Babylon Province Ready to Assume Control of Security Situation
Al Sadr protests a bust…
And, another province is ready to take over security from the MultiNational Forces.
Babylon Province (or Babil) south of Baghdad is ready to take over responsibility for security operations.
Iraqi-American Haider Ajina translates the following two articles from Iraqi news sources:
This is my translation of news reported by Buratha News on April,11,07
Babylon Governor affirms receiving security responsibility for the province with in a month.
The governor of Babylon Salam Almuslimawi affirmed that the province will receive security responsibilities from the Multi national forces with in a month. This news was released during a press conference held by the governor and Colonel Abdul-Amir Kamil Abdulah, commander of the IA (Iraqi Army) eighth Brigade and General Ruth commander of the multinational forces in the province. Almuslimawi added that receiving security responsibility for the province shows confidence in the local population and provincial security forces.
Almuslimawi said that he has formed a special committee made up of the provincial chief of police, Local IA commander and himself the governor. The committee is charged with supporting local security agencies, buildup new security units and prepare the province to receive security responsibility.
The governor added by saying that any group which has any affiliation with those who break the law, be it a tribe or any other group, will lay waste the dreams of those who sacrificed for Iraq and its people. Citizen must not take action through militias; groups must not break the law by forming armed militias. Any one who takes arms against the elected government will be punished to the full extent of the law and dealt with severely. General Ruth commander of the MNF in the province affirmed that units of IA will be supplied with modern weapons including 60mm Mortars. This will allow them to combat terrorists.
And, here is more news on the security situation:
Government to accommodate former army and security personnel
By Ali Khaleel for Azzaman, April 10, 2007
The government has decided to accommodate members of the former army, security and other organizations the U.S. administrator Paul Bremer had disbanded shortly after the fall of Baghdad in 2003.
The move signals a change of heart by a government which until recently insisted on excluding army and security personnel who served the former regime. Some members have already rejoined the newly established police, army and security organizations but the majority had been fired.
The U.S. decision to sack members of the former ministries of defense, information, and interior as well the various security and intelligence organizations is still seen as a major cause for much of the violence that has gripped Iraq since the invasion.
The armed groups currently resisting U.S. occupiers and the Iraqi government are led by former army and intelligence officers with the knowledge and tactics of waging successful guerrilla warfare. Commissioned and non-commissioned officers now have the chance to join the army. Only those with the rank of Lt. Colonel and above will be retired with full pension. Intelligence and security personnel will have similar opportunity.
The Saddam Fedayeen or commandos who are said to be fuelling the fight against the U.S. will also be accommodated. Members have the right to join the new army or opt for early retirement with full benefits. Those who cannot be accommodated due to the lack of vacancies will be moved to other ministries.
There are calls to abolish all the debaathification measures which made it illegal for former members of Saddam Hussein’s Baath party to assume government jobs. But the calls are meeting resistance especially from members in the ruling Shiite coalition.
Haider Ajina comments:
A government of reconciliation, and a province ready to take over its own security with our back up, these are true signs of fundamental progress.
Not just superficial progress, building painting or photo ops. These are the building block for a functioning democracy. A government willing to stretch out its arms to accept its former oppressors and give them a new chance as well as offering dignity to those who can not join the new Iraq by offering them a retirement.
These steps for reconciliation are fundamental for the survival of the new Iraq. This reminds me of what I have read of about efforts in the USA to reconcile after our civil war in the latter half of the 1800s.
The loudest calls from the Iraqi media and street demonstrations are often ‘We are All Iraqis’.
Speaking of demonstrations… The calls by Muqtada Alsadar for the 1 million protest March in Nejaf against the multi national forces was a total bust. Even with bussing in many demonstrators from Basra & Baghdad to Nejaf he could only muster 5-10 thousand demonstrators. Many reports say the 10 thousand number is exaggerated. Muqtada did not even show up himself to demonstrate. This for sure will weaken his standing.
He is also receiving no support from Shiite references; those references who support him are few and far between. Other demonstrations were most in protest of terrorist and sectarian activities. Notice that most of the banners carried by the demonstrator are in Arabic, not the usual banners in English aimed at western reporters. Most Iraqis will not read the English banners since it is not their native tong and may have a hard time reading them in the first place. The English banners are aimed at us and usually carried by those who appose democracy in Iraq and want their own version of dictatorship in Iraq. In a different corner of Iraq, Sunni tribes in Anbar province are helping with men and information to battle Alqaida in that province. These tribal leaders do this at tremendous risk. A number of them have been assassinated by Alqaida and Baathists. Even with these assassinations these tribes continue to defy these terrorists.
UPDATE: Haider writes in with this:
It just came to me how sad and disturbing it is that our military in Iraq have to fight on two fronts. The terrorist and religious fanatics on one front and our Media on the other (reading your post about Military estimates for the protest in Nejaf). The military should not have to use its assets to make sure the Media get it right when they can use their assets to fight the enemy. It is borderline treason to cause ones own military to divert assets from dealing with the enemy due to ones action.