Monday, June 18, 2007

Yet Another Basra Police Chief Fired

By Cernig

The Iraqi government have replaced yet another Basra police chief - the job has less long-term prospects than being Al Qaeda's number three. The reasons given for the replacement are always basically the same, as is the real underlying cause.

Here's the latest reason:
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has replaced the Basra police chief Monday over his force's failure to stop weekend attacks on Sunni mosques in Iraq's second-largest city, police said.

...A new police chief would replace Maj. Gen. Mohammed Hamadi al-Moussawi on Monday, a Basra police officer said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information. Al-Moussawi will take another job in the Interior Ministry, which controls police.

Al-Moussawi was ``seen as incompetent, because he couldn't stop attacks by Shiite extremists against two Sunni mosques in the wake of the Samara attacks,'' the officer said.
Back in May last year, the last chief was suspended and eventually got the boot because he was "ineffective against local guerrilla groups." The one before that, in June 2005, was also fired for being ineffective and incompetent. But that one gave the real reason for all the firings.
The chief of police in the southern Iraqi city of Basra has admitted he has effectively lost control of three-quarters of his officers and that sectarian militias have infiltrated the force and are using their posts to assassinate opponents.

General Hassan al-Sade said half of his 13,750-strong force were secretly working for political parties and that some officers were involved in ambushes.

Other officers were politically neutral but had no interest in policing and did not follow his orders. "I trust 25 per cent of my force, no more," he said.
That underlying cause hasn't changed any in two years - and surely it is difficult to be competent and efficient as a police commander when your police are answering to another authority. But the Maliki government keep dressing the window instead of addressing the real problem - militia power.

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