Iraq: June 8, 2004


After months of negotiation, nine Iraqi militias have agreed to disband in return for money payments and jobs. Some 70 percent of the 100,000 armed men involved belong to the two Kurdish militia organizations. The others are mainly Shia. The al-Mahdi Army of Muqtada al Sadr was not included in the deal, nor were several smaller militias that would not agree on the terms. The disarmament process will take over a year and will involve jobs in the police, border patrol and army for the militiamen, or pensions for the older ones. 

There was no surprise that the Kurdish militias made a deal, as their militias are the best trained, organized, armed and led, as well as being pro-American. But the continued existence of the Kurdish militias threatened the power of any Iraqi government. The destruction of al Sadr's militia and the mauling of the Sunni Arab militias in Fallujah encouraged the negotiators to reach an agreement. It was obvious that if it came to a fight that the coalition could chew up the militias.  


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