.
719 Letter Cabinet Office [junior official] to Prime Minister, 14 November 2005, ‘DOP(I) – Chairman’s Brief’.
720 Minute IPU [junior official] to Foreign Secretary, 22 November 2005, ‘Iraq: Abuse at Ministry of Interior Detention Facility – follow up’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

770. On 27 November, The Observer published an article on human rights abuses in
Iraq, based on an interview with Former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi.721 It quoted him as
saying: “The Ministry of the Interior is at the heart of the matter. I am not blaming the
Minister himself, but the rank and file are behind the secret dungeons and some of
the executions that are taking place.”

771. The IPU was concerned that the investigation would slip in the run‑up to elections,
and advised Mr Straw on 2 December to reiterate the importance of its progress during
a telephone call with Prime Minister Ja’afari.722 The IPU had “received indications” that
a representative on the investigation committee and an Iraqi Minister were “trying to
whitewash the report”. Concurrently, the IPU was considering with the US and the MOD
“the possibility of taking direct MNF‑I action” in other suspected locations of abuse.

772. The IPU raised concerns about the delay in the investigation again with Mr Straw
on 7 December.723 A note by a junior official advised Mr Straw to raise the matter with
Dr Rice during their bilateral meeting that day. The note said that no action had been
taken, other than two meetings of Deputy Prime Minister Rosch Shaway’s committee.

773. As well as continuing to apply pressure for a report to be delivered, the official
advised Mr Straw to suggest “snap inspections” of other locations, which ideally would
be Iraqi‑led, but could be led by MNF‑I if necessary.

774. An eGram sent from the British Embassy on 17 January 2006 stated that there
was “still no sign of any report”.724 Mr Shaway had spoken to the US on 16 January
and had blamed the delay on Shia and Badr members appointed to the Commission by
Prime Minister Ja’afari and difficulties in working around the election and local holidays.
He had told the US that he intended to report in between 10 and 14 days.

775. The eGram also stated that:

• There had been three unannounced inspections of detention facilities by joint
Iraqi/MNF‑I forces. The US/MNF‑I selected the sites but Iraqi officials led the

• Details had been provided about two of the inspections, one facility had 234 detainees claiming abuse (though mostly from previous facilities and not within the last two months), and the other held 13 detainees and was “of a fairly good standard”.


721 The Observer, 27 November 2005, Abuse worse than under Saddam, says Iraqi leader.
722 Minute IPU [junior official] to Foreign Secretary, 2 December 2005, ‘Iraq: Secretary of State’s Telephone Conversation with Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim Ja’afari’.
723 Minute Paterson to Foreign Secretary, 7 December 2005, ‘Iraq: Foreign Secretary – Secretary Rice Speaking Note’.
724 eGram 978/06, Baghdad to FCO, 17 January 2006, ‘Iraq: Detainee Abuse Update’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

• The US planned to conduct one unannounced search per week, starting the following week.

• The Judicial Commission was carrying out a separate investigation, and was working through the case files of every detainee in Jadiriyah.

• Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI)/Badr had begun to “push back” against accusations of detainee abuse.

776. In early 2006, the MOI began establishing an abuse complaint process system involving the Inspector General, Internal Affairs and a Public Affairs Office.725 Detention was a particular cause of concern. The DoD’s May 2006 Report to Congress stated:
“Many human rights violations occur at detention centres because the centres have inadequate facilities. The centres have no places to shower, pray, or prepare food; plumbing and electrical systems are substandard. Furthermore, the police are not trained as jailers … To date the Joint Iraqi Inspection Committee, consisting of Iraqi Inspectors General from various ministries, supported by the US Embassy and MNF‑I, has inspected seven facilities.”

777. A junior official at the British Embassy Washington emailed IPU on 17 March with a summary of a meeting with US officials.726 She noted that it had been agreed that the UK and US should confront Prime Minister Ja’afari about any efforts to suppress evidence from the Jadiriyah bunker report.

778. Dr Reid visited Iraq from 17 to 20 March.727 A report of his visit from his Private Office on 21 March referred to a meeting with Mr Zalmay Khalilzad, the US Ambassador to Iraq, in which Dr Reid was told that the US investigation into the Jadiriyah facility had “concluded terrible abuses had taken place and that senior figures were likely to have been aware of them”. A copy of the US investigation report had gone to Prime Minister Ja’afari but “nothing seemed to have come of it”, although they said they had not “pushed that hard”.

779. The minutes of DOP(I) on 30 March recorded that Dr Kim Howells, FCO Minister, had stated: “… the UK and the US had to press Ja’afari to publish an unexpurgated version of the report into abuse by the Ministry of Interior at the Jadiriyah bunker, and be ready to press the new Iraqi Government to take action against those responsible … Our legacy could not be to construct an edifice in Iraq based on human rights abuses.”728


725 Report to Congress, 26 May 2006, Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq.
726 Email FCO [junior official] to FCO [junior official], 17 March 2006, ‘Briefing for DCDS(C) – Iraq – Detainees and Abuse’.
727 Minute APS/SoS [MOD] to PS/Policy Director [MOD], 21 March 2006, ‘Secretary of State’s visit to Iraq’.
728 Minutes, 30 March 2006, DOP(I) meeting.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

780. Dr Reid, who chaired the meeting, concluded that it was “critical” to the UK’s
objectives that the Iraqi security forces were non‑sectarian; officials “should work
urgently on an action plan and messages for use with the US … and an incoming
Iraqi Government”.

781. On 20 April, an email from Mr Straw’s Private Secretary to a junior FCO official
stated that Ms Clwyd had raised the delayed publication of the Iraqi investigation’s
report with Mr Straw that morning: “She asked what we could do to force the publication
of the report.”729

782. A junior official in Baghdad relayed a telephone conversation between Ms Clwyd
and Mr Patey.730 Mr Patey said:

• Mr Shaways had passed Mr Patey a copy of the report on 19 April.

• The report was consistent with the US report but was “not as hard‑hitting in
implicating those involved”.

• It had been sent to Prime Minister Ja’afari but was only signed by Mr Shaways
(and not other members of the committee).

• There was no indication that it would be released or acted upon until a
government was formed, after which recommendations could be made public.

• The report would not damage Mr Ja’afari but “would be seen as an attack on

783. Mr Patey also said that other work was in hand on detainee abuse: the bunker
was closed, spot‑inspections continued, and the UK was working to remove SCIRI’s
influence on the MOI. It wanted to stop the MOI running detention facilities in the longer
term. Ms Clwyd “seemed broadly content with this explanation”.

784. On 5 May 2006, Mrs Margaret Beckett became Foreign Secretary. On 9 June, an
IPU official advised her that “serious abuse and torture”, including of juveniles, had been
discovered at another detention facility (“Site 4”) on 30 May.731 Mr Khalilzad had taken
“swift action” with the newly elected Prime Minister, Mr Nuri al‑Maliki, “pressing him to
take public action” and to revisit the Jadiriyah bunker incident. Mr Al‑Mailki’s response
was “positive”; he committed to establishing a committee to investigate the Site 4

785. On 19 September, an eGram from Mr Dominic Asquith, now British Ambassador
to Iraq, reported that investigations into Jadiriyah and Site 4 abuse were still ongoing.732
He had met Mr Hashim Al‑Shibli, Iraqi Minister of Justice, the previous day, who had


729 Email Private Secretary/SofS [FCO] to FCO [junior official], 20 April 2006, ‘Clwyd: MoI Bunker’.
730 Email FCO [junior official] to FCO [junior official], 20 April 2006, ‘Clwyd: MoI Bunker’.
731 Minute FCO [junior official] to Foreign Secretary, 9 June 2006, ‘Torture at an Iraqi Ministry of Interior Detention Facility’.
732 eGram 40974/06, Baghdad to FCO, 19 September 2006, ‘Iraq: Investigations in HR abuses at Site 4 and Jadriyah’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

been “evasive about when prosecutions would happen”. Mr Asquith had encouraged Mr Al‑Shibli to push for unannounced inspections to be resumed, despite the Minister’s resistance on the basis that security conditions made it difficult.

786. Mr Asquith considered Mr Al‑Shibli “honest and aware of the problems”, but that he had a “weak political base” and an “inability to confront effectively the powerful vested interests behind the MOI”.

2006 as the “Year of the Police”

787. An eGram from an FCO official in Baghdad on 2 November 2005 reported that Gen Casey had designated 2006 as the “Year of the Police”, recognising that “a national police force that can help enforce the Rule of Law [was] vital to any exit strategy”.733

788. The official wrote that UK police officers were embedded within CPATT and providing a mentor to the Minister of Policing. The UK military had influential positions in CPATT and MNSTC‑I. The official wrote that the US had indicated they wanted the UK to “do more” in discrete areas, such as forensics. They stated that another possibility was to embed a high‑ranking police officer in CPATT to help direct strategic development but “the key remains the quality as well as the quantity of civilian staff we are able to deploy to Iraq”.

789. Gen Walker visited Iraq from 22 to 23 November 2005.734 He stated: “ISF development across Iraq is seen to be on track. For most, this includes the IPS (by design the IPS plan delivers more slowly than that for the Army).”

790. The MOD produced two papers for DOP(I) on 20 December.735 The first was an update on progress of Iraqiisation. It stated:

• development of the Iraqi Army remained “on track” for the fully funded and trained figure of 130,000 by December 2006;

• the Iraqi Police were making an “increasingly significant contribution” but were behind the Iraqi Army in development terms;

• malign militia influence, incompetent personnel and weak national control were issues that needed to be addressed by the new government;

• the Department of Border Enforcement (DBE) was due to reach full strength by May 2006; and

• the Iraqi Navy was a “success story” that risked being undermined by the failure of IMOD to provide a suitable acquisition programme.


733 eGram 17261/05 Baghdad to FCO, 2 November 2005, ‘Iraq: Ministry of the Interior and Policing’.
734 Minute CDS to SofS [MOD], 25 November 2005, ‘CDS’s Visit to Iraq 22‑23 Nov 05’.
735 Agenda, 19 December 2005, DOP(I) meeting attaching Paper MOD, [undated], ‘Update on Progress on Iraqiisation’ and Paper MOD, [undated], ‘Ensuring the Iraqis are Ready for a Handover of Security Responsibility’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

791. The second paper was entitled “Ensuring the Iraqis are Ready for a Handover
of Security Responsibility”. It highlighted two high level areas where there was cause
for concern:

• the output of the Ministries – their ability to command, control and sustain their
security forces, with control of the Chiefs of Police being a “major issue”; and

• the proper government control of the Ministries.

792. The paper stated that the coalition had “got what we resourced”: an increasing
number of officers on the ground but no overarching leadership and control from the
Ministries to which they were responsible. Action in the first 100 days of government
was seen as “essential”. MNSTC‑I was developing a plan on that basis, with a surge
in resources: “… MOI advisers up from 76 to 113; MOD advisers up from 45 … to 103. It is
envisaged that military, civilian and contractors will be used to fill civilian slots.”

793. The paper made a number of recommendations, including that consideration
should be given to increasing the number of UK security sector advisers (to “include
some ‘doers’ in IMOD”) and measures to strengthen government control including
bolstering the MCNS.

794. The minutes of the meeting indicated that those recommendations were not
explicitly addressed.736

795. On 23 December, Mr Blair sent a Note to President Bush.737 On Iraqiisation, he wrote: “I was surprised people were more upbeat than I expected (and most important the
ordinary soldiers working alongside Iraqis). The two clear messages were: the vital
nature of leadership of the MOI and MOD; and 2006 being the year of the police.
There may also be equipment issues with the military and the police.”

796. In his evidence to the Inquiry, Gen Sir Nicholas Houghton said:
“It is quite difficult to compartmentalise the aspiration and the optimism of late
2005 … the realities of the true state of the police were more dawning realities, as
we moved into 2006, where some of the … problems about death squads, torture
dens, the degree of militia infiltration of police, both nationally and locally in Basra,
became more evident, and I think that probably it was the policing issue that lay on
the critical path to most of the conditionality for effective transition.
“… 2006 was to be the year of the police, so it is not as if we were not aware of the
fact that this was the critical problem.


736 Minutes, 20 December 2005, DOP(I) meeting.
737 Letter Quarrey to O’Sullivan, 23 December 2005, ‘Iraq’ attaching ‘Note Prime Minister to President Bush’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

“But I think that the degree of the problem, just recalling another sense of the time, is that we could pour significant resource into … training the police and in the quantity of their generation but we never had the ability to command their loyalty at a local level or a national level.
“This is where you probably get into the dark business of the degree to which police loyalties were affected by political loyalties, links to criminality and corruption, and I don’t think that we had a full understanding of that at the back end of 2005. That was more revealed to us incrementally, as 2006 ensued.”738

797. In his weekly report of 1 January 2006, DCC Smith wrote about the “Year of the Police”: “… the strap line that ‘just enough is good enough’ is, whilst probably realistic, not particularly encouraging”. He wrote that it could be “a defining factor in the development of an effective Iraqi Police Service”.739

The Iraqi border police

The Department of Border Enforcement (DBE) was established in 2003.740 A report to Congress on 7 March 2008 described the DBE as having two key missions:

• Ports of Entry (POE) policing to ensure the smooth transition of legal goods and persons; and

• to interdict illegal traffic – including smuggling and movement of terrorists and foreign fighters – within and between POE.

Securing Iraq’s border was a considerable task – in total Iraq has 2,268 miles of land border and 36 miles of coastline.741
In June 2004, Maj Gen Houghton described the DBE as “successfully … reconstituted with over 19,000 Iraqis now in roles as border police, customs officers, immigration officers and nationality and passport officers”.742
The first border police graduated in September 2004, after receiving training in Jordan.743
AM Torpy visited Iraq from 13 to 19 February 2005.744 On DBE, he commented: “The DBE in MND(SE) has advanced considerably since my last visit and are now an effective force, with a good system of refurbished forts along the Iranian, Kuwaiti and Saudi borders.”


738 Public hearing, 5 January 2010, pages 12‑13.
739 Minute Smith, 1 January 2006, ‘UK Chief Police Advisor – Iraq: Weekly Report: Week Ending Sunday 1st Jan 2006’.
740 Report to Congress, 7 March 2008, Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq.
741 Report, 6 September 2007, ‘Independent Commission on the Security Forces in Iraq’.
742 Minute ACDS(Ops) to Rycroft, June 2004, ‘How Best to Progress the Iraqiisation of the Security Sector’.
743 Wright DP & Reese TR. On Point II: Transition to the New Campaign – The United States Army in Operation IRAQI FREEDOM May 2003 – January 2005. Combined Studies Institute Press, June 2008.
744 Minute CJO to CDS, 22 February 2005, ‘CJO Visit Report – Iraq – 13 to 19 Feb 05’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

In a report to Congress on 13 October 2005, the DoD assessed:
“The decentralised and dispersed nature of this force has fostered an environment in
which corruption, “ghost” employees [employees on the payroll but not presenting for
duty], and absent without leave rates remain a significant concern.”745

798. DCC Smith completed his tour of Iraq in April 2006.746 He described a number of
difficulties experienced during his tour in his end of mission report, including:

• lack of an agreed, resourced strategy: “There was not a shortage of … plans …
What has been lacking for three years is a will and an organisational capability
to develop, and act upon, such a strategy”;

• confusion over command of various personnel involved in policing: “Even the
Review conducted by Sir Ronnie Flanagan [HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary;
the Review is described later in this Section] … failed to provide a clear
statement”, with the security situation making a military lead inevitable in 2006;

• prioritisation of scarce resources: he highlighted a number of areas where the
UK could have played a significant role but were unable to resource initiatives
either through funding or appropriate personnel.

The rise in sectarianism

799. Elections were held in December 2005 but it was not until May 2006 that the Iraqi
Government was formed (see Section 9.4). As the period of time taken to form a new
government extended, British military commanders in Iraq observed an increase in

800. A report to Congress on 30 November 2006 stated that Sunni and Shia “death
squads” were responsible for the significant increase in sectarian violence in Iraq.748
Those were defined as “armed groups that conduct extra‑judicial killings; formed from
terrorists, militias, illegal armed groups, and – in some cases – elements of the ISF”.

801. During his visit to Baghdad in March 2006, Dr Reid had raised the role of the militia
with a number of interlocutors.749 Mr Sa’adoun al‑Dulaimi, Iraqi Minister for Defence,
reported that he felt under pressure to incorporate sectarian militias into the IMOD,
noting that “the Ministry of the Interior seemed completely open to the integration of
militias”. Mr Jabr commented that “too many old regime staff had been brought back in”
and “could not simply be removed”.


745 Report to Congress, 13 October 2005, Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq.
746 Report Smith, May 2006, ‘End of Mission Report’.
747 Public hearing Houghton and Style, 5 January 2010, pages 8‑9.
748 Report to Congress, 30 November 2006, Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq.
749 Minute APS/Secretary of State [MOD] to PS/Policy Director [MOD], 21 March 2006, ‘Secretary of State’s visit to Iraq’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

802. A JIC Assessment on sectarianism in Iraq on 5 April stated: “The MNF and Iraqi security forces (ISF) have been able to constrain only some of the violence. After the Samarra mosque bombing, MNF reporting indicated the Iraqi Army proved effective in many areas, deploying in numbers to protect both Sunni and Shia mosques. Some local police units also performed well, although the Ministry of the Interior (MOI) itself was sluggish in its response. The imposition of a curfew and a large security force presence probably deterred some violence. But the picture is patchy: in some Shia areas of Baghdad, militias were allowed free rein.
“The most focused and disciplined anti‑Sunni campaign is being run by SCIRI’s Badr organisation. Since the formation of the interim government, SCIRI has systematically embedded Badr members and units into the state security structures, particularly the MOI where they control intelligence and some paramilitary units. Forces under the control of the Ministry of Defence, with its close ties to MNF, have proved less penetrable …”750

803. On 20 April, Lt Gen Fry, now SBMR‑I, was asked by Mr Blair to give DOP(I) his assessment of the capacity of the Iraqi Army and police, and what impact the new government would have.751 He stated that progress with the army was relatively positive, but progress with the police was less good; the “weakness and sectarian bias of the Ministry of Interior” had “exacerbated” problems. He judged that “the key challenge … remained to bring in the Sunnis”.

804. In discussion at DOP(I) the following points were raised:

• the UK should not underestimate the sectarian character of the ISF, the new government would need to tackle this issue actively; and

• the UK had to be realistic about how possible it would be to develop non‑sectarian forces at that stage in Iraq’s development.
SSR in the South: summer 2004 to summer 2006

805. On 15 July 2004, the FCO produced a paper considering the options for the commitment of UK police officers in southern Iraq after handover of sovereignty to the IIG.752 The FCO recommended maintaining current staffing levels until mid‑2005, which could mean extending ArmorGroup’s contract and a further roulement753 of UK police trainers. That would recognise “that SSR remains a main effort for the UK” and mirrored current MNSTC‑I and CPATT projections on the completion of IPS training. The paper noted that “the UK would have a diminishing influence if we were to withdraw before IPS training was complete”.


750 JIC Assessment, 5 April 2006, ‘Iraq: Sectarianism’.
751 Minutes, 20 April 2006, DOP(I) meeting.
752 Paper FCO, 15 July 2004, ‘Iraq Southern Provinces – Future UK Civilian Police Commitment’.
753 A roulement is the deployment of forces, especially for short periods of duty.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

806. On 29 August, Lt Gen McColl reported that Prime Minister Allawi had decided
to appoint an Iraqi Military Commander for southern Iraq – initially for Basra and
Maysan.754 The Military Commander would have command of all the ISF in the area
and be answerable to a committee in Baghdad, made up of the Prime Minister and the
Ministers of the Interior and Defence. Lt Gen McColl’s view was that there was “plenty
of scope for friction” between the local Military Commander’s HQ and those of the GOC
MND(SE), now Major General William Rollo, who was reported to be concerned about
the introduction of “another layer of approval and consultation before forces can be

807. On 2 September, Maj Gen Rollo reported that Prime Minister Allawi was
considering the appointment of General Rachash as Military Commander of the
South‑East. Maj Gen Rollo had concerns about Gen Rachash’s views on the need
to consult provincial Governors and the lack of legal basis for his appointment.755
Security restrictions on UK police officers
On 26 September 2004, a report from Mr Robert Davies, Chief Police Adviser to the
MOI, stated that the FCO’s Overseas Security Adviser had directed UK police staff not
to travel in Snatch Land Rovers because of inadequate armour (see Section 14.1).756
Mr Davies wrote: “This direction places a significant limitation on the deployment of our staff. The role of mentors requires them to be able to travel frequently to see their chiefs of police. The essence of their role and indeed, the role of the International Police Advisers,
needs them to go to the stations. The appropriate protection could be provided by
a team from the Control Risk Group, but there are insufficient numbers to meet
our requirement.”
In March 2005, DCC Smith wrote to Mr Stuart Innes, British Consul General Basra, about
travel and movement protection in Basra.757 He raised concerns that UK police officers
were subject to an “inflexible and restrictive” policy that was “likely to hamper the conduct
of work in the next 12 months”. In particular, UK police officers could only travel overland
by vehicle if accompanied by a team of bodyguards. That was during daylight hours only
and with 24 hours’ notice. However, ArmorGroup and Dyncorp officers were able to travel
by military vehicles, unaccompanied and without such tight restrictions.
DCC Smith stated that, as the policing effort moved from classroom‑based training
to mentoring and monitoring at IPS stations, officers would need more flexible travel
arrangements. He recommended that UK police officers should have the option, with
additional training if required, to operate on the same basis as the International Police
Advisers (IPAs). He also suggested supplying UK police officer secondees with enhanced
weapons, also with additional training.


754 Minute McColl to CDS and CJO, 29 August 2004, ‘Report 126 of 29 August 2004’.
755 Report Rollo to CJO, 2 September 2004, ‘GOC MND(SE) – Iraq Update – 02 September 2004’.
756 Minute Davies, 26 September 2004, ‘Weekly Report Number: 46’.
757 Minute Smith to Innes, March 2005, ‘Travel and Movement Protection – CivPol3’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

CC Kernaghan visited Iraq from 12 to 17 May 2005 and wrote a report of his findings on 25 May to Mr Charles Clarke, the Home Secretary, and Mr Chris Fox, President of ACPO.758 The first part of this visit was spent investigating the role of UK police officers with Sir Ronnie Flanagan, HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary, CC Hugh Orde, Chief Constable of PSNI, and Mr Colin Cramphorn, Chief Constable of West Yorkshire.
In his report, CC Kernaghan endorsed the use of armoured vehicles within military convoys for police officer secondees, but considered enhanced weaponry “a step too far”. He cautioned against treating police officers who had served in Northern Ireland differently from those without this background, noting that this “could be interpreted as … placing a lesser value on their safety and treating them as de facto cannon fodder”.
On 24 October, Major General James Dutton, GOC MND(SE) from June 2005 until December 2005, wrote that “clarity” in the contractual obligations of UK police officers and ArmorGroup personnel was needed.759 In addition: “…we will need to resolve the issue of movement restrictions on the CivPol and ArmorGroup personnel. There appear to be different transport restrictions placed upon civil servants employed by MOD to those working for the FCO and their contractors, CivPol and ArmorGroup (although there are even differences between them). The principal problem is that the FCO and their contractors are not permitted to travel in military vehicles.”
On 11 November, CC Kernaghan emailed a junior official in the Home Office following a report from DCC Smith that stated Maj Gen Dutton wished to assume control of police and ArmorGroup assets, and see police personnel travel in Snatch vehicles.760 Maj Gen Dutton had reportedly suggested he would review the relevant contracts of employment to enable the latter.
CC Kernaghan wrote that it was important that the arrangements for police officers were not considered in isolation from those of other deployed civilians and emphasised his expectation that he should be consulted on any move to change the command and control arrangements for deployed police officers, not presented with a “fait accompli”.
Acting Commander Kevin Hurley, Chief Police Adviser in Basra, June 2004 to December 2004, told the Inquiry of the challenges of trying to effect police training and mentoring while being unable to travel:
“Security conditions made road travel almost impossible … We were all but ineffective for most of our time. Ultimately … we reached a stage whereby if we could not get a helicopter ride we did not move.”761
In his evidence to the Inquiry, Lieutenant General Jonathan Riley, GOC MND(SE) from November 2004 to June 2005, said that the “chief difficulty” of the FCO rather than the military leading police work was the restrictions placed on civilian personnel meant that he


758 Report Kernaghan to Clarke and Fox, 25 May 2005, ‘Report on 4th Visit to Iraq by Chief Constable Kernaghan – 12/16 May 2005’.
759 Letter Dutton to Wall, 24 October 2005, ‘Policing SE Iraq’.
760 Email Kernaghan to Home Office [junior official], 11 November 2005, ‘UK civil police assistance effort in Iraq – command & control issues – request for clarity’.
761 Statement, 17 June 2010, page 3.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

could not guarantee that the mentoring of police was done “to the depth, to the degree,
to the duration that it had to be”.762 That meant that he had to “fill that gap using soldiers
and military police so that instead of partnering my military forces with Iraqi military forces only, which would have been the ideal situation, I also had to partner them closely in many cases with the Iraqi police to fill that void”.
Lt Gen Riley said that he had discussed that difficulty with colleagues many times but the
rules for civilian personnel were fixed; “So it became a given”.
The arrangements for civilian personnel are described in Section 15.1.

A decline in security

808. On 18 August 2004, a Current Intelligence Group (CIG) Assessment stated:
“Little is being done in Basra by the security forces to stop a minority of Mahdi Army
militants causing disruption. The police chief is in league with the militants and
elements of the Iraqi police were involved in the kidnapping of the British journalist
[Mr James Brandon, subsequently released – see Section 9.3]. A report suggests
the Amara police chief has agreed not to interfere in the activities of the Mahdi Army
in the city, but this is due to police concern at their own vulnerability rather than
support for al‑Sadr.”763

809. In his letter to Mr Fergusson on 20 August (as detailed earlier in this Section),
Mr Phillipson wrote that the Prime Minister considered “problems with the police chief
in Basra” as one of the “real risk[s] to our objectives”.764

810. The IPU’s paper entitled “Iraq: Next Steps”, produced on 27 August, stated that the
Chief of Police in Basra was “co‑operating with the Sadrists” but did not suggest a way
of addressing that, or of addressing the issue of divided loyalties more widely.765

811. Two days later Mr Blair produced a minute to No.10 staff which stated:
“… we cannot have a situation as in Basra where the police chief is working with
Sadr’s people.”766

812. On 3 September, the CIG reported that a senior Badr organisation official had been
appointed as Basra Governor and that he intended to remove the Basra Police Chief.767

813. On 11 November, the JIC reported that the Police Chief had been “sacked”.768


762 Public hearing, 14 December 2009, pages 25‑26.
763 CIG Assessment, 18 August 2004, ‘Iraq Security’.
764 Letter Phillipson to Fergusson, 20 August 2004, ‘Iraq: Next Steps’.
765 Minute Crompton to Private Secretary [FCO], 27 August 2004, ‘Iraq: Next Steps’ attaching Paper Iraq Policy Unit, 27 August 2004, ‘Iraq: Next Steps: Action Points’.
766 Minute Prime Minister to Sheinwald, Powell and Phillipson, 29 August 2004, ‘Iraq’.
767 CIG Assessment, 3 September 2004, ‘Iraq Security: Shia Violence in Multi‑National Division (South East)’.
768 JIC Assessment, 11 November 2004, ‘Iraq Security – Current Concerns’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

814. On 26 September, Mr Davies reported that 38 ArmorGroup mentors had deployed to Basra.769 Their roles included: three personnel in Maysan developing a criminal intelligence database and mentoring the Tactical Support Unit (TSU); five personnel based at the az‑Zubayr Police Academy providing training for the TSU; and the bulk of the remaining staff engaged in mentoring and developing the investigative capability of the Basra investigators.

815. That deployment had been planned for June 2004, but on 11 June Mr Straw was advised by a junior official that the deployment should be delayed from June to September because of a decline in security in southern Iraq.770 An additional factor was that the type of mentoring they were contracted for would be “of little value until the Iraqi police ha[d] undergone more specialist skills training”.

816. Minutes from an SSR meeting on 7 October reported that ArmorGroup had all police mentors operating in various locations across MND(SE).771 The contract was due for renewal at the end of November 2004 but it was likely that a proposal for an extension would be submitted based on the positive feedback received.

817. A six‑month extension of the contract was agreed at the Iraq GCPP Strategy meeting on 7 January 2005.772 The Committee agreed that the ArmorGroup contract for 68 mentors costing £4.8m should have “specific reporting procedures, including monitoring and evaluation” with a “clearer work plan”. The project would be reviewed again after six months.

818. On 12 October, an email from a junior FCO official confirmed that 12 US IPAs had been deployed to MND(SE) in late September: six to the Sector and District Command, two to the traffic unit, two to the forensic unit and two to the TSU.773

819. On 14 October, Mr Simon Collis, British Consul General in Basra, wrote to the FCO in London stating: “we need help in the form of more senior police officers, flexible security rules for their deployment, less nationalist policies on behalf of MNF contributors and more specialist trainers and equipment.”774 He also highlighted limited co‑ordination between civilian and military structures in MND(SE).

820. Lt Gen Rollo, who left MND(SE) in November, told the Inquiry that: “Not all the Iraqis were ineffective. We focused on getting relatively small numbers of them to a relatively good standard.”775


769 Minute Davies, 26 September 2004, ‘Weekly Report Number: 46’.
770 Minute ISSU [junior official] to PS/SofS [FCO], 11 June 2004, ‘Iraq – Deployment of Police Monitors’.
771 Minutes, 7 October 2004, Security Sector Reform meeting.
772 Minutes, 7 January 2005, Iraq GCPP Strategy meeting.
773 Email FCO [junior official] to FCO [junior official], 12 October 2004, ‘Basra Update’.
774 Telegram 169 Basra to FCO London, 14 October 2004, ‘Southern Iraq: Putting Civilian Police First’.
775 Public hearing, 15 December 2009, page 12.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

821. Commenting on how to raise effective forces, Lt Gen Rollo said: “… the answer to more forces ultimately was more Iraqis, and the real trick was to raise effective Iraqi forces, and that the way to do that was to take relatively small numbers and to try to instil into them a sense of loyalty to the state, which was really quite difficult to achieve … So loyalties were fragile and depended on human contact.”776

The Iraqi Navy

A US report from the Independent Commission on the ISF, published on 6 September
2007, explained that Iraq’s coastline was very small but strategically significant.777
It included the al‑Basra and the Khor al‑Amaya oil terminals (responsible for 90 percent
of Iraq’s revenue) and Iraq’s only deep water port, Umm Qasr. The maritime borders with
Iran and Kuwait were contested and not clearly demarcated.
The Iraqi Navy reported through the Joint Headquarters to the IMOD.778
A paper produced by the MOD on 9 December 2009 stated that “the notable UK
contribution” during Phase IV was the development of the New Iraqi Navy, led by the
Royal Navy at Umm Qasr.779 The Royal Navy also trained the Iraqi Coast Guard, which
operated in close proximity to the Iraqi Navy but reported to the MOI.780
On 1 February 2005, a junior MOD official advised Mr Hoon that 49 personnel were
deployed in Navy Advisory Support Teams (ASTs), including force protection.781
The Chief of the Naval Staff visited Iraq in July and observed that recruiting and training of the Marine force was almost complete and subject to the procurement of suitable support vessels they should be able to resume responsibility for the security of oil platforms later in the year.782 He noted problems with funding but stated: “our AST and the Iraqi Navy have done well … I am content that we have reached the stage where the AST can start to draw down provided it is adequately supported by MND(SE)”. In the same month Lt Gen Brims described the development of the Iraqi Navy as
“a significant UK success”.783

Prison Service support in southern Iraq

822. At the SSR meeting on 7 October 2004, it was reported that there were two senior
prisons advisers and four prisons mentors in theatre.784 The minutes recorded that a


776 Public hearing, 15 December 2009, page 14.
777 Report, 6 September 2007, ‘Independent Commission on the Security Forces in Iraq’.
778 Report to Congress, 17 February 2006, Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq.
779 Paper MOD, 9 December 2009, ‘Iraq Security Sector Reform’.
780 Report, 6 September 2007, ‘Independent Commission on the Security Forces in Iraq’.
781 Minute Chaudhry to APS/SofS [MOD], 1 February 2005, ‘Manning and Development of the Iraqi Navy Advisory Support Teams’.
782 Minute CNS to CDS, 28 July 2005, ‘Visit to the Northern Gulf and Iraq 25‑26 Jul 05’.
783 Letter Naworynsky to Quarrey, 21 July 2005, ‘Update on Progress of Iraqi Security Forces’.
784 Minutes, 7 October 2004, Security Sector Reform meeting.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

recent assessment of all UK government staff in Iraq had determined that “the prisons contribution” was vital. Risk assessments were being conducted at military locations to enable the deployment of prisons mentors to the provinces. Support to the prisons effort was being maintained by the RMP.

823. On 20 January 2005, minutes of the SSR meeting recorded that the prisons programme had been extended for a further six months and the Prison Service had confirmed they would provide officers for phase two. A UK criminal justice adviser had also been deployed.785

824. On 9 August, the IPU submitted an initial bid for the prison programme to receive funding until 31 March 2006.786 The bid stated that since it had begun in May 2004, the programme had:

• trained every prison officer in MND(SE);

• established a training school for the Iraqi Correctional Service (ICS);

• developed a corps of Iraqi trainers;

• built and established a new prison in Basra that would “become a model prison for Iraq”; and

• “substantially improved conditions and treatment of prisoners” in each other prison in the region.

825. The bid was for funding to continue supporting prisons advisers, to help to increase the capability of the ICS and to complete the ongoing infrastructure projects.

826. In describing the effects of the programme, the IPU cited Iraq’s “dreadful human rights record” in prisons and stated that the first two phases of the programme had “already dramatically transformed the functioning of the prisons in MND(SE) both by improving the physical conditions in which prisoners are kept, and changing attitudes amongst staff”. Continuing work would build on that, particularly in respect of female and juvenile prisoners.

827. On 15 August, Mr Collis sent a telegram to the FCO reporting allegations of “systematic abuse” at al‑Maqil prison in Basra.787 The allegations, made by an Iraqi prison officer, included the sexual abuse of a female prisoner and the payment of bribes to avoid beatings and facilitate visits by relatives. The prison officer claimed that
one‑quarter of the prison staff was involved, including at a senior level.

828. Mr Stephen Fradley, the British Senior Prison Adviser, had raised the concerns with the Regional Director of the Iraqi Correctional Service, who subsequently spoke to the Prison Governor. The Governor said that an investigation had been undertaken and that


785 Minutes, 20 January 2005, Security Sector Reform meeting.
786 Email FCO [junior official] to FCO [junior official], 17 August 2005, ‘FW: GCPP Prisons Bid’ attaching Project Bid Form, 9 August 2005, ‘Prison Service Support in Southern Iraq’.
787 Telegram 113 Basra to FCO, 15 August 2004, ‘Iraq: Allegations of Abuse in Iraqi Run Prison’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

he was satisfied there had been no abuse. The Regional Director had concluded that no
further action was necessary.

829. Mr Collis was considering how to ensure that a proper investigation was carried
out. He had referred the matter to the ICRC and waited to hear whether they would
investigate. Plans were in place on how to press the issue if the ICRC were denied

830. On 26 October, Baroness Symons, Minister of State for the Middle East,
International Security, Consular and Personal Affairs at the Foreign Office, wrote to
Mr Straw about a meeting she had held with Mr Bakhtiar Amin, the Iraqi Minister of
Human Rights, the previous evening.788 Mr Amin had expressed concerns over the
current conditions in Iraqi prisons and said that he would be “most interested” in help on
rehabilitation programmes and prison monitoring.

831. On 6 February 2005, a telegram from Baghdad sought an indication of whether
further funding would be available to develop the prison inspectors’ training programme
in Basra.789 Reporting on a meeting between Mr Andrew Hood, Legal Adviser, and
Mr Amin, it stated that Mr Amin was positive about the training prison inspectors had
received and that he would like all this to be available to all inspectors. Speaking to
Mr Hood, Mr Amin requested further assistance: “he had sufficient funds to employ more
prison inspectors if there was sufficient capacity to train them”.

832. A bid for additional funding to extend the prisons programme was submitted
on 17 August.790 The bid mentioned co‑ordinating MND(SE) activity with the US
programmes elsewhere in Iraq, but did not specify supporting the extension of the Basra
training programme outside southern Iraq.

UK equipment for the Iraqi Security Forces: Project OSIRIS

833. At the AHMGI on 28 October, Mr Paul Boateng, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury
informed Mr Blair that, of the US$107m worth of equipment requested by the MOD to
speed up Iraqiisation in MND(SE), US$29m would be funded by the US, the remaining
US$78m/£40.6m could be funded by the Treasury from the Reserve on a “one‑off”
basis.791 That was in addition to the US$4.5m/£2.5m GCPP‑funded ISF equipment
purchase agreed in September.

834. On 24 November, a junior official in the MOD submitted a draft departmental
minute to Mr Hoon to be laid before Parliament for the first tranche of ISF equipment


788 Minute Symons to Straw, 26 October 2004, ‘Iraq: Human Rights Assistance’.
789 Telegram 90 Baghdad to FCO, 6 February 2005, ‘Iraq: Call on Minister of Human Rights’.
790 Email FCO [junior official] to FCO [junior official], 17 August 2005, ‘FW: GCPP Prisons Bid’ attaching Project Bid Form, 9 August 2005, ‘Prison Service Support in Southern Iraq’.
791 Minutes, 28 October 2004, Ad Hoc Ministerial Group on Iraq meeting.

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(detailed further below).792 The press lines annexed to the document explained that Prime Minister Allawi had “made a direct call for assistance to No.10”: “The Prime Minister is keen to assist, not least as the speedy Iraqiisation of the security sector is a key strategic aim of the UK and will ultimately facilitate our own withdrawal.”

835. Between November 2004 and July 2005, equipment was delivered to the ISF in four tranches through “Project OSIRIS”. Over that period, minutes from MOD officials to the Defence Secretary detailed what would be provided in each tranche:

• Tranche one for £15m was approved in early December and focused on items that could be procured quickly through existing contracts, such as small arms, ammunition, public order and urban operations equipment as well as seven infrastructure projects.793

• Tranche two for £3.6m was approved in mid‑December and comprised grenade launchers, pistols, radios and ammunition. That was to be procured through both new and existing contracts.794

• Tranche three for £6.2m was approved in late January and consisted of three batches of equipment covering protective vehicles, search equipment for DBE and machine guns.795

• Approval for tranche four covering the remaining £15.6m was not sought until 18 July “because of the need to align expenditure plans with the planning for operational transition” and “changing US expenditure plans”. It included infrastructure projects, vehicles and communications equipment.796

836. Parliamentary approval was sought for the first three tranches but the obligation to give Parliament 14 days to raise any objections to gifting797 the items was reduced to two days with Treasury approval. Tranche four was approved by the Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), who had authority to grant approval, given the imminence of Parliamentary recess.


792 Minute MOD [junior official] to APS/SofS [MOD], 24 November 2004, ‘Parliamentary Clearances for Gifting of the First Phase of the £40.6 million ($73m) Worth of Equipment for Iraqi Security Forces.’
793 Minute MOD [junior official] to APS/SofS [MOD], 24 November 2004, ‘Parliamentary Clearances for Gifting of the First Phase of the £40.6 million ($73m) Worth of Equipment for Iraqi Security Forces’; Minute Johnson to DJC Sec 1, 2 December, ‘Iraq: Gifting of Military Equipment to the Iraqi Interim Government’.
794 Minute MOD [junior official] to PS/SofS [MOD], 13 December 2004, ‘Iraq: 2nd phase of £40.6m Gifting of Military Equipment to the Iraqi Interim Government: Project OSIRIS’.
795 Minute MOD [junior official] to PS/SofS [MOD], 19 January 2005, ‘Iraq: 3rd Phase of £40.6m Gifting of Military Equipment to the Iraqi Interim Government: Project OSIRIS’; Minute Naworynsky to Deputy Command Secretary PJHQ [MOD], 24 January 2005, ‘Iraq: 3rd Phase of £40.6m Gifting of Military Equipment to the Iraqi Interim Government: Project OSIRIS’.
796 Minute MOD [junior official] to APS/SofS [MOD], 18 July 2005, ‘Iraq: Funding for Security Sector Reform and a Civil Effects Fund for MND(SE)’.
797 ‘Gifting’ is a technical term that usually describes a government giving equipment to another government.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

837. On 18 July, a junior MOD official wrote to Dr Reid, stating that the Chairman of the
PAC had “expressed dissatisfaction with the shortcuts we took to gaining parliamentary
approval” for the first three tranches and that “a couple of backbench MPs” had
objected.798 The official considered the final tranche “less likely” to generate objections
because it did “not contain any weapons” but: “We will need to explain why we have again been unable to allow Parliament to consider this gifting as fully as some MPs might wish.”

838. The official wrote that an additional £58m was likely to be needed for the year
ahead: £38m for OSIRIS II (protected and other mobility, infrastructure construction
for forces training, communications, logistics and command and control functions) and
£20m for a Civil Effects Fund. He recommended that Dr Reid propose that expenditure
to the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, now Mr Des Browne. He also noted that Project
OSIRIS had “been an understated success story” that should be highlighted in the
presentation plan for operational transition.

839. As advised, Dr Reid wrote to Mr Browne on 19 July stating that the additional
£58m was “central to the success of our plans”.799

November Force Level Review

Air Marshal Glenn Torpy, Chief of Joint Operations, wrote to General Sir Michael Walker,
CDS, on 10 November 2004 about the interim Force Level Review conducted for
Operation TELIC (see Section 14.1).800 AM Torpy stated that the training, mentoring and
monitoring of the NIA and ING was one of three emerging tasks from the review. All three
tasks were discretionary for the UK but not for MNF‑I and if other Troop Contributing
Nations did not undertake them, they could fall to the UK.
AM Torpy wrote that the new tasks could be conducted by a battalion plus senior mentors,
“possibly of one‑star rank”, and work was under way to confirm the requirement. He had
agreed with Lt Gen Rollo that the work should be delayed until after the election. AM
Torpy advised that “for force generation purposes we should assume that this is a new –
potentially enduring” task.
Mr Roger Cornish, MOD Deputy Director Iraq, wrote to Mr Hoon about the review on
19 November.801 He reiterated AM Torpy’s assessment of the training task, assessing that
the force package needed to undertake it would be 650 personnel in total.
Mr Naworynsky replied to Mr Cornish on 24 November, stating that Mr Hoon had noted
the emerging tasks.802


798 Minute MOD [junior official] to APS/SofS [MOD], 18 July 2005, ‘Iraq: Funding for Security Sector Reform and a Civil Effects Fund for MND(SE)’.
799 Letter Reid to Browne, 19 July 2005, ‘Iraq: Funding for Security Sector Reform and for a Civil Effects Fund for MND(SE)’.
800 Minute CJO to CDS, 10 November 2004, ‘Iraq – Interim Force Level Review’.
801 Minute Cornish to APS/SofS [MOD], 19 November 2004, ‘Iraq: Interim Force Level Review’.
802 Minute Naworynsky to Cornish, 24 November 2004, ‘Iraq: Interim Force Level Review’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

The uplift in personnel took place as part of the roulement of forces in late April 2005 (described later in this Section).

Police reform

840. On 5 November 2004, Mr David Hayward, FCO Military Liaison Officer, sent a teleletter to Mr Tom Dodd, Deputy Consul General in Basra, in reply to “a number of problems” Mr Dodd had raised about policing in the South.803 On the provision of UK police officers, Mr Hayward wrote that:

• Mr Hugh Orde, Chief Constable of PSNI, had confirmed his commitment of six Chief Inspectors for Iraq.

• CC Orde would extend the current PSNI officer deployments until replacements were available.

• Nineteen junior officers in az‑Zubayr would end their tour in December but 14 officers were trained and ready to replace them. They were looking to recruit others and had a small reserve capacity of trained officers that could be deployed if necessary.

• GCPP’s funding for 40 IPAs had been extended by one month and a bid to extend it for a further six months would be submitted.

841. A second phase of the ArmorGroup contract was agreed in early 2005. It extended and expanded the deployment to 68 personnel, including five forensic experts.804

842. On 12 January 2005, Major General Jonathon Riley, GOC MND(SE) from November 2004 until June 2005, reported: “Although the work of the International Police Advisers is much trumpeted, the reality falls well short of perception. Responsibilities for various areas of police reform are unclear, and as a result, progress is lagging behind that of the military.”805

843. Acting DCC Colin Smith arrived in Iraq in January 2005 as part of General Luck’s Review team. In his statement to the Inquiry, ACC Smith wrote: “On arrival … there appeared to be a number of competing plans including SSR with police training at az‑Zubayr and in Basra, Maysan and Al Muthanna and that ubiquitous term ‘mentoring’. Civilian contractors, funded by the UK, largely worked under their own direction and command structure. The only apparent link to any pan‑Iraq coalition Strategy was through the US International Police Liaison Officers.”806


803 Teleletter 161 Hayward to Dodd, 5 November 2004, ‘Southern Iraq: Civilian Policing’.
804 Project Bid Form, [undated], ‘International Police Advisors: Training, Mentoring and Monitoring of the Newly Trained Iraqi Police Service Officers in MND SE’.
805 Report Riley, 12 January 2005, ‘GOC MND(SE) – Southern Iraq Update – 12 January 2005’.
806 Statement, 14 June 2010, page 2.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

844. DCC Smith wrote that “an attempt was made to develop … an integrated
‘12 month IPS Development Strategy’ … 12 months being seen … as the likely duration
of UK training in Iraq”. The plan acknowledged that the military should play a key role
in ‘generic’ policing areas such as infrastructure, equipment and non‑specialist training.
Police officers would be left to concentrate on enhancing specialist capability.

New Chief of Police for Basra

In his update on 12 January, Maj Gen Riley reported that a new Chief of Police for Basra,
Major General al‑Saad Hassan, had been appointed by the MOI.807
A telegram from Mr Collis on 21 January reported that (now General) Hassan had
removed a Badr officer from his post as Head of Police Intelligence, and whilst allowing
him to remain Head of Internal Affairs, ordered Internal Affairs to stop carrying out arrests or search operations following a number of suspicious deaths involving the unit.808
Mr Collis saw this as “a welcome example” of the new Chief of Police “making his mark”.
Considering whether to embed personnel in Iraqi units

845. The US began embedding MNF personnel in Iraqi units in January 2005.809

846. In his 19 January update, Maj Gen Riley reported on a conference he had attended
in Baghdad about the future of the MNF’s mission.810 Referring to the emphasis on
Military Assistance Teams (MATs) and Civil Police Assistance Teams (CPATs),811
he wrote: “… this is the direction we have taken in MND(SE). The MNF leadership will not
impose a template, but … [allow] local conditions to determine how the assistance
teams are to operate. This suits us very well.”

847. On 21 January, Mr Phillipson sent a letter to Mr Hoon’s Principal Private Secretary
about a meeting between Mr Blair, Mr Hoon and Gen Walker on Iraq strategy that
morning.812 In discussing Iraqiisation and delays to the Petraeus Plan, Gen Walker
referred to MATs and CPATs as the “latest US plan” but added “this was not the answer”.

848. At the Chiefs of Staff meeting on 2 February, it was observed that there were
differences between the UK and US implementation of MATs, but they “were unlikely to
be an issue”.813 The CPAT concept was “not favoured by the UK”. There is no record of
the rationale for that view in the minutes.


807 Report Riley, 12 January 2005, ‘GOC MND(SE) – Southern Iraq Update – 12 January 2005’.
808 Telegram 7, Basra to FCO London, 21 January 2005, ‘Southern Iraq: Security and Political Round Up 13 January’.
809 Letter Phillipson to Baker, 21 January 2005, ‘Iraq: Future Strategy’.
810 Report Riley, 19 January 2005, ‘GOC MND(SE) Southern Iraq Update – 19 January 2005’.
811 ‘CPATS’ are also sometimes referred to as ‘PATS’.
812 Letter Phillipson to Baker, 21 January 2005, ‘Iraq: Future Strategy’.
813 Minutes, 2 February 2005, Chiefs of Staff meeting.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

849. On 11 February, AM Torpy produced a paper on SSR for Gen Walker ahead of the latter’s visit to Washington on 15 February.814 In the paper, AM Torpy outlined two options being considered to support MNF‑I’s focus on assistance teams:

• Full support (“the MNF‑I default”): MATs placed with every ISF unit in MND(SE) (excluding the police), and at training schools, requiring 324 personnel.

• Targeted support: “continuation of current partnering arrangements with ISF units” targeted at “areas of weakness, such as formation headquarters, training schools and logistic bases”, requiring 110 personnel. MATs would not be involved with the Public Order Battalions or the DBE units.

850. AM Torpy wrote that the UK’s emphasis had been on “partnering” and there were currently no UK personnel embedded within Iraqi units. In introducing the options, he stated: “Given MOD guidance to avoid a significant increase in commitment, our scope to implement this SSR strategy will be constrained by our ability to free up and refocus manpower.”

851. The resource implications of both options were to be assessed by a US Joint Force Headquarter team deploying to Iraq the following week. It was anticipated that “coalition partners” would offer “significant contributions” once briefed by the US at a Bucharest Conference in February. That briefing would also “provide further clarity, thereby allowing the UK to refine its potential contribution”.

852. AM Torpy visited Iraq from 13 to 19 February.815 He reported: “[Gen] Casey is entirely comfortable with the UK’s approach in MND(SE); indeed, he has told his commanders to visit MND(SE) to see how we handle the task.”

853. Major General Peter Wall, Deputy Chief of Joint Operations, attended the CENTCOM conference on 28 February. He reported that the US approach to embed trainers at division, brigade and battalion level (and also with Special Police and Border Enforcement units) would have “implications” for the UK’s “current policy”.816 He would discuss with Maj Gen Houghton and Mr Howard.

854. On 11 March, AM Torpy produced a paper for the Chiefs of Staff on delivering SSR in MND(SE).817 There was no specific reference to his 11 February paper, but the plan he set out for MTTs818 was consistent with the “Targeted Support” option proposed in that earlier paper.


814 Minute CJO to PSO/CDS, 11 February 2005, ‘Op TELIC: Security Sector Reform’.
815 Minute CJO to CDS, 22 February 2005, ‘CJO Visit Report – Iraq – 13 to 19 Feb 05’.
816 Minute DCJO(Ops) to CJO, 28 February 2005, ‘CENTCOM Post Iraqi Election Coalition Conference, Bucharest 21‑23 Feb 05’.
817 Minute CJO to COS, 11 March 2005, ‘Op TELIC – Supporting Security Sector Reform in MND(SE)’.
818 ‘MTTs’ were formerly referred to as ‘MATs’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

855. The Chiefs discussed AM Torpy’s SSR paper on 16 March.819 The minutes record: “The continuous burden of manning MTTs and STTTs [Short Term Training Teams],
and its potential impact on the requirement for augmentees was highlighted.
DCJO(Ops) [Maj Gen Wall] indicated that the majority of posts would be filled from
current force levels and that the requirement for UK augmentees was not expected
to exceed 20.”

856. On 17 March, Mr Hoon’s Private Secretary wrote to No.10 to provide an update
on SSR progress.820 On the creation of MTTs he stated: “MNF‑I plan to have Military Transition Teams (MTTs) established across Iraq and working with Iraqi units by June. In MND(SE) we expect to have MTTs established by May. The MTTs will train and mentor their affiliated Iraqi units, remaining with them both in barracks and on security duties. In MND(SE) the MTT organisation will be developed from the existing partnership arrangements between coalition and ISF units, which first highlighted the benefits of this approach.”

