Friday, January 12, 2007

training iraqi security forces

a chronological dossier of news coverage (part one)

summer 2003

To reduce American military casualties in Iraq, Mr. Chalabi urged the administration to begin training an Iraqi security force of 25,000 to work with allied forces to police the streets and restore order. He said he had proposed such a force to Mr. Bremer, the American administrator in Baghdad, and to Pentagon officials, but said they were noncommittal. (Patrick E. Tyler, "Cheers and Grumbles for Democracy and a Would-Be King," The New York Times, June 11, 2003, Pg. A16)

The Pentagon is considering a plan to train a private Iraqi security force and make it responsible for guarding pipelines, government buildings and hundreds of other sites in Iraq, military officials said today. The new private force, to be composed primarily of former Iraqi soldiers armed with small weapons, would take over from American troops the guard duties at as many as 2,000 sites, the officials said. Such a force would provide jobs to potentially thousands of unemployed Iraqis and ease the burden on an American military that is finding itself stretched thin in Iraq despite the presence there of nearly 150,000 soldiers. (Douglas Jehl, "U.S. Considers Private Iraqi Force to Guard Sites," The New York Times, July 18, 2003, Pg. A1)

With the total number of incoming foreign troops still uncertain and the training of Iraqi security forces in a fledgling phase, US forces can't look forward to finishing their duties in Iraq anytime soon - leading the Army to look "very hard" at upping its manpower, according to Gen. John Keane, acting Army chief of staff. (Ann Scott Tyson, "The GI in Iraq: jack-of-all-trades," Christian Science Monitor, July 25, 2003, Pg. 06)

fall 2003

Senior Pentagon officials told Congress today that American forces were straining in many cases to meet President Bush's security and reconstruction missions in Iraq. Their comments came as the Army announced that the tours of 20,000 Army Reserve and National Guard troops in Iraq and Kuwait would be extended to as long as a year, months longer than many reservists had expected. The Army's decision reflects in part the Bush administration's failure so far to add to the 22,000 international peacekeepers currently in Iraq. It also reflects the lengthy task of training tens of thousands of new Iraqi security forces to take over jobs now performed largely by American troops. On Capitol Hill today, the plight of the Army and its reservists -- who now make up about 90 percent of the 180,000 American troops in Iraq and Kuwait -- as well as the costs of the American-led occupation, were front and center in a sometimes contentious four-hour hearing on Iraq policy. The hearing today also previewed the debate likely to unfold when Mr. Bush formally submits his request for $87 billion for postwar needs in Iraq and Afghanistan. (Eric Schmitt, "Forces Strained In Iraq Mission, Congress Is Told," The New York Times, September 10, 2003, Pg. A1)

Amid fears that foreign fighters are behind a wave of attacks by anti-American insurgents, the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq will speed up the training of Iraqi security forces, the top American administrator said Saturday. L. Paul Bremer said that by next September, more than 200,000 Iraqis would be engaged in defending their country as members of its new army or its security forces. (Craig Nelson, "U.S. to speed training of Iraqis; New army planned; bomb kills 2 more U.S. soldiers," The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, November 2, 2003, Pg. 15A)

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has detailed a confident plan of "Iraqification," the rapid training of Iraqi security forces and the scaling down of U.S. troops in the theater, from the current level of 132,000 to as low as 104,000 by mid-2004 -- even as U.S. casualties over the past week soar to the highest one-week total since Bush declared an end to major combat operations on May 1. ("Attacks Confound U.S.," St. Louis Post-Dispatch, November 9, 2003 Pg. B1)

Several European Union countries are backing a British initiative to train Iraqi security forces ahead of the US handover of power by next June, diplomats said yesterday. The UK is arranging, with support from other countries, to have 25,000 Iraqis trained over coming weeks at three locations in the region: the Jordanian Police Academy in Amman, the police school in the Iraqi city of Basra and the United Arab Emirates. (Judy Dempsey, "Several European states ready to help train 25,000 Iraqi police," Financial Times, November 18, 2003, Pg. 7)

spring 2004

Army Gen. John Abizaid, who oversees U.S. military operations in the Persian Gulf region, said yesterday that Iraqi security forces still lack adequate equipment and training in many cases and have yet to establish a chain of senior officers linking troops in the field with a higher headquarters. The remarks before a Senate panel provided an unusually frank assessment of the fledgling Iraqi security services, an assortment of forces that administration officials have repeatedly described as critical to the long-term U.S. strategy of withdrawing troops from Iraq. Pentagon authorities have spoken frequently of their desire to have Iraqi forces assume more responsibility for securing Iraq. But the forces, which range from police, border patrol and building guards to soldiers and civil defense militia, were recruited quickly after last year's U.S.-led invasion and generally given minimal training and gear. (Bradley Graham, "Iraqi Forces Lack Chain of Command; Abizaid Has 'No Timetable' for Baghdad to Assume Control of Security," The Washington Post, March 5, 2004, Section; A18)

