Rumsfeld: Iraq may need more security forces; Tribal leader: Saddam hiding west of Baghdad
US Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said Sunday he is questioning whether Iraq might need more U.S.-trained Iraqi security forces before sovereignty is restored next summer.
After spending Saturday in Iraq, Rumsfeld said he is unsure if the current goal of about 222,000 Iraqi security forces is adequate, and he has asked U.S. senior commanders in Iraq to review their estimates.
"I raised that question, not because I have conviction that we need more, but because I worry that budgets will begin to get committed, and we may not know if we need more until sometime, for example, in February or March or April," when the money may not be available, he said, according to The AP.
Rumsfeld noted throughout his Saturday trip to Iraq that he believes it is important to build up Iraqi security forces, which now number about 140,000.
Meanwhile, a tribal leader and faithful follower of the ousted Iraqi president told AFP Saddam Hussein is hiding out west of Baghdad from where he commands the attacks against the US occupation troops.
"Saddam Hussein is in good health and living in the west of Iraq," said the man, who calls himself only Abu Mohammad.
"The Iraqi president is commanding the military operations against the American forces," he said Saturday.
He said Saddam presided over a meeting of "dozens of Baath party cadres" at Ramadi, 100 kilometres west of Baghdad, at iftar, or the end of the daily dawn-to-dusk fast during Ramadan. It took place on November 8, the same day General John Abizaid, commanding officer of US Central Command (Centcom), gathered tribal leaders in Ramadi to try to work out how to halt attacks on US forces.
Abu Mohammad disclosed that he met Saddam who, he said, pays unannounced visits to Iraqis. "There is no risk to him in the west because people are defending him and will never betray him," the tribal leader claimed, according to AFP. (albawaba.com)
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