Wednesday, May 26, 2004


His visit turned out differently than that of Nick Berg.
Seeing life in Baghdad strictly from an Iraqi viewpoint provided a unique experience that has probably not been matched by many Americans during this conflict. During the seven days in Baghdad, I met and talked to a number of Iraqis who had personal contact with Saddam and his regime—some of it was not pleasant...

Living in a private home in downtown Baghdad about a mile from Saddam’s central palace allowed me to interact one-on-one with a number of Iraqi leaders. Several tribal sheiks from places like Tikrit and Mosul (ancient Ninivah) visited this house to speak with Fanar while I was there. I learned more about a luncheon that Fanar and another friend had hosted for many of the sheiks with their entourages from around the country on May 23, 2003, at his family farm about 15 miles south of Baghdad.

The 1,600 or more people who attended included Sunnis, Shiites, Kurds and Turk men and represented tribal leaders from the entire geographical area of Iraq. At this meeting, which was captured on videotape, these tribal leaders listened and expressed their support for a democratic movement based on the United States model being organized by Fanar and a close friend in order to participate in building the Iraq of the future. It was knowledge of this event that convinced me that Fanar and his comrades would become some of the real leaders on the political scene once the country is stabilized. ..

Virtually every Iraqi that I met told me, “It would be a disaster for Iraq if the Americans left the country now and it would be a disaster for America if the troops were pulled out the country at this time.”

It is because of Fanar, and the people who believe the way he does, that I have real hope for the future of this country of Abraham, Noah, Babylon and Ninivah.

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