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Conflict with Iraq

Battle Lines
Tom Brown
Tom Brown
Battle Lines is an ongoing Web log (blog) dedicated to providing a broad perspective on the latest news and developments from the war in Iraq. Response and suggestions are welcomed.

Tom Brown has been an editor, reporter and software analyst for The Seattle Times for 20 years.

April 15, 2003

Building a government from scratch

Iraqi and American officials met today to take the first steps toward creating a postwar government that can run Iraq. Today's session inspired boycotts and protests from opposition groups.

The Washington Post has put together a guide to governing post-war Iraq, including profiles of key players.

Saving Iraq's treasures

Leading world archeologists will meet in Paris Thursday to talk about ways to rescue Iraq's cultural heritage, after looters plundered Iraqi museums that housed priceless artifacts.

Meanwhile, UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, called for measures to fight the illicit trafficking of stolen antiquities.

And British antiquities experts are being dispatched to Iraq to help in the restoration and recovery of looted antiquities. The British Museum has the greatest collection of Mesopotamian art outside Iraq.

This isn't the first time Iraq's archaeological riches have been stolen. Years after the first Gulf War, Iraq antiquities entered the black market, most likely sold for a pittance by desperate locals trying to make some extra money.

Who buys stolen antiquities? Reuters says there are two markets: collectors willing to pay millions for the high-end items, and others who would pay much less for smaller items like pottery, which might sell for $20 to $50 on eBay.

Looting in general seems to be subsiding, but many Baghdad citizens are angry about the degree of looting and believe the U.S. had a responsibility to step in and prevent it.

Armed with cameras and guns

When CNN reporters came under fire Sunday near Tikrit, the armed guards escorting them fired back. The incident raises interesting questions about what's acceptable, and what isn't, when reporting in a combat zone.

According to the LA Times, Sunday's incident represented the first time that media vehicles had traveled in combat with private, armed security guards. "Journalists did not employ such personal protection during the Balkan and the 1991 Persian Gulf wars," the paper noted. "They did, however, use armed guards during the conflict in Somalia, said Joel Campagna, the Mideast program coordinator for the Committee to Protect Journalists, which is based in New York."

"Why was (CNN's Brent) Sadler storming Tikrit before U.S. forces got there?" asks Washington Post media columnist Howard Kurtz. "If reporters with armed escorts go into battle zones on their own, is it any wonder that they will be treated as little different than soldiers?"

And now for something completely different

On a cheerier note, we bring you poetry by Donald Rumsfeld, great post-war gift ideas and one analyst's prediction that the next country to face U.S. military pressure won't be Syria.

Posted by Katherine Long at April 15, 2003 07:05 AM

Tom Brown Katherine Long, research editor at the Seattle Times and 18-year editor and reporter, substituted for Tom Brown the week of April 14.

April 2003
March 2003

Signing off
The Saddam Files
Demonstrations in Karbala
Building a government from scratch
Smoking gun?
The irony of freedom
Where are the weapons?
Cultural advisors quit over antiquities issue
Baghdad reality check


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