Michael Ware report from Baghdad.
Posted by QB on November 2, 2006
The “New York Times” published a chart today. It says it got it from the U.S. military’s Central Command, which oversees the entire region, including Iraq, and it’s very ominous because it shows the current level of violence in Iraq right now getting ominously close to chaos as opposed to the other side, which is peace.
Does this square with what you’re actually seeing on the ground? Wolf question.
Well, Wolf, the short answer is absolutely. I mean, where this graph, you know, illuminates the situation is we see the pointer teetering further and further away from the green of peace and closer into the spectrum’s end of red in chaos. It is arguably the most accurate reflection we’ve seen of the situation here on the ground to come out of either the U.S. military or the administration.
I mean, despite the tonnage of words that comes from politicians and generals and commanders trying to put things within a certain political reference, here it is. And you see it for yourself in this graph. Iraq is within a fraction of all out chaos. I mean the best that you could say right now, if such a term exists, is that it’s contained chaos. All that it needs now is for it to break out and to be unleashed.
I mean when you walk on an Iraqi street today, when you go down any avenue here in Baghdad, the most dominant feeling, the most gripping emotion among ordinary people is fear. And that fear is legitimate. Michael Ware reply.
Wolf second question was about Nouri al Malaki order to remove all the check points from Shia neighborhood. And this comes only six days before the uses here, elections which are clearly being dominated by what’s happening on the ground in Iraq.
You’ve been doing a lot of reporting on the rift, on the strain in the relationship between the prime minister of Iraq, Nuri Al- Maliki, his government, and the Bush administration. And it’s now surfacing to a certain degree in terms of the U.S. abandoning some checkpoints around Sadr City, where their suspicion is this American soldier could be held.
What’s the latest on that front?
Michael Ware responded with his bluntness and truth. Well, what we saw yesterday is that following a demand by the rebel anti-American cleric and the leader of the Jayshul Mahdi Militia, Muqtada al-Sadr, for a general strike, civil disobedience in Sadr City until the checkpoints and the lockdown was removed, is that, you know, by lunchtime, we had the Iraqi prime minister, in his words, according to his statement, ordering that these checkpoints be opened.
And within hours, the permanent checkpoints that existed before the lockdown and still exist now, which were closed, suddenly opened. Other temporary checkpoints in another part of the city, which were designed primarily to serve the hunt for the U.S. soldier, were completely removed.
Now, a senior U.S. diplomatic official conducted a teleconference with journalists last night to try and explain that this was not a sign of the rift and the Iraqi government was not countering the U.S. military.
But I have to say, Wolf, it was less than convincing.
John Roberts is also in Iraq these days and reporting from Baghdad but he is living in what Michael Ware call it the bubble zone ie US fortified green zone so his reports are kind of military propaganda briefings.
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