Iraq: August 24, 2003


Criminal gangs are using kidnapping, usually of women and children, to raise money. There are still many families in Iraq that are pretty well off. Since many of these families got rich working for, or with, Saddam, they don't get much sympathy if they are preyed on my gangsters. But kidnapping has become so popular that less wealthy families are getting hit. The ransoms are lower, often only a few hundred dollars, so the number of victims is increasing.

In northern Iraq, crime is less a problem, but ethnic animosities have led to riots and gunfire. Kurds, Turks, Assyrians and Arabs have lived in the area for centuries. But Kurds are the majority and, for the last few decades they have been persecuted by the Arabs. Now the Kurds want to settle scores, often at the expense of the other ethnic groups. The hatreds go deep and their is no easy solution. Saddam's approach, terror and mass murder, is not an acceptable alternative solution.


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