Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Uneasy Lies the Head 

Recognizing that freedom from the yoke of oppression and tyranny is a thing best eased into sorta gradual-like, Iyad Allawi, car-bomber-turned-Prime Minister-of-Iraq, has wasted no time putting his brand-new sovereignty to good use:
Prime Minister Iyad Allawi on Tuesday signed into law broad martial powers that allow him to impose curfews anywhere in the country, ban groups he considers seditious and order the detentions of people suspected of being security risks.

Putting a law in place that permits him to establish emergency powers is one of the first official actions Dr. Allawi has taken against a tenacious insurgency and lays the groundwork for a forceful response to civil unrest . . . .

Skeptics say the Iraqi security forces do not have the numbers, weapons or training to enforce emergency law and will need to lean heavily on American forces. Dr. Allawi said that the government was "beefing up these resources" and that "Iraqis should shoulder the responsibility, should be the people who enforce law and order in Iraq and against the terrorists."

A draft of the law obtained by The New York Times independently of Dr. Allawi's office stated that the prime minister has the right to "impose restrictions on the freedoms of citizens or foreigners in Iraq" in the event of a "dangerous threat" or "the occurrence of armed instability that threatens state institutions or its infrastructure."

The restrictions include the curtailing or banning of travel, group meetings and the possession of weapons.

The prime minister also has the power to take direct control of all security and intelligence forces in the area under emergency rule.
And not a moment too soon, either:
Four mortar rounds shook the neighborhood near the political party headquarters of Iraq's new interim prime minister on Wednesday, injuring six people, an Interior Ministry official said.

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