On the ground in Baghdad

On the ground in Baghdad

Borzou Daragahi is a print and radio journalist living in Tehran. He covers Iraq, among other countries. Check his website for some seriously excellent journalism, as well as this piece from last Wednesday posted on SF IndyMedia.

Later, we land an interview with the intense, brooding young Mullah. He turns his eyes away from women and never smiles. He’s deadly serious and a little frightening. He wears the black turban of the “seyed,” or the descendant of the prophet. In his dinghy office in a narrow alleyway in Najaf, he speaks out against America, the west and the U.S.-installed governing council. He says the governing council has no legitimacy, that the Iraqi people gave no input whatsoever to its creation. I start nodding in agreement. It’s strange, even though I disagree with his very existence, even though he scares the hell out of me, even though he would probably have me murdered or deported if he ever took control of Iraq, I think he’s got a point. The Iraqi governing council has no legitimacy, international or domestically. It is a complete and utter puppet of America, with no power whatsoever except, quite pathetically, to make or unmake holidays.

On the other hand, I’ve met many of the Governing Council members. They’re decent people, smart people, motivated and committed to their country. Many – like Muwafak al-Rubayee or Abdel-Aziz Hakim – aren’t even pro-American, or weren’t until they got picked to be on the council. How can I agree with Sadr and agree with them at the same time? I feel like my mind is twisting and turning, and I have no idea what to make of Iraq any more. The longer I’m here it seems the more convuluted my judgment becomes, the more complicated the prisms through which I view Iraq and the Middle East.

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