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Iraqi Special Operations Forces - Iraq

Last modified: 2020-09-25 by ian macdonald
Keywords: armed forces | iraq | special operations forces |
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[Iraqi Navy] image by Zoltan Horvath, 19 June 2014

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The "Iraqi Special Operations Forces (ISOF) (Arabic: قوات العمليات الخاصة العراقية‎) refers to the Iraqi special forces unit created on December 26, 2003. As of November 2009, the forces, directed by the Iraqi Counter-Terrorist Bureau, consist of the Iraqi Counter-Terrorist Command, which has two brigades subordinate to it. The Counter-Terrorist Bureau is funded by the Ministry of Defence (Iraq).
In November 2005, after two years of training the ISOF were composed of of two combat Battalions and two Support battalions. In March 2008, the force consisted of a single brigade which in turn was made up of an Iraqi National Counter-Terrorism Force (INCTF) battalion, three Commando battalions, a support battalion and a special reconnaissance unit.
Twe two operational Brigades are:
The 1st Special Operations Brigade, located in Baghdad (composed of the 1st, 2nd, and 5th Special Operations Battalions, a Support Battalion and a Training Battalion (Iraqi Special Warfare Center and School). The 1st Battalion has been renamed Iraqi 36th Commando Battalion.
The 2nd Special Operations Brigade, located in Basra, Mosul, Diyala and Al Asad (composed of four Special Operations Battalions respectively).
Source: and
Esteban Rivera, 17 June 2014

For the قوات خاصة (English: Special Forces) (also known as قوات خاصة عراقية (English: Iraqi Special Forces)) in modern times in the period before, that is 1950's-2000's (a period in which the Army went under the name Iraqi Army, then Royal Iraqi Army and again Iraqi Army or Army of Iraq, the parent organization of the Special Forces) here's a brief historical background: "Special operations troops in the old Iraqi Army were first established when then Colonel Khaleel Jassim Al-Dabbagh built the first القوات الخاصة الملكية (English: (Iraq) Royal Special Forces) under the name of قوات الملكة عالية (English: Queen Alia Forces) in the mid-1950s. It consisted of Sunni and Shia Arabs, as well as other components of the Iraqi population. They were mainly used on an emergency basis to carry out special missions inside of Iraq and outside when the country was at war. They were also established with the purpose of engaging in the continuous skirmishes against the Kurd forces in the north, mainly under the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP).
Source: , and
Esteban Rivera, 8 September 2020

The Flag

The flag is the coat of arms in the middle of a maroon horizontal flag.
Esteban Rivera, 17 June 2014

Iraq Special Forces Banner - Unit 23 - Saddam era

[Special Forces - Unit 23]
image located by William Garrison, 04 June 2012

Iraq Special Forces Banner Iraqi Unit 23 - Saddam era
Reverse is pale yellow.
William Garrison, 04 June 2012