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Focus on Iraqi security situation

World Affairs Talk | Jan 19, 2007

The war in Iraq was between two nations when the US invaded the country to overthrow Saddam Hussein’s government. After accomplishing this mission, there was an American occupation in Iraq and armed Iraqi groups opposed the move. The insurgency gradually developed into a civil war between Iraqi factions when decade long dispute between Sunnis, Kurds and Shiites started in full pace with the US force supporting the appointed government. Fighting against the US as an occupying power also continued. 

Pattern of insurgency changed for worse since the first heady days after the US invasion. Reality in Iraq is that, civilians are massacred by car bombs and by the raiding death squads every day. Foreign soldiers are shot at by Sunnis when they try to defend Shiites and by Shiites when they try to defend Sunnis. 

A new business that is of ‘arms supply’ is forming a major concern in the country. Now that Sunnis are fighting daily clashes with the better-equipped Shia ministry of interior forces, they obviously needed new sources of weapons and money. Locals are taking this opportunity to make a tidy profit selling weapons and ammunition to them. Some of the arms suppliers have good connections because they worked as interpreters with the US army in Baghdad before. A small box of AK-47 bullets is $450 and the taxi drivers who transport the ammo get $50 for each shipment. The price of a Kalashnikov rifle has risen from $300 to $400 in just a span of 1 year time. The inflation in arms prices reflects Iraq's plunge toward civil war but, largely unnoticed by the outside world. The pattern of Sunni insurgency has also changed drastically towards the worst. Arguably, supply of arms comes from the foreign contacts. 

Sunnis have stronghold in west Baghdad. They spent the last three years fighting the Americans but now willing to talk to them, not because they wanted to make peace but because they saw the Americans as the lesser of two evils. In Ramadi there was still jihad against the Americans because there was no Shia to fight, but in Baghdad, Sunnis militant group only attacks the Americans if they were seen with Shia army forces.

Every time security forces arrest a Shia, Sunnis take their car / belongings / valuables and sell it to fund their fighters. The mosque sheik or the local commander collect the money and then distribute it among the fighters; some get fixed salaries, others are paid by "operations", and the money left is used for ammunition. 

Iraq's Interim Constitution serves as a baseline for a united Iraq. It includes several measures recognizing the rights of minorities, including the recognition of the Kurdish language, along with Arabic, as an official language and the listing of several important "fundamental rights" that may not be taken away even by the act of the legislature. If all these three parties obey this constitution, the situation of being in civil war will diminish.

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