The U.S. Army In The Iraq War Volume 2: Surge And Withdrawal 2007-2011

The U.S. Army In The Iraq War Volume 2: Surge And Withdrawal 2007-2011
The U.S. Army in the Iraq War Volume 2: Surge and Withdrawal 2007-2011
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How much do you remember about the Iraq War surge and withdrawal?

This volume contains extensive coverage of the Iraq War from 2007-2011 and is a companion to Volume 1 that covered the period from 2003-2006. The text launches into the strategic decision process behind the “Surge” that led to the capture and ultimate hanging of Saddam Hussein. Included are primary source interviews, maps, and photos with expert defense analyses from military leaders that oversaw commands within this war.

The narrative explains that the situation on the ground was in constant flux as Shi’a militants became increasingly engaged. Iraq security forces began to become a more viable force, as General Petraeus, a  new U.S Commander took control of command operations and oversight. At that time Iraq became an unstable environment that hindered America’s ability to withdraw from the theater.

Events of major consequence that featured this period of the war include:

  • The Awakening Gathers Momentum
  • Al-Qaeda in Iraq Loses the Initiative
  • Maliki Against the Sadrists
  • From Surge to Withdrawal
  • Toward the Defeat of AQI
  • Operation NEW DAWN
  • The Unraveling of Iraqi Politics
  •  The Ascendancy of ISIS
  • From Surge to Withdrawal

The authors note these volumes represent a concerted effort by the Strategic Studies Institute (SSI) and U.S. Army War College (USAWC)  to fully document the nature of this war while recognizing the process is ongoing, as information and history bring greater clarity to the conflict.

Table of Contents

Foreword by the 39th Chief of Staff, U.S. Army xxix

Foreword by the 38th Chief of Staff, U.S. Army xxxi

Preface xxxiii

Acknowledgments xxxvii

Part I: The Surge, 2007-2008 1

Chapter 1 Strategy in Crisis, October-December 2006 3

Strategy Options 3

The Surge Decision 19

Endnotes - Chapter 1 33

Chapter 2 The Eve of the Surge, December 2006-February 2007 43

The Hanging of Saddam Hussein 43

The Baghdad Security Plan 45

MNC-I, AQI, and the Baghdad Belts 56

The Shi’a Militants on the Eve of the Surge  65

The Northern Iraq Conflict Before the Surge 80

Endnotes - Chapter 2 85

Chapter 3 The New Way Forward, February 2007-April 2007 95

Petraeus Takes Command  95

The Iraqi Security Forces in Early 2007 112

Economies of Force, South and North 117

Toward a New Joint Campaign Plan 125

Endnotes - Chapter 3  133

Chapter 4 The Awakening Gathers Momentum 145

The Expansion of the Anbar Awakening  145

The Awakening in the Baghdad Belts 161

The Awakening Reaches Baghdad 172

Endnotes - Chapter 4 182

Chapter 5 Summer 2007—The Surge of Operations 195

Regaining the Initiative: Operation PHANTOM THUNDER 196

Summer of the Awakening 215

The War Against Iran’s Militant Proxies 222

xiv MNF-I and the Opposition to the Surge 232

Endnotes - Chapter 5  240

Chapter 6 “The Darkness Has Become Pitch Black” 251

Al-Qaeda in Iraq Loses the Initiative  251

The Awakening, the Maliki Government, and AQI  267

The War Against the Shi’a Militants  273

The Iraqi Surge 278

Planning for Drawdown 286

Iraqi Political Tensions and Progress 288

Endnotes - Chapter 6  295

Chapter 7 Enabling the Surge, 2007-2008 307

Generating Unity of Effort 307

Enabling the Close Fight 311

The Intelligence War 318

Money as a Weapon System 319

Detention and Rule of Law 324

Endnotes - Chapter 7 333

Chapter 8 Crescendo: Maliki Against the Sadrists 341


The Battle for Basrah 350

The Battle for Sadr City 368

Endnotes - Chapter 8  382

Chapter 9 The Surge Culminates, Summer 2008 391

The End of the Surge  391


Consolidating Victory Against the Shi’a Militant Groups 398

The Unfinished Business of the Surge 404

Maliki’s Warning Signs: Diyala, the ISOF, and the SOFA 411

Endnotes - Chapter 9  420

Chapter 10 Conclusion: The Surge, 2007-2008 429

Part II: From Surge to Withdrawal 433

Chapter 11 Zero Attacks, September-December 2008 435

Odierno Takes Command 435

xv The Northern Iraq Problem  440

The Quest for Stabilization  445

Endnotes - Chapter 11  452

Chapter 12 Out of the Cities, January-June 2009 457 A New Iraq Policy for the United States  457

Political Culmination of the Surge: The January 2009 Provincial Elections 458

Drawdown and Change of Operating Posture for MNF-I 459

Iraqi Security Forces Development  461

The Continuing Pursuit of AQI  463

The Challenge of Reconciliation  470

The Iran Problem 473

Leaving the Cities 477

Endnotes - Chapter 12 480

Chapter 13 Toward the Defeat of AQI, August 2009-July 2010 487

The Autumn 2009 Bombings 487

The “Responsible Drawdown”  491

The Combined Security Mechanism 497

The Evisceration of Al-Qaeda in Iraq, January-May 2010 502

The Iraqi Political Crisis  507

Endnotes - Chapter 13  512

Chapter 14 From NEW DAWN to Zero, August 2010-December 2011 519

The Interregnum 520

Operation NEW DAWN and the “Responsible Drawdown of Forces”  522

Iraq’s Political Destabilization 532

The Path to Zero 541

Preparing for Exit  544

The Retrograde  548

Endnotes - Chapter 14  557

Chapter 15 Epilogue: The Office of Security Cooperation and the Return of the Iraq War, 2012-2014  569

After U.S. Forces-Iraq (USF-I): Crackdowns and Disarray 569

The Unraveling of Iraqi Politics  576

The Spillover of the Syrian Civil War 579

Return of the Sunni Insurgency  582

xvi The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) 585

The Deterioration of the Iraqi Security Forces, 2012-2014 588

The Ascendancy of ISIS 592

The Start of Operation INHERENT RESOLVE 599

Endnotes - Chapter 15 601

Chapter 16 Conclusion: From Surge to Withdrawal 609

Part III: Final Conclusions 613

Chapter 17 Conclusion: Lessons of the Iraq War 615

Selected Strategic Implications for Future Wars  615

Operational Lessons  622

Tactical and Operational Innovations 637

Endnotes - Chapter 17  641

Afterword 643

Select Bibliography 645

Interviews 645

Books 647

Articles 649

Monographs and Reports 653

Unpublished Papers  657

News Outlets and Newspapers 658

Abbreviations 659

Map Symbols 665

About the Contributors 667


Members of the military, Veterans and Veteran organizations, military historians, students and teachers engaged in military/warfare studies, and members of the general public interested in military operations would find this publication useful.

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  • Iraq War
  • Army history
  • Military History
  • Surge and Withdrawal
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