I will attempt to do is to give you a simple explanation to understand the problems we are having in Iraq because I do not
feel the media is covering it properly. I have been here for since 2003 and have travelled a lot in the area and talked to
many Iraqis about the past, present and future. I am currently the Project Manager for a security contractor and spend a lot
of time on the road.
Iraq is divided in many different regions with different sets of problems and
I will try to break it down in a simple manner. The country is populated by Sunnis, Shiites, Kurds and Christian. From
there they are divided in areas and tribes ruled by Elders, Sheiks and Imams.
with the North, the area that is the safest in the country, where it is mainly occupied by Kurds. They make up about 25% of
the population and they are divided among themselves but have shown potential to work together to get ahead. They have been
self type of government since the gulf war in the 90s and have made great stride. One of the problem in the area is Saddam
tried populate it with Arabs and moved a couple of hundred thousands Arabs in the area, well now that Saddam is out
of power the Kurds are coming back and are taking their houses and land back with the barrel of a gun.
south of the Kurd area is a strong Sunni population where and that is Saddam's home territory. They are very anti American
and that is the Tikrit area. They want nothing more than to get back in power.
South is Baghdad and they are all mixed in with Sunni, Shiite and even Christian areas. Depending what area
of Baghdad you go into it can be very safe or very dangerous.
of Baghdad, the area is mainly Sunnis Whahabee, originally form Saudi, they are very pro Saddam and they are the ones that
lost the most with the overthrow of the Saddam government. The Sunnis even though they are only 25% of the population they
controlled the country for the past 35 years.
South is also home to the Shiite, they are the majority in Iraq with 65% of the population. The Shiite are
Moslems, different of the Sunnis and are more religious in general. The are split in two groups. The lager group, maybe up
to 85% follow the Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, a peaceful 73 year old Imam but with a large following and Rebel
Cleric Moqtada Sadr who has about a 15% following among the Shiite. He is a very violent leader who is responsible for most
of the problems in South Central and Southern Iraq to include kidnapping, road side bombs, ambushes and causing a lot of insecurity in
South Central region of Iraq.
of Baghdad is the Fallugah/Ramadi area, an area where Extreme Sunni Moslem Fundamentalists mainly of the Dulaimi tribe reside,
they are very violent and they want nothing more that a Muslim State like in the old Taliban days and they are against anything that does not support that
goal. They are the ones responsible for a lot of kidnappings, beheading and killing of foreigners and local Iraqis working
for projects rebuilding Iraq. The have the support of foreign fighters who have come to Iraq to kill Americans as part of their duties
as they see it.
you put it all together you have the Kurds divided between the PKK and the PUK, the Sunnis divided from the not so religious
pro Saddam forces to the extreme Moslem fundamentalist supported by foreign fighters and led by Jordanian Zackawi, the
Shiites divided between the Sistani camp and the Sadr camp. Now lets add about one hundred thousand criminals released from
the jails the month prior to the US invasion and the give away of an additional 7 million assault weapons. Let's not forget the neighbors
supporting the Shiites, Saudi Arabia supporting the Sunnis, Turkey who are against the Kurds and Syria who does not want Iraq to become a democracy. It all adds up
to a mess with the US in the middle of it all.
of the people here support the US and what they are trying to do. One of the big business in Iraq are satellite dishes, under Saddam having a satellite
dish would get you 5 months in jail, now every house has one. The cell phone is as common as anywhere else in the world. Under
Saddam possession of dollars would cost you your right hand, now it is the currency of choice. Million of things have improved
in Iraq since the US intervention but the news media only covers the 20 % of the population that does not agree with it and
does not mention the other 80% who are the silent majority and are trying to get ahead.
Lost in all
this are the military members risking their lives on a daily basis and doing a great job, yes they are getting killed but
as a retired Special Forces soldier I am proud of the new generation of Soldiers, Marines, Seaman, and Airman, they are
doing a great job and not getting proper recognition so next time you see a Soldier, Airman, Marine or Seaman thank him for
the job that he is doing.
Msgt Dewayne Pickens