857. The MOD’s Directorate of Operational Capability considered the differing
approaches to mentoring the ISF undertaken by the UK and US militaries in 2010.821
It commented:“The UK and US approaches were fundamentally at odds; this was identified by those in theatre at the time and reported back … The decision not to embed mentors … may seem perplexing, particularly considering UK troops in Afghanistan were
embedding in this manner at that time …
“We have pondered the reasons for this approach, without reaching an entirely
satisfactory conclusion. During interview a number of people have suggested that
this very different approach to embedding mentors between two UK theatres of
operation, as well as the difference between the UK and US approaches in Iraq,
was that senior politicians (or perhaps military leaders) in the UK were risk‑, and
in particular, casualty‑averse. Whether this is true, and if so whether it can be
seen as a result of the different way in which the two theatres were viewed by the
British public – Iraq as an unpopular “war of choice”, with Afghanistan a “war of
necessity” – is unclear. What is certain is that, at the time, the total number and rate
of casualties being experienced in Afghanistan were both far lower than had been
suffered in Iraq. We might reasonably conclude that this would have had an effect
on the political‑military discussions and decisions regarding embedding and force
protection. This seems especially likely as the focus in Iraq became predominantly
on reducing troop numbers in order to hand over to the Iraqi Security Forces,
allowing the UK forces to withdraw and focus on [Afghanistan].”


819 Minutes, 16 March 2005, Chiefs of Staff meeting.
820 Letter Naworynsky to Quarrey, 17 March 2005, ‘Petraeus Plan Update’.
821 Report Directorate of Operational Capability, 17 March 2010, ‘Operation TELIC Lessons Study Vol. 3’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

The US approach to Transition Teams

A Report to Congress on 29 August 2006 stated that “more than 160” Police Transition Teams (PTTs) were helping to develop the IPS.822 International Police Liaison Officers (IPLOs) were integrated into PTTs, providing expertise in all technical aspects of criminal investigation and police station management. The Report stated that an additional five (US) Military Police companies were deployed in July 2006 to bolster the PTT programme.
The next Report on 30 November stated there were 177 PTTs, each team with 11‑15 members: three or four IPLOs, hired as contractors from US State Department and the rest typically military personnel (often Military Police).823
A Report to Congress on 2 March 2007 stated that there were a total of around 6,000 international advisers in more than 450 Transition Teams.824 The Transition Teams were established in the following proportions:

• 200 Police Transition Teams;

• 40 National Police Transition Teams;

• 30 Border Transition Teams;

• 170 Military Transition Teams; and

• Transition Teams in various ministries and command establishments including the MOI, IMOD and the JHQ.825
Even with the extra personnel, shortages of PTTs were limiting observation of the IPS in 13 of the 18 provinces, including Basra and Maysan.826 The DoD’s Report to Congress in March 2007 cited cost and risk to personnel as the reasons for limited coverage.827

Concerns about strategy

858. In his weekly update on 2 February 2005, Maj Gen Riley wrote: “IPS reform is a problem wider and deeper than the Army, and the incoming Chief Police Adviser will be key to turning them into an effective counter insurgency force … there is a proposal to send the new Chief Police Adviser to Baghdad instead of here … I would advise against this in the strongest possible terms: this will lead to a delay of months (probably) in police reform here, months that we do not need. UK can have the greatest effect here on the ground …”828

859. On 17 March, Lt Gen Fry produced a paper for the Chiefs of Staff examining the consequences of “the UK’s MND(SE)‑centric strategy” and the likelihood that ISF development in MND(SE) would progress faster than elsewhere in Iraq.829 The Chiefs


822 Report to Congress, 29 August 2006, Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq.
823 Report to Congress, 30 November 2006, Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq.
824 Report to Congress, 2 March 2007, Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq.
825 These are approximate figures, estimated by the Inquiry based on available data.
826 Report to Congress, 29 August 2006, Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq.
827 Report to Congress, 2 March 2007, Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq.
828 Report Riley, 2 February 2005, ‘CG MND(SE) – Southern Iraq Update – 2 February 2005’.
829 Minute DCDS(C) to COS, 17 March 2005, ‘Iraq – Strategic Consequences for UK of Iraqi Self Reliance’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

were briefed that the eventual move to provincial control would be based on “complex,
inter‑dependent conditions” that were not fully defined and would depend upon the
development of a national security framework and that, although military SSR activity
in MND(SE) was progressing well, the scope for significant military disengagement
in 2005 would be limited. Military SSR was expected to be completed in MND(SE) in
March 2006.

860. Lt Gen Fry highlighted that non‑military Iraqi capabilities, especially the IPS, were
lagging behind the Iraqi Army and stated:
“This imbalance must be redressed not only to ward against an overly dominant
IA [Iraqi Army], but also to allow us to realise the potential military dividend of our
efforts with the IA.”

861. Lt Gen Fry suggested that the UK needed to:

• influence the development of a national policing strategy;

• encourage greater international involvement, particularly for gendarmerie‑type

• develop IPS leadership and niche capabilities; and

• develop an effective judiciary and prison system to support IPS activity.

862. Lt Gen Fry stated that the FCO was planning to address some of those shortfalls
but that those plans required “significant extra funding and depend largely on the
availability of suitable senior UK policemen”. MOD activity to support IPS development
at that stage comprised:

• basic skills training;

• training of TSUs (to focus on public order, dangerous criminality and low level
insurgent action); and

• the provision of military officers to support planning and co‑ordination at the
Provincial Joint Operations Centres (PJOCs).

863. Lt Gen Fry identified three risks to ISF development in MND(SE) progressing
ahead of national development:

• The ISF in MND(SE) would not mesh into national Iraqi security structures.

• The ISF would become autonomous and “prone to tribal, political and
confessional influences rather than national control”.

• There may be a lack of national logistical, equipment, procurement and
maintenance structures for them to access.

864. Lt Gen Fry suggested that those risks could be mitigated, to some extent, by UK
advisers in Iraq’s security Ministries seeking to accelerate the development on coherent
national policies and structures and that where possible the UK “should seek to achieve
a demonstrable vanguard effect by spreading UK ‘best practice’ in the development of
ISF to other areas in Iraq”.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

865. On 24 March, Dr Roger Hutton, MOD Director Joint Commitments, provided an update to Mr Hoon on discussion of Lt Gen Fry’s paper by the Chiefs of Staff.830 The update gave further detail on how the UK military would support that new approach in MND(SE), to include:

• the provision of MTTs at divisional and brigade level (there were four Iraqi Army brigades in MND(SE); it was envisaged that the UK would provide MTTs for two of them and the Australians and Italians would provide one MTT each for the other two brigades);

• two Short Term Training Team deployments, one in June and one in December to look at the effectiveness of training; and

• continued “partnership” with the UK brigade partnering the divisional headquarters of 10th Division and a coalition battlegroup working with each of the four brigades in the 10th Division.

866. Dr Hutton advised that there would be a requirement of only 25 extra troops to implement this approach.

10th Division

The 10th Division was the Iraqi Army division in MND(SE) that had been trained by UK personnel. It was established by Maj Gen Riley as reported in his update on Southern Iraq on 12 January 2005. He wrote that he had established the 10th Division alongside HQ MND(SE) at the Basra Air Station.831

867. Gen Jackson visited Iraq from 17 to 20 April 2005.832 On his return he reported:
“… military SSR continues to progress well and the provision of Military Transition Teams (MiTTs) should provide a qualitative boost to ISF performance … Overall, GOC MND(SE) remains confident that his military SSR efforts will be complete in Maysan and Al Muthanna circa October 2005; and in Basra and Dhi Qar circa March 2006.”

868. On the IPS, Gen Jackson wrote: “In contrast to the satisfactory progress with the development of the Iraqi Army, the lack of discernable progress with the IPS is alarming … It could become our Achilles heel because without an effective IPS, not to mention a criminal justice system – there can be no Rule of Law, a pre‑requisite for our eventual military disengagement. The scale and quality of International Police Adviser effort is woeful and the arrival of the new Senior Police Adviser has failed to re‑invigorate IPS development. Although theoretically the military is acting in support of the IPA, we find ourselves de facto


830 Minute Hutton to APS/SofS [MOD], 24 March 2005, ‘Iraqi Self‑Reliance and Strategic Intent’.
831 Report Riley, 12 January 2005, ‘GOC MND(SE) – Southern Iraq update – 12 January 2005’.
832 Minute CGS to CDS, 25 April 2005, ‘CGS visit to Op Telic 17‑20 Apr 05’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

in the lead without appropriate funding and resources … We must be prepared, however, to make some difficult decisions across Whitehall including, perhaps, transferring leadership for IPS reform from the FCO to the MOD and subsequently restricting IPA effort to developing certain IPS specialist functions. There is further concern, which I share, that the UK model of policing is not necessarily the most appropriate for the Iraqis. A gendarmerie model might be more suitable.”

Restructuring SSR

869. Mr Stuart Innes, British Consul General Basra, sent an eGram on 3 May 2005
reporting a meeting he had held with Maj Gen Riley and DCC Smith a day earlier.833
Mr Innes stated that Maj Gen Riley had “said that SSR was now the main focus of the
UK’s military efforts in MND(SE)” and that the IPS programme required greater attention
if responsibility for security was to be handed to the ISF by October.

870. On 5 May 2005, Maj Gen Wall wrote to Lt Gen Fry about the 2 May meeting,
stating that the FCO’s eGram provided “a partial explanation of the proposed way
ahead” which was “open to misinterpretation”.834 On the increase of military support
he wrote: “The lead for police reform remains with the FCO. The military continue to fulfil a supporting and co‑ordination role with greater planning responsibility.
“No additional UK military resources are required, and none will be ‘fixed’ if there
is an opportunity to reduce force levels … Nor does it require resources being
redirected from existing tasks.
“Military assistance to the Iraqi Army will remain the Division’s main effort; support
to the IPS is a lower priority.”

871. DCC Smith became the UK Chief Police Adviser in Iraq in May 2005, a role that
combined the two previous Senior Police Adviser positions in Baghdad and Basra. He
told the Inquiry: “… part of my remit to go to Baghdad was to increase UK influence at a strategic level, which had for different reasons … dropped off since the time that [DCC]
Doug Brand was there.”835

872. On 15 May, DCC Smith produced a report of his review of UK policing support
to the development of the IPS.836 His report described UK efforts in both Baghdad and
Basra; those recommendations relating to policing in Baghdad are discussed earlier in


833 eGram 3797/05 Basra to FCO, 3 May 2005, ‘Iraq: SSR: Police in the South’.
834 Minute DCJO(Ops) to DCDS(C), 5 May 2005, ‘Military Support to Iraqi Police Service Training’.
835 Public hearing, 21 July 2010, page 20.
836 Paper Smith, 15 May 2005, ‘Next Steps on Policing – Review’ attaching Smith, [undated], ‘Iraqi Police Service – Development Strategy’.

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this Section. DCC Smith wrote that he had appointed two Deputies at the rank of Chief Superintendent; one based in Baghdad, the other in Basra. The team in Baghdad was also strengthened from around 10 to just under 20.

873. The review included a 12‑month policing strategy, which DCC Smith identified as a priority for the three provinces to implement. DCC Smith wrote that it had received wide circulation and consultation “with all stakeholders” and particularly with Iraqi Chiefs of Police. The paper stated: “It will concentrate on areas that have ‘Iraqi buy in’, are achievable within 12 months and importantly, sustainable (by the Iraqis) beyond 12 months.”

874. He described the operational implementation priorities in MND(SE) as focusing on two key areas:

• implementation of the “12 month IPS Development Strategy and Plan”; and

• further strengthening the Regional Police Training Academy at az‑Zubayr to enable it to train the Iraqi trainers who would, in due course, be responsible for police training.

875. DCC Smith stated that Gen Petraeus had taken the decision to put the 20 CPATT International Police Liaison Officers in MND(SE) under the command of Maj Gen Riley, a move which DCC Smith described as: “… at best misguided and at worst a major difficulty. GOC MND(SE) now has his own private US Police Advisers!! It is clear that at the senior level in Baghdad the US Authorities have not been made aware that we have done things more professionally in MND(SE) with senior serving CivPol Officers leading on IPS Development.”

876. DCC Smith stressed the importance of extending the ArmorGroup contract, noting that police officers “cannot meet the major priorities without ArmorGroup support”. He identified a number of other opportunities to increase available resources, including:

• seeking input from the Commonwealth and EU;

• identifying police officers currently serving in the Territorial Army in MND(SE) and attaching them to joint military/police teams; and

• better recruitment of recently retired police officers, particularly from Northern Ireland.

877. DCC Smith concluded: “We have failed in the past through lack of appropriate succession planning … Substantial effort has been put into driving UK effort forward in both Basra and, more recently, Baghdad … We must not allow … poor communication with, and within, the UK to diminish this drive. [The police] have many critics in Iraq in the … military. We must not fail.”

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

878. CC Kernaghan’s visit report on 25 May stated: “… progress has been made in training Iraqi Police Service personnel. However, with the exception of groups such as the Tactical Support Unit they remain of questionable quality. The initial concept of creating a community policing force on the classic Anglo‑American model appears to have been overtaken by a more realistic recognition, that first and foremost a police force must be effective if it is to secure public support. Thus in the face of an insurgency, it is essential that the force can defend itself and its police stations. This has improved but philosophical
confusion still appears to bedevil the project … I am still of the view that there is a
disconnect between CPATT [Baghdad] and the British led effort within MND(SE).”837

Should the UK focus be on Baghdad or the South?

On 4 July 2005, the record of the Iraq Senior Officials Group stated: “The work of our international policing adviser in Baghdad was being hampered by the scale of the US presence and the difficulty of securing buy‑in from the Minister of the Interior. An emerging conclusion was that we should concentrate our effort on MND(SE), moving our adviser there and away from the national policing strategy. This would be consonant with our broader policy, but could risk sending the signal that we were concerned only with the South‑East.”838

879. On 19 May, Dr Reid briefed Cabinet that he had “been encouraged” by the
progress in building up the ISF and that he hoped it would be possible for the ISF to
take over from UK forces in MND(SE) in “the course of the next year”.839 He stated that
progress with the Iraqi police was “less advanced” and that the border forces were the
“least capable”.

880. On 5 June, Maj Gen Riley produced a post‑tour report.840 On SSR he wrote:
“A good plan is now in place for the expansion of the Iraqi Army … The barrack
building plan is properly resourced and is delivering. The training and recruiting
plans are in place … Equipment is going well … I remain concerned about the
ability of the IA chain of command to issue orders and ensure compliance with
those orders.
“You know my views on police reform. I have now formed teams to take on those
areas in which we have taken the lead from the FCO/Civil Police: organisation,
management, control systems, administration, leadership, paramilitary training,


837 Report Kernaghan to Clarke and Fox, 25 May 2005, ‘Report on 4th Visit to Iraq by Chief Constable Kernaghan – 12/16 May 2005’.
838 Letter Cabinet Office [junior official] to Asquith, 4 July 2005, ‘Iraq: Senior Officials Group’.
839 Cabinet Conclusions, 19 May 2005.
840 Report Riley to CJO, 5 June 2005, ‘Commanding General’s Overview Multinational Division (South East) and British Forces Iraq’.

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and equipment husbandry … This leaves the Civil Police and IPAs with: criminal intelligence … serious crime investigation … forensic investigation, [and] tactical support units and SWAT teams.
“Looking to the future, the original model, which failed in Bosnia and Kosovo, and was failing here, must never be used again. Great Britain must only step forward to take the lead on police reform if our policing model is appropriate to the problem … Beat Bobbies from Hampshire, and even RUC men, concerned with human rights and traffic violations, are of limited use to a paramilitary police force fighting an insurgency … In the future, we should have the courage to decline the lead where it is inappropriate for us … Only professionals – whether soldiers or policemen – can produce professionals.”

881. In DCC Smith’s six‑month update on 20 November, he wrote: “My greatest concern for the future is co‑ordination with the military … Senior UK Military have almost totally failed to acknowledge the equivalent seniority of their Civilian colleagues. In the UK … we are used to working as part of multi‑discipline teams comprising civil servants, military, professionals from private and public sector. That is what we have become used to. I think the UK Police dot [sic] it well with style and expertise.
“I sincerely hope that will develop in MND(SE). We must move away from comments made by … [Maj Gen Riley] … to a true partnership.”841

Raising concerns with the Iraqis

882. On 28 April 2005, a junior IPU official sent a note to Mr Asquith and Baroness Symons highlighting serious concerns about the links between the Iraqi police and the Shia militia, particularly in southern Iraq.842 There was an increasing picture of “systematic collusion between the Basra Police Intelligence Unit (within the IPS) and Shiite militias to interrogate, torture and murder Sunni prisoners, particularly suspected Ba’athists”. Specifically, the Police Intelligence Unit (PIU)843 based at the Jameat police station in Basra was suspected of abusing and killing an Iraqi criminal detainee, Mr Abbas Allawi.

883. The junior official sent advice to Dr Kim Howells, FCO Minister, on 18 May, recommending that the UK continued providing assistance to the IPS but “at the same


841 Paper Smith, 20 November 2005, ‘Next Steps on Policing – Review’.
842 Minute IPU [junior official] to Asquith and PS/Symons, 28 April 2005, ‘Iraq: Murder and Abuse of Detainees in Iraqi Detention Facilities’.
843 Sometimes referred to as the Police Investigation Unit.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry
time taking strong and urgent action” with the IPS and MOI to stop abuse and torture.844
They would recommend a partial or complete withdrawal of support if the Iraqis were
not co‑operative.

884. The advice said that the “Iraqis have promised action”. The Basra Governor
had agreed to establish an investigation committee following “strong pressure” from
Mr Chaplin and Mr Innes. It was not clear whether the Governor and Maj Gen Hassan
were willing to prosecute any officers if found guilty. The official added: “It is even less clear that they will take firm action on the wider issues of abuse that appear to be inherent in some Iraqi police detention facilities, notably that of the PIU.”

885. Dr Howells’ Assistant Private Secretary responded to IPU on 19 May.845 He agreed
the recommendation and asked for “firm, decisive and urgent action”. He also requested
that IPU raise the issue with the US administration (to “exert pressure on the Iraqis”),
and brief Ms Clwyd (to raise it “at a senior level on her visit to Iraq next week”).

886. Dr Howells subsequently visited Baghdad from 13 to 15 September. He met
Mr Jabr and raised concerns about human rights abuses by the ISF, pressing for
independent investigations.846 Mr Patey handed Mr Jabr a dossier on three members
of the ISF in Basra who were implicated in abuses and requested their dismissal.

887. In his weekly report on 22 May, DCC Smith wrote that he had attended a “police
to police meeting” on 18 May with Maj Gen Hassan, senior CPATT IPLOs and senior
ArmorGroup Advisers.847 Maj Gen Hassan was “pushed very firmly” to take action
against the PIU and “a range of options were put to him to assist in rooting out the
problem”. It was still hoped that he, with the backing of MOI, would “take action”.

888. On 23 May, a junior MOD official briefed Dr Reid that FCO and MOD officials had
made “strong representations” to Iraqi authorities in Baghdad and Basra for thorough
investigations.848 UK forces had “minimised” their contact with the PIU and reduced joint detention operations with the Iraqi police to those deemed essential. The official wrote that, while the recent reports were “serious and disturbing”, they were “largely limited to a small element of the IPS in one province, Basra”.

889. Dr Reid noted this briefing on 24 May.849


844 Minute IPU [junior official] to PS/Howells, 18 May 2005 ‘Iraq: Murder and Abuse of Detainees in Iraqi Detention Facilities’.
845 Minute APS/Howells to IPU [junior official], 19 May 2005, ‘Iraq: Murder and Abuse of Detainees in Iraqi Detention Facilities’.
846 eGram 13565/05 Baghdad to FCO London, 18 September 2005, ‘Iraq: Visit by Dr Howells, 13‑15 September’.
847 Minute Smith, ‘Weekly Report – Week Ending Sunday 22 May 2005’.
848 Minute MOD [DJC‑SEC4] to APS/SofS [MOD], 23 May 2005, ‘Iraq: Reports of Abuse of Criminal Detainees by Elements of the Iraqi Police Service’.
849 Minute Naworynsky to DJC‑SEC4, 24 May 2005, ‘Iraq: Reports of Abuse of Criminal Detainees by Elements of the Iraqi Police Service’.

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890. Major General James Dutton was GOC MND(SE) from June 2005 until December 2005. In his first report on 15 June he noted: “… political pressure to clean up the Police Intelligence Unit (PIU) in Basra is having some impact. For example, moves seem to be afoot to reform practices in the Jameat [the police station where the PIU was based] through a new overseeing judge and a new head of internal affairs. We also hear rumours that the PIU may be subsumed into a larger MOI intelligence organisation.”850

891. A junior official in Baghdad emailed the IPU on 14 June to report that Mr Patey had met Mr Jabr that day and raised Mr Abbas Allawi’s case.851 He had “stressed that support from the top was needed to ensure that there was meaningful investigation – it was necessary to embolden General Hassan”. Mr Jabr was supportive of action being taken against the suspects and had established the investigation commission but pointed out that it was the British who had chosen the police in the South.

892. Mr Fraser Wheeler, Deputy Consul General in Basra, emailed FCO officials on 15 June to report a mix‑up over who was the investigating judge on Mr Abbas Allawi’s case.852 He wrote: “I do not put this down to incompetence (though there is clearly some of that too) but to deliberate obfuscation. We are being passed from pillar to post, and the Allawi case is not receiving the treatment and attention a case of this nature deserves.”

893. On 16 June, Mr Wheeler and the Justice Sector Adviser met a senior judge in Basra to discuss Mr Abbas Allawi’s case.853 In his record of the meeting, Mr Wheeler reported that the case had been passed between four judges so far. It was important that a police station without Jameat links conduct the investigation, but the branch had officers in many stations. The Basra Judicial Committee would appoint an investigating judge on 19 June.

894. Mr Wheeler wrote that, although there had been an autopsy and arrest warrants had been issued for four suspects, none had been arrested because “no‑one dare arrest them”. The judge had “commented that the judiciary is not afraid but is hampered by a lack of support from the police who do not effect judicial orders”. Mr Wheeler wrote that this was “hard to accept” given the reluctance to deal with the case.

895. An email from a junior official in IPU on 17 June reported that General Hassan had “been fired”.854 There was concern over the impact that could have on progressing Mr Abbas Allawi’s case and that those responsible may view General Hassan’s removal as “proof that they are untouchable”.


850 Report Dutton, 15 June 2005, ‘CG MND(SE) – Southern Iraq Update – 15 June 2005’.
851 Email FCO [junior official] to IPU [junior official], 14 June 2005, ‘Allawi Case – Minister of the Interior’.
852 Email Wheeler to FCO [junior officials], 15 June 2005, ‘Re: Allawi Case – Minister of the Interior’.
853 Email Wheeler to FCO [junior officials], 17 June 2005, ‘Allewi Case Update’.
854 Email IPU [junior official] to Patey, 17 June 2005, ‘Re: Allewi Case Update’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

896. Mr Straw raised the issue with Mr Jabr in the margins of the Iraq Conference
in Brussels on 22 June.855 Mr Jabr agreed with the importance of investigating the
case and said that a team had already travelled to Basra to do so. He said that “the
problem was that the policemen responsible had been appointed well before he
assumed office”.

897. On 4 July, Mr Innes emailed Mr Paul Fox, Head of IPU, to report that the PIU had
been disbanded and the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) purged. Around 290 of
the 560 officers from the PIU and the DIA had been transferred to the new Criminal
Intelligence Unit (CIU), a unit established a few weeks earlier as part of an MOI project
to establish an “FBI style organisation” with branches around the country.

898. Mr Innes raised further concerns that the former head of the DIA, who had been
sacked in January, had been appointed by the MOI to command the CIU.856 Mr Innes
summarised: “So, where does all that leave us? I think we can take a good deal of credit for
provoking the dismemberment of the PIU and the DIA. The old rings have been
broken, and the practice of systemic abuse has been disrupted. There has been a
real shake‑up in personnel and command. According to intelligence and eye‑witness
reports, the Jameat has indeed turned over a new leaf … The fact remains however
that bad men are still at large; of the three officers we named in our earlier lobbying
of MOI, two are now in the new CIU and the third … is still in the DIA. We will
continue to urge their arrest, investigation, and prosecution – though we need
to accept that the political and tribal constraints on this actually happening are
considerable. Their sacking from the IPS would at least send an important signal, and we may have to settle for that.”

899. On 17 July, DCC Smith reported that the PIU’s closure had left 100 incomplete
cases that were now being reviewed by the Serious Crimes Unit (SCU).857 There was
also the release of a number of detainees because there was “no evidence against them
in the case files”. A Ministry of Health team had visited the Jameat on 13 July to carry
out medical checks on all detainees and a routine of daily visits had been put in place.

900. DCC Smith wrote that details about the CIU’s structure were “conflicting” but
it appeared to have “approximately 350 staff”. It was directed from Baghdad to act
as an intelligence‑gathering agency without powers to make arrests, though DCC
Smith observed that this direction was unlikely to be followed. He commented that
“the Governor and Chief of Police currently refuse to work with the CIU and their
remit and responsibilities are unclear”. A former head of the CIU had made “currently
unsubstantiated allegations” that the CIU was being funded by officers taking


855 Email Siddiq to Patey, 22 June 2005, ‘The Foreign Secretary’s Discussion with Iraqi Interior Minister, 22 June 2005’.
856 Email Innes to FCO [junior official], 4 July 2005, ‘Basra: Police’.
857 Minute Smith, ‘Weekly Report – Week Ending Sunday 17th July 2005’.

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bribes to release detainees and that the CIU were using force to beat confessions out of prisoners.

901. On Mr Abbas Allawi’s case, DCC Smith reported that a second meeting of the investigation team had been held and one of the suspects had been arrested. Two new suspects had been identified but it was “unlikely” they would be arrested without MOI support because of the “instability” it would cause. A representative from the UN would be taking the matter to the Minister for Human Rights and Baghdad to “add more pressure for action to be taken”.

902. Mr Fox visited Iraq from 17 to 21 July.858 He reported that progress was being made on policing, stating he “left Iraq believing the overall picture to be positive”. He explained that DCC Smith was creating a link between the strategic and operational levels and recommended he took on the role of adviser to the Deputy Minister of the Interior responsible for policing.

903. When in Basra, Mr Fox had requested details from personnel on achievements against the 12‑month plan and on the next steps. Mr Fox’s report made no mention of concern about corruption, infiltration or abuse.

904. Mr Fox described the GCPP‑funded prisons project in MND(SE), where eight UK trainers had trained 250 prison staff, as having “established an independent detention monitoring team” and worked closely with the US “to spread best practice elsewhere” as a “good example of a small‑scale, low cost (£1.9m) project delivering outcomes far greater than the inputs”.

905. On 22 July, a junior IPU official briefed Dr Howells that reports suggested that abuse by the Iraqi police was much more widespread. Pressure should be maintained on the Iraqi authorities to tackle the issue.859

906. The official wrote that Mr Abbas Allawi’s case had “shown that our policy of engagement and strong lobbying can work” and “the alternative ‑ to disengage and cease co‑operation – would only give abusers a free rein to continue abuse unmonitored”.

907. The official advised that the UK should continue to lobby both in Iraq and internationally, should ensure that abuse was on the agenda at weekly meetings in Baghdad, and should push for a strong Iraqi Human Rights Minister. He also stated that there was a need to increase police human rights awareness to overcome an “inherited ethos of abuse and stifle any tendency towards sectarian victimisation”. UK forces had reviewed their procedures for transferring detainees to Iraqi custody and were in the process of introducing further guidance on protecting detainees’ human rights but there was no specific evidence that the police with whom MNF‑I in MND(SE) engaged were abusing detainees.


858 Minute Fox to Sawers, 27 July 2005, ‘Iraq: Visit: 17‑21 July’.
859 Minute IPU [junior official] to Asquith and Howells, 22 July 2005, ‘Iraq – Abuse by Iraqi Police’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

908. On 29 July, a junior official from the MOD submitted a similar briefing to the Private
Office of a Parliamentary Under Secretary for Defence.860 The official wrote: “It has become increasingly clear … that abuse in the Iraqi Security Forces may be far more widespread than the specific incidents of which we are aware suggest, with reports now beginning to reach the media. This raises two issues: what should be done to address human rights abuses in Iraq – FCO are leading on this area; and the nature of our wider involvement with the IPS?”

909. The official described work under way on tackling abuse and added:
“Although instances of abuse by the IPS are ultimately a matter for the Iraqi
Government, our involvement in the training of the IPS … means that we may be
judged by the media and others to be culpable. Legally, we may also be at risk if our
involvement could be judged as directly assisting units that systematically torture

910. In his weekly report on 28 August, DCC Smith highlighted that the CIU’s name was
likely to be changed to the National Information and Investigation Agency: “The Iraqis
are not ‘keen’ on either ‘intelligence’ or ‘criminal’ in the name.”861 He wrote that a number of officers previously involved in corrupt or criminal behaviour remained members of the CIU and that the unit’s training could not begin until they were removed by the MOI. There had been no progress in investigating Mr Abbas Allawi’s case.

Continued plans for a UK troop drawdown

On 16 June 2005, Dr Reid advised his colleagues in DOP(I) that: “… considerable progress had been made on the development of the Iraqi Security Forces. 165,000 were now trained. There could be a drawdown in British troop numbers starting at the beginning of 2006 … culminating in the middle of that year.”862
On 20 July, Dr Reid presented a paper to DOP(I) on transition in Iraq.863 The paper
suggested that handover in Maysan and Muthanna would occur from March 2006, with
Basra slightly later in July 2006 (no specific date was given for Dhi Qar). “Handover”
would see Iraqis assuming security control of their province. The paper described the
ISF in MND(SE) as “fragile and untested” but made no reference to issues of loyalty,
corruption or abuse by ISF personnel. The failure to deliver an effective ISF and wider
criminal justice capability was seen as one of two key risks to transition (the other being a
deterioration in the security situation).
DOP(I) agreed Dr Reid’s proposed approach on 21 July.864


860 Minute MOD [junior official] to PS/USofS [MOD], 29 July 2005, ‘Iraq: Alleged Abuse of Detainees by the Iraqi Police Service’.
861 Minute Smith, 28 August 2005, ‘Weekly Report – Week Ending Sunday 28th August 2005’.
862 Minutes, 16 June 2005, DOP(I) meeting.
863 Paper MOD, 20 July 2005, ‘Operational Transition in Iraq’.
864 Minutes, 21 July 2005, DOP(I) meeting.

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UK equipment for the Iraqi Security Forces: Project OSIRIS II

911. In Dr Hutton’s update to Mr Hoon of 24 March (described earlier in this Section), Dr Hutton warned of risks that other aspects of SSR were lagging behind the Iraqi Army and of a requirement for further funding since there were “constraints on GCPP funding for existing policing projects beyond the next six months, and no identified resources for additional policing effort”.865

912. Dr Hutton advised that SSR required the “sufficient and appropriate investment of UK financial resources”. Work was under way to develop a coherent plan for the financial year 2005/06 which would form the basis of a request to Treasury for support from the Reserve. The plan was to be aligned with other government departments and sources of funding from others, including the US.

913. On 29 April, a Force Level Review by the MOD recommended an increase of 535 personnel to “resource properly the Security Sector Reform (SSR) task” which was where the “main effort” lay.866 Of the 27 military sub‑units (each of around 100 personnel) that would be in MND(SE) following the troop rotation, only four were to be fully dedicated to SSR and a further 12 available would provide some input when their primary tasks allowed.

914. On 15 June, an official in PJHQ wrote to Dr Reid to highlight ongoing discussions with Treasury for an additional £38m867 to fund a successor programme to Project OSIRIS.868 The bulk of expenditure would be spent on mobility and the remainder on ISF training infrastructure, communications, logistics and command and control functions. The Treasury had taken “a close interest” and was keen to ensure that there was “no duplication” with funding allocated to the FCO and DFID.

915. The official in PJHQ wrote that Project OSIRIS had been “a success”. The 10th Division could “deploy battalions with all four of their rifle companies correctly armed and equipped” and had improved communications equipment. The IPS, who “bear the brunt of the violence in the region”, were correctly armed, wore body armour and were able to communicate at a local level when on duty. The border police were also armed correctly and had basic communications equipment.

916. Dr Reid responded on 23 June, acknowledging that expenditure on SSR and military‑led reconstruction had been judged as a success and confirming that he was content for negotiations with the Treasury for the additional funding to be pursued.869


865 Minute Hutton to APS/SofS [MOD], 24 March 2005, ‘Iraqi Self‑Reliance and Strategic Intent’.
866 DG Op Pol to PS/Secretary of State [MOD], 29 April 2005, ‘Iraq: UK Roulement and Force Level Review’.
867 The full request was for £58m, £20m of which was requested for the Civil Effects Fund.
868 Minute Scholefieldt to PS/Secretary of State [MOD], 15 June 2005, ‘Funding for a Further Programme of Security Sector Reform and a Civil Effects Fund for MND(SE)’.
869 Minute APS/SofS [MOD] to Command Secretary PJHQ, 23 June 2005, ‘Iraq: Funding for a Further Programme of Security Sector Reform and a Civil Effects Fund for MND(SE)’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

917. Mr Des Browne, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, wrote to Dr Reid on
23 August, approving £16m from the Reserve for the package of vehicles, infrastructure
and communications equipment that had been presented by MOD officials.870 Of the
future, he wrote: “Looking ahead, I hope that it will be possible for you to find other means of funding the remaining elements – either by negotiating with Baghdad, for a larger share of what is available (it is striking that MND(SE) provinces are right at the bottom of the
priority list for ISF funding from Baghdad despite being among the best candidates
for early transition to ISF control), or by encouraging our allies – most of whom
are spending far less than we are in maintaining forces on the ground – to play a
bigger role.”

918. On 30 November, Dr Reid wrote to Mr Browne again, explaining that the MOD
had secured funding from MNSTC‑I for infrastructure projects valued at £15m and from
Australia, Italy and Japan for other projects.871 The MOD reduced its request to £19.6m
for 734 IPS vehicles and for 11 ISF infrastructure projects. Dr Reid stated that the
additional funds he was seeking were “on the critical path to enable the transfer of lead
responsibility for security to the ISF within the timescales we have been discussing in

919. Mr Browne wrote to Dr Reid on 20 December, approving an additional £19.6m from
the Reserve for 734 patrol vehicles and 11 major infrastructure projects.872 That was “on
the basis that they continue to meet the ISF’s highest priority needs and that funding
from alternative sources does not become available”.

920. Mr Browne added that the delay to commencing withdrawal from Muthanna
and Maysan was “regrettable, particularly when the military advice is that there is no
overwhelming security need to postpone our withdrawal”. He asked to be kept informed
of the resource implications.

921. On 21 December, AM Torpy wrote to Lt Gen Fry to highlight key issues for 2006
(as described earlier in this Section).873 On SSR resourcing, AM Torpy stated:
“The best efforts of our staff are being hampered by the speed of decisions that were
designed for a different era.”


870 Letter Browne to Reid, 23 August 2005, ‘Iraq: Funding for Security Sector Reform and for a Civil Effects Fund for MND(SE)’.
871 Letter Reid to Browne, 30 November 2005, [untitled].
872 Letter Browne to Reid, 20 December 2005, ‘Security Sector Reform’.
873 Minute CJO to DCDS(C), 21 December 2005, ‘Key Operational Issues for Early 2006’.

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Legacy in the South

922. Lt Gen Dutton told the Inquiry that, on his arrival in June, “the priority was definitely Security Sector Reform”.874 He said that the UK was optimistic about progress in the South‑East: “I can remember being told actually, in my briefings in the MOD, that my job was to go there for six months and make sure nothing went wrong because things were going right, you know, just keep the thing ticking over and we will be okay.”

923. He said that the priority of SSR was skewed “massively” by the increased security threat shortly after he arrived which meant that more resource had to be devoted to force protection.

924. At the Chiefs of Staff meeting on 13 July, CJO briefed that, of the planned total of IPS officers, 58 percent had now been recruited and trained.875 Reports suggested that Maj Gen Dutton was encouraged by the progress made.

925. On 26 August 2005, the IPU produced a discussion paper on what MND(SE) should look like in autumn 2006.876 The objective for “security/Rule of Law” was:
“Security forces (including police) which can provide sufficient law and order to avert descent into full‑blown criminality and chaos, and which owe their allegiance to the state and local administrations, with tribal and militia allegiances managed.”

926. The IPU noted that local political parties were inserting their followers into the IPS and that there were reports of assassinations, abductions, torture, intimidation and corruption.

927. The IPU then posed a number of suggestions and questions that needed to be addressed. Alongside lobbying various politicians and securing convictions of corrupt police officers, the IPU asked:

“• How far do we go in reaching out to Shia militiamen … Is it fruitless to give support to a Chief of Police who has no militia links?

• Working a dialogue on ‘transfer of responsibility, not irresponsibility’, into the work of the Committee to Transfer Security Responsibility in Baghdad without inadvertently including a nebulous target and further conditions the Iraqis cannot hope to meet.

• A cultural shift (on, eg, abuse, corruption) will take years. Are we prepared to commit mentors and advisers for years to come?”


874 Public hearing, 12 July 2010, page 17.
875 Minutes, 13 July 2005, Chiefs of Staff meeting.
876 Paper IPU, 26 August 2005, ‘MND (South‑East) in Autumn 2006: Discussion Paper’ attaching eGram 12326/05 [Basra] to Iraq Directorate, 1 September 2005, ‘Southern Iraq: the Legacy’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

928. The Iraq Strategy Group considered the IPU paper on 2 September.877 The lack of
progress on the police and a gap in funding for the Iraqi Armed Forces were highlighted.
Crime and power in Basra Mr James Tansley took over as Consul General in Basra in September and sent a telegram to FCO colleagues with his first impressions on 31 October.878 He described Basra as “a city whose social, political and economic structures had largely decayed”. The political scene had been “dominated by rivalry between Sadrists and Baristas” and differences between the two groups had grown in the last two years, flaring up into “open confrontation”.
Mr Tansley wrote that the city was “a less liberal place than it was a year ago, with gangs
enforcing clampdowns on the sale of DVDs, musical instruments, alcohol, women’s attire
and behaviour and gambling through intimidation. Both Sunnis and Christians ha[d] been
targeted by Shia extremists.”
On crime, Mr Tansley wrote: “The Iraqi Police do not compile crime statistics. But over the summer, our police advisers have recorded an average of 65 murders a month in the province. Kidnapping and extortion are rife. Basra has long been known for smuggling and
prostitution … [and] in recent years, the province has become an increasingly
important conduit for illegal drugs from Afghanistan via Iran.
“But the serious money today comes from oil smuggling … estimates from both
the US IRMO [Iraq Reconstruction and Management Office] and MND(SE) suggest
that possibly as much as 30 percent of the South’s oil production is appropriated
illegally …
“Corruption may be endemic throughout Iraq. But in Basra, where the opportunities
for illicit gain are greater, the stakes are higher … Links between crime and politics
abound. No prominent politician seems untainted, and all the main players have their
own militias with links to the various law enforcement agencies …
“Compared to Central and Northern Iraq, the number of coalition casualties in
Basra has been low. But the threat of kidnapping and EFP IED [Explosively Formed
Projective Improvised Explosive Device] attacks by anti‑coalition groups remains
high, and disrupts both our and MND(SE)’s work. In addition, the levels of criminal,
political and sectarian violence are high and rising. This lawlessness overshadows
all life in Basra, and acts as a major obstacle to development …
“The police (IPS) are currently unable to address Basra’s security problems. Minimal
screening of entrants to the IPS after the fall of Saddam [Hussein], poor leadership
and the connections between politicians and crime in Basra have resulted in a force
riven with factions, many of whom are as likely to be involved in criminal activity as
helping to prevent it …”


877 Letter Cabinet Office [junior official] to Sheinwald, 6 September 2005, ‘Iraq Strategy Group’.
878 Telegram 16985/05 Basra to FCO London, 31 October 2005, ‘Basra: First Impressions’.

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929. On 7 September, the FCO circulated a Transition Plan for the IPS in southern Iraq, which had been produced by the Consulate in Basra in consultation with UK police and military in theatre and agreed with DFID, the MOD and the Home Office.879 There was recognition that the Iraqi police had been limited in what they could achieve due to a lack of trained personnel, shortages of equipment and inadequate facilities. The plan aimed to address those factors by achieving a set of quantitative and qualitative targets in the areas of training, police support infrastructure, intelligence capability, operational capability and public support. The timetable for those targets was driven by the established plans for military withdrawal.

930. The plan stated: “The IPS runs its own operations in Southern Iraq. Standards across the South vary, but generally speaking the IPS has a growing capacity to perform policing functions from community patrolling to counter‑terrorism. It has enough training and equipment to allow it to patrol 24 hours a day. It has the capability to respond to calls for assistance from the public and co‑ordinate with other agencies in an emergency. It has the resources to tackle public disorder and is capable of gathering intelligence and detecting crime. It knows how to manage a crime scene and exploit forensic evidence.”

931. The more detailed figures on police training provided in the FCO plan, when compared with earlier MOD papers, made clear that the overall figure of 55 percent of police trained masked considerable variations across MND(SE) – whereas 90 percent of personnel in Dhi Qar province had received training, the figures for Muthanna and Basra were considerably lower (40 percent and 42 percent respectively). The plan noted:
“Police reform in Basra is the most complex task facing us. Far more police need training than in the other provinces [in MND(SE)] combined; and the culture of corruption and abuse is deeply ingrained. Militia infiltration threatens our efforts to encourage an independent apolitical police force.”

932. The plan stated that the ability to solve those problems lay with the Iraqi authorities and that there were no effective levers within the UK’s control. The FCO concluded:
“The IPS in Southern Iraq is functioning, with minimal supervision. We could leave today and it would continue to function. There would, however, remain serious question marks about the destabilising activities of the militias, corruption, lack of public accountability and human rights abuse within the IPS. We are addressing these problems but they will not disappear overnight … We know where we want to be at transition … We must be realistic about what we can achieve here: our


879 Letter FCO [junior official] to Cabinet Office [junior official], 7 September 2005, ‘Iraqi Police Service Transition Plan for Southern Iraq’ attaching Paper Consulate Basra, 7 September 2005, ‘Southern Iraq: Iraqi Police service – Transitional Plan’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

aim should be to leave an IPS comparable to other competent police forces in
the region.”

933. On 9 September, Mr Quarrey provided Mr Blair with a number of weekly reports.880
On the covering note he listed a number of causes for concern including: the “apparent
involvement of members of Basra Police in attacks against the MNF, and a claim from
the Basra Chief of Police that only 500 out of 12,000 Basra Police are loyal to him”.

934. Mr Quarrey concluded by saying: “We still do not have the comprehensive picture that we need of what is going on in Basra. Kim Howells visits next week. I have spoken to his office today and emphasised that you are personally very concerned about the situation and that we need a serious report from him on this.”

935. Mr Blair’s manuscript comments said: “This is v.worrying. It all depends on the ISF
being built up credibly.”881


936. On 22 August 2005, Chief Inspector Barry Pollin, the Senior Police Adviser in
MND(SE), produced a report on the impact of political parties and tribes on the IPS
in MND(SE).882 That paper was circulated to Iraq Senior Official Group members on
14 September, along with the Transitional Plan (as described earlier in this Section)
which was to be considered out of committee.883

Tribal justice

The paper produced by Chief Inspector Barry Pollin, the Senior Police Adviser in
MND(SE), on 22 August 2005, included an annex on extra‑judicial justice, which stated
that it was important for that issue to be “thoroughly addressed” given those influences
were “notoriously strong” in the South‑East.884
The annex stated that a void within the Iraqi Law on criminal proceedings allowed for the
use of tribal justice through agreement between the tribes of the aggrieved party and the
perpetrator. In the majority of cases, that involved payment of financial compensation,
although other resolutions, such as arranged marriages, were also known.


880 Minute Quarrey to Prime Minister, 9 September 2005, ‘Iraq Update’.
881 Manuscript comment Blair on Minute Quarrey to Prime Minister, 9 September 2005, ‘Iraq Update’.
882 Paper Pollin, 22 August 2005, ‘The Impact of Political and Tribal Matters on the Iraq Police Service in South‑East Iraq’.
883 Letter Cabinet Office [junior official] to Asquith, 14 September 2005, ‘Iraq: Senior Officials’.
884 Report, ‘Annex B – The Judiciary and Extra‑Judicial “Justice”’ attached to Paper, ‘The Impact of Political and Tribal Matters on the Iraqi Police Service in South‑East Iraq’.

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It found that the “post‑war instability of the Iraqi society appears to have increased reliance on tribal justice even in the urban areas”. In some cases offences were not reported to the police at all, but simply dealt with through the tribal justice system. One example provided was alleged rape victims being placed in prison custody “to protect them from honour‑related violence from their tribe”.
The annex recommended that, in the longer term, the Iraqi Government should engage the public in a general debate on tribal justice, including “its reasoning and justification”. A comprehensive study of tribal justice was needed to understand its impact on the criminal justice system. Efforts should also be made to raise awareness in criminal justice institutions. Police training should include understanding which offences could legally be resolved through the tribal system, and which must be referred to an investigating magistrate. A dialogue should be commenced with tribal leaders to improve compliance with Iraqi law.

937. CI Pollin wrote: “Immediately post‑April 2003, the relationship between the IPS and the political parties and their militia was largely opportunistic: it was based on the affiliation and sympathies of individual members who were joining. (This is not the case in other parts of the security forces.) However, more recently, political parties and militia have been exploiting the lack of transparent recruitment, vetting and central oversight to deliberately place their supporters within the IPS.
“It is assessed that the majority of IPS officers are associated with a political party and/or tribe with whom their allegiance is stronger than their allegiance to the IPS. The extent to these ties and the degree to which they undermine the efficiency of the police to support the Rule of Law is significant. It is now likely that if called upon to take action against them, the IPS would support their party’s militia or tribe. The larger parties have well‑armed and well‑organised militias, but the paramilitary capabilities of the tribes vary.
“Often, political party and tribal allegiances of one or both heavily influence the dynamics of the relations between the Chiefs of Police and Provincial Governors. The potential of the parties to use the IPS to effect political, social and religious influence is a serious concern. By using affiliated IPS officers to carry out ‘de‑Ba’athification’, the political parties are able to create vacancies in influential positions within the IPS for their own members. There are also signs that Islamic fundamentalism is increasing within IPS ranks.
“It is clear that the judiciary in the South is subject to interference either direct or indirect from tribes, political parties, militia and IPS intimidation. Subsequently, they are not the Rule of Law bulwark that they should be or that they need to be in order to address tribal, religious or political party influence.”

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

The Jameat incident and subsequent developments

938. On 17 September, UK forces detained two leading members of a JAM splinter
group.885 On 19 September, two UK soldiers were arrested by the IPS in Basra and
taken to the Jameat Police Station. Negotiations to release the soldiers failed, and a
rescue was mounted by MND(SE). That became known as ‘the Jameat incident’ and is
described in detail in the Box below.

The Jameat incident

On 19 September, two UK soldiers were arrested by the IPS.886 According to the account
provided to No.10 by Dr Reid’s office, the two soldiers had been working under cover
following up the operation against JAM the previous weekend. They had been parked
at the side of a road when an unmarked vehicle with four men in plain clothes pulled up
behind them. Two people got out of the car and walked towards the soldiers’ vehicle, with
weapons cocked. The UK soldiers, believing they were “facing death or serious injury”,
opened fire killing one of the men and wounding the other. Not realising the men they had
shot were police, the soldiers tried to escape but were blocked by police in several marked
vehicles who opened fire. At that point, the two soldiers put down their weapons and
produced their identification.
Although the uniformed police initially appeared willing to talk constructively with the
soldiers, “the atmosphere changed significantly” when Iraqi police arrived in plain clothes.
The two UK soldiers were reported to have been beaten and then taken to the Jameat
Police Station, which was known to MND(SE) as a “notorious detention facility” and
home of the Serious Crimes Unit (SCU), “which had been infiltrated by militant elements,
especially the Jaysh al Mahdi and (by his own admission) were outside the control of the
Chief of Police”.
Negotiations to hand over the arrested soldiers to MNF, in line with agreed practice where
MNF personnel were arrested by ISF, failed and the negotiators themselves were unable
to leave the Jameat Police Station. The Governor and Chief of Police had made it clear
that they were not in a position to offer any assistance and, despite explicit directions by
the Chief of Police to release the two soldiers, the IPS refused to comply. Orders from the
MOI in Baghdad were similarly disregarded. The General commanding the 10th Division
of the Iraqi Army also “refused to get involved in the incident”.
A rescue operation was successfully mounted by MND(SE) using armed force to free the
six negotiators and the two soldiers. That was achieved without casualties on either side
but caused significant damage to the wall of the police station and several police vehicles.
The two soldiers who had originally been arrested were found to have been taken to a
house away from the police station and held by what was suspected to be a mixture of
JAM and IPS personnel. A further rescue operation was carried out successfully (again
without casualties) to free them later that evening.


885 Letter Naworynsky to Quarrey, 23 September 2005, ‘Iraq Update’ attaching COS MND(SE), ‘GOC MND(SE) – Southern Iraq Update – 21 September’.
886 Letter Naworynsky to Quarrey, 23 September 2005, ‘Iraq Update’ attaching COS MND(SE), ‘GOC MND(SE) – Southern Iraq Update – 21 September’.

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939. The Chiefs of Staff considered the events at their meeting on 21 September, briefed by Lieutenant General Andrew Ridgway, the Chief of Defence Intelligence.887 The minutes recorded that: “The incident in Basra was the inevitable product of the dual loyalties of IPS members: whilst giving Iraqis status and pay, it also enabled them to sustain their tribal, religious and – in the worst cases – militia associations; these reflected Iraqi and Middle Eastern society, did not necessarily represent infiltration, but would endure and thus would remain a key planning consideration for Security Sector Reform (SSR).
“The success of SSR depended on the proportion of the Iraqi Security Force (ISF) personnel that enjoyed these dual loyalties benignly without affecting their professional integrity, against the number that exploited their ISF positions to effect intimidation and murder … this proportion was not known and was unlikely to be clear for another six‑nine months …
“The continued existence of insurgents in the ISF evinced the weakness of the Iraqi Ministry of the Interior (MOI): having failed to purge and reform the IPS, despite being aware of problems for at least a year, the MOI needed to be galvanised by UK Government pressure through the Cabinet Office.”

940. Mr Straw chaired a meeting on 23 September – involving Dr Reid, Mr Benn, Gen Walker and senior officials from No.10, the FCO and DFID – to discuss the incident and agree what advice should be put to Mr Blair on current policy for South East Iraq.888 A record of the meeting by Dr Reid’s Private Secretary stated Sir Nigel Sheinwald “stressed that the PM needed advice on how to deal with the political and security strands of our policy; he was not expecting a sudden lurch in any direction away from our current plan”.

941. The record stated: “During discussion it was stressed that the incident … should be seen as a relatively minor one which had resulted in a great deal of media attention.”

942. Those present at the meeting “agreed that the incident would probably prove to be a blip but it had highlighted the need to review the overall strategy and ensure we were on the right track”. Dr Reid “suggested that the IPS be audited by a UK specialist”, Mr Asquith agreed to investigate the practicality of getting someone like Sir Ronnie Flanagan, HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary, to provide the analysis.


887 Minutes, 21 September 2005, Chiefs of Staff meeting.
888 Letter Naworynsky to Asquith, 26 September 2005, ‘Meeting to Discuss South East Iraq: Impact of Security Incident in Basra’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

An assessment of the Iraqi Security Forces

On 28 September 2005, the JIC assessed the security situation in the South.889 On the
ISF and local governance, it stated: “This fragility of local governance is not new and is mirrored to a greater or lesser degree across the country. We have previously judged the Iraqi security forces (ISF) in the South to be brittle, largely untested and under the influence of political and tribal factions; and noted that the relationship between regional and national government is tenuous. The effectiveness of the police in particular has been a persistent concern. Policemen have been implicated in the recent murder of two
journalists working for US papers; intelligence has indicated serious abuse of
prisoners on political and sectarian grounds; and […] some police were conducting
assassinations on behalf of political militias […] The scale of divided loyalty within
the police, and the ISF more generally, is difficult to quantify. Most members of the
ISF undoubtedly have allegiance to political factions or tribes: under pressure their
reliability will be doubtful. We judge that a significant number actively colludes with
Shia extremist militias.”

