Saturday, June 09, 2007

RE: The Horse Soldiers Take A Turn At Training

----------------- Bulletin Message -----------------
From: Patriots Speak Out ®©™
Date: Jun 8, 2007 9:26 PM

The Horse Soldiers Take A Turn At Training
Italians To Try To Turn Iraqi National Police Into "Carabinieri"
By JANE ARRAF Posted 3 hr. 39 min. ago
ROME - MAY 2: : Carabinieri (Italian special police) attend the funeral Mass for the Italian soldiers killed in Iraq
ROME - MAY 2: : Carabinieri (Italian special police) attend the funeral Mass for the Italian soldiers killed in Iraq

BAGHDAD – Italy is expected to try to turn Iraq's troubled National Police into Carabinieri – the Italian paramilitary police, said the outgoing commander in charge of developing Iraqi security forces.

Lt General Martin Dempsey, who testifies before Congress next week, said in an interview he remained cautiously optimistic that the Iraqi security forces could continue to build on progress they've made in developing self-sustaining institutions. He seemed somewhat less optimistic about the performance of the Iraqi government as a whole.

Dempsey is leaving his post as head of the Multinational Security Transition Command to become deputy commander of U.S. Central Command.

Lt General Martin Dempsey
Jane Arraf/Iraqslogger
Lt General Martin Dempsey

First deployed here as commander of the 1st Armored Division, he's spent three of the last four years here – making him currently the longest-serving general officer in Iraq and one of those with the longest experience in the Middle East. He previously served in Saudi Arabia.

The National Police, seen as a participant in sectarian violence rather than part of the solution, has been one of his biggest challenges.

The Iraqi Ministry of Interior has so far removed seven of the force's nine brigade commanders and 14 of its 24 brigade commanders for human rights abuses, corruption or ineffectiveness. An entire brigade was taken off the streets for retraining after its leaders and some of its members were linked to Shiite death squads.

"I'm optimistic that NATO will come in with the Italians as a lead nation to turn the National Police in Carabinieri and that has a lot of potential," Dempsey said.

He said the Carabinieri – similar to the Gendarmerie in other countries - would provide more equipment and training – such as in crowd control and the rule of law – an area where the National Police are 'far, far less sensitive that they need to be."

He said another key element in reforming the National Police would be removing up to half of them from Baghdad and sending them to other parts of the country to serve as an interim force between the local police and the Army.

"Baghdad's tempo is such and the level of violence is such and the pressures are such and the scrutiny is such that we've got to get some of them into a part of the country where they can develop because it's very difficult to develop when you're in knife fight every day of your life."

Dempsey said tactical performance of the Iraqi security forces – their ability to fight – had been a 'roller coaster" in the midst of the sectarian violence. But he said the Defense Ministry and Interior Ministry had made steady institutional progress.

"There is genuine accountability - they feel themselves responsible for the caring and equipping of their soldiers. They don't always do it to standard but they feel responsible now which is a huge step."

He said they were also spending more of their budgets than other ministries – one of the biggest problems with Iraqi ministries which have spent just a small fraction of the money available to them in providing services. And for the most part he said, the Defense and Interior ministries were allocating the resources equitably.

The Iraqi forces are an integral part of the surge in U.S. troops in Baghdad, which is intended to stabilize the capital to allow the Iraqi government to better function. Iraqi soldiers and police are intended to move in to maintain security in neighborhoods that U.S. forces have cleared of insurgents.

Dempsey said though he did not believe the Iraqi government would make substantial progress by the time the Commander of US forces in Iraq, General David Petraeus , is to update Congress in September on the new strategy.

"I'm not sure the government's functioning is going to change dramatically in the 120 days . They are rather novice in what they're doing and they have some huge issues to tackle so I don't think you're going to see an exponential change in the performance of the Iraqi government," he said.

"They are not the most smoothly functioning collegial collaborative group that I've ever met - they are more or less accommodating each other. I'd like to report that it's a government of reconciliation and national unity but it's not yet – it might not even be reasonable to expect that it could be yet but I think that they can find ways and must find ways to accommodate each other."

A key part of the plan to hand over security to Iraqi forces relies on increasing the number of Iraqi soldiers available. Dempsey said they intended to add about 20,000 men by the end of the year to about 170,000 soldiers. He said he believed they should eventually be at about 190,000 soldiers, achievable by next year.

Dempsey said the regular police were the appropriate size. "We just need to make them better not bigger."

As for what he would have liked to accomplish: "If there is an area I wish we were further along it's leader development."

Saddam Hussein, he said, "culled out leaders of the kind we're looking for now - and then they went to war with Iran and they lost a lot of leaders in some very difficult fighting, and then we went to war against them and they lost some leaders, and now they've been in a fight for three years against al-Qaeda and some others and they're losing leaders."

"We've been at it for two years so we've generated 4,800 new officers but we've had mixed results," he said. "Some of them are extraordinarily brave and some of them are extraordinarily timid and corrupt and it's a constant process of weeding them out." .




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