Iraqi forces aim at each other
COLIN FREEMAN IN BAGHDAD
THE first raid by all-Iraqi security forces on suspected terrorist hide-outs in Baghdad descended into chaos when members of the two teams involved turned their guns on each other, Scotland on Sunday can reveal.
The captain in charge of a detachment from the newly-formed Iraqi civil defence corps threatened to shoot anti-terrorist squad officers who were using strong-arm tactics against a taxi driver trying to get through a road block.
The anti-terrorist officers then drew their guns in a Hollywood-style stand-off that only ended when the captain’s own men defused the situation by surrounding him and persuading him to lower his weapon.
Tensions rose again later in the raid when one of the defence corps was accused of looting one of the suspects’ houses.
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Back at base, Daham blamed the infighting on the civil defence corps, which, like the rest of Iraq’s rookie security forces, he holds in low regard.
"Occasionally the police use a bit of force - we have seen the Americans do the same thing, you know," he said. "But what were the civil defence corps doing? You saw how that captain tried to shoot everybody. It is no good the Americans just giving them guns. I’ve been a policeman 17 years, and there’s a lot more to it than that."
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Formed five months ago from a cabal of experienced Saddam-era detectives, the occasional reversion by anti-terrorist officers to old-school methods does not always go down well with Iraq’s other fledgling security agencies.
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I know, why don't we just give EVERYBODY Kalashnikovs and split. Oh yeah, that's what we're setting up to do at the end of September or early October. Let's see if Bush declares a partial pullout of U.S. troops just before the election. After all, the Iraqis have had sovereignty sine 1 July. It's about time they did something with it. Right?