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Thread: Iraqis: life is getting better

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    Council Member Culpeper's Avatar
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    Default Iraqis: life is getting better


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    Yeah, for sure, they aren't being drafted into support rallies for saddam any more. The crowds always looked miserable as they chanted his name - no smiles, no elation, no real jubilation on the faces of most of them. Security men would put the word out and people would empty their offices and homes and hit the street to chant for saddam, or be shot for refusing. It's been a couple of years now since the Corps of Engineers completed their 1200th project, a school renovation it was and I would imagine they have steadily built and reconstructed since that time. We haven't heard about any shortage of medicine in a couple of years either and who could forget the waving purple fingers? The news never talks about commerce and how business is going in Iraq but I presume there has been some growth. Early on, the media mentioned on several occasions how traffic jams were being seen again, a sure sign that people were getting on with the affairs of their lives but we don't hear much about that aspect of normal life any more. Some monsters need fast killing and saddam was one of them. It's a shame Idi Amin and some of the others never got to swing into eternity from the gallows but that's the way it goes. There were roughly 5,000 KIAs day one of the liberation of Europe from the nazis and Iraq is just another chapter of what we do as a nation.

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    Default Getting Better In Arab Iraq?

    Any Iraqi opinion poll should seperate Kurdistan and the rest of the country. I've been kicking around Iraq for nearly three years and spend quite a bit of time chatting with the locals. Below are my observations.

    The Kurds are happy with their old tormentor dead but if polls removed Kurdish positive results things would seem a bit bleaker in the Arab south.

    I've met no Iraqi in Baghdad, Hillah or Basrah who is optimistic. Every Iraqi I know thinks the government is incompetent and corrupt. None trust the police. All think the Iraqi Army is a joke. None respect the US or British military (but none fear them). None can understand why the allies seem powerless to provide utilities and security?

    Everyone I've met in Kurdistan is very optimistic and looking forward to their own country (recently they have begun to talk of a "Greater Kurdistan"). They know Kurdistan is a kleptocracy split between two gangs (PUK & KDP) but are content as long as there is no fighting and they are left alone.

    Everyone I know in Tikrit is unhappy that the Shia (who they see as ignorant hillbillies run by Iran) are now in charge but all "know" the Sunnis will win a civil war. Every Sunni I know thinks Iran is behind everything and the Shia leadership are traitors and Iranian stooges.

    How the US can hope to build a unified Iraq on this foundation is beyond me.

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    Council Member tequila's Avatar
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    MS: Were the Kurds you met genuinely content? Most of the rural Kurds I've heard interviewed in the media seemed quite bitter about the lack of jobs and electricity provided by the KRG (apparently only 2 hours/day still in Halabja, despite no insurgency), with lots of angry talk about how the only future is searching for work in Europe. Also, did you get any idea of how strong the Kurdistan Islamic Union was in the north?

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    Council Member jcustis's Avatar
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    Default Can we hold your ear for a moment?

    MS,

    In your dealings with the locals, who do they point to as the driving force behind the insurgent attacks? To expand on that, do they even see the attacks as coming from insurgents?

    I ask because I've tried to get my hands around the perceptions of the average man on the street, and whom they blame their ills on. I've generally assumed that their perception is a simple matter of the Shi'a blaming the Sunnis, and vice-versa, but one can never be too sure.

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    I was with a mixed Shia/Sunni unit when I was an advisor. They worked well enough together, but the distrust that was out there was very much what Michael Shannon posted. The Sunni often described the Shia as ignorant hillbillys. When you asked them why they felt this, and how the Shia came to be that way, especially when presented with a Shia guy in the unit who was neither ignorant, nor a hillbilly; the Sunni would actually reflect and reply that they are uneducated, and often they would have to agree, when pressed, that Shia lack of education had more to do with govenrment policies than anything specific to the Shia. The second bullet is the true cause of Sunni misttrust of the Shia: Iran. Many, many Sunni that I knew would refer to the Persians, and they would manifest this by pointing out that SCIRI and Al-Sadr had Iranian backing. The Sunni's knew that the Shia's were Arabs, and that the Shia had fought the Iranians in the Iran/Iraq war, but they were concerned that the Iranians have too much influence of the body politic. Finally, there is the Sunni worldview issue. Under Saddam the Sunnis were actually led to believe that they were the majority. Based on the Sunni arrogance towards the Shia, they tend to underestimate tha capability of the shia because of their stereotyping or their belief that there are actually more Sunni Arabs in Iraq.

    The key point of friciton is the Sunni's mistrust of Iranian influence over the Shia verus the Shia mistrust of the Sunnis based on how Saddam's (Baath) party treated them in the past.

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    Default Meanwhile...

    Survey Says Afghans Think Corruption is Worse than Ever - Voice of America.

    A survey released Monday says a majority of Afghans believe corruption is at its worst in more than 20 years.

    About 60 percent of those polled said the administration of President Hamid Karzai is more corrupt than any government since the 1980s, including the Taleban and Soviet-backed communist governments.

    Almost all of those surveyed (93 percent) said they believe paying bribes are necessary for basic public services. About half of those survey said they had actually paid a bribe.

    The organization that conducted the survey, Integrity Watch Afghanistan (IWA), said the perception of corruption is so bad that it undermines the legitimacy of the government. The group also said corruption has directly affected national security. The watchdog group said the growing unrest in southern Afghanistan is in part related to the inability of the government to deal with corruption. About 1,250 Afghans were questioned for the survey...

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    Here is an article about Iraq business. I haven't the knowledge to send an address but here is some relevant information so you can access it. The Middle East Times, business section, March 4th, 2007. The article's title is Industry Being Revitalized in Iraq.
    You are right about the dirth of articles other than the daily litany of mindlessness of the islamist conquering heroes.
    You might try the Los Angeles Times and Christian Science Monitor also. They have a goodly amount of other-than-islamist-mindlessness articles.

    Roger

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    Quote Originally Posted by roger29palms View Post
    Here is an article about Iraq business. I haven't the knowledge to send an address but here is some relevant information so you can access it. The Middle East Times, business section, March 4th, 2007. The article's title is Industry Being Revitalized in Iraq.
    You are right about the dirth of articles other than the daily litany of mindlessness of the islamist conquering heroes.
    You might try the Los Angeles Times and Christian Science Monitor also. They have a goodly amount of other-than-islamist-mindlessness articles.

    Roger
    And here it is:

    http://www.metimes.com/storyview.php...4-043301-7545r

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    Hi Jimbo, Shia Hillbillys Ummmm? Must not be such a bad place after all

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    The Kurds I've met are all from the larger cities so I can't speak to rural concerns. It's not all roses:growing inflation, a growing wealth gap, violence in Kirkuk and Mosul (both in or out of Kurdistan depending on your being a Kurd or an Arab) and in Arbil the strong hint of a cult of personality with the Barzani and in Suly Talibani. One businessman the other day told me he was happy to buy fuel for his generators and all his water as long as there was no fighting. My sense is that is common opinion and the failings of the KRG to provide utilities are a distint secondary concern to security.

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