I find this information somewhat disheartening but since Steven Vincent is actually in Iraq and traveling beyond the "Green Zone" he must be right. BTW - if you don't check out Vincent's journal: In The Red Zone, you should.
Here's an excerpt from this posting:
"We believe in him, he is a great man," enthused one cop, a rangy, smart-alecky kid with an Eddie Haskell smirk. "Seventy-five percent of Basra's police follow him!" .
This Basra Policeman is talking about the Boy Cleric - Al Sadr.
Worse, the knowledge that a cop's sympathies may lie more with the Badr Organization than the Basran citizenry erodes general trust in the police. "If someone, say, stole my car, I wouldn't go to the police to get it back," an Iraqi journalist told me. "I'd negotiate directly with the thieves."
"Amirka muu zayna," he informed me. ("American no good.") Not once, or twice, but like one of the flies buzzing around the station, he wouldn't stop, giggling "Amrika muu zayna, Amrika muu zayna," glancing at his buddies for their nods and approbation.And:
Just as we were boarding the vessel, however, Eddie grabbed my arm and, smirking and snorting, shoved his cell phone in my face, where prominently displayed on its call screen was a mini-image of...the Twin Towers burning. "Zayn?" he snickered.Note - Eddie is Vincent's nickname for the Basra Policeman.
In the Red Zone
I'm not sure what to say at this point but in reading the entire posting, it's like having a balloon punctured with the air spewing out. This is not good news for Basra, Iraq.