RealNews

Iraqi Minister Assembling Security Force

Iraq’s newly appointed interior minister is assembling a paramilitary force composed of former employees of the country’s security services and members of political party militias to pursue resistance fighters who have eluded U.S. troops and Iraqi police officers, according to Iraqi officials. In an acknowledgement that Iraq’s municipal police departments are too weak to combat Baathist insurgents and foreign terrorists, leaders of the country’s Governing Council want the force to include a domestic intelligence-gathering unit and be deputized with broad powers to conduct raids and interrogate suspects, the officials said. The force, as outlined by the officials, would be the most powerful security apparatus in Iraq and would give five political organizations headed by former opposition leaders an unrivaled role in the country’s internal security. Some independent members of the council, as well as diplomats in Iraq who have been informed of the plans to form the domestic paramilitary force, fear that it could be used as a tool by a future government to suppress political dissent or target enemies — as similar forces have been used in many other Arab nations. Full Story

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