Feature: Better or worse? -- Tales of three Iraqi sects before and after the U.S.-led invasion   2010-08-22 04:55:45 FeedbackPrintRSS

U.S soldiers take up position during a patrol in Kerbala U.S soldiers take up position during a patrol in Kerbala, 80 km (50 miles) south of Baghdad July 17, 2010.  (Xinhua/Reuters)
U.S soldiers take up position during a patrol in Kerbala, 80 km south of Baghdad July 17, 2010. (Xinhua/Reuters File Photo)

by Xu Yanyan, Jamal Hashem

BAGHDAD, Aug. 21 (Xinhua) -- "The Americans are leaving, I recall the past years like a nightmare. The price was very heavy. If I knew it will come in this price, I wouldn't dare to wish them to come here, not for a second," said Aysar Adnan, a 23 years old Iraqi Sunni, with tears in his eyes.


Adnan works at a shop in Baghdad western neighborhood of Jamia. In an interview with Xinhua just days before the full withdrawal of U.S. combat troops out of Iraq, he complained that the Americans' seven-year invasion was a disaster to the Iraqi society.

The U.S. military plans to end its combat mission on Aug. 31 and decrease the number of American soldiers to 50,000 for " civilian purpose."

Adnan said he used to enjoy a stable life with his seven-member family. His father was a college teacher and his mother was a secondary school teacher and he was doing pretty good in his high school study before the war which "totally changed my life into a hell."

"During Saddam Hussein's regime, life was almost impossible by the 13 years of UN sanctions. I can't deny that I had hoped that changing the regime would give us a chance for a better life," he said.

"But I was wrong, the Americans only brought for us misery by bringing division to the Iraqi society. Early after the occupation I couldn't imagine that many people I knew could turn into killers thinking they are defending their sect," said the young men.

Adnan lost two family members by the sectarian strife that followed the 2003 occupation and lost his chance to study in a college because the college was under control of the sectarian militias.

"Look at me now, my family was shocked by the killing of my two brothers and I am only working here for few money to help my father who lost his job because they accused him of being part of the Sunni-dominated Saddam regime," he told Xinhua.


Some Iraq's Sunnis have being accusing the United States of bringing a Shiite-dominated government which "tried to pursue their interests under the cover of eliminating Baath party" that belonged to Saddam.

While some Iraqi Shiites may have a different view of the invasion, they also wanted the pullout of U.S. forces for a stable Iraq.

Hazim al-Haidari is a 44 years old Shiite government employee, he said his life now is better than before.

"I am sure there was substantial difference in my life, as my monthly salary before the war was only enough for one week, it was about 30 U.S. dollars and I was obliged to do an extra job to provide living for my five-member family," Haidari told Xinhua.

"After the war, my salary increased to about 1,300 dollars which changed my life and I can provide the needs of my wife and children easily and bought new furniture because I was forced to sell most of my properties," he said.

"I am not telling a secret if I say that in 2004, it was the first time for me to buy a valentine present to my wife after 13 years of marriage and it was also the first present for her," the man said with a smile.

"Anyway, we had a hope that things get better after the war, we got more freedoms, it is going to be more better with the new withdrawal of U.S. troops. As long as they are here there will be no stability because if they stay we will always find people who are ready to fight them, then our neighborhoods will turn into battlefields, that's what happened during the past years," said Haidari.

Asked if he is grateful to the U.S. troops that toppled the Saddam regime, he replied reluctantly "I can't say that, because they made many mistakes and they originally did not come to Iraq for our sake, they came for their own interests."


Differ from the repressed era under Saddam's rule, Iraqi Kurdistan has been a autonomous region apart from the Arab one and enjoyed relative peace and stability since the 2003 invasion.

Ahmed Abdullah, a 13-year old Kurd, recalled what his father told him about the history of his Kurdish minority and their ambitions to establish a Kurdish national state.

"We have the right to have our own state just like the other nations in the region, so the Americans and whoever in the region would help us for that we will welcome their help no matter what is behind their help," Abdullah told Xinhua.

As for the U.S. troops withdrawal, he said "we regret their departure but my people always said the we are strong enough to protect our national interests by now."

Editor: Mu Xuequan
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