Iraq’s police and armed forces will not have the capability to secure the country from the threat of insurgents by the time the United States hands power to an Iraqi government on June 30, the top U.S. administrator said Sunday.
The comments by L. Paul Bremer aimed to defend the continued heavy presence of U.S. troops in Iraq after the occupation officially ends, but also delivered a rare, blunt assessment to the Iraqi people.
“It is clear that Iraqi forces will not be able, on their own, to deal with these threats by June 30 when an Iraqi government assumes sovereignty,” Bremer said in a statement issued by the U.S. coalition.
“Events of the past two weeks show that Iraq still faces security threats and needs outside help to deal with them. Early this month the foes of democracy overran Iraqi police stations and seized public buildings in several parts of the country,” he said. “Iraqi forces were unable to stop them.
In the worst violence in Iraq since the fall of Saddam Hussein, U.S. troops have been battling Sunni insurgents in the central city of Fallujah and an uprising by Shiite militiamen in the south.