Tuesday, June 01, 2004


The so-called cleric al Sadr has no popular support in Najaf.
After Saddam's fall, Najaf and other holy cities in Iraq's Koran belt had prospered from the inflow of hundreds of thousands of Shiite pilgrims from Iran, Syria, and Bahrain. Many new hotels rose out of the dust to meet the demand, but, because of fighting, construction sites on Najaf's monochromatic streets remained abandoned last week...

Publicly furious with the occupation, the citizens are also privately blaming Sadr for bringing the fighting to the holiest Shiite city, and they say that they will be grateful when he and his ragtag bandit army leave.

"Things were very good two months ago. It was a peaceful town. Then people from outside our city came in [and] the majority of the fighters came from outside of Najaf," said Ali Nasser, 25, while eating a lunch of stewed lamb and rice in the emptied bazaar.

"When the Americans first came here, they played soccer and dominoes with us. They were just like our friends. We didn't even see a tank."
(via Instapundit)

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