Shiites Foil US Plans for Sunni Cop Shops

Suspicion and 'highly sectarian' hiring thwart key US policy
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 28, 2007 2:59 PM CDT
In this photo released by the U.S. Army, Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch, commander of the U.S. army's Third Infantry Division, second left, speaks with Sunni Sheik Emad Ghurtani, right, in Haswah, Iraq Thursday,...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Shiite officials are thwarting US attempts to train Sunni cops, crippling a key strategy aimed at slashing sectarian violence, the New York Times reports. Iraq has okayed Sunni neighborhood watch groups, but putting their old foes in uniform is another story. One US officer put it bluntly: Iraq officials "want to make sure that not too many Sunnis are hired."

Even in Anbar, a Sunni region, a request for 9,000 new cops was cut to 3,000 by Shiite officials. And the region's budget is monitored more closely than any other's. “The Ministry of Interior deals with the Sunni provinces different than they deal with the other provinces,” said Brig. Gen. David D. Phillips. “The only reason the Anbar academy opened is because we built it, paid for it and staffed it.”