Byline: E.A. Torriero
BAGHDAD, Iraq _ Shopping for a weapon of choice, neighbors often knock on the black gate of the Al-Rawi family house in a working-class section of Baghdad that looks like any other street in the sprawling capital.
Two Al-Rawi brothers take orders and promise delivery in days: rocket launchers, hand grenades, machine guns, pistols and the much preferred AK-47 assault rifle.
Before the war, the family was entrenched in the influential Baath Party, manning armed checkpoints until the last hours when U.S. troops were at their door. Now, the brothers traffic in the once-vast Baath arsenal of stolen weapons. And they are not worried about American intervention.
"They can't search millions of houses in Baghdad," Ahmed Al-Rawi said of U.S. troops.
As the American-led interim administration begins the colossal task of reining in thousands upon thousands of armaments, there is little indication that it will make a dent in lawless Iraq.
Starting Sunday, Iraqis will have a two-week amnesty to turn in their heavy weapons. Small arms _ including rifles, shotguns and pistols _ will be allowed in homes and businesses but cannot be brandished or discharged in public.
U.S. authorities do not call their efforts a "disarmament." That is hardly realistic, they say, …