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Posted: 4/3/2006 5:06:04 PM EDT
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/04/03/world/middleeast/03guns.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

The New York Times

April 3, 2006
Sectarian Strife Fuels Gun Sales in Baghdad
By JEFFREY GETTLEMAN

BAGHDAD, Iraq, March 29 — With chipped, painted fingernails, Nahrawan al-Janabi picked up a cartridge and slid it into the chamber.

"Like this," she said, loading her new Glock pistol with a loud, satisfying click. "You see, like this."

Akram Abdulzahra now keeps his revolver handy at his job in an Internet cafe. Haidar Hussein, a Baghdad bookseller, just bought a fully automatic assault rifle and has been teaching his wife how to shoot.

Iraq has long been awash in guns. But after the bombing of a sacred Shiite shrine in Samarra in late February, sectarian tensions exploded, and more Iraqis than ever have been buying, carrying and stockpiling weapons, adding an unnerving level of firepower to Baghdad's streets.

The average price for a Russian-made Kalashnikov AK-47 assault rifle, which is perfectly legal here, has jumped to $290 from $112 in the past month, according to several gun dealers. Bullets have climbed to 33 cents each from 24 cents.

Hand grenades, which are not legal but are easy to get, run $95. Pre-Samarra, they were about half that. The swiftly rising prices are one clear sign that weapon sales are hot.

Militia ranks are swelling, too, with growing swarms of young, religious, mostly uneducated men taking to the streets with automatic weapons slung over their shoulders.

Hussein Abdul Khaliq, a foot soldier in the Mahdi Army, a Shiite militia, was guarding a strip of curb in eastern Baghdad the other day and violating several laws in the process — all within sight of a police patrol.

Mr. Khaliq did not have a permit to carry the AK-47 that his militia had issued him. He had many more than the authorized limit of 50 rounds. He was well below the minimum age of 25 for carrying a gun. "Let them try to take it from me," said Mr. Khaliq, a muscular 17-year-old.

The American military has added to the arsenal also, by shipping in hundreds of thousands of firearms and millions of rounds of ammunition, in an effort to equip the fledging Iraqi security forces so American troops will be able to leave.

Iraqi leaders are increasingly worried about this gun glut.

"We collected most of the heavy weapons out there, but we should have collected all the light weapons," said Haider al-Abadi, an aide to the prime minister. "This is not good."

But the reality is that Iraqi politicians have been reluctant to disband militias or to disarm the populace. The Shiite leaders who control the government rely on militias to stay in power. And guns have become so embedded in Iraqi life that they are now as ubiquitous as palm trees.

Under Saddam Hussein, Iraq was one of the most militarized societies. He issued rifles to Baath Party loyalists and set up summer camps for Baathist boys to learn how to kill. One of his favorite photographs was of him firing an antique hunting rifle — with one hand.

After he was toppled, security evaporated, opening the floodgates for looters, carjackers, kidnappers and thieves. Baghdad became a place where the good guys wore masks and the bad guys wore police uniforms; at least that was how it often looked as officers covered their faces to protect their identities and kidnappers posed as police officers. In response, many civilians bought guns, and a frontier mentality set in.

"Maybe I'm kidding myself," said Haidar Hussein, the bookseller who is teaching his wife to shoot. "But having a gun makes me feel safer."

L. Paul Bremer III, the former top American administrator in Iraq, did not step between Iraqis and their guns. He issued an order that essentially upheld Iraqi law: everyone 25 and older with a "good reputation and character" could own one firearm, including an AK-47, the world's most popular killing machine.

As crime rose, insurgent attacks increased and a sense of lawlessness began to creep across the country, more people armed themselves. Office clerks started strapping leather holsters under their armpits, and elderly, veiled women started stashing Kalashnikovs under their beds.

But the destruction of Askariya Shrine in Samarra in February uncorked a different kind of bloodshed and a different kind of fear, ratcheting the personal arms race even higher. Mobs of mostly Shiite men killed Sunni civilians. Some Sunnis fought back, killing Shiites.

Sectarian revenge has become the new common form of violence. Baghdad's homicide rate since the Samarra attack has tripled, to 33 killings per day.

"Baghdad is the battlefield," said Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch, an American military spokesman.

Few killings have been investigated, eroding what little faith there was in law enforcement. The suspicion is growing that officers in the Shiite-controlled police forces are linked to the death squads.

"I don't believe anyone can protect me," said Ms. Janabi, the new Glock owner. "Not the Americans, not my government."

