Friday, May 20, 2005

Oliver and Lana highlight two interviews with Dahr Jamail

Oliver e-mails to highlight an interview with Dahr Jamail at UK Indymedia. Here's an excerpt from Paul O'Hanlon's interview with Jamail:

Paul: "Is the reality in Iraq very different from the way it is portrayed in the media?"
Dahr: "Exactly, take for example what just happened with this operation Matador (near the Syrian border) the media today in fact is reporting that it’s a success and they've called off the operation and killed I think 125 insurgents and detained however many more but the reality is what I've learned from the ground from NGOs operating and from making phone calls into that area the whole thing is like a mini Fallujah – they didn't let people leave the city, there’s probably hundreds of civilians casualties and many, many homes destroyed and many displaced people and of course none of this is being reported in the mainstream media. It typifies the whole situation in Iraq"
Paul: "something which surprised me was that the electricity is still not fixed some two years after the war. I was speaking to an Iraqi lady called Amal who was saying that at the moment the electricity is currently two hours on five hours off even in Baghdad and in the North of the country as in Irbil the situation is no better."
Dahr: "Yes, my interpreter from Baghdad said about a week ago that the electricity is anything from one to two hours on then four to five hours off. That's pretty typical all over the country"
Paul: "I've heard that ordinary Iraqis have offered to fix the electricity themselves free of charge but have been prevented from doing so by the occupation. The work has to be done by overcharging war profiteers like Bechtel and Halliburton."
Dahr: "Exactly. They won't hire Iraqis because they think they're a security threat. Only 2 per cent of the money allocated is for Iraqi companies."

Lana e-mailed to note an interview Dahr Jamail did with Eric Ruder that we highlighted last month. Lana excerpts this from the interview:

ER-WHEN THE U.S. announced its assault on Falluja, it claimed its goal was to root out the resistance. Can you talk about the strategic goal that the U.S. set for itself and also whether it succeeded?
DJ-I BASICALLY heard two reasons for going in and doing what they did to Falluja: what you mentioned, as well as another primary goal--providing “security and stability” for the January 30 elections.
What happened was that most of the fighters in the city left even before the siege began--even the military admitted to that. So of the roughly 3,000 people killed, the vast majority were civilians. Falluja was declared a "free-fire" zone for the military, meaning that they were not distinguishing between civilians and fighters, which is, of course, a violation of international law in a city where there might be civilians.
As far as accomplishing this goal of "rooting out fighters" and/or providing "security and stability" for the January 30 election, we can see that neither have been accomplished.
They have effectively spread the resistance further around the country. We have another sort of "mini-Falluja" situation in Ramadi, where rather than sectioning off the entire city and doing what they did to Falluja, they're doing it neighborhood by neighborhood. In essence, any fighters who are there are moving to a different neighborhood when one is being hit, and then moving back when the military goes to another neighborhood.
They're going to have to employ the same strategy in Samarra, in Baquba, in Bayji, in Mosul and even in parts of Baghdad. It's a strategy that the U.S. military has been using since almost the beginning of the occupation--using very heavy-handed tactics to fight the resistance. But by doing so, they're just spreading the resistance to other areas around the city or the country, and essentially creating more resistance.

Lana: I'm pretty sure that everybody already gets the criticism of the "award winning" NYT reporter Dexter Filkins. I got to hear Dhar speak. Falluja was more than NYT ever told you via Dexy's Midnight Blunder. I agree, history will not be kind to Filkins.

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