Iraqi Force Development
August 23, 2006
Iraqi force development in the summer of 2006 occurred against a backdrop of increasing adversity and violence. Initial events suggested cause for optimism. A new elected Iraqi government that included all major factions finally took shape in May. Al-Qa’ida in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was killed on June 7. Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki seemed poised to take the initiative with a proposal for national reconciliation and the beginning of the Baghdad security plan called Operation Forward Together. Yet security proved an elusive goal, and inability to halt waves of sectarian-motivated killing sparked renewed fears of civil war as Shi’ite versus Sunni clashes escalated. Militias and "death squads" became the primary targets for security forces.