Center for Strategic and International Studies

For 50 years, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) has developed practical solutions to the world’s greatest challenges. Today’s global landscape presents strategic opportunities that will define our future. As we celebrate this milestone, CSIS scholars are developing strategic insights and bipartisan policy solutions to help decision makers chart a course toward a better world.

CSIS is a bipartisan, nonprofit organization headquartered in Washington, D.C. The Center’s 220 full-time staff and large network of affiliated scholars conduct research and analysis and develop policy initiatives that look into the future and anticipate change.

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Policy and Research Papers

Fixing Iraq's Internal Security Forces: Why is reform of the Ministry of Interior so hard?

This paper examines the charge laid out in the US Marine Corps General Jim Jones report, explains why institution building and reform at the MOI have proved so difficult, and notes flaws in the international capacity building effort that need to be addressed. The central argument is that Iraq’s political dynamics, combined with the unprecedented burdens being placed upon the MOI, will continue to make institutional development and reform terribly difficult. However, assessments such as the Jones report ignore the fact that the ministry is more functional than it may at first appear. Furthermore, there are signs of incipient, MOI-led reforms; these provide hopeful pointers. In order to take advantage of these incipient reforms, the international assistance effort needs to significantly raise its game. If this can be achieved, then, gradually and painfully, the ministry could become a more positive force in Iraqi society. However, even if technical institutional reforms are successful, it will be important to understand that the ministry will reflect Iraq’s political make-up; it cannot stand above national politics.

Paper