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InvisibleAlex213
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Registered: 08/22/05
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Life in Baghdad by US ambassador (the leaked version)
    #5770986 - 06/20/06 03:13 AM (14 years, 10 months ago)

A leaked cable from the US embassy in Baghdad signed by the ambassador paints a grim picture of Iraq as a country disintegrating in which the real rulers are the militias, and the central government counts for nothing.

The cable, signed by the US ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad and sent to the State Department in Washington on 6 June, is wholly at odds with the optimistic account of developments given by President George Bush and Tony Blair in their recent visits to Iraq.

Iraqis employed by the US embassy live in fear that other Iraqis will find out who they are working for. "We have begun shredding documents printed out that show local staff surnames," the cable says. "In March a few staff approached us to ask what provisions would we make for them if we evacuate."

The US and Britain have said they would withdraw their troops as the security situation improved, though the embassy memo suggests that it was, in fact, deteriorating. Britain said yesterday that it was to pull out 170 soldiers from Muthana province in southern Iraq when the Iraqi government took over security there next month.

There are chilling details about why, even in the heavily fortified Green Zone, Iraqis employed by the US embassy are frightened. "In April, employees began reporting change in demeanour of guards at the Green Zone checkpoints," the memo says. "They seemed to be more militia-like. In some cases seemingly taunting."

The vulnerability of the US position in Baghdad is so great that the Iraqi military units guarding the perimeter of the Green Zone, the heart of US power in Iraq, are now considered untrustworthy.

An Iraqi employee asked if she could have credentials saying she was a journalist. This was because the Iraqi soldiers would hold up "her embassy badge and proclaim loudly to nearby passers-by 'Embassy' as she entered. Such information is a death sentence if overheard by the wrong people."

The memo, leaked to The Washington Post, gives a vivid and detailed account of the limited authority of the US and the Iraqi government in Baghdad. Entitled "Snapshots from the Office: Public Affairs Staff Show Strains of Social Discord" it is one of the most revealing documents ever made public, in this case involuntarily, by US authorities in Iraq. Based on the experiences of the nine-member Iraq staff of the public affairs press office in the US embassy, the cable portrays a society in a state of collapse. [Its contents should torpedo the claims by aides to Mr Bush and Mr Blair that the media is exaggerating the state of insecurity and fear in which Iraqis live.]

As Islamic militancy increases, women find it increasingly dangerous not to wear a veil in Sunni and Shia neighbourhoods. One was warned not to drive a car. Others were told to cover their faces and to stop using mobile phones. Threats against women who do not accept this second class status have escalated in the last two months. It has also become dangerous for men to wear shorts or jeans in public or for children to play outside wearing shorts.

As temperatures reach 46C (115F) "employees all confirm that by the last week of May, they were getting one hour of power for every six hours without." One area called Bab al Mu'atham in central Baghdad has received no electric power for more than a month. But a building where a new minister lived started to receive power 24-hours a day as soon as he was appointed.

The cable admits that the unpopularity of the American presence in Iraq is the reason why Iraqis working for the US dare not reveal the identity of their employer even to family. One Sunni Arab woman who was sent for training in the US told her family she was in Jordan.

The embassy reports increased sectarian tensions between Iraqi members of its staff. A Shia woman said she could no longer watch the television news with her Sunni mother because her mother blamed the Shia government for everything that went wrong.

The government of Nouri al-Maliki, greeted with such acclaim by the US and Britain, has little impact on ordinary Iraqis because real power lies with militias and local power brokers. It is they who barricade the streets at night and ward off outsiders.

http://news.independent.co.uk/world/middle_east/article1090905.ece


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OfflineSeussA
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Re: Life in Baghdad by US ambassador (the leaked version) [Re: Alex213]
    #5771515 - 06/20/06 07:08 AM (14 years, 10 months ago)

Any pointers to the actual memo? This story is completely worthless without being able to read the context of the quoted statements. For all I know, the memo could have been 90% positive and the author of the article only quoted from the 10% negative parts. (I'm not claiming that this is the case, but we really don't know. With the ethics of modern 'journalists', I no longer trust a word they write.)


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Offlinezappaisgod
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Re: Life in Baghdad by US ambassador (the leaked version) [Re: Seuss]
    #5771689 - 06/20/06 09:52 AM (14 years, 10 months ago)

Quote:

Seuss said:
Any pointers to the actual memo? This story is completely worthless without being able to read the context of the quoted statements. For all I know, the memo could have been 90% positive and the author of the article only quoted from the 10% negative parts. (I'm not claiming that this is the case, but we really don't know. With the ethics of modern 'journalists', I no longer trust a word they write.)




My thoughts exactly.


