The US Army in Kirkuk: Governance Operations on the Fault Lines of Iraqi Society, 2003-2009 (Paperback)
The Combat Studies Institute presents The US Army in Kirkuk: Governance Operations on the Fault Lines of Iraqi Society, 2003-2009 by Dr. Pete Connors. This work chronicles the challenging task of bringing stability and representative government to the Iraqi city of Kirkuk after the fall of the Baathist regime. Although the plan for Operation IRAQI FREEDOM (OIF) required US forces to prepare to conduct stability operations at the end of combat operations, many commanders and their staffs rightfully focused on the offensive operations that were part of the initial invasion of Iraq. As a result many tactical units were not adequately manned or trained in civil-military lines of operation, such as governance, essential services, and the rule of law. Many commanders believed civilian teams from other US government agencies would assume responsibility for the new political order in postwar Iraq after the defeat of the Baathist regime. This assumption proved wrong and the responsibilities for creating new democratic governing bodies were in many cases given to tactical-level maneuver units. Despite the lack of preparation for what became known as Governance Operations, US Army units in the initial years of the campaign in Iraq were able to develop and implement ad hoc plans to install representative forms of government in the cities and provinces of Iraq with varying degrees of success. In the case of the city of Kirkuk, there was the added challenge of creating democratic governing bodies in the midst of serious ethnic turmoil. The smoldering hostilities were a constant source of friction that chronically threatened to bring down the representative forms of government created in the city. Dr. Connors' study is a systematic recounting of how the US Army approached the challenge of creating democratic local forms of government. This work, however, is more than just a chronicle of the many units that deployed and operated in Kirkuk. Dr. Connors offers an analysis of how US Army brigades and battalions assisted a foreign population to adopt democratic institutions and resolve conflicts without resorting to violence. These insights may be of value to future Soldiers who find themselves in similar situations.