Iraq: October 24, 2003

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The overnight curfew in Baghdad, in place since April 9th, is being lifted. Coalition forces feel there are enough Iraqi police available, and criminal activity has declined to the point where the curfew is no longer necessary. Police are stopping a growing number of bombing and other attacks, largely because of more cooperation from Iraqis.

Militant Shiite Moslem leader Moqtada Sadr has suffered a crack down by American forces, with the public encouragement of other Shia leaders. Sadr has been trying to bully other Shia groups into following Sadrs leadership. The majority of Shias do not agree with Sadr. 

Foreign nations have pledged nearly 20 billion dollars for the rebuilding of Iraq. But many of them, especially Iraq's wealthy neighbors, are only willing to make loans. Iraq borrowed over $20 billion from its neighbors during the 1980s when it was fighting Iran. That war came about when Iraq invaded Iran in 1980, feeling that the Iranian revolution then underway would weaken Iran sufficiently so that Iraq could grab some of Iran's oil fields. The Iraqi gamble failed, and Saddam Hussein called on other Arab nations to help him resist the Iranian counterattack. These Arab nations see no reason to forgive these debts, which were incurred because of Iraqi stupidity and greed. Non-Arab nations owed money by Iraq feel the same way.

 

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