The mayhem continues in Iraq, with at least 40
people dead today including five U.S. soldiers in Diyala province, as the meltdown
of the failed U.S.-led occupation continues.
Two suicide bombers detonated themselves after walking into a crowd of police
officers in Hilla, south of Baghdad. The policemen were demonstrating outside
the mayor's office to protest a government decision to disband their special
In yet another horrible PR move (or attempt to raise sectarian tensions?) by
the U.S. military, the head of Iraq's largest Sunni political party, Mohsen
Abdul Hamid, was detained from his home early this morning in western Baghdad.
Of course, his head was promptly bagged and his hands tied before he was taken
away to be interrogated. His three sons were also detained with him. Stun bombs
and bullets were used during the raid, according to his wife.
It just so happens that his party, the Islamic Party, opposes the new U.S.-backed
security operation now engulfing Baghdad because they believe the security forces
will disregard the rights of innocent Iraqis.
Later the same day, he was released, and the military admitted it made a mistake.
The military statement concerning the matter said, "Coalition forces regret
any inconvenience and acknowledge [Abdul-Hamid's] cooperation in resolving this
Abdul Hamid refused their apology in the Arab media and stated that he was
humiliated when U.S. soldiers held their boots on his head for 20 minutes. It
was also stated that he accused American soldiers of removing items from his
home, including a computer. This is standard operating procedure with home raids
I can't tell you how many Iraqis I've interviewed after their homes were
raided who complained of money, jewelry, and other belongings being looted by
The Islamic Party released a statement after the release of Abdul Hamid that
said, "The U.S. administration claims it is interested in drawing Sunnis
into the political process, but it seems that their way of doing so is by raids,
arrests, and violating human rights."
At least 740 Iraqis have been killed since the new "government" took
power in late April, and with the ongoing operations sparking more attacks each
day, it doesn't look like there is an end in sight. Keep in mind, the vast majority
of the Iraqi security forces are either Shia or Kurdish battling against a primarily
Sunni resistance (for now). It can easily be argued that we are witnessing a
U.S.-backed Iraqi government that is deliberating using its power to wage a
On that note, Major General Ahmed al-Barazanchi, a Kurdish man who was the
director of internal affairs of Kirkuk province, died this morning after being
My sources in Baghdad also said there have been fierce clashes today in the
al-Amiriya district of Baghdad between resistance fighters and Iraqi and U.S.
soldiers. "Open gun battles in the streets," as one friend told me.
"And as soon as the Iraqi and U.S. soldiers leave the area, the resistance
takes it back over."
Keep in mind that all of this is against the backdrop of well over 50 percent
unemployment, horrendous traffic jams, and an infrastructure in shambles that
continues to degrade with next-to-no reconstruction occurring in Baghdad.
"Electricity shutoffs drive us crazy in this hot summer," one of
my friends wrote me recently. "Even we can't read at night because of long
hours of electricity cuts and because the outside generators can't withstand
running these long hours and we have to turn these generators off for some time
to cool them!"
He continues, "Two years of occupation
for God's sake, where is
the rebuilding, where the hell are these billions donated to Iraq? Even not
1 percent improvement in services and electricity! They say again and again
the terrorists are to blame and I would accept this, but why they do not protect
these facilities? Do the American camps have cuts of electricity? No, no, and
nobody will allow this to happen
but poor Iraqis, nobody would be sorry
for them if they burn with the hell of summer, small kids and old men they get
dehydrated because no electricity, no cold water, etc. Have you heard about
the tea that is mixed with iron particles? It is real in our life. People have
to make sure their tea is not mixed with iron by use of magnets."
He concluded his e-mail with, "Things are getting worse day by day. Iraq
has become a country not for its people; every day thoughts jump into the mind
that sooner or later we have to leave this country, searching for another. And
there is a saying, 'your home is where you sleep safe,' but this is not true
in Iraq anymore."
He sent me that e-mail three days ago.
Yesterday, the Iraqi government announced that it may decrease subsidies for
fuel and electricity, despite a severe shortage of both in the country, according
to the electricity minister, who warned Iraqis to prepare for more blackouts
Ongoing fuel, electricity, and drinking-water shortages persist, and only 37
percent of Iraqis have a working sewage system.
As so many of my Iraqi friends continue to say, "This is the freedom and
democracy that America has brought us."