Iraq: July 27, 2003

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In southern Iraq there are an increasing number of attacks on Iraqi Christians, particularly those selling alcoholic beverages (traditionally allowed for Iraqi Christians.) Islamic fundamentalism has traditionally been stronger in southern Iraq, where the principal Shia holy places are located. Christians make up only about two percent of the Iraqi population and most originally come from villages in northern Iraq. The Christians have been in Iraq for nearly 2,000 years, but once Islam arrived 1300 years ago, many have converted or immigrated. 

In Mosul, many Sunni Arabs are openly speaking of revenge against whoever turned in Uday and Qsay Hussein. The identity of the tipster has not been revealed, but American commanders say that "he will be taken care of." This may mean Green Cards for the informant and his family, as well as transportation to the United States. But if the informant is, as many believe, tribal chief Nawaf al-Zaidan, who owned the house the Hussein brothers were staying in, he may decide to stay, spread the money around in his tribe and take his chances. There are many blood feuds going on in Iraq at the moment, most of them Iraqis wanting to kill a member of the Hussein family to avenge a relative killed on Saddam's orders, or Uday's whim. Since 1995, the U.S. has paid out $9.75 million in rewards for information leading to the capture of terrorists. This is dwarfed by the $30 million being paid for the tip leading to Uday and Qsay. Along with the bodies of the two men, over $100 million in cash was found and seized.

The United States has accused Arab media like Al Jazeera of telling deliberate lies about U.S. troops abusing Iraqis in order to incite violence against American troops. Unfortunately, the Arab media has operated like this for decades, and consider it "normal" journalism. 

 

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