News Release

Iraq: On-the-Ground Realities

RAHUL MAHAJAN
Just back from a three-week stay in Baghdad, Mahajan was in Fallujah on April 11. He is author of the book Full Spectrum Dominance: U.S. Power in Iraq and Beyond. Mahajan said today: “As the tense standoff over Fallujah and Najaf continues, we need to be clear about some things. U.S. actions include the occupation and deliberate closure of at least two hospitals and numerous cases of sniping at clearly-marked ambulances, including ambulances that had no fighters or weapons. The killing of likely well over 600 people following the killing of four Blackwater Security mercenaries is a heinous act of collective punishment. The resistance to this assault is essentially self-defense. Claims that the resistance is a small isolated group of Saddam loyalists, foreign terrorists and even, supposedly, ‘drug-users’ are absurd…. Even before the last five weeks of violence, in south and central Iraq the atmosphere of frustration and anger against the occupation was pervasive. A lack of sanitation and clean water, constant electricity outages, lawlessness and an explosion of violent crime, the brutality of American soldiers, the general unaccountability of the occupying forces, the roughly 20,000 people held incommunicado in detention, destructive house raids, and much more had already turned Iraqis against the occupation. The difference is that before most Iraqis were patient, hoping against hope that things would change. Now, they are losing that patience.”
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DAHR JAMAIL
Baghdad correspondent for the Internet journal The NewStandard, Jamail was in Fallujah earlier this month. His most recent article is “Fallujah Residents Report U.S. Forces Engaged in Collective Punishment.” He said today: “The message from the CPA is that we are witnessing a free, democratic Iraq in bloom. The reality is quite different as innocent Iraqis are being killed daily by U.S. soldiers….” Jamail is regularly posting to his weblog, “Iraq Dispatches.”
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MOHAMAD BAZZI
Currently in Baghdad, Bazzi is Middle East bureau chief for Newsday and is available for a limited number of interviews. He recently won the James Aronson Award for Social Justice Journalism for writing about the Iraqi insurgency in July 2003 when the U.S. government was claiming it was not facing an organized guerilla campaign. While some have talked of an Iraqi civil war between Sunnis and Shia, Bazzi’s April 23 piece is entitled “Old enemies find a common ground: Shia sympathy for Sunnis facing U.S. troops in Fallujah has brought a flood of relief efforts and fears of a united front ready to take up arms.” Bazzi also received the first Daniel Pearl Award from the South Asian Journalists Association.

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167