BAGHDAD Ñ The United States has forced the resignation of the
Iraqi minister responsible for the nation's new police force.
Iraqi Interior Minister Nuri Badran resigned on Thursday amid heightened
criticism of U.S.-trained security forces and police. Badran told a news
conference that Coalition Provisional Authority administrator
Paul Bremer was dissatisfied with the performance of both the ministry and
"I am resigning now," Badran said. "Bremer is not satisfied with the
performance of the Interior Ministry."
The resignation came the day after U.S. officials expressed
disappointment over the performance of the police and security forces in
their response to the Sunni and Shi'ite insurgency throughout Iraq, Middle East Newsline reported. U.S.
officials said that in many cases Iraqi police and security personnel fled
from battle or allowed Shi'ite insurgents to take over government
Officials said police and the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps exhibited almost
no resistance to attacks by the Mahdi Army in such cities as Baghdad, Kut
and Najaf. They said this failure left undermanned coalition forces exposed
to the onslaught of the insurgents, many of them dressed in civilian
The Interior Ministry was also blamed for failing to properly screen
recruits for the police and ICDC. Officials acknowledged that the ranks of
Iraqi security forces have been riddled with insurgents and their
supporters, many of whom later participated in ambushes of U.S. troops and
private military contractors as well as the capture of government
The Bush administration has announced that it will delay plans to reduce
the U.S. military presence in Iraq amid the current troop rotation.
Officials said the announcement reflects the lack of confidence in the
capabilities of the Iraqi security forces and police.
"The Iraqi Police Service failed to warn about the attack on U.S.
contractors in Falujah, and it surrendered control of its police stations
and vehicles to Sadr's Mahdi Army in cities from Baghdad to Basra," Michael
Knights, a defense analyst at the Washington Institute, said. "The ICDC
designed by the CPA to provide paramilitary support to police and coalition
forces, underperformed in its first major deployment in the Falujah
fighting and failed to prevent the collapse of police forces in the face of
Mahdi Army pressure in the south."
The U.S. Defense Department has appointed Maj. Gen. David Petraeus,
commander of the U.S. Army's 101st Airborne Division, to head the effort to
train and deploy Iraqi military and security forces. The Pentagon's decision
reflected what officials termed deep dissatisfaction with the
capabilities of all security agencies in Iraq.
Petraeus, who recently left Iraq after spending a year with his
division, would help draft new retraining, equipping and deployment
schedules, officials said. He was also meant to determine the basic needs of
Iraq's military and security force so that they could ensure their missions
over the next year.
Badran also attributed Bremer's decision to fire the minister to a U.S.
policy of ensuring ethnic balance in the interim Iraqi Governing Council.
Both Badran as well as the new defense minister, Ali Alawi, are Shi'ites.
Alawi will enter the new Defense Ministry on April 15 and will oversee the
army, air force, navy,
ICDC and a new Iraqi intelligence agency.
For his part, Bremer said Badran would be replaced immediately. "We
anticipate filling it promptly following consultations with Iraqi leaders,"
the U.S. official said in a statement.