The natives are restless

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Sun May 25 07:32:06 MDT 2003

LA Times, May 25, 2003
Disarray in Iraq Threatens U.S. Plans
By John Daniszewski and Tyler Marshall, Times Staff Writers

BAGHDAD -- In the tightknit Kemp al Arman section of central Baghdad, there 
are often just two hours of electricity a day. Many families have been 
forgoing meat for more than a month, water only trickles from the taps, and 
garbage is piling up knee-deep on the street corners.

Gunfire rattles through the night, tormenting residents who cannot sleep 
because of the heat that builds up inside their mud and concrete homes 
during Baghdad's notorious heat waves. In years past, they would have slept 
on their roofs. But the danger of stray bullets eliminates that option.

One poor-to-middling neighborhood dotted with car workshops does not a 
country make, but Kemp al Arman is by no means unique. Across much of Iraq, 
the sense of desperation that has grown in more than six weeks of U.S. 
occupation is reaching crisis proportions.

The hope for better times that greeted the demise of President Saddam 
Hussein's regime and the expectation that a country as powerful and 
efficient as the United States would quickly restore order have not been 

Much of the blame is falling on the Office of Reconstruction and 
Humanitarian Assistance, the U.S. civil administration in Iraq. Experts now 
fear that its failures could threaten the transition to an interim Iraqi 
government by causing a catastrophic erosion of public confidence and 
increased demands for the U.S. to get out altogether.



NY Times, May 25, 2003
Their Jobs in Jeopardy, Iraqi Troops Demand Pay

BASRA, Iraq, May 24 — Iraqi soldiers complained bitterly today of the 
allies' plans to disband the country's armed forces, with some threatening 
to take up arms against occupying American and British troops unless their 
salaries were continued.

About 50 Iraqi soldiers marched to one of Saddam Hussein's former palaces 
here in this southern city to air their grievances. They were turned away 
without incident by heavily armed British soldiers at the front gate. 
Similar complaints were raised by soldiers in Baghdad.

"If they don't pay us, we'll start problems," said Lt. Col. Ahmed Muhammad, 
41, a 25-year navy veteran based in Basra and a leader of the disgruntled 
Iraqi soldiers. "We have guns at home. If they don't pay us, if they make 
our children suffer, they'll hear from us."

Other soldiers made similar threats. They said they followed the 
instructions laid out in the leaflets dropped by allied aircraft before the 
war encouraging them not to fight on behalf of Mr. Hussein.

"The U.S. planes dropped the papers telling us to stay in our homes," said 
an Iraqi tank driver here who refused to give his name. "They said our 
families would be fine."


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