Wednesday, May 10, 2006

ADHAMIYA NEWS

There was extended gunfire and some explosions in the Iraqi city of Adhamiya last April, and getting the straight story of what was actually happening there is difficult - even for Iraqis. Omar at Iraq the Model has this to say:

The situation in Adhamiya remains tense, and I've seen that first hand yesterday; I crossed the bridge from al-Iskan to Adhamiya only to be immediately turned away by a group of men at a road block. I tried to ask what was going on but the only answer I got was "GO BACK!".

Later we heard that some clashes happened in and around Adhamiya but no details were available but this morning I found two contradicting reports on the Adhamiya developments from two credible and respectable Iraqi newspapers.

Azzaman put it this way:
Azzaman reporter in Baghdad said that militia men in police uniforms riding vehicles with no registration plates tried to raid parts of Adhamiya in an attempt to kidnap some of the locals but the residents of Adhamiya fought back and forced the assailants to withdraw from the district. This was the second attempt within 24 hours, in the first incident armed men driving a vehicle and dressed in interior ministry uniforms opened fire on homes and pedestrians but also fled the district when residents raised to chase them.
Al-Sabah's reported the incident in a very different way:
An interior ministry source announced that fierce clashes erupted between terrorists and Iraqi security forces in Adhamiya district. The source who did not give details on whether there had been casualties said that security forces are "encircling the district in its entirety".
In this case I can consider myself lucky to have two versions of the same story (from two sources with different orientations/agendas) to compare and choose from but what about stories that come to us from one source?

Actually reading these two contradicting accounts makes me question the accuracy of much of the news we get and right now I'm reluctant to believe either of the two accounts in question.

And at Healing Iraq, Zeyad has an extensive post with some pictures of the streets. He explains his recent lack of blogging is due to his living in the city.

It hasn't been very pretty in Adhamiya since my last post. The district looks deserted most of the time, with random gunfire here and there. American Apache helicopters circle the area almost non-stop, and residents are whispering to each other about an imminent assault, as part of the American plan to 'liberate' Baghdad again. But to liberate it from whom? Its residents?

But in April, the last blog entry before his explanation above was this entry explaining some of the background (with many pictures and maps, very informative as always):

There had been a previous understanding for a few months between the 2 parties that, as long as Interior ministry forces do not enter Adhamiya, National Guards were free to patrol and maintain checkpoints in the area. National Guards in return, turned a blind eye to the many neighbourhood watch teams and even the 'Mujahideen' as long as they don't target them. National Guards were considered allies and during the Samarra events they stepped back in the shadows and watched as vigilant units took over and patrolled Adhamiya at nighttime. There was at least one incident, a couple of weeks ago, when a National Guard commander warned the 'Mujahideen' that Interior ministry forces had entered the area, and turned over his weapons to residents so they could defend themselves.

Tuesday, 6:45 am: a speeding vehicle drove by and fired a few shots at a lethargic National Guard unit near the corner of Omar bin Abdul Aziz and Siham Al-Mitwali streets. The unit responded with a rabid barrage of Douchka and PKC fire, damaging several stores and hitting the nearby Al-Anbia' mosque. The mosque guards snuck to Dhubat Street from back alleys, took positions on a 3-floor building and started taking potshots at the National Guards at the intersection of Omar and Dhubat streets. Other watch teams thought it was another attack, and by 8 am the whole district erupted into an inferno of machine gun fire. Amidst the chaotic firefight, we could make out the familiar buzz of an American unmanned surveillance plane in the air.

"Please refrain from firing at the mosque. Does a house of Allah have no sanctity to you?" a haughty voice was broadcasting from the Al-Anbia' mosque loudspeakers to the National Guards. "You are supposed to restore order. Cease fire immediately or face the consequences. He who has warned is henceforth excused."

The message only served to provoke heavier fire from both sides.

Commenters at both sites had some thoughts on the reliability of news and the events, first from Iraq the Model:
This is as good an object lesson as I've ever seen on the importance of FACTUAL reporting by media. The difference between these two accounts is IMMENSE, and yet look how easy it is to slant the story the way you want. I'm beginning to think that factually accurate media is the most important commodity a democracy can have. Without it, chaos.
-by Doug Johnson


I have also been following Zeyad's blog ( as I am sure you have). To read his blog , one would feel the former of your two reports was accurate- but really how do tell?

I am certain the last thing that is needed is unsolicited advice, but here it is anyway: Random roadblocks by LEGITIMATE Iraqi forces. Anyone driving an unregistered vehicle, carrying weapons, or attired in formal law enforcement dress but not an authorized member is immediately arrested and brought to trial.

It has long been my contention that until those carrying out this rape of your society realize they cannot strike and then fade away with impunity, it will continue.
-by Lee McDaniel


On the 4th an AQIZ cell leader was caught there. Follow-up raid from him talking resulted in more captures.

Most talk when captured (to quote MG Lynch "they are not very loyal").
What you are probably seeing is a roll up of more of their associates.

[News Link]
-by DJ Elliot


The support that the terrorists need to survive has to be reduced for this to ever end.

and only the iraqis can do this.

to the frustrated folks like Christine I can only say that the hounds of war could destroy, but then what?

As long as the terrorists can find safe haven they will carry on. When the Iraqis get tired of them, and many have, they will disappear.

