by Chris Kulczycki
Sat Dec 10th, 2005 at 09:12:40 AM EST
Today's Washington post is reporting that Poland has requested more military aid from the US if it is to stay in Iraq.
Meanwhile AP, via the Post, reports that Poland's prime minister has ordered a probe of the CIA prison affair.
Does Poland have a strong desire to remove it's forces from Iraq or is it simply taking advantage of the situation? Most Poles don't want troops in Iraq and the prison and torture allegations may put more pressure on the government. In any case, this is from the Post:
Poland has asked for additional U.S. military assistance to modernize its own forces as it considers whether to extend the presence of Polish troops in Iraq next year, according to Polish and U.S. officials.
Although Warsaw has stopped short of conditioning its Iraq decision on the request for aid, it has made it clear that the two are linked, saying the $600 million it has spent on the Iraq operation has siphoned funds from plans to upgrade its own military.
Radoslaw Sikorski, defense minister in Poland's new conservative government, raised the issue in a meeting here this week with Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and presented other Pentagon officials with a list of desired spending options. -snip-
Polish troops have played a key role in Iraq, commanding a multinational division in a region south of Baghdad and helping to train part of the new Iraqi Army's 8th Division. Under political pressure at home to end its involvement in Iraq, the Warsaw government trimmed its contingent this year from 2,500 troops to about 1,500 and is due to decide on the rest by the end of this month.
"We're a couple of weeks away from certifying jointly with the U.S. that Iraq's 8th Division is capable of taking command of the area" where Polish forces have operated, Sikorski said. "So we think our mission is pretty much complete. We could hand over control in January and be done with it."
Bowing to internal pressure Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz has ordered an investigation of CIA prisons and torture in Poland. Will Poland finally stand up to Bushco? From the Post
Poland to Probe Allegations of CIA Jails
The Associated Press
Saturday, December 10, 2005; 7:38 AM
WARSAW, Poland -- Poland's prime minister said Saturday that he has ordered a probe of allegations that the CIA ran secret prisons for terror suspects on Polish territory.
"I am commissioning a detailed check in all places possible to precisely check if there is any proof that such an event took place in our country," Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz said in televised remarks.
"It is necessary to finally close the issue because it could be dangerous to Poland," he said.
These are both positive events and might, I hope, signal a small move by Poland away from US influence.