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Hullabaloo


Tuesday, June 01, 2004

 
Strictly Business

This must be one of those good news stories the media have overlooked.

Kidnappings Bleed Iraq of Doctors


For two months, someone has been kidnapping the best doctors in Iraq. Health officials and doctors estimate that as many as 100 surgeons, specialists and general physicians have been abducted from their homes and clinics since the beginning of April. Some were beaten and tortured. Most were released after the payment of between $20,000 and $200,000 in ransom.

[...]

The list of kidnapping victims and those who have fled the country is a who's who of Iraq's medical establishment. A pioneer in renal transplants. Saddam Hussein's former plastic surgeon. And Khalily, who was voted Best Arabic Doctor in 1998 by the Pan Arab Medical Union.

The top cataract surgeon at a leading eye hospital in Baghdad, Dr. Jawad Shakarchi, moved to London after being abducted from his garage in April.

"He was a genius," said a hospital manager, Amira Salman. "Now his students are doing his job."

Many of the doctors also taught at Baghdad University's College of Medicine. Officials there said a quarter of the school's surgeons have gone or have requested temporary leaves next year.

"A lot of doctors are planning to quit for a year, and we don't have enough teachers for the clinical studies," said Dr. Hassan Rubaye, deputy dean of the medical school.

Some schools are having to limit enrollment for advanced studies until they can be sure there will be enough doctors to teach.


The good news is that 14 clinics have fresh paint and 8 have new office chairs. The chairs were donated by Halliburton for only $22,000 apiece, which they said only represented their cost.

Mark Kleiman notes that the raid on Chalabi's headquarters was based in part on these charges and wonder whether it was a pure money making scheme or if they were trying to deliberatly create chaos, perhaps even on behalf of Iran.

I wouldn't put it past them but I think it was probably the former. Although they did not see eye to eye on the timetable for invasion, Chalabi and GOP tough guy Dick Armey surely see eye to eye on Armey's view of power --- to the victor shall go the spoils. Ahmad was just taking the taste he deserved. Doctors have money, therefore they are lucrative kidnapping victims. It's not personal. It's not even political. It's strictly business.






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