Iraqi leaders aim to take over security duties

19 September 2003
Five Iraqi leaders met in Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq to discuss taking control of security duties in the country, reported the New York Times on 18 September. The plan still needs approval from the Iraqi interim governing council and the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA). The proposal is intended to reduce the number of attacks against US troops on patrol, and an attempt to increase stability in the country.

The leader of the Kurdish Democratic Party, Massoud Barzarni, said that the US occupation needed to handover the task of peacekeeping as soon as possible. He said that local groups could handle the task much better as they would be able to work with Iraqi civic and tribal leaders to draw up security arrangements tailored for each part of the country. He added that the forces could be controlled centrally by a department in the interior ministry.

'The biggest mistake the Americans have made is to confront the Iraqis face-to-face and to be in the front line of confrontation,' said Barzani. 'I think American forces should be withdrawn to bases nearby. They should not be policing and conducting patrols. They should hand over these duties to Iraqis.'

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