Friday, November 18, 2005
The Educador Model continues . . .
By James Rupert
BAGHDAD, Iraq -- Among the varied armed security men on Baghdad's streets these days, you can't miss the police commandos. In combat uniforms, bulletproof vests and wrap-around sunglasses or ski masks, they muscle through Baghdad's traffic jams in police cars or camouflage-painted pickup trucks, clearing nervous drivers from their path with shouted commands and the occasional gunshot in the air.
The commandos are part of the Iraqi security forces that the Bush administration says will gradually replace American troops in this war. But the commandos are being blamed for a wave of kidnappings and executions around Baghdad since the spring.
One such group, the Volcano Brigade, is operating as a death squad -- under the influence or control of Iraq's most potent Shiite factional militia, the Iranian-backed Badr Organization, said several Iraqi government officials and western Baghdad residents.
In the past six months, Badr has heavily infiltrated the Interior Ministry under which the commandos operate, the sources said. Badr also was accused of running the secret Interior Ministry prison raided Sunday by U.S. troops.
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