Friday, September 07, 2007


Iraqi govt advisor lashes back against U.S. report critical of Iraqi security forces

(AP) -- An Iraqi government adviser on Thursday disputed a new U.S. report critical of the country's security forces, saying the independent assessment was unacceptable interference in internal affairs. Yassin Majid, an adviser to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, said "it is not the duty of the independent committee to ask for changes at the Interior Ministry, especially when it comes to security apparatus."
His comments came a day after a study led by retired U.S. Marine Corps Gen. James Jones found that Iraq's security forces will be unable to take control of the country in the next 18 months, and Baghdad's national police force is so rife with corruption it should be scrapped entirely. The assessment was expected to factor heavily into Congress' debate on the war. Republicans see success by the Iraqi forces as critical to bringing U.S. troops home, while an increasing number of Democrats say the U.S. should stop training and equipping such units altogether.
"This is an Iraqi affair and we will not accept interference by anyone in such work, whether the Congress or others," Majid told The Associated Press by telephone. "The report is inaccurate and not official and we consider it interference in our internal affairs." Majid also stressed that al-Maliki's government had ordered some members of security agencies fired because of corruption charges and links to militias and said that policy had been extended to other agencies.
"The al-Maliki government will do this with all state agencies. We will not take dictation from reports," he said.
The 20-member panel of mostly retired senior military and police officers concluded that Iraq's military, in particular its army, shows the most promise of becoming a viable, independent security force with time. But the group predicts an adequate logistics system to support these ground forces is at least another two years away. The report also offered a scathing assessment of Iraq's Interior Ministry and recommended scrapping Iraq's national police force, which it described as dysfunctional and infiltrated by militias.

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