Sign in to comment!

Menu
Home

PM: Parts of Iraq May Get Martial Law

The Iraqi government may impose martial law in parts of the country to fight insurgents after it takes over power from the U.S.-led occupation on June 30, the interim prime minister said.

Prime Minister Iyad Allawi (search) also said he intends to resurrect aspects of Iraq's former military, enlarging the overall army while creating police and paramilitary units focused on controlling riots and fighting guerrillas.

"They are trying to destroy our country and we are not going to allow this," Allawi told reporters Sunday.

He added that the May 2003 decision to disband the Iraqi army was a mistake.

The new, fledgling army being trained by the United States is coming under attack as Allawi's interim government prepares for the June 30 handover of sovereignty.

On Sunday, attackers lying in wait for Iraqi troops detonated a roadside bomb on the dangerous road leading to Baghdad's (search) airport Sunday, killing two Iraqi soldiers and wounding 11.

American troops took the Iraqi wounded to a U.S. aid station and waited while they were treated. Iraqi soldiers wept and hugged their U.S. comrades.

Elsewhere, U.S. forces clashed with insurgents in Samarra (search), striking back with helicopter gunships after guerrillas fired mortars into a residential neighborhood. U.S. 1st Infantry Division spokesman Maj. Neal O'Brien said at least four insurgents were killed.

Allawi said his ministers were discussing the imposition of emergency law in parts of Iraq.

"We might impose some kind of martial law in some places if necessary in accordance with the law and in respect to the human rights and the international law," he said.

Sen. Joseph Biden (search), the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, expressed concern over the idea, saying Iraqi troops were not strong enough to enforce it and that U.S. forces could be dragged into doing so.

"I'm not so crazy about this," Biden, who met Allawi during a one-day visit to Iraq on Saturday, said on ABC's "This Week."

"A government should never lay down an order they can't enforce. I am positive that Allawi is not in a position to enforce such a law now, without the United States doing it," he said.

Saying he is eager to bolster Iraq's own security forces, Allawi made a plea for outside countries to send troops and donate military hardware.

"Until our forces are fully capable we will continue to need support from our friends," Allawi told reporters.

The incoming government is considering an amnesty for Iraqi guerrillas who haven't taken direct roles in killings of U.S.-led occupation forces or Iraqis, Interior Minister Falah Hassan al-Naqib told reporters, offering few details.

A security plan announced by Allawi focused on a strengthening of the Iraqi military, bolstering its role in fighting the insurgency. U.S. administrators had envisaged the military as a small force, meant solely to deal with external threats rather than violence within Iraq's borders.

The paramilitary Iraqi Civil Defense Corps — which U.S. administrators created as a force distinct from the military to battle insurgents — would be redesigned as a national guard force and placed under army control, along with border guards and other independent units.

The country will also build an army special forces capacity and an Iraqi Intervention Force for counterinsurgency operations.

The chief duties of Iraq's fledgling air force, with just two small surveillance aircraft in its inventory, will be to monitor pipelines, electrical transmission lines and borders, Allawi said.

As a last resort, Allawi said he would send Iraq's army, meant to protect the country against foreign invasion, to fight the guerrillas.

In other developments, South Korea said Monday it would stand by a decision to send 3,000 soldiers to Iraq despite a videotaped threat from the kidnappers of a South Korean, Kim Sun-il. His abductors threatened to behead him in a video posted on a Web site Sunday.

As many as 10 other foreigners are being held with Kim, including a European journalist and "third country" employees for the U.S.-based contractor Kellogg Brown & Root, South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported, citing Kim's employer.

Kim Chun-ho, head of South Korea's Gana General Trading, Co., told a Yonhap reporter in Baghdad by phone from Mosul that some of the abductees were seen by an Iraqi go-between who had visited the kidnappers to try negotiating the South Korean's release.

Also Sunday, Iraq resumed pumping crude oil from oil fields to storage tanks at its Basra oil terminal in preparation for loading it onto tanker ships, an official from U.S.-based tanker company Norton Lilly International said Monday.

Key oil pipelines were damaged Tuesday and Wednesday in separate sabotage attacks, halting oil exports.

The U.S. military said an American Marine was killed in a non-combat incident Saturday in Anbar province, which includes Ramadi and Fallujah. A mortar round also injured six police and four Iraqis in a separate attack Sunday near the Iraqi central bank in Baghdad.