News and opinions on situation in Iraq
01/06/04 New President, New Car Bomb weblog entry by Dahr Jamail
  Dahr Jamail is producing copy faster than we can edit it. We have at least two more stories coming this week, plus whatever Dahr posts to his weblog, like today's entry, pasted below.

But first, four new stories about Iraq up at The NewStandard…

New Iraqi President Holds Tentative Grassroots Respect, Little Power by Dahr Jamail As its final act, the Iraqi Governing Council undermines the US by installing a relatively popular Sunni sheikh as interim president. Iraqis in Baghdad welcome the move, but doubt even a man known for standing up to the US can make a difference. newstandardnews.net/content/?action=show_item&itemid=464

Concern Over Mercenaries‚ Role in Iraq Rises With Spending by Chris Shumway As private security spending in Iraq increases, the role of heavily-armed mercenaries takes on new dimensions, but these soldiers of fortune and their parent companies are not subject to the same regulations as the regular military. newstandardnews.net/content/?action=show_item&itemid=452

Report: U.S. personnel assaulted detainees who died in Iraq newstandardnews.net/content/?action=show_item&itemid=461

New U.S.-UK resolution still fails to address troop withdrawal issue newstandardnews.net/content/?action=show_item&itemid=460

Now for today's weblog entry…

New President, New Car Bomb weblog entry by Dahr Jamail, NewStandard weblogs blog.newstandardnews.net/iraqdispatches/archives/000502.html

Baghdad, June 1 — While Iraqi and American political players have been frenetically rearranging the chairs of interim government members on the Titanic that is occupied Iraq today, a massive car bomb explosion rumbles my hotel, miles from where it detonated outside of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan building near the so-called Green Zone.

So rather than celebratory gunfire for the appointment of a new president, we have a car bomb, a huge mushroom cloud and whaling sirens in the center of the capital city today.

“What good does having these new people in these new positions do me,” says my friend, Abu Talat, angry after hearing the news of Ghazi Yawar being appointed the new president of Iraq.

An Iraqi doctor sitting nearby laughs out loud and asks, “Did I miss the elections?”

Even though in a rare show of backbone the US-appointed Iraqi Governing Council stood up to Bremer and company, helping to thwart the US plan of Pachachi as their first choice, most Iraqis I've spoken with thus far remain apathetic as another decision made which they have no control over feeds the deep layers of distrust, as well as disdain, towards the U.S. policymakers and Iraqi appointees in their country.

Those who have some hope for the new president, do so mainly because he is the sheikh of a very large tribe, and has a good reputation amongst Iraqis.

Then there is the continuing mis-reporting by mainstream media of a convoy of foreign “civilians” being killed by gunmen in Baghdad on Sunday. Keep in mind, it was the killing of mercenaries in Fallujah two months ago that led to the slaughter of between 800-1200 Iraqis when a siege of the city followed the barbaric treatment dealt the corpses of those four guns-for-hire.

A more truthful lead sentence for the incident last weekend might read: “Western mercenaries wearing black helmets and holding their guns out the open windows of heavily-armored SUVs hosting multiple antennae that stand out like a sore thumb were attacked by members of the resistance in occupied Iraq today.”

Somewhere in the story about the attack it would have to mention that several of the surviving mercenaries in the vehicles managed to hijack an Iraqi's car at gunpoint on the other side of the highway in order to escape alive. Because according to Iraqi police and several witnesses, shortly after the attack on the mercenaries, cheering bystanders doused two of the bullet-riddled SUVs with gasoline and lit them on fire.

The American public might be fooled into thinking that innocent Westerners are being killed mindlessly in occupied Iraq, but members of the Iraqi resistance know the mercenaries when they see them. Even the children here can identify them — they are hard to miss.

After interviewing several Iraqis on Rashid Street for their reaction to the new president today, I found myself in a café with men playing dominoes and drinking lemon chai.

The owner told us of his frustration with the security situation… that before the invasion he used to stay open until 3 a.m., and it was completely safe to do so. Now he must close by 6 p.m.

While we were getting ready to leave, the owner of the café insisted on escorting us to our car. Why? Because not far from the café a looter was robbing another looter.

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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 newstandardnews.net/iraqdispatches .

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