Iraq needs up to two years to build security forces: Hashemi

August 10th, 2006  
Team Infidel

Topic: Iraq needs up to two years to build security forces: Hashemi

Media: AFP
Byline: n/a
Date: 10 August 2006

ISTANBUL, Aug 10, 2006 (AFP) - Iraq needs one to two years to rebuild its
security forces, Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi said here Thursday despite
predictions they would be fully operational by the end of the year.

Hashemi said remarks by President Jalal Talabani that the country's army and
police would take full charge of security in the country by the end of 2006
were premature.

"It is still early to say that. I do not believe that security will be
perfect by the end of the year," Hashemi, on a private visit to Turkey, told
the CNN Turk news channel when asked about Talabani's remarks last week.

"The biggest challenge is the reconstruction of the security forces. The
problem is that we do not have professional forces," he said. "It will take
one to two years to reconstruct those forces, to train and arm them."

Hashemi was speaking as a fresh wave of violence claimed at least 48 lives
in Iraq Thursday.

Talabani last week gave his government's battered armed forces a massive
vote of confidence, saying that "Iraqi security forces will gradually take
security responsibility by the end of this year for all the provinces of

So far only one of Iraq's 18 provinces has been turned over to Iraqi forces.
Most US observers do not envision dangerous provinces like Baghdad and Anbar
being turned over until well into 2007.

In July, US deputy chief of staff for strategy Brigadier General Kurt
Chichowski said that "it is our hope that approximately half of the
provinces by the end of the year will have done this security transfer."

Hashemi said security remained a prime concern and that a premature
departure of the US-led coalition forces might lead to a civil war in Iraq.

"If the Americans leave the country tomorrow, there will be many security
problems and that may drag the country into a civil war," he said.
"Therefore, I do not epxect the coalition forces to leave tomorrow."

Hashemi was in Turkey for a holiday, a Turkish foreign ministry official

He met in Istanbul with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan late Wednesday
and Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul Thursday. There were no statements after
the talks.

The Anatolia news agency reported that in his meeting with the Iraqi vice
president, Erdogan reiterated Turkish demands for Baghdad to take action to
curb separatist Turkish Kurd rebels based in neighboring northern Iraq.

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