Thursday, April 19, 2007

Gangs of Iraq

The Gangs of Iraq is an excellent PBS Frontline documentary that traces U.S. efforts in training the new Iraqi security force from 2003 to the present. Its power is that it provides a chronological timeline of events and offers much needed context for the news that you see today. I worked with the producers and provided some translations.

It starts with a regular scene of Baghdad: an unidentified corpse with signs of torture, dumped on the side of the street in Adhamiya, a Sunni district of Baghdad. The filmmakers and reporters then spend some time with U.S. troops and Iraqi police in the neighbourhood, and later visit the notorious Interior Ministry and interview top officials, including former Minister Bayan Jabr Solagh, the former Badr Brigade official who is often accused of restaffing the ministry with Badr militiamen responsible for death squad activities in Iraq. The telling interview with Jabr is one of the best parts of this programme.

I will not spoil the film for you. It was aired yesterday but you can watch it in full here, and I strongly recommend that you do so, preferably now.