- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 5, 2003

An American soldier was killed and several others wounded as U.S. forces came under attack yesterday in the Iraqi city of Fallujah, where resentment against American forces has repeatedly exploded into deadly violence.

Dozens of U.S. military police scoured residents’ homes for the assailants as wounded soldiers were rushed from the blood-soaked U.S. checkpoint to a nearby military hospital.

U.S. officials running the country swiftly warned they would ban any incitement to violence and threatened to enforce the ban even in mosques, reported Agence France-Presse.

The policy notice, which was to go out shortly, would prohibit incitement to armed insurrection, including attacks on coalition troops, and racial and religious violence, an administration spokesman said.

Rubar Sandi, an Iraqi-American businessman based in Washington who recently returned from a 10-day business trip to Baghdad, said loyalists to Saddam Hussein have regrouped to attack Americans and terrorize fellow Iraqis.

“I didn’t see anyone saying they missed Saddam. But his followers are terrorizing the people, threatening them,” he said, adding that some residents still are too frightened to take Saddam’s picture off their living-room walls.

Yesterday’s attack came a day after coalition forces had flooded Fallujah, about 45 miles west of central Baghdad, with more than 1,000 soldiers in an attempt to quell growing resistance to U.S. forces.

Lt. Gen David McKiernan told the Associated Press that yesterday’s rocket-propelled grenade attack was probably carried out by Saddam followers.

U.S. forces yesterday arrested a pro-Saddam Iraqi militia leader, Lt. Gen. Iyad Futiyeh al-Rawi, a former Republican Guard commander, according to a statement released by U.S. Central Command. He was No. 30 on the U.S. most-wanted list for Iraq.

Bloody confrontations in April between residents and U.S. forces in Fallujah left 18 Iraqis dead and roughly 80 wounded. In May, two U.S. soldiers were killed in a firefight there.

The incidents underscore the level of insecurity that grips the country almost two months after Baghdad fell to coalition forces.

“Practically, there is no security. There are rapes, murders, theft, carjackings,” said Mr. Sandi, the businessman who returned to Baghdad after almost 30 years of exile. His sisters and extended family still live in the capital.

“In some parts of Baghdad, forget it. People are afraid to leave their family at home alone,” he said. He opted to carry a small pistol with him throughout his trip despite traveling with a number of armed guards.

Mr. Sandi, shocked at the mountains of trash lining the streets, the number of abandoned large guns, tanks and cars strewn on the roadsides and the level of general violence, warned that time was running out for the coalition forces to successfully get the country back on its feet.

“Unless serious steps are taken, we are going to lose the window of opportunity. People are not against the United States, but they are frustrated and afraid and unsure of the American plan,” he said in an interview in Washington.

Mr. Sandi, who says he spent roughly $1 million in Iraq setting up fledgling hotel, translation, transportation and security businesses and plans to invest another $10 million, said he is worried that the lack of security and jobs could open a door for organized crime and radical forces, religious or political.


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