Some interesting news and analysis from Jim Dunnigan’s StrategyPage:

Thousands of Iraqi policemen have finished their training, received their new blue uniforms (the old ones were green) and gone to work. Most of these men worked as police for Saddam. All of those police were screened to remove the most corrupt and abusive. Under Saddam, the police were part of the system of repression. Force, random violence and corruption were used to keep the population terrorized and the police were often called in to help out. But most of the time the police just dealt with catching criminals and directly traffic. Their work was complicated when Saddam, in a 2002 “good will gesture”, released several thousand of the worst criminals from prison (and kept most of the political prisoners locked up.)

Coalition forces are screening former members of the Iraqi military in order to find suitable candidates for the first division (12,000 troops) of the new Iraqi army. This unit is to be put together and ready for service by the end of the year. An army of 40,000 is to be ready within three years. Press reports of “a million unemployed Iraqi soldiers” are wildly inaccurate and misleading. The Iraqi army was down to about 400,000 troops before the coalition invaded, and the vast majority of those were conscripts who were paid little, abused much and eager to go home. But about 80,000 troops were career professionals, and these are the ones who are out of a job and possibly looking for revenge. The Republican Guard troops were recruited exclusively from the Sunni Arab minority that was loyal to Saddam (and on his payroll.)

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.