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US troops fear infiltration of Iraqi police may delay handover 'for decades'

Raw Story | October 31 2006

The infiltration of Iraqi police by militias may delay the United States handover "for decades," American soldiers training the Iraqi police tell the Washington Post.

"The top U.S. military commander in Iraq, Gen. George W. Casey Jr., predicted last week that Iraqi security forces would be able to take control of the country in 12 to 18 months," Amit R. Paley writes for the Post.

"But several days spent with American units training the Iraqi police illustrated why those soldiers on the ground believe it may take decades longer than Casey's assessment," the article continues.

Capt. Alexander Shaw, head of the police transition team overseeing the training of all Iraqi police in western Baghdad says, "To be perfectly honest, I'm not sure we're ever going to have police here that are free of the militia influence."

According to American soldiers interviewed by the paper, despite extensive evidence of police ties to the militias which they have turned over to Iraqi officials, "no one has ever been criminally charged or even lost their jobs."

Excerpts from Post article:

Seventy percent of the Iraqi police force has been infiltrated by militias, primarily the Mahdi Army, according to Shaw and other military police trainers. Police officers are too terrified to patrol enormous swaths of the capital. And while there are some good cops, many have been assassinated or are considering quitting the force.

"None of the Iraqi police are working to make their country better," said Brig. Gen. Salah al-Ani, chief of police for the western half of Baghdad. "They're working for the militias or to put money in their pocket."


"I wouldn't let half of them feed my dog," 1st Lt. Floyd D. Estes Jr., a former head of the police transition team, said of the Iraqi police. "I just don't trust them."



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