Sakset/Fra hofta

Amerikanernes innsats i «the surge» er spilt møye hvis ikke irakerne kan ta over. Deres innsats hittil har ikke vært som forventet. Nå vil Kongressen ha en egen vurdering av irakernes kvaliteter.

Irakerne var oppstilt med et antall soldater som skulle matche amerikanernes. Men innsatsen har vært høyst variabel. Kongressen stoler ikke på at Pentagon sier det som det er, og nedsetter et eget utvalg som skal ha en rapport klar om 90 dager. Hvis resultatet er nedslående kan det være spikeren i kisten for amerikanerne. Da kan Kongressen komme til å si nei til videre finansiering, og det politiske flertall bak Bush vil fordampe.

Det sier sitt at en av de ivrigste forkjemperne for utvalget har vært republikaneren John Warner.

Øverstkommanderende i Irak, general Petraeus, skal som kjent avlevere sin statusrapport i september. «The Surge» sliter. Allerede nå høres røster som sier at man ikke kan forvente resultater på så kort tid. Man trenger minst ett år til. Blant dem som sier dette er Fred Kagan, som i en artikkel i Weekly Standard i fjor høst var den som lanserte tanken som ble til «the Surge».

Men ingenting tyder på at Kongressen vil vente så lenge. Deres tålmodighet er oppbrukt hvis rapporten om irakernes evne og vilje er nedslående.

Mr Warner said that the Iraqi security forces’ performance since Mr Bush announced his surge plan – the deployment of some 30,000 additional US troops primarily designed to reduce the level of sectarian violence in Baghdad – «certainly wasn’t at the level we had hoped it would be».

The move to create an independent commission underscores lawmakers’ scepticism about previous Pentagon assessments of the Iraqi security forces that were not borne out in combat situations.

«You can train a soldier all you want but unless that soldier has the commitment to take risks and fight he is of little or no value,» said Mr Warner. «There is also a question of the loyalty. So many facts show that they are more loyal to their tribal chief than they are to the central government.»

Mr Warner, who pushed to include $750,000 to fund the team in recent legislation, said he was also concerned that many Iraqi soldiers refused to fight in areas away from where they live.

Mr Warner became a crucial voice in the congressional debate on the war in Iraq last year when he warned that the situation was moving «sideways». Since then, an increasing number of Republican senators have voiced concern about the conflict’s direction.

Speaking about the surge, Mr Warner said its progress was at best «mixed». He added that the latest Pentagon report to Congress on the situation in Iraq showed that Iraqi forces were operating well below their stated capabilities.

Hvem sto bak Karbala?

Det har stadig kommet rapporter som trekker irakernes profesjonalitet, troverdighet og lojalitet i tvil. En av de siste og verste er sluttrapporten om drapene på fem amerikanske soldater i Karbala i januar. Amerikanerne satt i et møte med irakiske kolleger da en gruppe menn ikledt amerikanske militæruniformer styrter inn, dreper én amerikaner og bortfører fire andre. Mennene ankom i SUV-biler, hadde amerikanske våpen og snakket engelsk. Det var ubegripelig hvordan de kom seg gjennom sperringene. Angrepet var uhyre profesjonelt utført. De drepte amerikanerne da de kvittet seg med biler og uniformer.

Allerede den gang gikk spekulasjonene høyt om hvem som kunne ha utført et så dristig oppdrag. Nå foreligger rapporten som sier at ting tyder på at angriperne hadde assistanse innenfra, fra de samme politifolkene som amerikanerne trente og lærte opp.

While much has been said about the attackers who stormed the compound from the outside, little has been revealed about the possible involvement of Iraqi Police who were inside at the time. But the final report of the official military investigation into the incident says there is some evidence to suggest that Iraqi Police who’d been working with U.S. forces in Karbala for over a year helped orchestrate the attack.

«There are indicators that information was exchanged between the attackers and the Iraqi Police [IP] prior to this attack,» says the report, a copy of which was obtained by TIME. «Senior IP leadership at the station knew the coalition battle drills, and often watched them practice. The attackers knew exactly where to find the officers and which rooms were occupied by the Americans. The back IP gate was left unlocked and unmanned, and the Iraqi vendor and civilian workers absented themselves just prior to the attack.»
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Findings of the investigation suggest that at least some of the Iraqi Police the Americans were training ultimately turned on them prior to the attack and perhaps cooperated in it. And many of the soldiers who were there definitely feel betrayed by Iraqi Police they had grown to trust to some degree. U.S. troops who fought the attackers Jan. 20 say many of the Iraqi Police on hand did nothing to help them during the fight and seemed indifferent afterward. None of the Iraqi security forces on hand sustained any injuries, according to the report. The attackers fired only on the Americans.

«No one was shot,» says Sgt. Michael King, describing the Iraqi Police immediately after the attack. «No one twisted an ankle. No one jammed a thumb. Nothing.» The investigation report adds that one senior Iraqi Police official even seemed happy after the attack as he talked into a cell phone and walked among the wreckage of the aftermath laughing.

Man kan jo tenke seg hva slike opplysninger gjør med tilliten til irakerne, fra den menige soldat og til Kongressen. Amerikanerne glemmer ikke et slikt forræderi så lett.

Dessverre er ikke hendelsen enestående.


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Who Killed the Americans in Karbala?