The Pentagon is rushing one of the Army's most highly regarded generals, Maj. Gen. David H. Petraeus, back to Iraq this weekend to help step up the training and equipping of Iraqi security forces, many of whom abandoned their posts or refused to fight in the recent violence there, military officials said Wednesday.[...] Based on his division's success in training 18,000 Iraqis for security forces in northern Iraq in the past year, he is expected to recommend changes in screening, organizing and equipping Iraqi forces, Defense Department officials said. Dispatching General Petraeus to Iraq just eight weeks after he returned underscores the urgency the Pentagon attaches to revamping the training program. After a poor showing last week by many Iraqi forces, some questioned whether they were forced into combat prematurely to meet Washington's goal to return more security duties to Iraqis as part of handing over sovereignty on June 30. (Eric Schmitt and Thom Shanker, "Training Skills of U.S. General Sought After Poor Performance by Some Iraqi Forces," The New York Times, April 15, 2004, Pg. A11)

summer 2004

President Bush heads abroad today seeking whatever help European allies and NATO are willing to provide to smooth the June 30 transfer of power in Iraq. Eager to share some of the load in the troubled region, Bush will press leaders of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to at least help train and equip Iraqi security forces. "This is about the spread of freedom and liberty," said Condoleezza Rice, the president's national security adviser. "That's what NATO has stood for from the very beginning. It is consistent with NATO's values." (Bennett Roth, "Bush heads abroad, seeks help on Iraq," The Houston Chronicle, June 25, 2004, Pg. A23)

On a recent afternoon in his new office in the heavily fortified Green Zone, Lt. Gen. David H. Petraeus, a celebrated American field commander, sketched his vision for how America's forces might one day extract themselves from this country. "I know where this ends," said General Petraeus, 51, who earlier this month took control of a vast project to oversee the training of Iraqi security forces. "It ends with the Iraqis in charge of their country. You get as many Iraqis as possible to have a stake in the success of the new Iraq to defeat the insurgency." Just a few hundred yards from his office, the magnitude of his challenge loomed in the form of Zhuhair Khamis, an Iraqi Civil Defense officer standing guard at the entrance to the American compound. "I am not ready to fight Iraqis," said Mr. Khamis, a 33-year-old Iraqi Shiite. "I will throw down my weapon, I will throw down my uniform, and I will give back my badge. I will fight foreigners; but I am not ready to fight Iraqis." General Petraeus, who scored some of the Army's most notable successes in the previous year here, is now charged with perhaps the most ambitious project that will unfold in the year that begins with the restoration of Iraqi sovereignty on Wednesday: rebuilding an Iraqi security force that collapsed during April's uprisings, when Iraqi soldiers quit and ran rather than fight their own people. The insurgency is still boiling: on Saturday, a group led by the Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi claimed it had kidnapped three Turks in Iraq and threatened to behead them, and a bomb killed as many as 40 people in Hilla, south of Baghdad. General Petraeus's goal, in his own words, is to help create an Iraqi Army that will have the discipline and the heart to defeat the insurgency on its own, and ultimately enable American forces to go home, and could jeopardize Iraq's ability to hold elections. Anything less will probably condemn the Americans to a bloody, long-term intervention here, or to a withdrawal that could send Iraq spinning off into chaos. (Dexter Filkins, "Biggest Task for U.S. General Is Training Iraqis to Fight Iraqis," The New York Times, June 27, 2004, Pg. 1)

Sharp differences over a NATO offer to train Iraqi security forces have spoiled a U.S. bid to portray the military alliance as firmly behind its post-war efforts in Iraq. The general agreement on the NATO training proposal was announced yesterday hours after the U.S. transferred power to an interim Iraqi government two days ahead of schedule. Leaders of the 26 NATO member countries welcomed the earlier than expected power transfer. But it didn't stop continuing divisions over Iraq from flaring up. The U.S. and Britain lead a group of countries that want NATO to conduct the training of Iraqi security services inside Iraq. But France, Germany and others firmly insist it must only occur outside the country. (Sandro Contenta, "NATO's united front shows cracks," The Toronto Star, June 29, 2004, Pg. A20)

[to be continued...]

[part two | part three]

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