943. The Iraqi and UK authorities in Basra conducted separate investigations into the
Jameat incident.890 Mr Patey met Prime Minister Ja’afari to discuss the Iraqi report
on 30 September. The Iraqi investigation found faults on both sides but attributed
“80 percent of the blame … to the British”, a position that was refuted by Mr Patey. When
pressed on the need to take action against the militia influence at the Jameat Police
Station, Mr Ja’afari claimed that the Transitional Administrative Law (TAL) gave central
government very little control over the local police. Mr Patey reminded Mr Ja’afari that
the worst offenders were the CIU which reported directly to the Minister of the Interior.

944. The UK military’s investigation into the incident concluded that no crime had been
committed by the UK’s soldiers, as reported to Dr Reid by a junior MOD official on
28 November.891 Two separate investigations were carried out by military officers from
the regiment responsible for troops at the Jameat cordon who judged that the actions
of British troops were compliant with the Rules of Engagement and their right to self
defence. They deemed that no further investigation by the Special Investigation Branch
was required. Those findings had been reviewed by “a higher authority” and endorsed
by AM Torpy and Gen Walker.

945. At the Chiefs of Staff meeting on 5 October, the minutes recorded a “need to
resolve differences” between the UK’s enquiry into events at Jameat and those of
the Iraqi investigation team.892 They hoped to close the issue with a “Joint (Iraqi/UK)
statement when one could be agreed”.


889 JIC Assessment, 28 September 2005, ‘Iraq: the Security Situation in the South’.
890 eGram 14641/05 Baghdad to FCO London, 1 October 2005, ‘Iraq: Basra Investigation’.
891 Minute MOD [junior official] to PS/SofS [MOD], 28 November 2005, ‘Iraq: Investigation of Events in Basra on 19 September’.
892 Minutes, 5 October 2005, Chiefs of Staff meeting.

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946. The Annotated Agenda for the DOP(I) meeting on 12 October (circulated on 11 October) confirmed that a joint statement had been agreed.893

947. The final paper for Mr Blair was produced on 30 September by the FCO, the MOD and DFID.894 It was sent to No.10 by Mr Peter Hayes, Principal Private Secretary to Mr Straw. It stated: “The security incident on 19 September … highlights what was previously more opaque, that we face acute challenges in achieving our objectives in the South‑East region. Stability in the South‑East is being threatened by intense rivalry among political parties and their militias. Criminality, jockeying for patronage and leaders’ differing political visions are being exacerbated by tribalism and increasing religiosity. Specifically, this has a severe impact on the effectiveness of the police service.”

948. The paper stated that negative media reporting was “wrong”: “While militia rivalry is a fact of life in the Basra police, the behaviour of the Jameat police station … is not representative of the police service as a whole. Some 70 out of 240 Jameat officers are pursuing primarily a militia rather than an IPS agenda. This should be set against a total southern police force of around 14,000. Police officers will continue to have dual loyalties to the state on one hand and militia/tribe on the other. It will take five, possibly 10 years to train up a sufficiently large cadre of middle management police officers loyal to state institutions.”

949. Although the Basra Governor and Provincial Council had “refused to do business with us”, their credibility meant that the effect was “not significant”. The “immediate problem” was whether there would be “reprisal” attacks on UK personnel, and whether police and prison mentors could safely be deployed to ISF units. Training teams had been withdrawn from Basra city and some areas beyond, but the British military were “back on the ground visiting police stations”.

950. On whether the UK was “on the right policy course”, the paper stated: “Asserting direct British control over local government and rule of [law] institutions is out of the question. There is no legal base for this … If, on the other hand, we were to pull out more rapidly, the Transitional Government and security forces would be unable to fill the vacuum. Militia rivalry would escalate. Iran’s influence would be entirely unchecked. We would be accused of ‘cutting and running’.
“Our only realistic option is to maintain our course and see the job through. But we need to make adjustments to our policy, while sticking to our strategic approach of ensuring in due course successful transition of responsibility for Rule of Law in the South‑East to the Iraqis … We should apply pressure on the Iraqi


893 Annotated Agenda, 11 October 2005, DOP(I) meeting.
894 Letter Hayes to Quarrey, 30 September 2005, ‘Iraq: Basra’ attaching Paper ‘South‑East Iraq: Impact of Security Incident in Basra’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

authorities to take action against those who abuse and represent a threat to law and
order … they should start with firm action against Jameat personnel.”

951. The immediate next steps identified by Mr Hayes included to:

• “Secure an explicit undertaking from the Governor and (new) Chief of
Police that our personnel will be able to operate in safety”;

• “Get a clear commitment from Baghdad politicians to grip the South‑East”;

• “Get the Interior Minister to visit Basra, immediately”;

• “Demonstrate to the international community (in particular, the US) that
we can handle the situation” – while the underlying problems in Basra were
“serious”, they were “not new” and could be managed by the UK; and

• “Consider the dispatch of a senior UK police officer” to “audit the police in

952. Amongst the actions advised by Mr Hayes for the medium and longer term were
that the UK would need to ensure an “effective” Chief of Police was in place (potentially
replacing the incumbent with no party ties with one with “political clout”), to redeploy
training teams and allocate more resources.

953. The paper also cautioned: “we may not be able to deliver, by next year, the
minimum standards required in Rule of Law and governance.”

954. In response, Mr Blair agreed that there was no need to change the overall strategy
but Sir Nigel Sheinwald recorded in a letter on 4 October to Mr Hayes: “He [Mr Blair] is convinced … that we need a major and sustained push over the next few months on the political and security lines of operation if we are to get what we need – the political process moving ahead on time and producing an effective and moderate Iraqi Government after the elections, with visible progress on the Iraqiisation of security.”895

955. Mr Blair agreed to a review to establish “whether our police training strategy in the
South‑East is working, and whether the national policing strategy knits together”. He
also agreed that a visit by Sir Ronnie Flanagan would be a good idea. Mr Blair wanted “a
UK Minister to take ownership of our overall policing strategy, including our liaison with
the US over national strategy” and that “this needs to be supported by a dedicated and
sufficiently strong team in London”. The FCO was asked to work on that with the Cabinet
Office and the MOD, though the letter also noted that “the Prime Minister would be
grateful if the Defence Secretary could continue to oversee the overall security strategy”.


895 Letter Sheinwald to Hayes, 4 October 2005, ‘Iraq Strategy’.

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956. In an email on 7 October to senior officials in the Home Office and the FCO, CC Kernaghan said that he was “naturally supportive” of Sir Ronnie’s appointment to review the UK’s policing contribution in Iraq.896 However, he expressed concern that there was an “apparent lack of strategic vision” within the UK Government and asked whether Mr Blair had ever been briefed on his earlier reports, particularly his first report dated May 2003 (described earlier in this Section). He highlighted a number of issues that he believed a review of the UK’s strategy on policing in Iraq needed to take into account, including:

• the level of resource – finance and personnel – that the UK was willing to commit;

• an assessment of what influence the UK had with both the Iraqi Government and the US in the context of SSR; and

• whether the UK’s interest was limited to MND(SE) or applied to Iraq as a whole.

957. On 10 October, Mr Wheeler produced an update of policing in each of the four MND(SE) provinces.897 He described both Muthanna and Dhi Qar provinces as “conducive to police reform” but highlighted more serious issues in the other two provinces. His comments on Maysan province are dealt with later in this Section.

958. On Basra, he said:“In Basra the situation is most complex. The security threat is high (we are in lock‑down but are reviewing whether PAT movements might happen under military escort). There is significant IPS/militia affiliation, abuse and assassinations are carried out by those in the Jameat and the Governor and Council have recently been encouraging non co‑operation …”

959. On 24 October, Maj Gen Dutton wrote to Maj Gen Wall, setting out his views and proposals for action to improve management of the IPS programme.898 On the nature of the current problems, he stated: “The events of 19 September 2005 in Basra brought the issue into sharp focus and to public attention, but nothing that happened in that incident will have come as a surprise to anyone who had been involved or who had followed the reporting from MND (SE) over a period of many months. The problems associated with the Jameat Police Station: the lack of control and authority of the Basra Chief of Police and the problems of the divided loyalties of many policemen who are controlled (and indeed in some places planted in the Police) by militant factions, was well known and reported. Knowledge of the problem does not of course make the situation any more


896 Email Kernaghan to Home Office [junior official], 7 October 2005, ‘Possible assessment of UK development of IPS by Sir Ronnie Flanagan’.
897 Telegram 15268/05 Basra to FCO London, 10 October 2005, ‘Update on Reform of the Iraqi Police Service in Southern Iraq’.
898 Letter Dutton to Wall, 24 October 2005, ‘Policing SE Iraq’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

tolerable but my point is that nothing changed on 19 September and we should not
therefore assume that the existing strategy for police SSR is wholly off‑track or
now inappropriate, nor should it overshadow the excellent work being done at the
tactical level.”

960. In his evidence to the Inquiry Lt Gen Dutton said that the military was “certainly
aware” of the reputation of Jameat police station, but: “… did it come as a surprise? Yes, because … it was an event that was triggered by individuals getting themselves into a fire fight and then being taken to that police station. So … it is not as if the Jameat police station incident … evolved from a series of other events; it was a particular thing that caused it. So it was certainly a surprise.”899

961. Lt Gen Dutton said that the incident had “huge effect” in London and at PJHQ
but that “it calmed down quite quickly”. With hindsight, Lt Gen Dutton said that “there
perhaps wasn’t as much upwards communication to Baghdad, to keep them in the
picture, as would have been useful”.

962. Lt Gen Riley told the Inquiry that, although the Jameat incident occurred after he
had left Iraq, he “would not have expected it”.900 Explaining how it arose, he said:
“The Iraqi police in the South … reflected the local political climate and the tensions,
and all the tensions that were present in southern Iraqi society played out in the
police …”

963. In his evidence to the Inquiry, Lieutenent General John Cooper, GOC MND(SE)
from December 2005 to July 2006, referred to the fall‑out with the Basra Provincial
Council as “the divorce”.901 He said that the restricted access to Basra’s police stations
that followed enabled “a series of murder squads and corruption to become endemic”
and “produced a climate of lawlessness” inside Basra’s police. Lt Gen Cooper told
the Inquiry:
“… because we were not allowed to go back into contact until May of 2006, it meant
that we lost ground and we lost time.”

964. Lt Gen Cooper added that “some policemen would still allow us in, but the vast
majority were following the Provincial Council direction that they weren’t to have
anything to do with us”.902 He said that the Council only re‑engaged when a “major
security incident” occurred after a Lynx helicopter was shot down in May 2006.

965. Lieutenent General Sir Richard Shirreff, GOC MND(SE) from July 2006 until
January 2007, also told the Inquiry about restrictions on visiting Basra’s police stations.


899 Public hearing, 12 July 2010, pages 36‑38.
900 Public hearing, 14 December 2009, page 12.
901 Public hearing, 15 December 2009, pages 20‑21.
902 Public hearing, 15 December 2009, pages 49‑50.

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He said that in the six months following the incident “there had been virtually no activity” in police stations, and many “had simply not been touched”.903

The MOD takes the lead on policing

966. On 12 September 2005, a week before the Jameat incident, Dr Reid wrote to Mr Blair advising that “considerable progress” had been made in training the ISF since May.904 He recommended that “consequently, an overall reduction of about 500 troops” would be possible in “October/November”.

967. On 10 October, Dr Reid announced in the House of Commons plans to reduce force levels in MND(SE) by “about 500”.905

968. In the subsequent debate, Mr Michael Ancram asked Dr Reid about the level of infiltration by “Iranian‑backed insurgents” in the police. Dr Reid responded:
“In any theatre of combat in the world where competing factions have been at war with each other there is always a problem of split loyalties when rehabilitating and restructuring the police force afterwards. The question is not whether those split loyalties exist, but whether we can diminish them by human rights training and training the police to be as objective as possible … However, although there are certain elements in the police service in Iraq about who we ought to be worried, I would not want him to believe that that is the majority or anything like it. Let us remember that every time Iraqi policemen put on their uniforms in the morning, they go out to face the threat of death. Many of them have died leading operations. Even in Basra, there were police around the Jameat Police Station trying to ensure that the 250 to 300 militant demonstrators did not approach it. So it is not the case that all the police, even in Basra, were antagonistic towards us.”

969. Dr Reid provided Mr Blair with a security update on 11 October.906 He reported:
“Despite a lack of an Iraqi lead from Baghdad, MND(SE) have continued to build bridges with the local authorities post the Basra incident. Outside Basra city, Security Sector Reform (SSR) work has continued with little interruption, including joint patrolling. In Basra itself, our soldiers are again visiting IPS stations and we are able to talk in private to the Chief of Police ……
“Security Sector Reform (SSR) continues to be MNF‑I’s main effort with MND(SE) focusing on the 10th Division of the Iraqi Army … and the Department of Border


903 Public hearing, 11 January 2010, pages 19‑20.
904 Letter Reid to Blair, 12 September 2005.
905 House of Commons, Official Report, 10 October 2005, columns 24, 28‑30.
906 Paper Reid, 11 October 2005, ‘Iraq: Security Update’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

Enforcement (DBE) … whilst playing a supporting role in the training and mentoring
of the Iraqi Police Service (IPS) …
“Progress on Iraqiisation continues. There are now 190,000 members of the Iraqi
Security Forces trained and equipped …
“SSR for the Iraqi Army continues to be on track for our transition plans …
“On policing, the situation is less satisfactory. We need to do further work between
MOD, FCO, DFID and the Home Office to improve support to IPS development at
the strategic level … Problems of divided loyalties and militia links can only be dealt
with by the political will of an effective Iraqi Government ……
“We need to review our strategy on policing … at two levels … In Baghdad … there
would be a good case for providing a senior Home Office official with the right
experience to work with the MOI … Sir Ronnie Flanagan [will] visit MND(SE) soon
to carry out an audit of the effectiveness of [the] police training programme … Part
of this work might include an assessment of the Italians’ programme in Dhi Qar

970. Dr Reid’s paper sought clarification of whether or not it was intended there
should be a re‑assignment of Ministerial responsibilities for policing, noting that DOP(I)
would need to take a collective view on the issue and that “there would be resource
implications if MOD were to take this on”.

971. Gen Jackson visited Iraq from 10 to 13 October.907 His visit report noted that, of
the four key strategic areas (SSR, governance, reconstruction and counter‑insurgency
work), he “only saw encouraging signs of progress in one: SSR” though that progress
was still “patchy”, with the UK’s “undoubted success with the Iraqi Army” contrasting with
the position of the Iraqi police: “The events of 19 September in Basra are merely indicative of a wider malaise across the IPS as a whole. We are where we are, but it is not to our credit that we have known about the inadequacies of the IPS for so long and yet failed to address them. We must do so now … Whatever the eventual remedial plan is, it must be
resourced and led properly. It must also address the specific needs of an Iraqi police
force facing Iraq’s current security climate. More UK Police trainers are not the
answer. I have heard not one complimentary word about their involvement during
my last two visits. We, the military, must be prepared to shoulder an extra training
burden here.”


907 Minute CGS to CDS, October 2005, ‘CGS Visit to Iraq: 10‑13 Oct 05’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

972. At the meeting of DOP(I) on 12 October, the Committee discussed the need “to do more to speed up the development of police” but considered that “the plan for ISF development that was in place was largely sound”.908

973. The Committee agreed that the MOD would take the lead on “police issues in Iraq” as “the Iraqi policing situation called for a para‑military, rather than a civilian, style of policing”.

974. Although the MOD would take responsibility for police issues, the FCO continued to administer the police secondments to Iraq and to manage the contract with ArmorGroup for IPAs.909

975. In his evidence to the Inquiry, Lt Gen Dutton commented on the move of responsibility for policing to the MOD: “I didn’t get the impression that it had a great deal of effect at all, because what did it actually mean? On the ground it didn’t really mean anything; it meant that one particular Secretary of State felt he was now responsible for the police as well … but it didn’t produce more resources, it didn’t, to my mind, sort out the structural problem we have … about being able to train those sorts of policemen.”910

976. On 31 October, an MOD paper about the reform of the IPS described the number of UK civilian personnel devoted to policing.911 It totalled over 200 and comprised:

• 105 UK police officers funded through the [FCO’s] Peacekeeping Fund at a cost of £3.3m for financial year 2005/06:

{{61 UK staff based in Jordan, delivering eight‑week Basic Recruit Training;

{{ 26 serving and retired UK police officers in MND(SE) mentoring, liaising and conducting specialist training courses with the Iraqi police; and

{{ 18 serving and retired UK police officers in Baghdad, including the UK Chief Police Adviser focusing on: IPS development, planning and mentoring the Police Minister, forensics, criminal intelligence, training at the staff officer college.

• 106 UK International Police Advisers provided by ArmorGroup, funded by the GCPP (£11.1m for financial year 2005/06) and by the Dutch and Japanese governments; five of those contractors were based in Baghdad and the remainder in MND(SE), acting as advisers, mentors (including to each Provincial Chief of Police in MND(SE)) and trainers.


908 Minutes, 12 October 2005, DOP(I) meeting.
909 Letter Howard to Asquith, 5 January 2006, [untitled].
910 Public hearing, 12 July 2010, page 39.
911 Paper MOD, 31 October 2005, ‘Iraq – UK Policy for Police Security Sector Reform (SSR)’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

977. Additionally, in Dhi Qar province the Italian brigade was responsible for IPS training
and mentoring, employing their Carabinieri. Royal Military Police (RMP) and other
coalition troops (including Danes and Czechs) were involved in mentoring and follow‑up
training in the other three provinces. CPATT also provided International Police Liaison
Officers (IPLOs) to MND(SE) to conduct training and mentoring, and to ensure that
training in MND(SE) was consistent with efforts elsewhere in Iraq.

978. In total, including the spend on equipping the police under Project OSIRIS
(described earlier in this Section), police SSR spending represented less than two
percent of the annual spend by the UK on Iraq – estimated to be £1bn in financial year

979. The Chiefs of Staff considered SSR on 18 October.912 They concluded: “The
military effort was well resourced compared to the commitments by other Government
departments.” Now that Dr Reid would be responsible for SSR in Iraq, it would be
“important to calculate the resources needed to deliver [this] and to secure appropriate
HMT [Treasury] funding”.

980. On 24 October, Maj Gen Dutton sent a paper with proposals on how to reform the
IPS programme in MND(SE) to Maj Gen Wall.913 He wrote that: “As time has gone by, it has become clear that the aspirations in the existing plan are unachievable. We need to be realistic about what we can expect to achieve: we should be aiming for a police force that is relevant and ‘good enough’ for this region.”

981. Maj Gen Dutton stated: “We must dismiss any ideas of starting again: it is reform
that is required, not complete re‑design.” He proposed “a three‑point plan”:

• removal of those senior elements of the IPS who were engaged in serious crime,
acknowledging that that may require the MNF to act if it could not be achieved
by the ITG;

• dismissal of uncommitted IPS officers (estimated by the Basra Chief of Police to
number around 6,000 in a total force of 30,000); and

• “redoubling efforts on training the remaining police, so that eventually the ‘good’
outweighs the ‘bad’”.

982. On 25 October, Mr Tansley submitted recommendations along similar lines to the
FCO, also proposing the three‑point plan.914 He wrote that a “key part” of the plan would
be for “joint teams” from PATs and MND(SE) conducting “surges” on police districts and
stations that were “exposed as the weakest or of most importance”.


912 Minutes, 18 October 2005, Chiefs of Staff meeting.
913 Letter Dutton to Wall, 24 October 2005, ‘Policing SE Iraq’.
914 Telegram 16521/05 Basra to FCO London, 25 October 2005, ‘Reform of the Iraq Police Service in South‑East’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

983. Although the two papers were broadly the same, Mr Tansley suggested that the dismissal of IPS officers would require the implementation of a planned MOI redundancy package whereas Maj Gen Dutton saw that as desirable but not essential. Mr Tansley also suggested that a suitably qualified senior civil servant should be deployed to assist MOI reform.

984. Both papers suggested that the numbers of military personnel dedicated to support police reform should be increased (to include an extra two infantry companies, RMP personnel and administrative staff) and that restrictions on movement of police officers and contractors should be eased to allow them to move with the military.

985. Mr Tansley suggested that there should be joint responsibility for delivery between the Senior Police Adviser and the Task Force Commander in each province, with ArmorGroup personnel directly managed by the Senior Police Adviser. Maj Gen Dutton’s paper did not suggest a formal command structure but did cite “lack of unity of command” as a major part of the problem.

986. Lt Gen Dutton told the Inquiry that there was “nothing particularly magical” about the three‑point plan: “It was a very simple plan, but it was designed in some ways to counter what I thought was a feeling from elsewhere, that the only answer to the Basra police force was to disband it completely and start again from scratch.”915

987. On 27 October, Dr Reid reported to Cabinet that the build‑up of Iraqi security forces was “going well” but that they “were generally not yet capable of operating on their own”.916 He stated that he and Mr Straw were looking at ways of addressing militia infiltration in the Iraqi police.

988. On 31 October, the MOD produced a paper about the UK’s policy on the IPS to be considered at the next DOP(I).917 The paper outlined the approach advocated by Mr Tansley and Maj Gen Dutton but proposed that all police reform in MND(SE) should be consolidated “under unified military direction … enabling the GOC to deploy additional (civil and military) resources as necessary”. The MOD stated:
“… the utility of the civil police contingent … is limited by their contractual terms of service and civilian working practices … If they were brought under military direction (the command and control issues would need to be finessed) the policing component would be employed to meet the priorities of operational transition, with its output reported through the established military chain.”


915 Public hearing, 12 July 2010, page 20.
916 Cabinet Conclusions, 27 October 2005.
917 Paper MOD, 31 October 2005, ‘Iraq – UK Policy for Police Security Sector Reform (SSR)’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

989. The minutes of the DOP(I) meeting on 3 November recorded: “… there was considerable concern … among British police at the prospect of police advisers in Iraq being placed under military command …”918

990. Ministers agreed: “Departments, notably the FCO, MOD and Home Office, should work together to agree a way forward on command and control of the policing effort …
Paul Kernaghan should also be consulted.”

991. The DOP(I) minutes did not record any discussion of increasing military resource
or lifting movement restrictions. See the Box earlier in this Section, ‘Security restrictions
on UK police officers’, for more detail on civilian security restrictions.

992. On 9 November, Maj Gen Dutton reported that a new Police Strategic Steering
Group had met for the first time that week.919 That brought together the Consul
General, GOC MND(SE), the Senior Police Adviser and members of the GOC’s staff.
Maj Gen Dutton wrote: “I am confident that we are now approaching a situation where we can make best use of the different capabilities which the civil police, contractors and my ownsoldiers, including Royal Military Police, can provide. The Consul General and I
expect to set out our proposed solution to London shortly.”

993. The first meeting of a new cross‑Whitehall SSR Group920 was held on
17 November.921 It was chaired by Mr Howard, reflecting the transfer of responsibility for
policing to MOD. The meeting addressed what that transfer meant and the command
and control issues in MND(SE). In an email to DCC Smith, CC Kernaghan summarised:
“Lead status remains to be defined but no one argued that you were in a line of
command relationship with the GOC or that your professional judgement could be
over‑ruled by anyone else in theatre.”

994. In a report dated 20 November, DCC Smith was critical of military co‑ordination
with police in MND(SE):“Despite reassurances from London it is quite clear, to myself and senior CivPol officers on the ground in Basra, that the military are initiating changes in their relationship with CivPol. This is unfortunate as it is increasingly becoming obvious


918 Minutes, 3 November 2005, DOP(I) meeting.
919 Report Dutton, 9 November 2005, ‘CG MND(SE) – Southern Iraq Update – 9 November 2005’.
920 The cross‑Whitehall Iraq SSR Group replaced the Security Sector Reform Meeting.
921 Email Kernaghan to Smith, 18 November 2005, ‘Cross‑Whitehall Security Sector Reform [SSR] Group – Iraq Inaugural Meeting 17/11/05’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

that ‘partnership’ is a one‑sided (CivPol) concept. Clarification from London would be welcome.”922

Strategic considerations in late 2005

995. The MOD produced a paper entitled ‘Strategy for the UK’s contribution to Iraq Security’ for DOP(I) on 15 November.923 It described three key outcomes:

• security up to the December elections;

• activity up to the handover of security responsibility; and

• achievement and maintenance of ISF self‑reliance.

996. Four supporting objectives were detailed:

• establishment of a secure environment;

• transition to tactical, operational and strategic overwatch;

• development of an effective, self‑sufficient IPS: “Although wholesale national reform of the IPS is beyond the scope of UK influence, the provision of a technically competent IPS at a local level within MND(SE) is possible with the appropriate resource and is fundamental to an enduring handover. Mindful of the endemic nature of divided loyalty and militia involvement, the UK must continue to pursue IPS reform within MND(SE) to a level that will support handover – nothing more/nothing less”; and

• governance and capacity‑building in key Ministries (MOI and the IMOD) within the security sector.

997. Security was discussed at the meeting but the minutes do not refer to the MOD’s paper.924

998. The report produced by DCC Smith on 20 November was an update of his May ‘Next Steps on Policing’ review, assessing progress in both Baghdad and Basra.925 In the South, he judged that the “key area to address was militia influence in the Basra IPS and the lack of real MOI authority into the province”. To achieve that, he identified four elements that would need to be addressed:

• a strong Chief of Police;

• clear direction and support from the Deputy Minister for Police;

• good support infrastructure; and

• the removal of the unacceptable “bad eggs” in Basra.


922 Paper Smith, 20 November 2005, ‘Next Steps on Policing – Review’.
923 Paper MOD, 11 November 2005, ‘Strategy for the UK’s Contribution to Iraq Security’.
924 Minutes, 15 November 2005, DOP(I) meeting.
925 Paper Smith, 20 November 2005, ‘Next Steps on Policing – Review’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

999. On 12 December, Maj Gen Dutton submitted his Hauldown Report to AM Torpy.926
He wrote that the threat from IEDs had “radically affected our freedom of manoeuvre and
consequently inhibited” SSR work (see Section 14.1 for detail on the IED threat).

1000. On the Iraqi Army, Maj Gen Dutton reported: “The development of the Iraqi Army is the ‘jewel in the crown’ of our SSR effort and we must not let up now. The MiTT [Military Transition Team] system has been a great success … their contribution to the ‘conceptual’ and ‘moral’ development of 10th Division has been enormous … I acknowledge the desire to shift responsibility to the Iraqis themselves to prevent over‑dependence, but the structure is built on ‘foundations of sand’ and will require support for some time yet.”

1001. On the IPS, Maj Gen Dutton wrote: “I have written more than enough on this. I believe that, over time, the IPS can be reformed to an acceptable level, but there is no simple quick solution, which is, I sense, what London wants. In fact, it will be a long hard slog and will need unwavering commitment. The one critical point I must stress is that the UK should never again expect to be able to undertake police restructuring and reform in this sort of environment using UK police: they do not have the institutional structure or
expertise to cope, nor can they be compulsorily deployed.”

1002. In his evidence to the Inquiry, Lt Gen Dutton said: “We had some excellent policemen but simply not sufficient to take on the role of police training, which is why it had to be done in … a very poor way, but as best we could, by the military.”927

1003. Lt Gen Dutton said that there was “nothing wrong” with the policemen, “there just
weren’t enough of them”.928 He continued: “My criticism of the UK’s policing – expeditionary policing effort has never been aimed at the individual policemen who do it, simply the fact that I don’t believe we, in the UK, have a system for expeditionary policing that will work in the sort of environment of Iraq or Afghanistan.”

1004. On 21 December, AM Torpy wrote to Lt Gen Fry to highlight the key issues
for 2006.929 On the police he reiterated the need to “maintain momentum and our
commitment, pushing ahead quickly with any new work recommended by Ronnie
Flanagan”. He then drew attention to Maj Gen Dutton’s Hauldown Report and stated:
“Jim [Maj Gen Dutton] has hit the nail on the head and we must not repeat this painful
mistake in Afghanistan.”


926 Minute Dutton to Torpy, 12 December 2005, ‘June to December 2005 – Hauldown Report’.
927 Public hearing, 12 July 2010, page 20.
928 Public hearing, 12 July 2010, pages 21‑22.
929 Minute CJO to DCDS(C), 21 December 2005, ‘Key Operational Issues for Early 2006’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform


1005. On 18 October, a meeting was held at the Home Office to discuss the terms of reference for Sir Ronnie Flanagan’s visit to Iraq, attended by Sir Ronnie, CC Kernaghan and senior representatives from the FCO, the MOD and the Home Office.930 Some of the points made included:

• the FCO wanted to understand the progress in MND(SE) and how that could be improved upon, considering how this fitted with work in Baghdad and London;

• the MOD felt that current IPS training could be more efficient; and

• “much of Whitehall [was] not aware of elements that are beyond UK control. It would be helpful if Sir Ronnie could highlight these as part of his report”.

1006. CC Kernaghan circulated the terms of reference on 10 November and summarised Sir Ronnie’s task as to “concentrate on assessing the resourcing and effectiveness of the UK’s IPS Security Sector Reform (SSR) programme in MND(SE) and its linkage to the shape and effectiveness of MNF‑I national policing policy in Baghdad”.931 There were 12 areas specifically highlighted, including the effectiveness of IPS training, police officer and ArmorGroup contract management, IPAs and the relationship between UK structures and those of the US and Iraq.

1007. Sir Ronnie Flanagan visited Iraq between 20 and 24 November 2005 to conduct an initial review of the UK policing effort in Iraq.932 He submitted an interim report to Dr Reid on 13 December, who briefed the DOP(I) on 15 December.

1008. Sir Ronnie’s interim report identified:

• There was no single strategy for SSR at a national level – he had uncovered “references to at least four”, and “many of these” existed in isolation of one another.

• There was “a loss of corporacy and a disconnect with MNSTC‑I and CPATT in Baghdad”.

• There had been insufficient counter‑insurgency preparation.

• There was an inadequate focus on intelligence – he referred to US$1m worth of computers for the National Information and Investigation Agency (NIIA) being held at Basra Airport because of “apparently insufficient funds to transport and then assemble it”.

• Only 5 percent of military activity was currently focused on SSR.

• “Within MND(SE), the biggest issue remain[ed] militia (and criminal) infiltration of security forces”.


930 Minutes, 18 October 2005, ‘Meeting at the Home Office: Tuesday 18 October 2005: to discuss the Prime Minister’s request to HMCIC to visit Iraq’.
931 Email Kernaghan to Home Office [junior official], 10 November 2005, ‘Flanagan’s TORs’ attaching Note ‘TORs for the Assessment by Sir Ronnie Flanagan of the Iraqi Police Service (IPS)’.
932 Minutes, 16 December 2005, DOP(I) meeting.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

• The “biggest source of friction” between the military and UK police officers had
been the inconsistent restrictions on movements but “significant progress” had
been made during his visit to harmonise these, both operating on the basis of
military risk assessments (subject to FCO and ACPO confirmation).933

1009. Sir Ronnie visited Iraq again from 3 to 8 January 2006 and submitted his final
report on 31 January.934

1010. Sir Ronnie wrote that the original terms of reference had evolved into three
overarching issues:

“• The strategic direction and integration of the SSR (policing) effort;

• The efficiency and effectiveness of the SSR (policing) effort, including the
Carabinieri, in MND(SE);

• The effectiveness of the existing training arrangements.”

1011. Sir Ronnie was “encouraged” to learn that since his previous visit “a broad
strategic plan” was now being prepared and that the “disconnect” he had identified
was “already becoming a thing of the past”. In MND(SE), he noted “a high level of
co‑operation” between UK police officers and that SSR now accounted for 47 percent of
the military’s work. He added: “Nevertheless tensions, both in theatre and within Whitehall, still exist over where primacy for SSR (policing) effort rests. Put simply, the shift in thinking that should have followed the assumption by MOD of primacy for SSR in Iraq has not permeated all activity.”

1012. Sir Ronnie made 17 recommendations, including:

• The Iraqis should be encouraged to develop a robust vetting system for IPS
recruits as soon as possible and to take immediate action to “root out” corrupt
and sub‑standard elements within the IPS. In progressing this the UK will need
to provide support and expert guidance.

• The UK should encourage MNF‑I to transfer responsibility for criminal and
counter‑insurgency intelligence to CPATT.

• For Iraq and future deployments, a senior police officer of Chief Superintendent
rank should be embedded within PJHQ.

• The US and UK should use whatever influence is available to them to ensure
that the next Minister of the Interior has a sound appreciation of the scale of the
challenges and, moreover, is willing to take decisive action to address them.


933 Report Flanagan, 13 December 2005, ‘Interim Report on Policing in Iraq’.
934 Report Flanagan, 31 January 2006, ‘An Assessment of the UK’s Contribution to Security Sector Reform (Policing) in Iraq’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

• The US should be encouraged to allow the Iraqi Government lead responsibility for the National Policing Plan. That should be led by the new Minister of Interior in consultation with the 18 provincial Chiefs of Police. In progressing that, the coalition must of course provide expert advice and guidance and perhaps the suggested draft.

• The CPA‑I’s successor should be re‑deployed and should function within the MND(SE) command structure where he or she will be able to direct the SSR (policing) effort.

• The judicial dimension should be fully integrated within the SSR effort.

• The Strategic Taskforce should be re‑convened with the goal of creating a genuine police expeditionary capability operating within a framework that provides maximum support to overseas SSR (policing) deployments.

• The UK should exert its influence to further embed and encourage the concept of joint operating between the IPS and the Iraqi Army in areas where the security situation makes this appropriate.

1013. Sir Ronnie Flanagan stated: “In many respects the challenge facing us in Iraq appears more daunting from London than it does in theatre. This I attribute to the inevitable difficulty that exists in grasping some of the key contextual factors.”

1014. Sir Ronnie wrote that his recent visit had given him “a greater appreciation” of the significant threat from “rogue elements” in the Basra intelligence agencies and “pop up battalions” that could jeopardise SSR if not addressed. He stated that “the ultimate solution” rested with the MOI and that “the key to success” would be “the creation of effective governance structures”.

1015. Sir Ronnie concluded: “Notwithstanding the reservations I have expressed about the quality of training, intelligence and other factors that inhibit the SSR (policing) effort, Iraq is on the right path and there is a good news story to be told. From an admittedly low base, Iraq’s security forces are now recognisable as such and early signs of self‑sufficiency are becoming apparent … The UK can take pride in its contribution.”

1016. A junior FCO official sent Dr Howells a copy of Sir Ronnie’s report on 17 February.935 The note also enclosed a matrix listing each recommendation and the department responsible for its progress alongside it, including an additional 16 “other recommendations” from the report. Out of the total 33 recommendations, five were complete and 11 others were in progress or being considered.


935 Minute FCO [junior official] to Howells, 17 February 2006, ‘Review of UK Policing Reform Work in Iraq by Sir Ronnie Flanagan’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

1017. The Baghdad SSR Working Group met on 19 February to discuss Sir Ronnie’s
report.936 The Group commented or identified action against all of recommendations,

• how critical the MOI and its Minister would be in delivering change;

• the practical difficulties encountered while trying to establish effective vetting
procedures which were constrained by a lack of resources;

• that the National Policing Plan needed to be written by the Iraqi Government and
not by the coalition; and

• that there were cost and duty of care issues in implementing Sir Ronnie’s
recommendation that recruits visited theatre.

1018. A summary of the Baghdad SSR Committee on 27 April listed progress against
the six “Baghdad‑related recommendations” from Sir Ronnie’s report.937 Discussions
were ongoing with CPATT on how to implement those; those had been some difficulties
engaging “the right people at the right levels” and the National Policing Plan was “still too
military‑dominated”. It was recorded that there were insufficient resources to undertake
an audit of training at that time.

1019. On 16 May, Mr Patey wrote to Mr Stephen Pattison, FCO Director International
Security, with recommendations on how to ensure the staffing of the UK’s police effort
was right.938

1020. In his response on 24 May, Mr Pattison said that the FCO was taking forward
recommendations from Sir Ronnie’s review, but did not provide further details.939 The
letter focused on attracting more UK police officers to postings in Iraq, and enabling
those postings.

Reforming the Iraqi Police Service: Operation CORRODE

1021. On 30 November 2005, Maj Gen Dutton reported that the Iraqi authorities had
taken the first step towards reforming the IPS by disbanding the Department of Internal
Affairs (DIA).940

1022. On 25 January 2006, Major General John Cooper, GOC MND(SE) from
December 2005 until July 2006, reported that two former members of the DIA who were
implicated in “numerous allegations of corrupt and criminal activity including attacks
against MNF and involvement in the events of Sep 19” had been arrested by UK and
Danish troops.941


936 Email FCO [junior official] to Cunningham, 21 February 2006, ‘Baghdad SSR Working Group’ attaching Paper ‘BE Baghdad Comments – Sir Ronnie Flanagan’s Report’.
937 Email FCO [junior official] to Mcgurgan, 30 April 2006, ‘Cross‑Whitehall SSR Meeting, 27 April’.
938 Letter Patey to Pattison, 16 May 2006, ‘Re: Policing in Iraq’.
939 Letter Pattison to Patey, 24 May 2006, ‘Policing in Iraq’.
940 Minute Dutton, 30 November 2005, ‘GOC MND(SE) – Southern Iraq – 30 November 2005’.
941 Minute Cooper, 25 January 2006, ‘GOC MND(SE) – Southern Iraq Update – 25 Jan 06’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

1023. On 8 March, Maj Gen Cooper reported: “We have intelligence that the recidivists within the IPS have resumed their criminal activity, and the population at large is beginning to question our commitment. Absent buy‑in from the MOI, I am clear about the need for us to press ahead unilaterally with [Operation] CORRODE, before the IPS regress to a position from which they cannot be redeemed.”942

1024. The following week, Maj Gen Cooper reported that Mr Jabr had given the “green light” for MNF to continue with arrest operations under Op CORRODE.943 He said that the next target was a “relatively junior player”. Mr Jabr was also reported to have endorsed plans to establish a new DIA based at Basra Air Station.

1025. On 15 May, a junior official from PJHQ provided briefing to Mr Ingram about IPS members detained by MND(SE) as part of Op CORRODE.944 He stated that Op CORRODE was established in conjunction with the MOI after the Jameat incident on 19 September and aimed to:

• remove corrupt individuals in key positions of responsibility;

• replace those individuals with suitable personnel from outside Basra province; and

• reform the remaining officers.

1026. The official wrote that the operation had been constrained because of “problems with political disengagement in Basra” and “nervousness amongst senior political figures in Baghdad”. PJHQ assessed that there were currently ten policemen detained in Shaibah, a military airfield seven miles southwest of Basra. They were likely to remain at the facility “for the foreseeable future”, because the intelligence against detainees was not admissible as evidence. Also, the detainees had connections which meant that Basra judges would be reluctant to try them, or be susceptible to intimidation if they did try them.

1027. In his weekly report on 24 May, Maj Gen Cooper described two enemies in Basra: rogue JAM and – “most dangerous” – the “corrupt IPS elements … which have murdered so many Basrawis”.945 He wrote that he needed political cover from the Iraqi Government to tackle IPS reform and would be grateful for UK political pressure.

1028. Maj Gen Cooper’s report on 8 June stated that Op CORRODE had re‑started and, on 4 June, there had been the first successful targeting and detention of a serving Basra police officer for more than three months.946 There would now be “a succession of


942 Minute Cooper, 8 March 2006, ‘GOC MND(SE) – Southern Iraq Update – 8 March 2006’.
943 Minute Cooper, 16 March 2006, ‘GOC MND(SE) – Southern Iraq Update – 16 March 2006’.
944 Minute PJHQ [junior official] to PS/Min(AF), 15 May 2006, ‘Iraqi Police Service (IPS) Detainees Held by MND(SE)’.
945 Minute Cooper, 24 May 2006, ‘GOC MND(SE) – Southern Iraq Update – 24 May 2006’.
946 Minute Cooper, 8 June 2006, ‘GOC MND(SE) – Southern Iraq Update – 8 June 2006’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

detention ops targeting IPS and N Basra leadership”. Maj Gen Cooper reported that a
total of three IPS officers had been detained within Op CORRODE since 17 May 2006.

1029. The JIC’s Assessment of 9 June described the disbanding of the DIA as “remedial
action” resulting from “MNF pressure”.947 However, the JIC stated that “the personnel
have been reassigned rather than sacked”.

1030. This JIC Assessment considered whether the ISF was “fit for duty”. It reported:
“The ISF in the South reflect the deep‑rooted local tribal and political influences.
The Army’s 10th Division in MND(SE) is rated by the MNF as increasingly effective.
It has performed basic tasks such as patrols and static guard duties successfully,
but remains untested in counter‑insurgency operations without MNF support. The
Police in the South are a cause for much greater concern. Many local Police officers,
in Basra and Maysan in particular, remain loyal to their political faction or militia
rather than to formal command structures. Both Badr and JAM retain support among
the ISF in different parts of the South. We judge that these divided loyalties would
affect the ability and willingness of the Police to cope in the event of an intensified
campaign of violence by Shia militias against the MNF, or fighting between Shia
factions … Baghdad’s central institutions have been unable to exert any control over
the police in Basra.”

Iraqi Navy progress

On 9 June 2006, a JIC Assessment stated that, by 1 May, 800 Navy personnel had been
“trained and equipped”, increasing from 750 on 4 October 2005.948
In September, the Iraqi Navy transferred to Iraqi control, under the command and control
of the Joint Headquarters.949
In November, the Private Secretary to Mr Des Browne, Defence Secretary from May 2006,
briefed No.10 officials that progress on the Iraqi Navy had “lost early momentum due
to failure of the Iraqi procurement process” but stated that contracts had recently been
awarded and that the Iraqi Navy had plans to fund and build critical infrastructure during
2007.950 He concluded: “this momentum must be sustained”.

On 6 September, an Independent Commission reported to Congress its conclusion that: “The Iraqi Navy is small and its current fleet is insufficient to execute its mission.
However, it is making substantive progress in this early stage of development: it has
a well‑thought‑out growth plan, which it is successfully executing. Its maturation is
hampered by the [Iraqi] Ministry of Defence’s understandable focus on ground forces
and counterinsurgency operations, as well as by bureaucratic inefficiency. The Iraqi


947 JIC Assessment, 9 June 2006, ‘The Iraqi Security Forces: Fit for Duty?’.
948 JIC Assessment, 9 June 2006, ‘The Iraqi Security Forces: Fit for Duty?’.
949 JIC Assessment, 17 January 2007, ‘Iraqi Security Forces: Prospects in 2007’.
950 Letter McNeil to Banner, 9 November 2006 attaching Minute DJC, 9 November 2006, ‘Strengthening the Iraqi Military Forces’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

Navy will continue to rely on coalition naval power to achieve its mission for the foreseeable future.”951
At that time, there were around 35 UK naval personnel working in Naval Assistance Training Teams.952

1031. Mr Des Browne became Defence Secretary in May 2006. He visited Iraq from 18 to 22 June.953 His Assistant Private Secretary recorded that Mr Jawad Boulani, the new Minister of the Interior, told Mr Browne he was very clear about the need to reform the police, particularly in Basra.

1032. Major General Muhammed Latif, the Commander of the 10th Division, had told Mr Browne that there were 15,000 police in Basra, but you could never find them on the streets. If necessary, he was prepared to put a soldier in every police car to force them to do their jobs. They failed to carry out even the most perfunctory investigations into murders. Maj Gen Latif had started to use his own intelligence officers to follow up cases and monitor police progress. When his staff asked questions about inaction, the police would say that murders were “big boys’ issues”, usually a reference to the specialist police organisations that Mr Boulani sought to disband.

1033. During a meeting with UK representatives, Mr Browne was told by the police advisor that “we [the UK] had originally set our sights too high; teaching forensics instead of the basics”. Adjustments had now been made and the programme seemed to be working well. The police advisor rejected the outright criticism from Maj Gen Latif and said that there were “areas that had the start of an effective policing service”.

1034. Air Chief Marshal Jock Stirrup, CDS, briefed DOP(I) in July: “… the main issue affecting the population was sectarian murders. To see progress on that we needed to take action against corrupt police officers and militia groups.”954

1035. ACM Stirrup described progress with the Iraqi Army as “on track” but stated that “the situation of the police was more difficult”.

Further reduction in troops

1036. During early 2006, substantial effort was dedicated to preparation for the transfer of lead responsibility for security in Muthanna and Maysan provinces. That effort is detailed in Section 9.4.


951 Report, 6 September 2007, ‘Independent Commission on the Security Forces in Iraq’.
952 Report, 5 July 2007, ‘PJHQ Manning Tables’.
953 Minute APS/SoS [MOD] to DCDS(C), 28 June 2006, ‘Secretary of State’s Visit to Iraq – 18‑22 June 2006’.
954 Minutes, 6 July 2006, DOP(I) meeting.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

1037. In a meeting of DOP(I) on 15 February, Mr Blair made clear that the UK should be
able clearly to demonstrate that the conditions for transition had been met, and that this
was as a result of the increasing capacity of the ISF.955 The UK should not be handing
over for solely political reasons.

1038. During a video conference between Mr Blair and President Bush on 22 February,
Lt Gen Houghton assessed that there had been good progress with the ISF in the
South which should allow security transfer in Maysan and Muthanna provinces by late
spring.956 He assessed that Basra was “less promising, given the collusion between
police and militia, aided by local politicians” and that arrests of police “rapidly became
confrontations over political and sovereignty issues”.

1039. On 9 March, Dr Reid wrote to Mr Blair explaining that, as a result of the latest
Force Level Review, troop levels would be reduced in May 2006, from approximately
8,000 to around 7,200 (see Section 9.4).957 That reduction was made possible because
of the “completion of various Security Sector Reform tasks, a reduction in the support
levels for those tasks, and recent efficiency measures in theatre”.

1040. In his statement to the House of Commons on 13 March, Dr Reid stated that the
completed tasks included training of trainers and Iraqi troops being capable of guarding
their own establishments.958

1041. On 15 March, a JIC Assessment stated: “The Iraqi security forces [in Southern Iraq] can cope with the low level of threat posed by the Sunni Arab nationalist insurgents and jihadists. Their readiness to deal with the activities of Shia extremists or intra‑Shia violence is more uncertain. Army command, control and logistics capabilities are all still developing, making major operations without MNF support difficult. The police are a greater concern: they have multiple loyalties and have taken sides in intra‑Shia clashes. A minority of police, particularly in Basra, is involved in attacks on the MNF, the assassination of Sunnis and organised crime.”959

1042. On 20 April, Mr Robin Lamb, Consul General in Basra, provided an assessment
of the security situation in Basra and its impact on the ability for UK civilian staff to
operate effectively (see Section 15.1).960 He stated: “Our LE [locally employed] staff regard the Iraqi Police Service as at best ineffective, and at worst complicit in the assassinations. We would support that assessment.”



955 Minutes, 15 February 2006, DOP(I) meeting.
956 Letter Banner to Siddiq, 22 February 2006, ‘Prime Minister’s VTC with President Bush, 22 February: Iraq’.
957 Letter Reid to Blair, 9 March 2006, ‘Iraq: Force Level Review and Announcement’.
958 House of Commons, Official Report, 13 March 2006, columns 1152‑1153.
959 JIC Assessment, 15 March 2006, ‘Iraq: the Security Situation in the South’.
960 Letter Lamb to Mcgurgan, 20 April 2006, ‘Basra: Security and Drawdown’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

Policing reviews: ACC Barton and a Strategic Task Force

1043. Acting ACC Dick Barton took over from DCC Smith as Chief Police Adviser‑Iraq on 27 March 2006 and was based in Basra (as opposed to Baghdad) in line with Sir Ronnie’s recommendation described earlier in this Section.961

1044. For his first task, ACC Barton was commissioned by the FCO to conduct a review of the UK police mission in Iraq, focusing on three main areas: strategic priorities, personnel structure of UK police in Iraq and “other work required (in support of Strategic Priorities)”.962

1045. ACC Barton’s review was completed on 20 April and sought “to avoid replicating areas already covered” by Sir Ronnie’s review four months earlier. He wrote that his “review theme” was to “keep it basic”, stating that basic principles sat under many complex policing issues. He highlighted three strategic priorities:

“• The mission must focus on building links with the criminal justice system.

• The mission must be engaged in developing the new Internal Affairs, Major Crime [Unit] and National Information and Investigation Agency (NIIA).

• The mission must identify a realistic working model which facilitates draw‑down and eventual complete handover to the Iraqi Police Service.”

1046. ACC Barton made 12 recommendations for change in the way the UK police mission was staffed including:

• creating an Assistant Chief Police Adviser post with a focus on major crime and criminal justice;

• creating a post to focus on developing an effective Internal Affairs capability, warning that overt corruption in the police was “crippling”;

• reducing the number of contracted police officers; and

• designating a Senior Police Adviser at Chief Superintendent level to be territorial lead for Baghdad now that the CPA‑I role had relocated.

1047. Mr Straw wrote to Mr Charles Clarke, Home Secretary, on 17 October 2005 about findings from a Strategic Task Force established to “take a fresh look” at how the UK contributed to international operations.963 Mr Straw wrote that assisting in international missions was “vital” for the UK’s foreign policy priorities and also created “direct operational benefits” for the UK when officers returned with experience of “working in the field”.

1048. The Strategic Task Force assessed that there was no need to increase the overall numbers provided by the UK, but suggested increasing the proportion of senior officers


961 Statement Barton, 7 June 2010, page 3.
962 Report Barton, 20 April 2006, ‘Situational Review of the United Kingdom Civilian Police Mission in Iraq’.
963 Straw to Home Secretary, 17 October 2005, ‘International Policing’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

and those with specialist skills. It proposed that “more use” was made of police staff. The
Task Force also advised ensuring that the spread of officers was more evenly distributed
across the forces (meaning a reduction in PSNI officers), and that the transition should
be made easier for returning officers by guaranteeing interviews for posts for which they
are qualified.

1049. On 4 May 2006, Mr Howard submitted a draft response for Dr John Reid, who
became the Home Secretary on 5 May 2006, to send to Mr Straw.964 Mr Howard said the
draft emphasised that “recent operational experience ha[d] demonstrated the need for
a robust expeditionary policing capability, ideally acting as part of an international force”
but also made clear that the matter was “constrained by issues that can only be resolved
by the police itself.”

1050. Mr Patey wrote to Mr Pattison on 16 May, highlighting concerns that “our effort on
SSR and the Rule of Law in Iraq will suffer if we do not get staffing of our policing effort
right”.965 Mr Patey noted that there was a risk the UK would “continue to lose credibility
in the eyes of the US as a key partner” if that issue could not be addressed, citing
the frequent turnover of staff (recommending tours of more than one year) and gaps
between posting of senior staff as contributing to problems. He acknowledged that those
were manifestations of a wider problem in recruiting, and that there was “little benefit to
the police service for their good police officers to deploy to Iraq” requiring “more radical
solutions … In the short and longer term”. The letter concluded by recommending that
the FCO “should engage with the new Home Secretary, about the need for appropriate
career and reward packages to be in place for deployed officers and the need for all
police services to contribute to the effort”.

1051. Mr Pattison’s reply agreed with the premise that “good quality police staffing is
central to delivery of the UK’s objectives in Iraq” but noted that that needed to be seen
in the wider context, in particular that all UK police secondees were volunteers.966

SSR across Iraq: summer 2006 to summer 2009 – Formation of the Iraqi Government

1052. On 1 April, Mr Blair wrote to President Bush outlining his views on the steps
required to achieve success in Iraq.967 He suggested a strategy that involved pressing
hard for a unity government and stated: “This must include a top quality, neutral figure in the Ministry of Interior. It is perfectly obvious to me that a lot of the Shia violence is now being organised out of there and there has to be a definite statement going throughout the police, it won’t be tolerated.”


