.contact us |.about us
news... ...
Search:
    Advertisement
Coalition may relax grip on Iraqi citizens
( 2003-09-19 15:48) (Agencies)

Amid rising American casualties and Iraqi discontent, authorities in charge of the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq are studying several measures to ease the burden on ordinary citizens, including shortening the curfew in Baghdad and withdrawing U.S. troops from selected cities.

Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, commander of U.S.-led forces in Iraq, told reporters Thursday that coalition authorities were considering relaxing the 11 p.m. to 4:30 a.m. curfew in the capital and hoped to reopen the 14th of July bridge, a major traffic artery in this city, by the middle of next month.

He gave no indication when or by how long the curfew might be relaxed but said the coalition was studying the impact of such a move on police operations and "the operating patterns of terrorists" who might take advantage of the move.

Sanchez also said the coalition was trying to determine if there were any towns and cities where the local Iraqi authorities might be capable of taking over security responsibility from the Americans. If there were any, the coalition was prepared to withdraw U.S. and other international forces from municipal centers and keep them on the outskirts to back up Iraqi police.

"We would be willing to do that immediately if those conditions existed anywhere in the country," Sanchez said. "We are looking at that right now to see if there are some cities" in which "the capacity is already in place and we'd be more than glad to begin to move out of there."

Those measures would serve a dual purpose of easing the strain on ordinary Iraqis and of reducing the visibility and vulnerability of American and other international forces.

It would also demonstrate that the U.S. military is giving more responsibility to Iraqis at a time when France, Germany, Russia and other countries are urging steps toward restoring Iraqi sovereignty.

American troops have already largely moved out of the center of the Shiite Muslim holy city of Najaf to avoid offending religious sensitivities.

U.S. and Iraqi officials expect the training of a U.S.-backed, 400-strong Najaf police force to be completed this week to provide security in the city center. Plans for the force were accelerated after the assassination on Aug. 29 of Ayatollah Mohammed Baqir al-Hakim outside the shrine of Imam Ali, one of Shiite Islam's most revered saints.

Despite U.S. insistence that conditions in Iraq are not as bad as they are often depicted, U.S. authorities are clearly sensitive to public discontent. In an interview published Wednesday, Sanchez said U.S. forces now face revenge attacks from ordinary Iraqis angered by the occupation. U.S. officials had previously dismissed the attackers as remnants of Saddam Hussein (news - web sites)'s ousted regime.

"We have seen that when we have an incident in the conduct of our operations, when we killed an innocent civilian, based on their ethic, their values, their culture, they would seek revenge," Sanchez said in the interview with The Times newspaper of London.

As of Thursday, 300 U.S. soldiers have died since the beginning of military operations in Iraq, according to the Department of Defense. Three U.S. soldiers from the 4th Infantry Division were killed Thursday in an ambush on the outskirts of Tikrit.

In addition, the British military has reported 49 deaths and Denmark's military has reported one death.

Of those totals, 162 U.S. soldiers have died in Iraq since President Bush declared an end to major combat on May 1.

Since the start of the Iraq war in March, 1,263 U.S. service members have been wounded as a result of hostile action, according to U.S. Central Command. Those injured in other ways numbered 316.

 
Close  
   
  Today's Top News   Top China News
   
+Beijing turns 850 in style
( 2003-09-19)
+China's military chief to visit US next month
( 2003-09-19)
+China, EU launch space partnership
( 2003-09-19)
+Focus: Domestic violence on the rise
( 2003-09-19)
+Call to avoid risks in real-estate sector
( 2003-09-19)
+HK Disneyland unveils landscape design
( 2003-09-19)
+Japan's war crimes stain pages of history
( 2003-09-19)
+Focus: Domestic violence on the rise
( 2003-09-19)
+Beijing turns 850 in style
( 2003-09-19)
+SARS struggle raises US$481m
( 2003-09-19)
   
  Go to Another Section  
     
 
 
     
  Article Tools  
     
   
     
  Related Articles  
     
 

+Green GIs eyed in shooting of Iraqi police
2003-09-18

+Powell: World should have stopped Saddam sooner
2003-09-16

+A look at U.S. daily deaths in Iraq
2003-09-16

+Powell in Iraq
2003-09-16

+U.S. to offer revised Iraq draft at U.N.
2003-09-16

+US raids Tikrit homes, arrests 5 men
2003-09-15

+Powell visits Iraq, praises progress
2003-09-15

+US apology doesn't appease angry Iraqis
2003-09-14

+Blast destroys US military car, wounds soldier
2003-09-14

+White House: Don't expect help in Iraq
2003-09-11

 
     
 
        .contact us |.about us
  Copyright By chinadaily.com.cn. All rights reserved