Steve and Jen bring you this daily review of the news
Premium Advertiser

News Blog Sponsors

News Links

BBC World Service
The Guardian
Washington Post
Iraq Order of Battle
NY Times
LA Times
ABC News

Blogs We Like

Daily Kos
Digby's Blog
Operation Yellow Elephant
Iraq Casualty Count
Media Matters
Talking Points
Defense Tech
Intel Dump
Soldiers for the Truth
Margaret Cho
Juan Cole
Just a Bump in the Beltway
Baghdad Burning
Howard Stern
Michael Moore
James Wolcott
Cooking for Engineers
There is No Crisis
Whiskey Bar
Rude Pundit
Crooks and Liars
Amazin' Avenue
DC Media Girl
The Server Logs

Blogger Credits

Powered by Blogger

Archives by
Publication Date
August 2003
September 2003
October 2003
November 2003
December 2003
January 2004
February 2004
March 2004
April 2004
May 2004
June 2004
July 2004
August 2004
September 2004
October 2004
November 2004
December 2004
January 2005
February 2005
March 2005
April 2005
May 2005
June 2005
July 2005
August 2005
September 2005
October 2005
November 2005
December 2005
January 2006
February 2006
March 2006
April 2006
May 2006
June 2006
July 2006
August 2006
September 2006
October 2006
November 2006
December 2006
January 2007
February 2007
Comments Credits
Comments by YACCS
Sunday, July 16, 2006

What Iraqi Army problems?

Yeah, we want Sunnis in our Army........LOL

Iraqi Army Struggles to Lure Sunni Arabs
By ANTONIO CASTANEDA, Associated Press Writer
1:45 PM PDT, July 14, 2006

RAMADI, Iraq -- Their televised graduation was supposed to be a moment of national celebration: A class of 1,000 Sunni Arab soldiers emerging from basic training would show Iraqis that the country's worsening religious divide was not afflicting the national army.

Two months later, only about 300 of them have reported for duty, U.S. officials say.

The evaporation of the class underscores the struggling U.S. and Iraqi effort to increase recruitment from the disgruntled Sunni Arab minority, which forms the backbone of the insurgency.

The success or failure of the effort holds broad ramifications, especially as U.S. forces begin to hand control of troublesome Sunni cities and neighborhoods to Iraqi soldiers, most of whom are now Shiites and Kurds.

Unless more Sunnis join up, soldiers from one sect will increasingly target the hometowns of the other sects -- without U.S. supervision.

"Units that are purely Shiite or Kurd or Sunni are looked on by various other sectors of the community as not being representative of their needs," Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in an interview this year. "A unit that has all Iraqis embedded in it is better able to handle whatever kind of strife comes along."

The 1,000 graduates were part of a program to recruit 6,500 Sunnis from restive Anbar province. But with two classes of enlistees trained, only 530 soldiers have been added to the ranks, said Lt. Col. Mike Negard, a spokesman for the U.S. training command.

"The program is ongoing and its duration is based not on a timetable but to achieving the recruiting goal," Negard said.

Though the Iraqi army does not track the religious affiliation of its soldiers, U.S. commanders acknowledge Iraq's military lacks a proportionate number of Sunni troops. The effect of this imbalanced force has been unmistakable.
But some critics fault the U.S. military for not making recruitment in Anbar a priority sooner and complain it doesn't track the religious makeup of soldiers.

"It's a mistake not to track the sectarian makeup of the security forces. In fact it's a big mistake," said Michael O'Hanlon, a senior fellow of foreign policy studies at the Brookings Institution.

But he also said getting more Sunni Arabs to enlist carries problems, because of the possibility of insurgents infiltrating the army.

"If you bring too many Sunni Arabs into mixed units, you will set them (the units) up for ambushes, because filtering out insurgents is very hard and imperfect," O'Hanlon said.

U.S. officials track the religious makeup of battalion commanders and above, but say the decision not to ask common soldiers about their religious background was left in Iraqi hands.

"That's not for me to decide," said Negard.

Many U.S. commanders play down the importance of balancing the Iraqi army's religious makeup, arguing the main problem is retaining troops who have already joined.

"It has nothing to do with them being Sunni or Shiite. It's all about an army that doesn't have a conscription program. They can leave whenever they want," said Lt. Col. Mark Simpson, head of a U.S. team training an Iraqi army brigade that has only 70 percent of its authorized soldiers.

It's a problem in many places, particularly Iraq's unstable areas. Iraq's 1st and 7th army divisions in Anbar should have a total of about 20,000 soldiers, but U.S. officers acknowledge the units have only half that.

They haven't given up on the Sunni class of 1,000, however.

"We've put out the message to get them back. We've asked city leaders to help get the message out," said Marine 1st Lt. David Meadows. "It doesn't mean they're lost."
Oh give me a break.

It seems we trained 700 or so guerillas. They aren't lost at all.

posted by Steve @ 1:03:00 AM

1:03:00 AM

The News Blog home page


Editorial Staff

Add to My AOL

Support The News Blog

Amazon Honor System Click Here to Pay Learn More
News Blog Food Blog
Visit the News Blog Food Blog
The News Blog Shops
Operation Yellow Elephant
Enlist, Young Republicans