Dispatches From Iraq
As the risks of reporting from Iraq become more and more evident, reports from on the ground following events such as yesterday's bombing of a Shiite mosque in Samarra become all the more valuable. Global Voices has a collection of just that – and it's definitely worth a look. They include a link to a blog written by freelance journalist Christopher Allbritton, whose interview with a military commander was cancelled following the incident:© 2006 CBS Interactive Inc.. All Rights Reserved.
This all happened when I was in the Green Zone today to interview Lt. Gen. Dempsey, commander of the training command. He cancelled his interview, which baffled his poor public affairs office. He commented that what was happening must be really big if Dempsey is canceling interviews as he's usually not involved in the day-to-day war fighting details. ("He's not in the 5-meter knife fight," the PAO said.) Also, I saw several Apache helicopters taking off from the Green Zone, which is also unusual. Usually, it's Blackhawks that fill the air. Other military source sources have said the Americans have scaled back all patrols, especially in Shi'ite neighborhoods.A link to another dispatch from an Iraqi dentist follows. At his blog, he describes the atmosphere following the bombing:
The situation in Baghdad is bad, bad, bad. I had to flee work early and return home after news of large protests in Shi'ite districts, and several attacks against Sunni mosques in the Baladiyat, Sha'ab and Dora districts by angry rioters. Sunnis are being blamed for the attack against a Shia holy shrine in Samarra, a largely Sunni town.
The streets look empty now, and all stores seem to be closed. I can hear gunfire and American helicopters and jets circling the skies.