Teacher's Ramblings

A potpourri of education, politics, family matters, and current events.

Monday, November 08, 2004

"Not Here to Liberate Iraqis"

From the World News Section of the Guardian, just for fun:

US troops enter Falluja· Black Watch soldier killed in blast· 3,000 insurgents defy assault force
'We are not here to liberate Iraq'
Bomb kills Black Watch soldierGo kick some butt, US troops urged
Families flee besieged city Leader: Fearful in Falluja

Checking out the second item, notice the inconsistancy between words and actions? Hmmm, Euros? What's the explanation for the Iraqi Muslims they kill?:

. . . At first sight, they all looked and behaved the same; young men in trainers and tracksuits preaching Islam. As time passed, they became more relaxed and open about who they were and why they were there.
It became apparent that they were an odd bunch of people from different places and with different dreams.
There were two kinds of mujahideen bound together in a marriage of convenience. One kind, Arab fighters from the new generation of the jihad diaspora, were teachers, workers and students from across the Arab world feeling oppressed and alienated by the west; they came to Iraq with dreams of martyrdom.

The other kind, Iraqi fighters from Falluja, were fighting the army that occupied their country.

They were five Saudis - or the people of the peninsula, as they called themselves - three Tunisians and one Yemeni. The rest were Iraqis.

Most of the time, when they weren't reading or praying, they spoke about death, not fearfully, but in happy anticipation. They talked about how martyrs would not feel pain and about how many virgins they would get in heaven.

I asked one of them, a young teacher from Saudi Arabia, why he was there. He started reading the verses in the Qur'an that urge Muslims to commit jihad. He read about the importance of martyrdom. After 20 minutes, he directed me to another fighter, an older man with a beard and a soft voice who said his name was Abu Ossama from Tunisia.

"We are here for one of two things - victory or martyrdom, and both are great," he said.

"The most important thing is our religion, not Falluja and not the occupation. If the American solders came to me and converted to Islam, I won't fight them. We are here not because we want to liberate Iraq, we are here to fight the infidels and to make victorious the name of Islam."

He continued to explain his jihad theories: "They call us terrorists because we resist them. If defending the truth is terrorism, then we are terrorists."

Suddenly, there was a heavy burst of gunfire. The young Saudi teacher ran to fetch a machine gun. With ammunition belts wrapped around his neck, he and a young Tunisian carrying a rocket-propelled grenade launcher ran outside.

The Saudi reached a trench. Opening his Qur'an, he read for a while and then pointed his machine gun at the horizon, trying to release the safety catch.

He fiddled with the gun for a few minutes, then turned to me: "Do you know how to make these things work?"
Abu Yassir, a short, heavy-built, middle-aged Iraqi with a grey beard, was the "amir", or commander, of this group. He was a more experienced fighter and looked after the others.

When it was time to break their fast, the men poured food into a big tray and, exchanging jokes, scooped rice with their fingers. I had to keep reminding myself that these people blow up civilians every day in Iraq.
After the food, the amir told his story.

He was a retired military officer and ran a business making electric generators. He was happy to see the back of Saddam Hussein and to get rid of the Ba'athist regime.

But, he said, "as the time passed by and as the occupation became more visible, more patriotic feelings grew bigger and bigger. Every time I saw the Americans patrolling our streets I became more humiliated."
He described how locals from Falluja and other places started to organise themselves into small cells and to attack the Americans.

"We just wanted them to leave our cities. In the beginning I had a 'job' every month, setting IEDs [improvised explosive devices] or firing mortars, and would go back to my work most of the time. But then I realised I can't do any thing but jihad as long as the Americans occupied my country."

He closed his workshop, sold his business and used the money to sponsor the group of fighters.

"The world is convinced that we people of Falluja are happy to kill the innocents, that's not true, even when we execute collaborators and people working for the Americans, I feel sad for them and sometimes cry, but this is a war. . ."

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