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Zarqawi Document Reveals Ba'athist - al-Qaeda 'Strategic Relationship'

The Iraqi government has released information regarding a letter from a leader of the Ba’athist insurgency to al-Zarqawi that was recovered from the blast area where al-Zarqawi was killed. The Kuwait News Agency was provided a copy of the text, which revealed the “strategic relationship” between the Ba’athist insurgency and al-Qaeda in Iraq.

There are a lot of items worthy of discussion, and certainly much will ensue in short order. One of the first points to catch our eyes, however, was the open recognition of the devastating impact of the formation, training and fielding of the Iraqi National Guard forces.

It admits that the “position of resistance in Iraq requires reconsideration of the acts and incidents in the country, with the aim of reaching the best means for realizing the best results, in particular following success of the National Guard forces in forming a massive shield and effective arm in the interest of the US forces and this ultimately scaled down to a large extent the scope of losses sustained by the US forces”.

It adds that the “time factor” has “negatively affected Al-Qaeda in Iraq due to many reasons including formation and enhancing the capabilities of the National Guards up to the level of launching attacks and carrying out mass arrests within the resistance controlled areas. This ended up in loss of many elements and launching an anti media resistance campaign … and sowing schism in its fold …” [Emphasis added.]

The “formation and enhancing the capabilities of the National Guards up to the level of launching attacks and carrying out mass arrests” has been the direct responsibility of the Multi-National Security Transition Command – Iraq.

Several times, we at ThreatsWatch have directed readers to an underappreciated publication called The Advisor from the good men and women of the Multi-National Security Transition Command - Iraq. They are the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines and international forces responsible for precisely that training which stood up the Iraqi National Guard, as well as the Iraqi police forces and other units. (View all Iraqi units MNSTC-I trains here.)

With far too little fanfare or apparent appreciation, MNSTC-I has offered regular updates on the training and progress of the Iraqi forces in their regular bi-weekly publication, The Advisor (pdf). (Subscribe to publication alerts here.) Perhaps it’s not as exciting to read or report on as an IED attack, a car bomb or a major operation in al-Anbar province, but as the words of the Ba’athist letter to Zarqawi indicate so clearly, the continued training and standing of the Iraqi Army has been and is every bit as important as any other aspect of the war.

Often, the MNSTC-I-trained Iraqi forces were belittled in reports, often denigrating them for not having enough troops, charged with too often simply ‘tagging along’ with Coalition Forces, not being active enough and, then, also oddly being too aggressive. Often the only time Iraqi forces were highlighted was when there were complaints that they were too Shi’ite-dominated, suspected of participating in sectarian violence or were infiltrated by members of al-Qaeda or the Ba’athist insurgency.

Leave it to that very Ba’athist insurgency of Hussein’s hangovers and the terrorists of al-Qaeda in Iraq to finally be the ones to recognize their proficiency, importance and devastation wrought upon both of them. Iraq surely is quite proud of their new veterans in new uniforms.

And we should all be proud of our men and women who have performed and still perform their duties exceptionally in training the Iraqi army, navy, air force, police and special units.

ThreatsWatch salutes the Multi-National Security Transition Command – Iraq team, who did the heavy lifting and hoisted the sun, making The Dawn of the Iraq Army possible.