In response to the “Petraeus Report,” Alive in Baghdad has decided to put together our own report, A Citizens’ Report to coincide alongside of General Petraeus’ report this Tuesday. Throughout September we will be updating this report with written articles from our staff in the Middle East, new videos, and links to important articles in the press concerning the Surge and security in Baghdad.
The Surge Special
All this month we will be releasing episodes that provide a grassroots look at the impact of the new security plan, the so-called “Surge,” to assess the citizens’ experience of the plan. Each of these episodes will be cut in September, specifically for our Citizens’ Report. These episodes will provide a perspective on each element of the situation in Iraq.
The Progression of Civil War
Is Iraq involved in a civil war? What does this mean? Iraqis seem to have accepted the term “civil war” for over a year now, for lack of a better term. On the other hand, as these videos demonstrate, the reality of civil war is intensely complex. The players often cited in the media have their own view of the situation on the ground, and rarely see themselves as responsible parties in the violence.
The Surge in Action
Iraqis themselves are concerned with the practice of the Surge. Since the increase in forces, Iraqis have continued to be killed by stray gunfire from American troops or contractors. Iraqis continue to be detained without charge. The massive exodus of refugees from Iraq, and internal displacement within the country has not slowed. Iraqis on all sides are demanding evidence that the Surge has brought them some element of change.
State of Baghdad Infrastructure
Although there has been a huge increase in US troops during the Surge, there has also been an increased focus on rebuilding Baghdad, but with similar success. With Baghdad’s neighborhoods increasingly walled off and removed from each other, access to sanitation services, as well as water, food, and other resources has become more difficult. Baghdad’s power grid has not benefited from the increase in troops either, as Iraqis there still experience just a few hours of electricity per day. One of the major benchmarks, a National Oil Law, has not been achieved, and more importantly for Iraqis, neither has there been any drop in fuel prices. Despite these things, Iraqis continue to go to work and school, living their daily lives, and waiting for whatever is next.
AiB Correspondents Write About the Surge
Are you interested in learning more? Here are a collection of other reports on the status of the Surge: