Saturday, August 26, 2006

What We See And Hear Points To A Rise In Violence

Residents deny security getting better in Baghdad

Azzaman, August 24, 2006

The U.S.-led military operation has failed to improve conditions in Baghdad, residents said.

Contrary to U.S. reports that the operation has brought results, the residents confirmed that the heavy presence of U.S. and Iraqi troops on the streets of Baghdad has complicated rather than alleviated the capital's problems.

American and Iraqi officials have reported a dramatic drop in violence in areas of Baghdad where U.S. and Iraqi troops have been carrying out house-to-house searches.

But the residents, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the operation was alienating many Iraqis due to the humiliation they receive at the so many checkpoints currently available in Baghdad.

The operation has led to traffic congestions unseen even by the standards of the often heavily crowded streets of Baghdad.

Many Iraqis fail to reach their destinations and workers, public servants and private entrepreneurs say it has been extremely difficult for them to reach their offices, factories or shops.

Crossing a checkpoint is not easy. It may take several hours in Baghdad's blazing sun.

Analysts watching the operation closely said U.S. and Iraqi reports of that the military campaign was bringing results were premature.

"A resistance movement like the one raging in Iraq is difficult to subdue by force. It needs a little more effort than the fire power," said an analyst who did not want his name revealed.

Another said he believed the substantial increase in checkpoints and the heavy presence of troops and arms on the streets was sending the wrong message to many ordinary Iraqis.

"I do not think the operation has reduced the level of violence. On the contrary, what we see and hear points to a rise in violence not only in Baghdad but in many other provinces," he said.


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