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US Gen: One-Fourth Of Iraq Police May Be Linked To Militias December 20, 2006

Posted by notapundit in Military News, World News.
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WASHINGTON (AP)–The U.S. general in charge of training Iraqi forces said Tuesday that up to a quarter of Iraq’s national police force are believed to be sympathetic to the militias blamed for the nation’s savage sectarian violence.

But Army Lt. Gen. Martin Dempsey said efforts are under way to weed out those allied to the militias.

Dempsey said Iraqi officials are working to reform police, take more responsibility for Iraq’s security and make financial investments in troops and equipment – all important steps toward freeing American troops from their security role and hastening their departure. “My message to you is that Iraq is reaching out to take control of its own security,” Dempsey told a Defense Department press conference.

Speeding up training of Iraqis security forces is one of the most talked-about options being considered as President George W. Bush struggles for a new strategy in Iraq. And the future reliability of Iraqi forces is a big question.

Dempsey said the instance of Iraqis who are actively involved with militias in the violence – or just look the other way and do not try to stop it – is generally low among Iraq’s security units, which include the armed forces, local police national police and border agents.

However, the national police, he said, is the exception. The Pentagon has described the national police as a bridge force that was to handle law and order across provinces while officials worked to set up local community police forces.

“We believe that… about 20 to 25% of them probably needed to be weeded out, ” Dempsey said of the national police in answer to a question.

Dempsey said Iraqi officials are working to tighten discipline and leadership; are pulling police units off duty for additional training and vetting, and are referring to the courts any officers they catch involved in crimes.

“The progress you’ll see among the legitimate Iraqi security forces here in the next six months will be dramatic,” he said.

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