Iraq: August 2, 2004


Saudi Arabia's call for a Moslem force to replace non-Moslem American and coalition troops in Iraq  has run into some practical problems. First, few Moslem nations want to be bothered with the danger and expense of such an undertaking. Iraq is seen as an oil-rich nation that cannot govern itself, and most of the Moslem nations being called on to send troops are poor and not keen on getting caught in the middle of an Iraqi civil war. The second problem has to do with the effectiveness of Moslem troops versus the American forces already there. The Moslem troops will be much less capable, and the Iraqi government has come to depend on the ability of the U.S. troops to get things done, and back up Iraqi police and troops. The United States and other nations have been training new Iraqi troops for the last 16 months and have created some reliable forces. In particular, 45,000 member Iraqi National Guard has replaced the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps as the largest security force in Iraq. Trained by American, British and Jordanian instructors, the National Guard has been able to effectively conduct patrols and small raids by itself. 


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