IRAQ: Abundant life


IRAQ UPDATE: April 9-16, 2004


Friday, April 9
Good Friday and Anniversary of the fall of Baghdad

The streets in the neighborhood around the team apartment were completely
quiet.  Several explosions could be heard overnight.  Several Iraqi friends
advised the team to "lay low" for the day.

Several friends called, saying they had heard rumors of five British
citizens being kidnapped from the Karrada neighborhood, and were checking to
see that the team was still alright.

At the advice of Iraqi colleagues at Occupation Watch, the team decided to
cancel a detainee vigil scheduled for the following day at the U.S. military
operated children's prison in Baghdad, due to the deteriorating situation.

The team discussed options for being a violence reducing presence during the
current crisis, and decided to seek invitations from contacts in Fallujah
and Najaf.  The team also decided to make emergency preparations such as
stocking food and water in case the situation got worse and they might not
be able to leave the apartment.

A meeting with a tribal sheikh who is the father of a young man in CPT's
detainee campaign was canceled by the sheikh.  He later called to explain he
was in a meeting of sheikhs to determine responses to the crisis, and felt
confident that things would be better soon.

Wright, Vriesinga, and delegate Greg Rollins met with Canadian Brigadier
General Walt Natynczyk, who is a military strategy advisor to the Coalition
Forces.  On their walk along Abu Nawwas St. to the meeting
inside Coalition headquarters, they observed several black-clad men
handcuffed and sitting under the trees, guarded by U.S. soldiers.

Natynczyk seemed friendly and said that the Coalition wanted to cease
aggressive action in Fallujah and work towards negotiated solutions
in both Fallujah and Najaf.  He commented that Iraq was a "failed state,"
and civil institutions needed to be developed by the Coalition.