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Tuesday, December 16, 2003 The Latest... The electricity only returned a couple of hours ago. We've been without electricity for almost 72 hours- other areas have it worse. Today we heard the electricity won't be back to pre-war levels until the middle of next year. We heard about Saddam's capture the day before yesterday, around noon. There was no electricity, so we couldn't watch tv. The first sign we got that something abnormal was occurring was the sound of a Klashnikov in the distance. I remembering pausing in my negotiations with E. over who should fill the kerosene heaters and listening hard to the sounds of shooting. I grabbed the battery-powered radio and started searching the stations, skipping from one to the other. I finally located a station that was broadcasting in Arabic and heard that Saddam may have been caught. We thought nothing of it at first… another false alarm. It happened on an almost weekly basis. When the sounds of shooting became more frequent, curiosity got the better of E. and he ran to our neighbor's house where they had a small generator running. Fifteen minutes later, he came back breathless with the words, "They've caught Saddam…" Everyone was shocked. We all clamored for the radio once again and tried to find out what was happening. The questions were endless- who? What? When? How? It was only later in the evening that we saw the pictures on tv and saw the press-conference, etc. By then, Baghdad was a mess of bullets, and men waving flags. Our area and other areas were somewhat quiet, but central Baghdad was a storm of gunfire. The communist party were scary- it's like they knew beforehand. Immediately, their red flags and banners were up in the air and they were marching up and down the streets and around Firdaws Square. My cousin was caught in the middle of a traffic jam and he says the scenes were frightening. The bullets are supposed to be an expression of joy… and they probably are- in a desert, far from buildings, streets crawling with vulnerable people and cars. In Baghdad, they mean chaos. People were literally ducking and running, trying to get out of the rain of firepower because what goes up must, eventually, come down. Yesterday was almost as messy. Most parents kept their kids home. There have been pro-America demonstrations in some areas, and anti-America demonstrations in other areas. At around 6 pm yesterday evening, the chaos began in Amriyah, a residential area in Baghdad. The streets were suddenly filled with anti-American demonstrators, some holding up pictures of Saddam. It lasted until around 11 pm and then the tanks pulled up and things settled down somewhat. Similar occurrences in A'adhamiya in Baghdad, and one or two other areas. Today there were pro-America demonstrations in Baghdad organized by SCIRI and there were anti-America demonstrations in Tikrit, Falloojeh, Samirreh (where 11 Iraqis were killed- CPA claim they were 'insurgents'), Baghdad, Imsayab and the biggest one was in Mosul. Thousands of students from the University of Mosul took to the streets with an anti-occupation demonstration and some of the residents joined them… the university president had to shut down the university- it was huge. I was surprised the CNN wasn't covering it. The troops broke it up by firing above the crowd and bringing in the helicopters. The demonstration in Samirreh had a similar ending, except the firing was *in* the crowd and several people were wounded severely. The question that everyone seems to be asking is the effect it will have on the resistance/ insurgence/ attacks. Most people seem to think that Saddam's capture isn't going to have a big effect. Saddam's role was over since April, many of the guerilla groups and resistance parties haven't been fighting to bring him back to power and I think very few people actually feared that. Political analysts and professors in Iraq think that Saddam's capture is going to unite resistance efforts, as one of them put it, "People are now free to fight for their country's sovereignty and not Saddam." The rumors have been endless ever since yesterday- and they all seem to be filtering in from Tikrit. Some of the rumors include people claiming that Saddam was actually caught a week ago, but the whole thing was kept quiet. Another rumor is that some sort of nerve gas was used in a limited sort of way on the area he was hiding in. Another rumor goes on about how he was 'drugged'- something was added to his food… Others say he's being interrogated in Qatar… and on and on. The GC seem equally confused with the commotion. Talabani claims it was a combined effort between the Bayshmarga (the Kurdish militia) and the troops, Chalabi, on the other hand, insisted the whole thing was completely an American effort. It's hard to tell who has the story right and who's getting it wrong… People have differing opinions on where he should be tried and by whom- in Iraq or an international court? Others are wondering about the legitimacy of a court under occupation. The one thing everyone seems to agree upon is that it should be an open court and *everything* should be discussed. The question is, will the US allow that? Won't it bring forward certain political dealings with America in the '80s? Only time will tell… Things are very frightening these days in Baghdad. Going from one area to another is like going from one city to another- the feelings and emotions vary so drastically it feels like only a matter of time before we may see clashes... - posted by river @ 9:58 PM __________________________________ Do you Yahoo!? Protect your identity with Yahoo! Mail AddressGuard http://antispam.yahoo.com/whatsnewfree _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email firstname.lastname@example.org All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk