View Full Version : Pace: Iraqi army may be ready by year’s end

03-20-06, 01:56 PM
March 20, 2006
Pace: Iraqi army may be ready by year’s end

By Lolita C. Baldor
Associated Press

ABOARD A MILITARY AIRCRAFT — Iraqi army forces may be able to take over the more volatile regions of their country by the end of this year, as long as they have the equipment and logistical support they need, the top U.S. military commander said Monday.

Marine Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that by year’s end the Iraqi army will have recruited all of the units it needs, and the U.S. will have trained “a vast majority of their Army.”

“Right now the Iraqis have (control) over half of Baghdad, and Baghdad is a pretty tough neighborhood, so they’re certainly capable, regardless of the area, of being in control,” Pace said in an interview on a military aircraft en route to Pakistan. “It will be just a matter of time to see what makes sense.”

Pace’s comments expanded on assertions made late last week by Army Lt. Gen. Peter Chiarelli, the second-ranking U.S. commander in Iraq, who said the goal is to have Iraqi security forces in control of 75 percent of the country’s territory by the end of the summer.

Asked if that territory included the Anbar region and the Sunni Triangle, where much of the recent sectarian violence has been centered, Pace said that is a possibility.

He said the training of the Iraqi forces is going well, and “they will have sufficient numbers of troops to do that and then, like anything, for both coalition forces and Iraqi forces it will depend on how much of the anti-Iraqi activity is going on in any particular area.”

Any significant U.S. withdrawal from Iraq depends on the ability of the Iraqi army to take control. The recent sectarian violence has raised questions about the fragile country’s ability to form a unified government and stand on its own.

Pace’s comments came as Iraqi and U.S. forces continued a sweep in the desert northeast of Samarra, trying to locate weapons caches and flush out insurgents.

The U.S. has about 133,000 troops in Iraq, and military officials have said they are still on track to reduce the U.S. presence there, as long as efforts to form a unified government continue.

Pace, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and others insist that the ongoing violence between religious groups in Iraq has not yet plunged the country into a civil war.

But the third anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq is also marked by some of the lowest popularity numbers for President Bush, and a growing impatience with the war among Americans who increasingly say in polls that the administration’s war policies are failing.

The administration also is under pressure from members of Congress, who have complained in recent weeks that they have yet to see the Pentagon’s promised year of transition during 2006 in Iraq.

Pace arrived in Islamabad Monday to meet with Pakistani leaders and U.S. military officials who are preparing to pull out the last 260 military troops who have been in Pakistan as part of the earthquake relief effort. It is Pace’s first trip to the country.

Parts of the country were devastated by a 7.6 magnitude earthquake last October that killed more than 80,000 people. All remaining U.S. military are expected to be out of Pakistan by the end of the month or early April.

At its peak, the U.S. had 1,200 personnel here, including hospital units, mobile construction battalions and other transport and relief units. Humanitarian flights delivered more than 20 million pounds of food, medical equipment and other supplies.

The disaster left about 3 million people homeless in the mountainous region.


03-21-06, 08:34 PM
Is the General not getting the word? According to the news today President Bush said that our military will be there for years and it will be up to another president to deside when they will be brought home.

It reminds me of the days of LBJ.

04-27-08, 06:41 PM
Iraq Green Zone shelled amid sandstorm
2008-04-27 16:01:44
By KIM GAMEL Associated Press Writer

BAGHDAD (AP) — Suspected Shiite extremists hammered the U.S.-protected Green Zone Sunday in the fiercest salvo in weeks, apparently taking advantage of a sandstorm that blanketed the capital and grounded the American aircraft that normally prowl for launching teams.

Thunderous explosions resounded throughout the evening as rockets or mortar shells slammed into the heavily fortified area in central Baghdad.

Anti-U.S. cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, meanwhile, rejected terms set by the Iraqi government for lifting a crackdown against his Mahdi Army militia.

