Iraq replacing some citys' cops;
80 percent of Mosul's defected

Monday, November 29, 2004

BAGHDAD Iraq has decided to replace much of its police command.

Officials said the interim government in Baghdad has decided to replace police commanders in Al Anbar province. They said the entire Al Anbar police would be restructured to weed out corrupt officers.

Officials said 80 percent of the 4,000-member Mosul police force have defected since Nov. 10. In most cases, they said, the police fled their stations without their weapons. The insurgents overran the police stations and made off with weapons, radios, uniforms and vehicles.

[On Monday, a suicide car bombing killed at least 12 police officers in Ramadi, Middle East Newsline reported. Officials said the officers were waiting for their monthly salaries.]

Prime Minister Iyad Alawi has approved the decision to restructure Al Anbar force, officials said. They said Alawi has consulted tribal leaders to appoint a new leadership.

Alawi spokesman Thair Al Naqib said the government would also reconstitute the police force in Faluja and Ramadi. Both cities have been deemed as leading centers of the Sunni insurgency.

In Mosul, police chief Mohammed Al Barhawi was arrested for the failure of his force to confront Sunni insurgents. Officials said nine police stations were torched.

Officials said the new Mosul police chief has been screening the remaining officers on the force to ensure their loyalty. They said the process could take many months.

"We have a huge workload ahead of us in re-establishing a police force that is dedicated, loyal and committed to the people," Brig. Gen. Carter Ham, the commander of U.S. forces in Mosul, said "It's going to take time."

Copyright 2004 East West Services, Inc.

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