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Home | The Sunni Heartland | The Unexpected War | Paying the Price

Paying the Price

part: 1 2 3 4 5 6

Car jacking, Kidnapping on the Rise

"Security is a prerequisite to all things one wants to achieve in a post conflict situation," explains James Dobbins. "To the political transformation that one is about, to the economic reconstruction that one is about. If one doesn't achieve security, then whatever one spends in the other areas is ultimately wasted."

photo: Tom Bullock

Fear and uncertainty in post-war Iraq have changed Iraqi's lives. On the side streets surrounding this girls' school, parents wait in parked cars. They send their children to school, but stand guard during class to make sure it is safe.

English teachers Delahl Kamal Abuhd and Majdah Abbas say they are also afraid of the carjackers and kidnappers that plague Baghdad, but risk coming to work because theirs is the only paycheck for the family.

"We faced enough, " says Abbas "that's why we are now impatient to bear any more difficulties."

"So," continues Abuhd, "we hope now to have a better one. And circumstances don't show that."

They've already lived through three wars in 20 years - the decade of U.N. imposed sanctions also had devastating results in the 1990s: widespread poverty, a rise in juvenile delinquency, prostitution and begging, almost every Iraqi family suffered. Iraq's economy was close to collapse. This was the country Americans took over when major combat ended in May. It's the Iraq that Delahl Abuhd and Majdah Abbas expected the Americans to fix.

"Maybe it takes time, so we have to be patient. But we are fed up. Thirty-five years of, you know, patience and terrorists. We have to stay home, we don't have to say this is right, this is wrong. So we are fed up now. And don't forget we are old enough we can't...how much time we have left? How much we have? For me, how much I have left to live my own life as I wish. Nothing, I think."

Next: The children share their nightmares.

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