Iraqi officials say disarmament at southern provinces difficult

Several people, including children, carry weapons in a tribal dispute in Iraq

Baghdad ( Local officials from southern Iraqi provinces have voiced pessimism  of the possibility of disarming tribes and militias at their regions, saying government focus is concentrated at more restive areas.

Sarhan al-Ghalibi, head of the security commission at Maysan province council, told Baghdad Today that said “the recent call by (Iraqi Shia cleric) Muqtada al-Sadr to exclude weapons to the state is welcome”, but added that “based on experience, security forces are unable to disarm (unauthorized weapon holders), especially with past security plans for that purpose having proved a failure”.

According to Ghalibi, the only means to control weapons is to “launch a thorough security campaign carried out by forces that have fought against Daesh (Islamic State)”.

Jabbar al-Saidi, head of the security commission at Basra province council, told the website that “the government’s preoccupation with security at Baghdad and other hot spots has cost it its control over southern provinces, especially when it comes to tribal feuds and armed conflicts”.

According to Saidi, “security forces were withdrawn from southern provinces to impose security in Baghdad and other hot spots occupied by Daesh”. That, Saidi argues, “has negatively affected Basra, leading to exacerbating uncontrollable weaponization, tribal feuds, militancy and smuggling”.

Commenting on Sadr’s call to limit weapons to the hands of state forces, Saidi welcomed the call, but said “Iraqi forces are unqualified to carry out disarmament campaigns for a lack of expertise and capabilities”.

Armed conflicts and terrorist attacks left more than 8000 Iraqis dead and wounded throughout 2017, according to the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI).


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