Iraq Postpones Demilitarizing Cities

The Iraqi government says it is postponing withdrawing army troops from its cities over concerns that local or federal police cannot handle security yet. The pullout was planned for the end of the year when U.S. troops are scheduled to withdraw from Iraq too. Although most U.S. troops would ostensibly be going home (pending more deal-making), the Iraqi soldiers would instead be moving their operations to bases outside the cities.

Baghdad Operations Command spokesman, Qassim al-Moussawi, admitted that transferring security to local police has been more difficult in some areas, either due to incompetence or infiltration of forces by militants. However, with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki calling for support of his centralization plans, and cries of military abuse coming from such provinces and Anbar and Ninewa, plus the lack of security in Baghdad itself, the move may just be another indication that the central government is more interested in maintaining a firm grip on its power.

Meanwhile, at least three Iraqis were killed and eight more were wounded in new attacks.

In Baghdad, gunmen failed to assassinate a female member of parliament; she is uninjured. A civilian was wounded in a separate shooting. Police safely detonated a bomb.

Four policemen were injured in Mahaweel when they tried to stop a car carrying gunmen.

Gunmen killed a civilian in Bani Saad.

In Mosul, a policeman was shot to death.

A bomb in Tal Afar wounded three civilians.

An I.E.D. exploded on a road north of Ramadi and killed a police captain.

Three Iraqi border guards went missing during an otherwise routine patrol near the Iranian border in Diyala province.

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Author: Margaret Griffis

Margaret Griffis is a journalist from Miami Beach, Florida and has been covering Iraqi casualties for Antiwar.com since 2006.