Sunday, September 23, 2007

The Boys from Baghdad: Iraqi Commandos Trained by U.S. Contractor

by Pratap Chatterjee

"......The “boys” that the report praises are members of one of dozens of elite Iraqi commandos units that function as a "third force” to augment the Iraqi police and army, both of which are widely considered to be failures. On this mission in early July 2005, the Emergency Response Unit, backed by the First Battalion of the Fifth Infantry Regiment of the U.S. Army, had detained “anti-Iraqi forces” and intercepted roadside bombs.

Their tactics owed much to a secretive U.S. private contractor, U.S. Investigations Services (USIS), which conducted ERU trainings on U.S. military bases in Iraq -- including at Camp Dublin and Camp Solidarity. The trainings began under General David Petreaus as an effort to bolster security in Iraq, and soon evolved into a system for providing support to the deeply sectarian Ministry of the Interior.

Beginning in May 2004, U.S. authorities contracted with USIS to create the first ERU. The non-sectarian force is supposed “to respond to national-level law enforcement emergencies......"

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