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Newsweek: Irag - The Lebanon Scenario

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RamboLiberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-03 07:30 PM
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Newsweek: Irag - The Lebanon Scenario
http://www.msnbc.com/news/966400.asp?0dm=s13Ak

Iraq under occupation is starting to look uncomfortably similar to Lebanon during its long civil war. The central government exists only in name, and neither police nor occupying troops are able to keep the peace.

IN RESPONSE, militias organized along ethnic and religious lines are taking up arms. Neighboring countries patronize friendly groups, or try to undermine rival ones. Arms smuggling over the borders is rife. Massive but anonymous car bombs assassinate opponents, terrorize civilians and intimidate foreigners. Even kidnapping has returned as a political tactic.

Its dangerous to overemphasize historical parallels, but also useful to examine similaritiesparticularly at a time when senior U.S. officials, like Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, are arguing that Iraqis should take a greater role in securing their country. Many leading Iraqis want the Americans to hand over power altogether; they just dont agree on who or what should replace them. Rival groups dont trust one another. And many want to form their own militiasnot in order to fight any other group, they insist, but for self-defense.

How U.S. forces deal with nascent militias may well determine the future of the country. Already the Coalition has worked with local fightersin part because they depend on Iraqis for intelligence. U.S. Special Forces cooperated closely with Kurdish peshmerga guerrillas, some 70,000 strong, during the invasion. And the Iraqi National Congress still maintains an armed force, composed mainly of glorified bodyguards, but which conducts its own operations and detentions. The Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), which was based in Iran before the war, has a 15,000-man militia called the Badr Brigades. The militiamen had been keeping a low profile until the assassination of SCIRIs leader, Ayatollah Mohamad Baqir al Hakim, in a massive car bombing at a sacred shrine in Najaf last month. Then it was the Badr Brigades that took over security at the shrine and in much of the city. That in turn prompted the U.S. commander in Najaf to issue a warning last week that militias there had to disband by Friday. He was only partially obeyed. How many ayatollahs can we sacrifice? says Adel Abdul Mehdi, political-bureau head of SCIRI. We have to ensure our own security.
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Capt_Nemo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-15-03 07:56 AM
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1. six months ago I was talking of a parallel with the Israeli
occupation of Lebannon. Where were Newsweeks analysts back then?
They must have been too busy sucking up to the shrub and had no time
to think about this matters. :eyes:
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