Friday, March 30, 2007

Jim Spiri with NPR

"Umm, do you think there's another range nearby that we don't know about?" D-squared said as we share an incredulous look. "Do you hear where that's coming from? Nah, I don't think there 'just so happens to be another shooting range across the river in town'" I said back. We were sitting outside our primitive wooden hut the second day in Ramadi talking about life's deeper issues and pontificating our future, when an eruption of gunfire crackled about a mile away intermixed with the rude outbursts of machinegun fire. That's what makes life so strange out here......Camp Ramadi (where we now live) is itself a veritable fortress only vulnerable to IDF (indirect fire; usually mortars or RPG; no worries.....they have bad aim), but the city lies a short distance away, across the Euphrates River. We can see the famed glass factory (explosion last year caused a 70+ mass casualty) and plentiful housing/businesses from the temporary huts. We can sit outside on a lazy, sunny afternoon and a whole different world is occuring just a few short steps away......mostly what we see day-in and day-out is the aftermath of Ramadi's insurgent encounters. No worries----haven't felt any stray rounds whiz our way yet.

Turns out there was a major joint operation planned a few clicks away from the base entrance between the Iraqi Police and Marines. They are working hard to secure Ramadi "sector by sector". Yesterday's sector was especially close. An Iraqi Police Colonel in charge of Ramadi's 800 IP commanded the operation.
A positive note must be mentioned: there has been a recent fundamental shift in attitude by the local sheiks. They have shown geniune interest in what we are trying to accomplish, and have been given permission to allow their private militias to participate in cleaning up the city of insurgents---time will unveil whether this new change will be effective. The question that always beckons is this: Who do we trust, and where do their true interests lie?

Last night, I just so happened to meet Jim Spiri, a freelance photojournalist with NPR. He was the only journalist covering the operation, and needed some help transferring his digital recorder files to a jumpdrive. I was in the right place at the right time with my laptop, and we spent the evening talking about Ramadi and the region in general. He was a fantastically interesting man with quite the life story, and also shared all of the pictures he took over the past two days including convoying in from Taquaduum, securing parts of Ramadi, a Ramadi city council meeting, buying and giving away fresh fruits and foods to local needy from the Souk (shopping area), and following the Camp Ramadi Civil Affairs personnel on "winning hearts and minds" details throughout the immediate area surrounding Ramadi.

1 comment:

David M said...

Trackbacked by The Thunder Run - Web Reconnaissance for 05/15/2007
A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention.