Iraq DM: Army Won’t Be Ready to Provide Security Until 2020

Slow Training Could Provide Another Excuse to Stall US Pullout

With the prospect of the US delaying their withdrawal from Iraq already growing, Iraqi Defense Minister Abdel Qader Jassim added fuel to the fire today, warning that Iraq’s military won’t be nearly completed with the training designed to enable it to provide security by the 2012 date the pullout was supposed to be completed on.

We cannot say that we have finished building the Iraqi army as a modern army,” Jassim admitted, adding that the training of the army likely wouldn’t be completed until at least 2020.

Jassim warned that he was expecting violence to increase in the leadup to next week’s election, and officials have also warned that violence might actually get even worse after the vote, as post-election negotiations are expected to take quite some time.

Iraq’s army was disbanded following the 2003 US invasion, and the effectiveness of the new military, said to number just under 200,000 soldiers, has been in serious doubt ever since. US troops are relied on to provide logistics, intelligence, and expertise for Iraqi patrols.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.