October 3, 2005

WORD NOTE: "arhabi"

There's been some confusion (by people who seem to want to be confused) about the designation 'fully capable" as applied to Iraqi units. "Fully capable" is in fact a very rigorous US standard. Major K explains more in this post...[Thanks to Greyhawk)

...As I write this, two sectors of Baghdad are controlled by Iraqi Army Brigades (4000-5000) assisted by a platoon-sized (30-40) MiTT [US Military Transition Team]. The number of Iraqi Battalions operating with only a small MiTT adviser group as I described is in the dozens, and that is only here in the Baghdad area. I assume it is the same or better in other, quieter areas of the country.

Are they fully capable by US standards? Perhaps not. The military forces of most of the rest of the world do not meet that standard. Are they operational and hunting down arhabi every day? - You Betcha!

My question was, what are "arhabi??" A quick Google found that Major K had already provided a definition:

It is pronounced: ahr-HAH-bee. It is the Iraqi arabic word for terrorist. 2LT C. does not like it because "it just doesn't sing. I learned this word from our interpreters and use it often. I never use mujahedin or jihadi, because they imply a measure of respect due an actual warrior. After all, both of those terms mean "holy warrior." This distinction is also very important to the Iraqis. They have told me repeatedly that these guys are cowards who will not even stand and fight. They kill innocent people, and bomb indiscriminately. They have been their own worst enemy in the public relations department. Even though 2LT C. likes to refer to them using the A-word, (describing a posterior extremity) he would like to find something more catchy. I am content to use arhabi. It lets the locals know exactly who we are after, and what this really is about - not oil, not religion, but security and the hope for a better future.

Sounds like a good word to add to our vocabulary...

Posted by John Weidner at October 3, 2005 4:49 PM
Weblog by John Weidner