"Any spread of conflict would be unwelcome to the Americans."

M. Junaid Alam junaidalam at msalam.net
Sun Jul 27 13:10:27 MDT 2003

The imperialist gloating and rhetoric about a so-called "pivot point"
after killing the Hussein sons has not helped them in the department of
reality. America is really a pretty pathetic spectacle; history will, I
think, laugh at the whole nation in disgust. Here is the mightiest
country in the world falling over itself and failing in basic aims to
conquer and subdue a bruised and battered nation it has raped and bombed
and strangled for more than a decade.

The road to Jerusalem/Damascus is through Baghdad? It looks like the
road to Baghdad itself is in need of some serious repair.

Iraqis Protest in Holy City; Another U.S. Soldier Is Killed

Filed at 11:29 a.m. ET

KERBALA, Iraq (Reuters) - U.S. troops opened fire in the Shi'ite holy
city of Kerbala on Sunday as stone-throwing Iraqis protested over
Marines killing a man the day before.

A U.S. Marine officer told Reuters his men returned fire in self-defense
on Sunday but did not know if anyone was hit. He said the man they shot
dead on Saturday was carrying a weapon.

Doctors showed Reuters the body of a second man they said was shot dead
on Sunday. In confused and angry scenes, Reuters journalists saw troops
fire in the air to disperse the crowd.

Elsewhere, Iraqi guerrillas killed a U.S. soldier in an overnight
grenade attack south of Baghdad as the deaths of Saddam Hussein's sons
showed no sign of staunching bloodshed.

In a reminder that tensions are not restricted to Saddam's Sunni Muslim
heartlands north and west of the capital, the Kerbala protesters said
they were incensed by Saturday's killing because they believed those
involved had been trying to keep the Americans out of the venerated Imam
Hussein mosque.

``America is the enemy of God!'' chanted dozens of mourners as they
carried the coffin Haider al-Shihlawi, in his 20s, who doctors said was
shot by troops in Kerbala on Sunday.

Any spread of conflict would be unwelcome to the Americans.

Five dead soldiers in 24 hours -- 10 since U.S. troops killed Saddam's
sons Uday and Qusay on Tuesday -- brought the number killed by a largely
unseen enemy to 49 since May 1, when President Bush told them major
combat was over.

Saddam himself remains on the run with a $25 million price on his head.
U.S. commanders say the net is closing on him as the payment of a $30
million bounty to the informant who betrayed his sons brings in more
tip-offs. Troops have been searching across Iraq, notably around his
home town of Tikrit.


``We're still on the offensive here. There's still war going on in
Iraq,'' a U.S. military spokesman, Major William Thurmond, said in
Baghdad. Troops were suffering 10 to 13 attacks a day, with no obvious
increase in incidents lately, he said.

That said, a third of all the combat deaths of the past three months
have been sustained in the past nine days alone.

On Saturday, three soldiers were killed when a grenade was thrown at
them as they guarded a children's hospital in Baquba, north of Baghdad,
and one soldier was killed in an attack on a convoy in Abu Ghraib, on
the capital's outskirts.

``Unfortunately attacks do occur and casualties do occur and people
should expect that,'' Thurmond said.

U.S. commanders say their more than 140,000 soldiers can take the pain
for the gain of a stable and prosperous Iraq in the long term. But hopes
that eliminating Saddam's heirs would break remaining resistance may be
wishful thinking, some Iraqis say, pointing to broad resentment at the
American presence.

Iraqis are also dying in violent incidents, some at the hands of
Americans. Gossip and rumor may be inflating public anger but it is also
the case that muscular policing tactics across the country are winning
the troops few friends among Iraqis who are otherwise glad that Saddam
is gone.

Amnesty International has condemned the treatment of Iraqi prisoners and
methods of house-searching used by the troops.

Four U.S. soldiers have been charged in an investigation into suspected
abuse of Iraqi prisoners of war at a camp near Umm Qasr in the south in
May, the U.S. military said.

Between 6,000 and 7,800 Iraqi civilians have been killed since the war
began on March 20, according to an independent estimate. No precise toll
is available. The United States refuses to give estimates of Iraqi
civilian or military dead.


Many of the attacks have been in what the Americans are calling the
``Sunni triangle,'' north and west of Baghdad.

But the unrest in Kerbala and Sunday's grenade attack south of the
capital may be indications of the tensions that also exist with the
Shi'ite majority, many of whom share hostile views of America with their
co-religionists in Iran.

U.S. officials have said that proof Saddam was no longer a threat to
them would improve cooperation by Iraqis with its forces and also
undermine the guerrillas, whom they believe are mostly pro-Saddam
loyalists. To that end, they took the unusual step of displaying the
battle-scarred bodies of Uday and Qusay.

A member of the fledgling Iraqi self-rule body, the U.S.-appointed
Governing Council, told Reuters it had recommended handing the bodies
back to elders of Saddam's clan, in order to satisfy Muslim religious
observance on burial rites.

The leader of the Abul Nasr tribes, Sheikh Mahmoud Nada, said he had
asked the U.S. military for the bodies for burial but was not yet sure
if or when that would happen.

``(A U.S. official) told me Saddam Hussein can come get them,'' he told
Reuters in Saddam's home village of Awja, outside Tikrit. ``This talk is

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