In the interim we must continue clear and hold, we must make it tough for them to move, to strike, to eat and to sleep.

but only the Iraqis can root out this devil living among them. Only the Iraqis can stop hiding them and feeding them.
-by Marine Dad


Zaman is taking the Sunni side and Sabah is taking the Shiite government side.

They are both correct and erroneous, depending on your point of view.

What must have happened is that interior ministry forces and police, who are loyal to Sadr and Dawa, and possibly including Badr and Iranians, attempt to enter Adhamiya - because the Shiite forces need to dominate the capital, and Adhamiya is in their way.

They are met with organized resistance of the Sunni neighborhood and poossibly anti-American or formerly anti-American insurgents.

So both reports are correct, if you look beyond the veneer. "Policemen" in Baghdad means a pickup truck festooning Murderer Sadr posters. Nobody else will call them police, except for some Shiites.

The Iraqi security forces need to be purged. The only solution is to have a SECULAR and INDEPENDENT Intelligence police with TEETH that can go and pick up these elements, and send them to Abu Ghraib for 5 years each, until the rest of them behave.

It is not a difficult solution. The problem is that the seculars are too weak and are NOT SUPPORTED by the world community. Only the US is supporting seculars and independents, and that is reason for the Europeans and leftists and moderate Muslims to withdraw their support from the seculars and independents, in their attempt to destroy democracy - and hence allow them to be destroyed by Islamism.
-by Sharifabadi


Dear Omar and Mohammed

I am sorry to read about Al Adhamia being singled out and now is facing a possible military action. possibly after 23rd May?

Many of its true freedom loving Iraqi population have been great men and women over the years, they are men and women of culture, knowledge, nationalism, patriottism and science and engineering, education and Art etc.. I know many of them in Baghdad and now in Jordan, Lebanon and London.

I remember when the the Iraqis Shias fell into the river in the stampead, wher my nephew was killed, the people of Al Adhamia came to their rescue and saved many of his children on that day, they helped them from drowning and sheltered them and fed them and protected them-a great human valour, bravery and courage and kindness without limits.

I am sure that the majority of them are peace loving citizens who just want to get on with their daily lives and press on looking for food and clothing for their families like anywhere else in Iraq and Baghdad.

It is those extremists and thugs with arms and aggression who have terrorised the unarmed, the weak and helpless and coerced the ordinary people to their awful way of doing things through fear and hatred and itmidation.

These should be singled out and dealt with efficiently, surgically and be cleansed from amongest the peace loving ordinary citizens.

Sadley, however, when fire starts it engulfs the dry and the not so dry green leaves.( it hurts everyone and everything that stands in its way. Look at Falluja, Telaffar, Najaf Sammarra and Mosul, to name but a few.?

I feel the pains of the Mothers, Sisters, Wives and Aunts who will lose their loved ones through their reckless behaviuors of the few of those brainwashed misguided extremeists who have vowed to take on the might of the American Army and the new Iraqi Military with such Unequal, untrained and limited numbers of men and other fighting forces.

They should not challenge these awsome powers for they will end up worse off. It will be best for them to cooperate and lay their illegal arms rather taking the Law into their own hands. It will never work out well for them?

I hope someone higher up amongest them , who is widsw and respectable whom they couls listen to, would read them this plea from my heart and would tell them to behave peacefully, and orderly , rather than stand upu and fight and shed more blood on the Iraqis good earth?

Please tell them from me:-

Baghdad, Oh1 Baghdad?

'I dream of green gardens,

where the sun

feathers my face

like once your eager kiss.

- An english poet?

Kind regards
From Healing Iraq the commenters had this to say:
So glad to hear your are safe. Thank you for the pictures and maps it makes things clearer. Are you able to move in and out of Adhamiya? I heard the area has been sealed off.
Sad news on Iraq The Model blog, the husband of the sister of Mohammed and Omar has been killed [the sad story can be found here: Kill Us But You Won't Enslave Us]. They returned to Iraq after the fall of Saddam, they had been studying for their degrees abroad.
Keep out of harms way. These are very dangerous times.
-by Another Brit


Zeyad,

That was an excellent account. Other than being worried about your well being, it was worth waiting for.

It really does highlight the "fog of war" and the extreme tension in this area of Baghdad. Were they really Interior Ministry forces or people setting them up? Or simply mistaken identity? It seems oddly suspicious that al-Qaida would jump on the bandwagon and say they will "avenge" the Sunni's of Adhamiya. Of course, I may have been reading too many Iraqi blogs and become paranoid. Hmmmm.

And the U.S. military spokesman was right, it doesn't matter who they are, if they shoot at the U.S. military they will return fire.

"...you know, the usual everyday stuff.

You always manage to throw in a little sly humor. Almost as sneaky as the "feeling up the sack" line. Which I still find amusing.

After all that, we can thank God that people involved in the fight were apparently bad shots! Or more people would have been killed.

Take care.
-by Lynette in Minnesota


I don't know about the guns being handed out, but I did hear about threatening fliers in Aadhamiya (and other areas of Baghdad) a few days ago.
-Secular Iraqi
Another account of what happened in the city can be found at Eject: Iraqi Konfused Kollege Kid who was an eyewitness.

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