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Reader comment on item: The West Lacks a Plan

Submitted by Ameer Labeeb Hassan (United States), Nov 5, 2014 at 03:47

I had occasion to communicate with President Obama on this subject. I had the following to say in my last correspondence:

TO: President Barack Obama

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue

Washington, D.C. 20500

FROM: Ameer L. Hassan


Las Vegas, Nevada XXXXX

RE: Your Letter of August 4, 2014

& The Role of America's Future In Iraq

DATE: 12 August, 2014

Dear Mr. President:

I am in receipt of the above-referenced on 11 August, 2014. Thank you for the insight insofar as you've chosen to offer it as there is much I don't have a "need-to-know." I was encouraged by the nomination of Haidar Al' Abadi to serve as Iraq's next PM. I concur with your decision not to put "boots" back on the ground in Iraq, Mr. President. History has shown and proven that you cannot win an unconventional war with conventional force. Iraqi people do need to fight for themselves and for their own country. The intel, or ISR aspect of the situation with ISIL is essential inasmuch as it drives the planning process and influences policy at the executive level. I have full confidence in the covert capabilities of our "foreign establishments," Mr. President.

While diplomacy has its place, military force tends to be an extension of [political] policy whether that force is conventional or unconventional. I bring this up, Mr. President, because there is no [unconventional] plan to deal with ISIL on the ground to eliminate the threat that organization poses to the region and to the world. Beyond this, Arab culture does not necessarily value the political theories of John Locke or John Stuart Mill. Saudi Arabia is one example of many, Mr. President.

Please allow me to offer a few more thoughts on this entire affair. The personnel who make up ISIL... You don't take a hodge-podge of untrained civilians radicalized by fundamentalist religion and have them suddenly operating armored vehicles like the BMP and the Abrams tank, sir. This leads me to the patent conclusion that ISIL is made up of former Iraqi Army officers/enlisted men loyal to Saddam in addition to former Republican Guardsmen and former Fedayeen. Moreover, while the atrocities committed by ISIL are morally reprehensible and repugnant to the Rules of Land Warfare, those atrocities fully exploit a PSYOP dimension, Mr. President. It was Sun Tzu who said something to this effect: "The optimum in warfare is having the ability to defeat your enemy without firing a shot." In many cases, when ISIL begins an offensive operation, their enemy is already defeated mentally by the thought of ISIL's sheer brutality and summary execution of prisoners, sir. While not professional by civilized standards, it is effective for ISIL's aims and objectives, Mr. President. Beyond this, ISIL is making effective use of social media in furtherance of its PSYOP approach. This is why the USG needs to launch a multi-dimensional counter-PSYOP/counter-propaganda campaign. After all, Mr. President, the GWOT is still in progress as I know you are well cognizant of.


Mr. President, if you should take the Executive Decision to arm the Kurds, they should be provided with M-72 LAWS; M-47 Dragon systems; BGM-71 TOW's, (1st generation); M-67 shoulder fired recoilless rifles (90mm); XM-148/XM-174 grenade launchers, (the 1-7-4 has a 12 round magazine); M-19/29 mortars, (60mm/81mm); Browning M-2 HMG's, (.50 Cal) (possibly assembled on APC's in a Vietnam-era Quad-50 configuration to serve in a weapons support role and organized as 3 or 6 vehicle automatic weapons platoon); the M-42A1 Duster, (40mm); M-102 towed field howitzers (105mm) or M-108 Sp. Howitzers (105mm); about sixty to eighty M-113 APC's ( Slat armor may protect the APC's from RPG attack) with another thirty M-48A5 tanks (perhaps with some reactive or "bolt-on" kit armor) and all appropriate ammunition. (I don't suggest the M-16 because it is a precision tooled weapon that requires much personal maintenance. The AK, which the Kurds already have, can take more punishment.) Perhaps some advisors can show them how to organize the tracked combat vehicles into former Soviet-era companies of 10-vehicles, (x3 platoons of x3 vehicles and x1 command vehicle). The command vehicle of a 5-vehicle battalion-level command element can exercise C-3 over the companies. This element would be comprised of a 1st generation M-577, with a Patton tank, two M-42A1 Dusters, and an engineer AVLB. This would give the Kurds a small armored/mech force of three battalions. Some of FM 7-7 could be used by advisors as a training aid, Mr. President.

The Kurd mech company headquarters could be organized as follows:

Commanding Officer/Track Commander, (PM-AK)

Deputy, (PM-AK)

Senior NCO, (PM-AK-GL)

Personnel & Supply NCO, (AK-LAW)

Intel & Operations NCO, (PM-AK-LAW)

Communications NCO, (AK-VRC 12-ARC 131)

Medic, (AK)

Sniper/Designated Marksman, (SVD)

Clerk/Driver, (AKM)

The company HQ closely resembles that of a Soviet-era Motor Rifle Company, though not exact, sir.

In addition to the APC driver and TC, the Kurd dismounted rifle squad, (mech) could be organized as follows:

Squad Leader, (AK-GL-LAW)

Rifleman, (AK-PRC-10/25 radio)

Squad LMG Gunner, (RPK/RPD)

Asst. Gunner/Rifleman, (AK-LAW)

Team Leader, (AK-GL-LAW)

Rifleman, (AK-LAW)

Anti-Armor Gunner, (M-47/67)

Asst. Gunner/Rifleman, (AK-2 to 3 reloads)

This organization closely resembles the dismounted rifle squad of a former Soviet-era/Russian BMP and does not give much insight into the U.S. Army organizational playbook, Mr. President. I intentionally omitted the infantry weapons squad for that reason, sir. Vehicle mounted weapons such as the .50 Cal. (or possibly the M-134 mini gun) serve as fire support or a "base of fire."


