Iraq has taken responsibility for three out of four army divisions in the north.

The Middle East Newsline has learned that three of the four Iraq Army divisions in the north have come under the control of the Iraqi Ground Forces Command. They said the Iraqi command of these divisions have enabled U.S. combat units to assign additional manpower to training, reconstruction and intelligence issues.

“They still need to make improvements in their overall manning, their equipping and their general professionalism, and we continue to work that each day,” said Maj. Gen. Benjamin Mixon, commander of MultinationalDivision North.

Mixon said Iraq Army units in the north have achieved 85 percent manpower level. He said the Iraqi units continue to experience significant equipment shortages.

In contrast, officials said, U.S. troops have been serving in what they termed an “advise-and-assist role.” They cited operations against suspected al-Qaida leaders, financiers and improvised explosive devices cells.

In a briefing, Mixon said the Iraq Army was expected to take responsibility for its fourth and final division in the summer of 2007.

Mixon has added nearly 400 U.S. soldiers to his military transition teams and 33 additional teams to help train the Iraq police.

A weak point in the Iraqi Forces remain those responsible for border security. Officials also cited the strategic infrastructure battalions, those that secure critical oil refining and delivery infrastructure.

Many of the officers in the Iraqi strategic infrastructure battalions were deemed as corrupt. Officials said dozens of them have been dismissed for working with insurgents or stealing oil.

In mid-March, officials said, the U.S. Army has added 700 troops in the Diyala province, the worst of the four northern provinces. They said coalition forces have killed more than 175 insurgents since early January.

David Bedein can be reached at His Web site is

©The Bulletin 3/16/2007 Iraq Now Controls Three Out Of Four Army Divisions


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David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: and A new site,, will be launched very soon.