Militias Forbidden? And US Hypocrisy
Coalition Provisional Authority spokesman Dan Senor, who has often attempted to peddle frankly false stories, was at it again on Wednesday. He said Muqtada al-Sadr was targeted because he maintained a militia.
Let’s see: In April of 2003, the US Department of Defense flew Ahmad Chalabi into Iraq with over a thousand of his militiamen, actually transporting them in US troop carriers. They brought a militia to Iraq.
The US had also made a political alliance with the Suprime Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, based in Tehran 1982-2003, the Badr Corps militia of which came back to Iraq from Iran, where it had been trained by the hardline Revolutionary Guards. Some 10,000 – 15,000 militiamen came back to Iraq. The US did make token efforts to disarm the Badr Corps, then gave up on the enterprise. The CPA appointed the leader of the Badr Corps to the Interim Governing Council.
The Shiite al-Da`wa Party has a paramilitary militia. It is a close ally of the US, and Ibrahim Jaafari, its leader, was appointed to the Interim Governing Council. The Iraqi Hizbullah leader Abdul Karim al-Muhammadawi has a militia of marsh Arabs, and he was appointed to the Interim Governing Council.
One might conclude that the US approved of private militias. It flew Chalabi’s into the country. It allied with SCIRI despite the latter’s militia. It appointed Da`wa leaders to the Interim Governing Council despite that organization’s militias. The Coalition have actively depended on Shiite militias to provide security to cities like Samawah and even parts of Basra.
So the message appears to be that you can have a large militia, but if you say you approve of the US and cooperate with it, you are not bothered and are even promoted onto the Interim Governing Council. Only if you have a militia but ask the US to withdraw from Iraq does your militia suddenly become illegal. Some Iraqis might conclude that the illegal act is criticizing the Americans, not maintaining a militia.