Most Iraqi Militias Set for Disbandment, Reintegration
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, June 7, 2004 Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi today announced an agreement that calls for most of Iraq's independent militias to reintegrate or disband.
About 90,000 of the approximately 100,000-militia members affected by the agreement, Allawi explained, "will have joined state security forces or entered civilian life by the time of Iraq's first elections," which are slated for early 2005.
Allawi said the agreement, which affects all individuals and groups who'd borne arms for Iraq's nine major political parties, calls for remaining militia to disband "within a few months" after the others.
In coordination with the Ministerial Committee for National Security, Allawi noted that the Coalition Provisional Authority is releasing Order 91 that triggers the Transitional Administrative Law's ban on militias and other armed groups outside of state authority.
Former militia members who choose to join the new Iraqi army, police or other security services, Allawi remarked, will "assist in building Iraqi security forces and meeting Iraq's security challenges." Those who elect to return to civilian life, he pointed out, "will receive valuable job training and other benefits."
Allawi asserted that most groups and individuals slated to disband or reintegrate "were part of the resistance against Saddam Hussein's regime" and didn't commit "the sort of violence orchestrated by Muqtada al-Sadr."
Sadr is a radical cleric who has stirred up opposition against U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq. The Mahdi army, which follows Sadr's orders, isn't part of the agreement.
Allawi called the agreement "a watershed in establishing the rule of law" across Iraq. Some groups, he noted, have already disbanded their militias.
"I am pleased that this has been achieved as we accept responsibility for the future of Iraq, thus giving this government and the Iraqi people a clearer path to a secure future," the prime minister concluded.