‘Disband Iraq’s Puppet Police Force’

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The puppet Iraqi police force is infiltrated by sectarian militias and should be disbanded and reorganised, a panel of retired US generals led by former Nato commander James Jones has told the US Congress.

In his testimony to Congress yesterday, General Jones said the militia infiltration in the police force, overseen by a ‘dysfunctional and sectarian’ interior ministry, renders it unable to provide security to civilians.

His report said: ‘Its ability to be effective is crippled by significant challenges, including public distrust, sectarianism (both real and perceived), and a lack of clarity about its identity – specifically whether it is a military or a police force.

‘Sectarianism in its units undermines its ability to provide security; the (police) force is not viable in its current form.’

Democrat senator Maxine Waters commented: ‘It’s just a bad policy to train and equip Iraqi forces and policy makers should resist equipping forces in a failed state and must resist adding further fuel to the fire that is raging in Iraq.’

The Pentagon responded by saying it does ‘not believe it is necessary to disband the national police force’.

A Pentagon spokesman, Geoff Morel added: ‘We also acknowledge there have been real sectarian problems within the national police force.

‘The Iraqi government is committed to fixing this problem.

‘Has it happened at the pace the US wants? No, we want it to happen sooner than it has.

‘But I don’t believe the projects should be abandoned because progress has not happened at the pace we want. We must wait until Iraq can police itself without US help.’

 • Second news story

POLICE THREAT TO MAKE FAMILIES HOMELESS

POLICE have sent a letter to residents on a housing estate in south London, warning them: ‘your children’s behaviour could make you homeless!’

The letter from the Safer Neighbourhoods Team at Lavender Hill Police Station in Battersea was sent to residents of the Peabody Trust estate.

The letter said: ‘Dear Resident – I am aware that there has been an increase in Anti-Social Behaviour by youths on your estate. We are working to tackle this and associated problems but we need your help. . .

‘It is possible, in anti-social behaviour proceedings to make statements anonymously. If enough residents come forward we will, working with the council and the Peabody Trust, obtain an anti-social behaviour order.

‘The parents should be aware that their tenancies could be at risk if unruly children or youths persist in their anti-social behaviour. In short, your children’s behaviour could make you homeless!’

Meanwhile, the mother of a 23-year-old man who committed suicide has blamed her son’s death on the government’s ASBO policy.

Margaret McFarlane from Blythe, north-east England, said her son Martin Hickson was ‘very loving – so kind and caring’, but his picture was posted around town after he was issued with an Anti-Social Behaviour Order for ‘things he had done years ago’.