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Journal Entry 10 June

Got ride to airport from daughters. On flight to Atlanta, then Madrid, London, Kuwait and finally Baghdad.

Journal Entry 11 June

Arrived in Madrid with Senior Advisor to Ministry of Defense and his military assistant, who were meeting with Spanish Defense officials, including Admiral Antonio Moreno, head of the Spanish Forces, to hear their proposal to deploy the Spanish Guardia Civil (Civil Guard) to Iraq to “restore public order.”   There were three briefings:

The first briefing presented an overview of preliminary issues to be addressed to deploy the Spanish force. Someone mentioned the need to contact Commissioner Kerik, the Senior Advisor to the Minister of Interior as soon as possible to see what his plan was for security forces.  There would have to be cooperative international police” to assist in setting up the Iraqi gendarme. The Guard would be operationally under the control of Ambassador Bremer—another portion of the “restore order” forces would belong to Centcom—but need to work out organization between the two (Bremer and Centcom).  Regarding the Iraqi Force, the group discussed starting with one army battalion.  The questions arose, though, what about other services?  The response was that there is a sea component of Guardia Civil.  The plan would be to begin by deploying the army and other services would come later in restoring Iraqi military.

It is a major budget decision to restart the Iraqi Air Force…would start with some helicopters. Have to decide in next several weeks what bases to keep for the Iraqi Army.  And need a police plan equivalent to new Army plan.

The next briefing was about the Spanish Guardia Civil. Among the points brought up in the briefing:  Guardia Civil has wide experience in post conflict situations.  The biggest issue in Iraq in short term is restoration of public order; over the long term it is to establish a democratic, peaceful government.  It is imperative over the long term that Iraqis take over responsibility for their own government and public order. Iraq will in all probability face more than law enforcement issues, such as terrorism and efforts to destabilize the government by outside forces.  Need to consult with Commissioner Kerik (responsible for internal national security) on how he sees the Guardia Civil fitting with his plan for police.

The Guardia Civil force is a police force with military status and military missions, as well as law enforcement missions. Its mission is to uphold free exercise of rights and freedoms and to guarantee public security. It was founded in 13 May 1844 and adheres to a “Deontological code” of duty first and always.  Also does peacekeeping in addition to law enforcement tasks.  It is accountable to National Secretary of Security and has dual accountability to defense and interior (akin to Coast Guard).  Guardia Civil missions include: humanitarian aid as well as traditional police work (e.g., investigation of crimes).  Further the Guardia Civil has exclusive responsibility for:  protection of national assets; road and traffic surveillance; coasts, borders, etc.; environmental protection; arms and explosives.  It has special explosive disposal units, an Anti-terrorist task force; and other units in Maritime, Air service, Coast and Border Service.  Its officers move around country frequently during the course of a career.

Overseas it has a “technical mission” in training police forces abroad. It has worked with NATO, countries, such as Bosnia and Kosovo and consulates, in “institution building.”  Conflict hardships that must be addressed include: lack of legal reliability; abuse of power; corruption; lack of training; low salaries; no legal status, tools, reliability as protection for police; no operative procedures; and no planning.

Three focuses of setting up police force are: (1) training, (2) deployment/operations and (3) organization. Issues in training include: direct training; “training the trainers;” design of courses and curriculum; procedures; books/manuals; data bases; training of training; and the need to create sustainability.

Issues in deployment and operations include: planning and deploying; field training; interrelationship and responsibility. Issues to be addressed in organization include: a code of ethics; equipment; human resources; tools & regulations; administrative procedures; operating procedures; relationships and obligations.

“Keys to Succeed” in an “institution building” include: planning; team building; political support; “Acceptance” in society; time to “digest;” and corollary improvements in judiciary.

The third brief was a proposal for Guardia Civil participation in Iraq.  In summary, it would provide advice and technical assistance (personnel, recruitment, training, organization).  In utilization, remember that this is an armed police force of a military nature and with a singular professional status–review of laws necessary to insure appropriate and legally consistent use, as well as doctrinal review for operational interoperability with other coalition forces

Steps to deployment of the Guardia Civil include: pre-deployment project definition; preparation phase to obtain resources and infrastructures; recruit and train required personnel.  At deployment, recruit, train and deploy first Iraqi units.  At the consolidation phase, monitor the process and the progress.  Need to win Iraqi support and avoid politicization.  Further, must integrate into Iraqi public support structure.