Ms. Janabi, 27, is a television journalist. She is East-meets-West, coming from a religious Shiite family but favoring snug jeans and insisting that women should carry guns — though, she admits, "it makes you feel a little like a boy." A friend in the Interior Ministry showed her how to use her pistol.

Until recently, Ms. Janabi resisted owning a gun, because she felt safe in her neighborhood in central Baghdad, where she lives with her parents in a walled compound. But Samarra "was a spark that turned the sects against each other," she said. "Now, each day, when I go to work, I fear I might not come home." She rides the bus with her pistol in her lap.

Not everyone in Baghdad feels safer carrying a firearm. Some are repulsed by guns, others frightened. Many say that with death squads and suicide bombers running around, what good is one pistol or rifle?

The weapons flow from many places. Arms dealers say good, cheap ammunition comes from Syria, and scratched-and-dented assault rifles from Iran. Several dealers said former Iraqi Army soldiers were a reliable source of grenades.

After Mr. Bremer disbanded the Iraqi Army, Baghdad was transformed into a weapons bazaar, with kiosks offering bargains on pistols, carbines, rifles, shotguns, machine guns and rocket-propelled grenade launchers.

Iraqi law requires gun sellers to have a government permit. Few do.

One seller, who gave his name as Abu Abdullah, said that after Samarra, so many people were buying arms he had trouble filling orders.

"I didn't like to do it," he said, "but I had to raise prices."

Still, he said, business was booming.

Hosham Hussein and Omar al-Neami contributed reporting for this article.

Copyright 2006 The New York Times Compan

Link Posted: 4/3/2006 5:08:30 PM EDT
Full auto AKs for 275 or so, I think they said.

Shame people are buying them to protect themselves from religious idiots...
Link Posted: 4/3/2006 5:09:22 PM EDT
tag
Link Posted: 4/3/2006 5:10:53 PM EDT
33 cents a pop for 7.62x39

They have it worse that us, talk about peak ammo
Link Posted: 4/3/2006 5:11:23 PM EDT

Originally Posted By capnrob97:
Full auto AKs for 275 or so, I think they said.

Shame people are buying them to protect themselves from religious idiots...



part of the reason i have my guns. the jerry fallwell/pat robertson bunch would LOVE to see a theocracy here.
Link Posted: 4/3/2006 5:12:57 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Napoleon_Tanerite:

Originally Posted By capnrob97:
Full auto AKs for 275 or so, I think they said.

Shame people are buying them to protect themselves from religious idiots...



part of the reason i have my guns. the jerry fallwell/pat robertson bunch would LOVE to see a theocracy here.



I am well armed too...
Link Posted: 4/3/2006 5:19:22 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Napoleon_Tanerite:

Originally Posted By capnrob97:
Full auto AKs for 275 or so, I think they said.

Shame people are buying them to protect themselves from religious idiots...



part of the reason i have my guns. the jerry fallwell/pat robertson bunch would LOVE to see a theocracy here.



There is a better chance that we will get rid of the NFA than that happening.

You have alot more to worry about,

Bird Flu
Hitlary
McCain
Immigration
Te­rrorism
Liberals
China
Iran
N Korea
ect


As nutty as he is, I really donth think Jerry Falwell wants a theocracy, he just doesnt want homosexuals and MTV culture taking over this country(oh wait)
Link Posted: 4/3/2006 5:25:07 PM EDT
Wow, freedom really is spreading in Iraq
Link Posted: 4/3/2006 5:27:43 PM EDT

Originally Posted By JoseyWales:
Wow, freedom really is spreading in Iraq



I'm really suprised Zarqowi getting demoted as 'Leader of Al-Quida' in Iraq is not getting board time here...
Link Posted: 4/3/2006 5:30:57 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Napoleon_Tanerite:

Originally Posted By capnrob97:
Full auto AKs for 275 or so, I think they said.

Shame people are buying them to protect themselves from religious idiots...



part of the reason i have my guns. the jerry fallwell/pat robertson bunch would LOVE to see a theocracy here.



The athiests are the biggest threat to the US. Because it is a whole new type of religion, and it is being forced down our throats by idiots like the ACLU, and the left.
Link Posted: 4/3/2006 5:31:23 PM EDT
This is kind of good, kind of bad. On one hand, it shows that Iraqi's are taking personal responsibility, on the other hand, it shows they have little faith in their government, a big problem if we plan on leaving within say, 5 years...
Link Posted: 4/3/2006 5:33:17 PM EDT

Originally Posted By capnrob97:

Originally Posted By Napoleon_Tanerite:

Originally Posted By capnrob97:
Full auto AKs for 275 or so, I think they said.

