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10/19/2004

Attacks on Iraqi Security Forces

Nothing is more important to the success of our Iraqi misadventure than the creation of a viable Iraqi security force. Unfortunately, Iraqi insurgents understand this, and appear to have stepped up their attacks on the guardsmen-in-training. Saturday the Ansar al-Sunnah Army ambushed and killed nine Iraqi police returning from training in Jordan:

The group, which has claimed responsibility for a number of recent kidnappings, said on its Web site that a number of its "lions" ambushed the nine "traitor policemen who were on their way back from Jordan, where they took part in a training session for the personnel of the traitor Iraqi police force."

The "heroic mujahdeen opened fire and killed them all," said the statement, posted Monday. It said attacks would continue through the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which began Friday, and warned people working with the U.S.-led forces, calling them "servants to the crusaders."
Sunday insurgents killed seven policemen with a car-bomb outside a Baghdad café [Reuters]. This morning an Iraqi National Guard base 40km north of Baghdad was hit by mortars, and 4 guardsmen were killed and over eighty injured.

The training of the Iraqi National Guard is not going well. According to the Telegraph, insurgent infiltration is common, and the US troops tasked with training are attempting the impossible:
The marines are convinced that the ING knows where many of the IEDs are planted, and even say they have caught guardsmen in the act of laying mines. When joint patrols come under attack, they say, the ING simply refuses to fight. As the relationship worsens, more and more ING are simply refusing to turn up at work. Of the 140 guardsmen based at Karmah an average of between 40 and 60 turn up on any given day. At other CAP barracks, that number is sometimes as low as two. Since the arrest of the Karmah ING captain, the rapport has become even more sullen. The marines sit under canvas shelters, convinced that the guardsmen lurking in their dormitories are traitors and murderers.

"We know when this place is about to come under mortar attack because the ING suddenly disappear," one marine said, staring across the dusty compound at two guardsmen smoking on a wooden bench. "We are supposed to be fighting together, instead we are sleeping with the enemy."
Update, 10/20/04, 7:52 AM EST: Juan Cole has more specifics on the mortar attack, from the Bahrain Gulf Daily News. He also links to this AP story, which leads:
The Iraqi capital is still far short of the numbers of Iraqi policemen needed to secure it and the force won't be up to strength in time for national elections in January, the U.S. general in charge of security in Baghdad said Tuesday.
In another incident, the AP reports that on Sunday a car bomb in Baghdad killed three Iraqi police, three civilians, and wounded 26 others.

Update, 10/20/04, 8:31 AM EST: Today's NYT provides a harrowing look at Tuesday's sophisticated insurgent attempt to assassinate the commander of the Iraqi National Guard.

 

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