Monday, June 13, 2011

Stratfor – Raw intel on the aftermath of war in Baghdad

A report written for the Austin-based private intelligence firm Stratfor tells a story of a deserted and bleak Green Zone, a place where no shops do business, no one walks or visits or plays or pauses.

It tells a story of a Baghdad with garbage that dates from the year 2003 still uncollected in the streets; a city with its streets blocked by walls; of driving 250 miles and passing through 26 checkpoints unchecked, unstopped and unsearched; of Shiite merchants and householders who acquired their commercial locations for free by occupying them after the Sunni owners fled in terror; of assassinations of public officials carried out operatives of private armies, by the armed guards who work for other public officials.

They are the only ones who can pass through the checkpoints with weapons and explosives.

The full extent of a checkpoint is an electronic scanning for weapons, ammunition and explosives. All police want is their salaries. They don't want any trouble, so, though every corner has a stop light, no one pays any attention – especially the police. Cars and trucks plunge through heedlessly, ignoring the rules of the road, unchecked by any control.

One thing you can get is a passport, but you have to pay a bribe – as is true of just about every government service, permit or document.

The going rate is $1,500.

“'Corruption has made many officers and government employees rich. You can get an Iraqi passport for $1,500. When you go to any government ministry, nothing is done for you unless you pay them. The taxi driver handling some government staff said, “You need to understand that especially in the passport department, the officer tells you that you can’t get a passport and then he gets up and goes to the toilet. You need to follow him and give him some money; toilets are where the bribes are given.' He added that this is true for every government establishment, not just for passports.”

Readers may find more raw intelligence reports by clicking here.

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