Michael Ware


NR: More on the Iraqi police brigade/death squad

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Length: 3:21

KYRA PHILLIPS: Iraqi police: part of the solution or part of the problem? For a long time now, many believe Shiite death squads have infiltrated Iraqi security forces. Well, today, there's word the Iraqi government is pulling a whole brigade off the streets.

CNN's Michael Ware joins us now live from Baghdad.

Set the scene for us, Michael.

MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kyra, what we're seeing are U.S. forces stepping up in their ongoing battle with the death squads and the militias that are so dominant here in Iraq.

The sectarian killings by some of these death squads have developed so far that they're institutionalized, and they're occurring within the government. What we saw is, in a decision made late last night, for an entire brigade of the Iraqi national police to be pulled off line.


MAJ. GEN. WILLIAM CALDWELL, MULTINATIONAL FORCE, IRAQ: The government of Iraq had lost trust and confidence in the 8th Brigade, 2nd National Police Division's ability to serve the public due to their poor performance and alleged criminal wrongdoings. Therefore, they've been pulled off line and will go through retraining before they'll be recertified and allowed to again conduct activities as police forces for the government of Iraq.


WARE: So this is just the tip of the iceberg, Kyra. Major General Caldwell said that there was elements within this brigade that were known to be complicit with the death squads. But it extends beyond this brigade, beyond these units, and permeates through every facet of the government at the moment, all but -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: So are these officers that have been in place? Or are these ones that have gone through training and recruitment and have been a part of the corruption since the new regime has taken over?

WARE: Well, these are men from units that have been here since the beginning. And it also includes new units, as the militias encouraged their members to join the security forces, receive U.S. training, and then be given the legitimacy to go out and conduct militia activities.

So in many ways, the U.S. has been training some of these people or certainly their associates. So these are long-standing organizations which are capitalizing on the current situation and are now effectively in power, Kyra.

PHILLIPS: So how are U.S. troops trying to look these men in the eyes and figure out who is for real and who isn't?

WARE: Well, it's very, very difficult. As you know, before any operation or certainly major operation in the city, certain members or elements of the Iraqi government have to be informed beforehand.

Also, the U.S. forces like to try and put an Iraqi face on operations. So they work with Iraqi troops, as well. They, too, must be told about the operation beforehand.

U.S. commanders openly concede that they leave this notification to the very last minute because they're well aware of the leakages. Once you tell the Iraqi government something, eventually it moves out to many -- most times, the targets themselves, Kyra.

PHILLIPS: Michael Ware, live from Baghdad. Thanks, Michael.