Divisions deepen in Iraq

Not as pessimistic as the title suggests, more of a snapshot of life in the Litter Tray today


We had just pulled off the main street of Mosul, down an alley, to look for a parking place when my Kurdish guide leaned forward and warned the driver not to stop.

By way of explanation, he pointed to three shadowy figures crouched against the wall of this dark alleyway.

Wearing black headscarves and armed with Kalashnikov assault rifles, these Arab fighters were certainly not members of the new Iraqi police force – and their presence in this otherwise deserted side-street did not bode well.

Husayn, our driver, turned off his headlights and suddenly accelerated past the threatening trio and made a wild right turn at the first intersection.

We were soon lost in a labyrinth of narrow blacked-out streets of what appeared to be some sort of poor market district.

There was no one visible and it did not seem wise to stop and ask for directions, so we continued trying to navigate our way back to the main street.

We heard a volley of gunfire from no more than two blocks away, and we presumed that the Arab fighters had found their target.