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Last Updated: Wednesday, 9 August 2006, 16:58 GMT 17:58 UK
Baghdad voices: Security fears
Thousands more US troops have been deployed on the streets of Baghdad to try to impose security on the city.

Three Baghdad residents - including one government minister - discuss the problems facing the capital.


Ammar al-Saffar
Ammar al-Saffar: "Doctors are our asset"

I believe human life is the most precious thing there is.

But we have lost 110 doctors. They have been killed because they are trying to help people and because they are Shia.

The insurgents are trying to force doctors and scientists to leave the country; they want to create a brain drain.

There are about 18,000 doctors in Iraq. There is a little shortage, yes, but there is no crisis. The hospitals are coping.

Doctors are our asset. Under Saddam they weren't allowed to leave Iraq. We cannot stop them leaving the country.

I have just returned from Jordan where I met many Iraqi doctors. The vast majority want to return.

I have approached the prime minister and we are working on plans to get the doctors working in hospitals instead of their private practices. That way we can offer them more protection.

People hold America responsible for the violence

I have also asked for better pay and conditions. This is up to the financial people.

Doctors can now earn up to $500 (262) a month - under Saddam they would earn $2-3 a month. So that's a rise of 300%.

As far as security goes, the US think their real enemy is Moqtada Sadr's Mehdi Army. They never expected three years of violence. People hold America responsible for this violence.

They had security in their hands and they left the borders of Iraq completely loose.

The only way it will end is through a complete package of political and economic measures as well as force.


Bomb victims at a hospital in Baghdad, 2 August
Iraq's hospitals are constantly under pressure

I live with my wife, my four-year old son and three-year old daughter in a middle class area. There's no sectarian tension here.

My wife is a doctor in Baghdad's Karama hospital. She cannot drive to work any more. The armed people say a woman driving a car is wrong under Allah - they would attack her.

We hire a car to pick her up and drop her off. Her salary is not good; she spends almost all of it on transport, but she wants to work to help her people.

I do not dare go outside the house. My name is sensitive - a typical Sunni name - I would be attacked by militia.

The US said they would release us from Saddam and provide a new regime. Yes, they removed Saddam; but they have created new problems.


I hope the security situation will improve now, but I doubt it. American soldiers are in a complex situation.

I saw one incident when a car was careering towards an American Humvee. The American soldier was screaming; he thought the driver was going to bomb him. I did too.

In fact, it was just a car with faulty brakes. But the Americans let him pass. They never shot him. Even the brave ones are afraid; they aren't fighting for anything personal.

My children are very white now because they don't see the sun. We cannot let them see other kids, or go to a park. They only people they see are us or the grandparents.

How will their personalities grow?

That's why I want to leave for Jordan if at all possible.


Two Iraqi men mourn the death of a relative, Baghdad, 27 July
Baghdad residents live in fear for their lives

We have received many mortar rounds in the area where we live. We think they came from the Mehdi Army.

My three children cannot go out to play with the other kids because of the threat of kidnapping and being hurt.

The major problem now is their schooling. I might not send them back next month. But they are so bright.

I was a colonel in the Iraqi Navy before 2003. I fought the British and then I surrendered.

I thought we would get progress once Saddam was out of the picture. But things went wrong; people were not prepared for freedom so they misused it.

Iraqis cannot think straight because of all the chaos all around.

We have to make sacrifices

I am Shia but I don't agree with what is happening nowadays.

Each party tries to collect a large number of uneducated people as supporters. They give them weapons, but these people are fools and have no discipline, so the situation gets worse.

Most of these people don't accept US troops in Iraq. I am different.

The troops are great for Iraq and for security. But I know there will be side effects: people will die. But we have to make sacrifices for progress.

The fighting may increase, but if the UK and US troops eventually get control, it will be worth it.

If there was any chance of leaving Iraq, I would go immediately.

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