Friday, November 16, 2007

Awakening

When the news are contradictory and when anyone you ask gives a different answer then it's time to search the truth by your self, collect all what you hear mix it together and extract what you believe is the pure truth, and that's what I did about the events and changes in Adhamyia district and Raghiba Khatoon and the sudden absolute control of the awakening movement over the area which was considered one of the strongest strongholds of Alqaeda.

I went there by my self to see what the people are talking about, and to be honest I had a feeling's conflict, I was relived by the great number of cars roaming the streets, the walking people, the shops which are getting ready to re-open and the feeling of settlement, kids playing soccer in the street till late hours, men and women walking in the streets and the fixing campaign for the lights and gardens; workers are taking care of the gardens and squares which hadn't been taken care of for more than a year. I was worried because the majority of the awakening members are just kids, 14-16 years old carrying AK's and wearing vests(not all of them) and also because what the residents say about the background of these kids and men!

when you enter Adhamyia you will find a checkpoint almost every 100m, these checkpoints are for the awakening movement, they wear a gray shirt, t-shirt... whatever as long as it's gray, and the bottom is their choice whether black, white or red, it's their choice, they have no uniform but the gray top. they use their private cars. Majority of them are kids, there are some older men and young men with them but most of them are teenagers, all of them (or the vast majority) are residents of Adhamyia. Even the slogans on the walls have been changed to "Long live Alnoman lions, down with Alqaeda"..... and things like that.

what the people say; many of them aren't good members of the society and many of them were with Alqaeda till a recent time and some of the residents hates them because they are "agents and tools of the occupation and the Americans" as they say, but from my personal experience when they searched the car or stopped us, I found them very polite and smooth, but I was worried because men at this age don't have good judgment and they are rather reckless and can't be anticipated, some of them were playing soccer with the kids with the AK on their shoulder! a very funny scene but comforting at the same time.

About the sounds of explosions and confrontations; I asked the people there about it, they said that it was confrontations between AQ and awakening at the first days and later it was the awakening helping the troops to find explosives and detonating them (they know where they are better than anyone else because as I mentioned many were ex-members of AQ), some of the confrontations are just training as the residents alleged, some people said that they destroy civilians' cars pretending that it's explosive (I doubt it), but who knows? they even found a house that is occupied by two old women that was filled with explosives. The situation is a bit settled these two days with fewer explosions and confrontations. it seems that either AQ had given up (and that's too good to believe) or they are planning what to do and preparing them selves (let's hope they will fail in that).



Awakening got good control over the area, they were helped by the troops to achieve that, it seems that they want to do good, and they want a better future for the neighborhood, but who knows? things shift rapidly in Iraq, but till this moment I believe that they want to do good. Well, I should be more specific in my words; they were ordered and directed to be good, because they are for money, and that's very obvious, Alqaeda didn't pay the ex-members like the awakening did specially if we knew that they were low ranked members and tools in it (not all of them), but who cares as long as they were ordered to do good, and settle the things in the neighborhood, but what I care for and what concerns me is that they should always be under control and observation otherwise they might end up like Alqaeda.

the payment of the awakening as what I have heard is like this: from 14-16 years old 250$ a month, older than 16 450$, the payment of the officers starts from 600$ and up.

I believe what they do is for money and personally I don't care about that as long as they will get peace back to the area and as long as they respect the residents and be polite with them, as long as they are under control so that the minute they want to start troubles they could be stopped immediately.I couldn't take any pictures of them although I wanted to, I didn't think that it's a good idea.

Bottom line is that the peace and settlement can be felt in the area, good future appear in the horizon, but no one can be sure, because you can't trust ex-members of Alqaeda or teenager mercenary, no one knows their intention, but what they are doing to this moment is very good.

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

It's good to hear that the peace is coming.

Iraqi Mojo said...

"I believe what they do is for money and personally I don't care about that as long as they will get peace back to the area and as long as they respect the residents and be polite with them, as long as they are under control so that the minute they want to start troubles they could be stopped immediately."

I agree, Mohammed. Thank you for investigating this and reporting on it.

Anonymous said...

The news concerning the take over by "Adhamiya's revolutionnaries", whom you refer to as «Awakwning», has reached a Canadian French newspaper Friday (November 16th, 2007) under its international section, confirming that it was done by local sunnite milicia.

