Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Adhamiya clashes: counter-terrorism operations or sectarian violence?

The situation in Adhamiya remains tense, and I've seen that first hand yesterday; I crossed the bridge from al-Iskan to Adhamiya only to be immediately turned away by a group of men at a road block. I tried to ask what was going on but the only answer I got was "GO BACK!".

Later we heard that some clashes happened in and around Adhamiya but no details were available but this morning I found two contradicting reports on the Adhamiya developments from two credible and respectable Iraqi newspapers.

Azzaman put it this way:

Adahmiya repels an attack for death squads.

Azzaman reporter in Baghdad said that militia men in police uniforms riding vehicles with no registration plates tried to raid parts of Adhamiya in an attempt to kidnap some of the locals but the residents of Adhamiya fought back and forced the assailants to withdraw from the district. This was the second attempt within 24 hours, in the first incident armed men driving a vehicle and dressed in interior ministry uniforms opened fire on homes and pedestrians but also fled the district when residents raised to chase them.
According to the reporter, there were no official Iraq security forces or MNF units in the scene at the time of the clashes and the militia men failed in invading the district as the residents forced them to pull back.

Al-Sabah's reported the incident in a very different way:

An interior ministry source announced that fierce clashes erupted between terrorists and Iraqi security forces in Adhamiya district.
The source who did not give details on whether there had been casualties said that security forces are "encircling the district in its entirety".

(Emphasis added).

In this case I can consider myself lucky to have two versions of the same story (from two sources with different orientations/agendas) to compare and choose from but what about stories that come to us from one source?
Actually reading these two contradicting accounts makes me question the accuracy of much of the news we get and right now I'm reluctant to believe either of the two accounts in question.

In fact I am going to discard both and wait for the Adhamiya region bloggers to demystify the case.

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