Sunday, May 21, 2006

Gaith Abdul-Ahad

In my view, some of the most interesting reporting in Iraq has come from Gaith Abdul-Ahad, an Iraqi photographer who has been working for the Guardian the past two years or so. Apparently a friend of the Baghdad Blogger, Salam Pax, he first became noticed on his own now defunct blog, G.

Some of his photos have been used in the exhibition and book, Unembedded, and are a testament to how close he is willing to get to the war. The viewpoint he chooses is from amongst the insurgents themselves, which has resulted in a series of remarkable reports detailing the people fighting, their motivations, and the lives they now lead. His subjects are wide ranging, but here are a few choice examples from June 2004, September 2004, July 2005 and October 2005.

His most recent article was published on Saturday, focussing on the growing violence between Sunni and Shia factions. The remarks of one young Sunni insurgent-turned-vigilante suggest that the United States may find some interesting allies, should it find itself at war with Iran:

"Our only hope is if the Americans hit the Iranians, and by God's will this day will come very soon, then the Americans will give a medal to anyone who kills a Shia militiaman. When we feel that an American attack on Iran is imminent, I myself will shoot anyone who attacks the Americans and all the mujahideen will join the US army against the Iranians.

"Most of my fellow mujahideen are not fighting the Americans at the moment, they are too busy killing the Shia, and this is only going to create hatred. If someone kills one of my family I will do nothing else but kill to avenge their deaths."

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