For the first time ever, Iraq won the Asian Cup football (soccer) title, beating Saudi Arabia in a match held in Jakarta, Indonesia. Violence has been down the last couple of days as Sunnis, Shi’ites, and Kurds came together in a unity that trumps politics.
Iraqis are hoping that George Bush won’t try to take credit for the win, as he did in August 2004 when he claimed that the Iraqi football success in the Olympics was proof that the U.S.-led occupation was benefiting Iraq.
“This is a game that Iraq won, and I hope Bush won’t now say, look, I made them win that match,” a member of the Iraqi Olympics Federation in Baghdad, speaking on condition of anonymity, told IPS. “He did it once and we hated him even more for that because it was our boys who won despite the miserable support we are getting from the Americans and our government.”
After the 2004 Olympics win, Iraqi football star Salih Sadir told reporters, “Iraq as a team doesn’t want Mr. Bush to use us (in an ad) for the presidential campaign…we don’t wish for the presence of the Americans in our country. We want them to go away.” Iraq’s football coach Adnan Hamad Majeed had then said: “(My problems) are with what America has done in Iraq: destroy everything. The American Army has killed so many people in Iraq.”