Sons of Iraq Status Update
Today’s Bloggers’ Roundtable was with Lieutenant Colonel Jeff Kulmayer, Chief of Reconciliation and Engagement, Multi-National Corps â€“ Iraq, OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM. He discussed the on-going transfer of the Sons of Iraq [SoI] to the Iraqi government.
The Sons of Iraq is a program developed by Coalition forces based upon the success seen in al Anbar Province with the Anbar Awakening. The Awakening was a largely volunteer effort that predated the SoI progam by nearly a year.
The SoI were locals who were recruited for infrastructure security duties within their community. They use their personal weapons and guard buildings, operate security checkpoints and patrol highways.
At its height, the SoI program employed 94,000 men in 9 provinces. Some 800 contracts were in place allowing these SoI to be paid by the Coalition. Overall hiring ended in June 2008.
Kulmayer told us that on October 1, 2008, the SoI in Baghdad were transferred to Iraqi authority. This was about 51,000 men hired under 385 contracts. Diyala Province transferred next, moving another 9,000 men onto the Iraqi payroll.
The Colonel stated that all the Sons of Iraq would be on the Iraqi payroll after March 1 of 2009, barring any complications. The Ministry of Defense has control over these units but the payroll come from the National Reconciliation budget. As of today’s interview, about 75% of the total number of SoI are being paid by the Iraqis.
The SoI are about 85% Sunni and the remainder are Shia. Kulmayer has seen little ethnic tension, either in the existing program or after the transfers to Iraqi authority.
The goal is to integrate about 20% of the SoI into the Iraqi Security Forces, and to find the remainder employment with the government or in the private sector. Training programs are being developed or underway. Until an alternate job is found, the SoI will continue their duties and be paid by the Iraqi government.
About 3,000 former SoI have been hired by the Iraqi Police, and another 1,600 have been found employment elsewhere. The process is slow but new programs will be coming on line as time passes.
The SoI have been in battle and have suffered because of it. In 2008, LTC Kulmayer reports about 500 were killed and about 750 wounded. Pay varies for the SoI, with those in Baghdad being paid $300 a month and those in al Anbar $130 monthly.
There are about 800 Iraqi women in the Daughters of Iraq program, 400 in Baghdad and the remainder throughout the country. The women are not part of the SoI integration plan. Those in Baghdad are under Iraqi authority and paid by them. The 400 women outside Baghdad remain controlled by and paid by the Coalition.
The Colonel made it quite clear that the Iraqi government sees the SoI as important and as a critical part of the nationwide reconciliation process. The Diyala Provincial Governor recently stated that the SoI ‘saved Diyala”.
Unemployment remains high in Iraq and complicates the placement of SoI. Security forces are at or near budgeted manpower levels which slows the integration of the 20% of SoI into the forces, as do educational requirements for many of the positions.
LTC Kulmayer was upbeat with his report. He continually remarked on the “amazing progress” made by the Iraqi government and sounded very encouraged by the anticipated future progress in integrating the SoI with the government.
For additional information:
Daughters of Iraq / Lioness program
Table of contents for Bloggers' Roundtable
- We Don’t Commute to Work Anymore
- Terror Investors Might Want to Look Elsewhere
- I Hear It’s Safe
- In Our Area the Taliban Are Paying More a Month
- Iraqi Police Progress
- Sept. 11 Conspirators Going to Trial
- Continued Courage and Committment
- The Year of Opportunity – 2008
- Competent, Capable, Effective Leadership
- Afghan Army Acts: Decisive, Overwhelming
- Iraqi Military Medical Services
- Dallas Reporting: Aid Mission to Georgia
- Military Integration Into NIMS
- Status Report From the Afghan South
- Status Report From the Afghan East
- Fourth Fleet Is About Partnerships
- Iraqi Police Primer
- Sons of Iraq Status Update
- Army Apologizes
- We Are Here!
- Yar! There Be Pirates!
- Cobra Gold 2009
- Our Best: Sergeant First Class Helen Gillespie
- Africa Partnership Station Comes to E Africa
- Building the Rule of Law in Afghanistan
- Sons of Iraq and the Iraqi Budget
- Air Force Combat Camera – Focus on the Fight
- Afghan Update for July 22, 2009
- The Army Goal: 1.5 Gigawatts of Renewable Energy
- Withdrawing from Iraq – some perspective
- Iraqi security update April 22 2010
- 2012 Federal Budget for Defense
- Pacific Command and the Pacific
This entry was posted on Thursday, January 8th, 2009 at 11:00 am and is filed under War on Terror, Iraq, War on Terror, Iraq, Rebuilding, War on Terror. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.