Iraq’s Sadr Aims to Find Alternative to US Trainers

Key Iraqi Cleric Combing the World for Potential Trainers

The Sadrist Trend bloc in Iraq’s parliament appears to be moving toward a more open position on trainers inside Iraq in 2012. This change comes with a major caveat, as it seems anyone but US troops will do.

The bloc’s leader, top Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, has announced that he is making contact with various nations, including Russia, the European Union, the Islamic Conference, and the United Nations, to see if any of them would be open to replacing the US in January as the training force.

The rest of Iraq’s political leadership has accepted the idea of 5,000 US trainers, but has ruled out giving them blanket immunity like the current occupation forces enjoy. The US is still demanding such immunity as a condition of continuing.

Already other officials have raised the possibility of private trainers as an alternative, but the idea of bringing in another nation in a training capacity is new. It is also unclear if it would be practical, as the training centers around Iraq’s weapon purchases, which are almost exclusively from American weapons dealers.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.