First Published: 2006-10-04

Iraq police brigade linked to death squads

Entire Baghdad police brigade demobbed for allowing sectarian death squads to move freely in capital.


Middle East Online

Caught up

BAGHDAD - Iraq has demobilised an entire Baghdad police brigade accused of complicity with sectarian death squads and moved it to a US military base for retraining, a spokesman for US forces said Wednesday.

"There was clear evidence that there was some complicity in allowing death squad elements to move freely, when in fact they were supposed to be impeding their movement," Major General William Caldwell told reporters.

"It was realised that removing them from Baghdad would, in fact, enhance security," he said about the 8th Brigade of the 2nd Division of the Iraqi National Police, which numbers between 800 and 1,200 officers.

The decision was made late Tuesday by Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and came after the brigade commander was suspended in the wake of a brazen daylight kidnapping operation carried out by men in uniforms.

The brigade was stationed in northwest Baghdad, including the flashpoint neighborhoods of Ghazaliyah and Shuala, which US commanders have said are facing re-infiltration by militias after being cleared.

"It was in one of the areas that violence was not going down," said Caldwell.

"The brigade's past performance does not demonstrate the level of professionalism sought by the (Iraqi) ministry of the interior," he said.

The decision to pull the brigade was partly motivated by a review done of all 27 National Police battalions as well as "talking to people in the city where these brigades were operating".

There will be further review and retraining of the other National Police units, many of whom were drawn up hurriedly in 2004 and 2005 to meet the increased need for manpower amid ongoing political violence.

Baghdad is in the grip of a fierce sectarian dirty war between rival Sunni and Shiite insurgents and death squads. The city's Shiite-dominated police are often accused of siding with sectarian militias implicated in the violence.


Two Danes stabbed by man shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ in Gabon

UN considers rejecting Trump Jerusalem decision

Israeli air traffic halted due to strikes

Iran's schools suffocate in smog

Christmas in Jordan dimmed by Jerusalem crisis

Turkey slams Austria ‘discrimination’

Tunisia elections delayed

Istanbul summit strong on the rhetoric, weak on concrete steps

Morocco’s Islamists elect new leader, walking away from predecessor’s populism

Palestinians call for protests against Pence Jerusalem visit

Palestinian billionaire detained in Saudi Arabia

Egypt opens Rafah crossing for four days

Turkey court releases 7 suspects in New Year attack trial

Palestinian activist killed in Gaza protests

Foreign fighters a worry as IS struggles to survive

Over half Syrian refugees in Lebanon live in 'extreme poverty'

Palestinians killed in continuing protests over Jerusalem occupation

Bourita: Extraordinary meeting between ECOWAS, Morocco to be held beginning of 2018

Saudi-led air strikes, clashes as Yemen forces battle rebels

Sahel force funding shows terrorism fight is Saudi 'priority'

UN 'appalled' at mass execution of jihadists in Iraq

Iraq's Sistani says Hashed should be under government control

Middle-class Egypt adapts as costs soar

Somalia's budget meets IMF terms

Israel PM questioned in graft probe

US says Iran supplied ballistic missile to Yemen rebels

Lebanon approves bid for oil, gas exploration

US to present 'irrefutable evidence' of Iran violations

Istanbul 'to remove Gulen links' from street names

Iraq hangs 38 jihadists

Pence to visit Middle East despite controversy

Hamas chief calls for continued Jerusalem protests

EU to repatriate 15,000 migrants from Libya in two months

Syria Kurds fear US ally will desert them after IS defeat

Israeli drugmaker Teva to cut 14,000 jobs over two years

Turkey rescues 51 migrants stranded on rocks

Saudi, UAE hold talks with Yemen Islamists

18 killed after bomber strikes Mogadishu police academy

Israeli air strikes target Hamas military facilities

US-led air strikes kill 23 civilians in Syria

Israel union calls nationwide strike over pharmaceutical giant job cuts

UN envoy urges Putin to press Assad for elections

Yemen's Huthi rebels release pro-Saleh media staff

Israel intelligence minister invites Saudi prince to visit

Saudi-led strikes kill 30 in rebel-run Yemen prison