Baghdad, Iraq: The good, the bad, the treacherous.
November 11, 2011 by Bruce Wallace, 121Contact
In the midst of the good news from Iraq about the emerging civil society organizations and their good non-violent works for peaceful transition to a more democratic society we find ourselves dismayed at the rising violence.
Baghdad is once again a city of fear in which parents, reporting to us, are afraid to let their children go out to play, shopping is becoming scary, and just going to work, if you are lucky enough to have a job, is an event filled with dread. The lack of central electricity is still an issue and generators (one for your house, one for the neighborhood) are still the mainstay.
Journalists are once again under fire, and freedom of the press is no longer guaranteed. Assassinations and attacks of reporters have increased lately, and press offices are also being attacked by 'them'. The 'them'... Some say these are government backed forces who seek out media critical of the regime, or media trying to publish honest accounts of the situation on the ground. It is a sad, and dangerous, state of affairs.
On the good side of the ledger:
Mercy Corps is expanding its Baghdad offices and continuing its work of building schools and medical clinics, teaching women to read and empowering people with disabilities.
The final declaration of the Iraqi Civil Society Solidarity Initiative (ICSSI) third conference is now available, offering a window of hope for all who wish for progress in Iraq. Looking at the list of over 100 Iraqi representatives of emerging and growing NGOs yields insight into the current momentum.
All in all we remain hopeful, but it is obvious that the road ahead is treacherous for the good people who still believe that Iraq can find non-violent paths to more peaceful tomorrows.
Please write your representatives to try and alter the distribution of funds slated for Iraq. As it stands now: the non DoD allocations increase the 2012 moneys destined for Iraq's military (about US$ 2 Billion), and decrease the allocations for civil society measures. Foreign Assistance.gov reports that support for Human Rights, Health, Education and Human services have dropped to $300 million each. Allocations for the environment and Humanitarian Assistance have been cut to zero.
#1: A roadside bomb targeted a bus carrying Iranian pilgrims, killing one Iranian and wounding four others in Baghdad's northwestern Kadhimiya district, a police source said.
#2: Gunmen on a motorcycle opened fire at an Iraqi army checkpoint, killing one soldier and wounding another in Baghdad's northern Adhamiya district, late on Saturday, police and hospital sources said.
#3: "Two policemen have been injured in an attack by a group of unknown gunmen, who used silencer-fixed guns in their attack on a police patrol in west Iraq's Jami'a district on Monday" the Security Source told Aswat al-Iraq news agency, adding that the attackers have escaped to an unknown destination.
#4: In another incident, "an explosive charge, planted on the roadside blew off close to western Baghdad's Baya'a Garage, wounding 3 civilians and causing severe damage to a number of vehicles, parked in the garage."
#5: Four Iraqi civilians have been injured in an explosive charge blast east of Baghdad on Monday, a security source reported. "An explosive charge, planted on the roadside in one of a main road, leading to east Baghdad's al-Sadr city, has blown up early on Monday, wounding 4 civilians and causing damage to a number of vehicles, parked close to the venue of the blast," the security source told Aswat al-Iraq news agency.
#6: Three terrorists, wearing explosive belts, have been killed while driving a booby-trapped car in west Baghdad on Monday, according to the Baghdad Operations Command (BOC). "Three terrorists, wearing explosive belts and driving a booby-trapped car close to a checkpoint in west Baghdad's al-Jami'a district, have been killed close to a checkpoint," the BOC statement was announced on the semi-official al-Iraqiya TV Satellite Channel on Monday.
#1: Two roadside bombs went off near the car of an Electricity Ministry employee, killing him and wounding seven others, including four policemen, in Taji, 20 km (12 miles) north of Baghdad, police and hospital sources said. The second bomb went off when police rushed to the scene.
#1: A roadside bomb targeted an Iraqi army patrol, killing one officer and wounding a soldier north of Tikrit, 150 km (95 miles) north of Baghdad, a source at the police operations centre in Salahuddin province said.
#1: A cop was killed by unknown gunmen in Samarra city, security sources said here today. The source told Aswat al-Iraq that "unknown gunmen with pistols equipped with silencers attacked a group of cops west of Samarra that led to the killing one member of the patrol before fleeing to unknown destination.
#1: A soldier was killed when a mortar shell landed at an Iraqi army checkpoint in northern Mosul, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad, a local police source said.
#2: A bomb attached to a car exploded, wounding a prison guard officer, in eastern Mosul, a local police source said.
#3: Gunmen in a car shot dead a teenager in western Mosul, a local police source said.
Al Anbar Prv:
#1: Gunmen using silenced weapons shot dead a police lieutenant colonel near his house in central Falluja, 50 km (32 miles) west of Baghdad, late on Saturday, a local police source said.