964 Minute DG Op Pol to PS/SofS, 4 May 2006, ‘International Policing in Peace Support Operations’.
965 Letter Patey to Pattison, 16 May 2006, ‘Policing in Iraq’.
966 Letter Pattison to Patey, 24 May 2006, ‘Policing in Iraq’.
967 Letter Sheinwald to Hadley, 1 April 2006 attaching Note [Blair], 1 April 2006.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

1053. Mr Nuri al‑Maliki was nominated as Prime Minister on 21 April 2006.968 Reporting the news, an eGram from the British Embassy Baghdad stated that Prime Minister Maliki had been a “driving force” as Deputy Chair of the de‑Ba’athification Committee and had “a strong anti‑militia stance”. He favoured “the dissolution of all militias and [did not] believe in their reintegration into Iraqi security forces”.

1054. Sir Nigel Sheinwald and Mr Nick Banner, a Private Secretary to Mr Blair, visited Iraq shortly after Prime Minister Maliki’s nomination.969 In a report of the visit, Sir Nigel told Mr Blair: “The two litmus tests ahead are: (i) Choice of Interior and Defence Ministers and willingness/ability to clean out their ministries and make them work; (ii) Disbanding the militias … some can be integrated in the ISF, but others will need to be demobilised and retrained. There will need to be a major DDR and jobs package which we should try to get the international community involved in. Even if we do, this is a massive task. Militias abound – from personal protection, to Badr and JAM, through to the Facilities Protection Service.”

1055. Mr Blair spoke to Prime Minister Maliki on 28 April.970 Prime Minister Maliki stressed his commitment to “remove weapons from all the militias” and requested UK support to accelerate the training of the ISF.

Iraqi appointments

On 8 June 2006, the Iraqi security ministers were appointed:

• Minister of the Interior: Mr Jawad Boulani (Shia Independent);

• Minister of Defence: Lieutenant General Abdel Qadir (Sunni); and

• Minister for National Security: Mr Sherwan al Wa’ali (Shia Da’wa Tanzeem).971

Improving Iraqi Security Force build‑up

1056. Mr Blair met Prime Minister Maliki on 22 May during his visit to Iraq.972 A minute from Mr Banner about the meeting reported that Prime Minister Maliki “expressed concern about the readiness of the Iraqi Security Forces, in terms of numbers, training


968 eGram 13011/06 Baghdad to FCO, 24 April 2006, ‘Iraq: Formation of the New Government: Al‑Maliki Nominated by UIA as Prime Minist’ [sic].
969 Minute Sheinwald to Prime Minister, 27 April 2006, ‘Visit to Iraq’.
970 Letter Banner to Siddiq, 28 April 2006, ‘Nouri al‑Maliki’.
971 eGram 22963/06 Baghdad to FCO London, 8 June 2006, ‘Iraq: Ministers of Interior, Defence and National Security Appointed’.
972 Minute PS/PM to PS/FS, 22 May 2006, ‘Iraq: Prime Minister’s Meeting with Nouri al‑Maliki’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

levels and, in particular, equipment”. Prime Minister Maliki had said that “the ISF were
outgunned”, citing an example in Najaf where he had been told by the Chief of Police
that his 13,000 officers “had only 5,000 rifles between them”.

1057. Following his visit, Mr Blair wrote to President Bush stating that ISF build‑up
“must be improved”.973 He continued: “… the basic point is: we need better, stronger ISF build‑up. A strong centre will be a big help. But they also need equipment and intensive support. Therefore we need to do this even better and more strongly and test the robustness of the build‑up. Iraqi MOI and MOD need real capability to make it happen. If we don’t do this, we can’t defeat the terrorists.”

1058. Sir Nigel Sheinwald wrote to Mr Hayes on 23 May reporting Mr Blair’s conclusions
as a result of his visit.974 On SSR, Mr Blair wanted action including:

“• Drawing up a timetable with conditions setting out the potential path to MNF
withdrawal. This should address the desire of Iraqis for clarity over two
issues: that the MNF will stay until Iraqi security forces are capable of acting
independently; and that the MNF will go once that has been achieved. Any
timetable should include dates, but each one should be conditional on ISF
build‑up of capability and overall violence levels …

• We need to make sure that Iraqi forces really are capable of dealing with the
threat, including from AQ … The Prime Minister heard a number of disquieting
comments on this score from Iraqis and others. We therefore need a candid
analysis of the gap between current capabilities and future requirements … and
a plan for closing the gap …

• …

• Turning around the situation in Basra … This will require … a larger role and
presence for the Iraqi forces, working alongside UK forces … The Prime Minister
hopes that the Defence Secretary will personally supervise the military aspects
of this.

• …

• Capacity‑building for Iraqi Ministries. We need a paper setting out our and the
US’s current assistance to them, in terms both of advisers and equipment, and
a plan for addressing additional gaps.”

1059. DOP(I) met on 25 May.975 Mr Blair said that the UK should focus on the
development of the ISF, seeing progress in Basra, and support to the Iraqi Government


973 Letter Sheinwald to Hadley, 22 May 2006, ‘Iraq’ attaching Note Prime Minister to President Bush.
974 Letter Sheinwald to Hayes, 23 May 2006, ‘Iraq’.
975 Minutes, 25 May 2006, DOP(I) meeting.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

on security and electricity provision in Baghdad. On the development of the ISF, he stated:
“… the Ministry of Defence needed to look closely at the level of capability of the Iraqi forces. This should also look at the quality of training and provision of equipment … ensuring the ISF did have sufficient capability could make a very big difference to our strategic progress in Iraq.”

1060. The MOD was asked to provide a paper on the capability and requirements of the ISF.

1061. On 25 May, during a working dinner with Dr Rice and Mr Steve Hadley, US National Security Advisor, Sir Nigel Sheinwald said that urgent action was needed on ISF capacity:
“The numbers used by the MNF were suspect as they did not take account of substantial desertions. It was disappointing that there were still problems over equipment, as well as the known gaps in terms of command and control and running their own operations.”976

1062. On 2 June, Sir Nigel chaired a meeting of the Iraq Strategy Group.977 The Group had reviewed progress against the tasks commissioned by Mr Blair:

• Gen Casey was “preparing an Iraqi‑fronted security statement in mid/late June” that “would announce the first wave of provinces to transition”. The UK “favoured” an indication of what could be expected “over the next 18‑24 months, but the US was cautious”.

• The MOD was working on a “robust assessment of where things stood” with the ISF.

• Gen Casey was preparing a Security Plan for Basra (described later in this Section).

• GOC MND(SE) “intended to start detention operations in the next few days, and was working to increase the Iraqi face on security using the Iraqi Army”. The Iraqis were currently participating in 40 percent of all patrols in Basra.

• The “FCO was pursuing a US analysis of the gaps in their support to the key ministries and DFID was pulling together an overview of UK support”.


976 Letter Sheinwald to Hayes, 26 May 2006, ‘Dinner with US Secretary of State and National Security Adviser, 25 May’.
977 Minute Cabinet Office [junior official] to Sheinwald, 5 June 2006, ‘Iraq Strategy Group’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

1063. On 7 June, the MOD submitted its assessment of the ISF’s progress to the
Cabinet Office.978 Some of the key points were:

• The programme was on target to complete by December 2006 with 80 percent
of the ISF trained and equipped (less the forces in Anbar province and the
Air Force and Navy capability).

• Higher‑level command and control, logistics, equipment husbandry and
intelligence remained immature, but “significant improvement” was expected
during 2006. MND(SE) had “some of the same issues” but they were “less
acute” with 10th Division having received 97 percent of its “critical items”.

• Of the Iraqi Army battalions and brigade/divisional headquarters, 50 percent
were capable of planning, executing and sustaining counter‑insurgency
operations. The Iraqi people held the Iraqi Army “generally in high regard”.

• The police were “some way behind” but “significant progress” was expected by
the end of the year. Their effectiveness rested on their credibility with the Iraqi
people, which was “increasing but remain[ed] an issue”.

• Equipment shortfalls in the police were attributed to MOI “over‑recruiting” police
forces, by “possibly 9,000 to 10,000 … in the South alone”. That was “reportedly
to combat unemployment”.

• “The ISF in MND(SE) should be capable of managing the threat that they will
face but could be quickly undermined by poor leadership.” The UK had trained
22,000 IPS officers out of an agreed number of 29,000.

1064. On the Basra Security Plan, the MOD wrote that “in seeking efficiencies to
resource the new initiatives proposed in the Basra paper, it would be counter‑productive
to disrupt established projects in MND(SE) … to then re‑invest in the same sectors”. The
FCO was exploring options to reduce the UK’s commitment to the Jordan International
Police Training College, which had the potential to save £3.5m “with minimal impact
upon ISF capacity‑building” although it “may meet with opposition in US quarters”.

1065. Writing about the way ahead, the MOD report stated: “As the Iraqi security forces mature, Iraq’s partners will need to put additional resources into areas such as the judiciary and courts which have been relatively neglected but which are critical to enforcing law and order as security forces. We need to caution against further growth in the size of the ISF whose size/shape has been designed to be affordable in the long run …
“On the whole, the advice of the UK personnel is appreciated by not only the US,
but more importantly the Iraqis. We must build on this influence, without negating
the current good work that is being planned and will soon be implemented in


978 Minute DJC/Iraq to Cabinet Office [junior official], 7 June 2006, ‘Iraq: Strategy Group Workstrands’ attaching Paper ‘Update on Progress of the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF)’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

Iraq. Additional resources (civilian official and extra CivPol) to aid Ministerial capacity‑building, particularly in the Ministry of Interior, would be a key place to add value.”

Iraqi Air Force progress

A Report by the Independent Commission on the Security Forces in Iraq published on 6 September 2007 stated that the Iraqi Air Force had a “meagre beginning and late start” compared with the Iraqi Army.979 Development of the Iraqi Air Force was led by the Coalition Air Force Transition Team (CAFTT) which was part of MNSTC‑I.
In June 2004, Maj Gen Houghton recorded that 148 air force personnel were in training.980 Initially, the force would be 500 strong. An agreement had been established for the transfer of air transport and helicopters from Jordan.
In July 2005, Lt Gen Brims reported that it was “a long term project” and that there were “insufficient funds to even forecast when a plan might be considered”.981
On 7 June 2006, the MOD produced an update on ISF progress.982 On the Iraqi Air Force, progress had been made in the adoption of new structures and procedures. However, operational tasks were limited to reconnaissance and air transport, and equipment procurement had proved a challenge.
Initial recruits to the Iraqi Air Force were people who had served in the Air Force prior to the invasion.983
The main objectives of the Iraqi Air Force were:

• to organise, train and equip air operations;

• to conduct day/night/all‑weather counter‑insurgency operations; and

• to provide homeland capabilities to the Government of Iraq.

The Iraqi Air Force operated out of four bases:

• Al Muthanna Air Base which operated the Air Force’s fixed wing capability;

• Taji Air Base which housed an interim Air Force Academy as well as most of the rotary wing assets; and

• Basra and Kirkuk Air Bases which focused on intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities.
The Iraqi Air Force transferred to Iraqi control in September 2006, under the command and control of the Joint Headquarters.984


979 Report, 6 September 2007, ‘Independent Commission on the Security Forces in Iraq’.
980 Minute ACDS(Ops) to Rycroft, June 2004, ‘How Best to Progress the Iraqiisation of the Security Sector’.
981 Letter Naworynsky to Quarrey, 21 July 2005, ‘Update on Progress of Iraqi Security Forces’.
982 Minute DJC/Iraq to Cabinet Office [junior official], 7 June 2006, ‘Iraq: Strategy Group Workstrands’ attaching Paper, ‘Update on Progress of the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF)’.
983 Report, 6 September 2007, ‘Independent Commission on the Security Forces in Iraq’.
984 JIC Assessment, 17 January 2007, ‘Iraqi Security Forces: Prospects in 2007’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

On 21 November, the Chiefs of Staff were briefed that the Iraqi Air Force would not be
capable of external air defence until 2013.985 Although funding was not an issue there
were difficulties with poor quality personnel, anti‑corruption mechanisms and bureaucracy
in the IMOD. To increase the rate of development, the US was planning to double its
CAFTT team to 232 personnel. The UK was contributing one Group Captain to the CAFTT
and had provided some places on courses in the UK. An earlier request from MNSTC‑I for
the UK to provide flying instructors had been turned down as a result of airworthiness and
safety concerns. The paper recommended increasing UK support to CAFTT and providing
an RAF officer to the Iraqi JHQ.

1066. On 9 June, the JIC assessed: “The new government will take time to agree critical strategic security policy. Even if the Ministers of Defence and Interior prove capable and non‑partisan, robust administrative capacity in these Ministries will take time to build. We judge there is likely to be only limited progress during the rest of this year in the face of a virulent insurgency and continuing sectarian violence. The need to absorb Shia militias will add to the challenges and could exacerbate sectarian tensions; but a failure to do so would undermine the authority of the government.”986

An Iraqi security strategy

1067. Mr Browne visited Iraq from 18 to 22 June (as described earlier in this Section).987
His Assistant Private Secretary recorded that “the main players from a security
perspective (Maliki, Boulani (MOI) and Qader (MOD)) all seem determined to tackle
problems previously skirted: corruption, militias, sectarianism”.

1068. On 25 June, BBC News reported that Prime Minister Maliki had announced his
plan for national reconciliation.988 Some of the points dealing with SSR were:

• preventing human rights violations, reforming prisons and punishing those
responsible for acts of torture;

• measures to strengthen Iraq’s armed forces so they would be ready to take over
responsibility for national security from the MNF;

• review of the armed forces to ensure they were being run on “professional and
patriotic” principles;

• ensuring the political neutrality of Iraq’s armed forces and tackling Iraq’s militia
groups; and

• review of the de‑Ba’athification Committee to ensure it respected the law.


985 Minute ACDS(Ops) to COS, 21 November 2006, ‘Update on UK Engagement with Iraqi Air Force (IzAF)’.
986 JIC Assessment, 9 June 2006, ‘The Iraqi Security Forces: Fit for Duty?’.
987 Minute APS/SoS [MOD] to DCDS(C), 28 June 2006, ‘Secretary of State’s Visit to Iraq – 18‑22 June 2006’.
988 BBC News, 25 June 2006, Main points of Iraq’s peace plan.

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1069. On 17 July, Lt Gen Fry reported that MNSTC‑I had made recommendations for changes to the ISF structures following concerns expressed by Prime Minister Maliki about the ISF’s ability to tackle the current security situation.989 Mr Maliki was reported to have: “… little confidence in the police and [he] thinks that the army should be greatly expanded. The view from MNF‑I and MNSTC‑I is that the currently planned ISF force structure is about the right size and properly balanced between the [Iraqi] MOD and the MOI.”

1070. The main changes proposed were:

• The Iraqi Army should have a second Divisional HQ in Baghdad; one additional brigade in each of Diyala and Anbar; two additional battalions for 10th Division in Basra; an additional Special Operational battalion in Baghdad plus 400 armoured vehicles and a mobile armoured strike force.

• The National Police should have a “near‑term reconstitution, to restore standards of training, discipline and leadership, and a two‑year plan to reorganise and retrain them so that they evolve into a Carabinieri/gendarmerie force”.

• To bring together existing units into a rapid response national counter‑terror force overseen by the IMOD and a national strike force comprising a mechanised brigade, a Special Forces commando battalion and a National Police brigade.

1071. Lt Gen Fry reported that the key theme of the recommendations was “a better not bigger ISF, within budget” and that “we are close to an agreed ISF size and shape, revised in the light of experience to address the developing operational challenges”.

1072. On 20 July, Mr Patey sent a valedictory prior to leaving Iraq.990 He wrote: “Maliki knows he must reduce and eventually eliminate the power of the militias but does not feel he has sufficient forces at his disposal or cover within his political circles to do so whilst terrorism and the insurgency show no signs of abating. We are in a Catch 22; those insurgents who might consider joining the political process are unlikely to do so until the militias have been disbanded or disarmed. As long as AQ‑I and other groups are bombing Shia markets and mosques the militias will continue to pose as a better security option than the ISF and to assuage the desire for revenge …
“But the position is not hopeless … Our strategy must be to get the Iraqis to increasingly take the lead and responsibility. This will produce some uncomfortable


989 Minute Fry to PSO/CDS, 17 July 2006, ‘Development of the Iraqi Security Forces’.
990 eGram 31514/06 Baghdad to FCO London, 20 July 2006, ‘Iraq: Valedictory’. This is the corrected version of his valedictory; the original was 31444/06.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

moments but in the long run is the only solution. Considerable progress has been
made in building up Iraqi military capability and further significant milestones will
be achieved by the end of the year. It should be possible to ensure that the Iraqi
Government has a near monopoly of force by the time the coalition withdraws the
bulk of our forces. Our ability to help them transform the National Police into a
capable non sectarian force will be dependent on tackling the issue of militias. This
in turn will be the key to bringing local police forces up to snuff although the civil
institutions they report to will require considerably more work.”

1073. On 27 July, the Iraq Strategy Group discussed whether there was “any better
alternative to the current MNF‑I strategy for building up the ISF and progressively
transferring security to the Iraqis”.991 It agreed with the MNSTC‑I view that they “should
not give up on the Iraqi Police, notwithstanding the obvious problems”; that MOI reform
remained a critical and urgent task; and that the Iraqi Army’s ranks should be overfilled to bring them closer to 100 percent effective strength.


1074. Gen Jackson visited Iraq from 15 to 18 May 2006.992 On the various unofficial and
semi‑official armed groups, he said: “Although not wholly in the purview of SSR, these armed groupings must either be disbanded or integrated into the national security structure. The militias pose by far the hardest challenge and before there is any chance of DDR or integration into the ISF, formal political engagement with the associated political leaders of these groups is required: a priority task for the new government.”

1075. When they met on 22 May, Mr Blair asked Prime Minister Maliki how the issue
of militias could be best addressed.993 Mr Maliki “favoured extensive dialogue, including
with extremists, so long as they had not shed Iraqi blood”; terrorists should “be dealt
with forcefully”. There was “a consensus on militias, which all parties had now agreed
to disband” but it would be necessary to find alternative employment for current militia

1076. Mr Maliki also said that he recognised the importance of the Ministries of Interior
and Defence being seen to be independent and non‑sectarian. He hoped to have soon
appointed independent Ministers “without militia links”.

1077. During a wider discussion on ISF at DOP(I) on 6 July, the following point
was raised: “While the numbers of ISF looked good on paper, anecdotal reports suggested that absenteeism and desertion brought those numbers down considerably. The Prime


991 Minute Blake to Sheinwald, 27 July 2006, ‘Iraq Strategy Group, 27 July’.
992 Minute CGS to CDS, 22 May 2006, ‘CGS Visit to Iraq: 15‑18 May 06’.
993 Minute PS/PM to PS/FS, 22 May 2006, ‘Iraq: Prime Minister’s Meeting with Nouri al‑Maliki’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

Minister had some sympathy with the view of Maliki and the US that we should consider increasing the size of the Iraqi Army. The countervailing argument was that it was the ability to use troops available effectively that was the real constraint on the ISF’s effectiveness. In either case, there was a political argument for absorbing some of the militia forces into the ISF. The US was exploring the options but the potential costs had yet to be established.”994

1078. No.10 wrote to the MOD on 10 July to report that Mr Blair was “very concerned at the recent attack statistics” from Iraq, particularly the “widely reported sectarian killings” in Baghdad.995 Mr Blair judged that “overcoming the evident lack of engagement against the militias by the Iraqi Government and security forces is a major strategic task”. As well as continuing to press the Iraqi Government to take action, it was important for the UK to “have a clearer view of what action is required, to complement and make up for the shortcomings of the current Baghdad and Basra security plans”. In addition, he was concerned that the evidence demonstrated that the ISF were not as capable as had previously been assessed. No.10 asked for advice on addressing both of those issues.

1079. Mr Browne’s Private Secretary replied to No.10 suggesting that the UK should press Prime Minister Maliki to:

• “re‑emphasise publicly the theme of national unity”;

• conduct a vigorous internal reform of the MOI;

• agree a four‑step “militia engagement plan” comprising political engagement of figures with militia links, public engagement to establish popular support, military engagement to neutralise militia presence on the streets and a DDR process to absorb ex‑militia members”;

• overhaul the Baghdad Security Plan; and

• work with Muqtada al‑Sadr to make him choose between politics and “populist adventurism”.996

1080. On 16 July, Lt Gen Fry reported continuing concerns that in the MOI “the insidious effects of political and militia affiliations are beginning to compromise any claim it might have for institutional integrity”.997

1081. Lt Gen Fry thought that Mr Boulani would need help to address those issues and reported that Gen Casey had commissioned the development of an internal reform programme for the Ministry.


994 Minutes, 6 July 2006, DOP(I) meeting.
995 Letter Banner to McNeil, 10 July 2006, ‘Iraq: Security’.
996 Letter McNeil to Banner, 11 July 2006, ‘Iraq: Security’ attaching Paper, [undated], ‘Summary – Update on Progress of the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF)’.
997 Minute Fry to PSO/CDS, 16 July 2006, ‘SBMR‑I Weekly Report (218): 16 July 2006’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

1082. On 23 August, a JIC Assessment of the militias stated: “Violence in Iraq is part of a vicious circle: deteriorating security has led to a proliferation of militias, in turn fuelling further violence. Prime Minister Maliki is […] unable to confront the militias, fearing a violent backlash that would threaten the break‑up of the Shia political coalition (the UIA). Without significant progress on the National Reconciliation Plan and a sustained improvement in the security situation there will continue to be little appetite for the MNF plan for the Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration of the Iraqi militias.
“Many militias are sectarian based and competing with the Iraqi state’s security
forces to provide security and protection for their own communities. They are
undermining government authority. Some elements are engaged in violent attacks
against their political and sectarian opponents and coalition forces. In some cases,
the distinction between the armed gangs and the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) is

Who were the militias?

12.1 Table 6 – The Main Militias Recognised in 2006

Table 6: The main militias recognised in Iraq in 2006


999 Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, then Islamic Supreme Council in Iraq.
1000 Telegram 290 Iraq Rep to FCO, 7 June 2004, ‘Iraq: Militias Order’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

1083. A US Report to Congress on 30 November stated that, in early October, Prime Minister Maliki had said that political parties should eliminate their militias or leave the government.1001 It added: “However, personnel with sectarian agendas remain within key ministries, especially the Ministry of Interior. In addition, rivalries for the control of key resources and the central government’s limited influence outside Baghdad undermine the Government of Iraq’s ability to disband the militias …
“Despite these legal and political prohibitions, militias and other small armed groups operate openly, often with popular support, but outside formal public security structures. These militias provide an element of protection for the populace, generally on a sectarian or political basis. This is especially true in areas where there is a perception that the Government of Iraq is unwilling or unable to provide effective security for the population. Some militias also act as the security arm of an organisation devoted to social relief and welfare, lending these armed groups further legitimacy. Their continued existence challenges the legitimacy of the constitutional government and provides a conduit for foreign interference. Controlling and eventually eliminating militias is essential to meeting Iraq’s near‑ and long‑term security requirements.”

Transition to Iraqi control of security begins

1084. On 1 September, an eGram from the British Embassy Baghdad reported an “important step psychologically” for the Iraqi military: the Iraqi Ground Forces Command and IMOD would commence “a staggered handover” of command and control functions from MNF‑I on 3 September.1002 It would begin with the 8th Division and other divisions would follow at a rate of one every two weeks until the end of the year. The transfer of 10th Division was planned for January 2007and the final transfer, of the Ramadi Division, was planned for April. MNF‑I forces were expected to retain responsibility for logistical support and development.

1085. The British Embassy Baghdad reported that “while the assumption of responsibility looks gradual and sensibly phased, in reality the pace will be demanding to both MNF‑I and the IGFC [Iraqi Ground Forces Command]”. As “life support and logistics capabilities” were “developing at their own, much slower, pace”, it predicted that “IA Divisions will remain dependent on MNF‑I for some time to come”.


1001 Report to Congress, 30 November 2006, Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq.
1002 eGram 38264/06 Baghdad to FCO, 1 September 2006, ‘Iraq: Iraqis to Take Over Command and Control of its First Army Division’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

Ethno‑sectarian diversity in the Iraqi Ministry of Defence

In its Reports to Congress, the US DoD monitored ethno‑sectarian diversity in the
IMOD.1003 On 26 May 2006, it stated that the leadership of the IMOD, selected with
MNSTC‑I co‑ordination, was majority Sunni.
On 29 August, Sunnis and Kurds were over‑represented, in relation to the population,
at higher command levels, though Shia commanders held the majority of command
positions.1004 That was reported to reflect the requirement for military experience, which
Sunnis had obtained in the Iraqi Army before the invasion and Kurds had obtained through years of experience in the Peshmerga.
The composition of Iraqi Army divisions could be divided into two groups. The nationally
recruited divisions (those with an odd number) were roughly representative of the
country.1005 The even numbered divisions, which had been recruited locally, initially as
ICDC personnel then ING, were more homogenous.
Describing the composition of Iraqi Army divisions, the JIC recorded that “of the 10 Army
divisions, three are heavily Shia (over 90 percent), a further three are Shia‑dominated, two are mostly Kurdish and one is relatively mixed, which is unsurprising given that five are based on National Guard divisions recruited locally in 2003. Among the top three senior Army officer grades, representation broadly reflects the national confessional breakdown: Sunnis 20 percent; Shia about 50‑60 percent; the Kurds 20‑30 percent.”1006
To increase diversity in the odd numbered divisions, the intent was for replacements from
a national recruiting pool to join these units.1007 Further army recruitment was done at the national level with IMOD policy strictly prohibiting unit commanders from hiring their own personnel and clearly requiring enlisted and commissioned personnel to attend national training schools to receive certification of their rank and duty speciality.1008

1086. On 3 November, the British Embassy Baghdad reported that a video conference
between President Bush and Prime Minister Maliki had resulted in agreement to
accelerate the pace of training the ISF, their assuming command and control and the
transfer of security responsibility to the Iraqi Government.1009

1087. A High Level Working Group with three sub‑committees was established to
report on whether and how acceleration could take place in each area. The Working
Group consisted of Gen Casey and Ambassador Khalilzad, along with the Iraqi National
Security Adviser, Minister of the Interior and Minister of Defence.


1003 Report to Congress, 26 May 2006, Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq.
1004 Report to Congress, 29 August 2006, Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq.
1005 Report to Congress, 26 May 2006, Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq.
1006 JIC Assessment, 9 June 2006, ‘The Iraqi Security Forces: Fit For Duty?’.
1007 Report to Congress, 29 August 2006, Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq.
1008 Report to Congress, 17 February 2006, Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq.
1009 eGram 48788/06 Baghdad to FCO London, 3 November 2006, ‘Accelerating Security Transition’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

1088. The Embassy reported that “Maliki is frustrated at what he feels is his lack of control over Iraqi security” but also that Gen Casey feared that “forcing the pace risks putting too much pressure on immature Iraqi systems and capabilities”.

Iraqi Security Force assessments in late 2006

1089. Lt Gen Fry submitted his End of Tour Report on 28 August.1010 He wrote: “The key indices of the development of the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) are regularly reported and show steady progress. There are some structural problems which, in the IA, will require an additional 52,000 soldiers to be trained, and in the IPS, will require the process of internal reform to be seen through. But these are regarded as running repairs to structures which are fundamentally sound in design and institutionally well‑conceived. Given this positive background, the successive IA battalions which have disintegrated when placed under orders or actually deployed to operations outside their divisional area is disappointing. Disappointing, but probably not surprising. The month on month increase of numbers trained conceals organisations which remain very immature … Seen from MNSTC‑I, this is entirely predictable at the 18 month point of a three year process and [Lieutenant General] Dempsey [Commander MNSTC‑I] would assert that the ISF project is on track, so long as too much is not asked of it too soon …”

1090. Lt Gen Fry thought that the ISF would be tested over the next month. If they were successful he judged: “… the campaign will have negotiated a tricky period … But the stakes are high and failure would have implications for campaign progress, the place of the ISF in Iraqi society and the authority of the Maliki government. It is difficult to predict the outcome …”

1091. On 15 November, the JIC assessed: “MNF operations under the Baghdad security plan have had only temporary and local impacts: violence has been displaced and has increased overall. The ISF have been unable to sustain any improvements. Operations have exposed the patchy nature of Iraqi Army capability and the ineffectiveness of the Iraqi police. Prime Minister Maliki is attempting to address some of the problems: diplomatic reporting indicates he has ordered a purge of officers within the security Ministries involved in sectarian violence. The MOI claims that 3,000 police have been relieved of duty – although most are likely to be re‑deployed elsewhere.”1011


1010 Minute Fry to PSO/CDS, 28 August 2006, ‘SBMR‑I End of Tour Report’.
1011 JIC Assessment, 15 November 2006, ‘Iraq: Risk of Deepening Sectarian Division’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

1092. A further JIC Assessment on 24 November stated: “The UIA [United Iraqi Alliance] recognises the need to build ISF capabilities, but ISF credibility as impartial, national forces is being damaged by the main Shia factions entrenching their influence – and in some cases control – over state security structures. […] SCIRI’s Badr Organisation is the most organised, placing its members in important positions within the Ministries […]. The Jaysh al Mahdi (JAM), largely under the control of Sadr, has been less systematic, but controls the police in many Shia areas through infiltration and intimidation. The relative influence of SCIRI/ Badr and JAM in the ISF varies across the Shia areas of central and southern Iraq; their rivalry has led to serious violence in places, most recently in al‑Amara.
“Shia militias provide protection and leverage to Shia political parties. In a climate
of poor security and political uncertainty, we see no prospect that SCIRI/Badr, Sadr/
JAM and others will willingly give up their power. Maliki has made some attempts to
get rid of sectarian elements within the ISF […]. He says he is pursuing a strategy
with the Sadrists to bind them more tightly into the political process while gathering
the necessary political backing to take tough action against renegade JAM elements.
[…] By aligning himself with the Sadrists, Maliki risks alienating SCIRI/Badr.”1012

Enabling the police to tackle crime

A Report to Congress on 30 November 2006 stated that the MOI’s emphasis on
tactical skills meant that little resource was left for training for or conducting criminal
investigations.1013 As a result, corruption and smuggling were becoming more organised
and entrenched. The CPATT was seeking to address that by strengthening the Iraqi
Major Crimes Task Force and the Major Crimes Unit. In addition, there were discussions
between the MOI and MNSTC‑I about improving Iraq’s forensic investigative capabilities
by adding several thousand forensic specialists to the police forces.
In November 2006, the British Embassy Baghdad produced a ‘Police Forward Look’ that
suggested the UK’s aim was to move its “assistance increasingly to higher‑level mentoring
and support”.1014 It identified seven work strands in Baghdad, a number of which were
expected to transfer to an Iraqi lead during 2007:

• TIPS – CPATT was likely to move the hotline to the MOI “in the next few
months”. Without a significant increase in resources, the UK contribution
(ArmorGroup) was judged to be unsustainable and it was recommended that it
be drawn down by March 2007 “at the latest”. Despite being “the UK’s biggest
success story”, it “was not part of our original remit”. TIPS is described earlier in
this Section in the Box, ‘TIPS hotline’.

• Forensics – the Baghdad laboratory and training academy were open with “significant” support from UK police officers and ArmorGroup. They aimed to be completely Iraqi‑led by the end of 2007; the Basra equivalent was “now the priority”.


1012 JIC Assessment, 24 November 2006, ‘Iraq: What do the Shia want?’.
1013 Report to Congress, 30 November 2006, Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq.
1014 Paper BE Baghdad, November 2006, ‘Police Forward Look’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

• Intelligence – the NIIA should be “running successfully” by early 2009. It was currently “still in its infancy and was heavily dependent on British assistance”. One UK police officer oversaw the entire programme.

• Capacity‑building at the MOI – the UK would continue to provide Rule of Law and policing advice at a strategic level to the MOI through one or more high‑level advisors.

• CPATT slots – to continue “for as long as is required”. British officers held two positions in CPATT and a further two were desired over the next year.

• Hostage affairs – one officer whose role was to provide links into the Hostage Working Group and other US and MNF‑I hostage recovery groups. It was a post that the UK could not “manage without” and any departing officer should be replaced “as rapidly as possible with another police officer from the UK with the relevant skill set”. The role was described as “not a heavily loaded slot until hostage issues arise (as at present),1015 when it involves long hours and a heavy workload”.

• Chief Police Adviser – recommended that that role be returned to Baghdad following the transition to Provincial Iraqi Control in Basra “to oversee what should be a smaller and more strategic policing team”. His role could double up with a senior role in CPATT.

Developing the Ministry of Interior and Iraqi Ministry of Defence

1093. Lt Gen Houghton described the focus on IMOD development (compared with the focus on the Ministry of Oil) in his 8 January 2006 weekly report to Gen Walker: “A coalition engagement plan that has 103 advisers in the MOD yet only six in the Ministry of Oil is not properly balanced.”1016

1094. Mr Straw asked FCO officials for advice on Lt Gen Houghton’s comments on the imbalance between coalition support for the Ministries of Defence and Oil.1017

1095. Mr Asquith replied to Mr Straw on 18 January.1018 He advised that the IMOD had indeed received a “disproportionately” larger number of advisers than other ministries, for three reasons:

• unlike other ministries, the IMOD had been torn apart by the coalition and needed rebuilding from scratch;

• the importance of security issues; and

• its location in the Green Zone, which meant that advisers could work there relatively uninterrupted.


1015 This may be a reference to the kidnapping of up to 150 employees and visitors of an Education Ministry building in Baghdad.
1016 Minute Houghton to CDS, 8 January 2006, ‘SBMR‑I Weekly Report (194) 08 January 06’.
1017 Minute Asquith to Foreign Secretary, 18 January 2006, ‘Iraq: Capacity‑building in Ministries’.
1018 Minute Asquith to Foreign Secretary, 18 January 2006, ‘Iraq: Capacity‑building in Ministries’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

1096. A Cabinet Office paper on 13 June reported that the UK contribution to the
Ministerial Transition Teams was:

• MOI: five international consultants (working in rotation) and two military officers.
The focus was on management and administrative capacity‑building, including
strategic planning, improving administrative controls and accountability, clarifying
the legal and constitutional framework and human resource management.

• IMOD: seven full-time advisers (MOD), including the Team Leader/Senior
Advisor who was responsible for directly advising the Minister. The team focused
on establishing a functional Secretariat, strengthening contracting procedures
and developing the Inspector General Group.1019

1097. A Report to Congress on 30 November stated that the MOI “was currently
assessed as being partly effective overall”.1020 The MOI Transition Team had “just over
100 advisers”:

• Seven were from the US State Department.

• Three were from the US Department of Justice.

• 45 were from the US military.

• “just over a third” were contractors (Military Professional Resources Inc).

• The rest were non‑US military and civilian personnel.

1098. The IMOD Transition Team contained “just under 50 advisers”:

• The majority were contractors (Military Professional Resources Inc).

• Six were US military personnel.

• 12 were civilian advisers.

1099. A “similarly scaled effort” was provided at Joint Headquarters, with US military
personnel making up roughly half and the rest split between US contractors and
personnel from coalition countries.

1100. On 17 January 2007, the JIC repeated its concerns about the IMOD and the MOI
but did note some small signs of improvement in the Ministries, stating: “The Ministerial Committee for National Security – chaired by [Prime Minister] Maliki – is taking on more strategic planning. The MOD has benefited from MNF engagement, performing better than the MOI. We judge that both ministries are better able to direct their forces, albeit inconsistently. Some efforts have been made to correct deep‑seated problems. But the lack of united national political direction is reflected in Iraq’s security machinery which remains largely un‑coordinated and, we


1019 Paper Cabinet Office, 13 June 2006, ‘Follow‑up to the Prime Minister’s visit, including Delivering a Step‑Change in Basra’ attaching Annex B ‘Capacity‑building Assistance (Excluding Direct Support from UK Missions in Iraq)’.
1020 Report to Congress, 30 November 2006, Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

judge, only partially effective: undermined by personal and party rivalries, endemic corruption and the absence of a capable bureaucracy. This is unlikely to change significantly in the foreseeable future. […]
“Both the MOI and MOD still face significant difficulties in effectively administering their rapidly expanding forces … Corruption and sectarianism still permeate the MOI.”1021

1101. Reports to Congress between November 2006 and March 2007 highlighted the work being undertaken to tackle corruption in the MOI:

• Internal Affairs: By the end of September 2006, 650 out of a total of around 1,000 MOI Internal Affairs officers had received specialised training. Training for all personnel was expected to be completed by March 2007.1022

• “Quicklook”: A coalition‑initiated, MOI‑led police reform programme called “Quicklook” was launched in December 2006.1023 It aimed to review all aspects of the performance and effectiveness of Iraqi police stations, beginning in Baghdad. It comprised visits by representatives from Police Affairs, Internal Affairs, Human Resources, Training and Administrative Directorates and was complemented by the PTTs.

• Dismissals: By August 2006, over 230,000 MOI employees had been screened by the Iraqi Police Screening Service, against Ba’ath Party records and Saddam Hussein‑era criminal records.1024 Possible positive hits numbered 5,300, leading to the dismissal of 74 personnel. By March 2007, there had been 1,228 dismissals with a further 2,143 dismissals pending.1025 The screening process was severely hampered by its inability to check for militia links; to counter that, IPS recruits were required to take an oath of office denouncing militia influence and pledging allegiance to Iraq’s Constitution.1026

The National Police

The DoD reported to Congress on 26 May 2006 that the Iraqi National Police had been created on 1 April 2006.1027 The Minister of Interior signed an order to reorganise and merge the Police Commandos, the Public Order and Mechanised Police and the Emergency Response Unit to form a single force under a single headquarters.
An eGram from Mr Asquith on 7 December explained that the intention behind the National Police was to create a mixed ethno‑sectarian force, filling the gap between the “provincial” IPS and the Iraqi Army in dealing with serious civil disorder and internal


1021 JIC Assessment, 17 January 2007, ‘Iraqi Security Forces: Prospects in 2007’.
1022 Report to Congress, 30 November 2006, Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq.
1023 Report to Congress, 2 March 2007, Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq.
1024 Report to Congress, 29 August 2006, Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq.
1025 Report to Congress, 2 March 2007, Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq.
1026 Report to Congress, 30 November 2006, Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq.
1027 Report to Congress, 26 May 2006, Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

emergencies.1028 The planned number of officers was 25,000 but it was currently staffed
to “around 19,000”. Almost all National Police personnel were deployed in Baghdad.
Mr Asquith reported that the National Police’s first major deployment in June had been
“disappointing” and the second “somewhat better” but capability concerns remained. In
response, MNF‑I and the MOI had initiated a comprehensive retraining and leadership
programme, resulting in a reshuffle that attracted local and international press coverage.
It was now in the second phase of retraining which was scheduled to run until September
2007. Officers would be retrained in police (as opposed to military) skills and “not released for duties until they are able to meet the required standard”.
The MNF‑I hoped that the retraining would also make “the NP [National Police] less
susceptible to the influence and infiltration of the militias” but Mr Asquith noted: “Indeed,
as so often with the ISF as a whole, leadership will be the key.”
While the National Police’s future role was undecided, the aim was to turn it into a “more
aggressive, responsive, paramilitary‑style force over the next five years”, similar to
the Italian Carabinieri (National Military Police). Plans for regionalising the force were
dependent on the security situation in Baghdad, where the National Police would be
crucial in maintaining public order once the US drawdown began.
A JIC Assessment issued on 9 June 2006 reported: “The more capable National Police, largely confined to the Baghdad region, have provided effective support to MNF counter‑insurgency operations. But we judge that there are serious problems of corruption, criminality, and divided loyalties; elements have taken part in sectarian attacks and are prone to Shia militia influence.”1029
A Report to Congress on 30 November 2006 stated that while the National Police had
“proven useful in fighting the insurgency”, frequent allegations of abuse and other illegal
activities affected their credibility.1030 A report in June 2007 stated that a four‑phase
transformation programme began in October 2006 to reorient the National Police towards
police (as opposed to paramilitary) functions:

• Phase I: “Quicklook” inspections to improve overall readiness.

• Phase II: Standardised collective training, including added emphasis on human
rights, Rule of Law and police ethics. Extensive re‑vetting of currently serving
officers, including ID checks, fingerprints, biometrics, a literacy test, and criminal
intelligence background checks. There was no specific screening for militia

• Phase III: An Italian led training plan based on the tactics, techniques and
procedures of the Carabinieri.

• Phase IV: Forward positioning to train on contingencies such as security for
pilgrimages, natural disasters and national emergencies.1031


1028 eGram 54506/06 Baghdad to FCO, 7 December 2006, ‘Iraq: The National Police’.
1029 JIC Assessment, 9 June 2006, ‘The Iraqi Security Forces: Fit for Duty?’
1030 Report to Congress, 30 November 2006, Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq.
1031 Report to Congress, 7 June 2007, Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

By September 2007, the National Police Commander had relieved commanders of both of the divisions, all nine brigades and 17 of 27 battalions.1032 The Report to Congress stated that despite those changes, sectarianism remained a significant problem within the National Police.

Reform of the Facilities Protection Service

1102. Facilities Protection Service (FPS) personnel were also implicated in violent crimes and other illegal activity.1033 On 24 August 2006, Prime Minister Maliki announced that the majority of the FPS would be consolidated into a unified organisation accountable to the MOI.1034 An early test case review of the Central Bank of Iraq’s Protection Service suggested that 800 of the 1,800 employees on the payroll were either ghost employees or otherwise unfit for such employment.

1103. On 27 December, Prime Minister Maliki signed a consolidation directive that provided instructions to place all FPS personnel under the MOI, with the exception of the Ministry of Oil, the Ministry of Electricity and the Higher Juridical Council forces.1035

1104. Many Ministries resisted central control over their guard forces and continued to use the FPS as an employment opportunity for militia and sectarian interests.1036

1105. The draft Facility Protection Service Reform Act was still in limbo between the Council of Ministers and the Committee of Representatives at the point of UK military withdrawal more than two years later.1037

Creation of the Iraqi national counter‑terrorism capability

On 10 October 2006, Prime Minister Maliki approved the establishment of an Iraqi national counter‑terrorism capability, comprising:

• The development of a National Counter‑Terrorism Bureau separate from the ministries, to act as the principal adviser to the Prime Minister on counter‑terrorism matters.

• The establishment of a separate major command equivalent to the Iraqi Ground Forces Command to provide support to the National Counter‑Terrorism Bureau in intelligence and targeting areas.


1032 Report to Congress, 14 September 2007, Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq.
1033 Report to Congress, 29 August 2006, Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq.
1034 Report to Congress, 30 November 2006, Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq.
1035 Report to Congress, 2 March 2007, Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq.
1036 Report to Congress, 7 June 2007, Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq.
1037 Report to Congress, 23 July 2009, Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

• The expansion of the Iraqi Special Operations Forces that would be commanded
by the new counter‑terrorism command. That expansion would include an
additional commando battalion with forward‑based commando companies in
Basra, Mosul and al‑Asad.1038

Iraq Forward Plan

1106. Following a discussion in the Iraq Strategy Group,1039 a draft of a Forward Plan
was sent to Mr Blair’s Private Secretary by Mr Simon McDonald, FCO Director Iraq,
on 24 November 2006.1040 It was also sent in parallel to the FCO, the MOD and to SIS.
The Forward Plan considered what more needed to be done to improve the chances of
successful transition (there is more detail on the Forward Plan in Section 9.5).

1107. The Forward Plan assessed the key weaknesses of the ISF as:

“• A lack of capacity and ineffective command and control arrangements,
particularly at strategic and operational levels.

• Militia infiltration of the Iraqi Security Forces, in particular the Iraqi police force
and other Ministry of Interior forces.

• The inability of Iraqi Ministry of Defence to apportion and release funding.

• Strategic and tactical level intelligence capabilities.

• Lack of Iraqi Security Forces logistic capacity and protected mobility.

• Lack of some heavier weapons such as machine guns.”

1108. To address those concerns over three, six and 12 months, at both the national and the MND(SE) level, the proposals included:

• providing subject matter experts to the security Ministries;

• encouraging the Iraqi Government to address issues such as sectarianism;

• reforming corrupt elements of the police;

• enhancing the UK commitment to monitoring and mentoring 10th Division; and

• providing niche equipment.

1109. Responding to Mr McDonald, Mr Blair’s Private Secretary reported that he had
described the Forward Plan as “an excellent piece of work”.1041 The Private Secretary
asked for it to be finalised and implemented.


1038 Report to Congress, 30 November 2006, Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq; Report to Congress, 2 March 2007, Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq.
1039 Minute Cabinet Office [junior official] to Sheinwald, 27 November 2006, ‘Iraq Strategy Group, 24 November’.
1040 Minute McDonald to Banner, 24 November 2006, ‘Iraq Forward Plan’ attaching Draft Paper, [undated], ‘Iraq: Forward Plan’.
1041 Letter Banner to McDonald, 27 November 2006, ‘Iraq: Forward Plan’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

1110. On 29 November, Vice Admiral Charles Style, Deputy Chief of the Defence Staff (Commitments), told the Chiefs of Staff that the Forward Plan had received Mr Blair’s approval over the weekend.1042

1111. At DOP(I) on 7 December, Mr Browne reported that the security aspects of the Forward Plan were being implemented and that weaknesses in ISF capacity and in the Basra police were being addressed.1043

1112. The Inquiry has seen no other record of implementation against the Forward Plan’s proposals.

Iraqi Air Force progress

In September 2007, the US Independent Commission on the Security Forces in Iraq (led by General James L. Jones and described later in this Section) concluded: “The Iraqi Air Force’s relatively late establishment hampers its ability to provide much‑needed air support to ground operations. It is well designed as the air component to the existing counterinsurgency effort, but not for the future needs of a fully capable air force. Though limited by the availability of properly skilled personnel, and by an inclination to value force size and acquisition over operational effectiveness, it is nonetheless progressing at a promising rate during this formative period.”1044
In September 2007, the Iraqi Air Force numbered 1,100 personnel with 45 aircraft.1045 There were plans to increase personnel to 3,000 and for the number of aircraft to increase to 80 by the end of 2007. Although the target of 3,000 personnel by the end of 2007 was not met (there were only 1,200), long‑term ambitions grew and plans were developed to create an Iraqi Air Force of 12,000 personnel operating from 10 main bases and five secondary bases.
By 31 May 2010, there were 5,600 personnel with 106 aircraft.1046 The US assessed that the “Minimum Essential Capability” required when US forces left in December 2011 was “to establish the capability to support COIN operations and put in place the building blocks necessary for the achievement of air sovereignty”.1047 The US assessed in August 2010 that the Iraqi Air Force was on track to meet this capability in all areas with the exception of airspace control and fixed wing airlift.1048


1042 Minutes, 29 November 2006, Chiefs of Staff meeting.
1043 Minutes, 7 December 2006, DOP(I) meeting.
1044 Report, 6 September 2007, ‘Independent Commission on the Security Forces in Iraq’.
1045 Report to Congress, 14 December 2007, Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq.
1046 Report to Congress, 20 August 2010, Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq.
1047 Report to Congress, 29 April 2010, Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq.
1048 Report to Congress, 20 August 2010, Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

Focus on the Iraqi Army

1113. On 29 October 2006, Mr Blair wrote a minute to staff in No.10 entitled ‘Iraq
Plan’.1049 On ISF development he suggested: “Rectify any weaknesses in training, equipment, pay and capacity of the Iraqi Army. This should be built up as a major force which everyone knows is superior to any other force. If we need to embed more of our officers to help, we should do it. We need to make the Iraqi MOD effective in paying soldiers.
“A plan to pay off the worst aspects of the police, slim them down and change the
command and control. All this is easier to do in the context of the growing Army

1114. In a Note to President Bush on 20 December, Mr Blair suggested three ways
in which to support Prime Minister Maliki, the first of which was to: “… increase the speed of Iraqi Army command and control; training and equipment. They are the one reasonably solid force structure the Iraqi Government has. All our effort must be directed to building its capability.”1050

1115. On 6 January 2007, Prime Minister Maliki delivered what Mr Asquith described
as a “robust” speech at Iraq’s Army Day event.1051 Mr Maliki called for armed forces that
were without political bias, cohesive in the national interest and protected from political
interference and militia. Mr Maliki said: “We will not allow anybody to be an alternative to the state, whether the militias or anybody else, regardless of their affiliations … We will confront them firmly.”

1116. On 14 January 2007, Mr Blair met Mr Robert Gates, US Secretary of Defence.1052
Mr Blair was recorded as stating that the Iraqis needed “at least one institution of power
which worked and supported the government”. His advice to the US was to place a high
value on building up Iraqi military capability.

Expansion of the Iraqi Security Forces

1117. On 10 January 2007, President Bush announced a change of strategy for Iraq,
often referred to as “the Surge”.1053 This is explained in more detail in Section 9.5.


1049 Note Blair, 29 October 2006, ‘Iraq Plan’.
1050 Note Blair to Bush, 20 December 2006, ‘Note’.
1051 eGram 534/07 Baghdad to FCO London, 7 January 2007, ‘Iraq: Prime Minister al‑Maliki, 7 January’.
1052 Letter Sheinwald to Forber, 15 January 2007, ‘Prime Minister’s Meeting with US Defence Secretary, 14 January: Iraq and Afghanistan’.
1053 The White House archive, 10 January 2007, President’s Address to the Nation.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

As well as increasing the number of US and Iraqi troops in Baghdad, President Bush announced a further focus on SSR: “In keeping with the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group [described in Section 9.5], we will increase the embedding of American Advisors in Iraqi Army units, and partner a coalition brigade with every Iraqi Army division. We will help the Iraqis build a larger and better‑equipped army, and we will accelerate the training of Iraqi forces, which remains the essential US security mission in Iraq.”

1118. On 17 January, the JIC produced an Assessment commissioned by the Iraq Senior Officials Group.1054 It stated: “The success of new US plans will depend in part on the willingness of the Iraqi Government to take on sectarian and political militias. Maliki will not take action which risks breaking the Shia United Iraqi Alliance (UIA) and bringing down his government. Only a small proportion of the ISF are currently both willing and able to take on the Shia militias. In Baghdad the ISF will need support from MNF combat units beyond 2007. Similar support will be required in the Sunni Arab heartlands if de facto control of large areas is not to pass to the insurgents.”

1119. The US view of what was necessary to stabilise the situation in Iraq was reflected in an assessment produced and published in January 2007 by the US National Intelligence Council.1055 On the ISF it stated: “Despite real improvements, the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) – particularly the Iraqi police – will be hard pressed in the next 12‑18 months to execute significantly increased security responsibilities, and particularly to operate independently against Shia militias with success. Sectarian divisions erode the dependability of many units, many are hampered by personnel and equipment shortfalls, and a number of Iraqi units have refused to serve outside of the areas where they were recruited.”

1120. It also judged that if a rapid drawdown of coalition forces were to occur, the ISF “would be unlikely to survive as a non‑sectarian national institution”.

1121. Mr Blair met General David Petraeus, the new Commander MNF‑I on 6 February.1056 They discussed Iraq’s security institutions and agreed that there were still problems with funding, equipment and key enablers such as intelligence. They also discussed the loyalty of the ISF and agreed that it was vital that the Iraqi Government was able to impose its authority. Gen Petraeus agreed to lobby the Government on matters such as a replacement commander for 10th Division if a solution was not forthcoming. Mr Blair said that the UK would stay in Basra Palace and do more training and mentoring.


1054 JIC Assessment, 17 January 2007, ‘Iraqi Security Forces: Prospects in 2007’.
1055 [US] National Intelligence Estimate, [approved] 29 January 2007, Prospects for Iraq’s Stability: a Challenging Road Ahead (Key judgments).
1056 Letter Banner to McNeil, 6 February 2007, ‘Prime Minister’s Meeting with David Petraeus’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

1122. The DoD reported to Congress on 2 March that over 40 Joint Security Stations
in Baghdad would be established to “facilitate co‑operation between coalition and Iraqi
Forces and to build trust and confidence with the local population”.1057

1123. The Report to Congress stated that the generation of MNSTC‑I‑agreed force
levels as mandated under the Petraeus Plan was considered complete. Both the IMOD
and the MOI had assumed control of most force generation tasks.

