War on Iraq

Who Are Iraq's 'Outlaws'?

Sadr's militia refuses to disarm; issue further dividing Parliament.
Who are Iraq's Outlaws?
By Fatih Abdulsalam


Five years after the fall of Baghdad, Iraq has turned into a country of outlaws.

And the government, which itself is a bunch of outlaws, has recently embarked on massive military campaigns to strike "the outlaws" and their groups which it blames for the upsurge in insecurity.

But one basic condition for these military operations sponsored and aided by U.S. occupation troops must be justice and equity in dealing with the groups that have turned into umbrellas for the protection of the outlaws.

To single out one particular group and blame it for the lawlessness and violence is unfair.

The outlaws in Iraq are not all members of the Sadr movement and his Mahdi Army despite the fact that Sadr's outlaws have hitherto been almost free to act under the nose and eyes of the government and the U.S. occupiers.

The outlaw could be a cabinet minister who must be dismissed and brought to justice for corruption.

The outlaw could be anyone using religion as a means to implement their plans of hell that have terrorized the whole nation.

The outlaw could be a member of parliament in Baghdad, using his authority for personal, tribal or factional gains.

The outlaws are not only the militiamen of Mahdi Army.

They could be senior officials in the government, or leaders with sectarian inclinations and policies.

The outlaws may include police chiefs who act in complicity with the murderous militias.

The outlaws are those consultants in ministries whose advice is given and sought to achieve personal, tribal and factional gains.

The outlaws are those who take the constitution into their own hands, emphasizing only the paragraphs they see as useful to advance their sectarian and ethnic schemes while overlooking the paragraphs restraining their wild behavior and holding them accountable for their actions.

It is so difficult to determine who the outlaw in Iraq is because in only five years the U.S. occupiers have turned the whole country into a land where only outlaws can survive.

*****

Sadr's Mahdi Army Refuses to Disarm
By Abdulhussein al-Gharafi

A senior official of the movement led by the Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr has said that the group's military wing, the Mahdi Army, will not lay down arms as demanded by the government.

"The Sadr movement expresses reservations at the decision of this council on disarming the Mahdi Army. This council's decisions are not binding," said Liwa Sumaisem, head the group's political commission.

The Political Council for National Security announced in a meeting on Sunday that the Sadr and his movement will not be allowed to take part in the elections unless the Mahdi Army is disbanded first.

The meeting was attended by President Jalal Talabani and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

Maliki used military force early this month in a massive crackdown to tame Sadr's militias, but the Iraqi army proved ineffective in the confrontation and the Mahdi Army emerged even stronger after the fighting.

The inter-Shiite fighting has alarmed Iran and the Shiite-dominated government installed by the U.S. in Baghdad.

Sadr's militias are in control of large areas of Baghdad and they are a force to reckon with in southern Iraq, particularly Basra.

Fighting between his militiamen and U.S. occupation troops in the Iraqi capital is raging particularly in the predominantly Shiite neighborhood of Sadr City where at least three million people live.

Iraq security sources said at least 20 people were killed in the Sadr City on Sunday and more than 50 injured.

The U.S. has even deployed helicopter gun ships in bombing Mahdi Army militiamen who are dispersed among local civilians.

The Shiite quarters in Baghdad are among the most heavily populated areas in the world and street fighting as well as the use of heavy weapons is certain to cause massive damage and casualties among innocent civilians.

*****

Disbanding Militias Divides Parliament
By Nidhal al-Laithi

The call by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki for Sadr's Madhi Army to disband has divided the parliament with deputies urging other militia groups to disarm.

Deputies from the restive city of Mosul in an apparent move backing the Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr and his militiamen have asked for other militia groups to disarm namely Kurdish Peshmerga.

Other deputies doubted the prime minister had the authority to order the disbanding of militia groups whose formation and presence in the country is legalized.

Most militia groups operate under 'murky' legal cover and some are even paid by the government like the Kurdish Peshmerga militiamen.

All in all there are 28 militia groups in the country and one of them belongs to the prime minister himself and his political party al-Dawaa.

Preventing Sadr's movement from taking part in the forthcoming provincial elections will set a precedent in Iraq and political parties with militias, including Dawaa, view the move with a suspicious eye.

Mahmoud Othman, a senor Kurdish legislator and politician has said under electoral rules Maliki "has no power to deny a political party nominating candidates for election."

Sunni deputies were vociferous in calls for Maliki to add all militias to his order, including Kurdish Peshmerga.

They said Kurdish militia men operate "freely and unruly" in Mosul, its suburbs as well as the oil-rich city of Kirkuk.


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