Monday, April 12, 2004

"Iraqis Increasingly Sympathize With Rebels" 

Here are some exerpts from a Wall Street Journal article written today by Farnaz Fassihi with the above headline:

Salman Daoud has done a godd business since the Americans arrived in Iraq, importing foods such as turkey and cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving. But on Saturday, the 43-year-old owner of a Baghdad gourmet supermarket closed his shop in response to a call by a Sunni Cleric for a three-day general strike in solidarity with insurgents fighting U.S. troops in several cities.

Reflecting a growing sentiment among ordinary Iraqis, Mr. Daoud, a moderate Sunni Muslim who caters mostly to foreign clients, has found himself increasingly sympathizing with Sunni insurgents battling the U.S. in the north and the firebrand leading a Shiite Muslim rebellion in the south.

"The past few weeks have proved to me that Americans are occupiers and liars" says Mr. Daoud.... The are killing innocent Iraqis, women and children. I am 100% with the resistence group now, both Sunni and Shiites. They are giving their lives to free our country."

Signs that the new fighting is convincing some Iraqis to reasses their view of the insurgency are increasingly easy to find. Long lines have formed for blood drives and charity drop offs to aid the besieged city of Fallujah. Residents in many Baghdad neighborhoods signed up to host displaced families from Fallujah and banners and signs are posted at every corner declaring that the armed Sunni and Shiite forces are now unified. A cigarette seller in Baghdad said yesterday he has decided to collect a new tax from customers and contribute the money toward any militia that is fighting the Americans.

Despite U.S. officials claims that the uprisings have no grass-roots support, the publics adherence to a cleric's call for a general strike demonstrates just how much the relationship between the Americans and Iraqi's has deteriorated in the past few weeks. The streets of Baghdad were largely empty over the weekend, with the majority of businesses closed. Schools, universitites, and government buildings also shut down.

Not that most of this is surprising. It isn't. But one thing stuck out. Nowhere do I recall any mainstream TV media (CNN, FOX, CBS, NBC) mentioning this strike. It makes me wonder what else they are not reporting.


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