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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Le boomerang irakien

by A. T.

The Iraqi boomerang.

Translated Thursday 13 March 2008, by Gene Zbikowski

"What happens when we stop paying?"

Since the U.S. army has been unable to put out the inferno in Iraq, it is swaggering. “We’ve succeeded in privatizing the war against terrorism in Iraq,” a special forces officer told an AFP journalist in Iraq. If one looks a little closer, what they’ve really done is to subcontract risk. At a time when billions of dollars are being showered on service providers like Blackwater and companies that furnish mercenaries, the Pentagon is financing “concerned [Iraqi] citizens" to the tune of 250 dollars a month (barely 180 euros). These concerned citizens are charged with holding down the most dangerous spots in the country. The lucky winners enjoy the unlimited confidence of the U.S. Army: “We only authorize a specified number of combattants – about fifty – per group, and we take their finger prints and an iris scan,” another officer pointed out. ... And the militiamen are searched and have to take the magazine out of their assault rifle and point the barrel at the ground when American soldiers undertake operations in the neighborhoods that they control. Some at American headquarters are wondering if this strategy may not have a boomerang effect: “While we’ve managed to get them on our side, it is because we pay them more than Al Qaeda...” And they say to themselves: “We’re buying time and an alliance. But what happens when we stop paying?”

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