Sovereignty is a Bitch

From Holden:

US forces in Baghdad were ready to stand down as the Iraqi army stood up, but the Shiite leaders of Iraq have rejected the Sunni Colonel US commanders chose to run the show.

Over the strong objections of U.S. commanders in Baghdad, the Iraqi government has nominated a new leader for a brigade that is set to assume control over some of the capital’s most sensitive areas. This dispute appears likely to postpone an already overdue handover by American forces for at least another month.

The 5th Brigade, 6th Division of the Iraqi army was scheduled to assume responsibility on Dec. 27 for the heart of Baghdad, including the perimeter of the fortified Green Zone, where the U.S. Embassy and many Iraqi government buildings are located. It was also to patrol the road to the city’s main airport.

But a transfer ceremony that was to be attended by top generals was canceled three days beforehand, after Iraq’s Defense Ministry said it would not approve the officer groomed by U.S. forces since August to command the unit, Col. Muhammed Wasif Taha, a 23-year Iraqi army veteran.


American officers who work with the unit reevaluated the brigade without Taha in charge and lowered its readiness rating from Level 1, meaning it can operate without U.S. assistance, to Level 3, which means significant help is required. That rating, in force for a month, made it officially unqualified for the proposed new responsibilities.