Sovereignty? What Sovereignty?

From Holden:

Nope, no sovereignty here.

Farqad Mohammed Khinaisar was driving to work in her dark-green Kia Sephia at 8 a.m. May 29 when she came up behind three U.S. humvees that were about to enter a traffic circle in Baghdad’s Sadiya neighborhood.

As Khinaisar approached, a gunshot was heard from the third humvee. The soldiers at the rear of the convoy thought they had seen a suicide bomber, Lt. Col. David Funk said, and they fired a warning shot, then kept firing.

Khinaisar, a 57-year-old high school Arabic teacher, was shot once in the head. She died five days later, on June 3.

Many Iraqis say they understand why U.S. forces must be here – to keep the country intact, protect its fragile new government, and stop the violence. But enough civilians have been killed in one-sided encounters with frightened U.S. troops that Baghdadis often cower when Americans are near. Whenever U.S. troops leave their bases, they say, everyone is vulnerable.

“We are living in constant terror because of these convoys,” Khinaisar’s husband, Mohsen Hameed, said at his wife’s funeral.


After the shots were fired from the U.S. humvees, Khinaisar’s car jumped the curb and came to rest against a utility pole. A crowd quickly gathered. Witnesses said the Americans were standing to one side, talking about what to do. Funk said they were waiting for an ambulance.

A truck driver in the crowd standing in the traffic circle, Raid Sabri, 38, said he saw Khinaisar’s hand and leg move. He told the Americans that if they would not take her to the hospital, he would. They agreed to let him take her, he said.

“We were furious after seeing them not rescue her while she was still alive,” Sabri said. “To them, killing a human being is nothing. When an American soldier gets killed, they make a big fuss. Helicopters and ambulances come to rescue. But when an Iraqi gets killed in the street, it means nothing to them.”


Funk said an investigation of the shooting found that the soldiers had given Khinaisar several warnings – hand and spoken signals – before firing a warning shot.

He said the investigation also found that Khinaisar’s car was 15 feet from the humvees – so close that had she been a suicide bomber, the soldiers likely would have been seriously hurt. The Iraqi men at the traffic circle gave conflicting accounts, putting her as far as 100 feet away.

Some family members speculated that Khinaisar, frightened, might have hit the gas pedal instead of the brake when she heard the warning shot. The military said that after the warning shot, she moved faster, not slower.

A police commander at the Sadiya station said the Iraqi police were not looking into the shooting. “If the Americans are part of the investigation,” he said, “we don’t investigate. We have no authority over the Americans.”