"WE ARE LIKE SHEEP AT A SLAUGHTER FARM"
NEW ITALIAN PRIME MINISTER CALLS WAR "MISTAKE", PLEDGES WITHDRAWALS
From the New York Times : In the latest indication of the crushing hardships weighing on the lives of Iraqis, increasing portions of the middle class seem to be doing everything they can to leave the country. In the last 10 months, the state has issued new passports to 1.85 million Iraqis, 7 percent of the population and a quarter of the country's estimated middle class.
The school system offers another clue: Since 2004, the Ministry of Education has issued 39,554 letters permitting parents to take their children's academic records abroad. The number of such letters issued in 2005 was double that in 2004, according to the director of the ministry's examination department. Iraqi officials and international organizations put the number of Iraqis in Jordan at close to a million. Syrian cities also have growing Iraqi populations.
Since the bombing of a shrine in Samarra in February touched off a sectarian rampage, crime and killing have spread further through Iraqi society, paralyzing neighborhoods and smashing families. Now, on the brink of a new, permanent government, Iraqis are expressing the darkest view of their future in three years.
"We're like sheep at a slaughter farm," said a businessman, who is arranging a move to Jordan. "We are just waiting for our time."
The Samarra bombing produced a new kind of sectarian violence. Gangs of Shiites in Baghdad pulled Sunni Arabs out of houses and mosques and killed them in a spree that prompted retaliatory attacks and displaced 14,500 families in three months, according to the Ministry for Migration.
Most frightening, many middle-class Iraqis say, was how little the government did to stop the violence. That failure boded ominously for the future, leaving them feeling that the government was incapable of protecting them and more darkly, that perhaps it helped in the killing. Shiite-dominated government forces have been accused of carrying out sectarian killings.
It is more than just the killing that has sapped hope for the future. Iraqis have waited for five months for a permanent government, after voting in a national election in December, and though political leaders are on the brink of announcing it, some Iraqis say the amount of haggling it took to form it makes them skeptical that it will be able to solve bigger problems.Go here for the full story.
Italy's new Prime Minister has pledged to withdraw all Italian forces from the War On Iraq.
"The government intends to propose to parliament the return of our soldiers," Prodi said in his first major speech as prime minister.
"The war in Iraq and the occupation of the country is a grave mistake."
He believes the unending violence in the country, kicked off by the US-led invasion, had vastly "complicated the problem of security."
"This war, as the American ambassador in Baghdad admitted recently, has uncovered a Pandora's box which risks igniting the entire region."
Italy sent 3000 troops into Iraq in June-July, 2003, and at least 2600 troops still remain in war zone.US LAWMAKERS SAYS US TROOPS WERE INVOLVED IN CIVILIAN MASSACRE
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