New Iraqi Prime Minister's Task is Daunting, Prof. Ken Bode Writes in Weekly Op-Ed
May 26, 2006
May 26, 2006, Greencastle, Ind. - "The lesson learned from our experience in the Balkans -- that law and order must come first -- was ignored in Iraq," declares Ken Bode in today's Indianapolis Star. DePauw University's Eugene S. Pulliam Distinguished Visiting Professor of Journalism examines the need for Iraq's new prime minister, Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, to quell the violence that continues to rage in and around Baghdad.
Dr. Bode points out that "when Prime Minister Maliki submitted his Cabinet for parliamentary approval, he left three ministries vacant, the posts of Defense, Interior and National Security. Each of these ministries has its own security force, police and military numbering in the thousands. All of them must be brought under control if U.S. troops are ever to leave."
The professor cites a three-part New York Times report this week that took a detailed look at Iraq's police, army and security forces. "The series cited a U.S. Inspector General's report conclusion that it is impossible to know how many Iraqis have been trained, how many weapons were purchased and where they ended up. At this time, the number of independent, armed militias is roughly equal to the number of Iraqi soldiers and police officers. These are under no one's control. Criminals, terrorists and insurgents often impersonate police officers, wearing uniforms for sale at bazaars and flea markets."
A former network news analyst for CNN and NBC, Bode adds, "Our most costly failure in Iraq has been internal security. Looting, kidnapping, torture and assassinations are now the fabric of everyday life. The American military estimates that the violence kills 100 people a day in Baghdad alone. This insecurity is causing the middle and professional classes to leave Iraq, the very groups essential to the building of any future democracy."
In conclusion, the professor writes, "Maliki knows that there is little possibility to restore stability until the militias killing in the name of rival political sects are brought under control. Weapons must be in the hands of the government only, he says, and militias like the Mahdi Army, loyal to Moktada al-Sadr, the Shiite cleric, must be eliminated. But the suggestion that these militias, which have engaged in terror and assassination in revenge against the Sunnis, be 're-badged,' given new uniforms and folded into the new Iraqi security forces, is not likely to solve the problem. Prime Minister Maliki's problems are larger than we would like to admit."
Source: Indianapolis StarBack