Iraq Dismisses 1,300 Soldiers and Policemen
The Iraqi government has dismissed 1,300 soldiers and policemen who deserted or refused to fight during last month's Shiite-on-Shiite battles in Barsa reported the New York Times Sunday.
Maj. Gen. Abdul-Karim Khalaf, an Interior Ministry spokesman, said 500 soldiers and 421 policemen were fired in Basra, including 37 senior police officers up to the rank of brigadier general according to the paper. It was also reported police officials said the remainder were fired in Kut.
The Basra campaign was widely criticized, reported the paper, as poorly planned since it failed to disarm Shilite militias, but America and Iraqi officials are reported to have said the arrival of security forces in larger numbers has restored the streets vital to the Iraq's oil industry.
The Mahdi Army and the government security forces dominated by Mr. Sadr’s most powerful Shiite rival, the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq are reported to be the two Shiite forces pitted against each other and their clash has spilled over into the Iraqi capital, particualarily in Sadr's stronghold, reported the Times, which is surrounded with both Iraqi and American soldiers.
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