Thursday, September 21, 2006
The main party in the Shia United Iraqi Alliance (UIA), the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) has reportedly started neighborhood-watch groups in the holy city of Al-Najaf according to The Times newspaper. SCIRI head Abd al-Aziz al-Hakim proposed the establishment of neighborhood-watch groups last month, but was quickly attacked by Sunni parties, who said his plan was an attempt to legitimise the operations of militias, which have been banned by the government.
Members of the neighborhood-watch group told the daily that over 150 people have signed up for the watch, and are working in 10-member squads, patrolling the neighborhoods and reporting suspicious people to SCIRI's armed wing, the Badr Corps. Members are paid $50 per month, while the squad's leader is paid $100 per month. Members said the groups began patrolling some three weeks ago. The daily reported that a second neighborhood-watch group has been established in the nearby holy city of Al-Kufah.