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The Hidden Hand of Death in Iraq

There is a famous tale about death, the plot of which ironically centers around a merchant in Baghdad.
A certain merchant in Baghdad sent his servant to the market to buy some provisions. A little while later, the servant returned looking white in the face. In a trembling voice he said, “Just now in the market place I was jostled by a man in the crowd, and when I turned I saw it was Mr. Death. He looked at me and made a threatening gesture. Please lend me your horse, because I want to go to Samara where Mr. Death will not be able to find me.”

The merchant agreed and lent the scared man his horse. The servant mounted the horse and rode away as fast as the animal could gallop. Later that day, the merchant went down to the market place and saw Mr. Death standing in the crowd. He approached him and said, “Why did you make a threatening gesture to my servant when you saw him this morning?”

“That was not a threatening gesture,” said Mr. Death. “It was only a start of surprise. I was astonished to see him in Baghdad, because I have an appointment with him tonight in Samara.”
In it, the author conveys both the mystery and manifest destiny of death as it descends on the merchant's servant in Samara.

Today, mysterious forces of death work diligently in Iraq, their ruthless anonymity giving them power and control over people's destiny.
"There are some forces out of order, not under our control, and not under the control of the Ministry of Defense," Bayan Jabr told the British Broadcasting Corp. in an interview conducted on Tuesday in Baghdad.

Jabr said security agencies protecting ministries and private companies employ about 180,000 people. Many of them, "are uniformed like the police, their cars like the police," he said.

"Terrorists or someone who support the terrorists ... are using the clothes of the police or the military," he said.

Jabr cited the Facility Protection Service, an armed force set up in 2003 to guard official buildings. He said the 150,000-strong FPS was "not under our control."

Private security companies employ about 30,000 civilians, he said.
You cannot escape that which you cannot identify. Who has the money and power to command these forces? Therein lies the answer to the hidden hand of death in Iraq.


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