If the average Iraqi is well-armed, how does a "ruthless dictator" stay in power?


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cpileri
March 10, 2003, 11:09 AM
Hussein has been in power for a LOOOONG time. We here are to believe it is by sheer oppression of his subjects. Okay...

So you can walk into a gun shop in Iraq and buy a full auto or whatever else you want apparently.

With such a well-armed populus, how could Hussein stay in power unless (OH MY WORD!...) his people actually LIKE him?!?!?!

I mean heck, if his atrocities are so heinous and well-known, why don't his gun-toting civillians open up when the goons shopw up?
(what is the Iraqi word for "JBT" anyway? :) )

Don't know why I didn't consider this point before.
Anyone more familiar with the culture or any pertinent details- or even just a decent opinion, please chime in.
C-

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synoptic
March 10, 2003, 11:20 AM
I have been under the impression for a while that things were bad when SH came into power and he made life a lot better for the Iraqis. Things may not be the same today, but what happens when the Iraqi public overthrows saddam and in their weakened state a worse tyrant comes in and takes over? Maybe this is why a major rebellion of the people has not taken place, they are waiting for America to come in and take control of who gets to come into power upon Saddam's death.

Shweboner
March 10, 2003, 11:33 AM
Two Words... Mind Control

~brian

rock jock
March 10, 2003, 11:35 AM
Your premise is incorrect.

Blackhawk
March 10, 2003, 11:38 AM
Obviously you think that shooting Saddam would be easy if one were so inclined and equipped.

Think from his perspective. How would you prevent that from happening?

hso
March 10, 2003, 11:39 AM
"If the average Iraqi is well-armed...":confused:

What makes you think that average Iraqi's are well armed, or even have access to military small arms?

Poodleshooter
March 10, 2003, 11:42 AM
1. They're not that well armed. The average Iraqi cannot get semi or full automatics from what I've seen. Now they may receive them in a militia capacity, but they can't own them privately. I got this information from a linked article in the UK's Telegraph,IIRC.
2. Having a gun does not equal "having artillery","Having tanks", "having air superiority" or even "having any organization". One man is just one man.
3. People get the leader that they deserve. That goes for everyone, even those living in dictatorships. Iraqis are just like us-the possible threat of being persecuted and killed for being too vocal is less of a threat than the definite risk of opposing him in armed rebellion. Like most of the world's population, they rarely think outside of their own lives. It's easier to go about your life's activities and hope you don't attract attention.

Justin
March 10, 2003, 11:43 AM
Think from his perspective. How would you prevent that from happening? Multiple secret police organizations who keep a watchful eye on the populace...and one another. I've said it before and I'll say it again, access to small arms does not necessarily guarantee one's freedom.

Leatherneck
March 10, 2003, 11:53 AM
Abraham lincoln was shot by a man with a handgun and died. John F. Kennedy was shot by a man with a rifle and died. Ronald Reagan was shot by a man with a handgun and nearly died. Is the Iraqi Secret Service that much better than the USSS?:scrutiny:

TC
TFL Survivor

Blackhawk
March 10, 2003, 11:59 AM
Is the Iraqi Secret Service that much better than the USSS?That's not the point. The ISS can freely sanitize everybody within range of Saddam. Americans have such things as civil rights that hamstring the USSS from "securing" people who might get within range of a president.

Cosmoline
March 10, 2003, 12:14 PM
I have no doubt that the average Bath party member is very well armed. Not so much because they think they're going to stop US troops, but because they know that various parts of their anatomy will be stuck on sharp sticks by the enraged masses when Saddam is ousted.

MK11
March 10, 2003, 12:28 PM
Apparently Saddam gives preference to his native province in Iraq and crushes everyone else in the country. I'm sure there are resistance groups but they don't have much organization or support from the West.

Chris Rhines
March 10, 2003, 03:36 PM
I've read in a number of places that there is almost no effective gun control in place in Iraq. But as BTP says, it's not just the guns.

1.) Hussein gives new meaning to the term 'paranoid.' I have read reports that state that Hussein never sleeps two nights in the same bed. He's a hard target, by any stretch.

2.) It is likely that the Iraqi government maintains a secret police force of some degree of competence. Having a few friends disappear in the middle of the night can put a damper on dreams of glorious revolution.

3.) The standard of living in Iraq is just a few small steps above subsistence-level. Farming enough millet to keep your family fed leaves little time for overthrowing the government.

