Another part of Iraqi society has been targeted recently, namely the traffic policemen. This past week several have been killed and many more injured in terrorist attacks. After a plea for help, the traffic police force in Baghdad has begun distributing AK-47 rifles to its officers. While I sympathize with the policemen and can see the move in Iraq’s current climate being justified, it surely makes Iraq more dangerous the more weapons are out there.
By itself, giving traffic police weapons is not unusual, in fact most countries do. But it is the knee-jerk nature of it all that makes me uneasy. The traffic police have been unarmed for years and always looked like easy targets for terrorists, so did no-one from the security portfolio see this coming? I think it is symptomatic of the lack of coherent security and defence strategy and protocols. Giving guns to police to defend themselves is surely not the correct long-term solution.