Everyday life at an Iraqi checkpoint
Recently, the Long War Journal published an interview with ‘General Hamed’, who commands a number of Iraqi policemen in Baghdad.
In the interview, General Hamed recognises that the effectiveness of both the Iraqi Army (IA) and the Iraqi Police (IP) are severely undermined by elements who are loyal to militias:
“Lately, the government of Iraq started to notice, especially after what happened in Basrah in April, that the Iraqi Police are penetrated by the militias. Not only the police, but also the Army.”
But what does this mean for people on the ground? Most of us take travelling from one place to another to visit relatives for granted. In Iraq, this activity remains a risk, and particular trouble seems to occur at checkpoints run by so-called Iraqi security forces.
I found a couple of blog posts on this subject written by Iraqi bloggers, (although Eye Raki blogs from the UK).
Eye Raki describes the experience of a friend at a checkpoint in Gurna. He made the mistake of showing his British passport to Iraqi Police and soon found himself marched to Mehdi Army Headquarters. According to Eye Raki’s account, he was lucky to make it out alive.
And in Baghdad, Mohammed, who blogs at Last of Iraqis, had a couple of rifles pointed at him by some unfriendly soldiers in the Iraqi Army after he had been to visit some relatives.
I suppose one of the great things about bloggers is that they continue to tell stories that the mainstream media are not always interested in. Mohammed is almost apologetic for his ‘boring’ blog post:
“I know you are bored from the same story being told over and over by me but this is what the ordinary Iraqis go through everyday despite the countless explosions and assassination. That’s the army and police that should protect us!!”
But I’m not sure Mohammed should be apologising because sometimes un-newsworthy, everyday experiences need to be heard.