CHESTER HAS MOVED!: Buried on page A20 of the Washington Post

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Buried on page A20 of the Washington Post

Anthony Cordesman, of the Center for Strategic and International Studies has published a report of Iraqi security forces, saying that they are better trained than in the past.
entagon figures show that the training of Iraqi military and police units has improved since the summer but that those forces will not be prepared to undertake security missions on their own until late 2006 at the earliest, according to a study released yesterday by the Center for Strategic & International Studies.
According to figures provided by the Pentagon, the number of trained Iraqi army and police units is far below the number required. For example, as of Dec. 6, the Pentagon reported that 27,000 trained army troops were needed but that only 3,428 were listed as "trained/on hand." The figures showed that 135,000 police officers were required but that only 50,798 were "trained/on hand." The Iraqi National Guard, which provides security forces to protect buildings and other key facilities, had a better ratio, with 40,115 troops considered "trained/on hand" of the required force of 62,000.
An interesting point is his criticism of the civilian institutions which lead the Iraqi armed forces. Little is mentioned in the press about he difficulties of creating a civilian national command apparatus. Cordesman's is the only mention of it that we are aware of:
A related issue, Cordesman says, is the "problem" caused by the interim Iraqi government, "which is not yet capable of unified and timely action" and "far too often tolerates ineffective or corrupt leaders for political purposes." He cites the example of the police leadership in Mosul, which was kept "long after it was clear that it should be removed." Today, Iraqis are playing a larger role in screening candidates, Cordesman reports, and the interim Iraqi government, "while slow to do so, has begun to fire police that fail to show up for work, that cooperated with insurgents and . . . that are blatantly corrupt."
Like all forecasts, this one only extracts trends from current conditions. So many variables are at play that the actual timing of when Iraqis are ready to take over their security could be earlier or later. But this article is worth filing away in the "pattern-spotting" drawer . . .


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