“It has begun.”

“It has begun.”

Several of us are sitting in the hotel room <in Baghdad> having lunch, watching the news trying to keep up with the violence daily engulfing Iraq. Let me give you a quick rundown from the last 24 hours.

Sadr City warfare, rocket attacks on Republican Palace, 16 car bombs this month, multiple assassinations, and more.

While we were watching all of this news, small, black helicopters of special operations forces and private security contractors buzzed like flies over central Baghdad and sirens blared randomly from the blazingly hot streets.

As footage of cars with broken glass and bullet holes in their frames flashed across the screen of the television, my friend’s translator, Hamid, an older man who has grown weary of the violence, said softly: “It has begun. These are only the start, and they will not stop. Even after June 30th.”

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US Army’s interrogators had alerted senior officials about abuses inflicted on detainees in Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison before January, a media report said today.