1124. A letter from Mr Browne, circulated to DOP(I) members ahead of a meeting on
10 May, commented that “we must build on examples like Anbar, once considered all but
lost, where tribal leaders are now working with the coalition to drive out Al Qaida”.1058

1125. Mr Browne said in discussion at the DOP(I) meeting that, in Anbar: “young Sunnis were queuing up to join the Iraqi Security Forces”.1059

Machinery of Government under Mr Brown

Mr Gordon Brown took office as Prime Minister of the UK on 27 June 2007. In his initial
Cabinet reshuffle, he appointed Mr David Miliband as Foreign Secretary and Mr Douglas
Alexander as Development Secretary. Mr Des Browne remained as Defence Secretary
until 3 October 2008.
Mr Brown reorganised the structure of Cabinet Committees. As well as discussions
in Cabinet, Iraq business was formally addressed in the Overseas and Defence
Sub‑Committee of the Committee on National Security, International Relations and
Defence (NSID(OD)). An additional sub‑committee specifically on Iraq (NSID(IR)) was
also established, but never met.

1126. In June, a proposal agreed by Prime Minister Maliki established an additional
light infantry division, bringing the total planned force structure to 131060 divisions.1061
That expansion was funded by the Iraqi Government, bringing the total IMOD expansion
budget to US$950m. The development of the 14th Division which was to be raised in
Basra is described further in Box, ‘A new Iraqi Army division for Basra’, later in
this Section.

1127. Commenting in his valedictory on 16 August 2007, Mr Asquith said:
“The surge has failed to create the space for politics to work because the military
(tactical) successes (local security structures loyal to the MNF) conflict directly with
the political objective (inclusive and integrated national Iraqi authority).”1062


1057 Report to Congress, 2 March 2007, Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq.
1058 Letter Browne to Blair, 5 May 2007, ‘Iraq: Reconciliation’.
1059 Minutes, 10 May 2007, DOP(I) meeting.
1060 The new division would be called the 14th Division, because the number 13 was not used.
1061 Report to Congress, 14 September 2007, Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq.
1062 Letter Asquith to Miliband, 16 August 2007, ‘Iraq: Valedictory’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

1128. Mr Asquith told the Inquiry: “Personally, I was sceptical that the surge would be effective and was unsure whether the real objective of agreeing the local cease‑fires with some of the Sunni Arab areas’ tribal leaders was designed to minimise the casualties of US forces or was really designed to build them into the political process. My suspicions were that the first objective … was probably a more important one in the minds of the military planners, and I was sceptical that they would be successful in persuading, particularly the Sunni Arab tribal leaders, to be loyal to a Shia‑led government in Baghdad.
“I think in retrospect I was wrong and I think the surge did produce what General Petraeus was seeking to achieve by it, not just to create the sort of breathing space for some politics to work, but that it did, more sustainably than I assumed, quieten those areas which were extremely violent.”1063

Iraqi border police progress

The DoD reported on 2 March 2007 that MNSTC‑I had trained 28,400 Department of Border Enforcement (DBE) and Port of Entry (POE) personnel and that the DBE was supported by 28 Coalition Border Transition Teams.1064
Later in the year a joint DBE and MNSTC‑I five‑year plan was developed to bring the total number of constructed border forts and annexes to 7231065 and to increase the personnel requirement to 46,000.1066
On 6 September, the Independent Commission on the Security Forces in Iraq reported to Congress its conclusion that: “Iraq’s border security forces are generally ineffective and need more equipment, training, and infrastructure before they can play a significant role in securing Iraq’s borders. The Department of Border Enforcement suffers from poor support from the Ministry of Interior. Overall border security is undermined by the division of responsibilities between the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Transportation. Corruption and external infiltration of the border security forces are widespread, and the borders are porous.”1067
On 18 December 2008, the JIC assessed that the DBE “suffer from departmental underinvestment and corruption” and “are unable to protect Iraq’s borders”.1068
By August 2010, the DBE had 40,000 personnel and operated out of 657 forts and annexes.1069 It was estimated that over 60,000 personnel would be required to staff the planned number of forts.


1063 Public hearing, 4 December 2009, page 30.
1064 Report to Congress, 2 March 2007, Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq.
1065 Report, 6 September 2007, ‘Independent Commission on the Security Forces in Iraq’.
1066 Report to Congress, 7 March 2008, Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq.
1067 Report, 6 September 2007, ‘Independent Commission on the Security Forces in Iraq’.
1068 JIC Assessment, 18 December 2008, ‘Iraqi Security Forces: Mixed Abilities’.
1069 Report to Congress, 20 August 2010, Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

The justice sector

1129. The minutes of DOP(I) on 30 March 2006 recorded that in discussion it was stated: “Work was needed to identify what was required to build Iraqi judicial capacity …
Building up the Iraqi judicial system would take significant commitment and
resources. Was it currently assigned a high enough priority in HMG’s [Her Majesty’s
Government’s] long term plans?”1070

1130. On 23 May, a junior official in IPU emailed the British Embassy Baghdad to ask if
there were any “gaps” that could be addressed in the justice sector through the 2007/08
GCPP bid.1071 The official wrote that the FCO, the MOD and DFID agreed it could
become “the weak link in the Rule of Law chain” and undermine the SSR effort.

1131. A junior official in Baghdad replied on 25 May, agreeing that “the justice
sector has been and continues to be ‘the missing link’”.1072 He wrote that the US was
“looking to spending hundreds of millions of dollars in the justice sector”, covering
judicial personal security, courthouse security and administration, expanding Central
Criminal Court of Iraq capacity and forensic training for judges. The EU JustLex
programme (see Box, ‘EU integrated police and Rule of Law mission for Iraq’, earlier
in this Section) had been extended recently and the EU Commission had €40m for
“Governance” programmes.

1132. Looking at what the UK could provide, the official wrote that a Rule of Law
Sectoral Working Group, chaired by the Chief Justice, had produced a “unified” strategy.
The Chief Justice had advised that the Iraqi system did not want:

• more “short training courses in generic human rights issues in foreign locations”
– those took judges “away from their day jobs” for too long and further training
for existing judges should be considered;

• “more Western advisers” – due to language and access barriers; or

• more “soft” assistance – the UK had “published at great expense a number of
pamphlets, CDs, training packages and other materials. Often these have not
been used effectively, if … at all”.

1133. The official added: “In essence, the Iraqis don’t want to be told what they should do, or what their rights are: they want concrete assistance to help them do what they know they should do, or help make those paper rights a reality.”


1070 Minutes, 30 March 2006, DOP(I) meeting.
1071 Email IPU [junior official] to FCO [junior official], 23 May 2006, ‘Rule of Law – The Justice Sector’.
1072 Email FCO [junior official] to IPU [junior official], 25 May 2006, ‘Rule of Law – The Justice Sector’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

1134. The official’s view was that nothing “meaningful” had been done since the 2004 International Legal Assistance Consortium (ILAC) project (described in Box, ‘International Legal Assistance Consortium’, earlier in this Section). The official recommended funding an expansion of the Judicial Training Institute to improve the capacity and quality of training for new judges. Current facilities were too small to accommodate enough students, textbooks were “insufficient”, there were no computers and most lecturers did not receive payment.

1135. A junior official in DFID reported to Mr Benn on 30 June that the success of the Rule of Law Sectoral Working Group had been “limited”: “The Working Group struggles to function effectively under a weak chair (the Chief Justice). He lacks the resources to manage the administrative workload and has requested support from donors.”1073

1136. To help overcome that, the official wrote that DFID was providing £93,000 for an experienced Iraqi lawyer to support the Chief Justice, as recommended by the FCO in Baghdad, believing that that “modest investment” could “have a significant impact across the sector”.

1137. On 8 January 2007, Mr Banner wrote to Mr Irfan Siddiq, Private Secretary to Mr David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, to commission advice on the current state of the Iraqi justice system, including the degree of governmental interference and how that might realistically be addressed.1074

1138. Mr Siddiq replied with a paper produced by the IPU and the British Embassy Baghdad on 16 February.1075

1139. The paper reported that there were 850 judges in Iraq; 150 of those were in Baghdad. There was “widespread recognition” that that number needed to increase by between 500 and 600 to “alleviate the backlog of cases”. There were 178 judges expected to graduate from the Judicial Training Institute in June 2007 and another 58 in June 2008.

1140. Governmental interference with the judiciary remained a concern. Citing recent examples of that, it was recommended that the UK and the US should “protest vigorously” in such circumstances. The UK had part‑funded two upcoming conferences in Iraq that would promote the principles of the Rule of Law and the importance of judicial independence.


1073 Note DFID [junior official] to PS/SofS [DFID], 30 June 2006, ‘Iraq: Support to the Rule of Law Sector Working Group’.
1074 Letter Banner to Siddiq, 8 January 2007, ‘Iraq’.
1075 Letter Siddiq to Banner, 16 February 2007 attaching Paper British Embassy Baghdad/Iraq Policy Unit, ‘Iraqi Justice System’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

1141. Militia influence and intimidation remained “a grave threat”; 23 judges had been
killed in the past three years and “many more” had been kidnapped or threatened.
Security measures were being provided to the judiciary and other measures were being
installed at courthouses. FPS had proved “ineffective”, having been infiltrated by militias.

1142. The FCO paper sent by Mr Siddiq was provided to members of DOP(I) for their
meeting on 8 March.1076 It stated that there were issues related to judicial capacity,
security, a backlog of cases (with between 7,500 and 12,500 detainees being held
pre‑trial by the Iraqi authorities) and governmental interference. It made a series
of recommendations, including those mentioned in the Better Basra Mark III plan
(described later in this Section). Other recommendations included:

• making it clear that governmental interference was not acceptable (when there
is evidence of it having occurred);

• a visit to Baghdad by Lord Goldsmith to emphasise the importance of the
Rule of Law;

• EU and UN action to support the principles of the Rule of Law and judicial
independence; and

• the provision of security to judicial officials and witnesses.

1143. In discussion at DOP(I) it was suggested that the UK should:

• find ways to address as a matter of urgency the large numbers of detainees;

• take advantage of being able to act under the UNSCR mandate while it was still
in place;

• consider what assistance the UK could give to the Rule of Law Green Zone1077
initiative; and

• increase efforts on the Rule of Law and police reform in Basra.1078

1144. A Report to Congress on 2 March referred to the US‑funded “criminal justice
complexes” which comprised a courthouse, detention facilities, forensic labs and judicial
housing within the same secure perimeter.1079 The first complex was to be developed at
Rusafa in Baghdad.

1145. The following day, Mr Asquith recorded a request from Gen Petraeus for a UK
military/government lawyer and a criminal investigator to assist in the Rule of Law
Green Zone.1080


1076 Paper British Embassy and IPU, 6 March 2007, ‘The Iraqi Judicial System’.
1077 The Rule of Law Green Zone was a relatively safe area for justice actors (such as judges and prosecutors) to carry out their functions.
1078 Minutes, 9 March 2007, DOP(I) meeting.
1079 Report to Congress, 2 March 2007, Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq.
1080 eGram 9559/07 Baghdad to FCO London, 8 March 2007, ‘Iraq: Weekly Assessment’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

1146. The establishment of the Rule of Law Green Zone was discussed at a meeting between Mr Miliband, Lord Goldsmith and Mr Browne on 7 March and was described as “promising”.1081

1147. Baroness Scotland, Lord Goldsmith’s successor, visited Iraq from 19 to 21 November.1082 The purpose of her visit was to “emphasise the importance of the Rule of Law and the independence of the judiciary”. She summarised that there was “a long way to go to establish the Rule of Law in Iraq” and although her message was well received there was a need to “ensure that those words are met with action”. She stated: “I was very much struck that there was a genuine lack of leadership and understanding of where the responsibility for driving forward the Rule of Law agenda lies within the Government of Iraq. It seemed to be the responsibility of everyone and the responsibility of no‑one!”

1148. A Report to Congress on 14 December 2007 stated that the previous September, Prime Minister Maliki had signed an executive order requiring humane treatment of detainees and more expeditious processing of their cases.1083 The order directed a Ministerial Committee for Rule of Law and Detention, consisting of senior representatives from the relevant ministries, to meet weekly and address issues.

1149. On 20 December, a junior FCO official submitted advice to Mr Miliband about working more closely with the US to reduce the number of their Iraqi detainees.1084 The official wrote that the Ministerial Committee had “been taking steps to improve Iraqi procedures for detainee handling, but progress [was] slow”.

1150. The official stated that detainees were “frequently subject to abuse”, mainly in MOI facilities, “often to obtain confessions”. The Ministry of Justice’s prisons suffered from “severe overcrowding”. The official wrote: “Through a combination of negligence, incompetence, poor co‑ordination and lack of adequate facilities it can take a long time to process detainees through the investigative, judicial and correctional systems.”

1151. The Stabilisation Fund was introduced in July 2007, effectively replacing the GCPP for the funding of SSR projects in Iraq (see Section 13.1).1085 The Stabilisation Fund was owned by the MOD but was jointly managed with the FCO and DFID.


1081 Email PS/SoS [FCO] to Brind, 12 March 2007, ‘Foreign Secretary’s Meeting with Attorney General and Defence Secretary, 7 March’.
1082 Letter Scotland to Miliband, 3 December 2007, ‘Iraq’.
1083 Report to Congress, 14 December 2007, Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq.
1084 Minute FCO [junior official] to PS/SofS [FCO], 20 December 2007, ‘Iraq: Detention and Reconciliation: UK Approach for 2008’.
1085 Minute Treasury [junior official] to Chief Secretary, 23 July 2007, ‘CSR2007 – Conflict Prevention and Post‑Conflict Stabilisation’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

1152. In a bid prepared for the Iraq Stabilisation Programme Board in February 2008,
£3.18m was proposed for the justice sector:

• £1.65m assisting the US‑led Rule of Law complex – a senior political adviser,
a court administrator and a defence counsel;

• £1.04m supporting the Ministerial Committee – one senior adviser and a support
officer; and

• £0.49m for a Basra justice adviser.1086

Mid‑2007 assessments of the Iraqi Security Forces

1153. On 27 June 2007, the JIC provided an update on the ISF.1087 It recorded little
change from the January paper described earlier in this Section. Development of the
Iraqi Army was still described as “slow” and the IPS remained “ineffective”. The security
Ministries were also judged to be “underperforming”. The assessment recorded: “Work is under way by Prime Minister Maliki’s government to develop a national security strategy, but it is unlikely to make a difference to Iraq’s security as long as the government remains factionalised and fails to make progress on national reconciliation […]”

1154. On 4 July, a DIS paper looked at future Iraqi security structures.1088 It said:

“• The plethora of security groupings with unique command and control
mechanisms will continue to expand, and could destabilise the complex national
security environment. This expansion provides an opportunity for furthering
sectarian agendas and potential higher levels of intra‑ISF conflict.

• Duplication of responsibilities and expanding remits of strategic authorities
will continue as incumbent Prime Ministers seek practical solutions to national
security threats. Sectarian bias will shape these bodies and they will circumvent
the chain of command.

• The amalgamation of Shia militias into national security structures ensures that
future Iraqi security strategy will be overwhelmingly Shia‑based. This will lead to
continued Sunni marginalisation, a justification for Sunni nationalist insurgents
and a spur for AQ‑I intent.”


1086 Report Iraq Stabilisation Programme Board, February 2008, ‘Iraq Stabilisation Aid Fund 2008‑11:Strategy Summary’ attaching Paper ‘Strategic Context for the Iraq Stabilisation Aid Fund Bid: 2008‑11’.
1087 JIC Assessment, 27 June 2007, ‘Iraqi Security Forces and Structures: Quantity not Quality’.
1088 Paper DIS, [undated, stamped 4 July 2007], ‘Future Iraqi Security Structures and Environment’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

1155. The JIC Assessment of 6 September included an update on ISF performance.1089 It reported that: “We judge Iraqi confidence, both among Ministers and more generally, has been damaged by the popular perception that security has not significantly improved.
“… The government has taken some steps to address human rights abuses: sacking 23 senior National Police Commanders and disbanding an entire battalion accused of complicity in sectarian acts. But other individuals accused of sectarian abuses remain in positions of responsibility.”

Counting the police

With the passage of time it was becoming increasingly difficult to know how many police officers trained by CPATT were still employed by the MOI, or what percentage of police on the MOI payroll were trained and equipped by CPATT.1090 That was caused by a number of factors:

• the lack of an effective personnel management system in the MOI;

• a high attrition rate (about 20 percent per year, with the MOI reporting paying death benefits for more than 6,000 police officers since May 2003); and

• burgeoning local recruitment.
Provincial Governors had authority to hire more IPS officers than MNSTC‑I had agreed to train and equip. In those areas, the MOI and the Provincial Governors were responsible for the extra training and equipment requirements. As police were generally unwilling to move areas, it was not possible for extra officers to be moved to areas where there was a deficit.1091
Many of the additional police had received little or no training.1092

US views on the progress of Iraqi Security Forces

1156. In May 2007, the Independent Commission on the Security Forces in Iraq was established in the US. It was led by General James L. Jones, a retired US Marine, who had previously served as the Supreme Allied Commander Europe and subsequently held the post of US National Security Advisor from 2009 to 2010. Included in the team of 20 was ACC Duncan McCausland, a serving PSNI officer.1093 The Commission was tasked with assessing the capability of the ISF; their ability to maintain Iraq’s territorial integrity, deny international terrorists safe haven, reduce sectarianism and bring greater security in the next 12 to 18 months.


1089 JIC Assessment, 6 September 2007, ‘Baghdad Security Plan: Impact and Prognosis’.
1090 Report to Congress, 29 August 2006, Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq.
1091 Report to Congress, 30 November 2006, Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq.
1092 Report to Congress, 2 March 2007, Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq.
1093 Report, 6 September 2007, ‘The Report of the Independent Commission on the Security Forces of Iraq’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

1157. On 6 September, the Commission reported that the ISF’s progress was “uneven”
but “that there should be increasing improvement in both their readiness and their
capability for the internal security of Iraq”. The ISF “would not be able to secure Iraqi
borders against conventional military threats in the near term”. Whilst assessed as
“severely deficient” in combat support, there was “clear evidence of developing the
baseline infrastructure that leads to the successful formation of a national defense

1158. The Commission judged that the Iraqi Army was capable of taking over an
increasing amount of combat responsibilities from coalition forces, but the ISF would
be “unable to fulfil their essential security responsibilities independently over the next
12‑18 months”.

1159. The Commission’s conclusions on the MOI and its forces were less positive: “The Ministry of Interior is a ministry in name only. It is widely regarded as being dysfunctional and sectarian, and suffers from ineffective leadership. Such fundamental flaws present a serious obstacle to achieving the levels of readiness, capability, and effectiveness in police and border security forces that are essential for internal security and stability in Iraq.”

1160. The Report went on describe the IPS as “fragile”, “underequipped” and
“compromised by militia and insurgent infiltration”, although it assessed that the IPS
could improve rapidly should the MOI become more functional. Of the National Police,
the Report stated that it was “not viable in its current form”.

1161. On 10 and 11 September, Gen Petraeus testified to Congress, warning of the
dangers of handing over to ISF too early.1094 He did note that “despite their shortages,
many Iraqi [Army] units across Iraq now operate with minimal coalition assistance”.1095

1162. A Report to Congress on 14 September stated that, by July 2007, Iraqi Army
divisions had been at about 103 percent of authorised strength, but that masked the
extremely low proportion that were present for duty.1096 Officer ranks were a particular
concern, with manning levels of only 69 percent.

1163. A Report to Congress on 14 December 2007 stated that authorised ISF personnel
numbers were increasing as a result of three factors:

• successful offensive operations and local awakenings providing a new pool of
recruits in a wider range of communities;

• the incorporation of around 100,000 FPS personnel; and


1094 Testimony to Congress Petraeus, 10‑11 September 2007, ‘Report to Congress on the Situation in Iraq’.
1095 Congressional Hearing, S. HRG. 110‑490, 11 September 2007, ‘Iraq: The Crocker/Petraeus Report’
1096 Report to Congress, 14 September 2007, Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

• the number of required forces assessed to match Iraq’s security problems increasing.1097

1164. The Report said that nearly 500 officers and 2,000 non‑commissioned officers from the former regime had been vetted successfully and had rejoined the Iraqi Army. Those personnel had to undergo a three‑week “rejoining” course. Up to 1,500 former officers and 13,000 former non‑commissioned officers were expected to re‑enter the force.

1165. Those additions brought the total ISF planned strength to over 550,000.

1166. The DoD stated that analysis of future force structure requirement projects at the end of 2007 suggested the following force sizes in 2010:

• Iraqi Army – 261,000 to 268,000;

• Iraqi Air Force – 5,000;

• Iraqi Navy – 1,500;

• Iraqi Special Forces – 4,000;

• MOI Forces – 307,000 to 347,000;

• Total: 601,000 to 646,000.

Multi‑National Security Transition Command – Iraq reorganisation

On 1 January 2008, MNSTC‑I reorganised into the following directorates and teams:

• Directorate of Defence Affairs, led by a US Air Force Brigadier. It incorporated the IMOD and JHQ Transition Teams, CMATT (renamed as CArmyATT), the Coalition Air Force Transition Team (CAFTT), and the Maritime Strategic Transition Team (MaSTT).

• Directorate of Internal Affairs, led by a US Army Major General.

• Intelligence Transition Team, led by a DoD civilian intelligence professional.

• Iraqi National Counter‑Terrorism Transition Team, led by a US Navy Rear Admiral.

• Functional Capabilities Directorate focusing on developing Iraqi capacity and providing subject matter experts on force management, personnel acquisition and management, material acquisition, resource management, sustainment, training and development.1098
The UK continued to provide two one‑star military officers to MNSTC‑I, in addition to the civilian team in the IMOD and the contractors in the MOI.


1097 Report to Congress, 14 December 2007, Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq.
1098 Report to Congress, 7 March 2008, Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

Improvements in Iraqi Security Force capability during 2007 and 2008

1167. From late 2007 onwards the security situation across Iraq improved, as detailed in
Section 9.6. Alongside that reduction in threat, ISF capability began to grow, as judged
by the JIC in its 20 December Assessment.1099 Although it reiterated previous concerns
about the MOI and the ISF, it judged: “… the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) are in a much better position than six months ago, partly because of an overall improvement in capability and partly because of a reduction in threat. The prospects for them being able to successfully manage security outside Baghdad, without MNF ground support, by the end of 2008 will continue to be patchy across Iraq and depend heavily on progress being made on national reconciliation and the maintenance of MNF‑led security gains. Neither is

1168. On 5 June 2008, the JIC judged that the ISF were “much better placed to manage
security through 2008”.1100 On Prime Minister Maliki’s influence on the ISF, the JIC wrote: “In the last year he has been increasingly dictating where, when and how Iraqi
Security Forces (ISF) are deployed. Security policy decisions more widely are
increasingly being taken without reference to the coalition …
“We assess that Maliki maintains a firm grip on decision making within Iraq’s security
Ministries. He has further increased his personal control of ISF …
“We judge that in most cases this greater autocracy has increased overall ISF
cohesiveness and responsiveness.”

1169. On 10 September, the JIC assessed the future of JAM: “… military pressure and Sadr’s order for his followers to avoid further conflict with Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) in March forced JAM to surrender its control of the streets in large parts of Basra, Baghdad and Al Amara. ISF now dominate the vast majority of these areas, in many cases for the first time in years.”1101

1170. On 18 December, the JIC described the Iraqi Army as “an increasingly effective
force at all levels”, with the National Police approaching a similar capability.1102 However, despite general improvements, the JIC judged: “… local police remain ineffective, due to a lack of resources, militia infiltration and corruption. Law enforcement is also undermined by an overstretched and under performing judiciary. These weaknesses will inhibit the normalisation of Iraqi society and real stability for years to come.”


1099 JIC Assessment, 20 December 2007, ‘Iraqi Security Forces: Two Steps Forward’.
1100 JIC Assessment, 5 June 2008, ‘Iraqi Security Forces: More Able, Less Challenged’.
1101 JIC Assessment, 10 September 2008, ‘Iraq: the Future of Jaysh al‑Mahdi’.
1102 JIC Assessment, 18 December 2008, ‘Iraqi Security Forces: Mixed Abilities’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

1171. On the balance of power between the police and the army, the JIC stated: “The army cannot provide local security or enforce the law while it remains focused on COINOPS [counter‑insurgency operations], and its method of operation – checkpoints, barriers, destruction of property – are unsuited to the task. Until the IPS and the justice system are improved and purged of militia influence and corruption, Iraq will need to choose between army methods and a police force that is incapable.”

The Sons of Iraq

1172. From 2006, a number of local militias and neighbourhood watches began co‑operating with the MNF in Baghdad and Anbar province, acting as additional security forces in the fight against AQ‑I. They were known originally as “Concerned Local Citizens” and subsequently as the “Sons of Iraq” (described in more detail in Section 9.6). In a report to Congress, the DoD stated: “The Sons of Iraq are a key component of the counterinsurgency fight due to their knowledge of the local populace and their ability to report activity that might otherwise escape the attention of coalition and Iraqi forces.”1103

1173. On 25 April 2007, an eGram from Mr Asquith reported that AQ was “determined to prove that they can still operate (against Shia and Sunni targets) and to exacerbate sectarian violence” in Baghdad.1104 They were yet to feel the “full effect” of the Baghdad Security Plan;1105 that was expected by the end of June.

1174. Outside Baghdad, Mr Asquith said, the success of turning the Sunni resistance and tribal groups against AQ had been “more rapid than expected”. He reported that the groups were confronting AQ with increasing aggression, and “whereas previously the whole eastern aspect of [Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province] was AQ controlled, this is now reduced to a few blocks”.

1175. Mr Asquith wrote that Emergency Response Units had been established to help maintain security, with three units in Ramadi so far and a further 14 planned later in the year. There was also local appetite for the creation of similar resistance groups in other regions; the Baghdad district of Abu Ghraib had seen around 1,200 individuals reporting for recruitment in a single weekend.

1176. On 22 April, it was agreed at the MCNS that Prime Minister Maliki would chair a group (to include MNF‑I) to determine what the Iraqi Government would be prepared to offer to opposition and resistance groups in exchange for renouncing violence.1106


1103 Report to Congress, 7 March 2008, Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq.
1104 eGram 16933/07 Baghdad to FCO, 25 April 2007, ‘Iraq: Scenesetter for Visit by Secretary of State for Defence, 30 April’.
1105 The Baghdad Security Plan is also referred to as Operation Fardh al‑Qanoon, Arabic for ‘Enforce the Rule of Law’. It is described in greater detail in Section 9.5.
1106 eGram 16933/07 Baghdad to FCO, 25 April 2007, ‘Iraq: Scenesetter for Visit by Secretary of State for Defence, 30 April’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

1177. Acting Assistant Chief Constable Michael Colbourne became the Chief Police
Adviser in autumn 2006. In his bi‑weekly report on 31 May 2007, he wrote that Prime
Minister Maliki had passed an order permitting the creation of Police Support Units,
attempting to win the allegiance of “middle of the road militias”.1107 Members of a Police
Support Unit were paid 75 percent of a policeman’s wage and were provided with
uniforms. They were not armed as Mr Maliki reportedly believed that they had “enough
weapons of their own”. The new units did not receive the full basic recruit training and
were expected to be in place for a maximum of 18 months.

1178. In his bi‑weekly report on 18 June, ACC Colbourne wrote that Police Support
Units had been created “in the usual rushed and hurried way”.1108 He commented: “The Iraqis are not on board with this and our MOI counterparts are opposed to it.
“The reputation of the police as a whole may be badly damaged by the arming of
the militia and calling them policemen. The MOI are not equipped to undertake yet
another ‘good idea’ that the coalition is trying to push through.”

1179. ACC Colbourne suggested that the Police Support Units could be moved under
the IMOD’s control and trained as a “National Guard”: “There are many positives to
separating this from the MOI and putting it under the [Iraqi] MOD.”

1180. On 14 June, Mr Banner reported to Mr Blair: “The US are … focused on the Anbar model, but this is creating real tension with Maliki. Violence continues to be down in Anbar, but the motivations of the tribes remain unclear, and they continue to express their opposition to the Government of Iraq. Nor do they tie in to any convincing, wider, Sunni leadership … Maliki is … coming under pressure from other Shia over the creation of a well‑armed Sunni militia, particularly as the US now propose to extend the model to areas of Baghdad …
“The Pentagon this week also released its now regular quarterly report on progress
in Iraq. This noted that overall levels of violence in the country had not decreased
since the start of the surge, noted that the GoI’s delivery had been ‘uneven’, and that
it had made ‘little progress’ on the political front – reconciliation was described as a
‘serious unfulfilled objective’.”1109

1181. In an interview with Newsweek on 15 June, Prime Minister Maliki said: “Now, some field commanders make mistakes since they do not know the facts about people they deal with. They make mistakes by arming tribes sometimes, and this is dangerous because this will create new militias … I believe that the


1107 Minute Colbourne, 31 May 2007, ‘Bi‑weekly Report of the UK Chief Police Adviser in Iraq’.
1108 Minute Colbourne, 18 June 2007, ‘Bi‑weekly Report of the UK Chief Police Adviser in Iraq’.
1109 Minute Banner to Prime Minister, 14 June 2007, ‘Iraq Update, 14 June’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

coalition forces do not know the backgrounds of the tribes. It is a job of the [Iraqi] government.”1110

1182. In his evidence to the Inquiry, Mr Asquith recalled: “From the second half of 2006 and certainly through 2007, the American attitude moved … to engage some Sunni Arab tribes in the Sunni Arab provinces to throw off the militias and Al Qaida groups that were positioned there, and to engage in local cease‑fires, with the aim, in time, of those local cease‑fires spreading more broadly across the country.”1111

1183. In an email to the FCO on 14 June 2007, Mr Asquith wrote that Mr Blair and ACM Stirrup had requested further advice from Baghdad on coalition support for the Anbar tribes.1112 He wrote: “… I do not doubt the tactical benefit of engaging those in Anbar and other Sunni areas in which AQ operate with the purpose of persuading them to turn against AQ. Nor do I have any reason to doubt MNF‑I assessments that this engagement has delivered significant results in terms of identifying AQ operatives and caches, restricting AQ operating capabilities and reducing attacks … against coalition forces. Engaging with local armed, militant, insurgency or opposition groups was of course what I and others were engaged in throughout 2005. I am not opposed to the principle.”

1184. Nevertheless, Mr Asquith questioned whether those groups had turned against AQ for wholly ideological reasons. He thought the groups were more strongly motivated by a power struggle with AQ, which was encroaching on the tribes’ territory, by money or by a desire – under the protection of US forces – to rearm and prepare for a future campaign against Iran and/or the “Shia government”.

1185. Mr Asquith considered that that had had an adverse effect on the Coalition’s broader reconciliation strategy. It increased Prime Minister Maliki’s concerns and put him “under severe pressure from his Shia constituency who pose the question: why is he tolerating the creation of what effectively are Sunni militias who pose a threat (now or later) to Shia communities, while at the same time tolerating regular coalition attacks on Shia militias?”

1186. Mr Asquith acknowledged: “Given the imperative for [Gen] Petraeus to deliver something by 13 September … we can’t halt the engagement process. We should instead seek to shape it in a way that reduces the risk.”


1110 Newsweek, 15 June 2007, CFR: What are Iraq’s Benchmarks?
1111 Public hearing, 4 December 2009, page 16.
1112 Email Asquith to Casey, 14 June 2007, ‘Anbar Engagement’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

1187. Mr Asquith suggested a number of approaches to reduce the risk of Anbar tribes
derailing reconciliation efforts. They included support for an Executive Council (through
which the integration of militia groups should be managed), establishing political tests
for the militia to demonstrate support for the Iraqi Government, and enforcing clear time
limits for their existence before being disbanded or incorporated into the IPS.

1188. On 16 June, Mr Asquith reported that he had discussed those proposals with
Dr Mowaffak al‑Rubaie, Iraqi National Security Adviser, at a meeting that day and that
Dr al‑Rubaie had agreed with the approach.1113

1189. On 21 June, Mr Asquith reported that the concept of an Executive Committee was
“beginning to take on substance with Maliki in receipt of a Presidency paper setting out
how they propose it should work to which he will respond”.1114

1190. In his weekly report on 24 June, Lieutenant General Graeme Lamb, SBMR‑I from
September 2006 to July 2007, wrote: “An increasing number of tribes, neighbourhoods, Sunni insurgents and just local people are choosing to reject, occasionally terminally, AQ‑I. This is seen particularly in the Southern Baghdad belts where, for example in one area there has been an 80 percent reduction in IEDs … This ‘people power’ is extending to Salah ad Din, Diyala, Ninawa and of course is already in full effect in Al Anbar. In smaller, but notable cases, we are seeing the same effect in Baghdad itself, so the broader ‘awakening’ continues to make ground.”1115

1191. On 4 July, a DIS report stated: “Central government will remain extremely sceptical of Sunni tribal initiatives in provinces with mixed sectarian demographics. The Shia‑dominated government fears these could lead to the return of Sunni rule, and will ensure there are mechanisms to minimise this risk.”1116

1192. In his weekly report on 6 August, Lieutenant General William Rollo, SBMR-I from
July 2007 to March 2009, wrote that the Government of Iraq had accepted 1,700 former
Sunni fighters in Abu Ghraib into the IPS.1117 That was the first time that the government
had taken steps to incorporate the Sunni militia from areas outside the Sunni tribal
regions into the MOI. Lt Gen Rollo described that as a “significant concession by the
GOI [Government of Iraq] … [and] potentially a major win that will reassure other Sunnis
who have come into the fold that the GOI genuinely intends to ‘see them right’”.


1113 eGram 25998/07 Baghdad to FCO, 16 June 2007, ‘Iraq: Call on National Security Adviser, 16 June’.
1114 eGram 26684/07 Baghdad to FCO, 21 June 2007, ‘Iraq: Weekly Assessment’.
1115 Minute Lamb to Stirrup, 24 June 2007, ‘SBMR‑I Weekly Report (258) 24 June 07’.
1116 Report DIS, [undated but stamped 4 July 2007], ‘Future Iraqi Security Structures and Environment’.
1117 Minute Rollo to CDS, 6 August 2007, ‘SBMR‑I’s Weekly Report (264) 6 Aug 07’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

1193. On 20 December, the JIC assessed: “77,000 Concerned Local Citizens (CLCs) and other tribal ‘awakenings’, drawn from the Sunni insurgency and, to a much lesser extent, from Shia militias, are now acting as force multipliers for MNF and ISF in Baghdad and along the Euphrates and Tigris valleys north of Baghdad. The MOI continue to resist assuming formal responsibility for these volunteers (including paying them). If their payments stopped we judge that many would resume attacks on the MNF and ISF. Their loyalty to central government is likely to remain patchy in the absence of broader national reconciliation; we judge they are likely to become an increasingly attractive target for infiltration by both Sunni and Shia extremists.”1118

1194. On 8 January 2008, Air Marshal Stuart Peach, Chief of Defence Intelligence, briefed the Chiefs of Staff that there were plans to integrate 20 percent of the Concerned Local Citizens into the ISF, with the remainder being available for hire by other ministries for public works programmes.1119 US funding was due to expire in January 2008 and future funding arrangements were unclear. He noted that failure to address the issue could lead to resentment and a return to violence among former Sunni fighters but that provision for Concerned Local Citizen salaries would probably be opposed by a number of Shia groups.

1195. On 5 June, the JIC assessed that, of the approximately 106,000 (mainly Sunni) Sons of Iraq, around 16,300 had been recruited into the ISF, mainly in Anbar province.1120 Elsewhere, relations between ISF and the Sons of Iraq were described as “tense”. The creation of a Sons of Iraq programme in Basra in 2008 is described later in this Section. Considering the future, the JIC assessed: “MNF reporting suggests that at least a quarter of SoI [Sons of Iraq] members expect jobs in the ISF: for others, some form of continued stipend or civil service job would probably suffice. The GoI is unlikely to be willing or able to meet either expectation; or assume responsibility for commanding and paying the SoI this year. So long as it does not, we judge that SoI rejection of AQ‑I, tolerance of MNF and willingness to refrain from anti‑government violence will be fragile. […]”

1196. An eGram from Baghdad on 7 October reported that the Iraqi Government had taken responsibility for paying the Sons of Iraq located in Baghdad, (50 percent of the 103,000 total) from 1 October.1121 Responsibility for the other half would follow later that month. The Iraqi Government and the Sons of Iraq did, however, remain suspicious of one another: the Iraqi Government believing that the number of the Sons of Iraq had been “inflated by the various leaders in order to line their own pockets”, and the Sons


1118 JIC Assessment, 20 December 2007, ‘Iraqi Security Forces: Two Steps Forward’.
1119 Minutes, 8 January 2008, Chiefs of Staff meeting.
1120 JIC Assessment, 5 June 2008, ‘Iraqi Security Forces: More Able, Less Challenged’.
1121 eGram 39659/08 Baghdad to FCO, 7 October 2008, ‘Iraq: the Awakening Movement and the Sons of Iraq’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

of Iraq seeing the Iraqi Government “as a sectarian government determined to persecute
them when the protective US hand [was] removed”.

1197. After “detailed examination of the lists”, the IMOD had accepted that “most of the
SOI” existed and was putting procedures in place to enable payment to foot soldiers
directly (reducing group leaders’ income). Standardising pay was still a problem and
recruitment of the Sons of Iraq into the ISF was slow; only 12,000 members had been
recruited so far.

1198. The British Embassy Baghdad reported that AQ had sought to “exploit the
situation by increasing pressure in Baghdad and Anbar through violent activity”. There
was “some evidence” that AQ was trying to lure back some Sons of Iraq by attempting
to outbid the Iraqi Government. The US and the Iraqi Government recognised their
continued financial support would be necessary to keep the Sons of Iraq “on side”.

1199. The JIC assessed that standardising and distributing pay was still an issue in their
report on 18 December.1122 The Iraqi Government had agreed to recruit 20 percent of the
Sons of Iraq into the ISF, with the remainder to be employed in other ministries.

1200. The JIC stated that some Sons of Iraq groups had been infiltrated by extremists
and media reporting indicated that some Sunni Sons of Iraq commanders saw “Shia
militias as a target second only to Al Qaida”.
The UK’s future bilateral relationship with Iraq

1201. On 27 May 2008, Lieutenant General John Cooper, the then SBMR‑I, raised the
matter of the UK’s longer‑term relationship with Iraq with AM Stirrup.1123 He stated: “I am aware of current staffing on how a future training mission might be funded and manned (including the involvement of NATO) and the relative importance of this against other operational priorities. I would simply observe that we have a real opportunity here – both in terms of the UK long‑term relationship with Iraq and how we ‘sell’ our post‑TELIC posture to the US.”

1202. Commenting on that paragraph in Lt Gen Cooper’s report, Mr Edward Ferguson,
Mr Browne’s Private Secretary, wrote: “This is a bit of a concern. Although your intent on this is clear it seems that this hasn’t yet got out of the starting blocks … I gather that the main issues are a view that the Army can’t afford the manpower (because of other priorities) and that Defence cannot afford it (since it may not be funded by the Reserve).”1124


1122 JIC Assessment, 18 December 2008, ‘Iraqi Security Forces: Mixed Abilities’.
1123 Minute Cooper to CDS, 27 May 2008, ‘SBMR‑I’s Weekly Report (302) 27 May 08’.
1124 Manuscript comment Ferguson on Minute Cooper to CDS, 27 May 2008, ‘SBMR‑I’s Weekly Report (302) 27 May 08’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

1203. The details of negotiating the UK’s continued presence in Iraq following the expiry of resolution 1790 on 31 December 2008 is dealt with in Section 9.7. Ahead of a visit to Iraq in late October, Mr John Hutton, the Defence Secretary from October 2008, was advised by the British Embassy Baghdad: “The UK’s wish to develop a broader based bilateral relationship, but with a continued defence element focused on training, fits with [Prime Minister] Maliki’s own professed aims. But he remains deeply suspicious of us and feels politically besieged … The US/coalition are still needed to support, train and mentor Iraqi Security Forces as they take on more responsibility. Failure to deliver a legal base for this to continue beyond the end of 2008 would be destabilising.”1125

1204. A key issue with respect to SSR was the provision of a combat role for UK forces; the MOD judged that to be essential to mentor 14th Division but Prime Minister Maliki was reported to be reluctant to authorise it.1126

1205. In his end of tour report, Lt Gen Cooper wrote about the UK’s future strategic defence relationship with Iraq: “As I depart I confess to a sense of frustration that we have yet to confirm the nature, scale and resource of our long‑term military relationship with Iraq, particularly with the Iraqi Armed Forces. The Gledhill Report1127 on officer training reported a year ago, as I arrived, yet we have yet to confirm what we are offering. The Iraqi MOD is very keen, desperate almost, to establish links with its former mentoring nation. Thus far, we have promised something but not yet delivered it. I acknowledge the financial pressure which the UK Defence budget faces, but we have an opportunity to cement a strategic relationship with a major regional power which sits astride the second or third largest oil reserves in the world.”1128

The strategy for 2009

1206. The National Security, International Relations and Defence Committee (NSID(OD) – the creation of which is described in the Box, ‘Machinery of Government under Mr Brown’, earlier in this Section) met on 9 December 2008, and agreed that the FCO should seek agreement on a new long‑term strategy for Iraq out‑of‑committee.1129 The strategy was circulated on 13 January 2009 and subsequently agreed. One of the key elements of the desired the bilateral relationship was “security”:


1125 eGram 41161/008 Baghdad to FCO London, 16 October 2008, ‘Iraq: Visit by the Defence Secretary to Baghdad: Scenesetter’.
1126 Minute Cabinet Office [junior official] to Prime Minister, 14 November 2008, ‘Iraq: Update’.
1127 The MOD has been unable to provide the Inquiry with a copy of this report.
1128 Report Cooper, [undated], ‘End of Tour Report 4 Mar 08 to 3 Mar 09’.
1129 Letter Hickey to Catsaras, 13 January 2009, ‘Iraq: Strategy’ attaching Paper ‘Iraq: a Review of Strategy’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

“We should contribute to Iraq’s stability and security by helping it to develop
professional, accountable, non‑sectarian security forces which can deal effectively
with both external and internal threats. This will involve MOD support to the Iraqi
military through officer training and capacity‑building support to IMOD and its JHQ,
and a continuation of training, mentoring and capacity‑building support to the
Iraqi Police Service, Ministry of Interior and criminal justice system through SAF
[Stabilisation Aid Fund]1130 projects and the civilian police mission.”

1207. During the financial year 2008/09, both the Stabilisation Aid Fund and the
Peacekeeping Budget1131 were used to fund the UK’s non‑military contribution to SSR
(including the UK police mission, support to the MOI and the UK contribution to EU
JustLex). In the following financial year it was likely that the Peacekeeping Budget
funding would be withdrawn so the MOD, the FCO and DFID were “agreeing a
reprioritised programme” from the Stabilisation Aid Fund allocation of £15m focusing on:

• initiatives which would support key Prime Ministerial deliverables and provide
conditions for a successful transition from Basra;

• Rule of Law initiatives which would form a central pillar of the UK’s strategy in
Iraq; and

• international support to the United Nations Development Programme and EU
JustLex as key partners in security and economic reforms in Iraq which would
support a transition of the UK’s programme work in future.

1208. Overall SSR activities for 2009 would be:

• leading the Coalition Naval Training Team, to help develop the capacity of the
Iraqi Navy until it became fully operational and able to ensure the security of its
territorial waters and two oil platforms, expected to be around 2012 – that would
comprise around 60 personnel;

• leading a NATO‑badged Iraqi Army officer training and education programme
with the intent to create a self‑sustaining Iraqi training capacity by 2014 – that
would require 50 NATO personnel of which around 30 would be from the UK;

• providing training places for around six Iraqi officers per year at UK training

• capacity‑building in the IMOD and JHQ – precise numbers were unknown;

• training and mentoring for the IPS in targeted areas such as senior leadership
and forensics (no figures were provided);

• capacity‑building support for the MOI in planning and management; and

• training and advice to other elements of the Iraqi criminal justice system
(no figures were provided).


1130 The Stabilisation Aid Fund was jointly owned by the MOD, the FCO and DFID.
1131 The Peacekeeping Budget was formally part of the Global Conflict Prevention Pools, and was jointly owned by the MOD, the FCO and DFID. It was managed by the FCO.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

1209. General Richard Dannatt, Chief of the General Staff, visited Iraq from
23 to 25 March 2009.1132 In his visit report he said: “… we must decide and then act with regard to our training support to the Iraqis … I know that work is ongoing to determine the nature of this support but my short visit gave me the impression that both the Officer Academy and the Staff College appear to be standing still, caught in a mire of NATO indecision, and we may have become too focused on the narrow issue of force protection rather than the wider point of why we are there. We need to generate momentum and ensure that the manpower we commit is of appropriate quality, quantity and has a degree of coherence. If we get this right we will deliver strategic effect – I consider it important that we do so.”

1210. The UK remained in protracted negotiations with the Iraqi Government until early June over the size and role of the future UK military presence and the legal basis under which it would operate (see Section 9.7). On 6 June, a Government‑to‑Government agreement was signed and passed to the Iraqi Parliament for ratification.1133

1211. On 15 October, Mr Christopher Prentice, British Ambassador to Iraq, reported to the FCO in London that the UK/Iraq “training and maritime support agreement” had completed its third and final reading in the Council of Representatives.1134 It passed with 99 votes in favour and 40 votes against or abstaining. Mr Prentice wrote:
“All the elements of our broad‑based relationship are now in place. Symbolically, the ratification by the Iraqi Parliament of this agreement confirms the will of a majority of Iraqi political groups to continue a special relationship with the UK, including in the security field.”


1212. In Lt Gen Cooper’s end of tour report dated March 2009, he commented on ISF progress: “Boulani has transformed the Ministry of Interior, although much remains to be done. The MOD deserves credit for its growth of the IA [Iraqi Army], and the possibility exists that a generation of bright Iraqi two star commanders may yet replace the old nepotistic and biased leadership with some degree of professionalism.”1135

1213. On 31 March, the UK handed over division command of MND(SE) to the US.1136 Mr Hutton reported to Mr Brown that “excellent progress by UK and Iraq forces


1132 Minute CGS to PS/SofS [MOD], 25 March 2009, ‘CGS Visit to Iraq – 23‑25 Mar 09’.
1133 Letter Ferguson to Fletcher, 23 July 2009, ‘Iraq: UK Military Presence After 31 July 2009’.
1134 eGram 35899/09 Baghdad to FCO, 15 October 2009, ‘UK/Iraq: Training and Maritime Support Agreement Ratified by the CoR, 13 October’.
1135 Report Cooper, ‘End of Tour Report 4 Mar 08 to 3 Mar 09’.
1136 Minute Johnstone to PS/SofS [MOD], 1 April 2009, ‘CDS Visit to Iraq (Basra) to Attend the MND(SE) Transfer of Authority Ceremony – 31 Mar 09’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

means that 30 April will now … see the completion of our current military mission”.1137
That process is described in greater detail in Section 9.7.

1214. On 15 June, Mr Brown announced details of the UK’s new bilateral relationship
with Iraq, stating: “On the day of the last combat patrol in April, I welcomed Prime Minister Maliki and most of his Cabinet to London. We signed together a declaration of friendship, partnership and co‑operation defining the new relationship between our two
countries for the future. At the request of the Iraqi Government, a small number of
British Navy personnel – no more than 100 – will remain in Iraq for long‑term training
of the Iraqi Army. Royal Navy ships will continue to protect the oil platforms on which
Iraq’s exports depend, and we will continue to offer training to the Iraqi Army as part
of a wider NATO mission. We will also offer training opportunities at Sandhurst and
elsewhere in the United Kingdom for Iraqi officers of high potential.”1138

1215. In April 2009, the MOI capacity‑building programme was transferred to the US.1139
The UK continued work on policing under the Criminal Investigations and Policing
project, funded by the Middle East and North Africa Conflict Fund. The programme in
2009 had a budget of £7.1m and comprised three elements:

• the civilian police mission in Baghdad with four officers, working with the
Baghdad Police Academy to help the IPS develop investigative techniques;

• the civilian police mission in Basra with three officers; and

• the forensics element in Basra, Baghdad and Erbil with two officers.

SSR in the South: summer 2006 to summer 2009 – State of emergency

1216. On 23 May 2006, Ms Aldred wrote to UK staff in Basra asking them for advice on
how to improve the situation in Basra.1140 Attached to the letter was “a strategic agenda
for action”. The paper gave a series of policy objectives (see Section 9.5) and stated
that to achieve them there would need to be continuing UK Government engagement
on SSR to ensure that the ISF were capable of:

“• tackling criminality;

• bearing down on militias;


1137 Letter Hutton to Brown, 20 April 2009, ‘Iraq: End of Current Military Mission’.
1138 House of Commons, Official Report, 15 June 2009, columns 21‑22.
1139 Paper Stabilisation Unit [junior official] and Howlett‑Bolton, 27 November 2009, ‘Review of the support to the Ministry of Interior and Iraqi Police Service Programme’.
1140 Letter Aldred to Lamb, Cooper & Kavanaugh, 23 May 2006, ‘Basra: The Way Forward’ attaching Note, [undated], ‘Getting Basra Better: A Strategic Agenda for Action’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

• purging malign elements in the ISF (both those that are corrupt and those which are aligned to political groupings); and

• working with MNF‑I on higher end military tasks relating to the insurgency, and gradually taking over these tasks.”

1217. The Iraqi Government would need to demonstrate its grip on Basra through:

“• serious and visible engagement from Baghdad;

• if necessary, an appropriate show of strength by the ISF, reflecting their growing capabilities; and

• encouraging and co‑operating in the process of security transition.”

1218. On 31 May, Prime Minister Maliki visited Basra and declared a state of emergency, after which he placed a five‑man Emergency Committee in charge of delivering a plan to address security in the city.1141 That Committee then appointed Governor Mohammed Waili as responsible for the security plan.

1219. On 18 June, the MCNS endorsed the Basra Security Plan and recommended:

• expanding the Basra Security Committee to include a number of Basrawis;

• appointing a new overall security co‑ordinator for Basra; and

• that the Iraqi Ministries of the Interior and Defence should increase the forces available for Basra, even if this was to the detriment of policing and military operations elsewhere.1142

1220. The Committee had also considered whether the Basra Chief of Police and the Commander of 10th Division should be removed from post but had concluded they should remain for the time being.

1221. Major General Richard Shirreff took over as GOC MND(SE) from mid‑July. At this time there had not yet been agreement on the implementation arrangements of the Basra Security Plan.1143 In particular, there was no overall Iraqi security co‑ordinator. The Provincial Council, however, had voted to replace the Basra Chief of Police.

1222. Maj Gen Shirreff’s first weekly report as GOC MND(SE) set out his initial reflections on the situation facing him.1144 He wrote: “The issue in Basra is the lack of security and until we establish this there can be no PIC [Provincial Iraqi Control]. We can only generate freedom of movement by mounting specific operations, often up to company level, and we are effectively fixed by the lack of concentrated force. The lack of security means that we cannot conduct the SSR needed to transform the police, nor apply the economic inducements


1141 Minute Cooper, 8 June 2006, ‘GOC MND(SE) – Southern Iraq Update – 8 June 2006’.
1142 Minute [junior officer] to MA/CJO, 22 June 2006, ‘MND(SE) – Southern Iraq Update – 22 June 2006’.
1143 Minute Cooper, 13 July 2006, ‘GOC MND(SE) – Southern Iraq Update – 13 July 2006’.
1144 Minute Shirreff, 21 July 2006, ‘GOC MND(SE) – Southern Iraq Update – 21 July 2006’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

needed to isolate the militants from the majority of militiamen who are only there
because the militia can pay them. Thus the enemy, militant JAM and the death
squads linked to the Basra police … are able to operate with relative impunity …
“In my view, the only way we will achieve mission success is by winning the battle
for Basra and defeating militant JAM and the death squads (whether by capturing,
or, if necessary, by killing them in accordance with our ROE (Rules of Engagement)).
But we must be clever about it. A blunt, solely kinetic approach risks getting sucked
into a series of running tactical battles against JAM that will get us nowhere. We
must isolate militant JAM from mainstream JAM and build the intelligence picture in
order to target them and the death squads connected to the police in Basra. The key
to this is energetic and sustained effort along the governance and economic lines of
operation, both of which remain inadequate … (the comprehensive approach did not
exist). Progress on these lines is essential to create and maintain tolerance for our
operations in Basra. It will also underwrite success on the security line of operation.
There has been plenty of planning but we need to make things happen.”

