Iraqi lawmakers protest ‘humiliating’ treatment by U.S.

The LA Times reports that “[d]ozens of Iraqi lawmakers walked out of parliament Wednesday to protest what they view as overly aggressive and humiliating treatment by U.S. soldiers when representatives enter Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone, where the legislature is located:

“I and many of my colleagues who live outside the Green Zone face a lot of problems,” said Feryad Rawandozi, a high-ranking official with the Kurdish parliamentary bloc. U.S. soldiers “are very arrogant and impolite when they talk to us, especially with those who don’t speak English.”

Legislators, like everyone else entering the Green Zone, must submit to a gauntlet of physical searches, and allow their vehicles to be inspected by bomb-sniffing dogs. They must line up with the throngs of other residents and employees seeking to enter the area, which is also headquarters to U.S. operations in Iraq. The process can take up to two hours.

“If we come off as aggressive, it might be a cultural thing,” claimed Army Maj. Anton Alston, a spokesman for Multi-National Force-Iraq.