Monday, February 19, 2007

Perspective: Tribal militias policing Ramadi

RAMADI, Iraq, Feb. 19 (UPI) -- With the blessings of the Americans and the interior ministry in Baghdad, the Sunni tribes of Ramadi and up through the Euphrates River valley are mounting militias to back up the local police force.

Known as emergency response units, or ERUs, the planned eight battalions of men will be trained in policing and will draw pay, uniforms and equipment from Baghdad. There are three already operating on a provisional basis outside Ramadi. Others are planned for Hit and al Qaim. They will be conducting route security, securing the long highway that connects Baghdad to Jordan, and provide a pool of men to tap in a crisis.

About two dozen sheiks reached out to the coalition last summer to help restore security in Ramadi. The gesture came after all five members of the provincial security council were systematically assassinated and then an important sheik kidnapped and murdered. But the sheiks were reluctant to send their sons to the national army.

Read the rest at UPI