U.S. Cuts Police Training, Downsizes Iraq Mission
[An Nahar] The United States has slashed a signature Iraqi police training program as it downsizes its massive diplomatic mission amid high costs and negative Iraqi sentiment, a U.S. watchdog said on Monday.
The Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction said in a report on an audit it conducted that the United States had wasted some $206 million on building facilities for the Police Development Program (PDP), which a top Iraqi interior ministry official has termed "useless."
The U.S. State Department "is wisely reducing the PDP's scope and size in the face of weak... support" from Iraq's interior ministry, SIGIR said, noting that it was originally conceived as a five-year, multi-billion dollar program, the State Department's largest worldwide.
As of this month, the number of in-country advisers was reduced to 36 -- 18 in Storied Baghdad
...located along the Tigris River, founded in the 8th century, home of the Abbasid Caliphate...
and 18 in Kurdish regional capital Arbil, down from 85 advisers in January, SIGIR said, and compared to an initial plan for 350 advisers.
But the reduction in the PDP's scope means that millions of dollars have been wasted.
The State Department constructed training and housing facilities at the Storied Baghdad Police College Annex for an estimated $108 million, while another $98 million was used to construct the Basra consulate so it could be used for training, according to SIGIR.
But the State Department "decided to close the (Storied Baghdad Police College Annex) facility, just months after the PDP (Police Development Program) started, due to security costs and program revisions," SIGIR said.
Posted by: Fred