Iraq War, insurgency
- 1 Early warnings
- 2 Military recognition of insurgency
- 3 Shi'a groups
- 4 Early 2004
- 5 Mid-2004
- 6 Second Battle of Fallujah
- 7 2005-2006
- 8 The Surge
- 9 Sons of Iraq
- 10 References
After the end of major combat against the Iraqi military in 2003, there was a period of confusion and discontent, followed by a full-fledged insurgency. Officials differed on when it clearly began, but there was little question that it was in progress by August 2003, and possibly by July. August 2003 had three major bombings:
- Jordanian Embassy
- UN Mission; killed UN Envoy Sergio de Mello
- Shi'ite shrines in Najaf; killed Ayatollah Muhammed Baqir al-Hakim
Douglas Feith considered the UN bombing, on August 19th, as the start of the insurgency.  Ali Allawi reports that by the fall of 2002, U.S. and British intelligence had amassed considerable information on Saddam's planning for a "stay-behind" insurgency. 
Sanchez described it as first composed of three conflicts, with Shi'a factional fighting coming later: 
- Resistance to Americans by Saddam loyalists
- Resistance to any foreigners by Sunni extremists in the Sunni Triangle, in the West Baghdad-Fallujah area
- Increasing numbers of foreign jihadists
Historical parallels were drawn by Bob E. Willis Jr., noting that the German invasion of the Soviet Union was an immediate combat success, but that the Germans failed to prepare for major resistance. The parallel is limited, however, in that the Soviet Union eventually formed a national-level conventional counterattack.
Early warningsIn May, Gen Mohammed al-Shawani, leader of the Scorpions and CIA-favored (as opposed to Ahmed Chalabi), met with George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Condoleeza Rice, George Tenet and Andrew Card. He said
Sir, I'm going to tell you something. You need to know the truth. Baghdad is almost surrounded by insurgents. If you can't secure the airport highway, you can't secure all of Iraq.
GEN John Abizaid used the term "classic insurgency" in a press conference in May, and was immediately corrected by Rumsfeld. As Abizaid told LTG Ricardo Sanchez afterwards, "Well, there's no appetite in Washington to use the word 'insurgency'. And, by the way, we're not 'occupiers', either. We're 'liberators'"
In June, bombs stored inside the al-Hassan mosque in Falluja exploded, killing six people including the mosque’s imam, the local population knew it was being used for weapons, but the U.S. was still blamed. 
Not all commanders agreed they then faced an insurgency. MG Ray Odierno, who had taken command of the 4th Infantry Division, told reporters, on June 18, "this is not guerrilla warfare. It is not close to guerrilla warfare," and described the operations he launched as mopping up. Asked about it a year later, he said "I didn't believe it was an insurgency until about July. What we really thought was, Remnant."
Military recognition of insurgency
While Bremer concentrated on forming democracy, establishing the IGC on July 13, the military was concerned with security. Abizaid sent a memo, on 28 July, to Rumsfeld, called "Understanding the War in Iraq". It proposed three solutions:
- Accelerate involvement of Iraqis in security
- Focus on intelligence
- Provide reconciliation methods for Iraqis
Bremer attended a deputies meeting in Washington on July 22, at which he was informed of the deaths of Uday and Qusay Hussein. By August 1st, he was meeting with Ibrahim al-Jaafari, the first to hold the rotating presidency of the IGC.
Bremer had a monthly meeting with senior military commanders. At a meeting on 4 November, several Army officers had angry words for Bremer, because the CPA free market and deba'athification policies were alienating many Iraqis. MG David Petraeus was shocked the planning was centralized in Baghdad, since the military units had large and competent staffs that knew local conditions. Odierno supported this, saying "my sense is that you want to cut us out. Some, however, said that the block between Bremer and the units was due to Sanchez. There was a widespread concern that Bremer's commitment to privatization was appropriate under the circumstances. As Keith Mines put it, his province needed more of Abraham Maslow's concern with human needs and less of Milton Friedman's free-market principles. 
The headquarters for foreign military units in Iraq is now Multi-national Force-Iraq (MNF-I), which was created, under Sanchez, on 15 May 2004.
On an overall basis, it reports to the United States Central Command, which also commands the U.S. troops in MNF-I. Other units report to their home nations, although there are a number of non-US commanders from the MNF-I Deputy Commanding General, and Australian, British and Polish commanders at division level.
