Baghdad — Pounding her Baghdad beat, wrapped in a bulletproof vest and brandishing a pistol, Sgt. Bushra Jabar stands out in the new Iraq.
She's the only woman in the Iraqi Army unit patrolling the Kharkh district in the Iraqi capital.
"Sometimes women on the street think I'm a man, from my uniform and gun," says Jabar, 34. "The other soldiers use a man's version of my name to call me."
Her day starts with a ride to her base in the back of a military pickup truck. She's wearing a tight orange blouse, her fingernails painted black with white dots, her black hair flowing in the wind. Occasionally she waves her pistol at other vehicles to get out of the way.
Then the mother of four changes into camouflage fatigues, tucks her hair under a cap and hits the streets.
She has been in the Iraqi Army for two years, but her platoon leader, Lt. Raad Abid Jassim, doesn't sound enthusiastic about having her in his unit in a religious neighborhood.