The female officers the US worked so hard to bring into the Iraqi police force are being undercut by the Interior Ministry, the Los Angeles Times reports. Policewomen have been ordered to turn in their guns or go without pay, a move a US liaison says will undermine pat-down searches and rape investigations.
Critics blame religious and cultural conservativism in the post-Saddam government. Already frustrated by the lack of advancement opportunities and harassment by male officers, many female officers fear for their own safety. "We face kidnapping," said one. "We could be assassinated." She added: "How can I be a policewoman without a weapon?"