US considering establishment of new private security force in Iraq; Rumsfeld deputy visits Baghdad
The Pentagon is considering a plan to train a private Iraqi security force and make it responsible for guarding pipelines, government buildings and other important installations in Iraq, reports said Friday.
The new private force, to be composed primarily of former Iraqi soldiers armed with small weapons, would take over from American troops the guard duties at as many as 2,000 sites, military officials told the New York Times.
Such a force would provide jobs to thousands of unemployed Iraqis and ease the burden on a US military.
Some Pentagon officials, the newspaper said, believe private Iraqi security guards at prominent government sites could help ease tensions created by foreign military occupation.
But such a transfer would also raise some security concerns by putting more weapons in the hands of the former Iraqi soldiers and other Iraqis who would compose the force, the officials told The Times.
Meanwhile, US Deputy Defence Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, a top Pentagon architect of the US-led war on Iraq, is in Baghdad on an unannounced visit.
Wolfowitz and US civil administrator for Iraq, Paul Bremer flew by helicopter to the Abu Gharib prison, a symbol of Saddam's regime, just west of Baghdad.
Wolfowitz is a powerful deputy to Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who visited Iraq in April, and seen as one of the most hawkish figures in the Bush administration's Iraq policy.
He has said that US forces would remain in Iraq as long as needed. (Albawaba.com)
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