. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

U.S. Records Small Steps Forward

BAGHDAD, Iraq -- More troops are needed to restore order in Iraq, the top British military official here acknowledged Sunday, as the U.S. military catalogued small steps forward in the enormous and enormously complicated task.

Speaking on BBC television, Alex Renton of charity group Oxfam said the United States and Britain must "get enough people on the ground to restore people's sense of a civil framework. ... There are not enough soldiers or policemen in Iraq at the moment to do that."

Major General Tim Cross, British head of the international section of Iraq's civil administration, said that was a "very fair summary. There is no doubt that bringing back to life a nation is not easy ... but ... things are definitely getting better."

Speaking to BBC radio, former U.S. CIA director James Woolsey agreed the troop requirements in Iraq were large, saying about 100,000 soldiers would be needed.

"I think it is very important for the U.S. government to realize that both in Iraq and in Afghanistan it is important that we establish order and begin to move the country toward decent government," said Woolsey, who was a staunch advocate of invading Iraq.

UN officials in Baghdad said that unsafe roads, urban banditry and the problem of illegal guns were hampering humanitarian efforts.

The U.S.-led coalition has ordered Iraqis to disarm by June 14. But the disarm order was not a blanket one -- small arms are allowed in homes and businesses.

Meanwhile, the UN World Food program said it is buying 1.2 million metric tons of local harvest -- mostly wheat and barley. The money will come from funds attached to the UN oil-for-food program, spokeswoman Antonia Paradela said. Nationwide distribution will begin June 1.

The U.S. military said that it captured Almad Kalif, a suspected ringleader in recent unrest in Fallujah, 60 kilometers west of Baghdad, on Saturday. They also caught 17 other suspects, the military said.

Protests against the U.S. Army's presence in Fallujah last month turned violent, with U.S. soldiers firing on crowds.

The U.S. military said it recently helped aid agencies, private companies and governments with 63 humanitarian projects, including moving 9 tons of food and medical supplies flown in by Royal Jordanian Airlines. The military also reported removing 60 truckloads, or about 58 tons, of captured ammunition out of Baghdad on Saturday.

Building democracy may be the most difficult task, as was illustrated Saturday when voting for a municipal council in Kirkuk ended in disarray.

Over the weekend, ethnic tensions exploded and 11 people were killed in Kurdish-Arab clashes in Kirkuk. Saturday's vote took into account the ethnic divide -- 39 U.S.-approved electors from each of the city's main ethnic groups -- Kurds, Arabs, ethnic Turks and Christians -- voted for six council members from their ethnic group. Six independents were also chosen by 144 delegates from a U.S.-approved list of 12.

When the names of independent delegates were announced Saturday and no Arabs were among them, members of the Arab delegation threatened a walkout. Ethnic Turks also protested that the list included no one from their ranks.

Major General Ray Odierno, the commander of the 4th Infantry Division and the U.S. military leader in the Kirkuk area, tried to calm the situation by saying he would review the independents issue and make a decision by Sunday. That outraged many independents.

The Kirkuk experiment in democracy is to be completed by Tuesday with the council choosing a mayor.

In Karbala on Saturday, Mohammed Baqir al-Hakim, head of Iraq's Shiite Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution, addressed cheering Iraqis and called for an end to U.S. "occupation."