Iraqi security forces facing serious problems, U.S. oversight official says

Washington Post
By Walter Pincus
January 30, 2011

Iraq’s security forces are confronting significant problems as the U.S. military prepares to withdraw from that country by the end of this year, according to a new report by a top oversight official.

Though advances continue to be made, corruption, lack of capacity to handle logistics and an absence of realistic planning threaten to undermine the security infrastructure and equipment introduced into Iraq by U.S.-led forces, the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, Stuart W. Bowen Jr., says in the office’s latest quarterly report, released Sunday.

Since 2003, the United States has provided $58 billion for reconstruction in Iraq, the report says. Of that, almost $20 billion went to supporting Iraq’s security forces, in which nearly 800,000 personnel now serve in the military and police units.

Iraqi military forces are considered capable of counterinsurgency, and checkpoints in Baghdad are being dismantled amid a recent decline in violent incidents. Nonetheless, “insurgents continued to wage a campaign of intimidation and assassination against certain GOI [government of Iraq] military and civilian personnel this quarter, killing or attempting to kill several dozen officials,” the report says. …

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