Iraq: June 28, 2004

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The coalition handed over sovereignty to the interim Iraqi government, two days early. The exact extent of the new government's powers are still to be determined. But it is certain that the 160,000 U.S. and coalition troops will have special privileges. As with past situations where American troops served in foreign countries (going back over a century, to the Spanish-American war), the terms by which these troops operate will be constantly negotiated and modified. The early turn-over is apparently a move to upset armed opposition plans to disrupt the turn-over. While the largely Sunni Arab and al Qaeda opposition have made a lot of spectacular attacks, they have not had much impact outside of Sunni Arab areas, and more and more Sunni Arabs are openly, or covertly, aiding the interim government. 

Iraqi terrorists have captured an American marine, Corporal Wassef Ali Hassoun, and threaten to behead him if all terrorist prisoners are not released. Hassoun is originally from Lebanon, and lives in Utah. Terrorists are threatening to kill three Turkish and a Pakistani captive, if all captured prisoners are not released, and all Turkish companies do not leave Iraq. The Turks have rejected this. The new Iraqi government acknowledged that it is at war, and that security is its primary task. NATO has agreed to provide troops and trainers to help organize new Iraqi police and security units. While Iraqi police and troops who run away get most of the media attention, more and more of these armed Iraqis are standing and fighting. Most Iraqis see their situation as a civil war against a largely Sunni Arab and foreign opposition that wants to prevent a democratic government in the country.

 

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