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Friday, October 7, 2011     INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING

U.S. proposes 5,000 security guards to protect
its diplomats in Iraq

WASHINGTON — The United States has released a proposal to deploy at least 5,000 security personnel in Iraq.


The State Department said the administration of President Barack Obama envisions the deployment of at least 5,000 guards to protect the U.S. diplomatic presence in Iraq. The department said the force would secure facilities, diplomats and enable government representatives to travel in the Arab League state.

"In light of the high threat environment in Iraq over the past several years," the State Department said, "we expect that in 2012 there will be approximately 5,000 such security personnel to help protect our diplomatic presence in various locations around the country and ensure our capability to interact successfully with the Iraqi government and people to build an enduring partnership of benefit to both countries and the region."

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In a statement on Oct. 5, the State Department said security requirements in Iraq were still under review and the number of estimated forces could change, Middle East Newsline reported. The department said the 5,000 officers marked an initial figure that would be gradually reduced.

"We expect this number of security personnel to noticeably decrease in the following years as security conditions continue to improve, as they have done steadily since 2007," the State Department said.

In 2012, the State Department was scheduled to take over security operations in Iraq from the U.S. military. The department's security responsibility would include U.S. training for Iraqi security forces.

The U.S. security presence would not include thousands of American military trainers for the Iraq Army. Washington was said to have proposed a separate training force of at least 3,000 instructors as well as a similar number of support troops.

"Utilizing security personnel to assist U.S. diplomatic security officials in protecting Americans serving abroad is not a new practice," the State Department said. "It has been part of civilian operations in Iraq and elsewhere in the past and is an important component of security operations at many of our embassies and consulates around the world today."

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