From Dr. Moayad, an Iraqi cardiologist in South Baghdad:
Many people in South Baghdad and other Sunni areas were upset when the Iraqi Prime Minster Nuri al-Maliki returned directly from London to Karbala, Iraq to participate in the Shiite memorial of Arbaeen (the end of the annual mourning period of Imam Hussein, a Shiite saint). The Sunnis believe that Mailiki is the Shiite prime minister, not the Iraqi prime minister.
But on the early morning of Friday February 29, the South Baghdad neighborhood of Dora received the American Ambassador Ryan Crocker. Everyone in Dora welcomed his visit. It was the first time I met Ambassador Crocker. On TV he looks younger, but he is very active and smart.
We walked along 60th Street where reconstruction work has started. We also walked Mulhallah [neighborhood] 840, where he met with the kids and old women, and visited the shops. Crocker speaks very good Arabic. He asked the same questions of everyone he met. ( How is the security situation? What’s the most important problem after security is established?) The answers were always the same: The security situation is very good and we are looking for jobs and more hours of national electricity.
Then we walked the streets of Mulhallah 838. I felt tired while the ambassador kept walking. General Jeffery Hammond and Colonel Rick Gibbs were with him. My mother cooked all the night before for lunch (which was enough for a minimum three hundred soldiers) but after six hours of touring Dora, Ambassador Crocker received a call and left without having lunch.
It’s wonderful that the American officials take care of us, while the Iraqi government only takes care of their Shiite sect. We can say the Sunni sect has become the American sect because only the American forces and embassy visit us. It was true when one of the local citizens of Dora told the ambassador that Colonel Gibbs is our president, because he supplied more than nine thousand jobs and paid for all the services and the Sons of Iraq in our area. The ambassador smiled at that. Another citizen told the ambassador that the next battle is against the elected Iraqi government to take on their responsibility as the government for all Iraq.
Both American and British ambassadors have visited our area, as well as General Petraeus and more than ten other generals. Meanwhile, we are still waiting an official from the Iraqi government to visit us in Dora without invitations from the U.S.Army.
Thank you very much Ambassador Crocker for your visit, which helped us forget the government deficiency syndrome in Sunni areas.
I had a great time with the ambassador. You can learn a lot from this great man within few hours.