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Wednesday, 9 October, 2002, 05:34 GMT 06:34 UK
Military action: "The sooner, the better"
Old Town Manassas Virginia
Iraq is a topic of debate in smalltown America

Jack's Java in Manassas Virginia is like any coffee house, full of caffeine-fuelled debate.

After President Bush's speech to the nation laying out his case for strong action, possibly military action, against Iraq, it is not surprising that some of the debate would touch on the subject of possible war against Saddam Hussein.

But what was somewhat surprising is that one such debate in this sedate suburb of Washington was in Arabic.

Diana Qura is a Christian from Jordan, a gold cross with gems hangs around her neck. She has lived in the United States for 18 years.

'Get rid of Saddam Hussein' She was talking with her friend Maysoon, who is Chaldean, a minority group of Christians that make up about 4% of the population of Iraq.
Man walks under portrait of Saddam Hussein
Maysoon and Diana criticised Iraq as a closed and repressive state

As for possible military action against Iraq, Diana said, "the sooner, the better."

"That is what the people are hoping for, to get rid of Saddam Hussein," she added.

Maysoon describes Iraq as a closed country where everyone is under constant surveillance.

Mail is opened. Phones are tapped, and information is under tight control with one of the newspapers owned by Saddam Hussein's son Uday.

She said her people want to get rid of Saddam. "They don't want Iraqi children to die anymore," she said.

Regional stability

Those opposed to military action against Iraq say that it risks creating a power vacuum in Iraq and destabilising the Middle East.

But Diana disagrees. She said that removing Saddam Hussein power would increase stability in the Middle East.

Iraq is one of the richest countries in the region. But where does that money go? (Saddam Hussein) has built 42 palaces in the last 10 years

Diana Qura

She points to Jordan and says that the country has had to cope with an influx of Iraqi immigrants who are poor and homeless.

"They sleep on the street. They sleep in churches and mosques," she said.

If Saddam Hussein was removed from power, she said that the Iraqis would leave Jordan and return to their homeland.

Jordanians sympathise with the plight of the Iraqi people, but she blames the Iraqi president for his people's suffering.

"Iraq is one of the richest countries in the region. But where does that money go? (Saddam Hussein) has built 42 palaces in the last 10 years," she said.

And she believes that Saddam Hussein is opportunistically using the Palestinian-Israeli conflict to garner support.

"He has never done anything for the Palestinians," Diana said.

After seeing how much people are following Islamic extremists, he is using religion to gain support of the Arab street, she added.

Some members of Congress have expressed concern that the Bush administration does not have a clear strategy for a post-Saddam Iraq.

But Diana sees little that could be worse if Saddam Hussein was toppled. "What could be worse? There is killing now. People are dying now. There are no jobs. The cup is full. What is worse than that?"


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 VOTE RESULTS
Should the weapons inspectors go into Iraq now?

Yes
 79.51% 

No
 20.49% 

61425 Votes Cast

Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion

See also:

08 Oct 02 | Americas
08 Oct 02 | Americas
08 Oct 02 | Americas
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