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Iraq: Tinted Cars and Ghost-like Officials

Iraqi officials and influential figures often distance themselves from average citizens, hiding behind tinted car windows and under the protection of extensive security details.
Policemen operate a checkpoint in Baghdad October 17, 2011. As U.S. troops prepare to withdraw from Iraq, Baghdad security officials believe Iraqi forces are now more capable of containing violence, and plan to steadily cut back on checkpoints by around 50 percent and remove the blast walls in the city by the beginning of next year before reviewing the security situation again. Picture taken October 17, 2011.        To match feature IRAQ-BAGHDAD/      REUTERS/Mahmoud Raouf Mahmoud (IRAQ - Tags: CIVIL UNREST
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A decade after the fall of Saddam Hussein, an ingrained fear of the “tinted car” remains ingrained in Iraqi minds. If anything, since 2003 this fear has grown, commensurate with the increased number of ominous and inscrutable convoys shuttling senior officials around Iraqi cities. These dark, black litters glide by the people, symbolizing their hidden passengers' strength and position.

Alaa Hassan, a member of the security forces working a checkpoint in southern Baghdad, told Al-Monitor, “The clout of the dark-tinted cars hasn’t changed at all today from what it was in the past. They can still pass through security barriers without being questioned or monitored, especially when it involves a senior government official.”

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