Iraqi security officials confident in abilities of armed forces after withdrawal of US combat units

[Ali al-Saadi/AFP/Getty Images] Iraqi soldiers man a checkpoint in Baghdad on August 19th.

[Ali al-Saadi/AFP/Getty Images] Iraqi soldiers man a checkpoint in Baghdad on August 19th.

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As the last US combat troops left Iraq, Iraqi security officials expressed their confidence in the ability of Iraqi forces to maintain security.

The assurances came Friday (August 20th), one day after the last US combat unit left the country as part of the security agreement signed between Iraq and the United States.

Maj. Gen. Mohammed al-Askari, spokesperson for the Iraqi Ministry of Defence, said that the war on terror will not be difficult for Iraqi forces.

"Iraqi forces have passed the stage of preparation and are currently in the stage of professional combat," he said. "Meanwhile, al-Qaeda has become an easy target that can be eliminated in the upcoming period." More than 50,000 US troops are still in Iraq, but their mission has changed from direct participation in security operations to working in advisory and training roles. The US forces are scheduled to fully withdraw from the country by the end of 2011.

Tahseen al-Sheikhli, civilian spokesperson for Operation Enforcing Law in Baghdad, said the withdrawal of US combat units from Iraq indicates that Iraqi security forces are now in "complete control of security, and therefore, can depend on themselves and develop their own capabilities."

"In addition, the withdrawal refutes the pretexts of fighting the occupation that terrorist organisations used to justify their criminal operations against the Iraqi people," he said.

Iraqi government official spokesperson Ali al-Dabbagh also said Iraqi forces were prepared to carry out the security mission on their own.

"The withdrawal of US combat units was planned and arranged between the government of Iraq and the US administration, and we support such a move," he said. "We had to choose either to have a long-term presence of foreign troops on our soil or to carry out the mission on our own. We chose to carry out the mission through our own security forces."

Security officials in a number of Iraqi provinces also confirmed that Iraqi forces could manage security in the country.

Diyala provincial police chief Maj. Gen. Abdul Hussain al-Shemari said Iraqi forces will preserve the security gains made while US combat troops were present.

"They will also work on developing and raising the rate of security in cities that witness some terrorist operations," he said.

Al-Shemari also emphasised the important role citizens play in helping security forces.

"The achievements of the Iraqi forces in the future will depend on the co-operation of citizens with us," he said. "The citizens have previously proven their desire and love for their country and their rejection of terrorists."

Lt. Gen. Ali Ghaidan, commander of the Iraqi Army ground forces, said the Iraqi Ministry of Defence created a plan to manage security in the country in c-ooperation with other ministries and security institutions.

"As a first stage, the responsibility for managing security will be on the shoulders of the Iraqi Army forces," Ghaidan said. "In the second stage, the tasks will be transferred from the army forces to the police forces that are responsible for domestic security. After that, the army forces will take responsibility for securing the borders of the country to defend against external threats."

The war is now between Iraqi forces and "al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups", said Anbar police chief Maj. Gen. Bahaa al-Karkhi.

"We will not accept anything short of a resounding victory and the establishment of security all over Iraq," he said.

"For a long time now, we have been progressing confidently. We have made great achievements, including arresting many terrorists. We are on the right path, and there will not be any confusion or disruption to our work," he said.

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    اسامة السميعدي

    2010-9-8

    Amid the farcical, dramatic conflict between the heroes of the American political process and their concern with what they call the formation of the government, the citizens in Iraq are paying a heavy price: the deprivation of the most basic rights of decent living, the water, electricity, health and education services, and the increase in unemployment and organized crime, the return of violence, bombings and militias in the light of these nefarious practices of terrorists. We call on the Iraqi parliament to convene and choose a prime minister as soon as possible. Three governments have been formed in Iraq and a sectarian Shura Council, through which Iraq was divided into sectarian and ethnic regions and the national identity of the Iraqi was deformed. This was called the defamed Governing Council, under which the security, political and living conditions deteriorated and became worse. We are waiting for the formation of a fourth government that will be born dead, because if it is destined to be formed, it would be a government of quotas and consensus that reflect the ambitions and interests of the conflicting sectarian and national forces. The way to end this tragedy is to work directly with the Iraqi government to manage the security in Iraq and the provision of services to citizens, providing the minimum standard of living. Also, a security council can be formed from the security ministries in Iraq to deal with sectarian violence and security chaos in the markets and the areas. The security forces need to force the municipalities to submit to their will in order to provide social services in such places, and committees should be formed to manage the facilities by the staff themselves, in addition to the establishment of similar bodies at universities, institutes and governmental departments for self-management. This is the solution to fill the security and political vacuum that started more than seven years ago. Some employees in the Iraqi ministries have turned into vampires that live on the blood of Iraqi citizens; they live within 5 km in the Green Zone and have been unable to provide real security and decent services, like any government in most countries of the world; this is a duty placed on their shoulders.

  • شمس الدين

    2010-9-6

    The majority of the Iraqi people is absorbed in making a living and suffer terribly due to the lack of electricity, the deterioration of the security situation, and very poor services, not to mention the massive unemployment rates and lastly, the delay in the formation of the government. All these factors make the withdrawal an occasion that does not deserve to be celebrated. On the contrary, we ask the U.S. forces to withdraw partially, to help our forces in maintaining security.

  • سليمان

    2010-9-6

    The withdrawal of the U.S. troops and its allies is a step towards ending the occupation. The essential thing regarding the results of the operation, as to the social life, goes beyond the mere downsizing of the U.S. forces. In addition to being a regular army, the local forces that were formed after 2003 perform all the missions of the U.S. forces, in terms of fighting the armed groups. They must continue to protect the authority of the political system that the government of Al-Maliki tries to impose in Iraq. The local armed forces confront all the political groups and establish the rule of law. The American role is still the main player in managing the political conditions and the regional disputes in and around Iraq. The remaining U.S. troops, tens of thousands of them, must also help in enforcing the rule of law when necessary, because this is an ethical obligation.

