Warning

 

Close

Confirm Action

Are you sure you wish to do this?

Confirm Cancel
Member Login
Posted: 9/23/2003 2:56:22 AM EDT
www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2003/09/23/MN122628.DTL

U.S.-trained Iraqi guards lack guns
After blast at U.N., officers complain they're vulnerable


Anna Badkhen, Vivienne Walt, Chronicle Staff Writers Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Baghdad -- When a gray 1995 Opel with Baghdad license plates pulled up to the roadblock outside the U.N. Baghdad headquarters at 8:05 Monday morning, the Iraqi security guards at the entrance were taking turns checking approaching cars. This time, it was Salam Mohammed's turn.

From about 100 yards away, Falah Hassan Ali, Mohammed's colleague, watched him approach the car and lift the hood. Just then, the car exploded, tearing Mohammed's body in two. Shards of shrapnel spun into the air, injuring other guards nearby.

A suicide bomber, his body wrapped in explosives and his car filled with 50 pounds of TNT, set off the blast early Monday at a back entrance to the U.N. compound at the Canal Hotel. Both he and Mohammed were killed instantly, and 19 people were injured, including 12 other security guards.

"Anyone can attack us from any direction," Ali said as he looked at the charred remains of the car. "We have no guns, no bulletproof vests -- nothing at all to protect us."

A severed hand lay in the dirt about 40 feet from the site of the blast. The lower half of the bomber smoldered next to the mangled car.

"We are just like human shields for the Americans," said Haider Mansour al- Saadi, 22, one of the 16 Iraqis injured in Monday's blast, as he lay in the emergency room of the al-Kindi hospital in eastern Baghdad with shrapnel wounds in his hand and leg.

BUSH TO ASK U.N. FOR TROOPS

One day before President Bush is expected to ask the United Nations for more international troops and money to rebuild Iraq, Monday's attack highlighted the continuing violence the U.S.-led coalition is encountering in postwar Iraq and the dangers for any U.N. operation.

It also indicated that the United Nations, a multinational organization that many Iraqis see as a neutral force, remains a target. The blast came after a truck bomb killed more than 20 people at the U.N. headquarters in Baghdad on Aug. 19.

After the first bombing, the U.N. scaled back its staff in Iraq but vowed to continue working in the country despite the risks. Monday's bomb attack, however, raised new concerns.

"I am shocked and distressed by this latest attack on our premises in Baghdad," Secretary-General Kofi Annan said at the United Nations. "We are assessing the situation to determine what happened, who did it, and taking further measures to protect our installations," he added.

Antonia Paradela, acting U.N. spokeswoman in Iraq, said, "Given the attack now, the U.N. will have to see if it can operate in such conditions in Iraq."

FBI agents working from an abandoned guesthouse in Baghdad Airport say they have only vague details about who might have been behind the attack.

"There are hundreds and hundreds of explosive devices in this theater (of conflict), and we are just beginning" our analysis, said an FBI agent, who spoke by telephone Monday on condition of anonymity. "Everything is still very,very preliminary."

IRAQI POLICE HAVE LOW MORALE

The continuing attacks on nonmilitary targets, like the earlier bomb blasts in August at the U.N. headquarters and the Jordanian Embassy, are undermining morale among the 10,000-person Facilities Protection Service (FPS), officers whom the Pentagon has trained and hired over the past two months to protect public buildings in Iraq.

Some complain that they are ill-equipped, poorly trained and are being placed in harm's way largely so that American soldiers can be kept at a safe distance from dangerous situations.

Ali, the guard who narrowly escaped death in Monday's bomb attack, said American soldiers trained him and other FPS guards for only a week before he was hired to monitor the checkpoint outside the U.N. compound. They were shown how to search cars and people and how to handle weapons; some were shown how to recognize a car bomb, but others were not.

Police Inspector Hasan Ziedan, 37, who had come to visit an injured guard at the hospital, said none of the 30 or so security officers working outside the U.N. headquarters has been given weapons. When a reporter pointed to the pistol jammed in his holster, he said: "This is my own personal pistol. I inherited it from my grandfather. It was made in 1939."

U.S. military officials say rebels initiate 12 to 15 attacks against American soldiers each day, but neither the Pentagon nor Iraqi officials keeps a record of attacks on Iraqi police officers and FPS guards. Coalition forces registered 22 attacks against their troops in the 24 hours ending at noon Monday, the highest figure the military has recorded in months, according to Lt. Col. George Krivo, a U.S. military spokesman.

