US to form paramilitary group

03 December 2003
The Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) is to form a paramilitary group formed of militiamen from members of the country's political parties, reported US daily the Washington Post on 2 December. The group, which will be made up of about 750-850 militiamen, will target Islamist militants and supporters of former president Saddam Hussein operating in Iraq. The new group will operate as a new battalion within the Iraqi Civil Defence Corp. US forces will advise the new group and oversee their operations. The decision to form a militia force comes after a plan was put forward by the Iraqi National Accord (INA), The Iraqi National Congress, the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan and the Kurdish Democratic Party. The CPA initially turned down the plan. Head of the Iraqi National Accord, Ayad Alawi, said that the new group would combine the powers of the five parties, which 'all have people who are much better suited to fighting Baathists and terrorists' in Iraq.

Interim Governing Council member, Ghazi Yawar, described the formation of the multi-party militia group as a 'big blunder'. 'We should be dissolving militias, not finding ways to legitimise them - This is the wrong message to send the Iraqi people,' he said.

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