Iraqi Forces to Take Full Responsibility by End of Year
Despite the fact that Coalition forces were responsible for security in all 18 of Iraq’s provinces a month ago and only one of those has yet to be handed over, Iraq’s president has announced that Iraqi forces will take full control by the end of the year.
President Jalal Talabani said Wednesday that Iraqi forces will take over security in all provinces in the country by the end of the year. U.S. forces currently are responsible for security in 17 of Iraq’s 18 provinces. The optimistic statement by Talabani comes at a time when the country is reeling under intense sectarian violence, mainly involving Shiite and Sunni militias. On Tuesday, more than 70 people were killed in one of the worst days of bloodshed.
Talabani, a Kurd from northern Iraq, said the government is confident of vanquishing terrorism. “We are highly optimistic that we will terminate terrorism in this year… the multinational forces’ role is a supportive one and the Iraqi forces will take over security in all Iraqi provinces by the end of this year gradually and God’s will, we will take the lead,” he said. “The terrorists fear the unity of the Iraqi people,” he said. “Our armed forces are doing well, but we expect more from them.”
Much of the recent sectarian violence has occurred in the capital Baghdad, and many lawmakers have called for replacing the interior minister over the government’s inability to stop the almost daily bombings, drive-by shootings and executions after abductions.
“Terminating terrorism cannot be achieved through military force … we need a comprehensive plan and we started by launching the national reconciliation campaign as part of this work,” Talabani said.
While I support the concept of Iraqi forces taking the lead sooner rather than later, this seems more than “optimistic” coming in August. And defeating the terrorists in the next five months simply isn’t going to happen.