U.S. occupation authorities frequently emphasize that they rely heavily on thousands of Iraqi police officers and U.S.-trained security guards to curb violence and stabilize the country. The U.S. administrator for Iraq, Paul Bremer, said in an interview Monday with CBS' "The Early Show" that Iraq has "40,000 policemen on duty" and that "we're starting to put Facilities Protection police around fixed sites."

LACK OF GUNS, PROTECTIVE GEAR

But Iraqi police officers say they lack even the most basic supplies.

"We have no equipment, no place to sleep. We don't even have a place to go to the bathroom," said Sgt. Aseel Sabri, one of the four officers manning a makeshift checkpoint outside the Karkh police station in western Baghdad. Five large rusted tin cans spaced several feet apart across the street formed a largely symbolic roadblock where Sabri and his colleagues work 24-hour shifts for $120 a month.

Sabri said he had to buy a military-issue pistol on the black market so that he could have a weapon to work with. His colleague, Sgt. Ahmed Hasun, a gangly man in civilian clothes, was holding a Chinese-made Kalashnikov assault rifle that he took from the police station.

"To be frank, this gun does not work," Hasun said. "The other day, I tried to fire a warning shot at a robber, and the gun just didn't shoot. It's permanently jammed."
Link Posted: 9/23/2003 3:39:54 AM EDT
Do you guys want the opinion of someone here in Iraq? The Iraqi guards ARE vulnerable, i have only seen 2 (out of many) with AKs since I have been in country. Any Iraqi that helps out the "Coalition" is in danger of repercussion from Saddam loyalists (which are everywhere....especially up here north of Baghdad). They are really in a tough situation. This country is so poor, and the majority of the people want and need our help, but they are scared. I drove up to my current base camp from Kuwait, and it was a real eye opener......the poverty almost broke my heart.

On the other hand, I have ran into a few Iraqi SOB's that need to be lined up and shot. Its just like America in some aspects...there is always a few that spoil the good things for everyone else.

Oh BTW......I have found out that the Iraqi people are NOT terribly afraid of the M4.....but point a Glock at them and you Get results! It has something to do with the execution mindset....I guess that is from years of witnessing people shot in the head exection style.

JH94
Link Posted: 9/23/2003 5:34:34 AM EDT

Originally Posted By JarHead94:

This country is so poor, and the majority of the people want and need our help, but they are scared.

JH94



JH94,
what's YOUR guess as to the percentage of people who WANT us there as opposed to those who do not ?????? I know you can't give a scientific answer but I'd still like to have your opinion.
Link Posted: 9/23/2003 4:51:56 PM EDT

Originally Posted By JarHead94:


Oh BTW......I have found out that the Iraqi people are NOT terribly afraid of the M4.....but point a Glock at them and you Get results! It has something to do with the execution mindset....I guess that is from years of witnessing people shot in the head exection style.

JH94



So much for the BS claim always made by the anti Glock bunch that the Glock has never been tested in combat and that there are NONE of these in ANY combat zone.
Link Posted: 9/23/2003 5:19:50 PM EDT
1 whole AK doesnt work out of millions in one of the harshest countries on the planet.

and this means what?

the gun is prolly almost 20 years old and has seen abuse in 3 wars (iran/iraq, PG1, PG2), gets beat to crap on a daily basis and in training, and prolly never seen a cleaning rod.

no one ever said the AK couldnt be broken.
Link Posted: 9/23/2003 5:23:12 PM EDT
What it means beyond any doubt is if that had been a GI saying that about an M16 this thread would be 6 pages long already.

THATS what it means.
Link Posted: 9/23/2003 7:27:49 PM EDT
Lets start off by saying that I haver been in country for just shy of 6 months. And I have seen a thing or two since. One thing is that the police here in Tikrit HAVE AK-47 as well as other weapons. We also have our first class of ICDC (Iraqi Civil Defence Core) doing patrols with a few US soldiers. (class two is in training now) there training was about 4 weeks long. They pass me while I am on TCP gaurd. They are armed and ready. Make no masitake about it they have ammo as well. Last month I seen a two civilian vehicle going down the road whit INP (iraq national police) carring AK-47, as well as I drive by the police station 4 times a day and see armed guards on duty. Seeing Iraqi's with guns is a little bit scarry but as one of my peers said "we have to trust them" They help augment our troops. WE do have people with them so they are in harms way as well. And they do have US flake jackets as well.
Link Posted: 9/23/2003 7:34:47 PM EDT
I hit the wrong button as was not finished yet, sorry. The m16/m4 seems to be doing just fine over here. I have not heard any reports of people saying the rifles are not preforming as desired. The M9 pistol but not the m16/m4. We seem to be killing the bad guys just fine. The last time I pointed a m16 at some one it got there attention real fast.

