'US the Biggest Producer of Terror'
By Ahmed Ali and Dahr Jamail
BAQUBA, Jan 25 (IPS)
- Broken promises have brought a dramatic increase in anti-U.S.
sentiment across the capital city of Iraq's Diyala province.
Many people in Baquba, capital of Diyala 40 km northeast of
Baghdad, had supported U.S. forces when they ousted former Iraqi
dictator Saddam Hussein. But failed reconstruction projects and
muddled policies mean the U.S. has lost that support.
"The Americans based their strategy in Iraq on certain Shias
here who have direct enmity with Sunnis and allegiance to Iran,"
resident Ayub Ibrahim told IPS. "This was the source of the gap
between certain Shias which the U.S. backs, and certain Sunnis
they back." Shias and Sunnis are different sects within Islam.
The U.S. has also alienated people through its policy of
extensive detentions. Many believe that raids that lead to
arrests are based on motivated information given to the U.S.
military by Shia militiamen who have infiltrated the Iraqi army
"We never witnessed an attempt to arrest Shia people either by
the U.S. army or the Iraqi police and army," resident Abdul
Sattar al-Badri told IPS. Most people see no reasonable basis
for many of the arrests.
In November the International Committee of the Red Cross said
that around 60,000 people are currently detained in Iraq.
"The Americans occupied our country and put our men in prisons,"
Dhafir al-Rubaiee, an officer from Iraq's previous army told
IPS. "The majority of these prisoners have been arrested for
nothing other than for being Sunni. Every one of these prisoners
has a family, and these families now have reason to hate
Others blame the lack of security and the destroyed
infrastructure for the increasing anti-U.S. sentiment.
"The lack of security is a direct result of the occupation,"
resident Abu Ali told IPS. "The Americans crossed thousands of
miles to destroy our home and kill our men. They are the reason
for all our disasters."
Another resident, speaking on condition of anonymity added, "We
lived in need during the period of the Saddam government, but we
were safe. We were compelled to work sometimes 20 hours a day to
earn our living, but we were happy to see our children and
relatives together." U.S. forces, he said, have ended all that.
Abu Tariq believes the U.S. military intentionally destroyed
Iraq's infrastructure. "The Americans destroyed the electricity,
water pumping stations, factories, bridges, highways, hospitals,
schools, buildings, and opened the borders for strangers and
terrorists to get easily into the country," he said.
The large number of Iraqis killed by U.S. forces has also hardly
endeared the forces to the people.
"When targeted by a roadside bomb or suicide bomber, U.S.
soldiers shoot at people randomly. Innocent civilians have been
killed or injured," Yaser Abdul-Rahman, a 45-year-old
schoolmaster told IPS. "Thousands of people have been killed
The anti-U.S. sentiment in Baquba is now so high that people no
longer hide their distrust of the U.S.
"At the beginning of the occupation, the people of Iraq did not
realise the U.S. strategy in the area," Abu Taiseer, a member of
the communist party in the city told IPS. "Their strategy is
based on destruction and massacre. They do anything to have
their agenda fulfilled.
"Now, Iraqis know that behind the U.S. smile is hatred and
violence," Taiseer added. "They call others violent and
terrorists, but what they are doing in Iraq and in other
countries is the origin and essence of terror. America is the
biggest producer of terror, and they spend huge funds for
creating and training death squads all over the world."
Despite the differing U.S. ways of dealing with Shias and
Sunnis, the two sects seem one in their hatred of the U.S.
"Look at our country, it will need 30 years to get back again,"
Edan Barham told IPS. "This has nothing to do with sects; all of
us are Iraqis, and we should think of Iraq in a better way than
"People of Iraq of all sects now realise that it is the
occupation represented by the Americans that has damaged the
country," resident Khalil Ibrahim said.
Political analyst Azhar al-Teengane says the only Iraqis who
support the occupation are those benefiting directly from it.
"The occupation is good for politicians who have made money,
militiamen, contractors and opportunists," Teengane said. "These
form not more than 5 percent of Iraqi people."
Self-rule could help lower anti-U.S. sentiment, said resident
Jalal al-Taee. "In order to improve the situation, the U.S. army
should let the people of this city run it."
(*Ahmed, our correspondent in Iraq's Diyala province, works in
close collaboration with Dahr Jamail, our U.S.-based specialist
writer on Iraq who has reported extensively from Iraq and the
Middle East) (FIN/2008)
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