In closed-door meetings, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, the General Commander of the Iraqi Armed Forces, complained about American foot-dragging over adequately arming and improving the capabilities of the Iraqi Army. This is the case because the Americans are providing antiquated weapons produced in Eastern Europe, the quality of which is far inferior to the American weapons, and even recent Russian ones. The Americans purchase these Russian weapons from East European countries trying to get rid of them as part of a program to modernize their armaments and harmonize their armies with the other nations in the European Union.
The American companies who won contracts to supply the Iraqi Amy found these old weapons at rock-bottom prices. They are considered little more than scrap metal by experts. This allows them to pocket what's left over from the massive appropriations designated for the creation of the "modern" Iraqi Army. Consequently, neither the new ranks of the Iraqi Army nor those of the police have received anything but old weapons, which are the object of ridicule by average Iraqis. This is in contrast to the Iraqi resistance, militias, and other armed groups confronting the Army, which carry more advanced weapons that in many cases surpass those of even America's coalition partners in Iraq. Observers of Iraqi affairs believe that the American companies and Iraqi politicians, in addition to corrupting the bidding process itself, have found additional opportunities for obtaining ill-gotten wealth in equipping the Iraqi Army.
In addition to that, these observers believe that for a number of reasons both local and regional, the Americans don't want to create a strong Iraqi Army - it has been decided that it will not exceed 50,000 soldiers. The local reasons include the fear of the Americans that the Iraqi Army could come under the domination of a single Iraqi sect, which would give that group the coercive power to impose its will on the rest of the nation. As for regional considerations, the Americans don't want a repeat the experience of the pre-war status quo, wherein the strength of the Iraqi Army far outstripped its defensive needs, thereby constituting a threat to Iraq's neighbors.
Now, as the chorus in Washington calling for a timetable for withdrawal grows louder, discussions are beginning to center on the need of the Iraqi Army to fill the resultant power vacuum, something they cannot accomplish given their weak numerical strength and the still weaker weaponry of the so-called "modern Iraqi Army." Consequently, reports also discuss the need to revive the model of the old Iraqi Army which was less corrupt and not dominated by a particular sect. This would be done by dividing the force's leadership between Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds. Such a balance is not easy to obtain and cannot possibly be realized in a short period of time. Rather, it requires U.S. forces to remain, even though increasing losses have the Americans pondering exit strategies from the Iraqi quagmire.