Who is really fighting whom in battle-scarred Iraq?

By staff writers
August 24, 2006

Who is really fighting whom in battle-scarred Iraq?

-24/08/06

by Maxine Nash

I met a neighbour from Baghdad today. He is here in Sulaimaniya, Kurdistan for his work. I haven't seen him since April when I left Baghdad, and it was a wonderful surprise.

We talked about his family, about the situation in Baghdad, and about the attack that happened on 27 July 2006, not far from the neighbourhood where we used to live together.

He told me the mortars hit first and then as people rushed to the scene to aid the victims, the car bombs exploded. The reports said seventy-one people were killed and about 150 injured.

When my friend asked neighbours about their families, everyone seemed to have experienced a loss. One said, "I lost my wife" and another said, "I lost my brother." There were so many deaths that the local mosques, which would normally only allow one family to mourn at a time and usually only one on any given day, were having two families at a time and were busy from 11.00 am until evening.

He described the neighbourhood just after the attack. All the shops were closed, debris was in the street, and it looked like a ghost town. Residents suspected that the mortars and the attack may have come from the US forces because buildings hit by the mortars were demolished.

He noted that the types of mortars used by the insurgents usually damage part of a building and shatter the windows but don't cause the demolition of the whole building.

"We know about these things, because we (Iraqi men) have been in many wars and know what we see," he said. He reported people found fragments that appeared to be from the mortars and that these fragments said "USA" on them.

I asked him why he thought the US might do such a thing. He said, "Everyone in Iraq has known since 2004 that the US is interested in staying in Iraq for a long time." When I quizzed him about how an attack like this would serve this purpose, he said that everyone feels the US wants to keep Iraq destabilized to have a reason to keep a presence here.

I asked him if people want the US troops to go, he said, "Yes, everyone wants them to leave now." After talking with him, and with other friends in Baghdad who describe the recent attacks on Sadr City, the question I had to ask was just who is fighting whom in Iraq these days?

Is it only a civil war, or is it also combined with another war, the war of US interests? Or is the civil war the result of the war of US interests? It's difficult to know, but one thing is clear at this point: many Iraqis consider a continued US troop presence to be part of the problem, not part of the solution.

Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) seeks to enlist the whole church in organized, non-violent alternatives to war and places teams of trained peacemakers in regions of lethal conflict. Originally a violence-reduction initiative of the historic peace churches (Mennonite, Church of the Brethren and Quaker), CPT now enjoys support and membership from a wide range of Christian denominations.

Who is really fighting whom in battle-scarred Iraq?

-24/08/06

by Maxine Nash

I met a neighbour from Baghdad today. He is here in Sulaimaniya, Kurdistan for his work. I haven't seen him since April when I left Baghdad, and it was a wonderful surprise.

We talked about his family, about the situation in Baghdad, and about the attack that happened on 27 July 2006, not far from the neighbourhood where we used to live together.

He told me the mortars hit first and then as people rushed to the scene to aid the victims, the car bombs exploded. The reports said seventy-one people were killed and about 150 injured.

When my friend asked neighbours about their families, everyone seemed to have experienced a loss. One said, "I lost my wife" and another said, "I lost my brother." There were so many deaths that the local mosques, which would normally only allow one family to mourn at a time and usually only one on any given day, were having two families at a time and were busy from 11.00 am until evening.

He described the neighbourhood just after the attack. All the shops were closed, debris was in the street, and it looked like a ghost town. Residents suspected that the mortars and the attack may have come from the US forces because buildings hit by the mortars were demolished.

He noted that the types of mortars used by the insurgents usually damage part of a building and shatter the windows but don't cause the demolition of the whole building.

"We know about these things, because we (Iraqi men) have been in many wars and know what we see," he said. He reported people found fragments that appeared to be from the mortars and that these fragments said "USA" on them.

I asked him why he thought the US might do such a thing. He said, "Everyone in Iraq has known since 2004 that the US is interested in staying in Iraq for a long time." When I quizzed him about how an attack like this would serve this purpose, he said that everyone feels the US wants to keep Iraq destabilized to have a reason to keep a presence here.

I asked him if people want the US troops to go, he said, "Yes, everyone wants them to leave now." After talking with him, and with other friends in Baghdad who describe the recent attacks on Sadr City, the question I had to ask was just who is fighting whom in Iraq these days?

Is it only a civil war, or is it also combined with another war, the war of US interests? Or is the civil war the result of the war of US interests? It's difficult to know, but one thing is clear at this point: many Iraqis consider a continued US troop presence to be part of the problem, not part of the solution.

Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) seeks to enlist the whole church in organized, non-violent alternatives to war and places teams of trained peacemakers in regions of lethal conflict. Originally a violence-reduction initiative of the historic peace churches (Mennonite, Church of the Brethren and Quaker), CPT now enjoys support and membership from a wide range of Christian denominations.

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