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Tuesday, 6 February 2007

Conversation with an Iraqi

"I am Sunni. I'm one of eight brothers. Five of us married Sunni women, 3 of us married Shia women. That is how it used to be; Shia and Sunnis could get on.

There was only one bad party under Saddam. Now we have over 250 parties in Iraq. Saddam made a kind of hell for us to live in. But under Saddam we were safer than we are now. If something happened, if your car was stolen or if someone was attacked on the street, you could go to the police and they would do something about it. But now they will do nothing.

That is why it would have been better if the invasion had never happened. The occupation destroyed everything in Iraq. The ordinary civilians, both Shia and Sunni, would both agree with this. Now we have to manage everything in our lives on our own. You just have to try and stay out of trouble as best you can, but it's very hard to do that. It's not like a life anymore in Baghdad. It's like living in a jungle.

The best solution is a government that is not sectarian and has no religious affiliation. Until that happens there is no hope. I believe President Bush doesn't understand - or doesn't like to understand - the solution, which is a neutral government. The Americans should get rid of the current sectarian government.

The Iranians control the ministries. You have to understand, they are our neighbour country who we were at war with for 8 years! And they are now controlling our government.

My brother-in-law, who is a Shia, he used to come and stay with us all the time. Whenever his wife, my sister, went to stay with my parents, he would come to our house, because we got on with him so well and he was great with my children. One day he called to tell me his son had called him 'dad' for the first time. He left work early that day so that he could pick up a gift for his son. He was killed on the way home.

I could give you so many examples like this. So many. Everyone wants to leave Iraq but it is becoming impossible. No-one has the money anymore.

It is terrible. You musn't think about it, it is so terrible."

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