Tuesday, January 17, 2006

USAID Paper Details Security Crisis in Iraq

USAID Paper Details Security Crisis in Iraq: "The breakdown of Iraqi society and 'the absence of state control and an effective police force' have let 'criminal elements within Iraqi society have almost free rein,' the paper states. Iraqi criminals in some cases 'have aligned themselves with most of the combating groups and factions to further their aims' and Baghdad 'is reportedly divided into zones controlled by organized criminal groups-clans,' it states.
The USAID analysis also raises the potential for political parties to come into armed conflict, as the two main Kurdish parties did in the mid-1990s. 'As political parties regain importance in the emerging democracy, there is an increased risk they may devolve into conflict groups,' the paper warns.
Paul Pillar, the CIA's former national intelligence officer for the Middle East and now a visiting professor at Georgetown University, said the analysis conveyed 'the reality that the violence in Iraq is complex and multi-faceted.'
One weakness of the paper, Pillar said, is the underplaying of the 'resentment of the foreign occupation.' He said there are Iraqi 'nationalists' beyond just the Sunnis who resent the presence of U.S. and other foreign troops. 'There is a valid basis for some of the pro-withdrawal arguments,' he said, referring to recent statements by Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.)."

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