2006 May 11 Thursday
Iraq Government Tries To Consolidate Paramilitary Units

Got to get the death squads under a centralized command.

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.

One shop owner insisted on being killed immediately rather than getting tortured first.

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.

The number of killed coalition troops exceeded the number of killed Iraqi soldiers and police.

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?

The civilian death rate in Baghdad hit a post-invasion record in the first 3 months of 2006.

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

Stephen said at May 11, 2006 11:35 PM:

I think that negotiations to merge militia under the control of what passes for government in Iraq is actually a very sinister development. If we look behind the spin I think we'll see that what is really happening is that the faction represented by the relevant minister is merely merging its own para-military so as to give them access to government funding/facilities/intel/weapons. They'll still engage in internecine fighting, but they'll be able to do it with the benefit of government provided uniforms, weapons, vehicles and 'holding facilities'.

The US, as Occupying Power, presumably approves of this and accepts the consequences.

Rick Darby said at May 12, 2006 12:52 PM:

This is what 2,000 American lives and God knows how many hundreds of billions of dollars have bought us.

If this is the state of play after three years of occupation, what more can we accomplish? It's conceivable that if there had been a well-thought-out postwar plan when we went in (probably involving partitioning the country), things would have worked out reasonably well. If Bush had listened to lots of different views instead of just the ones he wanted to hear ... but what is more useless than "might have beens"?

Lawrence Auster said at May 14, 2006 6:21 AM:

As I've said before, Iraq is in key respects worse than Vietnam. In Vietnam, especially under Nixon, our forces were executing an actual strategy aimed at securing the safety and independence of South Vietnam. In Iraq, we're never had the shadow of a plausible pretence of a strategy aimed at securing the safety and self-sufficiency of Iraq. We've had transparent lie after transparent lie for three years.

Lyle said at May 15, 2006 1:13 AM:

Not very surprising: http://www.washtimes.com/national/20060515-122825-2467r.htm

On a side note, I have to say that I believe you do a disservice to many liberals as you often generalize to the point of falsehood. Just as the Republican party has left its base behind on many issues, the Democratic party has as well.

During the Clinton era I considered myself a moderate. Since then, the Republican party's blundering policies have emerged and the Christian conservative far right has come into greater power. Because of them, I now consider myself a reactionary liberal for two main reasons:

1. I don't have the conservative Christian way of looking at the world. I don't feel the need to restrict adoption by gays, believe that I can't force my opinion of abortion on others, and believe in the use of science to improve my life (and so be it if embryos are needed for that).

2. I think that the environment is worth protecting (because clean air and water are good) and that the current Republican administration doesn't recognize that in their policies. (This has nothing to do with Kyoto. This has to do with EPA enforcement funding and other policies that have come down.)

The Republican party has made me into a liberal from its shift - not mine.

As a liberal, I'm opposed to open immigration and amnesty because it is unaffordable. I believe that immigration should be restricted to 1. groups that consume less services than they require or 2. refugees from devastated areas. Of course the first group should heavily overbalance the second to fund the first.

It doesn't take much to see that the wrong group of people are handling this issue.

Randall Parker said at May 15, 2006 5:11 PM:


Yes, the Republicans have left me as well. I just do not see the Democrats as an acceptable substitute.

Generalizing about liberals: I've made the argument on a number of occasions that the Democrats have abandoned the blue collar workers. All the Democrats I know who agree with me on immigration, Iraq, and assorted topics (and I have friends and a business partner who all fit this mold) do not consider themselves liberals. They think the people who sorta control the popular defibition of "liberal" don't define it in a way that is compatible with them.

On the Right there's a battle on over who gets to define the term "conservative". The neocons were happy to be a separate subcategory until the term "neocon" became such a term of opprobrium. Now they want to lay claim to "conservative" even though they are more like militaristic market liberals. Or perhaps market Trotskyites. They sure as hell aren't Burkean conservatives. On the right I can call myself a paleoconservative to distinguish myself from the neocons. I do not know how to distinguish what you are (perhaps you really are a paleocon and don't know it?) and apologize if you think I'm shooting my rhetorical guns too widely. I do not know how to narrowly term some of the left hand side of the political spectrum.

BTW, you might find John O'Sullivan's essay on categories of the Right "Types Of Right" edifying. I'm an Evolutionary Conservative. But most people do not know what that means and so paleocon seems the best term I can use that will be widely (if often incorrectly) understood.

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