5th Division (Iraq)

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5th Division
Raqi army soldiers stand outside an Iraqi army compound in Buhriz.jpg
Soldiers of 4th Battalion, 19th Brigade, 5th Division of the Iraqi army stands guard at a position in Buhriz, Iraq, January 31, 2007.
Active 1959–2003
Country Iraq Republic of Iraq (1959–68)
Iraq Ba'athist Iraq (1968–2003)
 Iraq (2005–present)
Allegiance  Iraq
Branch Iraqi Army
Type Motorized infantry
Size Division
Part of United States Forces – Iraq

Iran–Iraq War

Gulf War

Iraq War

Maj. Gen. Shakir Hulail Hussein al-Kaabi[1]
Modified T-55 tank of the 5th Mechanized Division which saw action in the Battle of Khafji

The 5th Division ('Iron Division') is a formation (military) of the Iraqi Army. The division is currently deployed in eastern Iraq – predominantly Diyala Governorate. Following the losses suffered by the Iraqi Army against the ISIS campaign in Northern Iraq, the Iraqi security forces became increasingly reliant on non-state militia units – the Popular Mobilization Forces. As of October 2015, it was claimed that the 5th Division reported to the PMF chain of command, instead of the official military hierarchy.[2]


Ba'athist Iraq[edit]

Originally formed in 1959 as a mechanised division,[3] it would later fight in the Iran–Iraq War, and in the Persian Gulf War (including at the Battle of Khafji). The 3rd Armoured and 5th Mechanised Divisions, the assault force for the Battle of Khafji, had both been retrained in 1986–87 and had participated in many of the 1988 offensives.[4] On the night of 29–30 January 1991, three of four battalion-sized task forces of the 5th Mechanised Division had been turned back by U.S. Marine covering forces, but the fourth moved into Khafji and was later destroyed there. On 30 January 1991 as the division crossed the frontier for the main attack, the 26th Armoured Brigade was trapped in a minefield and had a large amount of damage inflicted on it. The commander of the III Corps, Major General Salah Aboud Mahmoud, called the attack off as he believed it was impossible to execute the full plan.

In 1993, following a coup attempt, Saddam Hussein reportedly abolished all command posts at corps level, with the 5th Division, then reported to be at Mosul, one of the only six divisions to retain a command post.[5] In September 1997 it was reported to be part of the 1st Corps, and be based in the Shuwan area under Staff Major General Sadoun Mahmud Sadoun. At that time it included the 15th, 20th, and 26th Mechanised Brigades.[6] It then disintegrated during the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Post-2003 Iraq[edit]

The reformed 5th Division's brigade headquarters and battalions were components of the original three division New Iraqi Army. The division was certified and assume responsibility for battle space in Diyala Governorate on July 3, 2006.[7] Since the division's reactivation elements have taken part in Operation Phantom Thunder and the Battle of Baqubah in 2007.

Today it is deployed in the difficult region of Diyala is the area between Baghdad and the Iran–Iraq border, an area where some insurgent elements (the Sunnis Baathists Sunni Salafis and Shias of the Mahdi Army supporting Muqtada Al-Sadr, and Al Qaeda) have direct support from Iran and its Special Forces (Quds Force). The regions of Diyala, Salah ad-Din, Kirkuk and south-east of Baghdad are the subject of many operations of the Iraqi Armed Forces and the Coalition, in order to dismantle the networks and interrupt Iranian support.

As of February 2010 the division's dispositions were reported as:[8]

  • Division Special Troops Battalion – Galibiyah
  • 18th Motorized (AAslt) Brigade – Balad Ruz area of operations
  • 19th (Desert Lions) Motorized (AAslt) Brigade (Brigade Special Troops Battalion at Baqubah)
  • 20th Motorised Brigade – elements Muqdadiyah
  • 21st Motorised Brigade – battalions at Diyala, Samood, Tamuuz
  • 5th Field Engineer Regiment – Galibiyah
  • 5th Transport and Provisioning Regiment – Kirkush

The Kirkush Military Training Base (KMTB) was one of the first installations constructed for the new Iraqi Army in January 2004.[9]


  1. ^ Rubin, Alissa J. (15 May 2007). "Iraqi Military Faces Hurdles in Its Quest to Take Charge". The New York Times. 
  2. ^ Parker, Ned (21 October 2015). "Power failure in Iraq as militias outgun state". Reuters. 
  3. ^ The Times, see History of the Iraqi Army for exact date.
  4. ^ Pollack, Arabs at War: Military Effectiveness, 1948–1991, 2002, p.243–44
  5. ^ Jane's Pointer, 1993
  6. ^ Sean Boyle, 'Qusay considers a reshuffle for Iraq's command structure,' Jane's Intelligence Review, September 1997, p.417
  7. ^ "The Advisor, MNSTC-I Newsletter, July 8, 2006" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2006-11-12. 
  8. ^ DJ Elliott, Iraqi Security Force Order of Battle – Page 4 Iraqi Army Central Forces, Montrose Toast, 28 February 2010
  9. ^ (English) Kirkush Military Training Base sur Global Security