Security for Shiites Causes Controversy

Operations Chief of Rafidain, Lt. Gen. Mezher Shaher, discussed at a news conference held at the Wasit police headquarters on Nov. 26, 2014, the types of plans and preparations of the state security apparatus to protect the participants in any of these religious events.

These procedures included, according to Shaher, the deployment of tens of thousands of security personnel on the roads leading to the city of Karbala. Shaher said the procedures were the result of common efforts from the various types of police, military, national security and intelligence services. “There are operation rooms managing the movement of security forces on the ground.

These rooms are linked to the High Security Commission in each province, which in turn coordinates with the Iraq Operations Command that coordinates the work among neighboring commands to ensure the protection of visitors,” he said.

The poor security situation and high costs necessitated by the protection of large crowds stirred in some circles concerns regarding the re-evaluation of this issue.

Ibrahim al-Hassani, an officer who participated in operations for the protection of visitors in the city of Baghdad before he retired in early 2015, told Al-Monitor over the phone that if the security and intelligence efforts allocated for the protection of these rituals focused instead on fighting IS in the provinces occupied by it, the outcome of the war on terrorism would have actually been positive. He said that the crowds participating in these rituals are easy targets for terrorist attacks.

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