Babylon & Beyond

Observations from Iraq, Iran,
Israel, the Arab world and beyond

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IRAQ: Bombs and scrap metal

May 28, 2008 | 12:55 pm

By Saif Rasheed in Baghdad

It seems that after five years, car bombs in Baghdad have become an opportunity for scavengers.

On Monday,  I saw five men gathered around the remnants of charred car that exploded over the weekend in western Baghdad's Qadisiya district.

The attack had targeted the governor of Hilla, who escaped.  But the scavengers didn't seem to care Monday about whether anyone had lived or died.

They had gotten down to work with their wrenches and screwdrivers. They tore the car apart and distributed its pieces  among themselves.

Their main argument was over who would get to keep the engine. After a few minutes, the dispute was solved when a man bought the engine from the others.

He loaded the charred engine into the trunk of his old Volkswagen and drove off happily.

He left the chassis of the car for the others.