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For those who feel the war on terrorism
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Tuesday, April 15, 2003

Update: We aren't concerned about arms floating about in Iraq for nothing; below is a quote from Afghani Chief of Staff, Said Tayeb Jawad, from an article on the United Nations Association of the U.S.A. website:

'In a March 15 op-ed piece in the New York Times, Afghan President Hamid Karzai's Chief of Staff, Said Tayeb Jawad, asked for international assistance in disarming and demilitarizing Afghanistan, especially the major cities. Jawad stated that in the capital, Kabul, "but also in the provinces, where the rule of gun should have been mitigated by the presence of the International Security Assistance Forces, the sight of armed men is enough to deter most Afghans from participating in rebuilding their country." The presence of armed groups "can turn Afghanistan once again into a dangerous and explosive place, a menace to Afghans and the international community," he observed. "I am constantly approached by Afghans who are concerned about the persistent presence of the militias," Jawad wrote. To remedy this concern, he noted that Karzai had launched a "comprehensive disarmament, demilitarization, and reintegration program" a month earlier. "But the Afghans cannot do this alone," Jawad asserted. "We need the strong backing and unequivocal support of the United States and other members of the international community."'

Here's an excerpt from an Independent article by Andrew Buncombe:

'Mr Ali, a medical student who has lived and studied in Tikrit for the past six years, said if this was the end of the war he hoped that life would improve, that people's dreams could be fulfilled, now that President Saddam had been forced out. But he was not convinced that the securing of Tikrit and the abandonment of presidential palaces to looters marked the end of the war.'

'"People think the war will be starting if the Americans and British forces are here for a long time," he warned. "If they are here for a long time there will be problem. Iraqi people will not keep their mouths shut – they will rise up. People have taken the weapons of the Iraqi army – you cannot imagine how many there are in their houses."'

The possible scenarios arising from a well-armed Iraqi populace are many, from peaceful co-existence and contentment with a new government to outright civil war. At this point it may be a good idea for U.S. and British troops to start disarming Iraqi civilians. A bit of foresight now may pay off in the future, if (for instance) there should be a limited or widespread civil war. It would be difficult for a new Iraqi government to maintain order if every citizen is as well-armed as its army and police forces, especially if the U.S. and British armies quickly retreat after putting a new civilian government into place. As in Afghanistan, some outside help may be necessary to establish a new, professional military force. Both of these steps should be taken to ensure that there's a civilian agency with the capacity to police Iraq and to ensure that agency's superiority over potential local adversaries.

Andrew 2:52 PM : |


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