Sirens wailed in the Green Zone, which houses the U.S. Embassy and much of the Iraqi government on the west side of the Tigris River. The public address system warned people to "duck and cover" and stay away from windows.

The U.S. Embassy confirmed the area was hit by indirect fire, the military's term for rocket or mortar attacks, but said it had no immediate word on casualties.

The Green Zone has been regularly shelled since fighting broke out over a U.S.-backed government crackdown against militias that began in late March. At least four Americans, including two soldiers, have been killed in the attacks.

But the U.S. military has claimed success with operations that have effectively sealed off the southern section of Baghdad's Sadr City, a militia stronghold that is believed to be one of the prime launching sites for the Green Zone attacks.

American commanders have blamed what they call Iranian-backed Shiite factions they say have broken with a cease-fire imposed by al-Sadr in late August.

Al-Sadr's spokesman in the holy city of Najaf called the Shiite-led government's terms for stopping the crackdown against the militias "illogical."

Salah al-Obeidi accused Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, himself a Shiite, of wanting to resolve the problem by force instead of dialogue. Chief among al-Maliki's demands announced Friday were that the militias surrender heavy weapons and hand over all wanted people.

Sporadic clashes also continued Sunday in Sadr City, a sprawling district in northeastern Baghdad with 2.5 million people.

The U.S. military said five suspected militants were killed in three separate airstrikes late Saturday and early Sunday in the area.

A local hospital official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information, said one person was killed and 11 others wounded in street battles.

In all, at least 349 Iraqis have been killed since the daily clashes began on March 25, 34 of them since Wednesday, according to an Interior Ministry official who declined to be identified for the same reason.

Acknowledging the hardship caused by the crackdown for ordinary Iraqis in the densely packed district, a visiting delegation of about 40 lawmakers from various Sunni, Kurd, Turkomen and Shiite parties urged the government to stop the military campaign there.

But Brig. Gen. Qassim al-Moussawi, the Iraqi military spokesman for Baghdad operations, refused to set an end date, saying it was an ongoing effort.

Al-Moussawi also said that over the past month, militants had fired a total of 712 missiles and mortar rounds inside Baghdad.

"They were all Iranian-made brought into Iraq in many ways," al-Moussawi told reporters at a joint news conference with Driscoll. He did not elaborate on how the security forces had determined the origin of the exploded munitions.

Heavy clashes also broke out between Shiite militiamen and Iraqi troops in the Maalif area on the southwestern edge of Baghdad. Police said that five people died and 14 were wounded in the fighting. The U.S. military said its forces were not involved.

AP Television News footage from the area showed a minibus riddled with bullets and a pool of blood in another minibus.

Two suicide car bombers also targeted Iraqi forces elsewhere in Baghdad. One killed three people and wounded nine and another killed two and wounded five.

In political developments, al-Maliki met with Sunni Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi to discuss rebuilding a "national and unified government," a statement from the president's office said.

The meeting came amid a series of optimistic statements that the main Sunni bloc, the National Accordance Front, is ready to rejoin the Cabinet after a nearly nine-month absence.

But Sunni officials have said internal power struggles within the Front over who should be appointed to which posts have delayed a formal decision.

Northeast of Baghdad, Iraqi troops also unearthed a mass grave containing more than 50 decomposed bodies in an orchard in an area that had been controlled by al-Qaida in Iraq near Baqouba, according to the Diyala provincial coordination center.


Associated Press writers Sameer N. Yacoub and Sinan Salaheddin contributed to this report.

04-29-08, 10:15 PM
my thoughts is that the Iraq army is like an un-wanted house guest... they want the free ride for as long as they can get it and don't care how ****ed you get... they really don't care about themselves they are divided.... the reason they needed to be conscripted was because people didn't care about "Iraq" they are three different countries in one border thanks to that dick from england who created a "middle east" ... hell the brits just wanted to be able to tax them in my opinion... now look at what is happening!!!