The new American troops coming into Iraq, and replacing those who have been there for a year, are also going to take a less active roll in policing Iraq. In the cities, including Baghdad, American troops will move to compounds on the outskirts and leave it to Iraqi police and security forces to keep the peace. There are about 14,000 Iraqi police and security troops in Baghdad now, and another 5,000 being trained. The US is making police recruits undergo far more training than Iraqi police have ever had in the past. Traditionally, most of the police were seen as larcenous thugs, and this is being changed by exposing the police recruits to modern police methods and the concept of being an honest cop.

The interrogation of Saddam Hussein has apparently been productive. Among the information obtained is the number of different groups conducting the armed resistance (14) and the number of core members (about 300) conducting the attacks. Getting this information out of Saddam takes some skilled interrogation, and the CIA has apparently put together an interrogation team that has been able to do it effectively. The groups, or cells, are difficult to round up, because the members keep moving around. But it is known which families and clans most of the members belong to, making it possible to eventually hunt down the culprits and arrest them.

One of the biggest mistakes made in the stabilization phase of this war was disbanding the Iraqi military and police forces. Reforming the existing structure on the fly would have been a lot more efficient than starting from scratch.

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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.