Iraqis ignore weapons ban

Occupation US forces opened weapons collection points across Iraq on Sunday, but no Iraqi had turned in a single weapon even by mid-day.


    Iraqis are not heeding
     weapons ban

    None of the designated police stations reported any collection. Many Iraqis said they were baffled by the policy.


    They expressed unwillingness to give up their treasured weapons despite the pending ban.


    "Why should anyone want to just give away their weapon when they can sell it for good money?" said Arkan al-Zebaki, waving a 1950s vintage Webley and Scott pistol at Baghdad's open-air arms market.

    "In any case why would any self-respecting Iraqi want to turn in his weapon to an American, particularly at a police station?", he asked.


    A military spokesman expressed hope that the policy would be successful, as the Iraqi people wanted to see law and order restored. But at the arms market, where business continues despite a raid by US troops, the policy was rejected outright.


    An arms dealer, Abbas Fadhel, explained that weapons were a badge of honour for Iraqis. Even Saddam Hussein did not take them away from the people.

    Many Iraqis are convinced that the policy is just a ploy to leave them defenceless. Others say that it is too early to impose a crackdown on weapons. Some said if the US started providing jobs, the weapons problem would come down.


    Appeals broadcast


    Abbas Hussein with two bullet wounds in his right leg, said he had no intention of looking to the US forces for security. If he needed protection he would get a gun since he couldn’t expect the US to save him from other Iraqis.


    For the last three days, United States-controlled radio has broadcast appeals to Iraqis to turn in the huge arsenal of military hardware that has passed into civilian hands since the collapse of Iraqi armed forces.


    "We have also been using the loudspeakers that our psychological operations teams have. Flyers in Arabic will be posted around the city," a US military spokesman said.


    The new regulations that come into force on 15 June will not require Iraqis to abandon their personal weapons completely.


    They will be allowed to retain pistols, shotguns and rifles up to 7.62 mm for self-defence, but cannot  take them out of their homes and business establishments.



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