Local News

Triangle Company Continues Humanitarian Efforts In Iraq Despite Recent Violence

Posted November 11, 2003 10:46 a.m. EST

— November has been a deadly month for U.S. troops in Iraq. It is also dangerous for employees at a Triangle company who choose to go to Iraq, but the increased violence only makes the company more determined to bring democracy to Baghdad.

Research Triangle Institute

is a Research Triangle Park-based company helping to establish a new government in Iraq. Ron Johnson, RTI vice president, just returned from a two-week trip to the country during what has turned out to be the bloodiest time since the war.

"I think the general feeling is that there is a level of increase in the violence in an attempt to disrupt the reconstruction process," he said.

Johnson and the 150 international staffers there are not letting the violence disrupt their work. They are continuing to set up local city councils and community groups. Last week, they started work in Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit.

"The situation had to reach a point where it was reasonably safe for civilians to operate," he said.

Johnson said it is reasonably safe, but the threat of violence is all around.

"We worry about it all the time," he said.

Despite groups like the International Red Cross closing their doors in Bagdhad, Johnson said so far, RTI has no plans to shut down. Johnson said RTI has increased its security measures and morale among workers remains good.