Voice from the Commonwealth
Commentary, World Views and Occasional Rants from a small 'l' libertarian in Massachussetts

"If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest for freedom, go home and leave us in peace. We seek not your council nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen." - Samuel Adams

Saturday, March 01, 2003

The Kurds who border Saddam's rule still live in fear. This is what the anti-war folks turn a blind eye to. This is what Saddam will be free to do once our troops leave th region and Saddam knows he can stare down the West with the help of his 'useful idiots'.

AHMED Hammoud is a proud fighter. Living within artillery range of Saddam Hussein’s troops, he battles to maintain Kurdish independence.

Hammoud suffered a bitter personal blow last month that testifies to the Iraqi dictator’s undiminished appetite for inflicting annihilation on his neighbours. On a cold winter morning at the end of January, Saddam’s troops razed Sherowa, his Kurdish village, and three of its neighbours: Shahoba, Shazinoah and Sherhanan.

Just as preparations were getting under way for lunch, two bulldozers and scores of troops from the Iraqi army’s V division surrounded each village and delivered a terrifying final warning to its inhabitants. The 60 families who had lived in relative freedom under Kurdish self-rule for almost 12 years were given 15 minutes to leave.

"Saddam’s troops said: ' Go now or we will kill you’," said Hammoud. "The women and children grabbed our possessions but we lost everything inside our homes they could not carry. Our goats were all rounded up and confiscated."

Within an afternoon, the mud-brick houses were razed, pushed into a towering round ridge to form defensive positions for the Iraqi army as it prepares to defend its grip on Mosul, the main government-controlled city on the fringes of the Kurdish autonomous zone in Iraq’s northern third.

As the leader of a squad of 150 Peshmerga guerrillas positioned on a strategic pass connecting Mosul with Arbil, the main Kurdish city, Hammoud was caught out of position, more than 20 miles away from the vulnerable village at the very edge of a zone known officially as Kurdistan of Iraq.

True to form, Saddam had picked a weakened target, according to Hussein, the brigade leader. He says: "There are villages where our government has built roads, schools and houses that we rush to defend, but other smaller villages are constantly being harassed by Iraq’s army."

To Kurds, who make up a fifth of the Iraqi population, the regular attacks on the villages at the edge of their autonomous region is an uncomfortable reminder of the suffering that Saddam wrought during two decades of direct rule from Baghdad.

< email | 3/01/2003 11:39:00 PM | link

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