plf13 at student.canterbury.ac.nz
Thu Mar 11 22:15:29 MST 2004
I ran into an Iraqi friend whom I hadn't seen for months at lunchtime
and so we had a chat for half an hour before he had to dash off to a
lab. Then I ran into him again late this afo and ended up having a
coffee and yakking for another 45 minutes.
Anyway, he told me some interesting stuff about Iraq. He said things
were much worse under the Americans than anyone here in NZ had a clue
about. An example, he said, was that Iraq had had civil courts for 80
years but under the occupation clerical courts were being restored, so
women were now finding it very hard to get access to divorce.
He also said he thought the Americans were the ones mainly responsible
for stirring up trouble between Shi'a and Sunni, because religious
conflict in Iraq was very rare historically and yet had suddenly burst
out under the occupation. He said the US were in alliance with a
section of fairly fundamentalist clerics as well as with the more
Westernised Chalabi types, and there had been a big growth in the
clerics' power during the occupation.
He said quite a bit of infrastructure had actually been destroyed and,
materially, people in Iraq had probably never been so badly off.
On the resistance, he said he doubted any of it was coming from the
Baath, they were good at killing and torturing people when they were in
power, but they weren't fighters themselves. Also, he said, everything
had been so centralised around Saddam that they didn't have any
structures for resistance anyway. The situation in which Saddam was
captured, like a rat in a hole, was fairly indicative of the Baathists.
His view was that the resistance was mainly spontaneous and was mainly
coming from ordinary Iraqis who just hated what the Anericans were doing.
On the Red Cross and UN bombings, he felt that the Americans themselves
were behind this, as they didn't want international agencies observing
what they were doing on the ground. I thought this was a bit too much
of a conspiracy theory, but he said the Americans were the only ones who
could gain from those particular bombings and he also felt they were the
only ones who had the weapons capacity in terms of the explosives used
(albeit they might have provided the stuff for Iraqi underlings to carry
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