U.S. general says Iraqis will have nearly 100,000 more troops available for election




 
--
 
December 5th, 2005  
Team Infidel
 
 

Topic: U.S. general says Iraqis will have nearly 100,000 more troops available for election


U.S. general says Iraqis will have nearly 100,000 more troops available for election security

By ROBERT BURNS - AP Military Writer
WASHINGTON - (AP) Nearly twice as many Iraqi security forces
will be available to guard against attacks during the Dec. 15 election as
were on hand during voting in January, a senior U.S. general said Friday.
Lt. Gen. Martin Dempsey, the commander in charge of training and
equipping the Iraqi military and police, told reporters at the Pentagon that
225,000 members of the Iraqi army and police will be operating during this
month's elections for a permanent Iraqi government. That's compared to the
130,000 fielded during parliamentary elections in January.
Even with that increase, the number of U.S. forces in Iraq _
currently close to 160,000 _ is about the same as in January, reflecting the
unrelenting nature of the insurgency. On Friday, insurgents carried out one
of the deadliest attacks on U.S. forces in recent months, killing 10 Marines
with a roadside bomb near Fallujah.
Dempsey, who spoke from Baghdad by a satellite video connection,
also said U.S. officials are in discussions with Iraqi government officials
to determine when the Iraqis will assume financial responsibility for the
training and equipping of their security forces. He said the Pentagon
expects to spend about $10.6 billion (€9.1 billion) for that purpose over a
two-year period ending Sept. 30, 2006, but that still more will be required.

Dempsey said the Iraqis have yet to decide how much of their overall
budget they want to devote to defense. Regardless, the Pentagon will have to
ask Congress for some amount beyond the $10.6 (€9.1) billion, he added.
"They are coming to grips with the fact that they're out of a
command-directed economy and very much into a free market economy, where
defense competes with other things in terms of governmental priorities,"
Dempsey said of the Iraqis. "So we don't have back yet exactly what they
will have in their security budget."
He gave no indication how much the Pentagon would request from
Congress. The New York Times reported this week that U.S. officials in Iraq
had put the figure at $3.9 billion (€3.3 billion) for 2006.
Dempsey also updated the progress in training Iraqi security forces.

According to State Department figures, about 99,000 Iraqi army
forces have been trained and equipped thus far. The Iraqi army is eventually
to include 160,000 soldiers, Dempsey said.
The training of Iraqi police is lagging somewhat and has been made
more difficult by what Dempsey described as the "conflicting loyalties" of
some in the police force. Of the estimated 135,000 police required, about
75,000 have been trained, Dempsey said. Another 7,300 are currently in
training.
He said his command would put greater emphasis on police training in
2006, in part with the use of "transition teams," with police units to
provide additional guidance.
"Their role is to oversee, mentor, coach, cajole and do whatever
they've got to do to bring this thing along in a way that makes it a
contributor to the national cohesion and not to national divisiveness,"
Dempsey said.
The Iraqis now have 18,000 border guards, compared with the eventual
goal of 27,000, Dempsey said. And they have about half the 6,000 highway
patrol officers needed, he added.