BAGHDAD ø 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
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."