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InvisibleVvellum
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Re: Life in Baghdad by US ambassador (the leaked version) [Re: Seuss]
    #5771905 - 06/20/06 11:49 AM (14 years, 10 months ago)
Log in to view attachment

simple, 20-second google search pulls up the memo. the link to the washington post article: www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/06/16/AR2006061601768.html

attached to this thread is the memo itself in .pdf form


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OfflineSeussA
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Re: Life in Baghdad by US ambassador (the leaked version) [Re: Vvellum]
    #5772028 - 06/20/06 12:40 PM (14 years, 10 months ago)

Thanks!  I will give it a read when I get home.  :smile:


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OfflinePhred
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Re: Life in Baghdad by US ambassador (the leaked version) [Re: Seuss]
    #5772055 - 06/20/06 12:47 PM (14 years, 10 months ago)

You might want to pay attention to this part of the memo:

Quote:

23. Although our staff retain a professional demeanor, strains are apparent. We see their personal fears are reinforcing divisive sectarian or ethnic channels. Employees are apprehensive enough that we fear they may exaggerate developments or steer us towards news that comports with their own world view.








Phred


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InvisibleAlex213
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Re: Life in Baghdad by US ambassador (the leaked version) [Re: Phred]
    #5772684 - 06/20/06 04:25 PM (14 years, 10 months ago)

Why?

Presumably because that's the only bit you can find to prop up your belief system?

You'll get a more accurate understanding by considering the whole picture.


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InvisibleAlex213
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Re: Life in Baghdad by US ambassador (the leaked version) [Re: Seuss]
    #5772692 - 06/20/06 04:28 PM (14 years, 10 months ago)

Any pointers to the actual memo?

There's a link to it on the same page as the story.


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OfflinePhred
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Re: Life in Baghdad by US ambassador (the leaked version) [Re: Alex213]
    #5772914 - 06/20/06 05:39 PM (14 years, 10 months ago)

I have no doubt Iraqis working for the American embassy are subject to harassment from certain other Iraqis. I would be astonished if such were not the case. However, a careful reading of the ambassador's points does nothing to support some of the hysterical conclusions Cockburn draws. It certainly doesn't indicate Iraq is going down the tubes or is on the brink of civil war or is an unfixable quagmire.




Phred


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InvisibleAlex213
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Re: Life in Baghdad by US ambassador (the leaked version) [Re: Phred]
    #5775054 - 06/21/06 02:53 AM (14 years, 10 months ago)

However, a careful reading of the ambassador's points does nothing to support some of the hysterical conclusions Cockburn draws

Example?

Your usual excuse if the media says something bad about Iraq is that they are communists out to get Bush. Here we have the US ambassador painting a picture that is far worse than any media report I have ever read.

Is the US ambassador a communist out to get Bush too?  :rolleyes:


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OfflinePhred
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Re: Life in Baghdad by US ambassador (the leaked version) [Re: Alex213]
    #5775835 - 06/21/06 11:16 AM (14 years, 10 months ago)

Alex213 writes:

Quote:

Example?




You want an example? Let's look at the very first bit you decided to put in boldface --

Quote:

The vulnerability of the US position in Baghdad is so great that the Iraqi military units guarding the perimeter of the Green Zone, the heart of US power in Iraq, are now considered untrustworthy.




None of the 23 points listed in the memo say the Iraqi military units guarding the perimeter of the Green Zone are considered untrustworthy. Nor do any of the 23 points listed in the memo say the US position in Baghdad is vulnerable.

Let's look at the second part you decided to put in boldface --

Quote:

Based on the experiences of the nine-member Iraq staff of the public affairs press office in the US embassy, the cable portrays a society in a state of collapse.




None of the 23 points in the memo portray a society in a state of collapse. They do show that some (and perhaps all) of the nine people working for that branch of the US Embassy undergo some harrassment from other Iraqis, and it shows the electrical situation in Baghdad still sucks.





Phred


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Offlinezappaisgod
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Re: Life in Baghdad by US ambassador (the leaked version) [Re: Phred]
    #5777023 - 06/21/06 06:03 PM (14 years, 10 months ago)

Frankly, I didn't see anything newsworthy in the pilfered cable. Except that it was pilfered and a bunch of peckerheads were sitting around a table going "hehehe We stole this hehehehe. What are we gonna do with it? hehe.... Well???? he.... I know! Let's put on a show! Yeah!" Exeunt all.

Whatever.


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InvisibleAlex213
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Re: Life in Baghdad by US ambassador (the leaked version) [Re: Phred]
    #5779149 - 06/22/06 03:35 AM (14 years, 10 months ago)

None of the 23 points listed in the memo say the Iraqi military units guarding the perimeter of the Green Zone are considered untrustworthy

Point 11 of the memo:

In April, employees began reporting a change in demeanor of guards at the green zone checkpoints. They seemed to be militia-like in some cases seemingly taunting. One employee asked us to get her some press credentials because the guards held her embassy badge up and proclaimed loudly to passers-by "Embassy" as she entered. Such information is a death sentence if heard by the wrong people.

None of the 23 points in the memo portray a society in a state of collapse.

You think the memo portrays a functioning society?

The US ambassador isn't a communist out to get Bush and he is portraying a situation worse than any media report I have ever read. Why not simply recognise that your belief system is wrong?


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