Shame people are buying them to protect themselves from religious idiots...


part of the reason i have my guns. the jerry fallwell/pat robertson bunch would LOVE to see a theocracy here.


I am well armed too...


LOL. Keep talking shit about Christians being like the insurgent terrorists.

Here's a quarter, buy a clue.
Link Posted: 4/3/2006 5:36:15 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/3/2006 5:36:55 PM EDT by capnrob97]

Originally Posted By Wobblin-Goblin:

Originally Posted By capnrob97:

Originally Posted By Napoleon_Tanerite:

Originally Posted By capnrob97:
Full auto AKs for 275 or so, I think they said.

Shame people are buying them to protect themselves from religious idiots...


part of the reason i have my guns. the jerry fallwell/pat robertson bunch would LOVE to see a theocracy here.


I am well armed too...


LOL. Keep talking shit about Christians being like the insurgent terrorists.

Here's a quarter, buy a clue.



Been drinking, responding to 'I have guns'... I am well armed too, nothing more, nothing less...
Link Posted: 4/3/2006 5:36:26 PM EDT

And guns have become so embedded in Iraqi life that they are now as ubiquitous as palm trees.


Kind of gives you the warm fuzzies, doen't it?




Link Posted: 4/3/2006 5:56:31 PM EDT
I believe we are about to see a mass manuring of the Tree O' Liberty in Iraq.


Oh, and a showdown with Iran.



YESSSSSSSSSSSSS.
Link Posted: 4/3/2006 6:03:53 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Ineedhelp:
I believe we are about to see a mass manuring of the Tree O' Liberty in Iraq.


Oh, and a showdown with Iran.



YESSSSSSSSSSSSS.



what tree of liberty? their constitution has always been a joke, a disgrace, and the government is a sham.
Link Posted: 4/3/2006 6:12:19 PM EDT
You're afraid of Jerry Falwell? You must be kidding. You can't be serious. Just how do you suppose anyone could create a theocracy in this country?

Honestly, that is one of the nuttiest things I have ever seen on the Web.
Link Posted: 4/3/2006 6:13:56 PM EDT

Originally Posted By warlord:
Mr. Khaliq did not have a permit to carry the AK-47 that his militia had issued him. He had many more than the authorized limit of 50 rounds. He was well below the minimum age of 25 for carrying a gun. "Let them try to take it from me," said Mr. Khaliq, a muscular 17-year-old.




I like this kid's style.

Iraq is one of the "ground zeros" in the War on Islamic terror and his leaders are apparently more concerned with "permits."

Scott
Link Posted: 4/3/2006 6:16:43 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Will-Rogers:
You're afraid of Jerry Falwell? You must be kidding. You can't be serious. Just how do you suppose anyone could create a theocracy in this country?

Honestly, that is one of the nuttiest things I have ever seen on the Web.



i'm not afriad of jerry fallwell himself. he is an ignorant fat fuck. i can't stand how our current president wears his faith on his sleeve and openly states the he makes decsions based on "what god wants" and bullshit like that. I see that as the start of the religious groups opening the door to even more religion in gov't. have your faith, that's fine, but keep YOUR religion out of MY gov't. i welcome the conservative movement in this country, but i hate that there is an element of it that wants to bring a god into gov't.
Link Posted: 4/3/2006 6:22:44 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Napoleon_Tanerite:

Originally Posted By capnrob97:
Full auto AKs for 275 or so, I think they said.

Shame people are buying them to protect themselves from religious idiots...



part of the reason i have my guns. the jerry fallwell/pat robertson bunch would LOVE to see a theocracy here.



You cannot possibly be that disconnected from reality.
Link Posted: 4/3/2006 6:32:14 PM EDT
Iraqis can afford higher prices for guns and ammo. A sign of a strenghening economy. See, the good news trains keeps right on rolling!
Link Posted: 4/3/2006 6:37:35 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Napoleon_Tanerite: i welcome the conservative movement in this country, but i hate that there is an element of it that wants to bring a god into gov't.
When 'gubment messes with religion, then it's natural for the faithful to take over 'gubment.

