Saturday, May 19, 2007

'Welcome to Tehran' - how Iran took control of Basra

Britain has failed to stop southern Iraq falling into grip of militias

Ghaith Abdul-Ahad in Basra
Saturday May 19, 2007
The Guardian

"......"If the Prophet Muhammad would come to Basra today he would be killed because he doesn't have a militia," a law professor told me. "There is no state of law, the only law is the militia law."......

"When these religious parties say Basra is calm, that's because they control the city, and they are looting it," he said. "It's calm not because it's under the control of the police, but because all the militias have interests and they want to maintain the status quo. The moment their interests are under threat the whole city can burn."

Like many I spoke to, he said the appearance of a functioning state was largely an illusion: "The security forces are made of militiamen. In any confrontation between political parties, the police force will splinter according to party line and fight each other."......"

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