Iraq: October 18, 2003

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Osama bin Laden released a letter calling for Moslems to go to Iraq to fight non-Moslem soldiers. This has become fashionable, and hundreds of foreigners have been killed or arrested in Iraq in the past six months. Many of the attacks on coalition troops are conducted by non-Iraqis. The foreigners are not popular with most Iraqis and this has resulted in a lot more information from Iraqis about where non-Iraqis are staying.

In southern Iraq, a major crack down on oil smuggling has led to the seizure of 47 barges and boats used to smuggle stolen oil. Dozens of trucks were seized as well and hundreds of smugglers arrested. The smuggling has been going on for decades, but became particularly large during the UN embargo. During this period, Saddam Hussein controlled it, exacting a large "tax" from the smugglers (and killing those who tried to cheat him.)

 

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