Sunday, March 30
Sergeant's suicidal act of war has struck fear into Allied hearts
Robert Fisk, The Independent, 31 March 2003
Sergeant Ali Jaffar Moussa Hamadi al-Nomani was the first Iraqi combatant known to stage a suicide attack. Not even during the uprising against British rule did an Iraqi kill himself to destroy his enemies.
Nomani was also a Shia Muslim – a member of the same sect the Americans faithfully believed to be their secret ally in their invasion of Iraq. Even the Iraqi government initially wondered how to deal with his extraordinary action, caught between its desire to dissociate themselves from an event that might remind the world of Osama bin Laden and its determination to threaten the Americans with more such attacks.
The details of the 50-year-old sergeant's life are few but intriguing. [...]
There was some talk by Vice-President Ramadan of "the martyr's moment of sublimity", an expression hitherto unheard of in the Baathist lexicon. General Hazim al-Rawi of the Ministry of Defence recalled that the dead man bore the same name as "the Imam Ali" and announced that the new "martyr Ali has opened the door to jihad".
He said that more than 4,000 volunteers from Arab countries were now in the country and that "martyrdom operations will continue not only by Iraqis but by thousands of Arabs who came to Baghdad".
Suddenly, it seems, Islam has intruded into this very nationalistic war of liberation – for that is what it is called here – against the Americans.
Suicide bombers 'arrive in Iraq'
BBC News, March 30, 2003
A militant Palestinian group has declared that its first wave of volunteer suicide bombers has arrived in Iraq.
Al-Quds Brigades, the military wing of Islamic Jihad said in a statement that it "brings to our people and nation the good news of the arrival of its first martyrdom (attackers) to the heart of Baghdad."
The group's mission is "to fulfil the holy duty of defending Arab and Muslim land," by attacking coalition troops, the statement said.
Iraq has declared that more than 4,000 foreign Arab volunteers have come forward to fight and were ready to die if necessary.
"We want to help Iraqis, not Saddam," said Amr, a student volunteer from Cairo.
"I know I might die. I don't want to kill people but I will if I have to, to protect people like those children with their heads missing."
Television footage of civilian casualties from Iraq's second city of Basra showed a child whose head had been blown off. [...]
THE WAR WITH IRAQ
By Steve Boggan in Amman, Evening Standard 25 March 2003
On the streets of Jordan hundreds of anti-war demonstrators march every day.
In Saudi Arabia, senior Muslim clerics call upon their followers to wage jihad, holy war, against America.
Burning American flags, thousands of angry people on the streets and exiled Iraqis returning home to fight.
It is a far cry from the scenes of people throwing flowers on liberating troops that
George Bush and Tony Blair might have imagined.
Across the Middle East, antiwestern sentiments are hardening with every bomb
seen crashing into Baghdad on Al Jazeera TV.
In Yemen, where three died last Friday in a march on the United States Embassy, western diplomats and oil company executives are given personal bodyguards.
In Oman, people march and chant "Bush and Blair are God's enemies.
And inEgypt police have been fighting running battles with demonstrators. [...]
For ordinary Arabs, however, that is not enough. "I used to dislike Saddam,
but now I think he is a great leader," said Nada Emad, a 23-year-old assistant pharmacist
in Amman, Jordan. "This aggression is uniting Arabs, even people who didn't see
eye to eye before." With Arab television stations showing images of civilian casualties,
including one of a young boy with half his head blown away in Basra,
public anger is increasing every day.
Fayez Kazem, who fled Saddam's regime four years ago, is preparing to go
back from Jordan to fight the coalition.
"I can't stay watching the television, seeing Baghdad burning," he said.
"The Iraqi is born from the womb of his mother carrying a weapon."
Thousands of Iraqi exiles have been returning over the past week from Jordan, with
many insisting they want to defend their country against US and British