Money, mandate ends for Iraqi police training academy in Jordan

Team Infidel

Forum Spin Doctor
Media: The Associated Press
Date: 16 October 2006

AMMAN, Jordan_An academy in Jordan for training Iraqi police will shut its
doors to rookies by the year's end despite spiraling violence, U.S.
officials said Monday.

"On December 31st, the training of Iraqi police rookies will end in Jordan.
This was always expected because the money runs out on the 31st," academy
spokesman Iver Peterson said.

The Jordan International Police Training Center, in the desert village of
Muwaqqar, 35 kilometers (20 miles) east of Amman, expects to graduate 41,000
Iraqi police officers by the end its contract.

"The camp will still have a life. It may provide advanced police training
for Iraqis and others at a later stage," said Peterson.

U.S. officials said smaller-scale training of Iraqi police cadets would
continue, but only in Iraq and at far lower levels than the 3,500 per month
produced over the past two years.

"The decision was taken that Iraq needs 188,000 police officers and we will
continue training a smaller number of police due to attrition, but it will
take place in Iraq at 13 different training centers," said Ann Bertucci,
U.S. spokeswoman for the Civilian Police Assistance Training Team based in

"Iraq will have a police force of over 188,000 by the end of year. We don't
need to train the same monthly number because we met the objective goals of
the police training program," Bertucci said.

She said the required numbers of police were drafted based on an assessment
of security needs for each Iraqi province and the country overall after the
end of the 2003 U.S.-led war.

But diplomats and some U.S. political leaders question Washington's planning
on this key security matter as another possible miscalculation of war's
aftermath and efforts to rebuild the country.

On Oct. 1, the start of the U.S. government's 2007 fiscal year, U.S. aid for
new Iraq reconstruction projects ended. With reconstruction funds drying up,
American engineering and construction firms are pulling out, leaving both
completed projects and unfulfilled plans in the hands of an Iraqi government
unprepared to manage either one.

Despite what U.S. auditors dub a "reconstruction gap" caused by the
siphoning off of some $6 billion in U.S. reconstruction aid to train Iraqi
police and troops and handle other security costs, many wonder if the Bush
administration is also shortchanging security.

"This is another muddled and exasperating decision that undermines one of
the highest priorities right now, which is training Iraqis to defend
themselves," Sen. Patrick Leahy, the ranking Democrat on subcommittee
overseeing Iraqi reconstruction funding, said Monday.

"Moving this training to Iraq risks escalating training costs while
lessening the help we have had at the Jordan facility from other
governments," Leahy's office quoted him as saying in response to questions
from The Associated Press.

Unofficial statistics estimate that some 12,000 out of 130,000 Iraqi police
have either been killed, quit or been dismissed.

As sectarian violence has steadily increased, police and training facilities
in Iraq have come under attack.

"There are occasional attacks on those being trained, but there has been no
major attack to impact the effort that's been going on for the past two
years," Bertucci said.

Peterson, the academy spokesman, said it cost $6,500 (euros 5,190) to train
an Iraqi cadet for the eight-week course. The facility itself cost $US 105
million (euros 84 million) to build and $US 9 million (euros 7 million) per
month to operate, including the training.

Peterson said some of the academy's American trainers may move to Iraq to
carry on their instruction of police rookies.

However, many of the academy's 379 trainers are from countries that won't
permit travel to Iraq, including Jordan, Canada, Sweden and Austria.

Still, Bertucci said, the training on Iraqi soil was what was important now.

"In Iraq, basic training of police officers is being done by the Iraqis
themselves. It's Iraqi-to-Iraqi training which can be sustained," she said.

"Iraq's interior minister says it's a success story that police training is
taking place in his own country," Bertucci added.