1223. In his evidence to the Inquiry, Lt Gen Sir Richard Shirreff described a “cycle of
insecurity” as he further explained why achieving security was his first objective:
“No security meant no reconstruction and development, it meant a loss of consent,
the militia filled the gap and, effectively, the militia controlled the city.”1145

Provincial Iraqi Control

Transferring responsibility from the coalition to the Iraqi Government of each of the
18 Iraqi provinces was referred to as reaching Provincial Iraqi Control (PIC). PIC was
granted following an assessment by the coalition and the Iraqi Government.

Transitional Readiness Assessment

A Transitional Readiness Assessment (TRA) level was used to rank Iraqi units in terms of
their capability, from TRA level 1 (fully capable) to TRA level 4 (incapable).
The Joint Committee to Transfer Security Responsibility (see Box ‘Assessing readiness for
Provincial Iraqi Control’) judged that at TRA level 2, the IPS could maintain domestic order and prevent the resurgence of terrorism.1146

1224. In his weekly report, Maj Gen Shirreff said that he had had some encouraging
discussions about his proposed approach with Major General Muhammed Latif, the
Commander of 10th Division, based in Basra.1147 However, it would be fundamental to
ensure that there was political will in Baghdad behind any operation. Maj Gen Shirreff


1145 Public hearing, 11 January 2010, page 4.
1146 Paper Republic of Iraq National Security Council, 10 October 2005, Joint Committee to Transfer Security Responsibility.
1147 Minute Shirreff, 21 July 2006, ‘GOC MND(SE) – Southern Iraq Update – 21 July 2006’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

undertook to work closely with Mr Patey and the MNF commanders in Baghdad “to ensure that we carry Maliki with us”.

1225. By 27 July, Major General Ali Hamadi, brother of Brigadier Mohammed Hamadi the Provincial Director of Police, had been appointed as President of the three‑person Basra Security Committee by Prime Minister Maliki.1148

Delivering a Better Basra

1226. For the meeting of DOP(I) on 15 June, Ministers were given an update paper from the Cabinet Office entitled ‘Follow‑up to the Prime Minister’s Visit, Including Delivering a Step‑Change in Basra’ (see Section 9.5).1149 The paper drew on recent assessments from the MOD and the JIC of the ISF: “The picture across Iraq is of growing, but variable, levels of capability … According to the US‑led ISF development plan, all divisions of the Iraqi Army and MOI forces should be trained and equipped by the end of 2006 … The development of the police is significantly behind that of the Iraqi Army, with particular problems over militia‑links, over‑recruitment, corruption and criminality.
“In the South, the 10th Division is judged to be increasingly effective … However, these forces are untested in undertaking counter‑insurgency operations without MNF support. The police are a more significant cause for concern, with militia links and a lack of effective political control either locally or from the centre …
“The overall MNF plan, which the MOD judge to be robust is predicated on the MNF retaining substantial forces in Iraq until 2007 to support the ISF … but even that timeline will be tested if the scale and sophistication of the insurgency does not diminish. The MOD supports this assessment highlighting a number of risks with the plan that fall outside its focus on training, mentoring and equipping:

• the degree to which Iraqi leadership on security develops;

• the precise nature of the security and political environment the ISF will face at the point of transition … In the South there is a particular concern over the level of violence between competing Shia factions;

• human factors such as the experience of the ISF; and

• the dangers of over‑recruitment (often of militia‑linked individuals into the police) resulting in an unmanageable, ineffective and extremely expensive ISF.
“The MOD is continuing to monitor implementation of the ISF development plan and is undertaking work to consider a limited number of specific gaps they have


1148 Minute Blake to Sheinwald, 27 July 2006, ‘Iraq Strategy Group, 27 July’.
1149 Paper Cabinet Office, 13 June 2006, ‘Follow‑up to the Prime Minister’s Visit, Including Delivering a Step‑Change in Basra’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

identified, including Iraqi naval protection for oil platforms and the sustainment
funding for MND(SE).”

1227. The paper provided a work plan entitled ‘Activity to deliver a step‑change in

1228. In discussion, a member of DOP(I) suggested that the Cabinet Office paper risked
being too optimistic on security prospects, in light of recent JIC Assessments.1150 DOP(I)
agreed that Mr Browne should take the lead in pulling together a strategy for Basra, with
the support of the Cabinet Office and assistance from other departments.

1229. On 4 July, Mr Browne wrote to Mr Blair updating him on additional projects,
costing £30.7m (but unfunded) over the financial year, to deliver a Better Basra plan
(see Sections 9.5 and 10.2).1151 Those included:

• a “new unit [a Department of Internal Affairs] to clean up the Basra police from
within”, costing around £4m and requiring eight UK police officers;

• on‑the‑spot mentoring of the Basra police and the regional prison managers,
costing £10.3m and requiring an additional 20 police advisers;

• a new unit – the Prosecution Mentoring Unit – to fast‑track corruption, organised
and major crime cases through Basra’s courts;

• more training for judges; and

• witness protection arrangements.

1230. The overall aim of the projects was to increase the capacity of the Iraqis to deal
with those they detained and so avoid the consequences of detaining large numbers of
people for long periods.

1231. Mr Browne’s proposals were approved by DOP(I) on 6 July.1152

1232. Prime Minister Maliki met Mr Browne in London on 25 July.1153 The meeting was
described as “a relatively robust exchange of views” with Prime Minister Maliki stating
that there was little discipline in the ISF in Basra, a lack of co‑ordination between MNF‑I
and the IPS and that problems with the IPS were attributable to coalition failures to
deliver equipment.

1233. Prime Minister Maliki also stated that arrests by MNF‑I in MND(SE) were harming
national reconciliation and should be halted. Mr Browne countered that “the real lesson
from Northern Ireland was that the terrorists only came to the table once they had
realised they could not win. It was only then that the combination of early releases and
reconciliation became viable tools in the reconciliation process.”


1150 Minutes, 15 June 2006, DOP(I) meeting.
1151 Letter Browne to Blair, 4 July 2006.
1152 Minutes, 6 July 2006, DOP(I) meeting.
1153 Minute Beadle to MA/DCDS(C), 25 July 2006, ‘Secretary of State for Defence Meeting with Prime Minister Maliki’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

1234. In August 2006, ACC Barton produced an assessment of the situation in MND(SE).1154 He highlighted that:

• Although the UK had “trained and trained the lower echelons of the IPS and … equipped them to a reasonable standard”, they had not created a police force.

• Training should have been top down rather than bottom up.

• The equipment supplied by the UK “provided technological solutions way above the local need – smartboards and complex computer systems which get stolen (by the police) or can’t be used due to lack of power. What they need (and like) is desks, pens, ledgers and stationery”.

• A basic level of corruption was endemic to Iraqi society but the current level wasn’t “‘hand in the till’ activity”; the SCU was “synonymous with killings, torture and abuse”.

1235. ACC Barton advocated further UK pressure to encourage the MOI to purge employees, mentioning a recent purge of MOI employees (including IPS) in which there were “86 convicted murderers, 345 with bribery convictions, rapists, kidnappers, and even two IPS who were supposed to have been executed in the 90s but were alive and working in Baghdad!”

1236. ACC Barton described the Tactical Support Unit (TSU) and the confidential TIPS hotline as successes but added that there was a “woeful lack of command and control skills by senior Iraqi Police Officers” and “little public confidence in the IPS as an entity”.
Problems with the 10th Division – mutiny and looting

1237. Over the summer of 2006, problems began to surface with the largely untested 10th Division.

1238. On 10 August, Maj Gen Shirreff reported the murder of a colonel in 10th Division and suggested that the murder might have been motivated by his “resolute stand against militia influence in the IA”.1155 Maj Gen Shirreff described 10th Division as “not perfect but it is the best hope we have for now of an Iraqi solution to the security problems. Emerging signs of increasing politicisation and infiltration within the IA can only be bad news.”

1239. The JIC considered the security situation in the South on 27 September: “We judge that the Iraq Army in the South can cope with the limited threat posed by Iraqi Sunni Arab nationalists and jihadists. But their willingness and ability to tackle Shia militias is doubtful. MNF describe the Iraqi Army’s 10th Division in MND(SE) as “fragile”. Its 10,000 personnel can perform basic tasks (patrols and static guard duties) independently, and it has provided limited support to MNF counter


1154 Report Barton, August 2006, ‘The window of opportunity’.
1155 Minute Shirreff, 10 August 2006, ‘GOC MND(SE) – Southern Iraq Update – 10 August 2006’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

insurgency operations, including during implementation of the state of emergency
in Basra. But there have been recent instances of a breakdown of discipline. It
failed to prevent the looting of MNF camps when they were handed over in Amarah
and Samawah. And on 24 August over 100 men from the battalion based in
Amarah refused an order to deploy to Baghdad. Intelligence shows that some army
personnel retain loyalties to JAM and Badr militias. We do not know the scale of this
problem, and we judge that it is less severe than in the police. But the loyalty of the
army in the South has not been seriously tested.”1156

1240. On 31 August, Maj Gen Shirreff wrote that members of 10th Division had refused
orders to deploy to Baghdad.1157 He viewed that event and the looting of MNF camps
described by the JIC as indicating “that the IA is built on shakier foundations than we
might wish and is a real concern”.


1241. Operation SALAMANCA was a plan conceived in the summer of 2006 to address
the security situation in the South and move Basra towards PIC. It is described in detail
in Section 9.5.

1242. Lieutenant General Sir Richard Shirreff explained to the Inquiry that the Basra
Security Plan announced by Prime Minister Maliki had “amounted really to nothing
more than the establishment of a Basra security committee” and Op SALAMANCA was
therefore “the operationalising of the Iraqi Basra security plan”.1158 He told the Inquiry
that its concept was: “… to achieve security, to excise the death squads, to defeat JAM, through the synchronised application of what we call kinetic, ie force, and non‑kinetic, ie
reconstruction and development.”

1243. In his weekly report on 31 August, Maj Gen Shirreff said that he aimed to prepare
10th Division for operations in Basra during Op SALAMANCA.1159 He remarked that that
could provide “potentially more of an Iraqi face on Op SALAMANCA”.

1244. On 1 September, Mr Browne’s Private Secretary wrote to Mr Blair’s Private
Secretary that Mr Browne had approved the additional troops requested for Op SALAMANCA because he had “judged that the likely impact of a short term
extension of an increased troop presence is offset by the need for momentum for the
projects that will make a visible impact in the city”.1160


1156 JIC Assessment, 27 September 2006, ‘Iraq: The Security Situation in the South’.
1157 Minute Shirreff, 31 August 2006, ‘GOC MND(SE) – Southern Iraq Update – 31 August 2006’.
1158 Public hearing, 11 January 2010, pages 14‑19.
1159 Minute Shirreff, 31 August 2006, ‘GOC MND(SE) – Southern Iraq Update – 31 August’.
1160 Letter Beadle to Banner, 1 September 2006, ‘Iraq: troop levels in support of Op. SALAMANCA’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

1245. Mr Browne told the House of Commons on 11 September that 360 additional personnel would be deployed to reinforce the effort in Basra.1161 That comprised an extended deployment of the Theatre Reserve Battalion and an uplift in Royal Engineers, Royal Marines (one boat troop) and Royal Military Police (one troop) to augment training of the IPS.

1246. At the DOP(I) meeting on 14 September, the objectives of Op SALAMANCA were described to Ministers as being to:

• increase Iraqi political grip on the issue, by having a visible Iraqi face on the plan and active involvement in the operation; and

• increase the confidence and competence of the ISF.1162

1247. On 15 September, Maj Gen Shirreff reported that the police were “still incapable of providing even the most basic level of security; rather they are a major cause of insecurity”.1163 He anticipated that during Op SALAMANCA there would be “a concerted and sustained effort by Police Training Teams” to “turn those police stations capable of improvement into police stations that are capable of providing basic security in their local areas”. His aim was “to cull the unredeemable and rehabilitate the ‘just about’ salvageable”.

1248. In a meeting with Gen Casey, Prime Minister Maliki was reported as saying that “the security situation in Basra was not bad enough to warrant an operation that would upset the political balance”.1164

1249. In his evidence to the Inquiry, Lt Gen Shirreff described gaining approval from the Iraqi Government as an “absolutely non‑stop grind”: “Maliki said he didn’t want this operation to proceed, despite … declaring a state of emergency. So I then went up to Baghdad … got to see Maliki and eventually briefed him and persuaded him that this operation should continue.”1165

1250. Lt Gen Shirreff told the Inquiry that even travelling to meet Prime Minister Maliki was difficult, with Gen Hamadi refusing to fly for two hours because he had received a call from a Sadrist Minister who said, “This operation isn’t to continue”.

1251. In response to the difficulties in securing approval, Op SALAMANCA was refined and repackaged as “a reconstruction and development operation enabled by MNF and MNF‑led security”.


1161 House of Commons, Official Report, 11 September 2006, column 111WS.
1162 Minutes, 14 September 2006, DOP(I) meeting.
1163 Minute Shirreff, 15 September 2006, ‘GOC MND(SE) – Southern Iraq Update – 15 September 2006’.
1164 Minute Shirreff, 21 September 2006, ‘GOC MND(SE) – Southern Iraq Update – 21 September 2006’.
1165 Public hearing, 11 January 2010, pages 17‑19.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

1252. In his evidence to the Inquiry, Major General Jonathan Shaw, GOC MND(SE)
from January to August 2007, said that Op SALAMANCA was altered “because of
resistance within the Shia polity”.1166 In practice, that meant: “… a lot of the kinetic element that had been intended in SALAMANCA was taken out. It continued under another guise, if you like, and that just showed an early sign that … you had to work within the tolerances of the Shia polity, and that became particularly apparent where anyone in MNF tackled a Shia problem.”

1253. Following a meeting of the Security Committee in mid‑September, the name of
the operation was changed to Operation SINBAD.1167

1254. In his evidence to the Inquiry, Lt Gen Shirreff described how Op SINBAD was
undertaken.1168 “Relatively soft areas” were selected, a surge of force was used to
secure the area, and teams were then put into police stations. Those teams went
“through the police stations with a fine‑toothed comb” to establish their state. The
UK had not visited many of the stations for six months, following the Jameat incident
described earlier in this Section.

1255. Lt Gen Shirreff continued: “We surged police training teams in, Royal Military Police and contract policemen from elsewhere.”

1256. ACM Stirrup visited Iraq from 24 to 26 September and wrote to Mr Browne on
the day after his return to give him “an early feel” for some of his conclusions.1169 He
considered that “the proposals for cleaning up individual police stations and culling/
retraining the force are good” but would have no long‑term impact unless the “killers”
in the SCU were dealt with.

1257. Maj Gen Shirreff reported on 28 September that Op SINBAD had begun, and that
initial operations had gone exceptionally well: “What made a particular impact was the very evident Iraqi face on the operation, both in the form of Iraqi sappers1170 working alongside British sappers and Iraqi Army security patrols on the streets alongside MNF.”1171


1166 Public hearing, 11 January 2010, page 6.
1167 Minute Shirreff, 21 September 2006, ‘GOC MND(SE) – Southern Iraq Update – 21 September 2006’.
1168 Public hearing, 11 January 2010, pages 19‑20.
1169 Minute CDS to SofS [MOD], 27 September 2006, ‘CDS Visit to Iraq 24‑26 Sep 06’.
1170 Sappers are soldiers who perform a variety of military engineering duties including bridge‑building, clearing minefields and demolitions.
1171 Minute Shirreff, 28 September 2006, ‘GOC MND(SE) – Southern Iraq Update – 28 September 2006’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

1258. General Sir Nicholas Houghton described Op SINBAD to the Inquiry as the “last best operation” to provide: “… sort of exemplar modelling to the Iraqi Army but trying to put them in the lead of it. In the latter stages of SINBAD, it became important that they were seen to be in the lead …”1172

1259. Gen Houghton described the “instantaneous” follow‑up “of police reform, with police reform teams going into areas of Basra as they were cleared and made more stable by Iraqi Army back‑filling”.

1260. On 27 October, Mr Banner wrote to Mr Siddiq, summarising a briefing that Mr Asquith had given Mr Blair the previous day.1173 Mr Blair had been told:
“The Iraqi Army had performed well in some areas (e.g. 10th Division in Basra). But it lacked maturity, had poor mechanism for civilian control and direction, and equipment was unevenly distributed and sometimes inadequate to task.”

1261. Mr Blair requested further advice on how to strengthen the Iraqi Army and Prime Minister Maliki’s control of it. A copy of the note was sent to the MOD for action.

1262.The MOD replied on 9 November.1174 With respect to MND(SE), the MOD stated that 10th Division’s planned development was “on track” but that it was: “… consistently placed at the bottom of the prioritisation list by Baghdad due to the perceived low threat in Southern Iraq. As a result, they are potentially outgunned by insurgents and remain vulnerable when moving by vehicle.”

1263. The MOD wrote that it was “scoping the possibility of gifting 250 armoured protection vehicles” to “enhance” 10th Division’s capacity. It stated that Enhanced Military Training Teams (Super MiTTs) would “evolve” to “protect and enhance the progress already made” when units were transferred to Iraqi control. Those Super MiTTs were not described in any further detail.

1264. Reflecting on the Iraqi Army’s performance in his evidence to the Inquiry, Lt Gen Shirreff said: “[The Iraqi Army] improved in terms of confidence, in terms of training, immeasurably, I think, during the period of SINBAD, but they were not up to holding in security terms, because, ultimately, however confident they got, you have to remember that the Iraqi Army in south‑east Iraq were Shia‑recruited, locally


1172 Public hearing, 5 January 2010, page 20.
1173 Minute Banner to Siddiq, 27 October 2006, ‘Iraq’.
1174 Letter McNeil to Banner, 9 November 2006 attaching Minute DJC, 9 November 2006, ‘Strengthening the Iraqi Military Forces’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

recruited, they lived on the ground amongst the militia and they were not prepared to
fight the militia, because they knew that, if they did, they would come off worse.”1175

1265. On 16 November at DOP(I), VAdm Style stated that ISF would be in the lead of
Op SINBAD pulses from the end of the month and that they would be fully in charge of
the operation, including planning, by the end of February.1176 He described Op SINBAD
as a “considerable success” but stated that progress on reforming the police remained

1266. In his evidence to the Inquiry, VAdm Style described some of the achievements
of Op SINBAD: “… a new level of co‑operation between our own forces and the Iraqi Army, better Iraqi Army and police co‑operation … extra equipment was brought in … By the end … the Iraqis were in the lead to an extent they had not been before.”1177

1267. On 30 November, Maj Gen Shirreff reported that Op SINBAD was progressing
well and considered future plans: “Op SINBAD has led to improvements both in the general security situation (as evidenced by the declining murder rate) and the confidence and capability of the ISF. Mentoring of the Provincial Joint Coordination Centre by MND(SE) has led to noticeable improvements in its ability to plan and coordinate operations. Similarly the mentoring and training conducted by the police transition teams have led to an improvement in the average transition readiness assessment … I assess that
as SINBAD culminates we will be able to say, quite reasonably, that the security
framework we have established in Basra will set the conditions for PIC.
“With regards to corrupt IPS, the DIA have already started tackling corrupt policemen
but they are a small team and it will take time before they have a significant effect.
In the meantime I have had my staff refine our plans to deal with the Serious Crimes
Unit (SCU), the largest and most dangerous of the corrupt IPS units, with support
from elements of the ISF. My intention is to replace the SCU with a new unit – the
MCU (Major Crimes Unit). The first phase will be to secure the new location (the
Warren) and to screen those already at the site. The Jameat police station (the
present site of the SCU) will be cleared once the Warren is secure and those
present will be assessed, the ineffective will be removed/transferred and the known
criminal element will be arrested. Finally those selected for the MCU will be carefully
screened and those that pass will be closely monitored, mentored and trained.”1178


1175 Public hearing, 11 January 2010, pages 23‑24.
1176 Minutes, 16 November 2006, DOP(I) meeting.
1177 Public hearing, 5 January 2010, pages 39‑40.
1178 Minute Shirreff, 30 November 2006, ‘GOC MND(SE) – Southern Iraq Update – 30 November 2006’.
12.1 | Security Sector Reform


The Warren

The Warren site in Basra City housed the Provincial Joint Co‑ordination Centre (PJCC) command and control centre.1179 The PJCC was a provincial security committee to discuss “security issues in the broadest sense”.1180 The Warren also housed a number of IPS specialist units including the TIPS line (see Box earlier in this Section, ‘TIPS hotline’), the Major Crimes Unit (MCU), and the National Information and Investigation Agency (NIIA).
The PJCC building was located around 5km from Basra Palace and 15km from Basra Airport (see Map 6, Annex 4).

1268. The following week, on 7 December, Maj Gen Shirreff reported: “I have come to the conclusion that the best we can achieve through SINBAD are those surface level improvements required to get police stations to TRA level 2, the critical level for PIC. Culling militia infiltrators from the police is a non‑starter without a national anti‑militia plan including DDR [Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration].”1181

1269. CC Kernaghan visited Iraq from 4 to 6 October 2006.1182 His stay was hampered by problems with transport and he was unable to go to Baghdad. The main focus of his visit report was the lack of support coming from the MOI and he cited cases of corrupt officers being sacked in MND(SE) only to be reinstated “often in a higher rank” by the MOI.

1270. CC Kernaghan recommended: “We should now be planning for a new era in which there is a reduced overt British military presence in southern Iraq. If we move to a security infrastructure delivered primarily by the Iraqis then we should remodel our support to reflect that new reality. In such an era I would suggest station visits and routine training delivery are irrelevant. We need to ask the MOI what support they would value over the medium term and then decide how best we could provide that support, assuming political support. I believe our focus should move from the tactical to the strategic … Crucially it is hard to justify investing in tactical achievements and gains when it appears the wider strategic context is undermining our overall goals. The Iraqi MOI must set out their visions and we should seek to support it where we can and feel it is appropriate.”


1179 Statement Colbourne, 29 June 2010, page 6.
1180 Minute Naworynsky to Quarry, 11 May 2004, ‘Iraq: Security Structures after 30 June’.
1181 Minute Shirreff to CJO, 7 December 2006, ‘GOC MND(SE) – Southern Iraq Update –
07 December 2006’.
1182 Report, 6 October 2006, ‘5th Visit to Iraq by Chief Constable Kernaghan 4‑6 October 2006’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

1271. CC Kernaghan was accompanied on the visit by the Police and Justice Team
Leader from the FCO’s Conflict Issues Group, who reported: “The IPS is widely recognised as an integral part of the security problem, exhibiting a serious propensity to undermine, rather than enforce, law and order. It barely functions in Basra, suffering from a paralysing combination of deeply embedded corruption (including involvement in extra‑judicial killings), militia infiltration, poor leadership (the recently confirmed Chief of Police, Al Hamadi, appears to inspire little loyalty), and weak command and control structures. The dearth of local IPS officers willing to staff the nascent Internal Affairs Department illustrates the depth of the problem; recruits have finally been found, following MOI intervention, in a nearby province.
“The early stages of SINBAD have confirmed the extremely poor state of the IPS.
From an over‑complex and over‑staffed organisational structure lacking basic
administrative capacity, to the decaying police stations with no mains electricity and
inadequate sewerage, the conditions on the ground are grim.”1183

1272. The Police and Justice Team Leader recommended to Mr Pattison and Ms Joan
Link, Head of the Conflict Issues Group, that the UK should:

“• Extend the window of opportunity offered by Operation SINBAD by re‑deploying
a number of UK police officers more directly in support of efforts to tackle gross
IPS corruption, the key obstacle to longer‑term improvement of the IPS;

• Increase UK strategic policing input at the MOI in Baghdad, to support the
development of national, and by extension provincial, capacity (including
increased financial and logistical expertise) and thereby improve the chances
of sustainability;

• Encourage greater Rule of Law co‑ordination between ministries in Baghdad
and between the capital and provinces, again to improve sustainability. Leverage
EU financing and expert support as far as possible.”

1273. The British Embassy Baghdad produced a ‘Police Forward Look’ in November
2006 which assessed priorities in Basra (described in Box, ‘Enabling the police to tackle
crime’, earlier in this Section).1184 It stated: “Key target – getting to PIC. Assumption: policing work will be more difficult in Basra city post‑PIC. Will not be possible to fully tackle police corruption pre‑PIC. Police to concentrate on required level – not set sights higher.”


1183 Report, 17 October 2007 [sic], ‘UK’s Policing Contribution in Iraq: Visit to Basra, 4‑7 October’.
1184 Paper BE Baghdad, November 2006, ‘Police Forward Look’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform


1274. Mrs Beckett decided in October that the majority of civilian staff should be withdrawn from Basra Palace and relocated to Basra Air Station.1185

1275. In an IPU paper considering the impact of that drawdown it was assessed that:

• ACC Barton and a small number of police advisers already based at Basra Air Station would be unaffected.

• The key current task for the remaining police advisers in Basra was work to support Op SINBAD for which they needed to be based in Basra Palace or another MND(SE) site in the city. The TIPS programme, run out of the PJCC (co‑located with the Basra Police Headquarters) would also be affected.

• Prisons work would be affected as Iraqi Corrections Service staff preferred to visit Basra Palace than from Basra Air Station, and unannounced prison visits were also more easily made from Basra Palace than Basra Air Station.

• There would be a negative impact on the Rule of Law work being carried out by the Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT).1186

1276. The IPU recommended that the police team at Basra Palace should be reduced by 14 officers, three of whom would relocate to the Air Station. The remainder would leave Iraq. That would “retain just enough officers in the city to provide essential support to Op SINBAD”. The prisons team would leave theatre “pending progress on the Basra Central Prison project” and “we would need to think hard about whether the PRT could have enough real impact to justify the costs and risks of maintaining it at its current size.”

1277. Brigadier James Everard, Commander 20 Brigade, reporting in place of Maj Gen Shirreff, expressed concern that that move would have a negative effect on SSR work, making it impossible to train the specialist police teams that would take over from the corrupt SCU and hampering the planned move of Iraqi prisoners out of the Jameat facility into a new facility.1187

1278. Brig Everard also reported the murder of 17 Iraqi interpreters and locally employed contractors employed at the Basra Police Academy. He advised: “How the ISF (particularly the police) deal with this incident should be an important test. Unsurprisingly, they may disappoint. There is a lack of IPS will to prosecute a JAM‑linked case with much vigour, let alone conduct any arrests.”

1279. A paper drafted on 30 December by the Deputy Chief Police Adviser proposed that there would be 31 International Police Advisors, nine police officers (not including
1185 Minute Cabinet Office [junior official] to Sheinwald, 30 October 2006, ‘Iraq Strategy Group, 27 October’.


1186 Minute Casey to Sawers, 24 October 2006, ‘Iraq: DOP: Political Strategy and Basra Palace Site’.
1187 Minute Everard, 2 November 2006, ‘GOC MND(SE) – Southern Iraq Update – 2 November 2006’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

ACC Barton and his staff officer) and two military officers operating from Basra in
2007.1188 It was thought that the PTT numbers would reduce further in April and,
depending on progress, might not be required at all.

1280. The MOD and the FCO produced separate papers on future plans for Basra
for DOP(I) on 7 December.1189 Both papers envisaged military and civilian personnel
relocating to Basra Air Station with an undefined “residual presence” possibly remaining
at the PJCC. The MOD stated that there would be a number of post‑handover tasks

• continued training and mentoring of the Iraqi Army, IPS and the Department of
Border Enforcement (DBE);

• support to other government departments’ efforts on Iraqi police training,
including co‑ordinating the disbandment of the Serious Crimes Unit (SCU); and

• retaining the capacity to intervene if security were to deteriorate beyond the
capabilities of the ISF.

1281. The FCO listed a number of police training tasks for 2007 including:
• clearing out the SCU (dealing with 300‑400 staff and transferring detainees out
of SCU custody);

• specialist support to Basra Police Headquarters at the Warren site, including
the National Information and Investigation Agency (NIIA), the TIPS hotline and
forensics training;

• mentoring the Chief of Police; and

• developing leadership training.

1282. DOP(I) discussed and “took note” of both papers.1190


1283. In his evidence to the Inquiry, Lt Gen Shirreff described the specialist police units,
in particular the SCU, as “a serious problem that needed to be resolved”.1191 He said
that their activities included “intimidating, murdering, kidnapping ordinary Basrawis”.
He added that for the people of Basra, the SCU was a “bastion of tyranny right in
their midst”.


1188 Paper FCO [junior official], 30 December 2006, ‘Shaping the CivPol Mission – Iraq 2007’.
1189 Paper MOD officials, 5 December 2006, ‘UK Military Plans for Southern Iraq in 2007, A Briefing Paper for DOP‑I by Officials’; Paper FCO officials, 1 December 2006, ‘Basra: Objectives and Presence in 2007’.
1190 Minutes, 7 December 2006, DOP(I) meeting.
1191 Public hearing, 11 January 2010, pages 27‑31.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

1284. The November 2006 ‘Police Forward Look’ included the target of replacing “the corrupt and dangerous SCU”.1192 The plan was “Two hundred people to be disciplined, removed or prosecuted, then seek PDoP’s [Provincial Director of Police’s] and Governor’s agreement to close down and establish MCU [a Major Crimes Unit] in new location. Close down the Jameat (present site of the SCU). Realistically, only aim to get the MCU the best possible start, then hand over to Iraqi control immediately at PIC.”

1285. That work would be undertaken by ArmorGroup contractors.

1286. On 15 December, a junior official at the PJHQ briefed Mr Browne on Op SINBAD and the plans to deal with the SCU based at Jameat Police Station.1193 The briefing did not suggest a real improvement in the overall capability of Basra’s IPS stations: while prior to Op SINBAD stations had an average of TRA level 3 or worse, the average was now assessed at between 2 and 3 with “some inconsistencies” between stations. It did, however, state that the PJCC’s “command ability to plan and co‑ordinate operations throughout the city” was “much improved” due to the permanent presence of the MNF at the centre.

1287. The PJHQ official assessed the SCU as “so thoroughly tainted by corrupt officers that it is effectively beyond gradual reform” and that orders had now been given by the MOI and Prime Minister Maliki for it to be disbanded. The new Operation THYME was being planned by Maj Gen Shirreff to disband the SCU, clear its headquarters and remove all prisoners at the Jameat. The existing 200 SCU personnel would either:

• be detained (only if “sufficient targetable intelligence” existed);

• have their case handed to the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) (where no “targetable” evidence existed but there was information suggesting the individual had been involved in criminal activity); or

• moved to other parts of the IPS and given further training (if not suspected of any criminal activity).

1288. The PJHQ official said that where individuals were dismissed from the IPS, continued biometric testing from the IPS should prevent them from being re‑employed, although that was only possible if the Iraqis continued “to implement a stringent and routine testing regime”. The new MCU would be formed at the PJCC made up of 120 individuals selected by the PTT following “a rigorous screening process”.

1289. Op THYME was carried out on 25 December.1194 Briefing Mr Browne the following day, a PJHQ junior official reported that the operation had been successful but that MNF


1192 Paper BE Baghdad, November 2006, ‘Police Forward Look’.
1193 Minute PJHQ [junior official] to PS/SofS [MOD], 15 December 2006, ‘Op TELIC: Iraq: Op SINBAD and its Enduring Effect on the IPS’.
1194 Minute PJHQ [junior official] to APS/SofS [MOD], 26 December 2006, ‘Outcome of Op THYME – MND(SE) Operations to Disband the Serious Crime Unit (SCU) in Basra’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

had been attacked a number of times, resulting in a “very minor” MNF casualty and
“some vehicle damage”. Seven attackers had been killed.

1290. The PJHQ official stated that 127 prisoners were found and that the Iraqi Army
had transferred them to the Warren facility. “Some 80 percent” of the prisoners “showed
signs of torture”. A search of the Jameat site uncovered weapons, grenades, shells and
bomb‑making equipment. The MNF demolished part of the building to prevent it from
being reoccupied.

1291. There had been a mixed reaction from the Iraqi Government to the operation. A
spokesperson from the IMOD had reiterated that the Iraqi Army was involved; making
clear that the MNF did not act alone. Governor Waili and tribal leaders had offered “very
strong support” but some of those briefed on the operation beforehand had since said
they were unaware of the MNF’s intent. That was believed to be due to militia pressure.

1292. Reflecting on the Iraqi reaction to Op THYME, Lt Gen Shirreff told the Inquiry:
“Maliki was generally supportive, Governor Waili was delighted, the tribal sheikhs
within Basra were delighted, the principal cleric of the largest Shia mosque in Basra,
with a congregation of 10,000 people on Friday prayers, thanked me for delivering
the people of Basra from this nest of vipers.”1195

1293. On 28 December, Mr Dominic Meiklejohn, Deputy Consul General in Basra,
described the ISF’s role in Op THYME as “significant”.1196 The performance of Brigadier
Ibrahim, the only member of the Basra Security Committee in the country, had been
“less encouraging”, getting “cold feet at the last moment” and ordering a Commander
of 10th Division not to participate. Consequently, the brigade failed to provide the outer
cordon as planned.

1294. Mr Meiklejohn reported that Prime Minister Maliki had claimed not to know about
the operation, despite it being raised with him on three separate occasions. Some
members of the Provincial Council had criticised the operation publicly but those were
the “usual suspects”. At a local, tactical level reactions had been positive, and although
local media had suggested the IPS would no longer be participating in Op SINBAD, the
PTTs had been “welcomed warmly” at police stations. He wrote: “… excising the SCU has demonstrated that MNF and ISF have the will and capacity to root out militia influence over the IPS. The SCU were not the only offenders but had become a signal of what was wrong with the IPS. The operation … sent a powerful signal to Basra.
“There is still much to do. MNF operations against the Shia militias remain outside
[Prime Minister] Maliki’s comfort zone. Local ISF commanders are scared of being


1195 Public hearing, 11 January 2010, page 31.
1196 eGram 57155/06 Basra to FCO, 28 December 2006, ‘Iraq: Basra: Action Against Serious Crime Unit’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

hung out to dry by Baghdad if they get too closely involved. We can avoid some of the pain by doing even more to keep Maliki … in the loop (and paying the price in operational security – the fact that no members of the SCU were caught in the Jameat suggests they were warned off). But we can’t make Maliki more determined or happier to confront the Shia militias. And we can’t get to PIC unless we can show that the ISF are ready and able to confront the militias.”

1295. Maj Gen Shirreff, also reporting on Op THYME on 28 December, wrote that the operation “may mark a decisive moment, if not the decisive act in our efforts to reform the IPS in Basra”.1197 He thought it “brought to a head the hard choices that face the Provincial Council, the Basra Security Committee and the ISF: do they confront or continue to roll over in the face of the militia?”

1296. Maj Gen Shirreff criticised Maj Gen Latif for refusing to order a brigade to deploy into an area, because JAM was there with Rocket Propelled Grenades and small arms. Maj Gen Shirreff considered the Basra Security Committee “no longer fit for purpose” after two members deserted the Committee during the operation and Brig Ibrahim denied “any foreknowledge having previously been in full support”.

1297. On 4 January 2007, Maj Gen Shirreff reported that the relationship with the Council remained tense, with all members refusing to meet the MNF face to face.1198 He was concerned about the welfare of the prisoners after SCU members had arrived to work at the Warren facility. While prisoners had not been subject to further torture, they had not received access to medical care or legal advice. The Director of Police had assured he would keep SCU out of the Warren because it was not possible to be sure who had been involved in the torture of prisoners.

1298. The consequences of Op THYME continued as members of the Provincial Council refused to engage fully with the MNF.1199 They rejected evidence that the MNF had authority for the operation and denied being briefed about it beforehand. Maj Gen Shirreff believed it was “absolutely clear” that that was due to fear of reprisals from JAM and SCU.

1299. Lt Gen Shirreff told the Inquiry about how Op THYME affected Op SINBAD: “… there was some delay … but … there was no significant impact on SINBAD at all. In fact, in a sense it allowed us to continue that process which had begun to develop, but putting the Iraqis more into the lead on SINBAD …”1200


1197 Minute Shirreff to CJO, 28 December 2006, ‘GOC MND(SE) – Southern Iraq Update – 28 December 2006’.
1198 Minute Shirreff to CJO, 4 January 2007, ‘GOC MND(SE) – Southern Iraq Update – 04 January 2007’.
1199 Minute Shirreff to CJO, 11 January 2007, ‘GOC MND(SE) – Southern Iraq Update – 17 January 2007’.
1200 Public hearing, 11 January 2010, pages 32‑33.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry


1300. On 4 January 2007, Maj Gen Shirreff reported that the Iraqi Ground Forces
Command had declared operational control of 10th Division from MNF‑I.1201
Maj Gen Shirreff stated: “I am content, but on the condition that Latif is replaced and the Army does not accept orders from the Basra Security Committee.”

1301. On the No.10 copy of Maj Gen Shirreff’s report, Sir Nigel Sheinwald commented
that, while there was some positive news in it, “the worst … is left to the end and is a
big problem”.1202

1302. Lt Gen Lamb produced an update on ISF capabilities on 5 January 2007.1203
On equipment, he wrote that the Iraqi Government did not view 10th Division as “a
relatively high priority for investment” because their ratings and manning levels were
“significantly higher than other Divisions on a number of criteria”. If the UK was to lobby
the IMOD and MNSTC‑I for equipment, Lt Gen Lamb advised: “… this needs to be done in the full knowledge that it distorts the prioritisation and investment system that we have encouraged the Iraqis to develop and meet their national needs as a whole; expect push back from US and ISF commanders.”

1303. The manuscript comment on Lt Gen Lamb’s assessment of the priorities for
investment said: “We have to make this up then.” The MOD has been unable to identify
the author of the manuscript comments.

1304. On 8 January, the IPU produced an engagement strategy for the future UK
presence in southern Iraq.1204 On ISF capability in Basra, the paper stated: “We should
be frank about the problems, for the sake of our own credibility.” The IPU then suggested
a series of positive messages:

• Both the Iraqi Army and the IPS are increasingly taking the lead following

• Cleaning up the police is “at the heart of our current work”.

• The SCU is being disbanded and replaced by a Basra Crimes Unit at the PJCC

• A DIA and a Prosecution Mentoring Unit have been created.


1201 Report Shirreff, 4 January 2007, ‘GOC MND(SE) – Southern Iraq Update – 04 January 2007’.
1202 Manuscript comment Sheinwald on Letter Beadle to Banner, 8 January 2007, ‘Iraq: Update’ attaching Report Shirreff, 4 January 2007, ‘GOC MND(SE) – Southern Iraq Update – 04 January 2007’.
1203 Minute Lamb to DCDS(C), 5 January 2007, ‘Iraqi Security Force (ISF) Capability’.
1204 Paper IPU, 8 January 2007, ‘Future UK Presence in Southern Iraq: Engagement Strategy’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

• “We are confident that this mix of activity will get the Basra police to the required standard for transition, even if problems will remain. But we intend to retain a significant police training, support and mentoring presence to sustain forward momentum after transition, including at the PJCC in Basra city.”

1305. On 10 January, the MOD produced an update on UK military plans for transition for DOP(I).1205 An annex provided an interim assessment of Op SINBAD. It stated that a clearer review would be available in March but that there were a number of positive outcomes as well as some areas requiring more work.

1306. The annex noted that police effectiveness had increased; it was currently assessed as 69 percent capable and was on track for the 72 percent capability required for transition. But parts of the IPS remained “actively criminal” and harboured the “Death Squads responsible for a large proportion of the murder rate in Basra”.

1307. The Iraqi Army had taken the lead through the latter stages of Op SINBAD and was able to respond to requests for assistance through MND(SE). It still lacked the “capability, structurally and conceptually” to deploy nationwide.

1308. Op SINBAD had also “confirmed suspicions that some leaders in parts of the Iraqi security sector in MND(SE) are not fit for task, including members of the Iraqi Army and the Basra Security Committee”.

1309. DOP(I) considered the paper on 11 January.1206

1310. The minutes recorded that, although arrest warrants had been issued for members of the SCU, they had not been actioned and there were signs that those members were “continuing to operate”. The UK would continue to press Mr Boulani, and the mentoring effort in the MOI should be increased.

1311. Cabinet discussed Op SINBAD and transition in Basra later that day.1207 Mr Blair stated that during his visit at the end of 2006 “he had sensed, for the first time, that Iraqi generals felt that if they were given the right training and equipment they would be able to do the job”.

1312. Mr Browne said that ISF “would only improve if they were given more responsibility”. He reiterated the problems with the police, particularly the SCU, and stated that the UK was “determined” that rogue officers “would not be allowed to remain in the police”.

1313. On 17 January, the JIC assessed: “In MND(SE) the predominantly Shia 10th Division is already operating independently in the provinces of Muthanna, Dhi Qar and much of Maysan …


1205 Paper MOD, 10 January 2007, ‘UK Military Transition Plans for Southern Iraq’.
1206 Minutes, 11 January 2007, DOP(I) meeting.
1207 Cabinet Conclusions, 11 January 2007.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

despite reported comments by the former Commander of 4 Brigade that up to
50 percent of his unit was sympathetic to JAM, they successfully and impartially
policed a cease‑fire in Amara between JAM and Badr. In Operation SINBAD in
Basra units conducted cordon and search operations independently and effectively
and in one instance intervened in a public order disturbance. We judge 10th Division
is slowly improving and gaining confidence, but it remains prone to interference from
local government and militia pressure. It is likely to prove fragile if confronted by
serious Shia militia violence.”1208

1314. On 18 January, Dr Rosalind Marsden, Consul General in Basra, produced
the first consolidated weekly report from MND(SE).1209 She highlighted a number of
difficulties including:

• the Provincial Council’s disengagement with MNF;

• a requirement to replace or dissolve the Emergency Security Committee;

• a requirement to appoint a new Chief of Police; and

• a continued need to tackle death squads and high‑level corruption in the police.

1315. In contrast to the MOD’s assessment that 69 percent of police stations were at a
level sufficient for transition, Dr Marsden assessed that 56 percent were ready and that
police trainers had been able to operate normally in 80 percent of the stations visited –
in others “they have been turned away politely”. Dr Marsden also stated that the transfer
of land to allow construction of a new Central Prison for Basra had finally been agreed in
December 2006.

1316. In his end of tour report, dated 19 January, Maj Gen Shirreff stated:
“Mission success for Britain depends on a capable, confident IA and the last six
months has witnessed both highs and lows. The mutiny of 2/4/10 [2nd Battalion,
4th Brigade, 10th Division] and the failure of 4 (IA) Bde [4th Brigade] to control
the looting of Camp Abu Naji in August were the obvious lows and demonstrated
that the ‘hands off’ approach to training the IA adopted by the UK was inadequate.
Arguably, no other army in the world has greater depth of experience in training
indigenous armies than the British and yet we have not been true to ourselves. We
have not lived, trained and fought alongside them, preferring a centralised MiTT and
a far more hands off approach, in contrast to our US allies. Effectively the stabilisers
were removed from the bike too early. The result has been a lacklustre, inadequately
trained and supported Division that failed the test when it came.
“Subsequent to these failures, SINBAD has, for the most part, done much to
improve IA capability and confidence … We finish SINBAD with the IA in the lead.
However, until the IA in Basra is prepared to fight JAM, the ISF will not be capable


1208 JIC Assessment, 17 January 2007, ‘Iraqi Security Forces: Prospects in 2007’.
1209 Letter Marsden to Aldred, 18 January 2007, ‘Basra: Weekly Report’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

of maintaining law and order … as with any organisation, it depends on the man at the top and it is the best possible news that Latif, CG 10 (IA) Div [Commander General 10th Division], who has proved to be worse than useless, is to be shifted … if we are to get the IA right, it means accepting the risk of much greater embedding within IA units. This, in turn, means not only living and training with them, but being prepared to fight with them too.”1210

1317. In his evidence to the Inquiry, Lt Gen Shirreff said that Op SINBAD: “… failed to achieve the security which was the original genesis of the plan, but it achieved other things. I think it achieved an increased confidence among the Iraqi Army. It certainly achieved a better standard, generally speaking, of Iraqi police, in terms of the mechanistic boxes that needed to be ticked before Provincial Iraqi Control should be established …”1211

1318. On 25 January, Mr Browne briefed Cabinet that, in Basra: “… the murder rate had reduced from over 100 to less than 30 a month, which compared favourably with a number of European States and American cities. The kidnap rate had been halved and polling suggested levels of confidence in security which would be welcome in the UK; 90 percent of those polled felt more secure than a year ago; only two percent had encountered intimidation in the last six months. The biggest challenge was improvement in policing, but the police forces were only a couple of percentage points below the benchmark set for transfer of security.”1212

1319. On 26 January, Lt Gen Lamb produced a report on ISF capability for Mr Blair.1213 He warned about the problems of gifting equipment in an attempt to fix capability gaps:
“This will only provide, perhaps, a marginal short term difference (usually offset by IMOD to compensate against other national priorities) and is, in general, just as likely to exacerbate the systemic issues already present in terms of logistic support e.g. through multiple vehicle fleets or weapon systems. There are also other additional factors … such directed gifting is likely to received pushback from both the US and the Iraqis.”

1320. In her weekly report dated 1 February, Dr Marsden warned that the formation of the new Basra Crimes Unit (BCU) had stalled and that 400 members of the former SCU were still turning up to claim wages and entering buildings designated for the new BCU.1214 The MOI were yet to stop their wages and the Provincial Director of Police was not engaging on the matter. She stated that MNF protection for DIA officers travelling to


1210 Report Shirreff, 19 January 2007, ‘Post Operational Report – Operation TELIC, Part One: General Officer Commanding’s Overview’.
1211 Public hearing, 11 January 2010, page 42.
1212 Cabinet Conclusions, 25 January 2007.
1213 Report Lamb, 26 January 2007, ‘Iraqi Security Force (ISF) Capability – January 07 Report for the Prime Minister’.
1214 Letter Marsden to Aldred, 1 February 2007, ‘Basra: Weekly Report’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

the Warren was critical and that “DIA concerns … were not allayed when they made the
trip with Iraqi Army backup and were confronted by SCU officers”. She noted that the
Basra Police Academy had gone into decline since it was transferred to Iraqi control in
December 2006.

1321. On 9 February, Dr Marsden sought to explain the apparent difference between
improving Transitional Readiness Assessments of the police and the more qualitative
assessment by those on the ground that the police force had become less effective.1215
She stated: “The measurement of transition readiness levels (defined by CPATT) is mainly based on quantitative indicators such as who has been given what training, whether or not
police stations are producing the requisite reports, following the right procedures and
performing basic police business and whether they are properly equipped. It does
not include a moral component.
“On the positive side, we have trained and trained the lower echelons of the Basra
police (11,500 in the Shaibah college alone). They have all been equipped with
guns, cars and uniforms. There are some good units in the Basra police and a
number of good, professional middle‑ranking police officers, trying to do a good
job. But the Basra police also includes an influential minority of seriously criminal
and corrupt individuals and a large number of officers (probably the majority) who
are more or less adequate but stifled by weak leadership and intimidated by the
seriously corrupt elements and militant militias.
“The real problem is the high level of … serious police related crime … This is
evidenced by the recent interviews carried out by the Department of Internal Affairs
with tortured prisoners from the Jameat. There is evidence that some police officers
are also directly involved in anti‑MNF activity. These criminal elements are a big
part of the problem on the streets, although the size of that problem is not massive
compared to Baghdad.”

1322. Gen Dannatt visited Iraq from 14 to 15 February.1216 He reported:
“For MND(SE), 10 IA Div clearly represent the exit strategy not only from Basra
City but elsewhere across the region … the fear is that 10 IA Div may not be as
good as we hoped it would be … But as GOC MND(SE) rightly observed, we have
regularly changed the role for which these troops were designed; they have gone
from local militia (ICDC), to regional defence force and now onto an expeditionary
footing … over the past three and a half years. However, we are where we are; the
trick now is to maintain sufficient SSR momentum to get 10 IA Div at the level of
combat effectiveness appropriate to its future role against the predicted threat. And
GOC MND(SE) is looking carefully at this. It is not simply a question of enhancing


1215 Letter Marsden to Aldred, 9 February 2007, ‘Basra: Weekly Report’.
1216 Minute CGS to CDS, 19 February 2007, ‘CGS Visit to Iraq: 14‑15 Feb 07’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

our MiTTs – many Iraqi soldiers fear the MiTTs simply draw the enemy’s fire. ‘Partnership’ is key, as we saw on Op SINBAD …”

1323. In his statement to the Inquiry, Former Chief Superintendent Barton said that, by early 2007, “the security situation had worsened so much that it was impossible to move around the city in anything other than a Warrior”.1217 He wrote that due to the security risk, inspection visits “would often be as short as twenty minutes”; in comparison, an inspection at a UK station would take “at least one full day”.

10th Division called to Baghdad

In his weekly report from 31 January, Major General Jonathan Shaw, GOC MND(SE) from January 2007 until August 2007, reported that elements of 10th Division were likely to be called to Baghdad in the near future for a combat role.1218 He assessed: “while the 10th Division has proven itself capable of basic tasks … they are not yet combat proven. Asking them to deploy to Baghdad in this role at this stage risks asking too much of them.”
Two battalions of 10th Division were expected to move north in support of the Baghdad Security Plan in late February.1219 Each battalion was to be accompanied by a team of four “military observers”1220 who would “co‑locate with US forces”.
On 12 February, MOD officials recommended that two four‑man UK teams should embed alongside US MiTTs with the two 10th Division battalions being deployed to Baghdad.1221 By 21 February, plans had expanded to include a UK team of 24 based at Besmaya (from where ISF were being forward deployed to Baghdad) to help the US prepare other ISF units for the Baghdad Security Plan.1222
In his evidence to the Inquiry, Major General Graham Binns, GOC MND(SE) from August 2007 until February 2008, recalled:
“… when the unit that we had trained from 10 Division deployed to Baghdad, we mentored and we sent mentoring teams with them to Baghdad … this was something that had evolved in Basra but not Baghdad.”1223

Planning to leave Basra City

1324. On 8 January, No.10 wrote to departments requesting a number of additional reports (as described earlier in this Section), including a weekly report on developments in ISF capability, stating that Mr Blair wished to know of problems, and how and by whom they would be tackled.1224


1217 Statement, 7 June 2010, pages 9‑10.
1218 Minute Shaw to CJO, 31 January 2007, ‘GOC MND(SE) – Southern Iraq Updated – 24 [sic] January’.
1219 Minutes, 7 February 2007, Chiefs of Staff meeting.
1220 These “military observers” were later described at MiTTs.
1221 Minute PJHQ [junior official] to PS/SofS [MOD], 12 February 2007, ‘Iraq: Op TELIC: Deployment of Two Iraqi Army Battalions to Baghdad with Embedded UK Military Training Team’.
1222 Minute MOD [junior official] to PS/SofS [MOD], 21 February 2007, ‘Iraq – Media Handling of the MiTT Deployments to Baghdad’.
1223 Public hearing, 15 January 2010, page 17.
1224 Letter Banner to Siddiq, 8 January 2007, ‘Iraq’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

1325. At the Iraq Senior Officials Group on 12 January, Mr Howard pointed out that
weekly reporting would be difficult as information was produced by the US on a monthly
basis so little would change from week to week.1225 Monthly reports would therefore be
more sensible.

1326. On 22 January, Mr Banner wrote to departments thanking them for a series
of papers and asked that the next report on ISF capabilities include more detailed
recommendations on addressing shortfalls and bottlenecks.1226

1327. On 26 January, Mr Banner provided Mr Blair with a number of updates.1227 He
judged that the Basra update and the ISF capabilities update suggested that “all is not
well with 10th Division, including on equipment (we need to work out how this squares
with CDS’s assurance that all they were lacking is a water truck)”.

