Iraqis Urged to Take Up Arms

Weekend of widespread bloodshed prompts both Shiite and Sunni leaders to despair of security situation
By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 9, 2007 5:20 AM CDT
Iraqi soldiers guard a man they have arrested at a checkpoint suspecting him of being an al-Qaida member in the city of Buhriz, Iraq, 60 kilometers (35 miles) north of Baghdad Sunday, July 8, 2007. (AP...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – After a weekend of horrific violence that claimed more than 220 lives in Iraq, both Shiite and Sunni leaders called on civilians to arm themselves. "People have a right to expect protection for their lives," said Iraq's Sunni vice president. Given the failure of security forces, he said, "the people have no choice but to take up their own defense."

A Shiite lawmaker in Armili said authorities should help residents "arm themselves" for their own protection. Iraq's national security adviser, a Shiite, warned against any effort to topple the government, which he said would trigger "a hurricane."  A surge of bombings killed 60 people around Baghdad yesterday; in the weekend's worst bloodshed, a truck bomb killed 150 people in Armili Saturday. (Read more Nouri al-Maliki stories.)