Sophia's Peace Work

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

A recent report from Greg Rollins of the Christian Peacemaker Team in Iraq

Even here in Jordan we hear stories of the excesses of the Iraqi National Guard.

A Police State
July 12, 2005

Most Iraqis dislike the police and Iraqi National Guard (ING). Many people think they are nothing but thugs with guns. The police and ING drive up and down the streets (or sidewalks) shooting into the air and blasting their sirens and horns so that people will move out of their way. They abuse their power. People tell CPT that they insult and harass people at checkpoints, and arrest and beat innocent civilians.
The other day I watched a police convoy pass on the street. You could hear the shooting from several blocks away. All the cars pulled over and waited for the convoy to pass. The first truck sped by with a gunman hanging out the window holding his Kalashnikov in one hand while he yelled. The following six trucks and vans looked the same. The shooting continued but it did not come from these
vehicles, it came from the last vehicle in the convoy. The policeman hanging out the back kept shooting into the air despite the fact that all the cars were out of the way.
This is a typical scene in Iraq. While the police and ING are not the only convoys that drive this way, the people are more disturbed by them than when the U.S. military does it. Iraqis have come to expect this kind of behaviour from their occupiers, but not from their new government.
In Fallujah, people told CPT that the police and ING are worse than the U.S. army. "I would rather be arrested by the U.S. than the Iraqis," one man said. "At least they would treat us better." He is not the only person CPT has heard this from. People from Fallujah told CPT that whenever a car bomb goes off, the police and ING shoot first and ask questions later. Even though the Fallujah curfew
starts at 10 pm, people are usually home shortly after 8 because the police and ING will harass them if they are not. A traffic cop said the police and ING even verbally and physically assault him when he directs traffic.
Recently a new fear has risen; fear of the Iraqi Special Forces (ISF). The ISF are a couple different brigades: the Wolf Brigade and Al Hussain Brigade. They are U.S. trained and work closely with the U.S. military, carrying out house raids, sweeps and major operations. People say they are brutal and that the Wolf Brigade is
made up of many anti-Saddam Iranians from a militia called the Badr Brigade. An official from the Interior Ministry told CPT that approval for these Brigades' violent behaviour goes all the way up to the U.S. Embassy. One family told CPT their three brothers were arrested by the Wolf Brigade one night and the next evening they saw the brothers on TV looking beaten and confessing to crimes they did
not commit. There are also stories about people being arrested by one of these brigades and found dead at the side of the road a few days later.
The reality of all this is that Iraq is now a worse police state under the U.S. than it was under Saddam. Sure, Iraq has a government, but the U.S controls it. While many people in the U.S. believe that Iraq is on the road to an American style of democracy, many Iraqis are convinced that there is no road and there will be no


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    Semper Fi!

    Bill Adams

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