Friday, March 28, 2003

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REACHING THE TIPPING POINT: One last post -- this Chicago Tribune story suggests that de-Baathification and humanitarian aid are helping ordinary Iraqis reach the tipping point of turning against Saddam Hussein's regime:

"The process of winning Az-Zubayr is proving a lesson for coalition troops as they move toward bigger objectives such as Basra and eventually Baghdad. Surgical strikes, aimed at political leaders as well as military targets, are being combined with humanitarian aid to ease the two biggest worries for local Iraqis: that coalition forces are simply an occupying force and that they aren't serious about removing Hussein's regime.

Iraqis 'like to be on the right side, and finding out which is the right side is the hardest thing for them,' said British Maj. Andy "Jock" Docherty, an Arabic-language translator working with troops of the Black Watch Regiment trying to pacify Az-Zubayr.....

Residents said that the humanitarian assistance was much appreciated but that decisive military action--like that in Az-Zubayr--was even more urgently needed.

U.S. forces 'should bomb [the ruling party] wherever they are. Baghdad is the most important. When it's done everything will change,' said Jasser, who agreed to an interview only out of the sight of others.

He asked the question everyone in southern Iraq asks: 'Will the Iraqi regime remain or not?'

"If this coalition does not remove the regime, half of us will die," he said. 'We will be killed just for talking to you. Saddam's eyes are all over here.'

He pointed toward an area he said remained a Baath Party stronghold in town.

'The Iraqi regime kills civilians for going against it. If they even think you're against the regime they kill you,' he said."

UPDATE: Here's more evidence indicating the tipping point has been reached in Basra.

posted by Dan on 03.28.03 at 10:26 AM