4.) The two major opposition groups in Iraq (the Shi'tes in the south and the Kurds in the north) don't care for each other very much. A coalition between them could challange Saddam's government, but is about as likely to happen as a coalition between the libertarians, the welfare-statist public breeders, and the deep-green/ZPG weirdos in the United States. Not gonna happen.

5.) Most important of all, is that from the perspective of the average Iraqi-on-the-street, Saddam really isn't such a bad guy. The Iraqi government doesn't make a habit of interfering in the day-to-day lives of the Iraqi subjects (with the exception of a few dissidents, Kurds, and Shi'tes, but the city folk don't really care about them anyhow.)

All in all, a revolution in Iraq ain't coming about unless the USG overthrows the gov't, puts a suitable figurehead on the throne, and opens up the Pandoras Box of colonialism again.

- Chris

cpileri
March 10, 2003, 04:02 PM
Good stuff so far!
To me, selfishly, this is an excellent topic on more levels than, "what's better 45 or 9mm?" Although i like a good caliber discussion at times as well.
Anyway...
Blackhawk, my first thought was to say tounge-in-cheek: I would prevent it by enacting 'sensible gun control laws'. BWAAAAAAAAAHHAHAHAHAHHHHHAHHHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!
Ok, enough of that.
The idea of a paranoid maniac who only picks on the 'easy prey' of his society (Kurds, for exxample- just like the Christian white male heterosexual is so easy to pick on here) and selectively eliminates a dissident here and there while providing for the majority of his people to be content makes ALOT of sense!

As we all know, the key to the start of a revolution is rising expectations and a sudden downturn of standard of living. Seem that is not happening in Iraq.

Which makes me say again: maybe his people DON'T feel oppressed. Maybe the DON'T want to be liberated. Maybe my friends in the service, your friends, brothers, sisters, etc are getting into a situation they may not be prepared to handle.

That scares me a bit.

C-

Marshall
March 10, 2003, 04:16 PM
It's my understanding that Saddam is the one that has been arming them, passing out a rifle to each or certain homes and, "asking so politely for them to attend training".

Nothing happens in this country with out his knowledge, approval or by his order.

;)

TallPine
March 10, 2003, 05:03 PM
My old buddy Tom had something to say about that:

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient Causes; and accordingly all Experience hath shewn, that Mankind are more disposed to suffer, while Evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the Forms to which they are accustomed.

Waitone
March 10, 2003, 05:34 PM
I challenge the assertion the Iraqi people have good access to firearms. I'll be willing to bet Sadaam's tribe is well armed, but everyone else is at the clown's mercy.

SH is in power because he has created a police state combining the best of Stalin and Hitler. He holds power by shear terror. It is estimated SH and his goons have killed 5% of the population of Iraq. Another 7% has fled the country. The guy will not tolerate a cross word or a perceived challenger to his power. Everyone knows what he did to ethnic opposition. When he took power he did a clear-cut on anyone capable of challenging his position. He simply murdered whomever he pleased.

Bad, bad man.

voilsb
March 10, 2003, 05:38 PM
I've seen pictures of some of these "well armed" iraqis before ...

none of them have any ammo! :neener:

it's like saying you can have all the de-milled machine guns you want. it's pretty much an expensive club.

George Dickel
March 10, 2003, 05:48 PM
Revolutions require leaders, very vocal and active leaders. Those types don't last long in Iraq.

telewinz
March 10, 2003, 05:54 PM
It is not unusual for a dictator to be very popular and supported by his countrymen. Stalin was popular by the vast majority of the public, so was Hitler, even till the end of the war. It is human nature to worship power and power is a part of leadership. The majority of the people of Iraq will probably have to be "taught" to hate Saddam in hindsight, after our victory. But then their will be another powerful leader to "follow", at least that is our (the US) hope. This situation is almost always explained/justified as the people having been "mislead" therefore its not their (the Germans, the Russians, the Iraq peoples) fault.:scrutiny:

gryphon
March 10, 2003, 06:14 PM
A firearm of any kind helps you very little if someone comes into your house in the middle of the night and takes you or your family to someplace in the middle of nowhere and either kills you outright or threatens to kill you or your family if you do not do as they say.

Here you have different levels of help to get around something like this: local, state, federal police, etc.

In Iraq, if the government soldiers come for you, most likely you won't be coming back. And as was mentioned before, an AK versus a tank unit doesn't really stand much of a chance.

CWL
March 10, 2003, 08:09 PM
Iraqis have access to guns of most styles (except for Kurds). The gun stores in Iraq are well stocked with most common brands of firearms. People do buy and own firearms in Iraq. People here who are posting arguements against this simply do not know the facts about weapons accessability in Iraq as well as other Arab countries.

