Monday, January 9, 2012

Iraq Army Day Parade January 6, 2012

January 6, 2012 was Iraq's annual Army Day. Units of the Iraqi Army held a parade through Baghdad's Green Zone with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki presiding. The military showed off some of its new equipment including M1A1 Abrams tanks, M109 self-propelled howitzers, helicopters, etc., which it had all purchased in the last 1-2 years. With these weapons systems Iraq can finally begin to take on the task of external defense, after spending the last eight years fighting insurgents and militias. The question now is whether the armed forces will be used for that task, or whether they will be used by the premier to solidify his hold on power. Maliki has never fully implemented the Irbil Agreement, which created a national unity government based upon power sharing. That would have given the Defense Ministry to the Iraqi National Movement, but that never happened. Instead the prime minister is not only the commander and chief, and in charge of the country's intelligence agencies, but also holds the Defense, Interior, and National Security Ministries. His opponents are afraid that he will not give up any of these positions, and will use them to threaten his rivals. Maliki on the other hand, cannot get much legislation passed with a divided parliament, nor improve services through the ministries that are controlled by different parties. He therefore, is latching onto the institutions that he can personally control, which are the security and intelligence forces. This represents one of many  fissures within the Iraqi government, and a reason why the parties distrust each other so much.

Iraqi Army soldiers marching in parade (AP)
M109 155mm Self-Propelled Howitzers of the 109th Field Artillery Regiment, 9th Armored Division role through the Monument of the Unknown Soldier (AP)
T72 tanks of the 9th Armored Division (Reuters)
M1A1 Abrams Tanks of the 9th Armored Division (Reuters)
BMP1 armored personnel carriers, likely from the 6th Motorized Division (Reuters)
UH1 Huey Helicopters of the Iraqi Army Air Corps's 2nd Scout Squadron (Reuters)
BTR4s of the 9th Armored Division (Reuters)
M1A1 Abrams of the 9th Armored Division with helicopters flying above (Reuters)
Iraqi paratroopers (Reuters)
Full unit of M1A1 Abrams, 9th Armored Division (Reuters)
BM-21M 122mm rocket launchers, likely from 9th Armored Division, going through Monument of the Unknown Soldier (Reuters)
SA342 Gazelle Helicopters of the 88th Squadron, Iraqi Army Air Corps carrying the Iraqi flag (AP)
Soldiers marching (Getty)
Soldier exiting rear of MI-17 transport helicopter of the 4th Transport Squadron, Iraqi Army Air Corps (Reuters)
More soldiers marching (Reuters)
A commando unit marches through the ceremony (Getty)
More Abrams tanks parading through Monument of the Unknown Soldier (Getty)
Another shot of the 109th Field Artillery Regiment, 9th Armored Division (AFP/Getty)

Elliott, DJ, "Iraqi Aviation Update December 2011," 12/26/11
- "Iraqi Security Forces Order of Battle," Montrose Toast, 12/31/11
- "Iraqi Security Forces Update December 2011," 12/2/11

Fantappie, Maria, “Maliki’s strength grows with the help of a political army,” The National, 1/8/12

Small Air Forces, "SA.32M Gazelle's for Iraq," 3/2/11


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the pictures!!! Really I see the new army and I feel very proud of the new Iraq. I read and heard the news and I feel totally disappointed about Maliki, J.Biden and Co....
Insahalla soon the F-16...!

DJ Elliott said...

Where did you get the unit IDs?
Didn't get them from my site.
The M1A1s and M109s are 9th and the T72s are probably 9th. The M113s could be 9th or 6th. The BTRs are BTR80s in that photo. The helos used to support ISOF are more likely to be 15th Sq but could be 4th. The BMPs could be 6th, 9th, or 11th - all three divisions have them and are in Baghdad. Unless you have better photos where you can read the unit numbers on the markings or another source than me - those IDs are unsure.

DJ Elliott
Montrose Toast Blog

Joel Wing said...

DJ, the unit IDs were just a lot of guesswork trying to match equipment with units. The Abrams, M109s, and T72s I was pretty sure about, the rest less so.

DJ Elliott said...

Fair enough.

I was hoping you had better photos of the unit markings than I've seen.

The only unit markings I was able to make out were on one of the M1A1s: 2nd Tank Regiment of the 34th Brigade in the 9th Division.

If I had higher resolution photos of the unit markings, I could list the specific Battalions/Regiments.

The Helo fast-ropping troops is actually a MI-171E from 15th Special Operations Squadron. MI-171s are a more modern version of the MI-17s and 15th is dedicated support for ISOF.

The BTR4s are the BTRs with larger turrets and have slat-armor.

DJ Elliott said...

These are the BTR4s in the parade - only 6 participated.
The other BTRs [w/o slat armor] are BTR80s.

Joel Wing said...

I actually saw two pictures of those vehicles, but didn't know what kind of BTR they were or what unit so didn't include them.

DJ Elliott said...

BTR4s are a major change from the BTR series. No side doors - they moved the engine forward and use a rear-ramp instead.
Plus the BTR4 has a 30mm cannon, Barrier ATGW, and 40mm Grenade Launcher in addition to the machine gun you normally see on BTRs.
Iraq plans to use them for the Cav/Recon role that their IA Commandos fill.
They got their first installment of these Ukrainian built vehicles a couple of months ago.
Those, the M113s, and the paras are the only real new items in the parade...

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