[Marxism] Baathist remnants
lnp3 at panix.com
Sun May 1 07:49:58 MDT 2005
LA Times, May 1, 2005
THE CONFLICT IN IRAQ
Iraq to Purge Corrupt Officers
Commandos may also be used in a crackdown on insurgents and their allies.
The Shiite leaders' plans are further unsettling Sunnis.
By Patrick J. McDonnell and Solomon Moore, Times Staff Writers
The new Shiite leadership appears determined to use its control of the
Interior Ministry as a spear point in coming offensives. Tens of thousands
of police officers and other troops are under its command.
Authorities plan increased deployment of the Interior Ministry's special
commandos, known as Maghawir (Fearless Warrior) brigades.
The units are largely composed of well-trained veterans of Hussein's
military who worked closely with U.S. forces during pitched battles last
year in Najaf, Fallouja and the northern city of Mosul. Their loyalty to
the new Iraq has been tested, officials say, despite their service as
commandos in Hussein's regime.
"We get involved once the police are helpless [against insurgents] and
unable to do their job," Maj. Gen. Rasheed Flayih Mohammed, commander of
the 12,000-strong Maghawir, said in an interview here.
Although he acknowledged U.S. logistical and technical support, Mohammed
insisted that his forces were all-Iraqi and largely free of the U.S. taint
that has marred many Iraqi units. "The Iraqi people treat us with respect,"
Mohammed said. "They love us because we are wearing our own Iraqi uniforms,
and because we are doing our work by ourselves."
The special forces units sport provocative titles including the Wolf,
Scorpion, Tiger and Thunder brigades. Many Sunni Arabs view the squads
suspiciously as largely composed of Shiite and Kurdish rivals eager to
exact revenge for decades of suppression under Hussein, a Sunni Arab.
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