MNF-I was not explicitly created due to the Abu Ghraib prison scandal, but many suggest Abu Ghraib might not have happened if MNF-I had been in place, giving more supervisory resources than were available to JTF-7 or MNC-I.GEN John Abizaid, Franks' deputy, took over the command, on July 8, when Franks retired. On the 11th, he stopped the troop withdrawal ordered by Franks.
The operational environment in Iraq is fluid...in light of the current situation, [forces previously intended to redeploy]] will remain in Iraq until replaced by equivalent U.S. or coalition capability.
In addition to Central Intelligence Agency programs, Secretary Rumsfeld established a Special Access Program (SAP) codenamed COPPER GREEN, for interrogating prisoners, at Abu Ghraib prison amd elsewhere. In general, U.S. intelligence programs are in the Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI) compartment run by the United States intelligence community, not the Department of Defense. Placing a program into SAP, however, may, in some legal opinions, exempt it from Congressional oversight required for SCI programs.
Its methods were criticized as inappropriate for a structured rather than early activity in Afghanistan. Alfred McCoy cited a former intelligence officer as saying "No way. We signed up for the core program in Afghanistan — preapproved for operations against high-value terrorist targets — and now you want to use it on cabdrivers, brothers-in-law, and people pulled off the street." The CIA withdrew from the program. 
|Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq||Mohammed Baqir al-Hakim (killed August 2003)||Badr Corps|
|Mahdi Army||Muqtada al-Sadr||Mahdi Army, Jaish al-Mahdi (JAM)|
Another group, headed by Muqtada al-Sadr, a Shiite cleric, was urging resistance. He did not consider the Council responsive to the urgent situations. Allawi wrote "the loyalty of the majority Shi'a was to the country, not the state...No other Shi'a group shared the Sadrists' rejection of dealing with the Coalition and their frequently violent opposition to it." 
In the spring of 2004, even if it could be said there were two sides, neither side had unified command or objectives. The Coalition had different views among the Washington policymakers, Coalition Provisional Authority, military commanders in Iraq, non-US coalition troops and members of the interim Iraqi governments. Sunnis and Shi'ites might agree on wanting no Americans, but be equally argumentative with other Iraqi groups.
Washington and Bremer, at various times, put political considerations ahead of steps that might have increased security.
Even though the Shi'a were factionalized, they were angry at the U.S. for not providing security. On the day of the sacred Ashura observance on March 2, bombs, set off by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's organization, killed 270 and wounded hundreds more in the Karbala and Kadhimiyah areas  Zarqawi was still operating as an independent; he did not affiliate with al-Qaeda until October, although he had communicated with its leadership earlier, as described in a February 2004 story in the New York Times. 
Bremer was concerned, in early March, with Muqtada al-Sadr in Najaf, who was becoming increasingly militant in reaching for power as his Shi'ite rival, Sistani, fought for Shi'a power in the constitutional process. He took effective control of the Kufa mosque and preached violence from there.
Complicating the situation with Najaf, [Kufa, and other southern areas were that they were under operational control of the Polish division commander, with subordinate Bulgarian, Central American, Spanish and Ukrainian units, each with different rules of engagement. The Spanish contingent was the one most immediately affected. Bremer asked Sanchez to plan a way to deal with the situation there.  Bremer ordered Sanchez on March 27, to close al-Sadr's newspaper, Hawza, for 60 days; this took place without violence but with much protest.
Matters flared in the Sunni Triangle, on March 31, when four U.S. contractors were killed in Fallujah, and their bodies exhibited. While shocking in the media, this was not really a major change as the contractors had been warned not to go into downtown Fallujah. This led to a consensus that force had to be applied there, but for different reasons. Sanchez saw the response connected to the upcoming Presidential election, where strong response would strengthen the perception of the Administration. Rumsfeld also saw it as a way to pressure the Sunnis on the Governing Council
Immediately after the fall of Baghdad, the Sunni Association of Muslim Scholars (AMS) claimed a religious authority of fiqh al-muqawamma, or the jurisprudence of the resistance. Its chief ideologue was Muhammad Ayash al-Kubaisi, was the only organization that made resistance a Sunni religious doctrine. 
