Paramilitary: October 12, 2004


Iraq has a particular problem with its 3,600 kilometers of land borders. Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iran, Turkey and Syria all share borders with Iraq. Iran and Syria are a particular problem because both of these nations are allowing men and weapons to cross over and aid anti-government forces inside Iraq. The solution is a series of 300 fortified bases for 32,000 border guard troops. The border force would also control access to Iraqs ports. The bases are actually forts, as the smugglers in this area have been heavily armed and feisty for thousands of years. But at the moment, there are only 12,000 people in the border force, and only 41 of the forts are operational (with another 75 under construction, and another 151 scheduled for construction.) 

The coast defense force is only 500 personnel, and over 400 of those have already been recruited. They are equipped with 33 small speedboats, and five 89 foot long gunboats. 

But the big problem isnt training border guards and building forts. Corruption has long been a problem with the border guard, even when Saddam was in power. A border patrol isnt a lot of good if anyone with a big enough bribe can walk right in. Smugglers are the biggest offenders here, but terrorists and anti-government militia supporters can also buy their way past corrupt border guards. So recruiting is trying to break the ancient cycle of corrupt border guards. No one is terribly optimistic that this effort will succeed, but if it is not tried, there is no chance of there ever being an honest border guard force.


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