Middle East News
Iraqi vice president warns "militarisation" of society risks coups
Feb 23, 2010, 11:52 GMT
Baghdad - The 'militarisation' of Iraqi society puts the country at risk of military coups, Iraqi vice president Adil Abdel-Mahdi said in remarks quoted by Baghdad's al-Mada daily on Tuesday.
Abdel-Mahdi said the country's 1 million police officers and soldiers mean that there is one policeman for every 30 Iraqis - and that at least one member of every family is part of the security forces.
'There is a historical precedent in this case. The country is set for military coups,' the vice president said.
A 1958 military coup toppled the Iraqi monarchy and set the stage for a string of successive coups that brought the Baath Party to power.
'The militarization of society just does not make political, social, or economic sense,' Abdel-Mahdi added.
Abdel-Mahdi faulted the government for using the security forces to provide jobs the nation's unemployed young men.
'This is a pressure on the Iraqi economy, because reinforcements and arms are expensive and not necessary.'
Abdel-Mahdi, one of Iraq's two vice presidents, added that there are four divisions in Baghdad alone.
'Such a large number is a serious indication of the militarisation of the society.'
When Iraqi security forces put the capital on lock-down last month following intelligence of a planned car-bombing attack, rumours there had been a military coup spread so quickly that military spokesman Mohammed Askari was obliged to deny them in a noon press conference.
'The security forces can't stage a coup. Our security forces are professional,' Askari told reporters in Baghdad. 'The era of coups is gone.'