Iraq: September 15, 2004

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The U.S. is going to shift several billion dollars in reconstruction money to building up security forces in the Sunni Arab areas of central Iraq. While reconstruction efforts move ahead in the Kurdish north and the Shia Arab south, the continued violence by Baath Party supporters and al Qaeda supporters in central Iraq has delayed many reconstruction projects in Sunni Arab communities. The Sunni Arabs, who were favored during the long reign of Saddam Hussein (a Sunni Arab himself), are angry at losing power, and even more dismayed as they note the growing prosperity, and peace, among the Kurds and Shia they long ruled. Although a minority in the country (about 20 percent of the population), the Sunni Arab tribes control most of central and western Iraq. The way the media covers the Sunni Arab violence, you get the impression that the entire country is in flames. But in most of Iraq, American civil affairs teams, and civilian aid workers report no violence or unrest at all. That, however is not news. Sunni Arab terrorists are news, and it's mostly Sunni Arabs who are being called on to fight the violence. Despite the attacks on local police (who are recruited locally) and civilians who support the government, resistance to "the resistance" is everywhere. Most Iraqis don't want the 20th century tyranny of Saddam, or the 14th century lifestyle of al Qaeda. 

 

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