Sat, Sep 15, 2007 - Page 7 News List

N Ireland policing model recommended for Baghdad


Belfast should be used as a policing model in the battle to secure Baghdad and reduce sectarian slaughter across the city, a report to the US Congress has recommended.

Construction in the Iraqi capital of more "peace walls" similar to those that have divided Northern Ireland's largest city since 1969 is one of the proposals set out in a report by the Independent Commission on the Security Forces of Iraq, established by Congress this year to help shape security policy for the strife-torn country.

The commission is headed by retired US general James Jones and includes 19 other senior military and police officers. They visited 70 sites across Iraq this summer and interviewed 200 individuals.

One of the authors of the report, Belfast Assistant Chief Constable Duncan McCausland, has urged the creation of walls similar to the 26 barriers that have kept Protestant and Catholic communities apart since 1969.

McCausland has invited a unit from the US Marine Corps to the police headquarters in Belfast next month to be shown how his officers take the primary security role when working with the British army.

The unit will be sent to Anbar Province where members will seek to apply the training they received in Belfast.

The recommendations aimed at shoring up and reforming the Iraqi army and police include flying the Iraqi flag from military and police bases, including ones under US or British control, in order to emphasize the sovereignty of the Iraq government.

The report said different ethnic groups should police their own communities and that the Shiite-dominated interior ministry should be reformed because it is ethnically biased and "dysfunctional."

The report called for the creation of a "transitional headquarters" that will oversee the eventual full handover of security to Iraqis and be led by an Iraqi police officer rather than an army general, for the recruitment of up to 3,000 international police advisers from all over the world to train and assist the Iraqi police and for the dissolution of the 20,000 strong auxiliary national police, which the report says has "sectarianism in its units."

McCausland said walls were a way of giving citizens "security first and then we can normalize and build."

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