At the completion of the briefings, Mr. Slocombe, the Senior Advisor to the Ministry of Defense, asked “how long would it take to train the Iraqis?” The answer was that it depends.  If starting with people who were already police, it would require perhaps four months minimum training for “plain police,” but more time to train people who are already police but to train them in specialized or technical areas.

Someone asked if we were using former Iraqi police, former military or plain citizens? The answer, again, depended on time: The short term fix is to use existing police force.  But the answer for the long term answer is to build a whole new structure reflecting new status post Saddam.

It was suggested that in small villages, where there are no police, Guardia Civil could perform the law enforcement.

There are issues of jurisdiction – when to employ the Guard Civil? Mr. Slocombe and General Feliu need to meet with Commissioner Kerik as soon as possible to discuss how the Guardia Civil fits in.  For instance, in the case of Iraqi police v. Guardia Civil, who would investigate police corruption?

Initially the Guard wants to work alone in a training force consisting of 55 people who can train units of 1,000 people. But the problem of the language barrier (Spanish to Arabic) was raised. It is a hurdle.

Slocombe asked “how quickly can you ‘be operational?'”

The response was three weeks to send a team there, three more weeks to draft the scope of project. The work could begin 1 August.  Guardia Civil would turn to EU for money for the mission.

Journal Entry 12 June

I am sitting on a British plane C130 taxiing down the runway from Kuwait headed for Baghdad.  It is hot in here and very tight, with all of us sitting shoulder to shoulder on little net webbed jump seats.  To the right of me is the high wall enclosing the pilot’s cage, covered with pipes, knobs, cords and one lone fire extinguisher.  To my left, after the four rows of sweating passengers, is the cargo, beginning with a humvee chained to the floor so it doesn’t roll.  I carried on board a bag with a computer, a satellite phone, a palm pilot, CD player and BlackBerry stand.  I asked the crew to please be careful as I handed them the bag to be packed and stacked with the rest of the cargo located to the rear of the plane behind the humvee.  My luggage has been temporarily lost somewhere between Washington and Kuwait and I have already worn the clothes on my back for two days.  I am profusely sweating and will shortly be rendered entirely repulsive to all who dare to approach.  Hint to the wise: a silk blouse is a very poor choice for this type of weather, since, when it gets damp from sweat, tends to cling to the body like a wet tea shirt.

Journal Entry Later that Day

We are in Basra, Iraq, where we stopped initially to drop someone off but had to stay longer when one of the crewmembers got sick from the heat.  The Basra Airport is supposedly the finest in the Middle East with high ceilings, marble columns and granite floors.  The light fixtures are very striking–one room’s light fixtures are aligned with green and blue diagrams and another room’s with brown.

Journal Entry even Later that Day

We are back on the plane headed for Baghdad from Basra.  I am back in my red webbed seat (a real contrast to the slate/gray/green of the rest of the inside of the plane).  On the left side of me is a British soldier with his rifle and on the other side a Major in the Spanish Army, one of several Spanish officers serving as aides to LTG Feliu. While LTG Feliu is to be Mr. Slocombe’s deputy of sorts, he is primarily, I believe, a champion for the Spanish forces to be deployed to Iraq, particularly the Guardia Civil.  Plus he is a wonderful gentleman a sunny disposition.  His aides are particularly protective of him, which allows him the luxury appearing more relaxed than he might be otherwise given the war footing of where we are headed.

Email sent 13 June, Subject: Arrived in Baghdad

Chief.

I arrived in Baghdad last night and am borrowing someone’s computer until my line is connected.  So far so good, except for the lost luggage.  Hopefully I will get it today on the next flight in from Kuwait. I meet Commissioner Kerik this morning and will let you know how it goes.

We spent 8 hours in Madrid getting briefings on their Guardia Civil, which is a cross between police and army.  Very interesting.  They offered to help provide security here, in the short term.  A bigger concern for the long term is training an Iraqi police force.  Lots of interesting issues.

The drive in from the airport in Baghdad was very strange…mangled parts of planes and cars along both sides of the road.  Last night I was invited to a party outside the presidential compound and we drove in a two car caravan with a “shooter” in each car, as required here.  I even got to wear body armor.  Never thought that would be part of my party going outfit.  I’ll write once I get my own line.  Hope all is well.

Aleks

 

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