1328. On 24 January, Mr Browne wrote to Mr Blair to update him on the rationale
behind a planned reduction in troops from 7,000 to 4,500‑5,000 (this is also addressed
in Section 9.5).1228 He stated: “There is no question of us leaving a vacuum in the city, as the IA and IPS are already doing patrols and we will remain present in the Provincial Joint Co‑ordination Centre and military transition teams. Early evidence from the final stages of Op SINBAD, where the IA are in some areas not just in the lead but doing it by
themselves, is that inevitably they enjoy a greater level of consent than we do – but
also that they are doing a decent job. They are far from the finished article but after
re‑posturing our shift towards mentoring and support will ensure they continue to
“The clear military advice … is that re‑posturing and the associated drawdown will
not adversely affect our capacity to provide support to the Iraqi Security Forces,
including underwriting it by providing a battlegroup size reserve force. We must
recognise that after re‑posturing re‑intervention would not be straightforward but this
is a nettle that must be grasped at some stage.
“We should explain what these 4,500‑5,000 personnel will be doing … The answer is
that as well as holding a battlegroup in reserve … Security Sector Reform will once
again be the main focus – reflected in an increase in our commitment to military and
police training teams. In relation to the Police in particular – an area where I know
the Americans have concerns – we have … done a considerable amount to clean
up the police in Basra, but making it stick now depends mainly on the Iraqi MOI and
Emergency Security Committee acting on outstanding arrest warrants …


1225 Letter Cabinet Office [junior official] to Sheinwald, 12 January 2007, ‘Iraq Senior Officials Group’.
1226 Letter Banner to Siddiq, 22 January 2007, ‘Iraq’.
1227 Minute Banner to Prime Minister, 26 January 2007, ‘Iraq Update, 26 January’.
1228 Letter Browne to Blair, 24 January 2007, ‘Next Steps on Force Levels in Iraq’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

“Finally, given the importance right now of the Iraqis being able to assume the lead, we should take the opportunity to deal with the public demands which PM Maliki made last week on equipment – repeating in public what he has said to us in private. In fact, the position in IA 10 Div is relatively good, but the Iraqis continue to look for symbols of force to over‑face the militia. We have managed to bring forward the deployment of some 240 Humvee vehicles – 140 are now in place – and we are expecting some heavy calibre arms over the next month. On my visit I will again press Defence Minister Qadir to spend his capital budget wisely and quickly including for 10 Div.”

1329. On 29 January, Mr Banner requested further details from the MOD on equipment issues and MiTTing (as support for police reform).1229

1330. On 30 January, Mr Banner briefed the Prime Minister that one of the two “key issues” for the US was that the UK should have “an embedding/MiTT programme similar to their own”.1230 The MOD was “working on this” but was, Mr Banner felt, “reluctant”.

1331. Mr Blair met Lieutenant General Nicholas Houghton, Chief of Joint Operations, and senior officials from FCO and SIS to discuss the situation in Basra on 31 January.1231 The issue of embedding mentors was raised. Lt Gen Houghton explained that the UK approach to mentoring in Basra was different to that being developed by the US, in part because of a differing context; the US were primarily embedding with Shia forces operating in hostile Sunni areas, whereas the UK was working with Shia forces in Shia areas. He stated: “We, not they, drew the fire of local militias”, hence most UK mentoring would take place at headquarters level and at bases.

1332. Mr Blair also expressed concern about the Iraqi ability to ensure security after re‑posturing. Lt Gen Houghton noted that the UK would retain a re‑intervention capability, and that it was “important to allow 10 Division to act independently”. He conceded that there was still considerable work to be done to improve leadership in 10th Division and fill equipment gaps “where it was difficult to take bilateral action specific to 10th Division, given the prioritisation system in place via MNSTC‑I”. Mr Blair stated that it was “essential that our plans resulted in a 10 Division that was able to defeat JAM whenever it encountered them in an open fight. This would be the only way to instil wider confidence in the security situation.”

1333. The MOD responded to Mr Banner’s request on 2 February.1232 On equipment, the MOD denied that there were any shortages for 10th Division. It explained that relevant training must take place before equipping could be completed, and that that


1229 Letter Banner to Siddiq, 29 January 2007, ‘Iraq’.
1230 Minute Banner to Blair, 30 January 2007, ‘Iraq Meeting, 31 January’.
1231 Letter Banner to Siddiq, 31 January 2007, ‘Iraq: Meeting with Officials’.
1232 Letter Forber to Banner, 2 February 2007.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

training had not yet happened. Set against IMOD critical equipment targets for each
division, 10th Division were:

• 99 percent equipped in protected mobility;

• 100 percent equipped in light weapons;

• 86 percent equipped in body armour; and

• 84 percent equipped in helmets.

1334. The MOD did acknowledge that corruption led to issued equipment being lost but
stated: “once equipment has been issued … there is little MND(SE) can do to oversee
the loss or relocation of such assets”.

1335. On MiTTing, the MOD stated that US MiTT plans elsewhere in Iraq saw US
personnel directly embedded and serving alongside their Iraqi counterparts but the UK
approach differed: “UK practice, and one we have adopted in numerous Military Assistance Missions around the world, is focused on leadership and embedding UK personnel at brigade and divisional level rather than in fighting units. It is possible that our slightly different approach will attract criticism from the US and we will need to be ready to explain our reasoning, which is, in large part, due to the different circumstances on the ground in southern Iraq. 10 Division is more advanced than some Iraqi Army
divisions elsewhere and is already responsible for security in much of MND(SE)
outside Basra City. Embedded MiTTs may not, therefore be required or wanted
much by the Iraqi Army in Southern Iraq.”

1336. In his evidence to the Inquiry, Lieutenent General Barney White‑Spunner,
GOC MND(SE) from February 2008, described the US approach to MiTTing:
“It is an embedded military training team. So what the Americans had done with
the First Division, and indeed with most of their formations for which they were
responsible in the Iraqi Army, was they had put dedicated teams into that formation
who lived and worked with them. So when that formation deployed … it brought
those teams with it.”1233

1337. On 31 January, the Cabinet Office circulated a paper entitled ‘Transition in
Southern Iraq: Progress and Plans’.1234 The paper set out assessments and plans on
security transition for DOP on 1 February, and is described in more detail in Section 9.5.
On the IPS, it stated: Basic police capability has improved and the Basra IPS is on target to achieve the 72 percent Transitional Readiness Assessment (TRA) level 2 required for transfer


1233 Public hearing, 7 January 2010, page 15.
1234 Paper Cabinet Office, 31 January 2007, ‘Transition in Southern Iraq: Progress and Plans’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

to Provincial Iraqi Control (PIC) by April. Over 70 percent of Police Stations in Basra province have already reached this level. This is up markedly from a starting average TRA level of 3.3 (out of 4) in September 2006.
“However, for all the efforts made, levels of trust in the police force remain low, and some assessments indicate that the IPS continue to do more to undermine rather than guarantee security.”

1338. On the Iraqi Army, the paper stated that the main issue was the “quality of its leadership, in addition to unwillingness to stand up to militia activity and a lack of equipment”. To address concerns about 10th Division’s capabilities and readiness, a “dedicated” SSR team of four MiTTs would be deployed, each comprising five or six people, to carry out training at divisional and brigade level.

1339. The paper noted that closing bases in the city would make any military re‑intervention high‑risk. In the event of re‑intervention, all training of the ISF would have to cease until the operation was complete. Post‑PIC plans for SSR depended on a degree of freedom of movement in and around Basra, including a military and civilian presence at the PJCC.

1340. Mr Browne visited Iraq from 28 to 31 January (described in Section 9.5).1235 In a report of the visit, an Assistant Private Secretary reported that Mr Browne was told that:

• The leadership of Basra security structures was inadequate (a point which he in turn raised with Prime Minister Maliki and Mr Abdel Qadir, Iraqi Defence Minister).

The US was not convinced about Basra being ready for transition or the capability of the 10th Division.

• The Police Adviser felt the police were less effective than six months before “principally because of intimidation rather than any lack of training or capability”.

1341. Mr Browne’s Assistant Private Secretary commented that those views seemed to contradict the messages that had previously been received on the success of Op SINBAD. There was “a lack of firm indicators to substantiate or refute” the different conclusions.

1342. In his update to DOP on 1 February, Mr Browne reported on his visit to Iraq.1236 In Basra he had “seen first hand the positive effect that Operation SINBAD had had”; the reported murder rate had reduced and “sectarian violence had almost stopped”. Continued violence was mainly directed against coalition forces.


1235 Minute McNeil to MA1/DCDS(C), 1 February 2006 [sic], ‘Defence Secretary’s Visit to Iraq – 28‑31 January 2007’.
1236 Minutes, 1 February 2007, DOP meeting.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

Understanding the murder rate in Basra

On 1 February, Dr Marsden sought to provide context to the figures behind murder rates in Basra.1237 She wrote: “Anecdotal evidence from Basrawi contacts and some other sources of information suggest that levels of intimidation of Basrawis by JAM and other militias remain high. Yet crime figures quoted in the 31 January DOP paper suggests that the reported murder rate fell sharply in the second half of 2006.
“Confusingly there is no single collation point for recording crime in Basra. There are
currently two sets of crime figures in use: those produced by the PJCC (jointly run
by the IPS, IA and MNF) and those produced by the criminal statistics department
of the IPS. The IPS figures are based on crimes reported weekly by police stations
to the criminal statistics department in Police HQ. The PJCC figures are based on
emergency calls received from members of the public and (sporadic) radio reports
from individual police officers on the ground. They do not take account of police
station reports. Both sets of figures are incomplete because they do not include tribal
murders (in which the police do not get involved), many cases of family violence and
crimes committed by police officers themselves (a significant omission as many of the
murders in Basra are actually committed by the police themselves, notably the death
squads in the Serious Crimes Unit and certain other units).
“The reported murder and kidnapping rates quoted in the DOP paper are based on
PJCC figures. These show that the murder rate rose from around 50 a month in early
2006 to over 100 a month in the second quarter … declining to 30 in December 2006.
The IPS figures show a similar trend in the first half of the year, with the murder rate
peaking at over 100 a month in April‑June 2006, but with a much less marked decline
in the second half of the year (to 80‑90 murders a month in the last quarter of 2006).”

1343. On 13 February, MOD officials provided a paper to DOP on how best to balance
military effort across Iraq and Afghanistan (see Section 9.5).1238 The MOD said that
current plans were that, following re‑posturing up to six UK military sub units1239 and
three battlegroup headquarters would be available for ISF training. Specifically:

• one company devoted to training the Iraqi Army at the Divisional Training Centre;

• one company to provide a “flying” MiTT to monitor and mentor the 1st and
4th Brigades of 10th Division;

• one company to support FCO‑led Police Training Teams, based at the PJCC;

• up to two companies to provide training and assistance to the DBE in
border‑related operations; and

• a company based at Basra Palace (until August) available to periodically
conduct training of the Iraqi Army.


1237 Letter Marsden to Aldred, 1 February 2007, ‘Basra: Weekly Report’.
1238 Paper MOD, 13 February 2007, ‘Iraq and Afghanistan: Balancing Military Effort in 2007’.
1239 The Inquiry estimates that those sub units would each contain around 100 people.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

1344. In addition, smaller MiTTs would remain embedded with the Headquarters of 10th Division.

1345. The MOD said that central to their re‑posturing plans would be the release of manpower to better focus on training for the IPS, Iraqi Army and DBE, concentrating on the weakest areas of leadership and collective training.

1346. To help Mr Blair draft a statement to Parliament on the latest military plans, the MOD provided an update on Op SINBAD on 16 February.1240 The paper described a number of areas where progress had been achieved:

• Experience of operations for the PJCC had improved the ISF’s ability to plan and co‑ordinate operations in the city. The paper did say that “given its central importance PJCC mentoring will continue beyond SINBAD and PIC”.

• A reduction in reported crime. There was no mention of concerns over the validity of those figures.

• An improvement in basic police capability, although problems with leadership and corruption were acknowledged and the paper later assessed that up to 75 percent of Basra IPS were members of a militia and “many” were linked to criminal activity.

• The Iraqi Army had reached the level required for PIC but “their ability to stand up to militias unaided by coalition remains questionable”.

1347. On 21 February, Mr Blair delivered his statement in Parliament: “Since the outset, our plan, agreed by the United Nations, has been to build up Iraqi capability in order to let Iraqis take control of their own destiny, and that as they would step up, we would increasingly step back. For three years therefore, we have been working to create, train and equip Iraqi security forces capable of taking on the security of the country themselves.
“In normal circumstances, the progress would be considered remarkable. There are now 10 Divisions of the new Iraqi Army and more than 130,000 soldiers, able in significant parts of the country to provide order. There are 135,000 personnel in the Iraqi Police Service. There, the progress has been more constrained, and frequently hampered by corruption and sectarianism, but none the less, again, in normal circumstances, it would be considered a remarkable effort. The plan of General Petraeus … which was conceived in 2004, has in its essential respects been put in place …
“Over the past months, we have been conducting an operation in Basra with the 10th Division of the Iraqi Army, to reach the stage where Basra can be secured by the Iraqis themselves …


1240 Letter Beadle to Banner, 16 February 2007, ‘The Effects of Op SINBAD 20 September 2006 to 14 January 2007’ attaching Paper ‘The Effect of Operation SINBAD’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

“As a result of the operation in Basra, which is now complete, the Iraq forces now
have the primary role for security in most parts of the city. It is still a difficult and
sometimes dangerous place, but many extremists have been arrested or have left
the city. The reported levels of murder and kidnapping are significantly down …
“What all this means is not that Basra is how we want it to be but that the next
chapter in Basra’s history can be written by the Iraqis …
“The British forces that remain in Iraq will have the following tasks:

• training and support to Iraqi forces;

• securing the Iraq‑Iran border;

• securing supply routes;

• and, above all, the ability to conduct operations against extremist groups and be there in support of the Iraqi Army when called upon.
“Over time, and depending naturally on progress and the capability of the Iraq
security forces, we will be able to draw down further, possibly to below 5,000 once
the Basra Palace site has been transferred to the Iraqis in late summer.”1241


1348. The paper produced by the IPU and British Embassy Baghdad on 16 February
2007 described problems with Basra’s judicial system.1242 There was “considerable
evidence of the extra‑legal influence of political/religious factions on the judicial process”.
Those judges involved in combating corruption had expressed concern for their personal
safety and there was a lack of judicial control.

1349. The paper included a recommendation that attempts to bring prosecutions in
IPS corruption cases should continue. A new Basra courthouse would be completed
by November 2007 and a 1,500‑capacity prison would be created in Basra. Those
conclusions were reflected in the Better Basra Mark III plan (described later in this

1350. On 26 February, in response to the latest weekly report from Dr Marsden, No.10
wrote to departments: “The Prime Minister is seized of the need to replace [Brigadier] Hamadi as Director of Basra Police. We need to take urgent action with Maliki to underline the case for this, and to ensure the effective functioning of the Serious Crimes Unit. The Prime Minister thinks this may require a high level visit, from the Foreign or


1241 House of Commons, Official Report, 21 February 2007, columns 261‑280.
1242 Letter Siddiq to Banner, 16 February 2007 attaching Paper British Embassy Baghdad/Iraq Policy Unit, ‘Iraqi Justice System’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

Defence Secretary or a Special Envoy, in order to reinforce the point that this is of high importance to HMG [Her Majesty’s Government] and the Prime Minister personally.”1243

1351. In her report dated 28 February (dealt with in more detail in Section 9.5), Dr Marsden wrote: “While polling suggests that the IPS inspire confidence in about 65 percent of the population … those questioned by British representatives said that the police could not be trusted. Many told stories of intimidation and claimed knowledge of kidnappings and death squads. Others said they would not call the police emergency hotline to report criminal or terrorist activity for fear that policemen taking the calls were in cahoots with the militias. Basrawis are willing to call the police to report general crime but if criminals threatened them or their families, they are more likely to turn to their tribe for help.”1244


1352. The third iteration of the Better Basra Plan, ‘Better Basra Mark III’, was sent by Dr Marsden to Ms Aldred on 2 March.1245 It is described more fully in Section 9.5.

1353. It set out the combined military and civilian strategic priorities for Basra for thecoming six months. One of the indicators of success would be “Iraqi Government control sustained after PIC with no breakdown of law and order”. The plan had a number of subsections including “security” and “Rule of Law”.

1354. The “security” aim was to “reduce the threat from illegal armed groups and Iranian proxies and build the capacity of the Iraqi Army to take on militant JAM and conduct their own Strike Operations”. The plan noted that, although the Iraqi Army had grown in confidence during Op SINBAD, it would “certainly face stiffer tests in future”. To enhance capability over the next six months the UK would:

• deploy MiTTs with 10th Division Iraqi Army units;

• provide further leadership training;

• conduct more joint operations;

• establish Iraqi ownership and a relationship of trust with the Basra Emergency Security Committee (assuming the Iraqi Government wished to maintain it); and

• press the IMOD and the US to provide more equipment (particularly heavy weapons) so that 10th Division felt sufficiently equipped to engage effectively.


1243 Letter Fletcher to Siddiq, 26 February 2007, ‘Iraq: Basra’.
1244 Letter Marsden to McDonald, 28 February 2007, ‘Basra: Everyday Life for Ordinary Iraqis’.
1245 Letter Marsden to Aldred, 2 March 2007, ‘Better Basra’ attaching Paper, 1 March 2007, ‘Better Basra Mark 3: The 2007 Plan’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

1355. The aim for “Rule of Law” was to: “… bring the Basra police to a ‘good enough’ standard to transition to PIC. Basra’s population have the right to expect more of its police. The police should be able to carry out basic policing tasks; Basrawis should feel that if they report a crime, it will be acted on; the police should not be the home of organised death squads (although it is unrealistic to expect zero corruption); and militia influence should not be at levels where it is the dominant force in police stations.”

1356. To achieve those aims, the UK would:

• support the DIA, based in a protected compound at Basra Air Station;

• encourage the “pursuit” of the 62 death squad leaders from the SCU and NIIA
(of which three had already been arrested);

• press Baghdad to replace the weak Provincial Director of Police (PDoP);

• improve co‑operation between the Basra police and the MOI in Baghdad;

• continue intensive mentoring of the PDoP and other senior IPS officers;

• continue monitoring and mentoring police stations to achieve 80 percent of
police stations at the level required for PIC;

• encourage the removal of unqualified and poor performers;

• establish a properly vetted, fully professional Criminal Investigation Department;

• mentor the Basra branch of the NIIA to try and ensure that criminal elements of
the CIU do not migrate into the unit; and

• provide forensic capability at Basra Police Headquarters.

1357. The plan described the judiciary as “weak and unable to prosecute serious crime”.
The aim was to “empower Basra’s judges and prosecutors to tackle serious crime
(particularly police corruption) in a more secure, less intimidating environment”. Priorities for the next six months were to:

• build the capacity of judges and others involved in the judicial process
through mentoring, specifically the Prosecution Mentoring Unit (staffed by
two international prosecutors funded by the plan);

• establish regional training programmes;

• improve security measures at the main Basra courthouse;

• build an additional courthouse, using US Department of Justice funding, which
would include witness protection facilities; and

• provide scene of crime and forensic training for investigative judges and judicial

1358. Basra’s prisons were described as “old, overcrowded” and said to “not
meet minimum international human rights standards”. The aim was to “support
the development of an Iraqi Corrections System that complies with Iraqi law and

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

international standards regarding capacity, conditions of confinement and humane treatment of prisoners” by:

• increasing prison capacity by building and commissioning a new US‑funded Basra Central Prison for 1,500 prisoners;

• continuing to strengthen the capacity of correctional services staff by implementing a UK training programme and further mentoring; and

• continuing to monitor management of the two existing prisons.


1359. On 3 March, Iraqi Special Operations Forces (ISOF), supported by MNF troops, carried out a raid on the National Information and Investigation Agency (NIIA) in Basra.1246

1360. Mr Beadle wrote to No.10 about the raid in a letter dated 16 March.1247 The pre‑planned operation was to detain an NIIA officer associated with death squads who had been a “priority UK target for over two years”. The target was not present and the raid resulted in the escape of around 30 prisoners (who had been tortured according to some reports).

1361. On 5 March, Prime Minister Maliki’s office issued a statement condemning the raid as “illegal” and “irresponsible”. Mr Maliki ordered local security authorities, including the police, to cease all “joint activities” with MND(SE) until further notice.

1362. On the same day, Mr Maliki told Mr Asquith that he was disappointed at the “reprehensible” way in which the raid had been conducted and the violation of Iraqi sovereignty that it represented.1248 He warned that the consequence of such operations might be severe restrictions on the ability to deploy ISOF.

1363. Three investigations resulted from the raid: one by the MOI, one led by Mr Safa al‑Safi (Prime Minister Maliki’s Ministerial Security Adviser on Basra) and one by the MNF.1249 The MNF was reviewing mechanisms for informing the Iraqi Government of sensitive operations.

1364. Maj Shaw wrote in his weekly report on 8 March: “It is clear that the raid was both legal and, in tactical targeting terms, a good call … Within the context of the wider politics of Iraq and with the benefit of hindsight,


1246 eGram 9049/07 Baghdad to FCO London, 6 March 2007, ‘Iraq: Meeting with Prime Minister Maliki, 5 March’.
1247 Letter Beadle to Fletcher, 16 March 2007, ‘Iraq: National Intelligence & Information Agency (NIIA) Operation’.
1248 eGram 9049/07 Baghdad to FCO London, 6 March 2007, ‘Iraq: Meeting with Prime Minister Maliki, 5 March’.
1249 Letter Beadle to Fletcher, 16 March 2007, ‘Iraq: National Intelligence & Information Agency (NIIA) Operation’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

however, the operation was ill‑judged. Local political reaction has been relatively
muted … My sense though is that, locally, the desire for progress and transition
remains and this should motivate them to treat this incident more as a speed bump
than an obstacle …”1250

1365. Mr Bill Jeffrey, Permanent Under Secretary for the MOD from November 2005
to October 2010, met Maj Gen Shaw during a visit to Iraq from 12 to 13 March.1251
Maj Gen Shaw reported that the raid on the NIIA offices could “have been handled
better”, with hindsight, but that “most reactions by local political figures were either
somewhat synthetic or manageable”.

1366. Maj Gen Shaw reflected on the raid in his evidence to the Inquiry.1252 He said:
“[It] was the one operation where they [the Iraqi Government] did object to it … that
raid … exposed the difficulties within the Shia polity again … It was a raid carried out
by the Iraqi special forces, so it was an Iraqi raid and it was trying very hard to abide
by or comply with Iraqi sovereignty.”

1367. On 15 March, Maj Gen Shaw highlighted the importance of tackling violence not
directed at MNF and the difficulties of doing that, saying:
“The fundamental assumption behind the NIIA raid was that it was consistent with,
indeed in pursuit of, Iraqi sovereignty: that the nature of the target (known death
squad leader against whom an Iraqi judge had issued an arrest warrant) and the
method of arrest (ISOF, not MNF) would bring GoI buy‑in, even though it was within
a building owned by the IPS (which PM Maliki … acknowledged to be corrupt).”1253

1368. Maj Gen Shaw reflected on how the NIIA incident illustrated concerns about
transition: “It is in this context … that the NIIA raid needs to be viewed. If we are to address the Iraqi end‑state, our focus needs to be less on the 90 percent violence against us, more on the 10 percent reported inter‑Shia/Iraqi violence which threatens stability
when we are gone. Tackling death squad leaders … who pose the major threat
to the political stability of Basra, is the most useful application of military force to
support the political end‑state …
“My short‑term concern is that the issue blights transition … A line needs to be
drawn under this operation in the interest of achieving Iraqi self‑reliance … My
long‑term concerns centre around the defining impact these investigations will


1250 Minute Shaw to CJO, 8 March 2007, ‘GOC MND(SE) – Southern Iraq Update – 8 March 2007’.
1251 Minute PS/PUS [MOD] to PS/SofS [MOD], 16 March 2007, ‘PUS Visit to Multinational Division South‑East, 12 March 2007’.
1252 Public hearing, 11 January 2010, pages 17‑18.
1253 Minute Shaw to CJO, 15 March 2007, ‘GOC MND(SE) – Southern Iraq Update – 15 March 2007’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

have for our future operations and indeed rationale. Firstly, the ‘Untouchable’ status of ISOF is already being attacked by the sectional interest within the GOI that (quite rightly) feel threatened by such a body. The fear is that their freedom of movement and action is curtailed, their operations politically constrained; this would be most damaging to ISOF itself and PM Maliki’s ability to operate to the national interest. Secondly, the danger is that political constraints are so tightly drawn that MND(SE) cannot operate against the 10 percent threat to the Iraqi end state. If we ever reached the stage when MND(SE) were restricted to operations in pursuit of our own force protection, we would need seriously to question our rationale for being here.”

1369. Maj Gen Shaw said in his evidence to the Inquiry that “all kinds of mistreatment of prisoners” were found during the raid, including the rape of a woman in front of her two children.1254 However, the mistreatment was not the political headline, “the political headline was that we had broached Iraqi sovereignty”. Maj Gen Shaw concluded:
“So yes, that was a mistake, it was an unfortunate raid, we learned lessons from it, we played even more gingerly with Shia political sensitivities thereafter.”

1370. On 20 March, ACM Stirrup told Mr Blair that “Petraeus had been helpful in handling the fallout from the raid on the NIIA headquarters, and that this was in any case having only a limited effect on operations in Basra itself.”1255

1371. Maj Gen Shaw reported on 21 March: “The ripples of the raid on the NIIA are seemingly spreading the further we get from the operation itself.”1256

1372. The IMOD had issued a letter stating that joint operations between the Iraqi Army in Basra and the MNF should cease temporarily. Although that had since been rescinded, Maj Gen Shaw commented that “this makes moving Basra forward towards PIC more difficult”.

1373. On the same day, Mr Blair’s Private Secretary updated Mr Blair on the continued fallout from the raid.1257 The MNF‑I investigation into the NIIA raid had concluded that the operation was conducted in good faith and in support of Iraqi law. But there had been no notification to either the Iraqi Government or Gen Petraeus because the operation had been deemed time sensitive. The raid was described as “aggressive but professional” and it was miscommunication that had led to the prisoners escaping.

1374. It took until late April for the police mission to regain access to the NIIA building.1258


1254 Public hearing, 11 January 2010, page 18.
1255 Letter Banner to Hickey, 20 March 2007, ‘Iraq: Meeting with Officials’.
1256 Minute Shaw to CJO, 21 March 2007, ‘GOC MND(SE) – Southern Iraq Update – 21 March 2007’.
1257 Minute Banner to Blair, 21 March 2007, ‘Phonecall with Maliki’.
1258 Letter Tinline to Aldred, 26 April 2007, ‘Basra: Weekly Report’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry


1375. In March and April, British forces withdrew from a number of bases in Basra City,
handing them over to 10th Division:

• the Old State Building on 20 March;1259

• the Shatt al‑Arab Hotel on 8 April; and1260

• Shaibah Logistics Base on 24 April.1261

1376. A JIC Assessment on 25 April considered the prospects for transition in the
South.1262 It assessed: “Increased security efforts in Basra between September 2006 and March 2007 (Operation SINBAD) had some local effect in disrupting militia activity and improving public confidence … Sectarian and other murders have fallen from some 100 a
month in mid‑2006 to 30 in March 2007 … Other forms of violence, criminality, and
intimidation – much of which we judge goes unreported – remain widespread.
“MND(SE) assess that ISF in Basra now meet the minimum criteria for transitional
readiness. Slow improvement in the army continues: 1 Brigade in Basra took
the lead in the latter stages of Operation SINBAD and performed well, within the
limitations of their capability. Much more serious problems persist in the local police
[…] 61 arrest warrants against SCU officers remain outstanding, despite coalition
pressure. A weight of reporting shows that police effectiveness in Basra is still
severely compromised by corruption, poor leadership and the entrenched influence
of Shia militias. Some policemen are actively assisting JAM attacks on MNF.
“We judge that as the scale of MNF presence reduces, violence between rival Shia
political parties, backed by their militias, is likely to intensify. Most see PIC as an
opportunity to extend their own power base in political and security structures, and
increase control over economic resources …
“The nature and scale of any conflict will be determined partly by events in Baghdad
and Najaf, particularly the ability of the United Iraqi Alliance to stick together and
assert authority over its provincial supporters … In the absence of an effective
political brake on serious intra‑Shia fighting, we judge that the ISF would not be
able to cope; the police would probably fragment and the army would try to avoid
direct confrontation, while seeking to contain the situation.”


1259 Minute Shaw to CJO, 21 March 2007, ‘GOC MND(SE) – Southern Iraq Update – 21 March 2007’.
1260 Minute GOC MND(SE) to CJO, 12 April 2007, ‘COS HQ MND(SE) – Southern Iraq Update – 12 April 2007’.
1261 Minute Shaw to CJO, 24 April 2007, ‘GOC HQ MND(SE) – Southern Iraq Update – 24 April 2007’.
1262 JIC Assessment, 25 April 2007, ‘Iraq: Prospects for Transition in the South’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

1377. At Cabinet on 3 May, Mr Browne stated: “In Basra and the South‑East, there were encouraging signs of progress. The Iraqi Army division … was becoming, by any measure, very effective. Its performance and training had impressed the Americans when it was operating in Baghdad … In Basra we had now handed over to the Iraqis two bases in the City and one outside without incident, a significant contrast with the disorder that had taken place over earlier base handovers … The Iraqi security infrastructure did not work well and its leadership, including the Provincial Chief of Police and Emergency Security Committee, was ineffective and incapable of providing the direction needed by those in the police forces capable of working effectively (estimated as some 80 percent) …”1263

1378. On 2 May, Sir Nigel Sheinwald met ACM Stirrup to discuss whether there was “continuing military utility” in the UK’s mission in Iraq.1264 ACM Stirrup said that he saw that resting on the continuing need to train the Iraqi 10th Division, anti‑JAM operations and a capacity to re‑intervene. Sir Nigel reported the meeting to Mr Blair and highlighted that ACM Stirrup had not mentioned the IPS, making the observation: “I think the MOD now regard them as a busted flush.”

1379. On 25 May, a planned ISOF operation in Basra resulted in the death of the Basra JAM leader Mr Wissam Abu Qadir.1265 Maj Gen Shaw described the operation as a success but reported: “The performance of the ISF was less convincing. Not surprisingly that the IPS failed to stand and defend the PJCC, but more disappointing that the Iraqi Army was returned to barracks (following another JAM capture and humiliating release of two IA vehicles and crew) whilst JAM was on the streets. The order to remain in barracks was given by Gen Ali Hamadi (Chair of the Emergency Security Committee). His reasons are not clear, although Gen Habib [the new commander of 10th Division] claims that it was a direct order from PM Maliki. It may well be true that last Friday night was not the right time for 10th Division to stand and fight JAM toe to toe and that the call was a good one. It may equally be true that Gen Ali ordered them back into barracks as a face saving measure, fearing that 1 Bde (who are Basrawis) would refuse to soldier, or that JAM had pressurised him into withdrawing them, to give them a clear shot at us. Gen Habib is, however, acutely aware of the issues within his own Division and the need to address them. He needs to be given the opportunity to solve the problems … in an Iraqi way … But as hinted at above, this ‘Iraqi way’ may prove in time to be a ‘non‑aggression’ pact between the IA and JAM.”


1263 Cabinet Conclusions, 3 May 2007.
1264 Minute Sheinwald to Prime Minister, 3 May 2007, ‘Iraq’.
1265 Minute Shaw to CJO, 31 May 2007, ‘GOC HQ MND(SE) – Southern Iraq Update – 31 May 2007’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

1380. On 13 June, Maj Gen Shaw concluded his weekly report to Lt Gen Houghton: “The thought I leave my staff to ponder is the credibility of our recommendation at month end if this remains, ‘Basra ready for transition to PIC in Aug/Sep’. The pragmatic UK PIC judgements have always been based in large part on judgements about ‘Iraqi good enough’ in agreement with Iraqi judgements on risk. The recent focus of GoI interest in Basra security has seemingly reversed what was hitherto Iraqi enthusiasm for PIC. PM Maliki is concerned about early PIC, the Governor is against it, as is MG Habib: the IPS are recognised as incapable hence the future of Basra’s security is being placed in a new … army division (as yet unformed and unprogrammed); and a new security supremo is promised but as yet unappointed (although rumours abound). Lack of Iraqi enthusiasm for PIC, and the lengthy period required to enact the Iraqi solutions, play to State’s concerns about the PIC process and will make my and LTG Odierno’s [Lieutenant General Raymond Odierno, US Commander Multi‑National Corp ‑ Iraq] desire for Basra PIC harder to justify.”1266

1381. On 27 June, the JIC reiterated their judgement on the likelihood of violence after
PIC and the ability of the Basra ISF to cope:
“The desire for national Shia unity and the ability of local parties to broker deals
may restrain but will not prevent political violence in the South. In the likely event
of serious intra‑Shia fighting the police would probably take sides according to
their particular tribal and militia affiliations and the army would try to remain on
the sidelines.”1267

Iraqi appointments

Three key security personnel in Basra were replaced between March and June 2007:

• Major General Habib was appointed as the new Commander of 10th Division,
replacing Maj Gen Latif.1268

• General Mohan became the head of newly established Basra Provincial Operational
Command, effectively taking overall control of security from Maj Gen Ali Hamadi, who
became his deputy.1269

• Major General Jalil was appointed as Provincial Director of Police, reporting to
General Mohan. Maj Gen Jalil replaced Brig Mohammed Hamadi.


1266 Minute Shaw to CJO, 13 June 2007, ‘GOC HQ MND(SE) – Southern Iraq Update – 13 June 2007’.
1267 JIC Assessment, 27 June 2007, ‘Iraqi Security Forces and Structures: Quantity not Quality’.
1268 Minute Shaw to CJO, 15 March 2007, ‘GOC MND(SE) – Southern Iraq Update – 15 March 2007’.
1269 Minutes, 26 June 2007, Chiefs of Staff meeting.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform


1382. In July 2007, the UK presence at the PJCC comprised 100 military personnel and seven police advisers.1270

1383. On 7 June, Maj Gen Shaw reported: “The increased attacks on the PJCC have exposed a known vulnerability, and disproved the hope that co‑location with IPS would provide some protection … [W]e are reinforcing its sustainment whilst we are there, and reviewing its viability in the longer term, particularly when Basra Palace is vacated.”1271

1384. The minutes of the Chiefs of Staff meeting on 12 June recorded that a DOP paper on the timing of leaving Basra Palace was being delayed until 12 July to allow time for further advice on whether UK personnel could remain in the PJCC after it was vacated.1272 The MOD assessment was that the advantages of remaining outweighed the disadvantages.

1385. On 13 June, Maj Gen Shaw reported that MND(SE) was keeping the PJCC issue under constant review: “The situation is fluid and I would wish to retain the freedom of decision for as long as possible. My intent remains to retain it for as long as practicable, and we are well aware of the message sent if/when we leave it.”1273

1386. On 20 June, the PJCC was attacked by indirect fire (IDF), fatally wounding Major Paul Harding.1274 The junior official briefing Mr Browne on the incident wrote that the PJCC had been subject to a number of attacks over the last month, including from Rocket Propelled Grenades and IDF. Although a number of personnel had been wounded in those attacks, this was the first UK fatality.

1387. The official wrote that, because of the attacks, the PJCC was subject to regular security reviews. A mortar locating radar had recently been installed as a result. The medical team in place (one Emergency Trauma Nurse and three combat medical technicians) was more than would ordinarily be allocated to a deployment of the PJCC’s size, but had been deemed necessary because of the increased threat to the site.

1388. AM Stirrup visited Iraq from 1 to 3 July.1275 His visit report stated that he had been advised by Maj Gen Shaw that there was “little military advantage” in retaining a presence at either the PJCC or Basra Palace, other than for “retaining a base for strike operations and some situational awareness”. Maj Gen Shaw advocated relocating to Basra Air Station at the “earliest practicable point”. Maj Gen Shaw was “confident” that the conditions set for PIC had been met.


1270 Paper FCO & MOD, 12 July 2007, ‘Iraq: Transition in Basra’.
1271 Minute Shaw to CJO, 7 June 2007, ‘GOC HQ MND(SE) – Southern Iraq Update – 07 June 2007’.
1272 Minutes, 12 June 2007, Chiefs of Staff meeting.
1273 Minute, Shaw to CJO, 13 June 2007, ‘GOC HQ MND(SE) – Southern Iraq Update – 13 June 2007’.
1274 Minute PJHQ [junior official] to APS/SofS [MOD], 20 June 2007, ‘Iraq: Op Telic: Death of a British Soldier’; GOV.UK, 21 June 2007, Major Paul Harding 4th Battalion The Rifles killed in Iraq.
1275 Minute Kyd to PS/SofS [MOD], 5 July 2007, ‘CDS Visit to Iraq 1‑3 Jul 07’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

1389. The minutes from the Chiefs of Staff meeting on 10 July stated that Lt Gen Odierno
had disagreed with Maj Gen Shaw’s assessment that Basra was ready for PIC.1276
Lt Gen Odierno had said that the new ISF structures should be allowed time to “bed‑in”,
with the possibility of PIC in October 2007.

1390. On 13 July, Maj Gen Shaw reported that Maj Gen Jalil was taking a “robust
stance” towards the IPS in Basra, docking pay and sacking police officers.1277 He had
also begun his “purge” of militia elements within the IPS – removing vehicles and ending
their employment. In response, he had been subject to an assassination attempt when
he left the PJCC.

1391. In his evidence to the Inquiry, Maj Gen Shaw recalled that Maj Gen Jalil had come
to “the very strong conclusion – very early” that “the issue here is not one of training,
nor of equipment, it is one of loyalty”, and that that was a statement that resonated very
strongly with previously held views.1278 Maj Gen Shaw said: “… why is it that police forces in Muthanna and Dhi Qar … operate so differently to the police in Basra when they both had the same equipment and the same training? The only difference was loyalty. It wasn’t a question of whether they were members of militias or not, because … the police forces in Dhi Qar and Muthanna were actually Badr dominated, but … there was unity of command.
“… if you, as a militia, decided to work with the Government of Iraq, then that
was fine.”

1392. Maj Gen Shaw said that Maj Gen Jalil recognised that the problem with the
Basra police force was that it “reflected all the divisions within the Basra society”.
Maj Gen Shaw added that “Unfortunately, the same was true of the army as well and
that was the problem with 10 Division.”

1393. Gen Mohan shared Maj Gen Shaw’s analysis “that the problem was loyalty”. MNF
received political advice from Gen Mohan “as to what he thought the impact of military
strikes would be and whether they would be good or bad”. That process generated
optimism “with a very positive way forward … for a political resolution of the violence

1394. On 15 July, Lt Gen Lamb reported that Gen Mohan and Maj Gen Jalil had given
a “very stark” assessment of the situation in Basra to the Ministerial Committee for
National Security (MCNS).1279 He stated that Gen Mohan had “an ‘outline’ plan” to rectify “what he described as a city without law and order”. He was already reviewing his initial assessment on the early move of British forces out of Basra City.


1276 Minutes, 10 July 2007, Chiefs of Staff meeting.
1277 Minute Shaw to CJO, 13 July 2007, ‘GOC MQ MND(SE) – Southern Iraq Update – 13 July 2007’.
1278 Public hearing, 11 January 2010, pages 24‑27.
1279 Minute Lamb to CDS, 15 July 2007, ‘SBMR‑I Weekly Report (261) 15 July 07’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

A new Iraqi Army division for Basra

On 12 June 2007, Maj Gen Wall briefed the Chiefs of Staff that the Iraqi Minister of Defence had recently called for MND(SE) to have two army divisions; one for Basra City and one for the rest of the South‑East.1280 Maj Gen Wall reported that there was no indication of how this new division would be raised, funded or equipped.
At the Chiefs of Staff meeting on 26 June, Lt Gen Houghton reported that “greater clarity” had been achieved.1281 The 10th Division would be given an additional brigade; a new 14th Division which would assume responsibility for the rest of the South‑East, with nine brigades across Muthanna, Dhi Qar and Maysan provinces.
Lt Gen Houghton stated that work would continue on training 1,000 personnel, primarily pre‑2003 Iraqi Army personnel, to form the Presidential Guard Force who would take control of Basra Palace. The force was due to be ready by 14 August.
On 17 July, Maj Gen Wall briefed the Chiefs of Staff that a Ministerial Order had been issued for the creation of 14th Division, which would now have responsibility for Basra.1282
The 10th Division would “reposture” with its headquarters in either al‑Amara or Nasiriyah.

1395. On 19 July, Major General Gerald Berragan, Deputy Commander (Operations) Multi‑National Corps‑Iraq, reported on a meeting of the Crisis Action Cell earlier that week.1283 He wrote that Gen Mohan’s description of Basra at the meeting was that:

• The police were infiltrated by militia and unreliable.

• The 1st Brigade of 10th Division were “defeated”.

• The 5th Brigade was still in formation and lacking key capabilities.

• The ISF was set against a complex political environment with 24 militias all armed and competing for power.

• Iran was influencing and gathering intelligence.

• Organised crime was rife and weapons were being openly sold in the streets.

1396. In advance of a planned NSID(OD) meeting on 19 July, FCO and MOD officials produced a joint paper, setting out the latest assessment and plans for security transition and the associated re‑posturing and drawdown of UK troops in Basra, to inform decisions by Ministers at that meeting (see Section 9.6).1284 The paper described the strategic context across Iraq and then focused on what that meant for transition in Basra. The US, parts of the Iraqi Government and Gen Mohan, Maj Gen Jalil and Gen Habib had serious concerns over the ability of the ISF in Basra to cope with the security situation. On the other hand Gen Mohan’s and Maj Gen Shaw’s assessment


1280 Minutes, 12 June 2007, Chiefs of Staff meeting.
1281 Minutes, 26 June 2007, Chiefs of Staff meeting.
1282 Minutes, 17 July 2007, Chiefs of Staff meeting.
1283 Minute Berragan to CJO, 19 July 2007, ‘MNC‑I Update – 19 Jul 07’.
1284 Paper FCO and MOD, 12 July 2007, ‘Iraq: Transition in Basra’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

was that the MNF presence was a distorting factor which caused the ISF to be seen as
collaborators rather than nationalists.

1397. The officials suggested withdrawing the UK’s presence from the PJCC at the
same time as Basra Palace, given the threat to UK personnel. The paper stated: “When we leave the PJCC, our Security Sector Reform work there will cease … But in our judgement, these downsides are outweighed by the risks in remaining at the site. And the PJCC is no longer as crucial a centre for the Iraqi Security Forces, since Mohan moved the Basra Operations Centre to the Shatt Al‑Arab Hotel. We therefore recommend that we plan to remove all UK personnel from the site in parallel with leaving Basra Palace.”

1398. Recalling the looting that occurred when the UK vacated Camp Abu Naji in
Maysan, the paper stated that it was “critical” that the UK did not leave until a “credible
Iraqi Guard Force” was in place. That would be ready by the end of August.

1399. The paper described US concerns about transition: “They [the US] are intensely nervous about transition in Basra. They believe the local Iraqi Security Forces are not robust enough to handle security without our direct support.”

1400. On the future for Basra, the paper stated that there might be “an initial period in
which the Iraqi Security Forces faced challenges to their authority from militia groups”
and that “There will be weaknesses at the leadership level in the Iraqi Security Forces.”

1401. In an annex to the paper, there was an assessment of Basra province against
the conditions for PIC, one of which was “the Iraqi Security Forces’ capacity to maintain
order and conduct counter insurgency operations”. The paper reiterated concerns about
the “vulnerability [of 10th Division] to political pressure when operating in Basra” and
stated that it was likely that that would continue leading to them refusing to confront JAM
independently. The Basra IPS was “on target” to meet the PIC criteria with 93 percent
of stations assessed at TRA level 2 or higher. It then reiterated concerns about public
confidence, militia infiltration and the requirement for institutional reform.

1402. Another annex addressed future UK ambitions in Basra. The military plan was
that 950 troops would be assigned to SSR and “rear area tasks such as border patrols”.
The military would also assist in maintaining an acceptable security environment to
enable SSR activities.

1403. On 6 August, the British Embassy Baghdad reported on the MCNS meeting held
the previous day.1285 Mr Qadar, the Minister of Defence, was impressed with the “positive
impact” that Gen Mohan and Maj Gen Jalil had made on the security situation in Basra


1285 eGram 33092/07 Baghdad to FCO London, 6 August 2007, ‘Iraq: Ministerial Committee on National Security, 5 August’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

and he was trying to identify further reinforcements for 10th Division. Mr Boulani, the Minister of Interior, was looking to reinforce Basra’s police force with better leaders, possibly with commanders outside the province.

1404. On 30 August, Major General Graham Binns, GOC MND(SE) from August 2007 until February 2008, reported that UK forces had handed over the PJCC four days previously, ahead of schedule and without incident.1286

1405. The same day, at the Iraq Strategy Group meeting, Lieutenant General Peter Wall, Deputy Chief of the Defence Staff (Commitments) from August 2007, reported that there had been some “limited militia infiltration and looting of the site” following the handover “with the possible collusion or acquiescence of the Iraqi Police Service”.1287

1406. In a letter from Mr Browne to Mr Gordon Brown (who had become Prime Minister on 27 June) on 31 August, the looting was described as “unauthorised movement of equipment”.1288 In response, Gen Mohan deployed his entire reserve battalion to the site.

1407. On 3 September, UK forces withdrew from Basra Palace and relocated at Basra Air Station (as described in Section 9.6).1289 As well as the Presidential Guard Force, elements from the 10th Division were stationed in Basra Palace.

1408. Maj Gen Binns described the withdrawal in his evidence to the Inquiry: “… we first had to fold in from the … PJCC, the Permanent Joint Co‑ordination Centre. So we had to remove our presence there and come into the Palace. We then had to recruit, train, equip and deploy an Iraqi security force which became known as the Palace Protection Force, to take over the Palace.…
“Then we had to conduct a relief in place1290 with the Iraqi Palace Protection Force, and then, the final act in all of that, was to remove ourselves in early September.
“… I reflect that it went remarkably well, considering all of the complexities.”1291

1409. As a result of withdrawing UK police from the Warren site, support to the PJCC and the NIIA ceased, as did station visits by Police Transition Teams.1292


1286 Minute Binns to CJO, 30 August 2007, ‘GOC HQ MND(SE) – Southern Iraq Update ‑ 30 August 2007’.
1287 Minute Cabinet Office [junior official] to McDonald, 30 August 2007, ‘Iraq Strategy Group, 29 August’.
1288 Letter Browne to Brown, 31 August 2007, ‘Iraq: Handover of Basra Palace and Provincial Iraqi Control in Basra’.
1289 eGram 37263/07 Baghdad to FCO London, 10 September 2007, ‘Iraq: Ministerial Committee for National Security (MCNS) – 9 September’.
1290 A “relief in place” is an operation in which one unit is replaced with another.
1291 Public hearing, 15 January 2010, pages 10‑11.
1292 Minute Colbourne, 27 August 2007, ‘Bi‑Weekly Report of the UK Chief Police Adviser’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

The security situation after British withdrawal

1410. The Governor of Muthanna province was assassinated on 20 August, the second
Shia governor to be killed that month.1293

1411. On 20 September, Maj Gen Binns stated: “Reporting from multiple sources indicates that the security situation is improving; IPS and IA units are conducting joint operations in the city … and LOs [liaison officers] from the BOC [Basra Operations Command] are now working in the PJCC. Basrawis seem reassured by this new security profile but remain concerned that militias are using the ceasefire period to reorganise and resupply. Of course criminality and gangsterism remain endemic.”1294

1412. On 1 October, ahead of a visit to Iraq, Mr Brown was briefed by a junior official
that there had been “some worrying high profile assassinations of religious and police
figures” and a car bomb which had killed three people in recent weeks.1295 Support by
local politicians for Gen Mohan and Maj Gen Jalil was described as “sporadic”.

1413. On 2 October, Mr Brown told journalists in Baghdad: “What we have been trying over these last few months also to build up the Iraqi Security Forces … we are now in a position where there are nearly 30,000 Iraqi Security Forces [in the South]. So what we propose to do over these next few months is to … maintain a facility for re‑intervention if necessary, but at the same time we play a greater role in training future security forces. I believe that within the next two months we can move to Provincial Iraqi Control, and that is the Iraqis taking responsibility for their own security in the whole of Basra. I believe that the 30,000 security forces that are being trained are capable of discharging these
responsibilities for security …”1296

1414. On 7 November, Acting ACC Michael Colbourne, Chief Police Adviser from March
2007 to April 2008, wrote to the FCO in London to articulate Maj Gen Jalil’s expectations
for UK support with police training.1297 Maj Gen Jalil intended to reform the Basra IPS by:

• “restructuring the force to deliver five Emergency Battalions” (only one was
currently formed);

• “rebuilding the NIIA (retaining 50 of the current staff and dismissing the rest)”;

• “rebuilding the CID (retaining 50 of the current staff and dismissing the rest)”; and


1293 BBC News, 20 August 2007, Roadside bomb kills Iraq governor.
1294 Minute Binns to CJO, 20 September 2007, ‘GOC HQ MND(SE) – Southern Iraq Update – 20 September 2007’.
1295 Minute Cabinet Office [junior official] to Brown, 1 October 2007, ‘Iraq Visit: 2 October 2007’.
1296 Transcript Sky News, 2 October 2007, Live at Five with Jeremy Thompson;
BBC Radio 4, 2 October 2007, PM.
1297 Letter Colbourne to FCO [junior official], 7 November 2007, ‘The Policing Mission in Basra’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

• “re‑organising the ‘local policing’ resources to deliver effective crime prevention, investigation and community policing”.

1415. ACC Colbourne wrote that developing the Emergency Battalions would be “the most demanding aspect of this support”. He had agreed with Maj Gen Jalil that his team would complete the current training of his officers at Shaibah in addition to generating an Iraqi training team. He planned for the six existing ArmorGroup IPAs to put that team in place, capable of delivering the Emergency Battalion syllabus, by early December. It had been agreed that all other Basra‑based ArmorGroup contractors would end their missions by the end of November. ACC Colbourne stated that “the sheer scale of the training” required a “bigger and more permanent” solution.

1416. ACC Colbourne wrote that the Emergency Battalions would be “instrumental” in enabling Maj Gen Jalil to “engage the militias” and “hold ground”. Once achieved, he wrote that there would “be an urgent need to reposition the ‘miltaristic’ policing style which will be dominant in Basra, to a more community focused local policing approach”.

1417. The House of Commons Defence Committee had published a report on 3 December 2007, following a visit to Iraq from 8 to 11 July.1298

1418. Reporting on the Committee’s visit to Basra, Mr Asquith said that in response to being asked about the current security situation in the city and the likely consequences of a UK withdrawal within 12 months: “The Basrawis were clear: services and reconstruction were improving but the main problem was that the ISF were under‑funded, unqualified and security was deteriorating. The British Government had promised a lot when it liberated Iraq, but had not delivered. Militias were more of a concern than criminal gangs. The provincial authorities were not able to confront the militias because the security forces owed their loyalty to political parties rather than the State … Pulling no punches, they said a British withdrawal would ‘be followed by chaos sweeping the province like a hurricane’.”1299

1419. The Committee’s report concluded: “Despite its increasing capability, the Iraqi Army in South Eastern Iraq still requires the support of UK Forces, particularly in logistics and intelligence …
“… The Police would seem to have a long way to go in becoming truly effective and in gaining the trust of the population. Given the scale of the problems which still need to be tackled, there would seem to be a need for an ongoing commitment by the UK to training and mentoring the Iraqi Police.”1300


1298 First report from the House of Commons Defence Committee, Session 2007‑08, UK Land Operations in Iraq 2007, HC 110.
1299 eGram 30010/07 Baghdad to FCO London, 13 July 2007, ‘Iraq: Visit of House of Commons Defence Committee, 8‑11 July’.
1300 First report from the House of Commons Defence Committee, Session 2007‑08, UK Land Operations in Iraq 2007, HC 110.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

1420. Maj Gen Binns described the method of support at that time in his evidence to
the Inquiry: “… the concept was described as M2T, monitoring, mentoring and training. I would say it was a big T. It was a medium‑sized M, monitoring, but we didn’t do a lot
of mentoring …
“So if I start with the T, training, I think we had a very successful training centre that
we had built at Shaibah Log Base. We were able to take people from initial training,
we were able to supervise Iraqis training themselves. We were able to equip them,
to deploy them, to sustain them … we didn’t then mentor them when they were
deployed on operation, and that was the significant difference between the way
that we approached support and the way that the Americans approached support
in Basra.”1301


1421. Mr Browne visited Iraq from 29 October to 2 November.1302 He described the visit,
in a letter to Mr Brown, as “intense but stimulating and productive”, observing that it had
been “markedly the most encouraging of my seven visits to Basra”. He commented:
“The primary deficiency in the security apparatus remains the judicial sector. I am
sceptical about our ability to deliver an effective Iraqi Police Service when there is
no functioning framework of enforceable law within which they can operate. This
needs our urgent attention. It does not, in my view, need to mean the deployment
of significant additional resources to Iraq; I am attracted by the idea of electronic mentoring of the Iraqi judiciary by international counterparts.”

