Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Improved Iraqi Army and the Latest ICG Report

I found an interesting article released by the Associated Press last week about the improving capacity of the Iraqi army, entitled "US pleased, worried by newfound Iraqi confidence." The reporter talked with high ranking military personnel in both the American and Iraqi armies. In an interview, American officers credited the new-found confidence of the Iraqi army to its transformative performance in the battle in Basra in March, followed by offensives in Mosul and Sadr City. The emerging strength of the Iraqi army is an encouraging sign that America may soon be able to responsibly draw down its troop presence. However, a stronger and more assertive Iraqi army also creates concerns on the part of Americans. Given the weakness of Iraq's civilian institutions, the reduction in U.S. control "feeds a worry that Iraqi security forces will either set themselves up for a catastrophic failure or might even decide - at some point when the Americans have largely departed - that the country would be better off under military rule."

Also, the International Crisis Group recently released a report entitled, "Failed Responsibility: Iraqi Refugees in Syria, Jordan and Lebanon"
. Despite the current security improvements that Iraq is seeing, in terms of the number displaced, the refugee crisis continues to be one of the most massive in the world. The international community and the Iraqi government in particular have failed to meet their responsibilities in providing for vulnerable Iraqis. The ICG report details the serious challenges yet to be adequately addressed and recommends genuine actions that the United States, Iraq, and other members of the international community should take to meet their responsibility to the Iraqi people.

Photo Caption: Members of the Iraqi military stand in line

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