Iraq - No Way Out?: "Michael Eisenstadt, from the influential Washington Institute for Near East Policy, argues in a recent study that Iraq should just forget about being able to defend itself against Iran. “For the foreseeable future, it will fall to the United States to counter Tehran’s capabilities,” he says. ..
According to the numbers Eisenstadt has culled from piles of contradictory data issued in recent months, there are now about 101,000 more-or-less trained members of the Iraqi internal security apparatus .. Plans are to double those numbers in the next year or so. But the forces that might provide defense or deterrence against Iraq’s foreign enemies are negligible. “The regular Iraqi Army has 4,507 troops,” writes Eisenstadt [and] by the end of next year it may have 27,000, and eventually perhaps 50,000. That is, about one tenth the size of Iran’s military, and less than half the size of Israel’s. [The air force has] No fighters. No bombers. Any banana republic has better air power.
“It’s clear the [American] intention has been to establish a protectorate,” says W. Patrick Lang, formerly one of the Defense Intelligence Agency’s top experts on the Middle East. A military like the one being organized in Iraq can’t threaten its neighbors, to be sure, but it can’t defend itself either—not even internally. The record in Fallujah makes that sadly apparent. The few thousand Iraqi government troops deployed there took a back seat while the Americans did all of the bombing, of course. And that will continue to be the case. The Americans also did most of the dying. At last count, eight Iraqi soldiers were killed in the same fighting that cost 51 Americans their lives.
So it’s no wonder that many Iraqis—including the majority of the insurgents, who still see themselves as fighting foreign invaders—simply don’t believe the American administration’s spin about pulling out of Iraq sometime soon. Iraq’s neighbors don’t believe that either. And neither should anyone else. " 10:47:58 PM