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The regrets of the man who brought down Saddam
by UK Guardian (reposted)
Monday Mar 19th, 2007 6:54 AM
His hands were bleeding and his eyes filled with tears as, four years ago, he slammed a sledgehammer into the tiled plinth that held a 20ft bronze statue of Saddam Hussein. Then Kadhim al-Jubouri spoke of his joy at being the leader of the crowd that toppled the statue in Baghdad's Firdous Square. Now, he is filled with nothing but regret.
The moment became symbolic across the world as it signalled the fall of the dictator. Wearing a black vest, Mr al-Jubouri, an Iraqi weightlifting champion, pounded through the concrete in an attempt to smash the statue and all it meant to him. Now, on the fourth anniversary of the US-led invasion of Iraq, he says: "I really regret bringing down the statue. The Americans are worse than the dictatorship. Every day is worse than the previous day."

The weightlifter had also been a mechanic and had felt the full weight of Saddam's regime when he was sent to Abu Ghraib prison by the Iraqi leader's son, Uday, after complaining that he had not been paid for fixing his motorcycle.

He explained: "There were lots of people from my tribe who were also put in prison or hanged. It became my dream ever since I saw them building that statue to one day topple it."

Yet he now says he would prefer to be living under Saddam than under US occupation. He said: "The devil you know [is] better than the devil you don't. We no longer know friend from foe. The situation is becoming more dangerous. It's not getting better at all. People are poor and the prices are going higher and higher."

Saddam, he says, "was like Stalin. But the occupation is proving to be worse".

by UK Guardian (reposted)
Monday Mar 19th, 2007 6:54 AM
Almost nine in 10 Iraqis fear they or a family member could become a victim of violence, a poll released a day before the fourth anniversary of the US-led attack on the country indicated today.

The survey of more than 2,200 Iraqis showed 86% were concerned about the prospect of someone in their household being a victim of violence, while only 5% said they worried "hardly at all" about it.

There was very little trust in US and British troops, with 86% of those polled saying they had no confidence in them.

The survey was carried out for the BBC, the German television network ARD and the US organisations ABC News and USA Today from between February 25 and March 5. The period fell shortly before the levels of some violence in Iraq fell decreased amid increased security led by US troop reinforcements.

Opinion about institutions was slightly more favourable, with two-thirds of those surveyed saying they had confidence in the country's army and police and just under half feeling the same way about the Iraqi government. A third of people trusted local militias.