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Volume 450: debated on Wednesday 11 October 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what targets have been set for military reform in the Iraqi provinces of (a) Al Basrah, (b) Al Muthanna, (c) Dhi Qar and (d) Maysan; and what progress has been achieved. (85620)

We work in close partnership with the Iraqi Security Forces and civil authorities, to support the development of robust, self-reliant and credible Iraqi security forces.

The UK is responsible for training and sustaining the 10th Division of the Iraqi army based in Multi- National Division South East (MND(SE)). Significant progress in reforming the Iraqi army has been made, with nine out of 10 Battalions for the Southern Division already formed and basic trained. The formation and training of the remaining Battalion is due to be completed by the end of the year.

The coalition targets set for the Iraqi army and Iraqi Police Service (including the Department of Border Enforcement) in the four provinces command of MND(SE) are set against a range of key capability areas, including leadership, command and control, intelligence and logistics.

Preconditions are also set, and jointly assessed with the Iraqi Government, of the necessary security and governance preconditions for the hand-over of Provinces to full Iraqi control. These assessments include: the insurgents' threat level; the Iraqi Security Forces' ability to take on the security task; the capacity of provincial bodies to cope with the changed security environment; and the posture and support available from Coalition Forces.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Iranians have been arrested in and around Basra since the end of Saddam Hussein's regime. (89290)

Available records show that one Iranian national was detained by UK forces in Multi-National Division (South East). He was interned in the divisional temporary detention facility in Shaibah in 2003 and subsequently released. We do not hold records on individuals arrested by the Iraqi Police Service.