Saturday, December 31, 2005

Iranian backed militia puts on new uniform-- as Iraqi army.

When Al Capone wanted to make sure that he was free to carry out his rule of murder and mayhem in Chicago without any problem from local law enforcement, he didn't try to take on the Chicago police force in a shootout. He didn't need to. He made sure that he had 'his guys' where they needed to be to find out where the police were going, and what they were up to, and if necessary change what they were doing until he could move his operation elsewhere. He had many ways of achieving this. One was that he found out who (either in the police or with knowlege of their organization) could be bought, and paid them. Another was that he found out who could be intimidated or blackmailed, and bullied them. Another was that he found out who needed to be replaced, and killed them. And beyond all that, members of his organization applied for jobs in the police force, and some of them got them. And after Capone was gone, they remained there for decades (so that, for example, when the senior police officers ordered their subordinates to crack heads at the 1968 Democratic convention, well you know who the senior police officers were-- and the head-cracking junior officers are now senior officers in Chicago, and so it goes.) In fact, the only way that federal agent Elliot Ness was able to finally take down Capone's organization was to literally kidnap and carry along on raids any members of the Chicago police who got word of what they were doing, to prevent them from warning anyone ahead of time.

Now President Bush has said repeatedly that Iraqi police and security forces are getting ready to fight the insurgency, and as they come online then American forces will leave. Unfortunately, the shiite Badr militia, backed by Iran, and who last year briefly fought with British troops, have apparently joined the police and the military in large numbers, indicating that they are following the "Capone Strategy."

BAGHDAD, Iraq - The Iranian-backed militia the Badr Organization has taken over many of the Iraqi Interior Ministry's intelligence activities and infiltrated its elite commando units, U.S. and Iraqi officials said.

That's enabled the Shiite Muslim militia to use Interior Ministry vehicles and equipment -- much of it bought with American money -- to carry out revenge attacks against the minority Sunni Muslims, who persecuted the Shiites under Sunni dictator Saddam Hussein, current and former Ministry of Interior employees told Knight Ridder.
The officials, some of whom agreed to speak only on the condition of anonymity for fear of violent reprisals, said the Interior Ministry had become what amounted to an Iranian fifth column inside the U.S.-backed Iraqi government, running death squads and operating a network of secret prisons.

The militia's secret activities threaten to derail U.S.-backed efforts to persuade Sunnis to abandon the violent insurgency and join Shiites and Kurds in Iraq's fledgling political process. And by supporting Badr and other Shiite groups, Iran -- a member of President Bush's "axis of evil" that sponsors international terrorism, is thought to be seeking nuclear weapons and calls for the destruction of Israel -- has used the American-led invasion to gain influence in Iraq.

So this week, it seems that the Pentagon has in effect developed the Elliot Ness strategy:the Pentagon has assigned thousands of American troops to oversee Iraqi police units.

Thousands of American troops will be assigned to Iraqi police units to monitor their work and rein in those who abuse prisoners, according to US military officials in Baghdad.

The decision was made following a series of scandals involving Iraqi interior ministry forces including the discovery, last month, of dozens of emaciated and tortured inmates during a raid on a secret prison with almost 170 prisoners. American officials, who fear the influence of militias in the police force, have since found evidence of maltreatment in two other Baghdad prisons and another in Tal Afar in northwestern Iraq.

So, we are now assigning American troops to oversee the police and security forces who are supposed to be taking over for us. And here is a real question for President Bush: A lot of people on the left asked what the plan was to prevent the enemy from infiltrating the police and never had that answered (although to be honest we were mostly thinking of Sunni and former Baathist insurgents). The Coalition asked for all militias to disband and turn in their weapons. But now the Badr militia have new (and probably better ones) that we have generously paid for, and by now, short of disbanding the entire Iraqi police force and military and starting from scratch, they are so well infiltrated that we simply won't be able to get rid of them. The fact that the Bush administration never considered that they might pull this trick on us when they agreed to disband makes the Bush administration the 'CHUMP' of the year, for 2005 (as they were in 2003 when Iranian double agent Ahmed Chalabi gave us nightmare scenarios about Saddam being able to set up and launch massive chemical attacks against Kuwait and Saudi Arabia in 45 minutes to egg the them into getting rid of Saddam, something the Iranians wanted badly but could not accomplish in a decade of war, and in 2004 when the Iranians organized a fundamentalist pro-Iranian Islamic religious party that would sweep to victory in elections whenever we held them).

And President Bush calls developments in Iraq a sign of 'progress?' I guess-- but only if you are sitting in Tehran.

Cross posted at The Divided States of Bu$hmerika.


Advocate1 said...

This more or less demonstrates what I have been saying since 2003: The invasion of Iraq has made the Mid East safe for theocracy. I don't know what kind of democratic regime Bush thought he would impose by force, but life is not going to be pleasant for anyone except the Shi'ites when they eventually take control.

I think we have already seen an indication as to how this will unwind. A few months ago,the local leadership in Basra concluded a $1 billion dollar agreement (with Iran) in which they agreed to detect and remove land mines, update the military, and forge closer political and ecnonomic ties with--you guess it--Iran.

Am I the only person around here who thinks that a Southern Iraq moving closer to Cleric-dominated Iran is a genuinely bad idea?

Your comment also demonstrates that the Iraqi society is less a society than a group of clans forced together within arbitrarily drawn national boundries. There's a distinct tribal undertone to Iraq, but the Bush Administration never took this into consideration before it went to war. The situation with the police is just one manifestation of this unfortunate situation.

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