Attacks on G.I.'s in Mosul Rise as Good Will Fades
By DEXTER FILKINS
Published: November 27, 2003
MOSUL, Iraq, Nov. 26 — Since the Americans came to town seven months ago, the firefighters in this northern Iraqi city have gotten new trucks and new uniforms, American training and salaries 10 times larger than they used to be.
But when word came Sunday afternoon that two American soldiers had been shot in the head and killed a block away, the men of Ras al Jada fire station ran to the site and looked on with glee as a crowd of locals dragged the Americans from their car and tore off their watches and jackets and boots.
"I was happy, everyone was happy," Waadallah Muhammad, one of the firefighters, said as he stood in front of the firehouse. "The Americans, yes, they do good things, but only to enhance their reputation. They are occupiers. We want them to leave."
It was not supposed to be this way in Mosul, an ethnically diverse city of two million people and the economic and cultural center of northern Iraq.
As places like Ramadi and Falluja and Tikrit burned and their residents rebelled against the American occupation this summer, Mosul stayed calm, the one city with a Sunni Arab majority where most people still seemed to regard the Americans as their friends. A vigorous and far-reaching effort by the 101st Airborne Division to rebuild the city's roads, schools and public buildings seemed to cement an unusually warm bond.
That appears to be changing very fast. The money the American occupiers once doled out freely has dried up, and other reconstruction aid has yet to arrive. Attacks on Americans, which have killed more than 25 in the Mosul area this month, have highlighted what local Iraqis say is a rapidly deteriorating relationship.
While Iraqi leaders once saluted American soldiers as their partners in building a new country, many now say their complaints go unheard. Moderate Iraqis cooperating with the Americans say the young men of Mosul are increasingly heeding the calls of militant clerics. With three prominent Iraqi civil servants killed in recent weeks, the Iraqis say, they are paying a steadily higher price for their cooperation.
Yeah, well, you can't keep bursting into people's homes and not have them get pissed.
posted by Steve @ 10:09:00 PM