US Ambassador in Baghdad – grim picture

A cabled memo signed by Zalmy Khalilzad, the US Ambassodor to Iraq, has been leaked to the Washington Post. The Memo is titled “Snapshots from the Office: Public Affairs Staff Show Strains of Social Discord” and The Independent offers a summary:

“The vulnerability of the US position in Baghdad is so great that the Iraqi military units guarding the perimeter of the Green Zone, the heart of US power in Iraq, are now considered untrustworthy.”

Local staff working for the US embassy are so afraid of their fellow Iraqis that they don’t even tell their families where they work, they use embassy-organised press credentials to pass through checkpoints without being pointed out to bystanders as “Embassy” by the Iraqi security forces, and even the Embassy employees question the priority given to certain neighborhoods over others in reliable power supply. The memo reports that Baghdad itself is balkanised into “neighborhood” governments full of “alasas”, informants who report to unknown enforcers on strangers in their area.

From the memo:

” Although our staff retain a professional demeanor, strains are apparent. We see their personal fears are reinforcing divisive sectarian or ethnic channels. Employees are apprehensive enough that we fear they may exaggerate developments or steer us towards news that comports with their own world view. Objectivity, civility, and logic that make for a functional workplace may falter if social pressures outside the Green Zone don’t abate.”

The memo is here, lightly edited, presumably to remove names.

(Crossposted at Larvatus Prodeo)

Categories: Uncategorized

%d bloggers like this: