About this blog

Blogging Baghdad aims to provide a dynamic look at the story behind the story of covering the news in Iraq. Online entries – from text to video blogs – will detail the realities of daily life for ordinary Iraqis, American troops and the media living and working in a 24 hour war zone.

Regular contributors include NBC News correspondents, producers and staff on assignment in Iraq.

Click here to read more about the journalists behind Blogging Baghdad.

Execution timing – a religious debate

Here's where we stand on the timing of Saddam Hussein's execution…It is no longer a legal debate, now it's a religious debate.

On Thursday, the main conflict over Saddam's execution centered on one question: Does the president need to authorize it?

This question has bogged down Iraqi politicians all week. On Friday an Iraqi judge who will oversee the execution said the question has been resolved. He told me the president has written a letter saying that his signature is not required on the death warrant.

But today there's a new dispute -- religion.

The Muslim Eid (feast of the sacrifice) begins on Saturday for Sunnis. But it starts on Sunday for Shiites. It is customary in Iraq not to carry out executions over religious holiday.

If the Shiite-led government carries out the execution tomorrow, they would not be executing Saddam during "their Eid," holiday but during the "Sunni Eid." It would be insensitive, and could be provocative.


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Iraqi police lead Baghdad patrol

Increasingly, U.S. combat troops are becoming de-facto advisors to the fledgling Iraqi National Police force. An NBC News team was recently embedded with C Troop, 1-14 Cavalry as the troopers accompanied, usually in the rear, about 100 National Police officers on a house-to-house search for gunmen and weapons in the dangerous Dora neighborhood, south of Baghdad.

This was the first time Iraqi police actually led a mission from its inception. At a time when U.S. forces are accelerating efforts to hand over battle space to the Iraqis, Sgt. Charles Smith told NBC News that the operation went well, despite some communication problems.


VIDEO: As U.S. forces accelerate efforts to hand over power to the Iraqi National Police force, an NBC News team went on the first mission lead from start to finish by Iraqi forces.

No big weapons caches - or insurgents - were found on this day. But in another neighborhood, a similar joint operation turned up a large cache, and freed an Iraqi hostage, held by kidnappers.

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Reporting under al-Qaida control

I am often asked, “How do you get the video you broadcast or post on the Internet?” On days like today, I find myself asking the same question.

Today one of our freelance Iraqi cameramen - to describe him as brave is a wild understatement – brought in a video and the amazing story of how he filmed it.

Place: The city of Baqouba

Date: Christmas Day

Time: 4 p.m.

Scene: The stringer reports that large parts of the city of Baqouba have “fallen” under the control of al-Qaida-inspired Sunni militants.  They attack American troops, Iraqi security forces and force Shiites from their homes. Many parents have stopped sending their children to school. Few state institutions function. The city is paralyzed.

Our cameraman (for his safety, I am not including his name) was driving from Baqouba to our Baghdad bureau. He was in a car with his father and brother. Along the road, they passed several cars and pickups, packed with gunmen, waving AK-47s and black flags. The gunmen were members of Al-Qaida in Iraq, holding a “parade” to show their power, and intimidate the local population and Iraqi security forces. From the back of his car, our cameraman - without telling his brother or father in the front - took out his small DV camera and filmed the gunmen in stealth.

But he didn’t get away with it.


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Slide Show

  • Life beyond the violence
    Suicide attacks and murders due to sectarian conflict continue around Iraq. See how residents live their lives amid the attacks.

More Conflict in Iraq coverage