With a modified 15-man battalion headquarters of 7 officers and 8 enlisted men, (based on the former Soviet-era Motor Rifle Battalion and reduced to 11-men for the sake of economy), together with a command element as above stated; three 10-vehicle companies; a 3-6 vehicle auto weapons platoon; 81/82mm mortar platoon; an anti-armor platoon of 1st generation TOW systems (it takes an IQ of 110 or better to fire a TOW missile); and perhaps an armored recon platoon of five M-551 Sheridan tanks, this proposed Kurd mech battalion would be formidable in its tactical environment with professional military advice. (The Abrams tanks captured by ISIL need to be recaptured by Special Forces or destroyed by air delivered armor defeating munitions).

Perhaps some CIA sponsored "Soldiers of Fortune" could act as advisors in the future or in certain hot-spots where you don't necessarily want U.S. military personnel to be involved, Mr. President. Such SOF's are "deniable" and not entitled to POW treatment under international conventions. The AC-47D (Puff the Magic Dragon), if provided, could be flown by SOF's in a COIN role; or Huey UH-1's, if any were provided, on air medevac missions in support of Peshmerga. Moreover, with coordinated CAS provided by the Iraqi Air Force, to include some B-52 "Arc Light" missions I feel certain that the Kurds would acquit themselves quite well. If the Kurds had this level of solid military support, to include SIGINT, TACINT, and F3EA intelligence with a mixture of 1970's-era and current Supplies, ( Class I, II, III, V, VI, VII, VIII & IX) ISIL can be defeated in the field, Mr. President. This is a reasonable and logical approach to defeating these brutal Terrorists without a full recommitment of the U.S. Armed Forces to Iraq, which also keeps the American people safe, Mr. President. It is, moreover, a legitimate counter unconventional warfare method. Beyond this, modern military weapons and equipment wouldn't be liable to fall into the wrong hands, if captured, as the Abrams tank has. Korea is a trusted ally, and they only received the M-48A5 which they upgraded to an A6 standard. I do not believe Iraq deserves the same level of trust because their post Saddam army is unproven, which is why I am still disturbed that they received Abrams tanks. Surely, we had knowledge that the Iraqi Army suffered sectarian divisions and highly questionable es spirit de corps at the end of Gulf War II. Outdated weapons and equipment should always be provided to nations with primitive to semi-sophisticated military capabilities, who suffer internal conflict, to prevent hostile forces from gaining technical information/intelligence on our modern military systems like the Abrams, Mr. President.

Although Iraq is in the CENTCOM geographical area, you could run logistical resupply operations out of Vicenza, Italy and possibly fly maintenance and medical /forward surgical contact teams in and out of northern Iraq, sir. This would not place any political pressure on Turkey or Saudi Arabia, et. al., where radical Islamic resentment could become an issue, Mr. President.

If the Kurds can be armed to this extent (with Loaned weapons and equipment so as not to undermine the material and organizational integrity of the future Iraqi Army), and the current Iraqi Army can field officers who are military professionals rather than officers loyal to the PM, then ISIL can be "pinched" out of northern Iraq by a two-pronged Peshmerga/Iraqi Army attack and pushed back into Syria. Perhaps the two forces, acting in conjunction with one another, could even eliminate ISIL in Syria, Mr. President. The problem as I see it, is that ISIL has had the initiative. If they can be put on the defensive and kept on the defensive as the German Army was in 1944-45, then ISIL can be utterly and completely defeated in a military sense, Mr. President. The money they looted through robbery and brigandage needs to be targeted by ISR for subsequent Spec Ops missions so that ISIL will not have the financial resources to rearm itself from Russia or Communist China after it is defeated in the field, Mr. President. I would hate, one morning, for you to read your "Daily Brief" only to discover that Terrorists are training on ISIL held ground in Syria or Iraq, sir.


Again, I thank you for your insight, Mr. President and, I thank you for your time and indulgence.



Ameer L. Hassan, U.S. Citizen

cc: The Honorable Charles T. Hagel,

Secretary of Defense,

E-Ring, Rm 880,

U.S. Department of Defense,

(The Pentagon),

1400 Defense Pentagon,

Washington, D.C. 20301-1400

Senator Dianne Feinstein,

Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence,

313 Hart Senate Office Bldg.,

Washington, D.C. 20510

Senator Carl Levin,

Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee,

269 Russell Senate Office Bldg.,

Washington, D. C. 20510

Senator John McCain,

241 Russell Senate Office Bldg.,

Washington, D.C.


While I didn't expect my suggestions to be followed to the letter, I did expect some action to be taken on the ground in support of the Kurds, beyond SOF support. However, it became clear that nothing was going to happen without the approval of the Iraqi government. THE KURDS WERE NOT GOING TO RECEIVE ANY DIRECT SUPPORT FROM THE U.S. GOVERNMENT. I thought to myself that this was fair since sovereignty issues were involved. I also thought that a man like Churchill would have done what was necessary in the interests of his own nation.

It later occurred to me that it wasn't a matter of planning within the context of the MDMP at all. The Obama Administration has been clear in its position that IRAQ IS ON ITS OWN AND MUST SOLVE ITS OWN INTERNAL PROBLEMS. The Iraqi people have to fight their own war because no U.S. boots are going to retirn on the ground in that war torn nation. THERE WILL BE NO U.S. INTERVENTION ON THE GROUND. This state of affairs allows ISIL to operate as it has for the past several months. In my humble opinion, ISIL doesn't have to conquer baghdad. It simply has to establish governance on the land it already has under its control. This in itself represents a very significant threat to the West, which is not being addressed because the Iraqi Army, like the ARVN of the former Republic of Vietnam, DO NOT HAVE THE WILL TO FACE THEIR ENEMY.


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