Iraqi Insurgent Continues Fight Against U.S. Troops

Iraqi Insurgent Continues Fight Against U.S. Troops
February 11th, 2009  
Team Infidel

Topic: Iraqi Insurgent Continues Fight Against U.S. Troops

Iraqi Insurgent Continues Fight Against U.S. Troops
February 10, 2009

Morning Edition (NPR), 11:00 AM
RENEE MONTAGNE: Now we take a look at the insurgency in Iraq, part of our series on the continuing challenges in that country. Attacks are dramatically down, but there is still violence in Iraq. Al-Qaida is still a threat. And there are also insurgent groups with different aims that remain active as well. NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro today introduces us to an insurgent who says he belongs to what he calls the honorable resistance. His voice has been disguised at his request.
ABU ABDUL AZIZ (Insurgent): (Through Translator) I've killed many Americans, not just one or two. When I kill them, I feel happy, like victory is coming.
LOURDES GARCIA-NAVARRO: Abu Abdul Aziz says this matter-of-factly. He looks unremarkable. His eyes are dark brown, his clothing neat and ordinary. He wears a red and white checkered headdress and a long tan dishdasha.
AZIZ: (Through translator) If you look into my heart, you won't find any sympathy for the Americans at all. That's not because I have no human feelings but because I feel that they are here to harm us, to steal from us, to kill our women and our children.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: He says his last operation against American troops was last week - a Katyusha rocket attack against an American forward operating base in Anbar province, west of Baghdad.
AZIZ: (Through translator) We've done many operations - mortar attacks, roadside bombings, sniper fire; we've also fought them in street battles, face- to-face with rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns. There's a saying here: What is taken by force can only be restored by force. We know the Americans won't really leave unless we use force.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Abu Abdul Aziz sees himself as an Iraqi nationalist, and he insists his group does not target Iraqi civilians.
AZIZ: (Through translator) The honorable resistance does not do suicide bombings. That's al-Qaida. We do not harm innocent people, Muslims or non- Muslims. Our only target is the Americans.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Originally from Anbar province, where he owned a small restaurant, Abu Abdul Aziz says he took up arms in 2004 after the leader of his mosque asked all the men to fight the Americans. At the beginning, he says, his cell had 75 members; by 2005 they were 750. He says they were treated like heroes.
AZIZ: (Through translator) We weren't being funded by anyone from abroad. We were supported by the poor, by regular people. Women would even sell their gold to give us money to help fight the invader.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Abu Abdul Aziz says at the time they felt they were winning, carrying out several attacks each day in Anbar and beyond. Then in 2005 he was captured by the Americans. Just before he was released two years later, he says he received word that his sister and 11 members of her family had been killed in an American airstrike.
AZIZ: (Through translator) Then I had two motivations to continue with the resistance. The first was for my religion. The second was revenge.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: He has continued to fight, but he acknowledges these days things are more difficult. His group - called the Front of Jihad and Change - now numbers only 35 people, among them six women. They are all from different insurgent organizations that have splintered. They rarely operate in Anbar Province.
AZIZ: (Through translator) I wish the days of 2005 would come back again. It was such a good time for the resistance. Our situation now is not good, actually. We're weak. We're being watched. I was probably watched coming here today.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: He says al-Qaida and its brutal tactics damaged the reputation of the real Iraqi resistance, as he terms himself. Abu Abdul Aziz says the insurgency no longer has the support of the population. And there are simply fewer fighters these days. They've been captured or killed. Many grew tired of fighting and retired. And some, like the tribal members of the so-called Awakening movement, began to work with the Americans. He says those former insurgents sold out for money. He says he, and others like him, will never be co-opted.
AZIZ: (Through translator) We will keep fighting until the last American has left. Only then will we drop our weapons.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: There would have been no al-Qaida here without the American invasion, he says. There would have been no insurgency if the Americans had not come, he adds, and killed so many. Though weakened, the insurgency, he says, still has a vast network throughout the country.
AZIZ: (Through translator) We have weapons stores everywhere. And we have funding. There is no lack of either.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: He says members of the Iraqi police force work with the insurgents. They allow us to ride in their cars, he says, and they help transport weapons through checkpoints. Abu Abdul Aziz says he hopes President Obama will withdraw all U.S. forces from Iraq, but he doesn't believe it will happen.
AZIZ: (Through translator) We Muslims have a different way of seeing things than you do in the West. In Palestine there's been 60 years of resistance, from one generation to another. If the Americans stay here, we'll also keep resisting, from my generation to the next.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: He says he's preparing his three young sons to continue the fight.
AZIZ: (Foreign language spoken)
GARCIA-NAVARRO: He says: I tell them - see this American soldier, he invaded you. I tell them - these people are your enemy.
Lourdes Garcia Navarro, NPR News.

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