Against the background of US endless threats with regard to Iraq, the life in Baghdad looks quiet and hasteless. There has been no evidence testifying that preparations for the war in Baghdad are in full swing. Schools and universities are open, the central market place Shorja is humming like a beehive as usual. In the evening the city is brightly illuminated, people stay out till late at night, cinemas, cafes, restaurants and shops are open. Movements across the country are in no way restricted. In the past weeks, no extra soldier or policeman has been seen in Baghdad streets.
Three months ago, civil defence exercises were conducted in the city. One evening, hideouts made of sacks with sand appeared in the city's main roads, crossroads and near administrative buildings. People wearing helmets and carrying machine-guns were lying in the hideouts. All this lasted for several hours. On the same day, streets were cleared off the sacks and helmets, which never appeared again.
All mentioned above does not mean that the country is not ready for the US aggression. Iraq believes that the US has been waging its aggression for 12 years now. This involves US and UK aviation flights, unauthorised by the UN, in the so-called non-flight zones of northern and southern Iraq, which claim lives on a regular basis. The Iraqis describe economic sanctions as another manifestation of the US aggression. The blockade has consigned the country into poverty, dropped it behind in economic, scientific-technical terms for several decades and finally brought death to over 1.5 mln people.
President George W. Bush's statement that the US is not fighting against the Iraqi people but against Saddam Husayn sound openly cynical in this respect. The 22-mln population can hardly be saved from American bombs or the economic blockade. The statements saying that Iraq poses a threat to the United States are no less cynical. The truth is that economic sanctions have devastated Iraq to such an extent that it can hardly pose any threat to any country. Baghdad is being faced with so many problems that even after the sanctions are abolished, it will have to tackle them for many years to come. The country is suffering from an acute shortage of potable water, electric energy, its schools and hospitals are in decay. This list can be continued.
The Iraqi leadership has repeatedly declared that it had long known the Bush administration's plans to invade, split Iraq and introduce the US supremacy over it and its natural riches. But the Iraqi leaders also keep saying that Iraq is ready to fight for its freedom and independence at any cost.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg was surprised to know that the Serbs had not forgiven the alliance for bombing their country. Mr. Stoltenberg wants to now why the ungrateful people did not appreciate NATO's aggression