First Battle of Fallujah
Bremer believed that the 82nd Airborne Division, under MG Charles Swannack, reinforced by the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, had failed in securing Fallujah. Knowing that the Marines were due to take control of Anbar province, he met, on March 22, with LTG James Conway, commanding I Marine Expeditionary Force. They discussed the Marine approach to the area, and that Conway disagreed with the 82nd's approach of limiting patrols to 45 minutes. "I want my Marines to be able to go anywhere, anytime in our [area of operations]. I intend to demonstrate that ability as soon as we are set up." Conway also described plans to use a carrot-and-stick approach, with the Marine motto, "no better friend, no worse enemy." 
When the 1st Marine Division, commanded by MG James Mattis, replaced the 82nd, Mattis intended to some of the Marine Corps' traditional counterinsurgency approaches, that idea affronted the Army. 
On 6 April 2004, 1st Marine Division prepared to enter Fallujah for the First Battle of Fallujah. For several days beforehand, the city had been encircled and civilians permitted to leave. Iraqi Army battalions were to take part, but refused to participate when their buses were attacked on leaving their base. Iraqi Civil Defense Corps units did participate, but reluctantly, other than a Kurdish battalion, the 36th Battalion of the ICDC, that was politically unwise to use against Sunnis. Feith notes that the 36th was based on the Free Iraqi Fighting Force of expatriates organized by Ahmed Chalabi. 
Fighting was indeed intense, and civilians as well as fighters hurt. Shaykh Abdul Qadr al-Ani demanded a withdrawal on the second day, followed by dialogue; the CPA insisted on unconditional surrender. 
Both Sanchez and Ralph Peters insist the images of destruction, broadcast by al-Jazeera, inflamed the Sunni population.  Peters said "just when the Marines were on the cusp of victory, they were called off, thanks to a brilliant, insidious and unscrupulous disinformation campaign waged by al-Jazeera. I was in Iraq at the time, and the lies about American "atrocities" were stunning." Sanchez was directed by Bremer, "it's been decided you've got to stop your offensive operations and withdraw from Fallujah immediately." Sanchez assumed that Bremer would issued such an order without Presidential and National Security Council approval, and protested vehemently. Sanchez told Abizaid, who was present at the meeting, to find another commander to issue a withdrawal; they compromised on allowing a stop-in-place of offensive operations and a situation where the withdrawal could be controlled and not under fire. As Sanchez put it, "The administration wanted us to cut and run. But from the warrior's perspective, we did not withdraw our forces under fire. We held our ground. In other words, we cut, but we did not run."
Attempts at negotiation
Feith wrote that Bremer proposed, on April 9, a twenty-four hour cease-fire to see if the IGC could negotiate the surrender of the killers of the contractors. 
The Marines, in cooperation with the CIA and Iraqis, formed what was called the Fallujah Brigade, made up of Iraqis; if it cleared Fallujah, it would not be American against Iraqi.  Unfortunately, the commander selected was a former Republican Guard officer, Jassim Mohammed Saleh, who had participated in atrocities against Shi'ites in 1991; both the Kurds and Shiites objected to the entire idea of using it. Allawi chastised intelligence chief Mohammed al-Shawani. A new commander, Mohammed Latif, was appointed. After two weeks, however, Bremer told Rumsfeld that Latif was refusing to commit the brigade and was ineffective.
Feith agrees with Bremer's point that this might have been an example of the outcome had the Iraqi Army been preserved. Feith wrote that Bremer proposed a twenty-four hour cease-fire to see if the IGC could negotiate the surrender of the killers of the contractors.  The unit was disbanded in September. 
Operations in Najaf
On April 3, special operations forces arrested one of al-Sadr's assistants, and al-Sadr responded with a call for arms. By the 4th, a 1st Cavalry Division platoon was ambushed, unaware that the arrest had taken place or that high vigilance was indicated; Sanchez called this a breakdown in communications at the division commander level; the 1st Cav was taking over from the 1st Armored Division (U.S.).
Al-Sadr's attacks spread across southern Iraq, and he took control of the capitals of Basra, Al Kut, Nasiriyah, and Basra. They fought British and Dutch forces in Basra.  In Kufa, al-Sadr put his base in the Great Mosque, creating the extremely difficult problem of attacking a religious sanctuary in a war where religion was a major factor. 
