Iraq: June 8, 2003

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American troops have gone into Sunni Arab areas, largely towns outside of Baghdad, where there is still armed resistance, and set up a busy schedule of aggressive patrols. Weapons searches and interrogations of suspects brings in more information about who is in the resistance. Many of these men were active in Saddams security forces or held government jobs. In Baghdad, some of these men hold demonstrations demanding to be paid. Central and Western Iraq is where most Sunni Arabs live, with another large concentration in the northern city of Mosul. Ever since Saddam took power, he has offered financial incentives for Sunni Arabs to move into the oil field areas, like Mosul, so that eventually Arabs would outnumber the native Kurds and Turkomen. 

Most parts of Iraq are quiet, and power and water service are being restored more widely each day. In many areas, the service is better than it was before the war. This is not hard to do if you can control the corrupt officials who demanded bribes for electrical, or other services. As Iraqi government employees are put back to work, a major chore by American civil affairs troops is finding out which ones are dirty and firing them. This involves some detective work. You go talk to the Iraqi served by a civil servant and find out who is taking bribes and who takes a lot fewer. The guys who spend most of their time shaking down the people they are supposed to be serving are fired. It was common for officials in charge of electric and water supply to demand bribes from neighborhoods to insure steady supplies of power and water. The corruption extended to any service the government supplied.

In the British sector, 367 Danish soldiers have arrived for peacekeeping duty. Danish soldiers promptly found themselves in a gun fight at a road block. Since World War II, the only combat the Danish armed forces have seen has been during peacekeeping missions. 

 

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