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Last Updated: Friday, 11 April, 2003, 15:47 GMT 16:47 UK
Eyewitness: Baghdad in turmoil
The BBC's Rageh Omaar
By Rageh Omaar
BBC Baghdad correspondent

The Red Cross has said it is worried about the chaos in Baghdad as the looting continues.

Iraqis loot the German Embassy in Baghdad on 10 April
Looting began a day after US troops entered central Baghdad

The United Nations says the American forces have a duty under the Geneva Conventions to protect hospitals after a gang stole incubators and heart monitors.

The looting that began two days ago on government offices and Baath party official residences is on the verge of getting out of control.

The American forces in Baghdad are setting up checkpoints and trying to secure more areas of the city.

But there just are not enough of them.

World turned upside down

There is a real semblance of disorder in the city.

Hospitals need to protect their patients with guns. A place meant for saving lives has been turned into a war zone.

Where are the Americans now?
Iraqi woman

Iraq's post-Saddam era has begun, but it looks like a world turned upside down.

State institutions are set ablaze, there is wholesale looting.

This is a picture of a city descending into chaos.

It has left ordinary Iraqis angry and disillusioned.

What makes them bitter is that this is taking place under the nose of the most powerful military force of the world.

One woman said to me that the Americans said they were coming to liberate, and all she can see is fire.

"Where are the Americans now?" she asks.

Ruin and lawlessness

At one point during the day we crossed a bridge where there was an American checkpoint.

It was safe. Half an hour later we returned and it was strewn with the wreckage of burnt-out vehicles.

The Iraqi Ministry of Transport on fire on 9 April
Several ministries and Baath party offices were set on fire

The Iraqi capital, one of the most ancient Arab cities, is being reduced to ruin and lawlessness.

The ministry of information where foreign journalists used to have their offices is destroyed.

The dead are being buried on hospital grounds.

Even the most basic services are not functioning.

The United Nations is not here, there are not enough coalition forces to provide security.

Worse to come

UK Prime Minister Tony Blair and US President George W Bush believe that Iraq has at last been liberated.

Saddam Hussein has gone but there is little dignity or freedom in what has followed.

And the situation looks set to get worse.

The UN has urged America to provide security but the UN itself is not here to provide humanitarian assistance.

The American marines and the army are still facing pockets of resistance. They still have military operations on their hands.

It will only be when the penny drops in Washington and London that some sort of security structure needs to be put in place that anything happen here.

Without the politicians and diplomats getting into action, there is little the military can do.




WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's Rageh Omaar reports from Baghdad
"Baghdad is still not a city at peace"



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