Iraq: October 24, 2004

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  With great effort, and difficulty, the concepts of "Inspector General" and "Internal Affairs"  have been introduced to Iraq over the past year. The result has been the firing of thousands of policemen and army officers. We take the idea, of an incorruptible (most of the time) "Inspector General" and "Internal Affairs" to keep police and soldiers honest, for granted. But in Arab countries, these concepts, if used at all, are tainted by corruption and outside influence. Honest discharge of ones official duties is still seen as odd, and even suspect, behavior. Under pressure from the coalition, and with the cooperation of Iraqis who want to try something different, the new concepts are taking hold. It's unclear of there will be continued progress, as the forces of tradition, and corruption, are well entrenched in Iraq. A year ago, it was thought that over 200,000 security personnel could be recruited and trained by the end of 2004. But, due to desertion and dismissal (for inability, or refusal, to do the job), only 108,000 are at work. By using more exacting (and lengthily) training programs, 270,000 security troops (police, army and paramilitaries) will be available by the middle of 2006. In the last year, much has been learned about what it takes to recruit and train security personnel in an Arab country, especially one so corrupted as Iraq has been by decades of Baath Party rule. Jordan has been a big help, having always had one of the least corrupt, and most efficient, security forces in the Middle East. Also of great use were Americans who had served as trainers (of security personnel) in Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern nations. Israeli advice was useful as well. The lessons learned allowed the development of a training program that can overcome the climate of corruption, distrust of government and poor attitude towards personal responsibility. Several excellent Iraqi units have already been recruited, trained and put to work, using the new methods. 

 

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