Two on the Iraqi Army

A spokesman for the American military command that oversees training of the Iraqi forces also said that while he did not know the security forces’ ethnic mix, he believed that there were more Sunni troops than the election data suggested.

From the New York Times, “Election Results Suggest Small Role For Sunnis in Security Forces.” Contrast with the details from Knight Ridder “How the story was reported:”

(More after the break. Split strangely to allow me to test a change.)

Similar reporting in the dangerous cities of Kirkuk and Mosul required the cooperation of Iraqi commanders of the Kurdish militia known as the Peshmerga.

For this story, I took a commercial flight from Baghdad to Irbil on Dec. 20 and, working with a Kurdish translator, contacted the Peshmerga leadership. Peshmerga leaders then opened many doors, arranging visits to Peshmerga militia units that turned out to be units of the Iraqi army.

For example, the Peshmerga arranged for Iraqi soldiers at a base in Irbil to meet me on the afternoon of Dec. 21 and take me – along with two pickup loads of soldiers with AK-47s and heavy machine guns – to the Kurdistan Democratic Party’s headquarters in Mosul.