Bremer transferred authority to Prime Minister Ayad Allawi on June 28. He was replaced by an accredited ambassador, John Negroponte. GEN George Casey took over MNF-I; Negroponte and Casey worked together as Bremer and Sanchez had not.  There remained a question, however, of how much real authority the Iraqi government had, and to what extent a civil war existed. 
Nevertheless, Bremer had wanted a slower transfer of control to an Iraqi government than had the Administration, and this may have contributed to the lack of progress. Different parts of the Administration had different reasons for a fast transition. Rumsfeld, for example, had a model of quick, intense combat followed by large troop withdrawal. He did not have a clear plan for who would provide occupation security.
A number of Administration figures also believed that the removal of Saddam would itself be stabilizing, and there would be a strong desire to move to a democratic system.
Peters said the cease-fire at First Fallujah still resulted in a terrorist victory, and for the next six months, it was a city-state of terror. The Administration waited until after the Presidential election to strike again, but understood they needed to strike quickly before media pressure intervened.Sanchez wrote
By stopping the attacks in Fallujah, and not taking out Muqtada al-Sadr, we set the stage for increased violence ignited by the insurgency, a new civil war, and a major surge in al-Qaeda terrorist activities. The highest levels of the executive branch of the U.S. government gave us the order to attack in Fallujah. But when the hard fighting was shown on Al Jazeera and CNN, and pressure began to build from all sides, the Bush administration immediately backed away. Essentially, they ordered us to cut and run. And I found that guidance to be particularly troubling given how the Administration characterized Americans who objected to our military involvement in Iraq.
Second Battle of Fallujah
A joint force eventually took control of Fallujah, in an intense fight, under I MEF, between 8 to 20 November 2004.
Feith said Abizaid cited two reasons for improvement:
- CENTCOM had created a new training organization in May, under then-LTG Petraeus
- The Iraqis were fighting for an Iraqi government, not the CPA.
Thomas Ricks wrote that the U.S. came close, in 2005, to completely losing the war, and entered a serious reexamination of its approach. An unprecedented number of generals either retired in protest, such as John Batiste, Charles Swannack and Greg Newbold. Previously retired officers including Anthony Zinni and John Riggs added to the criticism.
One shock that forced the reexamination was the Second Battle of Haditha in November 2005. GEN (ret.) Jack Keane, who retired after his term as Vice Chief of Staff of the Army, declining promotion to Chief of Staff due to obligations to a sick wife. Nevertheless, Keane took a near-unprecedented role as a retired general who did not become a civilian leader such as George C. Marshall or Colin Powell. He had first been alarmed by certain reports of civilian casualties, which suggested indiscipline among troops and a breakdown in the chain of command. Linda Robinson, in her book, puts the breakdown earlier, with the Coalition Provisional Authority and the missteps of L. Paul Bremer, and attempts at damage control.  Another was the bombing of the Golden Dome Mosque in Samarra, extremely holy to Shi'a Muslims. 
Ricks and Robinson agree that Bremer's acts were part of the problem. Bremer had been replaced by John Negroponte, who wanted to leave within six months. Negroponte was relieved by Zalmay Khalizad, who was originally to have been co-envoy with Bremer; Khalizad had a much more nuanced sense of Iraqi politics, and, in the summer of 2005, managed to salvage something from the upcoming elections. The first Prime Minister of Iraq, Ibrahim al-Jaafari, eventually stepped aside for Nouri al-Maliki, better able to deal with the situation. George W. Bush liked Maliki and dealt with him directly, undercutting Khalizad's ability to pressure him. Rob Richer, Chief of the Central Intelligence Agency Middle East Division, said there was plenty of blame to distribute, but also cites Condaleeza Rice as insisting on American-style democracy too soon, and the infant democracy was not able to deal with armed sectarian leaders.
There was both Islamic sectarian conflict between and inside Shi'a and Sunni groups, and also fighters sponsored by al-Qaeda and Iran. In August 2006, COL Peter Devlin, then the director of Marine intelligence in Iraq, told his commanders that the U.S. and its Iraqi allies had lost control of Anbar Province. Al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), in spite of having had its leader, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, killed in June, was in effective control. They would begin to strike at northern Baghdad.
