20 October, 2020

...Night Of The Pawns

As events clangour towards a denouement, all Iraqis feel is impotent rage

...Night Of The Pawns
Nobody bothers giving you a warning in Baghdad anymore. When the deep rumble starts burrowing its way into your body, you have just a few seconds to see the building spilling out its guts into the air before the smoke and dust swallow it whole. The last time I heard an air raid siren it was the "all clear". Seconds later the roof was ripped off a presidential palace just across the Tigris river from where I was standing. Now the bombing is round the clock and the Iraqis have more pressing things to do than herald the arrival of the inevitable. This week the air war moved decisively into the heart of Baghdad. B-52 bombers and F-14 jet fighters circled the city in clear view, mocking the Soviet-era anti-aircraft guns which spat back hopelessly.

But now the targets have been widened beyond the usual suspects. Presidential palaces, government ministries and Baath party headquarters were still on the list but so too was the first bit of civilian infrastructure. The three main telephone exchanges were wrecked. The largest, some 15 storeys high, has a huge gaping wound where two...



To read this piece, and more such stories in India's most exciting and exacting magazine, plus get access to our 25-year archives goldmine, please subscribe.

More from Paul Danahar

Latest Magazine

October 26, 2020

other articles from the issue

articles from the previous issue

Other magazine section