BAGHDAD, May 11 -- Negotiations are under way to bring a major Iraqi government paramilitary unit under clear control of the Interior Ministry, in line with an earlier announced reorganization aimed at putting all national police forces under a single commander, a top Interior Ministry official said Thursday.
The change is one of a series of steps started in March to rein in the disparate units -- commandos, public-order brigades and others -- in Iraq's Shiite-dominated Interior Ministry forces. Sunni Arab community leaders have charged that ministry forces were abducting, torturing and killing Sunni men.
Interior Minister Bayan Jabr acknowledged last month that death squads were operating within the ministry. Jabr has maintained that a comparative few ministry renegades or impostors in police uniforms were carrying out many of the crimes.
I bet the death squads killing rate will not fall due to the reorganization. Toss in another mosque bombing and the death rate will hit new highs.
According to many sources, at least 1500 Iraqis are killed monthly in the last 4 months. Many of the kidnapped or the arrested never return or found. A shop keeper in Baghdad asked to be executed in his shop when some masked (police) men wanted to arrest him. He refused to go with them, to be exposed to the brutal torture and insisted on being killed on the spot. The policemen did not say no. They shot him dead and left calmly. Thousands of Iraqis (One hundred thousands, according to a most recent report) are now displaced, fleeing neighborhoods where they are a minority, a very dangerous step towards dividing Iraq into different sectarian and ethnic regions.
The Prime Minister, Nouri Al-Maliky, admitted in a press conference May 9, 2006, that the death squads are part of the Iraqi police forces, but he said that they were working on their own, and that they used the police uniform, cars, and weapons in committing their crimes. He promised to "clean" the interior ministry of them!! But in his first day in office, Maliky invited the sectarian parties' militias to join the security forces!!
These militias aren't going to get reined in by a reorganization of the government.
Figures from the Ministries of Health and Interior showed that during April, 686 civilians were killed in politically motivated violence, along with 190 insurgents, 54 police officers and 22 Iraqi soldiers.
Eighty-two coalition troops-- including 76 Americans, three Italians, one Romanian, one Briton and one Australian--died in Iraq during the same period.
In theory the Iraqis in the government security forces have taken over much more of the fighting. Then why so few Iraqi soldier deaths? Also, the Iraqi soldiers are supposedly less well protected. Certainly their police are easier targets. Are the insurgents mostly trying to kill US soldiers? Or do Iraqi soldiers just avoid doing risky things like chasing after the insurgency? What gives?
Talabani acknowledged that the morgue statistics only accounted for bodies discovered in and around Baghdad and that the total number of civilian deaths was probably far higher.
During the first three months of the year, at least 3,800 civilians were killed in Baghdad, according to statistics compiled by the Los Angeles Times based on information from the morgue and police and hospital officials. That is the highest level of slain civilians since the U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein more than three years ago.
The majority of the victims in recent months appear to have been Sunni Arabs.
The Shias are striking back. Will this accomplish anything constructive? Can the Shias manage to kill so many Sunnis that the Sunnis will agree to accept rule by Shias? Or will the killing continue to escalate? The Shias have far greater numbers and money from their own government and US aid. So they ought to be able to drag away more people in the night than the Sunnis can manage to drag away.
Anyone want to hazard a guess on how events are going to play out in Iraq in the next 12 months?
|Share |||By Randall Parker at 2006 May 11 10:12 PM MidEast Iraq New Regime Failures|