The Force, which has apologized for acts committed during the rule of now-executed Saddam Hussein, held ceremonies in major cities such as Baghdad and Basra, after the Army marked its 91st anniversary with a huge parade in the capital's heavily-fortified Green Zone on Friday.
However, official claims that Iraq's Security Forces are capable of maintaining internal security, if not defending its borders, have been dealt a blow, with insurgents having carried out 2 major sets of attacks since U.S. forces completed their withdrawal 3 weeks ago.
U.S. Forces dismantled the Iraqi Security Forces after toppling Saddam Hussein in 2003 in a move later panned for having put hundreds of thousands of men with military training out of work and creating a recruitment pool for insurgents.
Interior Ministry Security Forces, made up of City, Oil and Federal Police as well as Border Enforcement Officers and the facilities protection service, now number around 650,000, according to government figures issued in October.
But even with their high staffing levels, multiple reports have assessed they do not inspire public confidence and are unable to secure Iraq’s cities and towns without help from the Army.
On Sunday, the Interior Ministry issued a statement apologizing for past acts of Police Forces during Saddam’s rule.
“Security Forces in the Interior Ministry apologize for the practices that took place during the former regime. They were forced to carry out practices that were not their duties,” the Ministry said.
Despite the apology for past acts, Iraq’s Security Forces - the Police and Army - still regularly face criticism from rights groups for heavy handedness, random arrests and abuses.
Source: AFP; Photo: Reuters