Abou Abed, the group's chief, describes the take over and states that all support comes from the Sunnite Foundation. He also insists that he and his group of about 50 managed this on their own, with no help from the outside (neither their governement's forces nor the Americans). He is also quoted as saying that the partisans of Al-Qaeda ran away to the "bazar", then to Kam (north of Adhamiya).

This is good news for the people of Adhamiya. I did read it first from you.

Thank you for sharing you story.

Paix,
Une canadienne

Tom in Texas said...

Thank you Dr. M, investigative journalist. You are providing an invaluable service to those of us who are following the progress of your country from 1000's of miles away.

Lynnette In Minnesota said...

lol! That Abu Abed must be related to Zaidan in Zeyad's post. All talk!

Mohammed,

Thank you for the update. I know that this awakening movement may look a little ragtag, but so did we when we first became a free nation. We must give them a chance to prove themselves.

Sure there are members who are doing it for money. They're not stupid. If they can earn money to help support their families or to have some fun, then all well and good. One would hope that the money they earn will generate demand for goods and services which will open up job opportunities in other sectors of the economy.

The critical point now is to try to get some political consensus on some of the major issues so trust can be rebuilt.

Just like the violence had a snowballing effect, I hope that so to will this period of relative peace.

perry1961 said...

Hopefully,this respite from violence gives Iraq's economy some breathing room too. Then,maybe these young men could find work that doesn't require an AK-47. Convincing insurgents to switch sides has always been the most effective way to end an insurgency. That,and killing or arresting those who can't be convinced.

No more posts with positive twists though Mohammed. You'll have poor Indigo throwing herself off the roof.

perry1961 said...

Speaking of Adhamyia...this is from Iraq the Model.

"Yesterday a joint US-Iraqi force with help from local anti-al-Qaeda awakening fighters in the Adhamiyah district in northeastern Baghdad found and disarmed more than 20 vehicles rigged as VBIEDs in a parking lot."

LJM said...

Happy to hear the good news. People living outside Iraq may feel ok about returning to their homes again. I read Chalabi was appointed about a month ago to get services working in Iraq. Have you noticed any improvements?

Anonymous said...

Mohammed,

You are clearly a thoughtful observer and an honest commentator. Your posts always have an authentic feel because you write about what you have actually seen, heard, and experienced, and you are very clear about the difference between what is opinion and what is verifiable fact.

I love reading your blog, even when it's sometimes soooo sad.

Bridget

Indigo said...

Repugs here are showing signs of blind ecstacy. Guys, teenage mercenaries running things because the occupier is paying them - for now - and perhaps "high" on a sense of power and privilege is not security. It is not local government; it is not democracy, obviously; it is not freedom and has no statutory permanence or security.

Iraq the Model is in no sense a reliable source. Omar and Mohammed of ITM have taken the President's dollar.

And Lynnette drawing comparisons with the beginnings of American independence is just risible.

I am glad for these Baghdadis that there is a breathing space but I am certain that it will last (a) until the US dollars stop flowing, (b) Muqtada's six-months cease-fire ends around February; and perhaps not even that long.

Tom in Texas said...

Hey Dr. M.

Do you have any info about the Baghdad suburb Amariyah?

There's an interesting Fox News video about it here:

http://patdollard.com/2007/11/16/video-how-al-qaeda-got-its-ass-kicked-from-amariyah/

Lynnette In Minnesota said...

Perry1961,

You'll have poor Indigo throwing herself off the roof.

Nope, as you can see from her comment above, she's made of tougher stuff. Takes a licking but keeps on ticking.

Rachel,

Lynnette drawing comparisons with the beginnings of American independence is just risible.

*sigh*

Yeah, well, we were on the receiving end of British derision back then too...

Tom in Texas said...

Lynnette and Perry:

With Rachel's limited vocabulary, she uses the word "risible" in most of her responses. "shallow" is another of her favorites.

I suggest she look up "defenestration".

Anonymous said...

Hello, my name is Anna and I am 23 years old, living in the U.S. I wanted to tell you that I have been reading your blog for months, and I am very disturbed by the horrible things happening in your country. Please keep reporting as you have been, I enjoy your style and point of view. Also, these days I can't believe everything that is reported on American news. The first sentence of your new blog pretty much sums it up for me too. So hearing about the reality from a civillian is very important.

