This has been repeatedly recalled as one of the biggest mistakes of the US administration in the post-war period. General Petraeus was one of the first US commanders to talk seriously about reconstituting the armed forces, after which the now famous phrase “as the Iraqis stand up, we will stand down” began to take hold. Unfortunately the reality has been much less simple. There have been reports and follow-up reports, detailing the rise and fall of various divisions of the security forces, with the readiness of various units changing almost constantly.
Today almost everyone in Iraq agrees that the Iraqi police and armed forces are rife with corruption and internal conflict. General At the same time, the actions of various groups referred to as the “Mahdi Army” seem to be equally destabilizing, while Muqtada Sadr claims that the actions of his militia are still frozen. Last week we spoke with members of the Facilities Protection Service, who detailed their work as security guards and defending various elements of the Health Ministry. This week Hussein Jassim, a man with connections to the Sadr Movement, details a very different experience with men from the Iraqi National Guard and other unknown men who attempted to kill him.
According to Jassim, he was driving on one of the many highways around Baghdad when he realized he was being followed. Men in another car fired upon him, and he attempted to escape. When he came upon men in Iraqi National Guard vehicles he claims they also shot at him. He was lucky to make it to the Al-Bo’aitha checkpoint, where after losing consciousness, he was apparently taken to the Yarmouk Hospital, and was lucky to survive his wounds through the aid of several doctors there.
Two of the men who are believed to have attacked him were detained later and confessed on Al-Iraqiya Television, the government television station. His story is one of many in the complexity of Baghdad’s ongoing violence. Although sectarianism is the most public element, the place of common criminals and gangsters have increasingly been responsible for much of the less-spectacular violence and attacks on men such as Hussein Jassim.
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