Thursday, May 10, 2007


Worse security conditions despite 'surge'

(Azzaman) - Baghdad inhabitants say the presence of armed groups has intensified since the start of U.S. military operations to pacify the city more than two months ago. More and more armed groups are springing up in Baghdad, they say, and restive quarters like Doura and Ghazaliya have turned into major insurgent strongholds.
The Ministry of Interior which plays a big hand in the current operations targeting armed and rebel groups in the city would not comment on reports on the escalation of the number of armed in the city. But a ministry source, refusing to be named, said, “The security forces are striking with a fist of iron all the hatcheries of armed groups in various areas (of Baghdad) and the provinces by capturing many of them every week.”
But Baghdad residents have different stories to tell. Kadhem Abedsada who has been forced to flee al-Ghazaliya district, said security conditions have aggravated since the government began its security plan. “I have never seen such a wide presence of armed groups before. Their hideouts dot al-Ghazaliya and they are breeding like mushrooms. They call themselves resistance but they kill and kidnap on identity cards and ask for massive ransoms,” Abedsada said.
A woman, refusing to be named, said her husband was abducted by armed men who forced their way into their house in the violent neighborhood of Saydiya. “My husband was kidnapped from our home in Saydiya by an unidentified armed group. They entered our house, handcuffed my husband and took away our money and jewelry. “Then they asked for $30,000 as a ransom but later reduced it to $20,000 when I told them they had already taken almost all what we had. “After paying the ransom, they released my husband on condition that we immediately evacuate the neighborhood and so did we,” said the woman, who only spoke on condition of anonymity.
Abu Ahmad from al-Jamia neighborhood said their areas had turned into hideouts for armed groups. “Armed groups operate and act with impunity. They can do whatever they want as there are no Iraqi security forces in most of our neighborhood. “Occasionally, U.S. troops storm certain areas and arrest some people most of whom are innocent,” Abu Ahmad said.
Conditions in Amiriya neighborhood have also worsened since U.S. and Iraqi forces launched their security plan. Hadi Mahmoud said many residents in Amiriya now fear leaving their homes and a trip outside the neighborhood is for many ‘a journey to certain death.’ “We cannot leave our areas and our homes. Our neighborhood looks almost deserted apart from the sight of armed groups brandishing their weapons and wandering freely in the streets,” said Mahmoud.
COMMENT: The Azzaman Arabic Daily is a self declared “independent” newspaper printed in Great Britain and distributed throughout the Arab community. The Editor-in-Chief, Sadi Al Bazzaz is a former employee of the Iraqi Ministry of Information, who fled Iraq in the early 1990’s to Great Britain. Azzaman is widely read throughout Baghdad as a valuable source of information. Azzaman continues to be the most popular printed news source in Baghdad. Azzaman takes more of a center approach in its reporting and editorials, rather than being pro-Coalition. The paper does run anti-Coalition pieces that label the US presence in Iraq as an occupying force. Azzaman Arabic Daily resembles a liberal, non-religious based, western paper; providing local and international news, sports, fashion, arts, a cyber section called “@.” This paper and those like it were not available in Baghdad during the Saddam regime.COMMENT ENDS.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?