I hope you and your loved ones can stay safe. It seems there is a glimmer of hope, in the midst of all the darkness.

perry1961 said...

"Repugs here are showing signs of blind ecstacy."

So anyone glad for a little peace in Iraq is a repug Indigo? What in the hell is wrong with you? Everyone should be happy about the turn of events in Iraq. You would rather have thousands more Iraqis blown to bits just so Bush would look bad? You're sick in the head. And in the soul...

Hakbar said...

I recall that many insurgents in the battle of Falluja, Al Qaim, Mosul and so on were 14-19 years old. Some were even younger. Older people have more knowledge about the nature of violence and the risks. Younger people also tend to have an other moral intuition.

Older insurgents probably try to avoid large scale battles which lead mostly to huge losses. Hit and run tactics, IEDS, snipers and stuff like that are far more effective.

The names and biomedical signs of these concerned local citizens are well documented. Moreover, these people provide the US knowledge about tactics, techniques and procedures of insurgents.

Indigo said...

The names and biomedical signs of these concerned local citizens are well documented. Moreover, these people provide the US knowledge about tactics, techniques and procedures of insurgents.

And they're dead - and all their family members are dead - the next time the "tide" turns. Because the US occupiers won't protect them.

Tom in Texas said...

Muslims Attend Mass - Oh what would Osama say?

Muslims: "Christian neighbors and friends, please come home"

http://www.michaelyon-online.com/wp/come-home.htm

Lynnette In Minnesota said...

Here is a link to a response written by one of our guys to the recent Guardian article written about Abu Abed that Zeyad posted about.

http://www.michaelyon-online.com/wp/ameriyah-update.htm

Abu Abed is working in Ameriyah. I'm not quite sure of the mix up in Une canadienne's article.

Oh, and I'm going to let you copy and paste instead of putting the automatic link here. For some reason when you follow an automatic link in this comments section the article remains squished within the borders of the comments section. Strange and annoying.

Mohammed, if you read the story I linked to you will find he addresses some of your concerns about oversight of the awakening movement.

Marcus said...

Lynnette

"For some reason when you follow an automatic link in this comments section the article remains squished within the borders of the comments section. Strange and annoying."

Right click the link and select "open in a new window". That'll do it.

Indigo said...

More illegal behaviour by America.

Iraq reporter faces terror charge BBC 20 Nov 2007

Bilal Hussein was part of an AP team which won the Pulitzer prize
The US military says it will recommend criminal charges against an Associated Press photographer detained in 2006 on suspicion of helping Iraqi insurgents. ... AP says its own investigation has found no evidence that he was anything but an Iraqi journalist working in a war zone.

The agency's lawyers say they have been denied access to Mr Hussein and the evidence against him, making it impossible to build a defence. ... AP says Mr Hussein was taken into custody in April 2006 after sheltering a number of strangers in his home following an explosion near his home in Falluja.

US marines later arrived and used his flat as an observation post, where they detained him and his guests as suspected insurgents and confiscated his laptop computer and telephone. ... AP says in the past 19 months various allegations have been floated unofficially against Mr Hussein by the US military, but then withdrawn with little explanation.

"Whenever we ask to see what's so convincing we get back something that isn't convincing at all," said AP's lawyer Dave Tomlin.

AP says there is no evidence that any of Mr Hussein's images were co-ordinated with insurgents or showed the moment of an attack.

Calls for his release have been backed by press freedom groups such as the Committee to Protect Journalists.


Iraqis cannot trust the occupiers. And neither can the rest of us. But you knew that.

RhusLancia said...

Rachel: "AP says there is no evidence that any of Mr Hussein's images were co-ordinated with insurgents or showed the moment of an attack."

This looks like a yearbook photo.

Move a little to the right, please. OK, point your AKs menacingly. Smile! click Fabulous, men!!

Lynnette In Minnesota said...

Marcus,

Thank you! :)

perry1961 said...

Times online reports a flood of refugees headed back to Iraq. Syrian neighborhoods that were full of Iraqi refugees are seeing rents plummet.

Mohammed,do you know of an easy way an American like myself can invest in the Iraqi dinar?