Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, under scrutiny for torture implications in the Wikileaks Iraq dump, raised US concerns after he moved to put Iraqi Special Forces under his control.
Amr Abdallah Dalsh/Reuters
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's move to take control of Iraqi Special Operations Forces trained and funded by the US is raising concerns over how those forces will be used, according to a new US government report released Monday.
The report by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction could fuel controversy surrounding the incumbent prime minister, who is already grappling with Wikileaks' release of 400,000 low-level US military documents that imply forces under his offices command committed war-crimes during his four-year term.
This appears to be the first direct acknowledgment by a US agency of a move that has been widely known but so far ignored publicly by the US, which was responsible for reconstituting Iraqi forces. It could raise questions about the US role in creating an elite commando unit transferred unconstitutionally to the command of a Shiite-dominated prime ministry in the height of a brutal sectarian war.
The report by the federal agency set up by Congress to monitor the spending of billions of US dollars in Iraq also said that despite $7.3 billion spent on an unprecedented police training program, the capability of those forces is unknown because no system has been put in place to assess them.
Mr. Maliki has claimed that the timing of the Wikileaks release is part of an attempt to undermine his chances of forming a coalition government. The trove of "sigacts" – the daily raw military data of "significant actions" over the course of six years of war – includes reports of security forces identified as under the command of Maliki's office committing crimes.