As for the people I beleive most want us here to help then to get out. They are for the most part happy but would like for thing to continu to improve, like power and water. We are doing what we can with what we have. We are a long way from being finished but we will continue to strive for that end, and until then.... Gota go and let others get on the computer. From Tikrit, out.
Link Posted: 9/23/2003 8:26:15 PM EDT
You guys in Indian country be safe and keep yer heads down, yer chins up. Or something.

We'll try not to let them give everything away while you are over there. Every person that I talk to who is stationed in Iraq is optimistic, but here at home everyone seems to be desperately trying to find a way we can lose.
Link Posted: 9/23/2003 8:51:11 PM EDT
5Subslr5,

Man, that is a hard one to answer. It is extremely hard to tell about the older Iraqi males. The children are a differnt matter all together. Mainly, if you ask any older Iraqi male about the former regime, you get a reply like "No, no....Saddam bad...killed my brother." But in my limited, and a little bit conservative opinion, I would say its 75/25 in our favor. Some people may disagree, and thats ok. I have only talked to very few locals, so that guess may be way off the mark. I think all of us can agree on one thing....It's damn hard to tell who is who over here.

I do agree with TOW2B, I don't like seeing Iraqi's with guns either....My level of trust isn't capable of it right now. I don't know if I will ever be "comfortable" with it.

I want to say this: When I crossed the border into Iraq and saw the children, the hovels they lived in, and how they walked around barefoot on rocks in 120 degree heat begging for food and water, well, I damn near cried. It really made me thankful for our country and my life in general. I stopped caring about the political side of this war since that day. If I can help to improve the quality of life for these people, then I know I am where I belong for the moment. It has to be seen to be believed.

JH94
Link Posted: 9/24/2003 4:39:28 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Lumpy196:
What it means beyond any doubt is if that had been a GI saying that about an M16 this thread would be 6 pages long already.

THATS what it means.



Yup.
Link Posted: 9/24/2003 4:43:33 AM EDT

Originally Posted By JarHead94:
I want to say this: When I crossed the border into Iraq and saw the children, the hovels they lived in, and how they walked around barefoot on rocks in 120 degree heat begging for food and water, well, I damn near cried. It really made me thankful for our country and my life in general. I stopped caring about the political side of this war since that day. If I can help to improve the quality of life for these people, then I know I am where I belong for the moment. It has to be seen to be believed.

JH94



And that is something that too many people, even around here, will have a hard time comprehending. We have become such a bullshit self centered society, that many could care less, so long as it isnt THEIR kids or family.
Link Posted: 9/24/2003 5:17:07 AM EDT
JarHead94 where are you located at. I am with 1-22 IN located in Tikrit. Been here since 20 April. Landed in Kuwait on 4 April LD on 17 April. Turkey screwed us on the big fight but we still see lots of action. Took some detainees to the police station in town and was standing next to a Iraq cop carring an AK-47. Still not a very warm and fuzzy feeling. Like you said dont know whos the bad guy by night and whos the good guy by day. What I can tell every one is that the bad guys dont last long in Tikrit. 1-22 IN WILL hunt them down and kill them or capture them. Its there choice. You guess what are choice will be. JarHead94 stay low move fast and shoot the hell out of anything that looks bad. Stay safe man. From Tikrit, out.
Link Posted: 9/24/2003 6:34:38 AM EDT
TOW,

You be safe too, bro. I came out here with one firm and then switched to another....I was in BIAP and CPA for awhile now I am in Balad. Mortar City, baby. If those guys were better shots we would be up shit creek without a paddle. They opened up on us big last night from across the river, but the 'Paches got them quieted down after a short while. We found that they had buried their mortars and left only the muzzle sticking out, thats why we were having such a hard time finding them down here........pretty ingenious huh?

My buddy just de-mobilized from Tikrit, he said he had enough. He got on the bird yesterday. Good luck to you, lets go home safe!
Link Posted: 9/24/2003 7:08:56 PM EDT
I just read "Jarhead" by Anthony Swofford, a former Marine STA sniper. It's his memoirs from GW I. In the part detailing his sweeping of the bunkers in Kuwait, he said that the dead Iraqis' AKs were filthy, and all of them looked like they had never been cleaned. From the dialogue in the book, it sounds like the Iraqis were never issued cleaning kits.
Link Posted: 9/25/2003 3:48:04 PM EDT
I don't know if I can properly comment on this situation, and I understand the nervousness that would come to our troops have recently former enemies armed with many armed insurgents still about. It would however seem that those who have attempted to help us performing police functions in such a dangerous environment should be armed for their own protection. Maybe not rifles, but certainly pistols and certainly protective clothing and proper facilities. How can we show them that we are willing to be their friends if we let them get blown up with regularity. There must be thousands of milsurp makarovs floating around that could find their way to those in need.
Link Posted: 9/25/2003 7:55:07 PM EDT
Shotar,