The reason why he is still in power is fear.
The Iraqi secret police is everywhere and watches over all activities. No one can voice dissent because they will be turned in.
There is no congregation of people allowed, this prevents them from organizing.
The Iraqi state is better armed (sound familiar?) and brutally represses anyone suspected of dissent.
The military has air power as well as access to unconventional weapons (chemical & biological). They ALL remember what happened in 1991 when people tried to rebel, were abandoned by Bush I and were brutally slaughtered.
Iraq blames the USA and the UN for it's current state of poverty, this redirects internal suffering and anger outwards towards America, and not at Saddam.
Lastly, Iraqis have historically lived under the rule of a dictator, repression is expected. Freedom is an unfamiliar concept to the average Iraqi.

Don Gwinn
March 10, 2003, 08:10 PM
If Lincoln and Kennedy had slept in a different hardened bunker every night and killed everyone they thought MIGHT be disloyal, they wouldn't have been assassinated either--at least not by Booth and Oswald (or the Cuban Mafia Aliens, or whoever.)

You're comparing apples and antelope. They were killed while sitting in a public theater and a parade in downtown Dallas, for goodness' sake. That can't be compared to Hussein.

heartless bastard
March 11, 2003, 03:52 AM
That's a good question and here's another: How does an "irrational madman" manage hold the reins of absolute power for 27 years?

I suspect that the answer to these questions is that Saddam is not nearly as "ruthless" or "irrational" as we've been told. It's just another pack of bull**** lies from the warfare statists. Just like the story by the supposed "nurse" (actually the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador to the U.S. and not a nurse at all) about the babies being thrown out of incubators that was cooked up by an advertising agency hired by George I to sell that war to the American sheople. We all what suckers the sheople are when it comes to "the children".

Before we started bombing hell out of Iraq, things really weren't all that bad for the average Iraqi. Iraq had the highest standard of living in the Mideast, and was on the verge of being designated a first-world country. Iraqi women have more rights than women in any other Arab country. Saddam's apparent lack of misogyny is one of the major reasons he's so hated by the Koran-thumpers in Iran, Saudi, Kuwait, etc. He's a hero to the women of those countries, and I'm told that many of them have have named sons after him.

All in all, he's as benevolent as he is "ruthless".

jmbg29
March 11, 2003, 03:57 AM
Maybe they have no bullets.;)

No worries though, we will soon be "giving" them some.

Jim March
March 11, 2003, 04:43 AM
Baath party members can get AK47s via the gov't.

Several reports speak of Bahgdad gun shops with "handguns, shotguns and 22s" (what they call "handguns and hunting weapons"). Can't prove it, but I'd be willing to bet the following:

* Scoped bolt-guns are unheard of. THOSE are what Saddam would be scared of.

* Other than underground sources (via Iran), there's no "legal" gun sales in the Shi'ite or Kurd areas.

* If I was Saddam and had control of the AK47 ammo, I wouldn't put exactly the same powder charge in every round. For close-in full-auto urban work it wouldn't matter. Out past 150 yards it would. Think Saddam wouldn't do that?

I also don't suspect a lot of RPGs are available "legally".

Note: anything relating to the Iraqi government and using the term "legal" shouldn't be taken literally. :scrutiny:

cpileri
March 11, 2003, 04:53 AM
I suspect we are soon to find out just what kind of hero he is or is not to the average iraqi!
C-

JohnBT
March 11, 2003, 11:36 AM
Fearless Leader owns the tanks and planes is my best guess.

John

zxc
March 11, 2003, 09:34 PM
Dictatorships thrive on fear and disinformation; maybe the herdsmen and such are allowed. City dwellers probably not-where the majority of the people live is where his rule the hardest.

madkiwi
March 12, 2003, 01:44 PM
According to the paper today every Iraqi home has at least one gun.

Apparently gun sales are not up (everyone who wants a gun already has one), but ammo sales are.

FWIW, the paper was the San Jose Mercury News, so it might have been ant-war propaganda.

Madkiwi

mrsMTN
March 12, 2003, 04:05 PM
Two thoughts: in a culture where being a martyr is a good thing, one well-placed shot would work, even if the shooter were killed.
However, they have folks like Saddam's son, Uday, who could step right up, and that is NOT a good thing. Apparently Uday is far worse than his father.

bogie
March 12, 2003, 05:53 PM
Because the average Iraqi aims as well as this guy?

Sorry, couldn't resist...

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