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Iraq removes Iraqi army, police chiefs of Basra

by Staff Writers
Baghdad (AFP) April 16, 2008
Iraq on Wednesday removed the Iraqi army and police commanders in the southern city of Basra, weeks after a crackdown on Shiite militiamen set off fierce firefights across the country.

Iraqi army Lieutenant General Mohan al-Fraiji and police chief Major General Abdul Jalil Khalaf have been replaced by two other commanders, the Iraqi army spokesman in Baghdad, Major General Qassim Atta, told reporters.

Atta said Fraiji has been replaced by Major General Mahmud Jawad and Khalaf has been replaced by Major General Adel Dahaam.

On March 25, Iraqi premier Nuri al-Maliki launched a crackdown on Shiite militiamen in Basra which triggered intense clashes between militiamen and security forces.

The clashes spread to other Shiite regions of Iraq, killing and wounding hundreds of people.

Faiji and Khalaf are being transferred to senior staff positions in Baghdad. Their removal comes just days after Iraq sacked 1,300 army and police personnel for failing to perform during the crackdown in Basra.

Hundreds of Iraqi troops and police are reported to have either deserted or joined the other side during the government offensive against Shiite militias.

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Two recent developments have highlighted different aspects of the accountability issue presented by the use of private military contractors by the U.S. government and military. This complex set of problems puts me in mind of Churchill's comment about the Soviet Union: "a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma."







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