Iraqi Reaction to “Transfer of Sovereignty”
The Al-Ahram Weekly, the leading Egyptian organ of news and opinion in English, has published a special issue in which it asked Iraqi writers and intellectuals to respond to the events of this past week. The American press almost never gives us canny, informed Iraqi voices like these, and the issue is a must read.
Nermin Mufti writes, e.g.:
‘ A doctor at Al-Nur hospital pointed out that “the conditions in hospitals did not improve, and are getting worse. The former minister had ordered us not to speak to local and foreign press about what goes on in hospitals with regard to the theft of medicine and equipment, a matter which has led to an increase in fatalities, particularly among those wounded in accidents.” “Our hospital was not robbed when Baghdad fell, but our medicine inventory is still empty and we don’t know where the aid goes, if there is aid to start with,” a pharmaceutical assistant in the same hospital remarked.
Every so often, the papers publish news about the immense robberies that took place in the Ministry of Health between the formation of the Governing Council cabinet and that of the interim government. Documents are published indicating that theft has taken place. A recent report in Al-Sabah, a US- financed paper issued by the Iraqi media network, says that medical equipment worth billions of dinars have been stolen and smuggled abroad. An earlier report claims that the equipment was registered under the “scrap” category, as there is a recent law allowing for the export of scrap. In other words, the smuggling has been disguised as a legal procedure. Millions of tonnes of scrap metal from Iraqi military vehicles and buildings destroyed in bombardment, along with other material, have been sold as junk and scrap. ‘