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Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Iraqis Love Cindy 

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The people of Fallujah love Cindy Sheehan," declared Farouk Abd-Muhammed, a candidate for National Assembly in Dec. 15 elections, referring to the mother of a slain Marine who became a U.S. antiwar activist. He spoke Tuesday at a pre-election meeting of local leaders in Fallujah, 35 miles west of Baghdad, scene of the largest U.S. offensive of the war in November 2004.
Abd-Muhammed described watching recent television reports with his family showing Americans waving banners that read "Stop the war in Iraq."
"I salute the American people because we know after watching them on satellite that they are ready to leave," Abd-Muhammed said.
"We know that there are now voices, even in the Congress, that want America to leave Iraq as soon as possible," said Fawzi Muhammed, an engineer who is the deputy chairman of Fallujah's reconstruction committee. "It makes us feel very happy and comfortable because it is the only solution to the problems in Iraq." [snip]
The Americans said they called the meeting to discuss security, talk about what conditions would lead to a U.S. withdrawal from the province, and encourage Sunni participation in the upcoming national elections.
But the clerics in the audience said they came for one reason: They were told the Americans wanted to discuss plans for a U.S. military pullout.
"We want them to withdraw from the province," Muhammed Dulaimy, an Arabic professor at Ramadi's Anbar University, said as about 200 of the province's elders settled into their seats. "They called the meeting. We came to see why they are talking to us. We didn't come to talk about the election. If it's about the election, we'll leave."
The American pitch was simple: Encourage tribal members to join the military, so that Iraq's national forces can build to a strength that would allow U.S. forces to withdraw, and to discourage attacks on American and Iraqi forces.
The Anbar elders' demands were equally straightforward: Allow the tribes to build up their own army division for Anbar. Leave, and the attacks will stop.
Linguistic Divide
But the disconnect ran strong, and as always for Americans in Iraq, the inability to speak the language didn't help. Marine interpreters, Arabic speakers hired from outside Iraq, repeatedly bobbled the point.

people of Fallujah love Cindy Sheehan," declared Farouk Abd-Muhammed, a candidate for National Assembly in Dec. 15 elections, referring to the mother of a slain Marine who became a U.S. antiwar activist. He spoke Tuesday at a pre-election meeting of local leaders in Fallujah, 35 miles west of Baghdad, scene of the largest U.S. offensive of the war in November 2004.
Abd-Muhammed described watching recent television reports with his family showing Americans waving banners that read "Stop the war in Iraq."
"I salute the American people because we know after watching them on satellite that they are ready to leave," Abd-Muhammed said.
"We know that there are now voices, even in the Congress, that want America to leave Iraq as soon as possible," said Fawzi Muhammed, an engineer who is the deputy chairman of Fallujah's reconstruction committee. "It makes us feel very happy and comfortable because it is the only solution to the problems in Iraq." [snip]
The Americans said they called the meeting to discuss security, talk about what conditions would lead to a U.S. withdrawal from the province, and encourage Sunni participation in the upcoming national elections.
But the clerics in the audience said they came for one reason: They were told the Americans wanted to discuss plans for a U.S. military pullout.
"We want them to withdraw from the province," Muhammed Dulaimy, an Arabic professor at Ramadi's Anbar University, said as about 200 of the province's elders settled into their seats. "They called the meeting. We came to see why they are talking to us. We didn't come to talk about the election. If it's about the election, we'll leave."
The American pitch was simple: Encourage tribal members to join the military, so that Iraq's national forces can build to a strength that would allow U.S. forces to withdraw, and to discourage attacks on American and Iraqi forces.
The Anbar elders' demands were equally straightforward: Allow the tribes to build up their own army division for Anbar. Leave, and the attacks will stop.
Linguistic Divide
But the disconnect ran strong, and as always for Americans in Iraq, the inability to speak the language didn't help. Marine interpreters, Arabic speakers hired from outside Iraq, repeatedly bobbled the point.




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