At the core of the “surge” strategy is the notion that once U.S. troops clear a particularly hostile patch of Iraq, the Iraqi army and police will move in to maintain order. But senior American officers are now raising serious doubts about Iraqi forces’ ability to take over.


AP:

BAGHDAD (AP) — American military commanders now seriously doubt that Iraqi security forces will be able to hold the ground that U.S. troops are fighting to clear – gloomy predictions that strike at the heart of Washington’s key strategy to turn the tide in Iraq.

Several senior American officers have warned in recent days that Iraqi soldiers and police are still incapable of maintaining security on their own in the most crucial areas, including Baghdad and the recently reclaimed districts around Baqouba to the north.

Iraqi units are supposed to be moving into position to take the baton from the Pentagon. This was the backbone of the plan President Bush announced in January when he ordered to five more U.S. brigades, or about 30,000 soldiers, to Iraq. The goal is to reduce the violence to a level where the Iraqis can cope so that Americans can begin to go home.

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