July 30, 2012 - U.S. auditors have concluded that more than $200 million was wasted on a program to train Iraqi police that Baghdad says is neither needed nor wanted.
The Police Development Program- which was drawn up to be the single largest State Department program in the world — was envisioned as a five-year, multibillion-dollar push to train security forces after the U.S. military left last December. But Iraqi political leaders, anxious to keep their distance from the Americans, were unenthusiastic.
A report by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, released Monday, found that the American Embassy in Baghdad never got a written commitment from Iraq to participate. Now, facing what the report called Baghdad's "disinterest" in the project, the embassy is gutting what was supposed to be the centerpiece of ongoing U.S. training efforts in Iraq.
According to the report, the embassy plans to turn over the $108 million Baghdad Police College Annex to Iraqis by the end of the year and will stop training at a $98 million site at the U.S. consulate in the southern city of Basra. Additionally, the number of advisers has been cut by nearly 90 percent — from 350 to 36.
Despite years and billions of dollars of training, Iraq's police force remains a vulnerable target for militants. On Sunday, seven police were killed and nine more wounded in bombings and shootings near the former al Qaeda stronghold of Fallujah, about 64 kilometers (40 miles) west of Baghdad. It appeared to be the latest strike by the Sunni insurgency as it seeks to reclaim areas where U.S. troops ousted them. read more>>>