U.S. rushes training for Iraqis
as allies wimp out

Monday, November 3, 2003

The United States has accelerated the pace of training of Iraqi security forces to deal with the increasing intensity of the Sunni insurgency.

The U.S.-led coalition has established an eight-week course for police training. But many cadets have been rushed into the police before they completed training because of a security manpower shortage sparked by the refusal of U.S. allies to send troops to Iraq.

The U.S.-led coalition has deployed nearly 100,000 Iraqi security forces, the second largest security presence in the country. Officials expect that the Iraqi security force, particularly the police and Civil Defense Forces will expand to 140,000 by the end of 2003. The United States has about 130,000 troops in Iraq.

The Iraqi Civil Defense Forces and Border Patrol have also been slated for rapid expansion, Middle East Newsline reported. The border patrol has been required to halt infiltration from such neighboring countries as Iran and Syria, the transit point for the majority of foreign insurgents.

U.S. officials said additional training courses have begun and the length of training has been reduced to accommodate a rapid expansion of the Iraqi security forces. The officials said the policy mostly affects Iraqi police and civil defense forces, which are the most active in security missions in the country.

The new policy was expected to be facilitated by a U.S. supplemental budget for Iraq that will include billions of dollars for the training and equipping of Iraqi security forces. On late Thursday, the House of Representatives approved an $87.5 billion supplemental budget for Iraq and the Senate was expected to follow over the next 10 days.

"So what's been done is that they've taken some people with fewer than eight weeks training in the police, put them out with the understanding they'd bring them back and give them the remaining course, as they're able to feed additional people through the process," Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said in a Pentagon briefing on Thursday. "And it was a way of getting more people on the street doing things."

Rumsfeld said the acceleration of training has not affected the Iraqi military. He said Iraq does not have a credible foreign threat that requires the rapid expansion of the planned 40,000-member military.

The U.S.-led coalition has also been rapidly replacing U.S. soldiers with Iraqis for site protection. In northern Iraq, U.S. troops have prepared to withdraw from all security missions and be replaced by Kurdish forces. So far, about 85 Iraqi security guards deployed around vital facilities have been killed in Sunni insurgency attacks. .

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