Insurgents have infiltrated Iraq's police force, but the extent to which they have done so remains unclear, Iraq's national security advisor Muwaffaq Rubaie said on Tuesday.
"Our Iraqi security forces in general, police in particular, in many parts of Iraq, I have to admit, have been penetrated by some of the insurgents, some of the terrorists as well," he told BBC television. "I can't deny this."
Rubaie's remarks came a day after British troops stormed a police station in the southern city of Basra, looking for two soldiers later found and freed from a house where they had been taken from a police cell by militiamen.
The incident triggered concern about collusion between the Iraqi police and militiamen, as the US and UK -- which invaded Iraq in March 2003 -- wonder how much longer they will need to maintain a military presence.
Rubaie said Iraq's interim government was putting into place "a very scrupulous, very meticulous vetting procedure" as it recruits new members of the police and armed forces.
It should, he said, "clean our security forces as well as stop any penetration in future from the insurgents and terrorists."
He added: "I can't give you a percentage of the extent of the penetration, but I have to admit that the Iraqi security forces are penetrated. To what extent I don't know."
The UK said yesterday that it would not cut and run from Iraq, and sought to calm fury in an increasingly volatile south over the rescue of the two undercover British soldiers.
The British operation followed rioting that began, according to police and local officials, when the two soldiers fired on a police patrol. At least two Iraqis were killed in the violence.
"We do not have designs to stay [in Iraq] as an occupying imperial power. Nor are we going to cut and run because of terrorists," British Defense Secretary John Reid was quoted as saying by the Daily Telegraph newspaper.
Reid, echoing past comments by British Prime Minister Tony Blair who has been US President George W. Bush's main ally on Iraq, said the transformation of the country into a democratic society would not be accomplished without great effort.
"Which is why we have to stay there and go through the dark periods ... there is light at the end of the tunnel," he said.
The UK, which has 8,500 troops in Iraq, said on Sunday it would send more if necessary. But a leaked memo signed by Reid in July envisioned bringing most home over the next year.
The Telegraph said Reid and British defense chiefs were to meet Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari in London yesterday to discuss security issues.
Haider al-Ebadi, an adviser to Jaafari, told a news conference in Baghdad on Tuesday: "It is a very unfortunate development that the British forces should try to release their forces the way it happened."
But a later statement from Jaafari's office said there was no crisis in relations with Britain and added the interior ministry was investigating the incident in the south, largely populated by Iraq's Shiite Muslim majority.
"In the meantime we urge all sides to remain calm," the statement said.
Meanwhile roadside bombs exploded near three US convoys in and around Baghdad yesterday, wounding two soldiers, an official said. The attacks came one day after the death toll for US forces in the Iraq war rose to more than 1,900 since the invasion.
In the southern city of Basra, two Iraqi citizens who were wounded in clashes between British forces and Iraqi police died in a hospital yesterday, raising the civilian death toll to five, police said.
About 500 Iraqi civilians and policemen protested outside Basra police headquarters yesterday.
"No to occupation!" the demonstrators shouted. Others carried banners condemning "British aggression" and demanding the freed soldiers be tried in an Iraqi court as "terrorists."
In the worst attack on US forces yesterday, a roadside bomb exploded as a US military convoy drove through the Abu Ghraib area on the western outskirts of Baghdad, leaving two soldiers with minor wounds, said US Lieutenant Jamie Davis, a spokesman for the US army.
Iraqi police First Lieutenant Mohammed Khayon said the US forces then opened fire on people in the area, wounding an Iraqi civilian, but Davis couldn't confirm that.
Roadside bombs also exploded yesterday near two other US convoys in southwestern Baghdad and in the Taji area north of the capital. No soldiers were wounded, Davis said.
Three cases of Candida auris, a fungus that can cause a yeast infection known as candidiasis in humans, have been reported in Taiwan over the past few years, but they did not display drug resistance, Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Deputy Director-General Philip Lo (羅一鈞) said yesterday. Lo made the statement at a news conference in Taipei, one day after the Washington Post reported that the potentially deadly fungus is spreading in US hospitals. The fungus was first discovered in Japan in 2009 and poses a danger to immunocompromised people, with an estimated mortality rate of 30 to 60 percent, Lo
‘DIRE’: Taiwan would not engage in ‘dollar diplomacy,’ the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said, after China reportedly offered Honduras up to US$3 billion to establish relations The government yesterday recalled its ambassador to Honduras after the Central American nation sent its foreign minister to China, signaling that it would sever diplomatic ties with Taiwan. Suspicions concerning ties with Honduras are rife after Honduran President Xiomara Castro on Tuesday last week wrote on Twitter that her country would pursue diplomatic ties with China. Honduran Minister of Foreign Affairs Eduardo Enrique Reina traveled to China on Wednesday “to promote efforts for the establishment of diplomatic relations” on instructions from Castro, Reuters yesterday quoted Honduran presidential spokesman Ivis Alvarado as saying. The government “has decided to immediately recall the ambassador to Honduras
SWITCH TO BEIJING: The government severed diplomatic relations about an hour after Honduras announced the move, saying that no semi-official ties would be maintained Taiwan severed diplomatic ties with Honduras and ended all cooperation with the Central American country, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday, about an hour and a half after the Honduran Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced on Twitter at 8am Taiwan time that the nation would cut its ties with Taiwan. Honduran President Xiomara Castro on Wednesday sent Honduran Minister of Foreign Affairs Eduardo Enrique Reina to Beijing to negotiate the establishment of diplomatic relations. She announced the plan on March 14 on Twitter. “To safeguard Taiwan’s sovereignty and dignity, Taiwan is terminating diplomatic ties with Honduras with immediate effect” after communication with
MEDIA, SOCIETY FOCUS: Doublethink Lab said that Beijing is trying to coerce countries that rely on China economically to pursue policies in its favor China has stronger influence over Taiwan’s media and society than any other country, the Taipei-based Doublethink Lab think tank said yesterday, as it announced its China Index gauging Beijing’s global influence. Taiwan ranked 11th overall among 82 countries assessed, but first in terms of social and media influence, Doublethink Lab chairman Puma Shen (沈伯洋) told a news conference in Taipei. More than 200 experts and academics participated in the project, including some highly influential figures, Shen said. The index collects information from countries worldwide to gauge China’s influence and assess how Chinese policies affect them, Shen said. In terms of Chinese