Sunday, April 11, 2004

"We did not sign up to fight Iraqis" 

(via Billmon) The Iraqi Armed Forces' 2nd battalion refused to participate in US operations at Fallujah last week:
[Army Maj. Gen. Paul] Eaton said members of the battalion insisted during the ensuing discussions: "We did not sign up to fight Iraqis."

He declined to characterize the incident as a mutiny, but rather called it "a command failure."

The refusal of the battalion to perform as U.S. officials had hoped poses a significant problem for the occupation. The cornerstone of the U.S. strategy in Iraq is to draw down its military presence and turn over security functions to Iraqis.

Over the past two weeks, that approach has suffered a severe setback as Iraqi security forces have crumbled in some parts of the country. In recent days perhaps 20 percent to 25 percent of the Iraqi army, civil defense, police and other security forces have quit, changed sides, or otherwise failed to perform their duties, a senior Army officer said Saturday.
I like the part about calling it a "command failure" instead of a mutiny. Still sounds pretty bad, any way you put it. So US-trained and -equipped Iraqi security forces are falling apart or changing sides. More evidence that the Coalition Provisional Authority is losing control of the country.
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