The enemy of my enemy is my friendAl-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) repeated some practices used elsewhere, which were culturally inappropriate in Iraq, and caused a tribal revolt against them. This was later to form the basis of alliances with the U.S., but it started not as pro-American but as anti-AQI. Kilcullen has been told that it started over women; a standard al-Qaeda technique "which I have seen them apply in places as diverse as Somalia, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Indonesia, is to marry leaders and key operatives to women from prominent tribal families. The strategy works by creating a bond with the community, exploiting kinship-based alliances, and so “embedding” the AQ network into the society. Over time, this makes AQ part of the social landscape, allows them to manipulate local people and makes it harder for outsiders to pry the network apart from the population."
This group’s foot-soldiers are 95% Iraqi, but its leadership is overwhelmingly foreign. The top leaders and several key players are Egyptians and there are Turks, Syrians, Saudis, Chechens, Afghans and others in the leadership cadre. Moreover, the group is heavily urbanized, and town-dwellers – even urban Iraqis – may as well be foreigners as far as some tribal leaders are concerned. So there is a cultural barrier, and a natural difference in outlook, between the tribes and the terrorists.
These differences need not have been fatal – indeed, for years the tribes treated the terrorists as “useful idiots”, while AQI in turn exploited them for cover and support. One person told me that AQI’s pitch to the tribes was “we are Sunni, you are Sunni. The Americans and Iranians are helping the Shi'a – let’s fight them together”. But this alliance of convenience and mutual exploitation broke down when AQI began to apply the standard AQ method of cementing alliances through marriage. In Iraqi tribal society, custom (aadat) is at least as important as religion (deen) and its dictates, often pre-Islamic in origin, frequently differ from those of Islam. Indeed, as one tribal Iraqi put it to me, “if you ask a Shammari what religion he is, he will say ‘I am a Shammari’ ” – the Shammari being a confederation which, like many Iraqi tribes, has both Sunni and Shi’a branches.
The revolt began in western Anbar Province, but is now affecting about 40% of the country. It has spread to Ninewa, Diyala, Babil, Salah-ad-Din, Baghdad and – intriguingly – is filtering into Shi’a communities in the South. The Iraqi government was in on it from the start; our Iraqi intelligence colleagues predicted, well before we realized it, that Anbar was going to “flip”, with tribal leaders turning toward the government and away from extremists.
Forming alliancesThen-COL Sean MacFarland moved his 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division into Ramadi, Anbar Province, an overwhelmingly Sunni area. He began to form alliances with the local leaders against AQI, who would not allow them to stay neutral.  In an Army debriefing, he summed
his view of his key lesson learned in Iraq, MacFarland explained, "... indigenous forces are the key to winning a counterinsurgency fight and you have to accept them for what they are and not be put off by the fact that they are not like us and don't operate just like us... You know, we always ask ourselves, 'Well, are they worthy allies?' Well, you know, we need to ask ourselves that same question and I would argue that we had not been worthy allies up until that point and, certainly, our history requires a bit of a leap of faith for anybody who wants to align with the United States. Anybody who watched our experience in Vietnam kind of has to really swallow hard when we say, 'Don't worry. We are not going to leave you behind.'"
MacFarland went to the tribal sheiks, who were watching ex-Ba'ath nationalists fight AQI, with AQI winning. Their concern, they told him, was protecting their own people. "The brigade made an offer: If the tribal leaders encouraged their members to join the police, the Army would build police stations in the tribal areas and let the recruits protect their own tribes and families. They wouldn't have to leave their neighborhoods. "We said, 'How about if we recruit them to join the police and they go right back into their tribal areas?' "
Police recruiting increased, and AQI attacked a police station and assassinated the leader of the Abu Ali Jassim tribe, hiding his body to insult his tribe by preventing a proper Muslim burial. Col. Sean MacFarland, left, in Ramadi, embraced the opportunity to try something different. He was told to "fix Ramadi, but don't destroy it. Don't do a Fallujah."
Trying to blunt police recruitment, al-Qaeda fighters simultaneously attacked one of the new Ramadi police stations with a car bomb in August 2006, killing several Iraqi police, and assassinated the leader of the Abu Ali Jassim tribe. When a U.. officer visited Sheik Abdul Sattar al-Rishawi, a local tribal leader, he was surprised to see 20 to 30 sheiks meeting. Al-Rishawi said to the brigade, "We are forming an alliance against al-Qaeda. Are you with us?"