Look at all the ways that 'gubment keeps messing with business. Guess what? Business took over 'gubment and so will the faithful. I'm looking forward to lower taxes and a harsher environment for evildoers. Life is getting better all the time!
Link Posted: 4/3/2006 6:38:59 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Zaphod:
You cannot possibly be that disconnected from reality.



see my above post.
Link Posted: 4/3/2006 7:59:10 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/3/2006 8:00:51 PM EDT by Hydguy]

Originally Posted By Napoleon_Tanerite:

Originally Posted By Will-Rogers:
You're afraid of Jerry Falwell? You must be kidding. You can't be serious. Just how do you suppose anyone could create a theocracy in this country?

Honestly, that is one of the nuttiest things I have ever seen on the Web.



i'm not afriad of jerry fallwell himself. he is an ignorant fat fuck.Pot, meet Mr. Kettle. He is a pretty devout man, and if you don't like it, who cares? Not me.....I don't listen to him, but I don't get wrapped around the axle like you do i can't stand how our current president wears his faith on his sleeve Unlike your hero Clinton, who wore his morals on his fly.....and openly states the he makes decsions based on "what god wants" and bullshit like thatSo, a man shouldn't make any decisions based on what he believes...Like I said, another Clinton move. I see that as the start of the religious groups opening the door to even more religion in gov't.Sorry to tell you this, but this country was founded on religious groups. Don't like it, there is plenty of land in China that is free from religion.. have your faith, that's fine, but keep YOUR religion out of MY gov't.Show me where we cannot have religion and government coexist in the same area. PLEASE SHOW ME i welcome the conservative movement in this country, but i hate that there is an element of it that wants to bring a god into gov't.IF you don't like God, that is fine, but don't make MY government an ATHIEST one.



YOu don't seem to like much, so why don't you just get out? People like you are the problem with this country. YOu don't like religion, and think that the First Amendment says something that it doesn't. Learn to read and comprehend, and then you will understand what the First REALLY means.
Link Posted: 4/3/2006 8:10:45 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Hydguy:

Originally Posted By Napoleon_Tanerite:

Originally Posted By Will-Rogers:
You're afraid of Jerry Falwell? You must be kidding. You can't be serious. Just how do you suppose anyone could create a theocracy in this country?

Honestly, that is one of the nuttiest things I have ever seen on the Web.



i'm not afriad of jerry fallwell himself. he is an ignorant fat fuck.Pot, meet Mr. Kettle. He is a pretty devout man, and if you don't like it, who cares? Not me.....I don't listen to him, but I don't get wrapped around the axle like you do i can't stand how our current president wears his faith on his sleeve Unlike your hero Clinton, who wore his morals on his fly.....and openly states the he makes decsions based on "what god wants" and bullshit like thatSo, a man shouldn't make any decisions based on what he believes...Like I said, another Clinton move. I see that as the start of the religious groups opening the door to even more religion in gov't.Sorry to tell you this, but this country was founded on religious groups. Don't like it, there is plenty of land in China that is free from religion.. have your faith, that's fine, but keep YOUR religion out of MY gov't.Show me where we cannot have religion and government coexist in the same area. PLEASE SHOW ME i welcome the conservative movement in this country, but i hate that there is an element of it that wants to bring a god into gov't.IF you don't like God, that is fine, but don't make MY government an ATHIEST one.



YOu don't seem to like much, so why don't you just get out? People like you are the problem with this country. YOu don't like religion, and think that the First Amendment says something that it doesn't. Learn to read and comprehend, and then you will understand what the First REALLY means.



America is not a white trash church, there are nice parts worth staying for. America was founded on the idea that the people get to decide what is best for them... not their religious leaders. The 2nd ammendment was put into the constitution so that if the government ever went out of control, we could have another revolution.

And I'll show you where religion and the government can't co-exist... the spanish inquisition!!!
Link Posted: 4/3/2006 8:40:58 PM EDT

Originally Posted By gordon_freeman:


America is not a white trash church, there are nice parts worth staying for. America was founded on the idea that the people get to decide what is best for them... not their religious leaders. The 2nd ammendment was put into the constitution so that if the government ever went out of control, we could have another revolution.

And I'll show you where religion and the government can't co-exist... the spanish inquisition!!!



SO, now churches are white trash.....Get a fucking clue. This country was founded by RELIGIOUS men. They prayed to God, and thought enough to TRY and protect the rights that the creator bestowed upon us. But of course, people like you don't get it. ANd once again, you cannot clearly understand what the First Amnedment says. YOu find the phrase that PROHIBITS ANY RELIGION IN GOVERNMENT, and THEN come back and try to argue your point.
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