Iraq Fires 1,300 Cops, Troops After Basra

Baghdad says they ducked fight with Shiite militias
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 13, 2008 5:16 PM CDT
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's offensive against Shiite militias has been widely criticized.   (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)
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(Newser) – Iraq sacked 1,300 troopers and policemen today for fighting poorly or not at all in last month’s Basra battles. “Some of them were sympathetic with these lawbreakers,” said one official. “Some refused to battle for political, national, sectarian or religious reasons.” The firings are tantamount to Baghdad admitting it failed in the clashes against Shiite insurgents, the New York Times reports.

Earlier this month, a government official blamed soldiers' reticence on fear: “They felt the other party was too strong, and too courageous and they couldn’t confront them.” Today Baghdad also drafted a law to ban parties from October's provincial elections unless they disband their militias—a clear attempt to increase pressure on cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.