I woke up late this morning and again it was very quiet. I asked Mohammed if there was anything going on and the answer was negative. An hour later two of our friends came by and asked if we’d like to go out for lunch, and off we went. We drove for about half an hour across eastern Baghdad and there was nothing unusual; just the same checkpoints we’ve been seeing for the past week or so and traffic was more or less normal.
I got a bit curious and turned on the radio in the car to see if I was missing something but there was absolutely no news about any significant incidents or operations. The interesting thing I heard-not on the radio- was what one of my friends told me about what he saw earlier this morning. He had some work to do in Kazimiya across the river and since many of the bridges were closed to traffic he couldn’t reach his destination first but then he heard that the bridge between Adhamiya and Kazimiyah was open and he headed that way. He said “The streets were open. There are some checkpoints but it didn’t look like a big operation like the one we heard last night was going on over there!”
This doesn’t make sense, I thought.
We found the restaurant full of people; mostly students from the nearby college having lunch after classes. We had our lunch and drove back.
When I returned home I went directly to my computer to see if the web had more news than what radio and TV offered but again I couldn’t find anything.
However later I got to hear conflicting reports about the status of Baghdad’s security plan; as you can see from yesterday’s post it seemed that the operation was officially launched but this afternoon. I heard that a US general in Iraq said that the time for launching the plan would be an Iraqi decision.
It’s not clear yet which account is more accurate but I think the issue is more about formalities than about technical military issues; PM Maliki and his cabinet have been long talking about the plan being entirely Iraqi in both planning and implementation and that the role of the US military would be limited to offering advice and support. So it seems he felt that someone was stealing his thunder so to speak, and he didn’t like that. If my guess is true, then it’s somewhat childish of him.
So I guess it’s only that Maliki wants to be the one who blows the attack horn and I think this will be very soon, but technically the operation has started, yet in a way that’s quiet different from previous operations.