Wednesday, June 18, 2003

Scary war story #2
(#1 being the night when our neighborhood was attacked with 20 shells from a tank on the Ameriya main road)

I was trying to get a taxi at 10:30pm last night (which is a stupid and dumb thing to do in the first place – curfew is still at 11:00pm) so this car stops and we agree on a 2000 dinar fare. The moment I sit in the car he starts cursing and swearing at “them”. Suddenly he stops in mid sentence turns to me and asks angrily
- are you a muslim?
*he has a muslim looking beard, is angry and I defiantly don’t want to start a theological discussion with him*
- yes, alhamdulillah I am a muslim.
- are you working with “them”?
*oh dear this is not going anywhere good*
- No! of course not. Why should I?
- so do you think if I hide a hand grenade under the dash board they would be able to find it?
- listen I really think you should be careful they have equipment which is able to detect these things, you really shouldn’t carry a hand grnade around.
- aha! So you know what equipment they use
- no,no, I said they might have this sort of equipment.

just then we pass a US patrol; one humvee and a couple of soldiers on foot. He slows down and looks intensely at them. They are on my side and he leans on me to look out of the window. This is the point when I start wondering whether I will die from the explosion after the this crazyfuck throws the grenade or from the retaliation fire.
He decides to shout stuff and whizzes off.

I think I was in a car with a loony-suicide-fucker last night. I wanted to ask why he wanted to hide a hand grenade in his car but I was really really scared. He just might decide to stick the hand grenade down my throat, because it is Halal to kill those who are agents of the infidel occupier.
What do you do when you are in a car with someone who asks you about the best place to hide a hand grenade?

Now you might say that he is part of that movement which calls itself al-Auda [the return] and is planning attacks here and there (I wish people would stop calling them sporadic but I will get to that in a moment). What makes this guy even more dangerous is that he is not part of the Ba’athi underground plot to re-emerge. He is one of the loonies who have taken the call to Jihad issued by the Imam of the abu-Hanifa mosque seriously. And these people just play so easily into the hands of the Auda. Anyway this auda rumor needs some serious confirmation because I havn’t seen anything, banner or graffiti, that actually names them.

To get back to the “sporadic attacks”.
Take the events in Mushaheda village: Nine U.S. Soldiers Are Wounded Battling Pockets of Iraqi
[NY Times, requires registration]
A convoy goes thru the village and gets attacked, RPGs or Kalashnikovs are fired. It is night and the visibility is pretty low, as a retaliation and self-defence you have the convoy shooting left and right down the road for the next couple of kilometers (that if if they didn’t decide to stop and go into attack-mode - see what happened in Hir).
Now when you go ask the people in the village, district or neighborhood about the attacks they tell you the attackers were strangers, not from the area.
Think of it for a moment. If I wanted to instigate anti-american sentiments in a neighborhood which was until now indifferent towards the Americans what would be the best thing to do?
I would find a way to get the Americans to do bad things in that neighborhood, for example shoot indiscriminately at houses and shops
Sabaa Khalifa Makhmoud, 26, had finished cleaning his blue and white bus on the opposite side of the road from the American convoy and had just stepped out of the vehicle when the soldiers began shooting in response to the attack. One of his daughters, a toddler, was outside with him, and he scooped her up and ran inside their house. The shooting blasted out two windows in his bus and left a ragged hole in one of the bus curtains.
make them go on house to house searches, tie up the men and put sacks on their heads and scare all the children.
this would tilt your American-o-meter from the “I-don’t-really-care” position to the “what-the-fuck-do-they-think-they-are-doing?” position.
take a look at the attacks the last week and their aftermath. This sort of thing repeats itself and kind of snowballs from grumbles to calls for Jihad, just like what happened in the Adhamiya district near the abu-Hanifa mosque after the confrontation between Iraqis and American soldiers ended with two dead Iraqis.

what else?
There are rumors that a couple of high-tension electricity towers in the north have been sabotaged. Electricity has gotten worse, we get 5 hours of electricity a day in my neighborhood; it was so much better one week ago. People start grumbling again about the promises the Americans made and have not fulfilled.


Two tank mines exploded on the streets of Baghdad, this is the third one. They are putting them in black garbage bags, the first exploded under a truck which was part of an Army convoy. One soldier got hurt.
The other two both exploded yesterday. The first in an underpass right in the middle of baghdad’s Tahrir square. It exploded under a taxi, no one was killed but two people got injured. The second exploded in Ghazalia district killing a girl and injuring her mother. Now this second mine was laid on the street after the American check point left that same street and the people there are saying that the mine was left by the Americans, which is complete bullshit.

(Sorry, I am all over the place and I was never too good in formulating an argument, but I hope I am making some sense there)
What I want to say is that these attacks might be sporadic and unorganized; but they do what the Ba’athists want to do, creating a very tough situation for the American administration to do anything good or to keep their promises, changing people's sentiments. adding more heat to a summer which is too hot already.