News and opinions on situation in Iraq
13/06/04 “It Has Begun” weblog entry by Dahr Jamail, NewStandard weblogs
  Lots of new Iraq content from The NewStandard. We'll get right to it this time…

“Americans and Iraqis Vie for Control of Security Forces” article by Dahr Jamail, The NewStandard

The Iraqi Police and Civil Defense Corps find their work hampered by US authorities, but signs emerge that greater independence for local security forces means greater control by the growing resistance…

Dahr travelled all over to get this story. We are going to be hearing more and more in the next few weeks and months about just who controls the Iraqi Police and paramilitaries. Dahr went back to Fallujah to find out how the Civil Defense Corps, police and mujahideen are getting along now that the Marines have pulled out. And he talked to people from all walks of life, including numerous high-ranking security officials, to figure out what the police are up to and what people think about them. This is not the kind of story just anybody can pull off. Don't miss it…

+ Car bombing, assassination target U.S. occupation and Iraqi allies + Al-Sadr pledges support for gov‚t as his militia battles U.S. troops + Gunmen assassinate Iraqi deputy foreign minister + Use of dogs in Abu Ghraib authorized at the highest levels

“The student is gone; the master has arrived.” weblog entry by Dahr Jamail, NewStandard weblogs

Baghdad, June 13 — This became a very popular saying in Iraq after the US ousted Saddam Hussein.

The situation continues to degrade in occupied Iraq. I know I‚m beginning to sound like a broken record… but the need to describe life on the ground here continues, as I see it slipping from the news as of late. Overshadowed by more dramatic stories like car bombs and heavy fighting, the silent suffering that has become the daily reality here just isn‚t catching much attention.


“It Has Begun” weblog entry by Dahr Jamail, NewStandard weblogs

Baghdad, June 13 — Several of us are sitting in the hotel room having lunch, watching the news trying to keep up with the violence daily engulfing Iraq. Let me give you a quick rundown from the last 24 hours.

Late last night fighting continued in Sadr City between the Mehdi Army and occupation forces… leaving at least five Iraqis dead, three of them civilians.

This morning the Republican Palace, where Bremer is headquartered, was blasted by a rocket.

Shortly after 9 this morning, a huge blast rocked Baghdad when a car bomb detonated near Camp Cuervo, a US Army Camp in the northern part of the capital. The explosion left 12 Iraqis dead, 4 of whom were policemen.

Another car bomb exploded this evening north of Baghdad in an attack on US troops-killing one soldier and wounding 2.

According to the Washington Post, there have been 16 car bombs this month thus far, and today is June 13th.

Assassinations of government officials continue unabated. Last night in Baquba, an attempt on Majeed Almani Mahal, a senior Iraqi Police official, left him wounded in a local hospital.

Also yesterday, the chief of the border police in Iraq, Major General Hussein Mustafa Abdul-Kareem was wounded when assassins attacked his convoy in Baghdad.

The attempts grew more lethal yesterday when the Iraqi deputy foreign minister, Bassam Kubba was shot dead while driving to work.

Today Kamal al-Jarah, an official from the Education Ministry, was assassinated near his home.

While we were watching all of this news, small, black helicopters of special operations forces and private security contractors buzzed like flies over central Baghdad and sirens blared randomly from the blazingly hot streets.

As footage of cars with broken glass and bullet holes in their frames flashed across the screen of the television, my friend‚s translator, Hamid, an older man who has grown weary of the violence, said softly: “It has begun. These are only the start, and they will not stop. Even after June 30th.‰

And the news of more assassinations continues to roll in. Last night Iyad Khorshid, a popular Kurdish cleric in Kirkuk, was killed in the city where tensions between the ethnic groups is rising each day.

All of this atop the ongoing killings of the intelligentsia in Baghdad, where over the last year of occupation there have been a monthly average of 10-15 assassination attempts on Iraqi professors, scientists and academics, about 5 of them successful each month.

Yet another example of this occurred today at Baghdad University, where a geography professor, Sabri al-Bayati, was executed in the streets.

Of course, foreign contractors can‚t be left out of the slaughter. On this front, today we got the news that the brutally butchered body of a Lebanese construction worker was found yesterday near Fallujah. He had previously been kidnapped.

Nor can we forget about the journalists — two Iraqis working for the US-controlled Al-Iraqia TV station were found dead near the border of Syria. Apparently they were killed yesterday.

Lakhdar Brahimi announced his resignation yesterday from his position of the UN envoy to Iraq due to what he described as great difficulties and frustration from his assignment.

Not long ago Brahimi said: “Bremer is the dictator of Iraq. He has the money. He has the signature. Nothing happens without his agreement in this country.‰

Presenting what was apparently the US idea of a solution, Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt said of the military plans in Iraq after the “handover‰ on June 30th; “We will not be pulling out of the cities. We will not be relocating.‰


Dahr Jamail is Baghdad correspondent for The NewStandard. He is an Alaskan devoted to covering the untold stories from occupied Iraq. You can help Dahr continue his crucial work in Iraq by making donations. For more information or to donate to Dahr, visit .


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