The NewStandard ceased publishing on April 27, 2007.

New Iraqi President Favors Use of Militias Against Insurgents

by Chris Shumway

Apr. 19, 2005 – Jalal Talabani, Iraq’s new president, says his government could quickly defeat the country’s insurgency if authorities would allow armed Kurdish and Shi’ite militias to join Iraqi regular forces in the fighting. Talabani told the BBC he thought such a move would be more effective than waiting for Iraqi forces to take over for US counterinsurgency troops that have been battling insurgents for two years.

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Referring to the militias as "popular forces," Talabani, a Kurdish leader who organized for decades against Saddam Hussein’s regime, said, "In my opinion, Iraqi forces, the popular forces and government forces, are now ready to end the insurgency and end this terrorism." But, Talabani added, "there is a kind of thinking inside the [outgoing interim] government that they must not use [the militias]."

Kurdish leaders have previously offered the services of their militia, known as the Peshmerga, for security services, while another influential party, the Shi’ite Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, has offered the use of its Badr brigade.

The use of sect- and clan-based paramilitary units to suppress the mostly Sunni resistance has long been criticized due to the potential for civil war between Iraq’s various sects.

Iraq’s former Interim Governing Council and the US-led Coalition Provisional Authority ordered armed militia groups to disarm early in the occupation, but most refused to obey.

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The NewStandard ceased publishing on April 27, 2007.


Chris Shumway is a contributing journalist.

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