When George W. Bush presented his "National Strategy for Victory in Iraq" last week, he talked up the "real progress" being made by Iraqi security forces. A Time reporter almost immediately put the lie to part of the president's claim, and now Iraqi Vice President Ghazi al-Yawer is taking a shot at the rest.
Al-Yawer is a moderate Sunni who believes that the United States must stay in Iraq in order to prevent a civil war. But in an interview with the Associated Press, he disputes Bush's claims about progress in standing up Iraqi security forces. He cites reports that Interior Ministry forces had tortured Sunni detainees as evidence that many forces are increasingly politicized and sectarian; says that some of newest Iraqi forces seem focused more on settling scores than maintaining security; and alleges that some Iraqi commanders have been fired for reasons having to do with politics rather than merit.
Meanwhile, he says, some of the security forces still on the job are abusing their power by raiding areas populated by Sunnis rather than targeting suspected insurgents more specifically. "Saddam used to raid villages" using security forces," al-Yawer tells the AP. "This not the way to do it."