I do go look at the on-line Polish press from time to time – I promise! “Poles in Iraq” still lives! – but lately there’s been little that I’ve found about the ongoing deployment of Polish peace-keepers to Kuwait, for eventual transfer to the assigned Polish occupation zone in Iraq. They’re simply deploying these days – that’s all.
But Polish news organizations nonetheless can still come up with stories out of Iraq that are largely overlooked by the English-language press. For example, as Gazeta Wyborcza reports today (from the Polish Press Agency, but also from Agence France-Press), Rada Zarzadzajaca chce przejac bezpieczenstwo w Bagdadzie – “The Governing Council wants to take over security for Baghdad.”
In fact, the Governing Council has in mind not just Baghdad, but Iraq’s other major cities. Its plan – submitted this week to American General John Abizaid, head of the occupying military administration – runs along the following lines. First, the Council would be allowed to set up some pretty extensive institutions: a nationwide police force numbering some sixty thousand persons, plus eight “civil defense” (obrona cywilna) units of 850 persons each. (Perhaps these would be more-specialized riot police; there’s no talk in the plan about giving the Council control over army soldiers per se.) In addition to that, of course you need to have your police academies – one each for the north, center, and south of the country, the plan proposes – and your police academy instructors. By necessity, the latter will basically have to come from outside the country; nonetheless, the plan specifically envisages hiring eight thousand of them. The Governing Council’s take-over of security and policing duties would be a gradual process – but the plan proposes that it would get started in the next few months!
“Because they [the Americans] don’t know the culture and traditions of the Iraqis, problems happen,” explained Council member Rady Muffak al-Rubad, who let word of this plan slip yesterday to AFP. Al-Rubad has got something there: It seems on Wednesday the US military lost many of its fans in the Shiite section of Baghdad called Sadr City. This report from the Guardian makes for grim reading about how US forces are handling the dispensing of justice in Iraq’s capital city – a mess resulting from a combination of the cultural insensitivity al-Rubad cites and the sheer lack of proper resources (which presumably the US military could do more about, if they chose to, than the Governing Council).