Baghdad Neighborhood Reverts to Militant Stance
ROBERT SIEGEL, Host:
Annie, what's the situation there?
ANNE GARRELS: Today on the streets, Shiite militiamen were much more noticeable than in the past. They had effectively threatened shop owners. They closed their stores to support the Sadrist protest against U.S. and the Iraqi government detentions of militiamen. Schools were closed. I went to several rounds, military patrols public school projects were at a - such as they are, were at a standstill. Workers were apparently either supporting the strike or were frightened off and didn't turn out for work.
SIEGEL: Now, what about the upsurge of attacks on U.S. troops, and how are U.S. forces dealing with those attacks?
GARRELS: There has been a communications blackout here for the last few days while the military tries to officially inform the families; they have now done so. So everybody here tonight is on a cell phone calling their families, telling them they are okay.
SIEGEL: In Basra, we hear about the Iraqi forces taking the lead with U.S. and Britain, perhaps providing air support or embedding some advisers along the way. There in Baghdad, has the balance of responsibility between the U.S. and the Iraqis, has it changed visibly to you or are the Americans doing what the Americans did last year and the year before?
GARRELS: And I asked the commander today, Colonel Ricky Gibbs, and so what are they then saying? He said, they can't say anything.
SIEGEL: Thanks a lot and take care.
GARRELS: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
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