  • سماره البيقداري

    2010-9-4

    I support anyone who defends Iraq with honor, and I am against those who defend the Baath Party and glorify the accursed, Saddam.

  • شكري عبد المنعم

    2010-9-4

    In fact, we are all negligent towards Iraq; however, as long as the efforts to form the government are active, then there is a great hope that Iraq will cross over into a new phase, because we in the Arab world and the Middle East need an important country like Iraq. Nevertheless, I warn that the failure of the national reconciliation among the national political and ethnic powers can ruin Iraq for a century. Reconciliation is required, as is stopping any disputes on sectarian, geographic, or religious bases. I think that Iraq, as an active Arab country that has cadres, will not allow itself to fall into the abyss of sectarian and religious disputes for a long time.

  • محمد

    2010-9-3

    Thank God for the American withdrawal from Iraq. I wish that the Iraqi-Syrian relations improve. In fact Syria hosts more than a Million Iraqis; most of whom escaped from Iraq because of the security events that Iraq witnessed in previous years. Moreover many of the former regime officials and members of political opposition escaped there after 2003 because of the bloodshed witnessed in Iraq. Due to the change at the level of the world, a good development in the Iraqi-Syrian relation emerged. Their relation has improved a lot, as compared to previous year, because of the Syrian government's positive response to the Iraqi calls for help at the level of security and stability. I believe that the Arab situation is improving. And I hope it will keep on the same path to achieve comprehensive solidarity to our Arab nation, and to the withdrawal of the foreign forces according to the schedules agreed upon. Syria is also ready to support the U.S. president Obama's decision concerning the withdrawal from Iraq.

  • عبد الحق صبري

    2010-9-3

    The withdrawal of the American forces won't leave a security gap. Arabs shouldn't intervene in Iraq’s internal affairs. Many Arab countries think that a security gap will be left as soon as the American forces leave, and that they are ready to fill this gap. Iraq warned all these countries that there will be no gap, and if it existed the only persons able to fill it up are the Iraqi themselves.

  • لوماني

    2010-8-29

    The Iraqi government must be patient concerning the case of the American withdrawal from Iraq. It must also work on arranging its affairs well, because the terrorist attacks will increase after the withdrawal of the American forces from Iraq. Terrorists will consequently receive more support from foreign regions that do not wish the welfare of Iraq. I also think that our security forces are not really ready to face terrorism without the support of the American forces, at least at the logistic and intelligence levels. What is happening now in Iraq is proof that terrorism still exists and that there are many terrorist cells just waiting for the opportunity to surface with the absence of the American forces, and carry out some terrorist acts, taking advantage of the weakness of the administration together with the lack of weapons of the Iraqi forces.

  • زين العابدين

    2010-8-26

    If we take a look at recent and ancient history, we will find a lot of groups or armies that have practiced murder and abuse against vulnerable or occupied peoples. But we have not found in history an organization or a criminal group that reached a peak in killing and torturing innocent people and stirring up strife, using the worst means to destroy the countries like al-Qaeda, which exceeded all scenarios and all standards in terms of criminality. The terrorist al-Qaeda is characterized by its severe aggression, savagery and criminality against the countries and peoples. The ideology of al-Qaeda and its fatwas call for the killing of anyone who violates the deviant ideology of the terrorist al-Qaeda, without any hesitation or conscience. This puts al-Qaeda in the forefront of all criminal groups in the world; it leads them in the extent of its criminality, its aggressiveness and its loathing of human life and its effort to destroy it.

  • محمد

    2010-8-25

    Everyone is free to consider Al Qaeda members terrorists or Mujahidin. Indeed, Iraq sees today the first signs of democracy, and everyone has his own point of view concerning everything. Hence, there are people who consider Al Qaeda terrorist and other people who support it. Therefore, a dialogue must be held to decide on what is the best for Iraq. However, the blowing up of people is very dangerous and a terrorist act. Killing people randomly is also a terrorist act. Everybody who thinks that Al Qaeda aims at liberating Iraq is wrong, as Al Qaeda will make Iraq an Iranian colony, because it belongs only to Iran, and the latter is its only supporter. Thus, we must stand against it, using various solutions in order to prevent it from killing Iraqis.

  • 2010-8-21

    The criminal and bloody ideology of Al Qaeda paves the way for them to rule the world through fear, murders and destruction. Terrorists resort to murders to control the world and its communities. These are destructive ideas. That's why we must strongly counter them, and in all legitimate ways. We must also increase awareness in all societies about its dangers, and lead campaigns condemning terrorism, mainly in our Arab countries. Everyone rejects The terrorists' ideology, as it is based on segregation, murders, traps, kidnapping and improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, as well as other criminal acts carried out by Al Qaeda’s professional members, who are rejected in their social surroundings, because anyone who believes in terrorist ideas is either one of them, or he is mentally ill. Terrorists base their ideas mainly on sectarianism, as they distinguish between religions and sects. Of course, such ideas are rejected in our societies, whose members are strongly tied to each other. Every Shiite among them who follows another sect is considered, according to the terrorists, an infidel, and they say that it is permissible to kill him, even though he is a Muslim. How could others adopt such backward ideas and cause the killing of their Muslim brothers? Terrorist ideology targets the civilians through criminal bombing attacks, in order to kill as many as possible in their sick and criminal operations. They also carry out their operations all over the country in order to impose their dominance.