By Wassim Bassem for Al Monitor. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.
Iraq is working to regulate the activities of private security companies and rein in the chaotic circulation and use of weapons.
On Feb. 21, a group of armed tribesmen shot at an Iraqi comedian’s house in Baghdad after he criticized some tribal values in his TV show, "Walayat al-Battikh." Another example of the security chaos is the firing of Katyusha rockets into Baghdad’s Green Zone on Feb. 12, following bloody demonstrations in the capital.
Also, the parliament’s Security and Defense Committee said Jan. 27 that some security companies operating in Iraq were out of control.
To address the security chaos and impose the rule of law, the parliament passed a law Jan. 26 to regulate private security companies. Two days later, the parliament also passed a law on weapon ownership.
“Many foreign companies operating in Iraq are either outside the law or regulated by outdated laws that are not suitable for the current situation,” the parliamentary Security and Defense Committee reported.
Committee member Ibtisam al-Hilali told Al-Monitor, “Security firms across the country are not subject to state laws or regulations in many of their operations, meaning they are beyond the control of the official security services.”
She said that the new bill would impose strict conditions on security companies, forcing them to comply with Interior Ministry regulations and systems.
“Previously, their work, along with gun licensing and weapons store regulations, was the portfolio of regional governors, but the new law centralizes all these powers in the hands of the interior minister,” Hilali said. “The large number of security companies in the country require a new law that covers the companies guarding the US Embassy in Baghdad and other embassies.”