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Old 04-01-2003, 10:32 PM   #1
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Many Iraqi Americans Longing to Kick Saddam's Butt

Iraqi-Americans Want to Fight Saddam

Tuesday, April 01, 2003
Associated Press

DEARBORN, Mich. An initiative to recruit Iraqi exiles in the United States to help topple Saddam Hussein has been gaining support in Dearborn, Mich.

The Iraqi National Congress a London-based umbrella group of various organizations opposing the Baghdad regime is spearheading a project to assemble a pool of Iraqis to help coalition forces gain the trust of the country's people.

Emad Alkased of the Iraqi Youth Reunion an educational group that wants to rebuild a post-Saddam Iraq has been leading a recruiting drive in Dearborn, which has the largest ethnic Iraqi community of any U.S. city.

The drive is part of an all-out appeal to Iraqi-Americans who want to return to their homeland to help the U.S.-led coalition topple the dictatorship.

"I don't want American people to die for my country I want me to be the first one," Alkased said. "I appreciate what American people are doing for my country, but I don't want them to spend their blood. I am ready to spend blood for my country."

Meetings are being held in Dearborn, where potential recruits fill out applications and give their address, date of birth, Social Security number and the name of the nearest airport.

Other Iraqi exiles are ready to shed their blood, too.

The Department of Defense has asked the Iraqi National Congress to find 250 volunteers who are willing to return to Iraq on 48 hours' notice.

U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz recently traveled to Dearborn to meet with hundreds of members of the city's Iraqi-American community.

"I heard one wrenching story after another about Saddam's systematic brutality," Wolfowitz said during a Friday press briefing at the State Department's Foreign Press Center.

The Pentagon has been training thousands of Saddam's opponents, including former Iraqi military officials, since last fall. President Bush gave the Pentagon $92 million for the program.

Dave Alwatan needs no convincing.

"As an American Iraqi, all our people here want to go in the front of the American military to fight Saddam's regime," he said.

Alwatan's nephew has brain damage and facial scars after Iraqi soldiers kicked him in the face when he was a year old in order to get information during the first Gulf War. Alwatan said the military was searching for him and his brother.

"I want to fight Saddam's regime, not our people," he said. "Saddam will never, ever go away without fighting. We know that. Saddam, he must go very soon."

Another Iraqi-American, Thea Alemari, said there's no doubt it's time for the dictator to go.

"You can't breathe. If you need to breathe, you have to have approval from government to say something," he said. "If you say something about the government, you be in jail or you'll be killed."

"We can speak to the people of Iraq, we have connection with the people of Iraq," Alemari added. "They feel not safe right now, but when we talk to them, I think we have large support inside Iraq."

Alemari said many Iraqis were afraid to speak out or aid coalition forces because they feared the current regime would survive this war, as it did the first Gulf War.

Exiles said they had not yet been briefed on when or where they might be needed in Iraq. Some of them are former Iraqi soldiers and want to head to the front lines.

At the very least, they said, they could be used as translators to help negotiate the surrender of Saddam's Fedayeen militia and Baath party members.

"It's my backyard. It is my city. It is my village. It is my people," said Casey Mahuba of the Iraqi Youth Union. "I know who is Fedayeen, who is Baath and who is honest people."

She said many people in Dearborn were willing to fight.

About 75 Iraqi-Americans who trained with U.S. forces at a military base in Hungary are now on the ground with coalition troops in Iraq. They're called the Free Iraqi Forces and primarily supporting humanitarian operations.

It was unclear whether the Dearborn exiles would be joining those forces. But they emphasized they were ready to do whatever was necessary to bring peace to Iraq.

"We will liberate our country. We will free Iraq no matter which it is going to cost us," Alkased said. "This is the last choice for us and this is what we are going to do."

Mahuba said fighting for her country would be worth her life.

"For me it is the freedom. It is my country. I want to sacrifice myself there," she said. "I want to die there if that is what it is going to cost. The price is the freedom."

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Old 04-02-2003, 03:46 AM   #2
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interesting news, the counterpart to this is: lots of pro-saddam volunteers tried to get a trip to Iraq to defend their country against US invasion. You could see them at various iraq-embasies over the world, that might be one reason why the US asked most of the countries to throw Iraqi diplomats out of these countries.

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