WASHINGTON, May 13 (UPI) -- Maj. Gen. David Petraeus, the American general charged with training a new Iraqi military force, got approved for a third star Thursday.
Petraeus, who most recently commanded the 101st Airborne Division, was approved for promotion to the rank of lieutenant general. Petraeus just returned from a year-long turn in Iraq, most of it spent in the northern city of Mosul where there was peace relative to Baghdad and Fallujah.
Noting his success, the military is sending him back to Iraq to head the Office of Security Transition-Iraq. His job will be to whip into shape some 200,000 Iraqi security forces, spanning the military, civil defense force, police, and facility protective service. Both the police and civil defense force have been wracked with problems: they are under-equipped, lack adequate training, and about half of them refused to fight when violence flared up in April in Fallujah and Ramadi. About 10 percent even switched sides.
Petraeus takes over at a time when the 1st Marine Division in Fallujah is trying out a new, ad hoc security concept -- creating a local militia with former Iraqi military generals in charge to keep order.