Life in Baghdad
The WaPo has a memo about conditions in Iraq from the Embassy. This is my transcription.
11 In April Employeess began reportiung a change in demeanor of guards at the Green-zone checkpoints. They seemed to be more milita like, in some cases, seemingly taunting.One employee asjed us to explore getting her press creditentials because guards had neld her embassy badge up and proclaimed loudly to nearby passers by, "Embassy" as she entered. Such information is a death sentence if overheard by the wrong peopleWell, six more months will solve this.
Supervising A Staff At High Risk
12 (SBU) Employees all share a common tale of their lives. Of nine employees in March, only four had family menbers who knew they worked at the embassy. That makes it difficult for them and us. Iraqi collegues called after hours often speak Arabic, as an indication they cannot speak openly in English.
13(SBU) We cannot call employees in on weekends or holidays without blowing their "cover". Likewise, they have been unavailable during multiple security closures imposed by the government since February. A Sunni Arab female employee tells us that family pressures and the inability to share details of her employment is very tough; she told her family she was going to Jordan when we sent her on training to the US in February. Mounting criticims of the US at home among family members also make s her life difficult
14 (SBU) ....For at least six months, we have not been able to use any local staff members for translation in on camera press events
15(SBU) More recently, we have begun shredding documents which show local staff surnames. In March, a few staff members approached us to ask what provisionms would we make for them if we evacuate.
21 (SBU) Our staff report that security and services are being rerouted through "local providers" who affiliations are vague. As noted above, those admonisthing citizens on their dress are not known to the residents. Neighborhood power providers are not well known to the residents, nor is it clear how they avoid robbery or targeting. Personal safety depends on good relations with the "neighborhood" governments, who barricade streets and ward off outsiders. The Central government. our staff says, is not relevant; even local mukhtars have been displaced or coopted by militias. People no longer trust most neighbors.
posted by Steve @ 2:09:00 AM