Friday, October 20, 2006

Heck of a job, Maliki!

By Sami Moubayed
Asia Times

"The Iraqi police have been infiltrated by militiamen, who are using official equipment and funds to kill other Iraqis in the Iraqi Army, controlled by the Sunnis. Death squads roam the streets, killing over 100 Iraqis per day. Under Maliki, the death toll has risen to over 3,000 Iraqis killed per month. On the anniversary of his 150th day in power, 50 people were killed in Mosul, Kirkuk and Baquba, and another 100 were wounded, while 33 unidentified bodies - all shot in the head, were found in Baghdad. Earlier in the week, 60 beheaded bodies were found.

Under Maliki, according to a report in the London-based daily Al-Hayat, Iraqi men are carving tattoos on their bodies, with their home address and telephone number. This is so that if they are killed, mutilated or beheaded, police would be able to identify their bodies and send them back to their families for burial.

Although unconfirmed, some claim that the abundance of suicide bombers in Iraq under Maliki is a result of a trick carried out by the militias and the Ministry of Interior on ordinary Iraqi citizens. They offer young men well-paying, non-military jobs, which are quickly snapped up due to the terrible economic conditions, with no questions asked. While on duty, they are sent in a car to a certain location and told to call a certain person when they get there. The employee does not realize that his mobile phone is connected to a hidden car bomb. When he makes the call, his car explodes.

It proves that to get things done, the prime minister needs the consent of Muqtada, the militia leader who helped bring him to power in May. Muqtada, after all, shares identical views with Maliki over the partitioning of Iraq, which both oppose, as well as on Iranian-Iraqi relations. Although Maliki has pledged to clamp down on the militias, he has done nothing to control, or even curb, the powers of the Mehdi Army that is run by Muqtada.

Instead of objecting to the prime minister's alliance with the rebel Muqtada, the United States is in fact encouraging Maliki to solidify his ties to him. As long as he has the backing of the cleric, the Americans believe, Maliki will remain legitimate in the eyes of ordinary Shi'ites. On Wednesday, White House spokesman Tony Snow said that that the US hoped Muqtada would cooperate with the Maliki government and play a constructive role in Iraq. This was shocking for Iraqi observers, because of Muqtada's anti-American history.

Khalaf states that "the army is more acceptable to the Iraqi street than the police force because of the accusations from some parliamentary and governmental groups who say that the police are supporting the militias and are involved with the death squads". The officers in the army are often attacked by militiamen wearing police uniforms and driving cars from the Ministry of the Interior. Missiles are fired at Iraqi soldiers from districts supposedly under control of the ministry.

With all of this going on in Iraq, it is not surprising that there is a lot of talk about a coup being planned to oust Maliki. Rumor has it that the newly created Iraqi Army, along with former officers in Saddam Hussein's forces, will stage a coup to topple Maliki and replace him with a strong prime minister who is able to clamp down on the militias."

No comments: