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Last Updated: Thursday, 11 January 2007, 11:31 GMT
Iraqis react to US troop increase
Three residents of Baghdad respond to President Bush's plan to send more than 20,000 additional US troops to Baghdad and Anbar province to try to quell the violence.

MUHAMMED ABDEL-SATTAR, JOURNALIST, 28

I live in Karrada [a reasonably wealthy area of Baghdad that is religiously mixed but mainly Shia on the east bank of the River Tigris].

I think the sending of US troops is a good idea. But two things need to happen to make the plan work.

Iraqis waiting to receive a Falluja resident badge
US marine stands guard over Iraqi residents

First - the troops must be deployed in the right way, not just putting them in Sunni areas.

If they're just deployed in Shia or just in Sunni areas, it will create more tension.

The second element is to work on the reconciliation effort so there can be peace in Iraq.

Iraqi officials too should do more to encourage reconciliation. We hope this new strategy will be successful. My life is full of difficulties, like everyone else's in Iraq.

We have restrictions on when we can go out; when we go to work. I have to be home by seven; I can't lead my own life.

That's because of the general security situation, which affects us all.

ABDEL IBRAHIM, POLICEMAN, 24

I live in Zafraniya [a religiously mixed, but mainly Shia area in south eastern Baghdad].

I think the increase in foreign forces is the main reason behind the sectarian violence, as well as the main reason for the problems in Iraq.

Iraqi is arrested by US soldier
An Iraqi man is held against a Humvee by a US Marine

If more troops come, it will only fuel the sectarian violence.

What we need are Iraqi troops from the defence or the interior ministry to take over responsibility for security in Iraq.

The situation here in Zafraniya is really bad. Only God knows how we survive.

God willing, things are going to be sorted out one way or another. We've got used to the explosions and the shooting - only God will save us from it all.

As long as God is with us, we have no need to fear terrorists or anyone else.

ABBAS KHAFAJI, PLAYWRIGHT AND THEATRE DIRECTOR

I am the director of the National Youth Theatre Company.

We rehearse every day - despite all the problems around us.

Recently we had a children's Theatre Festival. Many people came to see it. We were surprised how many.

Under Saddam Hussein, there was no freedom in what you could say in the theatre. Everything was watched closely. Now there's nobody watching what we do.

But in the past, there used to be up to 21 shows a day in Baghdad - now there are just one or two. There are only a couple of theatre companies because the security situation is so bad.

We wish we could work every day and have the audiences we used to have - of up to a thousand people.

Now, artists stay in the National Theatre just to keep in touch and to chat about the projects they'd like to do.

Of course, we would be happy if there's better security, whether that's achieved through the Americans or the Iraqis. We want security to flourish in Baghdad.

But I think sending more troops is aimed more at solving the Americans' problems in Iraq - the quagmire they've fallen into here - rather than helping the Iraqi people.


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