Lutufiyah, Iraq - Although there are competing theories about Iraq’s current status, rarely does the public hear from the soldiers or officers themselves. This week Nabeel Kamal speaks with Brigadier General Ali Al-Furaiji, a spokesman for Iraq’s 25th Brigade of the 6th Division of the Iraqi Army, formerly known as the 4th Brigade of the 6th Division.
Al-Furaiji discusses his frustration with Arab media’s portrayal of the Iraqi Army, despite what he considers to be many huge successes during 2008. The army has been accused of being involved in massacres and complicit in violence against civilians. Although it appears few if any detailed accounts have surfaced which clearly demonstrate the complicity of the army, rumors have a long life in Iraq.
In the US media the portrayals of Iraqi soldiers are no more detailed and complex, but primarily that is because they are few and far between. Although there has been a resurgence of Iraq coverage in line with the resurgence in violence, it tends to focus on statistics and death tolls, with the personal stories of military life generally focused on the experiences of American soldiers. Admittedly, it is difficult to interview Iraqi soldiers about their personal experiences, and dangerous to travel with them on patrol. This week we have brought you an interview with the spokesman, which carries the weight of potential propaganda. We have endeavored, however, to provide a personal look at one high-ranking officer of the Iraqi military, and hope it will provide an insight which might otherwise be missed.
Just as we have begun to bring you more accounts of the Sahwa forces than are easy to find elsewhere, we hope also to begin shedding light on the personal stories of Iraqi soldiers working to defend and rebuild their country. For another recent interview with Brigadier General Ali Al-Furaiji, you can read this recent article from Time Magazine.