1422. The FCO, DFID, the MOD and the Stabilisation Unit produced a UK Strategy for
Security and Justice Sector Reform (SJSR) in December.1303 Acknowledging that it was
subject to any Ministerial decisions in 2008 on the UK’s overall strategy in Iraq, it listed
four areas for development in 2008‑2009:

• A presence in both cities could help the UK influence central policy initiatives by
feeding intelligence from work on the ground.

• The UK could contribute strategic policing advice to the IPS and influence US
thinking on the IPS’s development needs.

• The UK could utilise its “significant experience in pursuing civil service reform
in weak states” to reform Iraq’s “weak” Government institutions, making them
more effective.

• The UK could encourage the EU and UN to put greater resources into
co‑ordinating Rule of Law donor engagement.



1301 Public hearing, 15 January 2010, pages 16‑17.
1302 Letter Browne to Brown, 2 November 2007, [untitled].
1303 Report FCO, DFID, MOD and Stabilisation Unit, December 2007, ‘UK Strategy for Security and Justice Sector Reform (SJSR) in Iraq 2008‑09’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

1423. The paper identified three “sub‑programmes”:

• Supporting the MOI and IPS with training and development programmes. £12.98m was available from the Stabilisation Aid Fund (SAF) and £8m from the Peacekeeping budget.

• Supporting the Iraqi judiciary and wider justice system – the paper did not explain how that would be done other than stating it would “support” its various components and build Basra’s professional links in the Middle East. £3.18m was available from the SAF.

• Supporting the IMOD by building a professional cadre of IMOD civil servants through mentoring. Resources to be delivered from the MOD’s administrative budget.

Withdrawal and Provincial Iraqi Control for Basra

1424. On 8 October 2007, Mr Brown announced plans for a significant troop drawdown over the next 12 months (dealt with in Section 9.6).1304 He described the need for two remaining phases: “In the first, the British forces that remain in Iraq will have the following tasks: training and mentoring the Iraqi Army and police force; securing supply routes and policing the Iran‑Iraq border; and the ability to come to the assistance of the Iraqi Security Forces when called upon. Then in the spring of next year – and guided as always by the advice of our military commanders – we plan to move to a second stage of overwatch where the coalition would maintain a more limited re‑intervention capacity and where the main focus will be on training and mentoring.”

1425. On 9 October, Lt Gen Houghton briefed the Chiefs of Staff that the plan for 14th Division would see “initial operating capability” by December 2007 with their training being complete by June 2008. He also informed them of Gen Mohan’s intention to relocate the Basra Operations Centre to Basra Air Station, a move that would “benefit MND(SE) in terms of improved opportunities for key leader engagement, better situational awareness and senior officer mentoring”.1305

1426. ACM Stirrup visited Iraq from 26 to 29 October.1306 A note on his visit stated that Maj Gen Binns was generally positive about the ISF but doubted it would have the ability to counter JAM if the current cease-fire broke (see Section 9.6). The Deputy Brigade Commander of 1 Mechanised Brigade told ACM Stirrup that Basra was experiencing an increase in criminality in the wake of MNF withdrawal.


1304 House of Commons, Official Report, 8 October 2007, column 23.
1305 Minutes, 9 October 2007, Chiefs of Staff meeting.
1306 Minute Kyd to PS/SofS [MOD], 29 October 2007, ‘CDS Visit to Iraq 26‑29 Oct 07’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

1427. ACM Stirrup met the Commanding Officer of the Monitoring, Mentoring and
Training Battlegroup who assured him that 14th Division were on track to be ready by
June 2008. The Chief of Police Training Adviser told him that Maj Gen Jalil was “proving
very dynamic, robust and effective, particularly in fighting the MOI’s reluctance to root
out militia influences” but that only 48 percent of Basra police had been trained.

1428. On 8 October, Lt Gen Odierno had advised Gen Petraeus that he recommended
Basra for PIC in December.1307 He had been encouraged by the positive impact that
Gen Mohan and Maj Gen Jalil were having but remained concerned by reports of militia
influence within the Basra ISF. Maj Gen Binns commented: “Not a ringing endorsement,
but a positive step and an endorsement we’ve been trying to achieve since April
this year.”

1429. Basra transitioned to PIC on 16 December 2007 (described in Section 9.6).

1430. When asked about the capability of the ISF in December 2007 during his
evidence to the Inquiry, Maj Gen Binns said: “… they had weaknesses … they were well trained, as individuals, but their leadership was not experienced, they were capable of conducting tactical, low‑level operations, but their ability to conduct manoeuvre, to sustain themselves logistically, was a challenge to them.
“But I thought they wouldn’t get better until they were given responsibility … it was a
bit like taking the stabilisers off a child’s bike. They were going to wobble for a while
and I was there to make sure they didn’t fall over.”1308

1431. On the police’s capability at that time, Maj Gen Binns said: “The police were a mixed bag. At their worst, they were trouble. They had been infiltrated and they were a constraint on progress.
“At their best, and there were some very good police units … they were good, they were effective. The national police units, who came from Baghdad, were highly
effective and something that the Iraqis were particularly proud of.”

1432. On 20 December, the JIC assessed: “Prospects in Basra will depend on ISF willingness and ability to take on Shia militias or reach and maintain an accommodation with them and on the ability of local political leaders to broker deals which restrain political violence. All are uncertain at this stage. The loss of either General Mohan or Jalil would remove a stabilising influence.”1309


1307 Minute Binns to CJO, 11 October 2007, ‘GOC HQ MND(SE) – Southern Iraq Update – 11 October 2007’.
1308 Public hearing, 15 January 2010, pages 25‑26.
1309 JIC Assessment, 20 December 2007, ‘Iraqi Security Forces: Two Steps Forward’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

1433. On the 14th Division, the JIC judged: “The replacement of an Iraqi Army brigade in Basra with the new 14th Army Division (still 50 percent undermanned) and the deployment of an NP [National Police] battalion and a mechanised infantry unit have raised the ISF profile in Basra from 30,000 in June to 33,500 in December. MNF expect ISF to reach a full strength of 36,500 in June 2008. Largely manned from outside Basra, these forces are probably less influenced by local tribal and political ties or militia infiltration than those recruited locally. The vast majority of JAM continues to observe a cease‑fire with MNF in Basra and have not challenged ISF for local control – although […] they think they could successfully do so.”

1434. On 8 January 2008, AM Peach told the Chiefs of Staff that Gen Mohan had created a “security equilibrium” in Basra, using a “carrot and stick” approach, but that recent concessions and reassurances by him to JAM “demonstrated the precarious nature of the balance of power in Basra”.1310

1435. Gen Mohan visited the UK in January.1311 He gave an “upbeat” description of security, stating that it was up to the British if they wanted to leave but that he needed to be left with “real military capability” to outface JAM and Iranian‑backed militias. He asked for UK assistance in building intelligence capabilities.

1436. IDF attacks on UK forces at Basra Air Station began to rise again in 2008 (see Section 9.6). On 21 February, Major General Barney White‑Spunner, who had just succeeded Maj Gen Binns as GOC MND(SE), commented: “General Mohan is fully aware (as are we) that his ability to further strengthen his control of Basra City is limited as the ISF cannot match JAM in their urban heartlands, though he is deploying 14th Division into the city as soon as he can. Our efforts to develop the ISF capability to interdict smuggling of lethal aid as well as strenuous efforts to develop their urban warfare skills may enable Mohan to have the desired effect in the future, but for now there is not very much he can do.”1312

1437. In his evidence to the Inquiry, Lt Gen White‑Spunner recalled that the first “increasingly obvious” point on his arrival was that: “… we needed to redirect our training of the ISF and we needed to … dedicate more of a mission to … develop 14 Division.”1313

1438. Lt Gen White‑Spunner said that Gen Mohan had asked for “offensive support”: “By this we mean those weapons systems … which support infantry rather than being infantry themselves, particularly the ability to target air and helicopters, intelligence and surveillance assistance, assistance with command and control and logistics.”


1310 Minutes, 8 January 2008, Chiefs of Staff meeting.
1311 Minute Binns to CJO, 24 January 2008, ‘GOC MND(SE) Weekly Letter – 24 January 2008’.
1312 Minute White‑Spunner to CJO, 21 February 2008, ‘GOC MND(SE) Weekly Letter – 21 February 2008’.
1313 Public hearing, 7 January 2010, pages 5‑6.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

1439. On 23 February, Mr Prentice discussed the security situation in Basra with
Dr Rubaie, who confirmed that an order replacing Gen Mohan had been signed by Prime
Minister Maliki based on a report that a “non‑interference pact” had been signed with
JAM.1314 Mr Prentice commented that the UK had some understanding of the balance
that Gen Mohan and Maj Gen Jalil had to strike in handling the militias and that “It was
probably wise not to seek a confrontation with JAM, while the army and police were still
building their strength.” Dr Rubaie observed that there was a difference between calming
the situation and fearing to confront it.

1440. On 27 February, the JIC assessed security prospects in the South: “The Iraqi security forces (ISF) ability and willingness to maintain security in the South remains patchy and dependent on MNF training, logistic and specialist air support. Radical improvements in police effectiveness are unlikely. The army will remain at the forefront in providing security, relying on assistance from units outside the South to cope with serious and sustained violence there. The Iraqis would only call for MNF troop re‑intervention as a last resort.
“Violent criminality, murders, kidnappings, score‑settling and intimidation will remain
part of life in southern Iraq. Pressure from national Shia political and religious
leaders, reinforced by some local political leaders and security officials, may limit
the scope of unrest. But local ISF action, accommodations between the ISF and
elements of JAM, and the perception of MNF willingness to intervene, will also
remain crucial tools for managing instability.”1315

1441. The JIC reported that, although reliable data for attacks against non‑MNF targets
was lacking, in Basra City alone there had been about 80 murders and 40 kidnappings.
Accounts in the media suggested that Shia militia were increasingly punishing and
sometimes killing women for “contravening strict interpretations of Islamic mores”.
Around 10 women were reportedly murdered each month in Basra City.

1442. Mr Brown and Mr Browne had breakfast with the Chiefs of Staff on 6 March.1316
The Chiefs told them that “there was quality in the ISF but it was not broadening as
rapidly as hoped, so training and mentoring of 14Div remained a vital job”.
Charge of the Knights

1443. In late March, Prime Minister Maliki launched a security operation in Basra,
code‑named Sawlat al‑Fursan (Arabic for “Charge of the Knights”). The operation had
wide‑ranging effects on the UK’s position and standing in Iraq and is described in detail
in Section 9.6.


1314 Email Prentice to Betts, 24 February 2008, ‘Meeting with National Security Adviser Rubaie, 23 February’.
1315 JIC Assessment, 27 February 2008, ‘Iraq: Security Prospects in the South’.
1316 Letter Fletcher to Rimmer, 6 March 2008, ‘Prime Minister’s Breakfast with Chiefs of Staff, 6 March’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

1444. In his evidence to the Inquiry, Lt Gen White‑Spunner described the lack of a strategy at the start of the Charge of the Knights: “To start with, there wasn’t one, because, of course, the detailed planning hadn’t been done. That’s why the first few days were very anxious … – particularly for General Mohan – because there was really no plan for his existing troops – 14 Div, and the police … to work to.”1317

1445. Lt Gen White‑Spunner described how Gen Mohan was given a planning team and a strategy was developed: “… General Mohan and I drew up this plan which saw an Iraqi lead with us in support rather than the other way on, as in SINBAD … the overall plan, which was actually very similar to SINBAD in concept, it was a clearance of Basra and the whole province by phases …”1318

1446. Lt Gen White‑Spunner told the Inquiry: “One of those things we did in the first days of Charge of the Knights was bring forward what we had wanted to do, what we had realised we had to do in February, which was to put teams in with the MiTTs … with the Iraqi formations to whom we were responsible …”1319

1447. Lt Gen White‑Spunner explained how that was a “major change” as the UK approach to MiTTs was brought closer to the US approach: “Ultimately, we looked at what they [the US] were doing and certainly it was very influential. Our construct was slightly different … the point was that we reversed what had been British policy up until then, which wasn’t to do this, and had very strong and immediate support – I put a submission in to the Ministry of Defence I think on 1 April and had authority the next day to do this. So I thought that showed great sort of flexibility and ability to adapt.”1320

1448. Lt Gen White‑Spunner later added: “It became rapidly clear to us that the nature of support that the Iraqi Security Forces wanted had changed with Charge of the Knights …
“Charge of the Knights meant we had to adjust very rapidly and untidily, but we did it …”1321


1317 Public hearing, 7 January 2010, page 17.
1318 Public hearing, 7 January 2010, page 8.
1319 Public hearing, 7 January 2010, page 31.
1320 Public hearing, 7 January 2010, pages 31‑32.
1321 Public hearing, 7 January 2010, page 39.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

1449. On 29 March, the Director of Joint Commitments reported to Mr Browne’s
Assistant Private Secretary that he considered “little tangible success has been achieved
by either side, and sustained conflict looks set to continue”.1322

1450. An eGram on the same day stated that the Iraqi media were reporting that over
a hundred police officers had been sacked in Basra, apparently for losing their weapons
and/or abandoning their posts during the recent clashes.1323

1451. On 31 March, it was reported that questions had been asked at the MCNS
meeting that day about the reports of police desertions in Baghdad and allegations of
poor co‑operation between the police and army.1324 The representative of the MOI told
the Council that “only 10 percent of the national Police had proven ineffective” and that
more than 400 police had been dismissed in Basra in recent days for “disloyalty”.

1452. On 14 April, the CIG assessed ISF performance in MND(SE) during Charge of the
Knights.1325 It referred back to the JIC’s Assessment on 27 February, reporting that the
JIC had correctly predicted that:

• The ISF would rely on MNF support – “… on their own, the ISF underperformed
against JAM in Basra, Maysan and Dhi Qar during recent operations. In Basra
they relied heavily on MNF supplies (i.e. ammunition and rations), air strikes
and eventually MNF mentoring. […] Military reporting suggested little sign of
a detailed operational plan or evidence of precision targeting of JAM Special
Groups or other hard‑line elements until the arrival of MNF training teams from
1 April.”

• The influence of Shia militias would hinder radical improvement in the
effectiveness of Basra’s police – “Basra’s Chief of Police reportedly believes
that hundreds of local police melted away within the first 24 hours of fighting –
others joined JAM’s ranks. Reporting that several police stations and dozens of
police vehicles were abandoned in the face of militia intimidation supports this.
Many of the National Police units drafted in from Baghdad, with superior arms
and armour, fared much better. The affiliation of many to ISCI [Islamic Supreme
Council in Iraq]/Badr probably strengthened their resolve to try and weaken their
chief rival [JAM].”

• The 10th and 14th Divisions of the IA would require assistance from outside
the South to cope with serious and sustained violence – “… even with
reinforcements from Baghdad’s 1st Division, military reporting suggests that the
Iraqi Army lost most tactical engagements against JAM and failed to take any
ground prior to JAM’s stand down on 31st March. However, neither did they
cede ground and specific successes, such as taking charge of the strategically


1322 Minute DJC to SofS/APS4 [MOD], 29 March 2008, ‘Basra: MOD Update’.
1323 eGram 11975/08 Basra to FCO London, 29 March 2008, ‘Basra – Update – 29 March’.
1324 eGram 12023/08 Baghdad to FCO London, 31 March 2008, ‘Iraq: Baghdad: Security and Political Update, Sunday 30 March’.
1325 CIG Assessment, 14 April 2008, ‘Iraqi Security Forces Performance in MND(SE)’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

important ports at Umm Qasr and Khor al‑Zubayr and expelling the militia ridden Facilities Protection Service has emboldened them. Iraqi Special Forces were ineffective until their US mentors were re‑inserted. In Dhi Qar’s capital Nasiriyah, JAM reportedly made some territorial gains over the ISF before their stand down, while in Maysan, ISF opted not to confront JAM (recognising they would not be able to defeat them and leaving them in control of Al‑Amara for the second time in two months).”

1453. Assessing the ISF’s future, the CIG stated: “Despite their underwhelming performance, we assess that JAM’s stand down, leaving ISF holding the field, has increased the latter’s credibility among most Basrawis and imbued them with greater confidence. Despite the continued likelihood that Generals Mohan and Jalil will be moved on, diplomatic reporting suggests that the MOI may at least continue some of their security reforms: it has already sacked 1,000 militia affiliated members of the police. However, many will almost certainly re‑surface within the system. Others, unless directed towards viable alternative employment, may replenish JAM’s ranks.”

1454. On 14 May, the JIC stated in an Assessment that, as a result of the Charge of the Knights, “public confidence in the ISF has grown”.1326 However, “Strong JAM resistance in the initial phases of the Charge exposed enduring weaknesses in the largely untested local ISF: inadequate planning, confused command and control structures, feeble logistics and split loyalties … Basra’s police were particularly ineffective.”

1455. The JIC continued: “Though the ISF overall are improving, the Iraqi Government has recognised that radical changes are needed to upgrade Basra’s security forces – particularly the police. The Ministry of Interior plans to fire 6,000 security personnel for deserting their positions … implementing [changes] effectively will be tricky: militiamen dismissed from the army or police often find employment elsewhere in the ISF …”

1456. In his evidence to the Inquiry, Lt Gen White‑Spunner reflected on police performance during the Charge of the Knights, and the different approach taken afterwards: “I don’t think the police came out of Charge of the Knights very well, if I’m being honest … we do need to look at how we trained the police prior to that. I think we may have erred on the side of training the police in what I would call sort of UK/Home Counties policing, whereas actually what was probably wanted was something slightly more robust …


1326 JIC Assessment, 14 May 2008, ‘Iraq: the Charge of the Knights’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

“What happened during the Charge of the Knights was actually a lot of the police
collapsed effectively and it took a lot of time to rebuild them and we tried to rebuild
them on a different model, on more what I would call … a paramilitary basis, so that
they could fire weapons, defend themselves and restore order as much as they
could take fingerprints and gather evidence.”1327

1457. Lt Gen White‑Spunner commented on the joint working between the army and
the police: “It was because the police were felt to be less reliable than the Iraqi Army. The Iraqi Army has always been to the fore in Iraq … and there was a feeling that the police
would be morally and physically strengthened by having the Iraqi Army posted
alongside them.”1328

1458. When asked whether the police fought against the ISF during the Charge of the
Knights, Lt Gen White‑Spunner responded: “A few, very few. Some units did very well. I certainly wouldn’t want to be overcritical of the force as a whole … some of his [Maj Gen Jalil’s] units did very well, but a lot just put their weapons down and melted away. Some were infiltrated by JAM.”1329

1459. On 8 July, an eGram from the British Embassy Office Basra reported that the
operational phase of Charge of the Knights had ended.1330 “Intelligence‑led strike
operations” continued around Basra, leading to the arrest of the second in command for
the team that attacked the Contingency Operating Base on 8 May and 8 June. The ISF
considered their operation in Maysan a success: the Chairman, two Council members,
and the former Chief of Police were arrested for supporting militia and criminal activities.
They tried to arrest the Governor of Maysan but he had already fled.

1460. In his evidence to the Inquiry, Lt Gen Shirreff described how 14th Division was
able to tackle JAM in the South during the Charge of the Knights, unlike the locally
recruited 10th Division: “There was no way they were prepared to really get stuck in and fight against the Jaysh Al Mahdi, for understandable reasons, and I think it was only when Iraqi troops from outside the Shia south came in that you were able to really begin
the process.”1331


1327 Public hearing, 7 January 2010, pages 44‑45.
1328 Public hearing, 7 January 2010, page 45.
1329 Public hearing, 7 January 2010, page 46.
1330 eGram 26653/08 Basra to FCO, 8 July 2008, ‘Basra: Weekly Update’.
1331 Public hearing, 11 January 2010, page 44.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

1461.Maj Gen Shaw also reflected on the Charge of the Knights in his evidence to the Inquiry: “Charge of the Knights actually was a great success, in terms of the establishment of … Iraqi self‑rule, because, finally, it was a decisive blow by Maliki declaring some elements of the Shia polity out of bounds.”1332

Iraqi Navy progress

In April 2008, the Iraqi Navy grew and took on additional responsibilities:

• Around 500 Iraqi Army personnel were transferred to the Iraqi Marines to form a second battalion.1333 One battalion provided defence of the offshore oil platforms and the second protected the port of Umm Qasr.

• The Iraqi Navy took responsibility for the point defence of the Khwar al Amaya Oil terminal and perimeter security for the port and power station in az‑Zubayr.
By that stage the Navy personnel total had increased to over 1,800.
As the UK had failed to negotiate an MOU covering the continued presence of Royal Navy trainers, the 80 Royal Navy personnel temporarily departed Iraq along with other UK forces in July 2009.1334 A UK‑Iraq Training and Maritime Support Agreement was signed in November 2009 and the trainers returned. They worked alongside around 50 US Navy, Marine and Coastguard personnel.
The Royal Navy team remained in Iraq until 22 May 2011 when the agreement expired.1335 Between 2003 and 2011, the UK trained 1,800 Iraqi Navy personnel, providing between 50 and 90 Royal Navy personnel for the task. Dr Liam Fox, the Defence Secretary, stated: “Royal Navy personnel have used their formidable skills and expertise to bring about a transformation in Iraq’s naval force. The Iraqi Navy has a key role to play in protecting Iraq’s territorial waters and the oil infrastructure that is so vital to Iraq’s economy, and I am proud of the role British forces have played in making it capable of doing that job.”
The Naval training mission continued until May 2011 when 81 Navy trainers and three UK personnel in Baghdad withdrew and Op TELIC formally ended.1336
Basra ‘Sons of Iraq’ programme

1462. On 1 April 2008, Prime Minister Maliki announced that he was going to supplement the ISF with 10,000 Basra citizens as Sons of Iraq (as described earlier in this Section).1337 Maj Gen White‑Spunner reported:


1332 Public hearing, 11 January 2010, page 20.
1333 Report to Congress, 13 June 2008, Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq.
1334 Report to Congress, 29 January 2010, Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq.
1335 Press Release MOD, 18 May 2011, ‘Operations in Iraq Finish with the Completion of Royal Navy Training Mission’.
1336 GOV.UK, 18 May 2011, Operations in Iraq Finish with Completion of Royal Navy Training Mission.
1337 Minute White‑Spunner to CJO, 3 March [sic] 2008, ‘GOC MND(SE) Weekly letter – 3 April 2008’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

“In effect, he has engaged with the local tribes and established a ‘Sons of Iraq’
programme. The maturity of this programme seems similar to that for his overall
Basra initiative; limited. A combined MNF‑I and MNC‑I team has begun to work
on possible recommendations for implementation, but clearly this must be a GoI
programme and they may not want any coalition support. A sufficiently robust
governance structure will be required to prevent this group turning into another
armed militia and a considered approach is needed to prevent them becoming a
new target set for JAM. Whilst the establishment of such a programme in MND(SE)
is something that the UK has sought to avoid and which we continue to oppose, our
voice carries little weight and there is little that we can and ought to do other than
support the MNC‑I in developing recommendations.”

1463. On 14 April, the CIG reported: “Intelligence shows that despite the Government of Iraq’s previously strong objections to tribal awakenings in the South, their proven ability to act as force multipliers for the ISF in Basra and a counter‑balance to JAM is going to be one of the key products of the recent conflict. Intelligence suggests that 500 have already
been recruited and that Maliki has tasked local tribal leaders to hand pick others.
Diplomatic reports suggest that as many as 25,000 have been asked for. However,
this additional dynamic to Basra’s security landscape is not without risk. Inter‑tribal
conflict may result in places: reporting suggests that JAM already has plans to
eradicate them.”1338

1464. On 8 July, an eGram from the British Embassy Office Basra suggested that the
number recruited had risen to 7,000, when reporting that the Sons of Iraq might return
to “the streets of Basra” because the MOI had not paid them.1339 General Adel had asked
for outstanding salaries to be paid immediately. He also requested “not to be sent any
more police officers as he ha[d] enough”.

The UK starts embedding troops with the Iraqi Army

1465. On 2 April, a junior official in PJHQ wrote to Mr Browne, advising him that
MND(SE) was intending to embed MiTTs within 14th Division to strengthen “some of
the key vulnerabilities that ha[d] been demonstrated during recent operations”.1340 It
would be “in a manner akin to the Operational Mentoring Liaison Team (OMLT) concept
successfully used in Afghanistan”. The US had “made it clear that they would welcome”
the move. The official stated: “It is true to say that most armies around the world would have struggled in the circumstances faced by 14 Div over the last two weeks. We should not therefore rush to criticise what we were already aware was still some way from a properly


1338 CIG Assessment, 14 April 2008, ‘Iraqi Security Forces Performance in MND(SE)’.
1339 eGram 26653/08 Basra to FCO, 8 July 2008, ‘Basra: Weekly Update’.
1340 Minute PJHQ [junior official] to PS/SofS [MOD], 2 April 2008, ‘Op TELIC: Enhancing UK Operational Support to the Iraqi Army’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

trained Division. Our main focus will be to help resolve the following concerns: a lack of situational awareness; a lack of clear command and control; poor planning; and an inability to co‑ordinate effectively with coalition assets and experience, in particular with regards to calling on coalition forces for fire support and in extremis extraction when these can only be delivered within coalition rules of engagement.”

1466. On presentation, the official wrote that there were “many potential positives” but it would be likely to raise questions about whether the UK handed Basra over to PIC too early “and whether we have acted too late and only under pressure”.

1467. The total number of military personnel involved was 150.

1468. In Mr Browne’s absence, Mr Adam Ingram, the Minister for Armed Forces, considered the advice on 3 April.1341 Mr Ingram noted the advice and “emphasised the need to ensure that personnel are clearly briefed on the red lines beyond which they must not operate and the action to be taken in the event such lines are crossed”. He “also asked that any evidence of behaviour by Iraqi forces with which UK personnel had concerns be reported rapidly to Ministers”.

1469. A note for Mr Browne was written on Mr Ingram’s response by Mr Browne’s Private Secretary the same day.1342 He reported that MiTTs were now deployed in Basra. He wrote: “… It wasn’t so long ago that MiTTs/OMLTs [Operational Mentoring Liaison Teams] in Iraq were thought to be a bad idea, but then, the situation has definitely changed in the last week or so …
“Everyone appears to be content that the legal position is robust, but there are clearly presentational risks in being seen to be drawn into town, while Warrior back in Basra will not go unnoticed. It means 58 additional people will be deployed but they’re temporary and will be invisible – we’re still at ‘around 4,000’ established posts.”

1470. Maj Gen White‑Spunner reported on 3 April that US MiTTs and the “accompanying military resources they bring” were having a “significant supporting impact” to those Iraqi forces.1343

1471. On 4 April, Mr Jon Day, MOD Director General Operational Policy, advised Ms Aldred that there were over 400 US troops embedded with the Iraqi reinforcements sent to Basra in support of Charge of the Knights.1344


1341 Minute PS/Min(AF) to PJHQ [junior official], 3 April 2008, ‘Op TELIC: Enhancing UK Operational Support to the Iraqi Army’.
1342 Manuscript comment PS/SofS [MOD] on Minute PS/Min(AF) to PJHQ [junior official], 3 April 2008, ‘Op TELIC: Enhancing UK Operational Support to the Iraqi Army’.
1343 Minute White‑Spunner to CJO, 3 April 2008, ‘GOC MND(SE) Weekly Letter – 3 April 2008’.
1344 Letter Day to Aldred, 4 April 2008, ‘Military Plans for Basra’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

1472. On 17 April, Maj Gen White‑Spunner reported that the UK MiTT concept was
continuing to evolve but was adding “real value to current operations”.1345

Iraqi appointments

On 17 April 2008, Maj Gen White‑Spunner wrote that the senior Iraqi personnel
responsible for security in Basra were to be replaced:

• Gen Mohan, Basra Operations Commander, was replaced by General
Mohammed (the former Commander 14th Division);

• Maj Gen Jalil, Provincial Director of Police, was replaced by General Adel
(a former police commander in Baghdad); and

• General Abdul Aziz became Commander 14th Division.1346

1473. In May, Maj Gen White‑Spunner’s weekly reports highlighted a number of
resource issues:

• There were no “suitable” armoured vehicles available for the UK MiTTs; the
choice being either Mastiff which was too large or Bulldog which was tracked.1347
US and Iraqi personnel used Humvees.

• “Substantial engineering work” was required to create “sustainable
accommodation and force protection of their locations across the city”.1348 As a
consequence there was a requirement for reinforcements to free up engineering
squadrons who were currently undertaking guarding tasks.

• By 2 May, only two of a planned four brigades for 14th Division were
operational.1349 There would be a further requirement for UK MiTTs when the
final two brigades came online, and delivering that requirement would require
“taking risk” against the Brigade Quick Reaction Force.

1474. On 20 June, Maj Gen White‑Spunner reported that the full UK MiTT group was
in place.1350 The Engineer Group was addressing “the considerable force protection and
environmental health risks that are currently being carried by MND(SE)”.

The future of the Iraqi police in Basra

1475. On 1 April 2008, Mr Crispin Blunt suggested to Parliament that a large number
of the criminal forces against which the ISF was fighting were members of the Basra
police, whom the UK were responsible for training.1351 Mr Browne responded:


1345 Minute White‑Spunner to CJO, 17 April 2008, ‘GOC MND(SE) Weekly Letter – 17 April 2008’.
1346 Minute White‑Spunner to CJO, 17 April 2008, ‘GOC MND(SE) Weekly Letter – 17 April 2008’.
1347 Minute White‑Spunner to CJO, 2 May 2008, ‘GOC MND(SE) Weekly Letter – 2 May 2008’.
1348 Minute White‑Spunner to CJO, 8 May 2008, ‘GOC MND(SE) Weekly Letter – 8 May 2008’.
1349 Minute White‑Spunner to CJO, 2 May 2008, ‘GOC MND(SE) Weekly Letter – 2 May 2008’.
1350 Minute White‑Spunner to CJO, 20 June 2008, ‘MND(SE) Weekly Letter – 20 June 2008’.
1351 House of Commons, Official Report, 1 April 2008, columns 628‑642.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

“The early attempts to create a police force in Iraq had exactly the results that the Hon. Gentleman describes, as criminal elements came out of the police forces and may, indeed, have deliberately gone into them in order to obtain training. Under the generalship of General Jalil … we have dealt with that very problem during the past year or more: a significant number of police officers have been dismissed from the Iraqi police force, while others have been retrained to ensure that the situation does not occur again. We have learned significant lessons from those early days of police training, and we shall implement them in Afghanistan to ensure that we do not repeat the problem.”

1476. On 10 April, Maj Gen White‑Spunner reported that the severe problems with police officers were: “… seen here partly as an issue of training (maybe the training teams had focused, understandably, more on civilian policing skills than military tactics) but more as a result of deep rooted corruption and lack of loyalty to the GOI.”1352

1477. Maj Gen White‑Spunner warned that there were discussions in MNC‑I and the Iraqi Government over whether to disband the Basra police entirely and start again. He also reported that MNC‑I and CPATT were keen on the concept of Police Transition Teams stating: “we will need to know how much appetite there is in the UK to provide these.”

1478. The following week, on 17 April, Maj Gen White‑Spunner wrote: “… daily interaction with the IPS at the coalface (i.e. in their stations, of which there are over 40) would require numbers in the high 100s to be successful, plus the associated force protection. My feeling from the UK police team here is that the bill would be too big for the UK to source, and would involve accepting a degree of risk in their modus operandi which would be unwelcome. Our approach is therefore to encourage maximum CPATT involvement and consequent injection of resources, as the need to rebuild the police in Basra in the next six months remains urgent.”1353

The US takes over SSR tasks in the South

1479. Lt Gen Houghton met Gen Petraeus on 25 April.1354 They discussed force levels and tasks for UK and US forces in MND(SE) and agreed the following division of SSR tasks:

• The UK would provide:
{{MiTTs for the Basra Operations Centre;


1352 Minute White‑Spunner to CJO, 10 April 2008, ‘GOC MND(SE) Weekly Letter – 10 April 2008’.
1353 Minute White‑Spunner to CJO, 17 April 2008, ‘GOC MND(SE) Weekly Letter – 17 April 2008’.
1354 Minute Houghton to PSO/CDS, 26 April 2008, ‘CJO – Gen Petraeus Meeting 25 Apr 08’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

{{MiTTs of 14th Division with supporting Quick Reaction Forces; and
{{the Naval Transition Team.

• The US would provide:
{{MiTTs of 10th Division;
{{border security; and
{{IPS reform/retraining.

1480. On 1 May, Mr Brown met Gen Petraeus and agreed that the key remaining UK
task on SSR would be the preparation of 14th Division to be operational by the end of
the first quarter of 2009.1355 Once that task was complete, the UK would consider its
mission complete.

1481. On 2 May, Mr Simon McDonald, Mr Brown’s Foreign and Defence Policy Adviser,
warned Mr Brown: “We’ll need to think about how we assess 14th Division’s readiness; we do not want to leave this solely to the US; they may be tempted to use that responsibility
to delay us.”1356

1482. On 5 June, the JIC Assessment of the ISF judged: “In Basra, even with coalition mentors, the ability of 14th Army Division to fully maintain security once Jaysh al‑Mahdi (JAM) fighters return is uncertain, without the continued support of reinforcements from 1st and 7th Divisions (which are likely to be called on to support other operations in Sadr City and Maysan).”1357

1483. On 13 June, Maj Gen White‑Spunner reported that development of 14th Division
was likely to take until April 2009.1358 He stated that, in December, there would be a
complete US military police battalion in Basra which, together with the Joint Security
Stations, he believed would lead to a “slow improvement in police performance”.

1484. NSID(OD) met on 15 July and discussed the future strategy for the UK in Iraq.1359
It was suggested that beyond April 2009 the “remaining military tasks” that would
“resemble normal defence co‑operation” were:

• continuing the “small scale” mentoring for 14th Division’s Headquarters;

• training the Iraqi Navy; and

• supporting officer training.


1355 Minute White‑Spunner to CJO, 2 May 2008, ‘GOC MND(SE) Weekly Letter – 1 May 2008’.
1356 Email Fletcher to Brown, 2 May 2008, ‘Iraq Troop Numbers – Note from Simon’.
1357 JIC Assessment, 5 June 2008, ‘Iraqi Security Forces: More Able, Less Challenged’.
1358 Minute White‑Spunner to CJO, 13 June 2008, ‘MND(SE) Weekly Letter – 13 June 08’.
1359 Minutes, 15 July 2008, NSID(OD) meeting.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

1485. On 22 July, Mr Brown made a statement to Parliament on the future strategy for Iraq, as described in Section 9.7.1360 He stated that, in response to “changing needs”, the UK had now embedded more than 800 UK personnel within the Iraqi command structure. He continued: “The focus of the 4,100 forces still in southern Iraq is now on completing the task of training and mentoring the 14th Division of the Iraqi Army in Basra … Other remaining military tasks … include … continuing to develop the capacity of the Iraqi navy and marines …”

1486. On 19 August, Mr Nigel Haywood, the British Consul General in Basra, wrote that the first US police training teams had deployed in Basra.1361 Their first impression of the IPS had been “positive”.

1487. On 26 August, Mr Haywood reported a “milestone”: “the first visit downtown in civilian vehicles (albeit armoured Land Cruisers with a Mastiff escort), and also the first visit to the Governor’s office, for nearly two years”.1362 Mr Haywood wrote that that showed the UK’s confidence in the ISF, although acknowledged “we will be able to demonstrate greater confidence, when we are able to travel in civilian vehicles without a UK military escort”.

1488. Mr Haywood reported that police training continued and had enabled the IPS to produce a “Policing Plan for 09/10”. Forensic training also continued and a two‑week residential course had begun “introducing experienced IPS trainers to leadership development to help them run new courses” later in 2008.

1489. Mr Haywood also said that the contract to build the new Basra Central Prison had been signed “after weeks of delay”. It was due for completion in a year.

1490. In his evidence to the Inquiry, Mr Haywood described policing support at that time as “community policing, use of forensic evidence, building up forensic laboratories”.1363 He said: “Arguably, those weren’t what was immediately needed in the period post‑Charge of the Knights, but it laid the groundwork for now what is becoming an increasingly good policing system. If that hadn’t happened, then there would have been nothing to build on.”

1491. In a video conference on 11 September, Mr Brown told President Bush that training of Iraqi forces in Basra was “going well” and that the UK would “finish the job”.1364


1360 House of Commons, Official Report, 22 July 2008, columns 660‑679.
1361 eGram 32273/08 Basra to FCO, 19 August 2008, ‘Basra: Weekly Report – 19 August’ .
1362 eGram 33105/08 Basra to FCO, 26 August 2008, ‘Basra: Weekly Report – 26 August’.
1363 Public hearing, 7 January 2010, page 27.
1364 Letter Catsaras to Gould, 11 September 2008, ‘Prime Minister’s VTC with US President, 11 September’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

1492. On 18 September, a JIC Assessment stated:
“Locally raised army units in the South will continue to need coalition mentors and to
operate alongside more experienced Iraqi forces to manage security for the rest of
this year. By early 2009, provided JAM remains quiescent, they will be able to cope
with only limited MNF mentoring … In the unlikely event of a widespread return to
violence we would expect local units to call for reinforcement by more experienced
Iraqi forces in the first instance. But they might ultimately still need to call on MNF
for specialist assistance.”1365

1493. On police effectiveness, the JIC Assessment stated: “Interior Minister Boulani has taken steps to address police ineffectiveness. However, despite an increase in MNF mentors and better vetting of police recruits, we expect militia loyalty and corruption in the local police to remain serious problems […] The Army will have to retain overall responsibility for security for at least the next few years.”

1494. Mr John Hutton, the Defence Secretary, visited Iraq in October.1366 In a letter to
Mr Brown, he wrote: “The Iraqi Security Forces (ISF), the Army in particular, are looking confident and capable. Their show of force in the areas which I visited, where they took the lead in providing my security, was genuinely impressive. There is no doubt that Basra
itself has been transformed and the ISF now have complete freedom of movement
throughout the city. While they do not yet have all the capabilities that we would like
to see in a fully‑formed Division, and there is important work still to do, we will soon
have reached the point where we can say with confidence that we have fulfilled our
training mission for 14 Division …”

1495. On 16 December, the British Embassy Office Basra reported that the US military
police teams and IPAs had almost reached full deployment.1367 That was followed by
the deployment of US Border Transition Teams and Port of Entry Transition Teams in

1496. The UK police mission continued to deliver training in community‑based policing
and forensics throughout 2009.1369 A review of UK support to the IPS was undertaken
in November 2009 and recommended that the programme be closed at the end of the
financial year. The police mission in Basra was commended as a “politically useful”
extension of the Consulate staff.


1365 JIC Assessment, 18 September 2008, ‘Iraq: Security in the South’.
1366 Letter Hutton to Brown, 23 October 2008, [untitled].
1367 eGram 49767/08 Basra to FCO, 16 December 2008, ‘Iraq: Basra Weekly Update – 16 December’.
1368 Report Salmon, 15 May 2009, ‘COMUKAMPHIBFOR OP TELIC 12/13 (HQ MND(SE) Post Operational Report (POR)’.
1369 Paper Stabilisation Unit [junior official] and Howlett‑Bolton, 27 November 2009, ‘Review of the support to the Ministry of Interior and Iraqi Police Service Programme’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

Training of 14th Division completed

1497. On 27 March 2009, a junior official informed Mr Brown that 14th Division was considered to be effective and that all UK mentors and trainers had been withdrawn.1370

1498. In his post‑operation tour report on 15 May, Major General Andrew Salmon, GOC MND(SE) from August 2008 until March 2009, assessed:
“There was considerable adaptation seen from our MiTTs who, given the circumstances, did a great job. But this is a specialist game where maturity, linguistic and teach, coach and mentor skills are required. A great MiTT made a huge difference and enabled civil capacity; poor ones made little progress. Much of this is down to training and selection, like the USMC [US Marine Corps] who provide the benchmark. Our soldiers and officers also tend to approach their tasks through the lens of the enemy as opposed to the lens of the people. We have much to learn from our American colleagues … It was noticeable that US MiTTs were much better prepared than ours.”1371

1499. Maj Gen Salmon wrote that the decision to enable some UK MiTT elements to travel in Iraqi Army vehicles “was a defining decision – pivotal in establishing trust and building meaningful relationships at the tactical level”. There was “no doubt that the (accurate or otherwise) US tactical perception of UK casualty aversion ha[d] been a negative factor in coalition cohesion over the past 12 months”:
“Basra has arguably progressed from anarchy to democracy in 12 months. The militias have been defeated and residual insurgent activity is limited and cellular in nature. There is widespread recognition of the Rule of Law, with judicial processes being developed to meet the need of a democratic society. To all intents, 14th Division has met the MNSTC‑I mandated requirement of ORA 2 [Operational Readiness Assessment level 2 – see Box, Provincial Iraqi Control’], under British tutelage. In terms of wider Basrawi security, policing and border security have improved considerably. Collectively, the ISF conducts intelligence‑led coordinated operations supported by an integral IO capability. The harmonisation of the ISF requires further work but has improved markedly … UK Defence can withdraw from Iraq having delivered on its promises and with its professional reputation intact.”

SSR in Maysan province

1500. Mr Tansley provided some background about Maysan province in his 6 December 2005 eGram: “Maysan has long had the reputation for being lawless and separate from the rest of Iraq. During Saddam Hussein’s time, more than 20,000 soldiers were permanently


1370 Minute Cabinet Office [junior official] to Prime Minister, 27 March 2009, ‘Iraq: Update’.
1371 Report Salmon, 15 May 2009, ‘COMUKAMPHIBFOR OP TELIC 12/13 (HQ MND(SE)) Post Operational Report (POR)’.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

deployed in the province in an attempt to subdue it. The locals claim that they, rather
than coalition forces ‘liberated’ Maysan in 2003, and this helped explain the higher
levels of hostility to MND(SE) than elsewhere in the region.”1372

1501. In his evidence to the Inquiry, Lt Gen Shirreff said: “Maysan had always been a very difficult province. There was effectively no security at all where MNF were concerned.”1373

1502. On 9 July 2004, Commander Kevin Hurley, UK Senior Police Adviser Iraq (South),
reported that the Governor of Maysan province, Governor Riyadh, had been “implicated”
in the shooting of the local Chief of Police.1374 Cdr Hurley wrote that the Governor’s
continued tenure was “a potential challenge to not only the development of a wholesome
policing ethic but also that of the wider democratic process”.

1503. On 24 July, Mr Collis reported that Maysan province was fragile and stuck in
“political stagnation”.1375 Although Prime Minister Allawi had suspended Governor
Riyadh, the Governor refused to acknowledge it and continued in his role. Mr Collis
attributed the “bad” economic situation to “35 years of neglect and the overnight loss of
its previous principal employer, the old Iraqi Army”. The deployment of police mentors
was “likely to be problematic on security grounds”.

1504. By 28 July, Mr Collis wrote that the situation had “worsened”.1376 A suspension
letter issued from Baghdad had been sent through low‑level police channels, rather
than from Prime Minister Allawi, meaning Governor Riyadh either had not seen the
instructions, or was ignoring them. The Governor’s behaviour was causing concern for
some Council members and Mr Collis predicted that, without further action, he would
“continue to undermine those he sees as rivals and the scope for violence w[ould] rise”.

1505. On 3 September, Mr Collis wrote that a cease-fire was agreed between the local
Office of the Martyr Sadr (OMS) leadership, the IPS and ING on 2 September and a
declaration was signed.1377 Key points included a commitment to resolution 1564 (2004)
(allowing MNF freedom of movement whilst undertaking reconstruction work and IPS
training), and the IPS being given “the responsibility of upholding security”.

1506. Mr Collis wrote that Maysan was still without an effective Governor.
The Governorate Council was incapable of electing a replacement as a result of
intimidation from Governor Riyadh’s brother, the tribal leader Mr Abu Hatim (“Prince of
the Marshes”).


1372 eGram 20021/05 Basra to FCO, 6 December 2005, ‘Iraq: Visit to Maysan Province’.
1373 Public hearing, 11 January 2010, page 3.
1374 Report Hurley, 9 July 2004, ‘Reporting to 5th July 04/Senior Police Advisor [sic] Iraq (South)’. In May 2004, the Police Chief of Majar al-Kabir was shot and killed (Fairweather J, A War of Choice: The British in Iraq 2003‑9, Jonathan Cape, 2011).
1375 Telegram 86 Basra to FCO, 24 July 2004, ‘Iraq: Visit to Maysan’.
1376 Telegram 90 Basra to FCO, 28 July 2004, ‘Iraq: Position of the Governor of Maysan Province’.
1377 Telegram 141 Basra to FCO, 3 September 2004, ‘Maysan – Update’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

1507. On 21 September, Mr Collis reported that Governor Riyadh had been exonerated by a Baghdad court but the circumstances surrounding his exoneration were unclear.1378 Mr Abu Maythem, Chief of Police, had taken “one look at the letter exonerating Riyadh, declared it a forgery and repeated his desire for justice to be served”. While Mr Maythem agreed “the current situation was calmer than for a while”, he “believed fighting would start up again soon”.

1508. Mr Hatim looked most “likely to come out on top of this struggle”, appearing to have “purged” the Council of anyone who opposed him and “worn down any opposition in Baghdad to acquitting his brother”. There was “no sign” of General Rashash, Prime Minister Allawi’s Security Co‑ordinator, and Mr Maythem “appeared quite unaware” of his appointment.

1509. On 26 September, Mr Davies reported that as part of a deployment of 38 ArmorGroup contractors, three contractors were deployed to Maysan to develop criminal intelligence capability and mentor the TSU.1379 Mr Davies also reported that the location of the police in Maysan had “received some rocket and mortar fire during the week”.

1510. On 15 October, Mr Collis stated that the security situation in Maysan remained “superficially quiet” following the cease-fire, with “no serious attacks against the MNF for several weeks”.1380 The political struggle, however, continued. There had been a series of high‑profile murders and the perpetrators were unknown. Governor Riyadh had used the opportunity to criticise Mr Maythem for failing to prevent the murders. The fall‑out from Mr Hatim’s ‘purge’ of the Council rumbled on. Mr Collis concluded:
“Maysan remains a sorry mess and a standing indictment of the new Iraq’s (and our) failure to grip its linked problems of tribal warlordism, Iranian meddling, corruption and extremism.”

1511. On 24 October, the Chief of Police, who was being mentored by DCC White, was murdered in al‑Amara as he exited a mosque.1381 Following that, a police committee was established, with UK and Danish support, to oversee policing, including the selection of a new Chief of Police.

1512. Following a visit to Maysan province on 10 February 2005, Mr Collis wrote:
“Real progress has been made in Maysan, although none of it is irreversible and we need to ensure adequate resources are in place to maintain SSR and reconstruction momentum. UK forces have turned round a difficult environment. Their security presence is robust, but welcomed by the local population … The province looks to be an early candidate for a reduced MNF‑I presence, with only a back‑up role in security. Our planned increase in police mentoring is essential to maintaining


1378 Telegram 153 Basra to FCO, 21 September 2004, ‘Southern Iraq: Maysan’.
1379 Minute Davies, 26 September 2004, ‘Ministry of Interior – Weekly Report Number: 46’.
1380 Telegram 171 Basra to FCO, 15 October 2004, ‘Southern Iraq: Peace and Politics in Maysan’.
1381 Public hearing, 21 July 2010, page 52.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

momentum. There are currently very few attacks on local security forces; the small
number of rejectionists continue to target MNF‑I. The absence of pressure from the
local population, or their leaders, for early withdrawal was striking.”1382

1513. On 21 February, the FCO strategy for support to policing in Iraq in 2005 noted
that the GCPP had approved additional funding to ArmorGroup to allow mentoring to be
undertaken in Maysan.1383

1514. By April, 20 ArmorGroup contractors were deployed under the co‑ordination of a
UK police Chief Inspector.1384 They were supported by four CPATT mentors.

1515. The FCO produced an IPS Transition Plan on 7 September.1385 It stated that
57 percent of the IPS in Maysan had completed basic training and 93 percent had
undertaken other specialist training. The FCO judged that training was “largely on track”
and “transition targets should be met if co‑operation continues”.

1516. On 10 October, Mr Wheeler produced an update of policing in each of the four
MND(SE) provinces.1386 On Maysan, he said: “The lack of co‑operation by the Chief of Police has had a particularly detrimental effect on what we have been able to achieve eg many police stations have still not been visited by PAT. The security situation has constrained the work of PAT, and CPATT and the Royal Military Police have been trying to fill the gap. And IPS/militia affiliation is considerable eg there have been instances of IPS complicity in attacks on MNF forces. The Chief of Police has been unwilling to be mentored. Very recently he has withdrawn his students and instructors from the training programme, claiming that ArmorGroup are not up to the job … Abuse of prisoners is still occurring … The PJOC is fully equipped, but there is disagreement between the IPS, the Iraqi Army and the Governor on its role …”

1517. Mr Tansley visited Maysan from 2 to 3 December.1387 He reported that the area
“belie[d] its reputation” for being “lawless”. It had been “relatively peaceful in recent
months” with a lower number of attacks on MND(SE) than in Basra, and no attacks on
the ISF since November. Despite that, Mr Tansley reported that the threat remained
“relatively high”. He wrote: “… beneath the surface there is an underlying tension. Unlike in neighbouring Dhi Qar, the (relative) stability depends on an uneasy balance of power between the Badrists and Sadrists, rather than co‑operation. The potential for the situation to deteriorate quickly remains.”


1382 Telegram 24, Basra to FCO, 10 February 2005, ‘Iraq: Visit to Maysan Province’.
1383 Note FCO, 21 February 2005, ‘Iraq – UK Support to Civil Policing in Iraq – 2005’.
1384 Report Smith, 15 May 2005, ‘Next Steps on Policing – Review’.
1385 Letter FCO [junior official] to Cabinet Office [junior official], 7 September 2005, ‘Iraqi Police Service Transition Plan for Southern Iraq’ attaching Paper Consulate Basra, 7 September 2005, ‘Southern Iraq: Iraqi Police service – Transitional Plan’.
1386 Telegram 15268/05 Basra to FCO London, 10 October 2005, ‘Update on Reform of the Iraqi Police Service in Southern Iraq’.
1387 eGram 20021/05 Basra to FCO, 6 December 2005, ‘Iraq: Visit to Maysan Province’.

12.1 | Security Sector Reform

1518. A ‘Transitional Plan Update’ issued from Maysan on 27 December stated that the proportion of recruits who had completed basic training had risen to 70.5 percent, in line with the 2005 training target.1388

1519. On 20 January 2006, Mr Tansley provided an update on the readiness of Maysan for handover to Iraqi control.1389 It stated that the Iraqi Army was of “adequate standard” though suffered from logistical issues; the DBE was “inadequate in size (7,000)” but was “judged to be acting effectively”; and reform of the police was “going well” despite a 100 percent growth in numbers (due to an MOI employment generation initiative) and militia (mainly Badr) affiliat