Still a few minor details to work out in the meantime:
Majid Hamid, 41, a Sunni human rights worker whose brother was kidnapped and killed by men in uniform four months ago, said he doubted that the answer would ever be known. Now, he said, the authorities normally trusted to investigate may be responsible for the crime.
â€œWhenever I see uniforms now, I figure they must be militias,â€ Mr. Hamid said in a recent interview. â€œI immediately try to avoid them. If I have my gun, I know I need to be ready to use it.â€
Such is the attitude of Iraqis in this capital shellshocked and made fearful by violence that seems to be committed almost daily by men dressed as those who are supposed to protect and serve. The audacious kidnapping on Monday was just the latest case of men using the signals of law and safety â€” a uniform, a vehicle with blue lights, a patch on the sleeve â€” to attack and abduct.
Everywhere Iraqis in uniform go, from ice cream shops to checkpoints, people now flee. The mottled mix of green, blue and khaki camouflage, along with the blue shirts of the local police, have all blurred into a flag for alarm. â€œEn eles,â€ Iraqis in Baghdad now say when a friend has been taken; in traditional Arabic it means chewed up, but in the streets it has come to mean taken by mysterious men without explanation.