Recent U.S. Congressional Consultations About the Supervision of Iraq

November 3, 2019

Recent debates in the U.S. Congress surveyed the capitalist program for exporting American-style non-Islamic civilian rule over Iraq.

Earlier this year, in the official justification for Overseas Contingency Operation funds presented to Congress, the Department of Defense promised that the funds would be used to "maintain pressure" on any insurgency that raised a hue and cry in opposition to U.S. goals. According to the review provided by the DoD to Congress, the funds approved for the Contingency Operation fund called Counter-ISIS Train and Equip Fund (CTEF) had been issuing "the necessary sustainable resources to continue training and equipping selected elements of the vetted Iraqi Security Forces."

"To effectively counter ISIS, Iraqi forces must be capable of disrupting ISIS networks and denying sanctuary throughout Iraq. This requires the capability to detect terrorist activity, analyze facilitation and support networks, and disrupt activity before ISIS can carry out attacks. While the Iraqi Counterterrorism Service (CTS), which reports to the Prime Minister, will be the most capable unit in this effort, it cannot accomplish this mission alone. An Iraqi whole-of-government approach and with close collaboration with the Prime Minister and across the Ministry of Defense (MoD), Ministry of Interior (MoI), Ministry of Justice, and intelligence services is required. The CTEF-funded program efforts are focused on the MoD and to a lesser extent the MoI through training and equipping of Federal Police and Energy Police units that carry out D-ISIS operations, while stressing the importance of collaboration across the GoI."

In short, the funds are part of the Pentagon's ongoing military campaign of terrorizing the Iraqi people and keeping local governing institutions under the thumb of U.S. imperialism.

For this purpose, Congress has allocated, through the authorization of appropriations to the DoD alone, nearly $6 billion for this "Democracy Transition Assistance" since 2015.

On July 16, Michael Mulroy, the U.S. Undersecretary of Defense for the Middle East, described the current phase of the U.S. war program in Iraq to Congress as follows: "At the Department of Defense (DoD), we recognize that the U.S. military effort cannot alone deliver the desired results in Iraq. We see our toolkit as nested within a whole-of-government approach. U.S. commitment to diplomatic and economic action is required to ensure Iraq’s long-term stability and security.

"Supporting Iraq in providing good governance and economic opportunity can translate battlefield gains into lasting peace. U.S. diplomats represent the vanguard in this endeavor, and we proudly support them.

"There is a fundamental premise that shapes much of our thinking on Iraq: Prematurely disengaging would compromise U.S. national security, leave Iraq exposed to other foreign influence, and destabilize the region...

"When the Government of Iraq requested U.S. support to defeat ISIS in 2014, the United States readily answered. We mobilized a Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, which now stands at 80 members, including many with which we work side by side in Iraq. Our State Department colleagues have seen success in fundraising from the Global Coalition, particularly to support humanitarian and stabilization activities, and DoD has received contributions from partners to support counterISIS efforts directly. DoD also continues to work with these allies and partners to clear areas liberated from ISIS, train partner forces and provide technical assistance, conduct targeted CT operations to address continuing threats, and support stabilization efforts. Moreover, the United Nations Assistance Mission, UN Investigative Team for Accountability of Da’esh, NATO Mission Iraq, and EU Advisory Mission also represent crucial political and political-military efforts.

"The Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR), which includes the United States and 15 other nations, brought to bear immense firepower against ISIS through thousands of airstrikes and the expertise of thousands of experienced U.S. and Coalition advisors building the capacity of Iraq’s soldiers. CJTF-OIR currently helps train and equip 28 Iraqi brigades composed of thousands of soldiers. U.S. and Coalition forces have trained and equipped more than 212,000 members of the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF), including our stalwart Kurdish Peshmerga partners in the north. Iraq’s Counter Terrorism Service (CTS) ranks among the region’s most capable and serves as a testament to the capacity-building enterprise and the importance of sustaining our support.

"The CTS, of course, cannot accomplish this mission alone. The Iraqi government has to coordinate the Ministries of Defense, Interior, and Justice, as well as its intelligence services, to disrupt ISIS networks effectively and deny them sanctuary. This requires the capability to detect terrorist activity, analyze facilitation and support networks, and disrupt activity before ISIS can carry out attacks."

Thus, the U.S. Congress and Executive stipulate all of the "whole-of-government" conduct and aims of the conflict and hold this knife to the throat of the Iraqi people.

Within American political life, the two parties of war gain maximum possible latitude for their war program by advertising the use of U.S. presidential authority to draw down U.S. troop levels at any time.

The Iraqi ministries are structured to send out distress signals whenever American-style non-Islamic institutional rules are in danger of being overturned by the national liberation struggle. Inside the U.S., the two parties try to buy time for the war by insisting the U.S. capitalist state that is supervising Iraq is powerless to disengage from its “civilizing mission.”

Barring the total disengagement of the U.S. military from its putative counterterrorism training, the U.S. Congress will continue expanding the extent, nature, and limits of its supervisory and military powers in Iraq for a long time to come.