MacFarland was with them, but his higher command was worried, since a tribal alliance would threaten the unpopular provincial governor, Maamoun Sami Rashid al-Awani. The tribal leaders wanted him removed, but they accepted him. Another concern was "Al-Rishawi and his colleagues were second-tier sheiks." Most of Anbar's senior tribal leaders were in Jordan, for safety. I Marine Expeditionary Force, MacFarland's next level of command, had relationships with the sheiks in Jordan. MacFarland argued that "the contacts in Jordan had yielded little. 'Maybe there is a power struggle between the sheiks in Jordan and the sheiks in Anbar.But let's back the sheiks in Anbar. Let's pick a horse and back it.'" This produced quick results, in an alliance they called The Awakening. "Once a tribal leader flips, attacks on American forces in that area stop almost overnight," MacFarland says.
"I've read the reports" on al-Rishawi, MacFarland says. "You don't get to be a sheik by being a nice guy. These guys are ruthless characters. … That doesn't mean they can't be reliable partners."
2006 vs. 2007
LTC Gian Gentile, a critic of Petraeus and counterinsurgency who commanded 8/10 Reconnaissance Squadron in Baghdad in 2006, wrote, in a New York Times op-ed, that the major differences between 2006 and 2007 were:
- "a decision by senior American leaders in 2007 to pay large amounts of money to Sunni insurgents to stop attacking Americans and join the fight against Al Qaeda.
- the decision by the Shiite militia leader, Moqtada al-Sadr, to refrain from attacking coalition forces
- the separation of rival factions in Baghdad stemming from sectarian cleansing in 2006-2007
The "Surge" was a campaign that put a temporary large increase into U.S. forces in Iraq, giving the U.S. troops the mission of providing security for the Iraqi people, rather than primarily working on holding the situation while training Iraqi security forces. It was also a gamble by GEN David Petraeus, who intended to challenge assumptions used for several years of fighting.
Critics have said its apparent success may hurt the Army's preparation for conflicts other than just the right sort of counterinsurgency.  Others point out that neither the surge nor the war is over; Thomas Ricks said that Petraeus told him that he would like to see a reduced number of U.S. troops providing security until 2015. 
Sons of Iraq
Those involved in the Sunni Awakening now are called the Sons of Iraq. By April 2008, 95,000 Iraqis were in the movement, of which 80 percent of the forces are Sunni, and 19 percent are Shiite. 
There are at least two key challenges:
- Will they transition smoothly to being under control of the national government?
- Are there jobs in the civilian sector if the force size is reduced?
A longer-range challenge, ironically, comes if the democratic process works; the Sons have legitimacy should they form a political party.
In April 2008, Nir Rosen, a fellow at the New York University Center on Law and Security, testified that the Sunnis have bought time to challenge the Shiite government. "It is like Somalia, different fiefdoms controlled by warlords and their militias. I have spent most of the last five years since April 2003 in Iraq, with Iraqis, focusing on their militias, mosques and other true centers of power." He sees both the contracted security workers, and the independent militias, as gangs. 
Handover of Sunni-dominated Sons to a Shiite-dominated government began on 1 October 2008, starting with 51,000 volunteers in Baghdad, most of which went into job training. 2,300 went into police training, and the government has said it plans to integrate 20 to 30 percent into the Iraqi Security Forces. Roughly 2,300 members of the Sons of Iraq were enrolled in police training courses in December 2008, according to the U.S. military.
So far, there have been no major problems, although there is an obvious concern over continued loyalty. A formal report to Congress acknowledged "the potential for infiltration by insurgents; the possibility of distortions in the local economy if salaries are not carefully managed; and the need for a comprehensive plan to transition Sons of Iraq to sustainable forms of employment in the [Iraqi Security Forces] or in the private sector."
- Douglas J. Feith (2008), War and Decision: Inside the Pentagon at the Dawn of the War on Terrorism, Harper, ISBN 9780060899738, War and Decision, p. 449
- Ali Allawi (2007), The Occupation of Iraq: Winning the War, Losing the Peace, Yale University Press, ISBN 9780300110159, p. 175
- Ricardo S. Sanchez with Donald T. Phillips (2008), Wiser in Battle: a Soldier's Story, HarperCollins, ISBN 9780061562426, pp. 236-237
- Bob E. Willis Jr. (Academic Year 2004-2005), After the Blitzkrieg: The German Army’s Transition to Defeat in the East, School of Advanced Military Studies, United States Army Command and General Staff College, p. 27
- Michael Isikoff, David Corn (2006), HUBRIS: the Inside Story of Spin, Scandal and the Selling of the Iraq War, Crown/Random house, ISBN 0307346811, p. 357
- , Interview: L. Paul Bremer III"The Lost Year in Iraq", PBS Frontline, June 26 and Aug. 18, 2006.