I understand your point. Its just hard to accept over here. When we are in convoy and go through a small village or town and all of a sudden you see an Iraqi with and AK, your heart goes to your throat. All you see is the one Iraqi in a crowd with a gun. It takes a second to calm down and realize that he has on a police uniform, and its ok. I am sure you would feel the same way too. Pretty much anybody would. Maybe TOW2B has had similar experiences and feelings, maybe not.....its just how I feel. To me, the real danger out here is the IED's. They are almost impossibel to spot until its too late, and they are quite effective. They keep changing the ambush sites (though some places get hit on a regular basis) and types of IEDs so it makes them even more difficult to avoid. Ii try not to worry or think about the small arms, its the stuff you dont see over here that will get you. Anyone concur?

JH94

TOW2B.....I am going to Alasad in few days....do you know anything about whats happening west of Baghdad?
Link Posted: 9/27/2003 7:55:47 PM EDT
JarHEAD94

Thanks for the info on the mortar tubs. I passed the intel along to S-2.Good info to know. We get hit with mortars every week. That might be why the dont have any accurcy to them. Good for us. We got hit by an RPG two night ago. Down by one of our TCP (traffic control points) The gaurd thought it was an flare. That thought did not last long. Everybody safe though. Dont know what happened West of Baghdad, have not heard what went down. I will ask the S-2 guy (big gun nut as well) he clues me in on stuff. Did you get the story on the BRT from 1st BDE. They gothit hard about 7 days ago. I think you might be talking about them when you said the apachie's fired up a couple huts. (if you are reading this and are not familur about what took place that night, please do not ask what took place. I will NOT talk about it. Thanks)

Its not a warm and fuzzy feeling about seeing the local police or ICDC guys running with AK's. Hard toget used to. But it is part of the rebuilding process for this country. We just keepa eye on them when they pass by. The ICDC guys are starting to do raid with us, so its a start for them to police up there own city.

JarHead94 is right when he said that the IEDs are the worse thing over here. You cant see most of them untill its to late. There is lots of trash on the roads so that makes it harder on us. If in the open thats all you get is an IED. If in the built up areas you will have an IED explode followed by RPG and smallarms fire. I am not so worried about RPG and small arms due to how fast we move. Its hard for them to hit a fast moveing target. Good for us. I gota go people in line. JarHead94 what is CPA.I have had a few come through TCP1, stay safe man.
From Tikrit, out
Link Posted: 9/28/2003 5:08:13 AM EDT
Tow,

CPA = Coalition Provisional Authority. Lets IM and talk. We pretty muched hi-jacked this thread anyway. Hope things are going well. Talk to you later.

JH94
Link Posted: 10/4/2003 6:08:52 PM EDT
Semper Fi...

BOTH you guys!!

Stay safe and thanks for serving!!
Link Posted: 10/4/2003 6:55:49 PM EDT
Jar and TOW, you two keep safe. You need supplies or anything, you let us know, and it'll be out on the next flight, so far as we know, and so far as whomever flies out there can deliver.

I'd send you over some .308's (bigger holes mean faster falls), but I doubt it'd clear the folks who monitor packages

Take care now.

Link Posted: 10/5/2003 2:07:24 AM EDT
Thanks Ed!

I do need some help......who out there has the best price on Royal Robbins 5.11 gear? Preferably some company w/ a website i can order from.

JH94
Link Posted: 10/6/2003 8:10:37 PM EDT
Thanks for the support folks. Good to know you all are out there. On this end I am good. wife keeps me well stocked. Bless her soul.

Been out of the loop a few days. IED's are playing hell on us. I guess there is something that I could use some info on if someone knows. We get hit by remote detonated EID's. Is there some thing out there that runs on a wide range of frequencys. If we can detonate these before we get to them it could save lives. It needs to be some what small that can be put in a vehicle that have at least a 50mm range. You should get the gist of what I am getting at. Any info will help. I might try posting a seperate thread on this for more readers. Thanks people.

JH94 check your IM's will drop you a line.

From Tikrit, out.
Link Posted: 10/8/2003 8:06:15 AM EDT
Jarhead,
here's a place with pretty good prices on 5.11.

www.miragetechnologies.net/MTI-Royal%20Robbins%20Tactical%20Pants.htm

thanks guys and stay safe.

curt
Top Top