Iraq: March 13, 2004

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There are now 150,000 Iraqi police and security troops on duty. Most of the police and security troops were recruited based on previous experience in the police or army. Only 2,827 police have gone through an eight week training course, with another 12,422 going through a three week course. The screening process (to keep out pro-Saddam or pro-al Qaeda) men has not been perfect. Several hundred police or security men have been arrested or dismissed because of evidence, or suspicion of, anti-coalition activity. But the recent killing of two Americans and an Iraqi translator by men in police uniforms has led to the arrest of four Iraqi policemen. There have been cases of Iraqi policemen participating in attacks against coalition targets, but they did it while out of uniform. 

Background investigations of police and security personnel are underway or planned, with the intention of identifying and removing any unreliable personnel. The resistance forces are known, from captured documents and interrogations, to be making an effort to infiltrate the army and police. Both the pro Baath Party Sunni Arabs and Islamic radicals want to stall economic recovery and spread disorder throughout the entire country. They have not been very successful so far, but it is expected that they will keep trying. 

A year after the invasion, the Iraqi economy is booming, with GDP growth for the year expected to be 33 percent, after two years of decline. By the end of the year, oil production will be back to pre-war levels. While the unemployment rate it about 40 percent, removal of many of the restrictive laws and regulations of the Saddam era has made it much easier to start new businesses. The unemployment rate is already falling and expected to fall rapidly over the next few years. Civil disorder and attacks on police and coalition forces is common only in a few Sunni Arab parts of the country. Some 80 percent of the nation is peaceful and prospering. Foreign nations have pledged $58 billion in reconstruction funds, of which $28 billion has already been spent.

 

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