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U.S. To Delay Transfer Of Iraq's Anbar Province

MELISSA BLOCK, Host:

NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro recently visited Anbar and found that some people are not so sure the province is ready to be handed over to the Iraqis.

LOURDER GARCIA: Still, both sides agree on one issue, the security handover should be postponed. Yahiya Taufik Abu Khader(ph) is a member of the security committee in the Anbar Provincial Council.

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YAHYA TAUFIK ABU KHADER: (Through translator) The Iraqi security forces here all have tribal alliances. If the Americans hand over control to them, they will be allied to their own sheikhs and it will be against the unity of Anbar.

GARCIA: Sheikh Abdul-Jabbar Abu Risha is one of the leaders of the Awakening movement in Anbar. The Al Bu Risha tribe's alliance with the Americans has brought them power and prestige and money through contracts. He has a different reason for not wanting to see the American handover.

ABDUL: (Through translator) Our security forces, in terms of equipment and supplies, are not in good shape. We need heavy weapons. The troops are not ready. I prefer to postpone the security handover.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

GARCIA: Some Ramadi citizens disagree. For them, the fighting has left a deep well of resentment. Hundreds died in Ramadi's battles. Salam Mahdi Saleh(ph) is a music shop owner. He says the handover should happen if it will speed the Americans on their way.

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SALAM MAHDI SALEH: (Through translator) The security situation is very good especially because of the Awakening groups and the Iraqi security forces. Because of them, we have just started feeling secure.

GARCIA: Lourdes Garcia-Navarro, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.