With Ali al-Fadhily
KHALDIYA, Iraq - The bomb went off just outside the school as the IPS correspondent
stood speaking to children and teachers within.
The headmaster smiled. "You will hear many of these every day if you stay
here another day or two," he said. "The resistance will not stop until
the last American leaves."
The children too took no notice of the blast, which shook the doors and windows
of the half-destroyed school in this town near Fallujah, 45 mi. west of Baghdad.
The children are growing up in occupied Iraq and they are resisting
"Americans are bad," said 11-year-old Mustafa. "They killed
my family." His family was killed in Operation Phantom Fury of November
2004 as they tried to flee the city, teachers said. That operation killed thousands
and destroyed much of Fallujah and towns around it.
"God will send all Americans to hellfire," cried another child in
the classroom. Attempts to suggest that not everyone they thought American was
bad proved fruitless.
"How can we teach them forgiveness when they see Americans killing their
family members every day?" the teacher in the classroom who gave her name
as Shyamaa asked. "Words cannot cover the stream of blood and these signs
of destruction, and words cannot hide the daily raids they see."
For the headmaster, the idea of a clash of civilizations is not just an idea.
"The gap between civilizations is widening thanks to the U.S. administration's
crimes against humanity all over the world," he said. "They seem determined
to tear the world apart, and their footprints cannot be removed for the coming
Outside the school a group of women and some elderly men approached the IPS
correspondent. One of the men boasted that his son was a resistance fighter.
"I am proud that he is a hero fighting these Americans. And they used to
talk to us about our human rights."
Down the street everyone is jumpy. People seemed to be watching out for unusual
signs. A driver told IPS that resistance fighters usually give residents some
sort of coded warning before they let off a bomb.
As the correspondent stood taking notes on a roadside before leaving Khaldiya,
a young man on a bicycle shouted as he passed by: "The one and only solution
for the Americans is to leave this province or face death."
The U.S. forces are now leaving some towns. Cities like Dhuluiya, Tal Afar,
and Fallujah west of Baghdad have become virtual no-go areas for U.S. forces.
Attacks against the U.S.-led Multinational Forces (MNF) continue to increase.
"They keep asking us to hand over resistance fighters to them," a
farmer at a village in the area told IPS. "So that they can torture them
in Abu Ghraib, Falcon base, Baghdad airport, and other detention centers."
But resistance fighters are gaining support, not being handed over.
Resistance attacks often take the shape of a small car that appears from nowhere.
The men inside attack U.S. tanks or trucks carrying soldiers and disappear fast.
Local people never provide U.S. forces with information on where the men came
from or where they went.
Three to four U.S. soldiers are being killed every day on average in such attacks
now. The U.S. Department of Defense says at least 2,754 U.S. soldiers have been
killed in Iraq, and more than 44,000 have been wounded or have fallen ill.
U.S. troops are vacating towns, but not the country. Top U.S. military commander
Gen. Peter Schoomaker said Wednesday the current level of U.S. troops, about
15 brigades, would be maintained at least through 2010.
"This is not a prediction that things are going poorly or better, it's
just that I have to have enough ammo in the magazine that I can continue to
shoot as long as they want us to shoot," he said.
(Inter Press Service)