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In Baghdad, a Force Under the Militias' Sway(U.S. Fears Iraqi Police Infiltration )

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cal04 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-30-06 10:50 PM
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In Baghdad, a Force Under the Militias' Sway(U.S. Fears Iraqi Police Infiltration )
Infiltration of Iraqi Police Could Delay Handover of Control for Years, U.S. Trainers Suggest

(snip)

Posters celebrating Moqtada al-Sadr, head of the Mahdi Army militia, dot the building's walls. The police chief sometimes remarks that Shiite militias should wipe out all Sunnis. Visitors to this violent neighborhood in the Iraqi capital whisper that nearly all the police officers have split loyalties.

And then one rainy night this month, the Sholeh police set up an ambush and killed Army Cpl. Kenny F. Stanton Jr., a 20-year-old budding journalist, his unit said. At the time, Stanton and other members of the unit had been trailing a group of Sholeh police escorting known Mahdi Army members.

"How can we expect ordinary Iraqis to trust the police when we don't even trust them not to kill our own men?" asked Capt. Alexander Shaw, head of the police transition team of the 372nd Military Police Battalion, a Washington-based unit charged with overseeing training of all Iraqi police in western Baghdad. "To be perfectly honest, I'm not sure we're ever going to have police here that are free of the militia influence."

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. 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.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/20...
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