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Armed Forces and Militia Transition and Reintegration


Most of the armed forces and militias that the Transitional Administrative Law (TAL) and CPA Order 91 seek to control were created for good and even honorable reasons – to protect people from the horrors of Saddam’s regime.

Coalition officials have reached agreement with various armed forces and militias and will soon activate the CPA’s Armed Forces and Militia Transition and Reintegration (T&R) policy and explain how it affects Iraq’s militiamen.

Important Facts:

  • We are dealing primarily with nine parties that maintain armed forces and/or militias – they are the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), the Badr Organization, Da’wa, Iraqi Hezbollah, the Iraqi Communist Party, the Iraqi Islamic Party, the Iraqi National Accord, and the Iraqi National Congress.
  • The population we are dealing with is approximately 100,000 former resistance fighters.
    Of these, approximately 90,000 (approximately 90 percent) will have gone through the transition and reintegration process by January 2005, when the elections are scheduled, and all will have processed by time the constitution is passed.
  • Just under 60-percent will pass into the Iraqi Security Services and the rest will be reintegrated back into civil society.
  • Saddam’s Army no longer exists, but other grave threats do. The character of, and skills developed by, resistance fighters over the years can now be put to use to make Iraq safer and more prosperous. While we need to transition and reintegrate these armed organizations, we also need to treat these former resistance fighters with the honor due them for their sacrifices in the struggle against Saddam’s tyranny.
  • The armed forces and militia T&R policy is fair and generous for those willing to work within the political process, but it’s very tough on those who remain outside of the law.
6 Primary Actions of the T&R Order:
  1. Makes immediately effective the prohibitions on armed forces and militias articulated in the TAL – that armed forces and militias outside of government control are illegal except as provided by law;
  2. Recognizes that those who fought against Saddam were, in fact, soldiers of Iraq in the truest sense. They and other veterans of Iraq's bloody past will be helped and treated alike. To do this, it officially designates former resistance fighters as Veterans;
  3. Broadly defines the transition and reintegration process;
  4. Outlines controls on “Residual Elements” – the technical term the order uses for those groups that are in the process of transition and reintegration while they are awaiting opportunities to start new careers;
  5. Defines controls on Residual Elements and penalties for illegal armed forces and militias, and the parties that control them, as well as for those individuals who continue in illegal armed organizations; and
  6. Creates an Iraqi inter-ministerial committee to oversee this effort.

Order 91 declares former resistance fighters who are not criminals, terrorists or foreign agents to be Veterans. In doing so, it:
  1. Provides those whose time in service meets the requirements for an Army retirement with the same pension they would have received had they served in the Army;
  2. Permits time in service to be counted towards retirement should they join a government agency or one of the Iraqi Security Forces (e.g., the Army, police);
  3. Makes them eligible for all Veterans benefits, such as preferences in the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs’ (MOLSA) job training and placement programs;
  4. Provides widows and orphans of those martyred in the fight against Saddam with the same survivor benefits as deceased Iraqi soldiers; and
  5. Provide disability benefits that are identical to those of Iraqi soldiers.
The structure of the Transition and Reintegration process is based on a three-tracked approach:
  1. Transition into legally authorized security forces: A substantial number of former resistance fighters will transition into the Iraqi Armed Forces, Iraqi Police Service,
  2. Department of Border Enforcement, Facilities Protection Service, and the Kurdish Regional Government’s Internal Security Forces (per TAL Article 54A) as individuals. No armed force or militia has been permitted to transfer units into any branch of the Iraqi Security Forces.
  3. Pensions for those who qualify.
  4. Job Training and Placement opportunities, primarily through MOLSA’s job training and placement programs, which contain a Veterans’ Preference.

Residual Elements:

With the release of this order, all armed forces and militias not under government control are hereby illegal. By designating an Armed Force or Militia whose leadership has agreed to a TR plan a “Residual Element,” these residual elements and their members are granted a legal status while following through with their plan for transition and reintegration.

  1. All members of residual elements will be required to register with the Iraqi Veterans Administration, the agency that verifies eligibility for benefits and pensions. Note that this is the same process through which they receive their benefits, so this is a positive process in keeping with the fact that we are recognizing and rewarding those who fought Saddam;
  2. All weapons must be properly registered with the Ministry of Interior (MOI) in accordance with Iraqi law; and
  3. Transition and Reintegration schedule must be executed as planned, if not modified by the TR Implementation Committee.

Restrictions and Penalties are also articulated in Order 91.

  1. While waiting to T&R, Residual Elements will be permitted to perform security functions only with the approval of the MOI and Multi-National Force – Iraq (MNF-I).
  2. Because the Residual Elements are in the process of drawing down, they will not be permitted to recruit or add weapons to their inventories.
  3. To prevent the perception or occurrence of coercion, Residual Elements may not endorse, finance or campaign for candidates for political office.
  4. Members of illegal armed forces or militias will be barred from holding political office for three years after leaving their illegal organization.
  5. Residual Elements that violate any of the condition of Order 91 will loose their status as a residual element and be declared an illegal armed force or militia

Political parties and their leaders that support illegal armed forces or militias shall be subject to penalties as defined in the forthcoming CPA order on electoral law.

The Iraqi Transition and Reintegration Implementation Committee is established by this order. It will report to the Ministerial Committee for National Security, and will consist of representatives of the Ministries of Defense, Interior, Justice, Finance, Labor and Social Affairs, Education, the Iraqi Veterans Agency and other agencies and organizations as needed. It will be responsible for creating policy and overseeing the execution of the TR Process.

All major armed forces and militias have agreed to this process. There are several smaller groups that we have not been able to negotiate with due to the security situation this spring and limited resources. The CPA and the Iraqi Government would like to reach agreements with them as well, and hope to be able to do so soon.


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