Ethnic and religious divisions in Iraqi Army and police units are undermining efforts to hand over security to native forces.This is the story I was chasing when I got unceremoniously evicted from Iraq by the U.S. Army in February. I managed to finish the story, however, and it ran in yesterday's Washington Times:Firefights, mortar attacks and roadside bombings attributed to a combination of Sunni insurgents and disaffected locals continued unabated in and around Balad in the wake of the transfer of control, leading to the reassignment of the Kurdish battalion from the relative security of Iraqi Kurdistan.The large Sunni minority living around Balad has protested the Kurdish unit's presence, said U.S. Army Lt. Col. David Coffey, a member of an ad hoc military transition team that is helping train the Kurdish battalion.He said the residents have resisted the presence of the Kurdish battalion with such force that commanders are afraid to let the soldiers leave their base, which is adjacent to a U.S. compound outside the city. Read the full article here.-- David Axe
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