Iraq's military and security forces, surpassing the
200,000 mark, have performed poorly in the current U.S. campaign against
Shi'ite and Sunni insurgents.
Officials said that so far the performance of Iraqi security forces
against the Mahdi Army loyal to Iranian-backed Shi'ite cleric Moqtada Sadr
has been deemed disappointing. They said in many cases, U.S.-trained Iraqi
police and Iraqi Civil Defense Corps forces fled rather than fought the
"They have not been a factor and in many ways they remain a hindrance,"
a U.S. official involved in the development of the Iraqi security forces
The United States has tried to use Iraqi troops to help fight the Sunni
and Shi'ite insurgencies over the last week. Iraqi police have been deployed
the northern sector of Nasseriya in an effort to regain control after
troops dislodged Sadr's forces.
Iraqi police and the ICDC were also deployed to secure
government facilities and control traffic in the Sunni-populated city of
Ramadi. Officials said the ICDC Ń formed to fight the insurgency war Ń was
kept out of combat operations.
Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the
performance of the Iraqi security forces in Faluja has been mixed. He said
they have been mostly deployed outside Faluja, regarded as the leading
stronghold of the Sunni insurgency.
"They're part of the outer cordon, and perhaps some operations inside,"
Myers said. "There are other Iraqi forces that are actually conducting
operations in Falujah, with our forces. I'm told that's going very well.
There are other instances where Iraqi forces have not been as aggressive."
On Wednesday, at least 40 people were killed in a U.S. air attack on a
mosque in Faluja in what was termed "Operation Vigilant Resolve." U.S.
officials said the mosque was being used by Sunni insurgents for attacks on
Iraqi sources said more than 300 people were killed in the fighting in
Faluja since Monday. A U.S. military spokesman said on Thursday that the
coalition has gained control over 25 percent of Faluja.
Officials said the Iraqi security forces lack confidence because of
inadequate training and equipment. They said the United States must revamp
procurement procedures to quickly equip and train Iraqi forces.
"There's just too many rules and regulations and laws and procedures
that are based on peacetime constraints that impede and slow the progress
towards getting Iraqi forces trained and equipped and deployed in ways that
are effective," Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said. "They've come a long
way from zero up to 200,000 of them, but they're still in the process of
being trained and equipped and that will take some time."
A Pentagon report, entitled "Iraqi Status," said the United States has
nearly completed its goal of training and deploying 235,000 Iraqi security
forces and military troops. The Pentagon report said Iraq's post-Saddam
regime has deployed or trained 208,821 troops as of March 29. The Pentagon
requirement calls for the deployment of 235,727 people.
The United States has made the greatest progress with the Iraqi border
police and regular police. The report said the Iraqi police has already
exceeded its target of 75,000 while the border police has processed 8,780
officers out of the required 8,835.
The Iraqi Facilities Protection Service has also exceeded its target of
50,000, the report said. So far, the United States has recruited and trained
73,992 officers to guard vital facilities, such as government buildings and
The shortfalls in the Iraqi security programs included the ICDC. The
ICDC has trained or deployed 34,683 out of the required 40,000 officers.
The Border Enforcement Department has trained or deployed 9,873 out of a
required 16,892 officers. The department was established by the United
States to help stem the flow of insurgents and illegal migrants from such
countries as Iran and Syria.
The report said the Iraqi Armed Forces showed the least progress among
Iraqi forces. So far, the report said, the Iraqi military has trained or
deployed 5,649 out of a required 40,000 soldiers. The United States has
asserted that the Iraqi military would be completed by October 2004.
On April 2, a new batch of Iraqi Army cadets completed a training
course provided by the Jordanian military. The 156 cadets underwent two
courses by Jordan while a new batch of cadets arrived in Amman for