April 27, 2006


Iraq cleric calls for disarmament (BBC, 4/27/06)

Ayatollah Ali Sistani, one of Iraq's most senior Shia clerics, has called for the next government to dismantle militias operating in the country.

The grand ayatollah said only the government should have weapons, and its forces should be loyal to the nation - not to individual political parties. [...]

During a meeting in Najaf, the ayatollah told Mr Maliki he had to end bombings, drive-by shootings and kidnappings, fight corruption and restore electricity and clean drinking water.

Ayatollah Sistani also urged Mr Maliki to form a government of leaders who would put the national interest above "their personal, party or sectarian interests".

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 27, 2006 4:12 PM

Yes. Let's hope the democratic Iraqis got assurances on these matters from Maliki before accepting his prime ministership.

Posted by: pj at April 27, 2006 4:23 PM

Turn in all your weapons to the government; they're here to help you.

Posted by: LouGots at April 27, 2006 7:16 PM

The state needs to have a monopoly on organized violence.

Posted by: ghostcat at April 27, 2006 7:38 PM

Lou, I understand your concern, yet these groups in Iraq are not actual militias, but private sectarian paramilitaries.

Sistani is really the only impressive figure in all of this. Assuming he is not some bizarre Khomeini figure in disguise (and I have not seen evidence as such), the Iraqi people are blessed to have him. He's old. I hope he lives long enough to see our troops leave and Iraq have a stable government.

Posted by: Chris Durnell at April 27, 2006 7:53 PM

And, of course, our government has had a monopoly on violence for centuries.

Posted by: oj at April 27, 2006 7:58 PM

They don't have to get rid of the guns, just the unregulated militias.

Posted by: Pepys at April 27, 2006 9:27 PM

Just the notion that you can use a gun at will.

Posted by: oj at April 27, 2006 9:30 PM

No, just the notion that you can use your gun in concert with others in the absence of state authorization.

Lone gunmen are no threat to a gov.

Posted by: Pepys at April 27, 2006 10:07 PM

The militias have, in most cases, divided loyalties. They were created by Iran from groups of exiled Iraqis, funded by Iran, trained by Iran, and lived in Iran for more than twenty years until Saddam's regime fell. They are, in many ways, as much Iranian as Iraqi. And they have been extensively infiltrated by Revolutionary Guards with fake Iraqi IDs.

Thus, dismantling the militias is essential to assuring that Iraq becomes a genuinely independent country, not an Iranian satellite state the way Syria and Lebanon have become.

Posted by: pj at April 27, 2006 10:25 PM

Hardly. They've accepted Iranian help as the Contras accepted ours, but their fight is on behalf of Shi'ite Arabs against Sunni Arabs for the future of whatever's left of Iraq after the Kurds go off on their own.

Posted by: oj at April 27, 2006 11:59 PM

Guns, buns. But the explosives, they have to give them up. Who would defend such a right here in the US? Not even Lou.

No rockets, no mortars, no C-4, no detonators, no cord, no grenades. If they want to restrict people to handguns and shotguns, that's probably OK, too. After all, what are the authorities going to think if hundreds of loud young men bearing AKs start marching around?

Do the Iraqis really want to be seen in the same light as Hamas and Islamic Jihad? Probably not.

Posted by: jim hamlen at April 28, 2006 1:24 AM

But the explosives, they have to give them up.

So how you gonna get them back on the farm once they've given up their diesel and fertilizer, and copper tubing? And cell phones, and garage-door openers.

Posted by: joe shropshire at April 28, 2006 1:44 AM


Cut off their fingers if they flunk a detection test?

The US Army won't do that, but Iyad Allawi would. Maybe the Maliki fellow will, too.

Posted by: ratbert at April 28, 2006 8:32 AM