Shortly after Lieutenant General David Petraeus, the man who led the 101st Airborne Division in its invasion of Iraq last year, returned to Baghdad last month to take control of training Iraqi security forces, he had a high-level meeting with senior officials to discuss the task ahead. One of the major issues to emerge from the meeting was how the Iraq Civil Defence Corps – a rag-tag collection of Iraqi soldiers who performed poorly when the twin uprisings in Najaf and Falluja erupted in April – were going to work with the new Iraqi army. Lt Gen Petraeus got his marching orders: come up with a plan to integrate the ICDC with the better-trained regular army soldiers emerging from US training camps. The order may not have been unusual, but the man who gave it was. Rather than the American commanders Gen Petraeus normally gets his orders from, this one came from Iyad Allawi, prime minister of Iraq’s interim government. Such is the Iraq that will emerge with Monday’s handover. There will be no task more important than maintaining security in the country, but both the US-led coalition and the nascent Iraqi government are still largely feeling their way over who will dictate security policy in the months leading up to December’s scheduled elections. Full Story
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