November 05, 2007

Special Operations in Iraq

One of Abu Muqawama's former housemates sent along this really disturbing report from National Public Radio on special operations forces in Iraq. Abu Muqawama cannot vouch for the report's veracity, but it certainly highlights the very real tensions between GP (General Purpose) forces and the special operations task forces. Imagine the frustration of a local commander -- who has worked hard to develop close ties between his unit and the indigenous security forces and local government -- when a special operations task force swoops into town and starts kicking down doors on a counter-terror mission. In their ensuing anger, the locals are not going to distinguish between the special operators and the locally-based soldiers.

Abu Muqawama cannot write much about his own experience in Iraq (he himself was a member of one of these special operations task forces) but can mention that he certainly saw how competing "goods" -- the counter-terror missions executed by the special operations forces, and the COIN fight executed by the local GP forces -- often clashed. Any readers with first-hand experiences with this divide and tension should pipe up in the comments section.

Abu Muqawama wishes he could write more about this.