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15 July 2006

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zanzibar

It seems our tax dollars are training insurgents who then attack our troops. This just epitomizes how messed up the situation in Iraq is. Even with the new Maliki government the violence escalates. And now with the Israel vs Hamas and Hizballah reprisals the destabilization is growing. Sadr was quoted as saying Iraqi Shia's need to raise money and provide material support to Hizballah. How long before it spreads to engulf other countries in the region?

ikonoklast

From The Boston Globe - April 2006:

"... most units lack a mix of Sunnis, Shi'ite Muslims, and Kurds, according to Bush administration officials who cited recent statistics.
As a result, US and NATO trainers frequently are drilling units made up almost exclusively of Shi'ites or Kurds, raising fears that those units could one day turn on the Sunnis or each other in a civil war ...

''Enlisted Sunnis are slightly less than 10 percent" of total security forces, said a State Department official who was granted anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the information. ''They should be around 20 percent." ...

One of the authors of the analysis, Jeremy M. Sharp, a Middle East specialist with the Congressional Research Service, said in an interview that he believes that only large, headquarters-sized units have Shi'ites, Sunnis, and Kurds in the ranks. The smaller operating units that conduct missions -- and are blamed for some of the sectarian violence -- are broken down largely along ethnic lines, he said.
''They might be ethnically mixed at the division level," he said, ''but are they mixed at the company level? They keep that very quiet."

http://www.boston.com/news/world/articles/2006/04/11/officials_grapple_with_ethnic_split_in_iraqi_forces/

Adnan R. Khan

I agree whole-heartedly. The fissures in the Iraqi army are grossly under-reported. In October 2004, I covered the issue in the north, around Mosul, where the Kurds dominate the Iraqi army (you can read the full story at www.macleans.ca/topstories/world/
article.jsp?content=20051205_117058_117058)
I embedded with the Iraqi army in Tal Afar, which basically means I showed up unannounced at one of their forward operating bases and asked if I could hang around for a while. What I found in my 2 weeks there was an army deeply divided along ethnic lines. The Kurds dominate the senior ranks of the Iraqi army deployed in Northern Iraq. The Arabs are pissed because they are passed over for promotions and feel they are being punished for their ethnicity. Many have deserted. I witnessed a near mini-civil war on one Iraqi fob that was narrowly avoided by the intervention of U.S. personnel. It's a frightening situation and I think it will only get worse.

Adnan R. Khan

Sorry, I meant October 2005.

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