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photo of abdul-ahad

» Ghaith Abdul-Ahad
An Iraqi photojournalist from Baghdad, he has sought out Islamic militants across the Middle East, and his articles and photos have appeared in several Western newspapers. Here, he talks about his conversations with the foreign fighters who have come to Iraq. Just before the second battle of Fallujah, he slipped into the city, met some of these jihadis and listened to what they talked about as they awaited their fate. And later, a few days before the October 2005 Iraqi vote on a draft constitution, Abdul-Ahad spent time with nationalist Iraqi insurgents northwest of Baghdad, learning about how this element of the insurgency sees its goals, why they decided to vote in the election, and the growing tensions they saw between themselves and the foreign jihadis.

photo of mcmaster

» Col. H. R. McMaster
A veteran of the first Gulf War and a counterinsurgency expert, he commands the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment and led the U.S. assault on Tal Afar in late 2005. A town near the Syrian border, Tal Afar had been terrorized by Zarqawi's Al Qaeda forces for more than a year. In this interview, McMaster talks about how the jihadis organized and operated in the town and how over the course of months they gradually were ousted by the U.S. military. What remains today, he says, is a "fragile" situation -- dealing with a hybrid insurgency that's still present and providing security to help the community slowly rebuild. But McMaster says he is an optimist in the end about how things will turn out for the Iraqi people.

photo of brown

» Lt. Col. Ross A. Brown
His regiment, the 3rd Armored Cavalry, operate out of Camp Chaos, a forward patrol base manned by U.S. and Iraqi troops in southern Baghdad. The area is a Baathist stronghold and recently Al Qaeda has started moving in. Brown's unit conducts regular patrols with Iraqi soldiers to gather information and root out insurgent leaders. In this interview, he paints a picture of the hybrid, evolving nature of the insurgency and the challenges facing coalition forces. He also talks about what his unit has accomplished and the work that's still ahead.

photo of ware

» Michael Ware
Ware is unique among Western journalists for his extensive contacts within the insurgency. He is TIME Magazine's Baghdad bureau chief and has covered the war from the very beginning, entering Iraq before the invasion. Throughout his time there, he kept a personal video record of his travels. In this interview, he talks about the evolving nature of the insurgency and the tensions and growing conflict between the Baathist/nationalist Iraqi insurgents and foreign jihadis, in particular, Zarqawi's Al Qaeda in Iraq forces. He also talks about the Iranian connection, why Fallujah was a turning point for the insurgency and the extraordinary risks that he has had to take in his reporting.

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posted feb. 21, 2006

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