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He notes, for example, that many of Iraq’s army divisions are more loyal to their political patrons than to the central government.

“The majority of these divisions are under the patronage of a political party,” he writes. “For example, the 8th [Iraqi army] division in Kut and Diwaniyah is heavily influenced by the Dawa Party [of Shi’ite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki]; the 4th IA division in Salahuddin is influenced by President Jalal Talabani’s Patriotic Union of Kurdistan; the 7th IA division in Anbar is influenced by the [Sunni] Iraqi Awakening Party, and the 5th IA division in Diyala is heavily influenced by the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq,” a Shi’ite political party with some ties to Iran.

“The political parties are able to maintain influence over the divisions because the commanders and many of the soldiers were hired by the party,” Mr. al-Jabouri wrote.

Iraq’s ambassador to the United States, Samir Sumaida’ie, told The Times that the report was too “alarmist” and “a little bit out of date.”

The ambassador, who served as Iraq’s interior minister in 2004, said, “We went through a time when it was a serious concern, and there was a time when the security forces could become part of the problem and not the solution. But we have gotten past that.

“There has been very active and serious purging of officers and personnel who acted in a sectarian or party political sense. Thousands were expelled. The culture that prevails now is much more encouraging toward a national awareness and loyalty to the law of the land rather than ethnic or sectarian affiliation.”

Mr. al-Jabouri’s critique in some ways echoes an e-mail made public last month by the New York Times, from a U.S. military adviser in Baghdad. Col. Timothy R. Reese concluded that Iraq’s military has little interest in becoming a Western professional force. But unlike Mr. Reese, Mr. al-Jabouri said the United States still has leverage and a window to push for reforms.

He recommended, for example, that Iraq’s Ministry of Defense begin moving battalions to different divisions to break up the monopolies of some political parties in various regions. The former police chief also said Iraq should “redouble efforts at national reconciliation,” remove corrupt ISF commanders, particularly in the Ministry of Interior, and enforce existing laws that prohibit political parties from meddling with the military.

On the last point, Mr. al-Jabouri said the government should allow more Iraqi media coverage of the military and national police and protect Iraqi judges investigating cases inside security services, particularly when they involve political parties.

His harshest charge was that the U.S. military has stood idly by as segments of the security services have become more beholden to political parties. This is a particularly stinging indictment considering that U.S. policy since 2003 has been to train the Iraqi police and military to be a bulwark against civil war.

While some recent actions by the Iraqi military suggest progress — such as an offensive in 2008 in the southern city of Basra that pitted mostly Shi’ite Iraqi soldiers against renegade Shi’ite militias — Mr. al-Jabouri says Iraqi forces have a long way to go.

“What the United States fails to realize is that the ISF itself is the battleground in the larger communal struggle for power and survival. Middle Eastern concepts of civil-military relations are fundamentally different than Western concepts,” he writes.

“Western militaries have developed a culture of political control over armed forces. While this may have been a tool for the development of Western democracies, this is not the established culture in either Iraq or the greater Middle East. In Iraq, there is a culture of ‘he who owns the security forces owns the politics.’ ”

Adm. Mullen said the U.S. mission in Iraq was well aware of the problem and was responding to it.

“I know this is something that Gen. [Ray] Odierno [commander of U.S. forces in Iraq] and his commanders address,” Adm. Mullen said.