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Last Updated: Monday, 21 June, 2004, 16:54 GMT 17:54 UK
Allawi's vision for Iraq security
By Dumeetha Luthra
BBC correspondent in Baghdad

Attack on an army recruiting centre in Baghdad
Iraqis involved in security have been the target of attacks
The interim Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi has promised tough new measures against the insurgents.

He has said he will reorganise the security forces to increase their effectiveness in combating the violence that is destabilising the country.

Since the new government was appointed on 1 June there has been a wave of car bombs, three senior Iraqi officials have been killed and the oil infrastructure has been seriously damaged.

Mr Allawi wants to put an Iraqi stamp on security in the country and wants to make it clear that it is Iraqi forces that will be protecting the country after the handover on 30 June.

He has acknowledged that Iraq still needs the help of the multinational force to deal with the threat posed by the daily bombing, and he has appealed to Arab countries to lend their support.

Many Iraqis are sceptical about what [Allawi] will deliver and he needs to gain credibility in their eyes
But, at the same time, he clearly wants to make changes in Iraq's security forces to show to the population that the handover of sovereignty is more than a change of name.

His plans are to streamline the command structure and bring all the branches of the security forces under his control.

He said elite counter-terrorism units would be set up and border security would be tightened to prevent foreign fighters entering the country.

Stinging criticism

Mr Allawi's government is in place only until elections can be held early next year.

The priority is to create an environment in which these elections can be held, and paramount is the issue of security.

Iyad Allawi
Allawi has received advance notice of controversial coalition operations
One of the keys is bringing in the old army.

In a stinging criticism, he said it was a mistake for the Americans to have dismantled it last year.

While Mr Allawi has thanked America for its help and acknowledges the need for further support, he wants to distance himself from the image that he is a US-appointed puppet.

Many Iraqis are sceptical about what he will deliver and he needs to gain credibility in their eyes.

He admitted the recent US air strikes on Falluja were not sanctioned by him, but that he was informed before they happened.

While he said this pattern would not be repeated after the handover, he still endorsed the strikes saying it was legitimate to hit terrorists wherever they are.

The question is whether the Iraqi troops will deliver when the moment comes.

During the fighting in April, some units of the Iraqi Civil Defence Corps and the police refused to fire against the insurgents.

Several police stations and army bases have already been hit by suicide car bombers.

They are worried that they will become targets and would rather stand by then get involved.

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