- Sanchez, p. 231
- Ron E. Hassner (Spring 2006), "Fighting Insurgency on Sacred Ground", The Washington Quarterly, p. 161
- Thomas E. Ricks (2006), FIASCO: the American Military Adventure in Iraq, Penguin, ISBN 159320103X, pp. 170-171
- Sanchez, pp. 232-233
- Ricks, Fiasco, pp. 180-181
- Sanchez, p. 227
- Alfred W. McCoy (2006), A Question of Torture: CIA Interrogation from the Cold War to the War on Terror, Henry Holt and Company, pp. 122-123
- L. Paul "Jerry" Bremer with Malcolm McDonnell (2006), My Year in Iraq: The Struggle to Build a Future of Hope, Simon & Schuster, ISBN 9780743273893, pp. 122-124
- Sharon Otterman (1 September 2004), Backgrounder: IRAQ: Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, Council on Foreign Relations
- Patrick Cockburn (11 April 2008), "Warlord: The rise of Muqtada al-Sadr", Independent (U.K.)
- Feith, War and Decision, pp. 478-479
- Bremer, My Year in Iraq, p. 312
- Sanchez, Wiser in Battle, pp. 329-321
- Allawi, p. 183
- Bremer, My Year in Iraq, p. 314
- Ricks, Fiasco, pp. 316-318
- Feith, War and Decision, pp. 481-482
- Sanchez, Wiser in Battle, pp. 348-350
- Jamie Glazov (7 September 2005), "New Glory", FrontPageMagazine.com
- Sanchez, Wiser in Battle, pp. 354-357
- Feith, War and Decision, p. 482
- John D. Banusiewicz (30 April 2004), "1st Marine Expeditionary Force Creating 'Fallujah Brigade'", American Forces Press Service
- Bremer, My Year in Iraq, pp. 344-345
- Rajiv Chandrasekaran and Sewell Chan (4 May 2004), "Fallujah Brigade likely to get new leader", Washington Post
- Feith, War and Decision, pp. 485-486
- "Frustrated U.S. disbands the Fallujah Brigade", Seattle Times, 11 September 2004
- Sanchez, Wiser in Battle, pp. 335-336
- Hassner, p. 155
- Ricks, Fiasco, pp. 390-392
- William Lind (22 July 2004), "Civil War In Iraq?", antiwar.com
- Sanchez, Wiser in Battle, p. 371
- Feith, War and Decision, p. 486
- Thomas Ricks (2009), THE GAMBLE: General David Petraeus and the American Military Adventure in Iraq, 2006-2008, Penguin, ISBN 987-1594201974, pp. 8-15
- Linda Robinson (2007), Tell Me How This Ends: General David Petraeus and the Search for a Way out of Iraq, Public Affairs, ISBN 9781586485283,pp. 9-11
- Ricks, The Gamble, p. 32
- David Kilcullen (August 29, 2007), "Anatomy of a Tribal Revolt", Small Wars Journal
- Ricks, The Gamble, pp. 59-69
- Interview with COL Sean MacFarland, vol. ON POINT III, Combat Studies Institute, U.S. Army, 17 January 2008
- "An Army colonel's gamble pays off in Iraq", USA Today, 1 May 2007
- Gian Gentile (4 February 2008), "Our troops did not fail in 2006", New York Times
- Gian Gentile (January 2008), "Our COIN doctrine removes the enemy from the essence of war", Armed Forces Journal
- Thomas Ricks (May 2009), "Understanding the Surge in Iraq and What’s Ahead", E-Notes, Foreign Policy Research Institute
- Gian P. Gentile (Summer 2008), "A (Slightly) Better War: A Narrative and Its Defects", World Affairs
- Greg Bruno (9 January 2009), Finding a Place for the ‘Sons of Iraq’, Council on Foreign Relations
- Nir Rosen (April 2008), Prepared Testimony of Nir Rosen Before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations
- Report to Congress: Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq, U.S. Department of Defense, March 2008