The once first-rate network now lies in tatters with drivers of military vehicles destroying central reservations, crash barriers and crushing pavements.

With the widespread damage, many Iraqis wonder who will pick up the repair bill for the infrastructure which cost the Iraqi state millions of dollars to develop. 

"Drivers of US occupation tanks have no respect for Iraq as an entity; they trash everything on their way," says Hana Khalid, a retired Iraqi teacher.

"It is a very common scene in Baghdad that a tank destroys a pavement in order to make a U-turn."

Another citizen adds that foregin military drivers do not care for people's lives and properties, but care only for themselves.

A US army Bradley tank lies
on its side crushing a barrier 

"I do not think I am bringing something new when I say that US tanks were involved in many incidents in which civilian cars were flattened and people were crushed to death," said Qutaiba al-Ubaidi, a shop owner in Sadun Street in central Baghdad.

"What is really outrageous is sometimes tank drivers cause disasters just because they do not want to bother themselves with a little care and attention.

"They know the maximum that could happen if they kill someone is to pay his family some money," he said.

"Many incidents have occurred when US troops come under fire and a US soldier just goes crazy," he said. 

Damaged arteries 

Muhammad al-Qaisi, an Iraqi businessman, estimates the cost of reconstructing Iraq's infrastructure will run into billions of dollars.

"Last August I travelled from Baghdad to Amman, Jordan, by land. I was looking closely at the 600km highway that links Baghdad with Jordan's borders. It is in a complete mess.

"How much money will it cost to get back to its normal state? Who will pay that money? How long should we wait to restore Iraq's infrastructure which cost a lot of money?" he asked. 

Further traffic problems are caused in Baghdad where tanks and military vehicles drive side by side with civilian cars. Traffic laws are being regularly ignored.

Street strife

Al-Qaisi said he witnessed an incident in which a Jordanian pick-up truck was smashed by a US tank in front of his Baghdad home.

US tanks share streets Iraqis use 
in their daily life 

"I was out of the country last year. On my way back, I stopped in Jordan and bought some home appliances.

"A Jordanian light truck brought the goods to my house in Baghdad. After unloading the truck, I was paying the driver when suddenly a US tank hit the truck causing it serious damage," he said.

"After a week of negotiations with US occupation authorities, they paid him $1500, but I can assure you the car needed at least $4000 to be fixed.

"But I really would like to ask a question; where does the $1500 compensation come from? From US taxpayers' money, from Iraqi money in US banks and seized by US government or from Iraqi oil money?"  

Because of the closure of Aljazeera's Baghdad office, Aljazeera.net was unable to reach any US official in Iraq to comment on the subject.