Wandering the blog world, came across an interesting blog item. The author is an Iraqi who appear to have been there through the recent unpleasantness. This post is dated Aug 30:
The looting and killing of today has changed from the looting and killing in April. In April, it was quite random. Criminals were working alone. Now they're more organized than the CPA (Coalition Provisional Authority) and the troops combined. No one works alone anymore- they've created gangs and armed militias. They pull up to houses in minivans and SUVs, armed with machineguns and sometimes grenades. They barge into the house and demand money and gold. If they don't find enough, they abduct a child or female and ask for ransom. Sometimes the whole family is killed- sometimes only the male members of the family are killed.This quote is almost too good to be true for an anarchist. Anarchy releases criminal elements (the unorganized political means). This is opposed by the armed people, which works: "we actually felt safe". But the state interposes; it will not permit any challenge to its monopoly, regardless of the price that the peons pay.
For a while, the men in certain areas began arranging "lookouts". They would gather, every 6 or 7 guys, in a street, armed with Klashnikovs, and watch out for the whole area. They would stop strange cars and ask them what family they were there to visit. Hundreds of looters were caught that way- we actually felt safe for a brief period. Then the American armored cars started patrolling the safer residential areas, ordering the men off the streets- telling them that if they were seen carrying a weapon, they would be treated as criminals.