With the US essentially looting the whole country, no wonder few inntial efforts are being made to stop the widespread mini-looting...kind of a reward to those who have been willing to be extras for staged military TV scenes... An aspect of the looting that has overtaken the country that you don't hear about from U.S. sources. There aren't just average joes on the street -- a lot of them are our paid militia/"transition" people. Winning the hearts and minds of Iraq!
WAR IN IRAQ MILITARY: US-backed militia terrorises town
By Charles Clover in Najaf
Financial Times; Apr 09, 2003
Hay Al Ansar, on the outskirts of Najaf in Iraq, was glad to be rid of
Saddam Hussein's Ba'ath party government, when the city was seized by US
forces last week.
But they appear to be just as terrified, if not more so, of their new
rulers -a little-known Iraqi militia backed by the US special forces and
headquartered in a compound nearby.
The Iraqi Coalition of National Unity (ICNU), which appeared in the
city last week riding on US special forces vehicles, has taken to looting
and terrorising their neighbourhood with impunity, according to most
"They steal and steal," said a man living near the Medresa al Tayif
school, calling himself Abu Zeinab. "They threaten us, saying: 'We are with
the Americans, you can do nothing to us'."
Sa'ida al Hamed, another resident, said she witnessed looting by the
ICNU and other armed gangs in the city, which lost its police force when the
government fled last week. One man told a US army translator on Monday that
he was taken out of his house and beaten by ICNU forces when he refused to
give them his car. They took it anyway.
If true, the testimony of residents reveals a darker side to US policy
in Iraq. In their distaste for peacekeeping and eagerness to hand the ruling
of Iraq back to Iraqis, US forces are in danger of losing the peace as
rapidly as they have won the war.
US special forces said they were looking into the complaints, which
had been passed to them by US military sources. They declined, however, to
discuss the formation of the group, how its members were chosen, or who they
The head of the ICNU, who says he is a former colonel in the Iraqi
artillery forces who has been working with the underground opposition since
1996, announced on Tuesday that he was acting mayor of Najaf, and his group
had taken over administration of the city.
Other Iraqi exiles, brought in by the CIA and US special forces to
help assemble a local government over the next few days, say the militia is
out of control.
"They are nobody, and nobody has ever heard of them, all they have is
US backing," said an Arab journalist.
Abu Zeinab said the ICNU "has no basis in this city, we don't know who
they are". He said the residents, who are predominantly Shia Muslims,
followed only Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, leader of much of the Shia world, who lives in the city