Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Iraqi Officials Claim 80% Or More Of Sons Of Iraq Integrated

In August 2010 two Iraqi officials claimed that 80% or more of the Sons of Iraq (SOI) had been integrated. First, on August 12, Zuhair Chalabi, head of the National Reconciliation Committee, said that 80% of the SOI in Baghdad had been given jobs, with 9,418 joining the Interior Ministry. He stated that around 12,000 in the province still needed to find public employment, and that would happen after security improved. Later in the month, the chief of the Tribal Affairs Department in the Interior Ministry was recorded as saying that 20% of all the SOI had been given jobs in the Interior and Defense Ministries, and 75% were in other government agencies. If these two reports are true, than the Iraqi government would finally be close to its commitment to integrate 20% of the SOI into the security forces, and the other 80% in other government positions. 

There are several problems about the officials’ remarks. First, hiring of the SOI has been on hold since the end of 2009 because of arguments over the budget and the security situation. At the end of July, the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) noted that only 41,000 out of 94,000 SOI, 45% of the total, had been offered jobs. If now 80-85% of the SOI had been integrated, 75,200-79,900 fighters, than that would mean 34,200-38,900 were given jobs in just one month. That seems far above the capacity of the Iraqi government. It should also be noted that the SIGIR has undermined Baghdad’s previous claims because it found that the Iraqi authorities count offering a job to an SOI as integration, whether they take it or not. Given that track record, it's hard to believe what the National Reconciliation and Tribal Affairs chiefs said.


AK News, “Govt official says no plans to disband Awakening Council,” 8/12/10

Al-Mukhtar, Uthman, “Iraqi Sunni Militia Fighters “Neglected,”” Institute for War & Peace Reporting, 8/26/10

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, “Iraq Sunni Militia Leader Fears Exit of U.S. Troops,” 8/26/10

Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, “Quarterly Report and Semiannual Report to the United States Congress,” 7/30/10

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