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ONE-YEAR ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL REPORT

Iraq Journals

Glimpses of life in a war-torn country by GNS national security correspondent John Yaukey and photo director Jeff Franko.

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General: Iraqi troops improve

January 26, 2005

Parties waging a polite battle to control Najaf

January 25, 2005

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January 25, 2005

Politics popular in Shiite areas

January 20, 2005

 

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Monday, June 30

Iraqi resentment will fuel rise in troop deaths, experts warn

By Greg Wright | GNS

WASHINGTON - The death toll among American and British troops in Iraq likely will rise in weeks ahead as resentment of the U.S.-led occupation grows, Middle East and military experts said Monday.

Iraqi citizens are angry the Bush administration has failed to create an elected government in Baghdad and restore electricity and water service to millions, said Aziz Al-Taee, chairman of the Iraqi-American Council.

Members of deposed dictator Saddam Hussein's Baath Party and thousands of criminals freed from prison during the conflict also threaten the troops, said Anthony Cordesman, a military and Middle East expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. And soldiers are getting caught in the crossfire between feuding ethnic, political and religious groups.As of Monday morning, 203 troops had been killed in Iraq, the Pentagon said. That number includes 25 who died from enemy fire after President Bush declared the end of major hostilities May 1.

"Unfortunately, what has happened is that the Pentagon did not plan sufficiently for the reconstruction, and it's now the guys and women who are paying for that on the ground," said Jennifer Kibbe, a foreign policy expert at the Brookings Institution.

Expect the situation to get worse.

Reconstruction is going slowly. Many areas still report water and electricity shortages, Kibbe said.

But Iraqis are upset the United States began restoring oil fields in southern Iraq before rebuilding water, sewer and electric service, Cordesman said.

"They tend to reinforce conspiracy theories Iraqis have that this is colonial exploitation," he said.

Iraqi resentment also is building because the top U.S. administrator, Paul Bremer, delayed several local elections over concern voting would worsen ethnic and religious squabbling, Al-Taee said. But Bremer's action instead reinforced the sentiment that American and British troops are a hostile occupying force.

"We should not have an American administrator with an Iraqi adviser," Al-Taee said. "We should have an Iraqi administrator with an American adviser."

Iraqi resentment should abate once work to rebuild Iraq shows results, Cordesman said. The United States also launched 23 raids Sunday in areas north of Baghdad that traditionally supported Saddam.

The raids came the same day the bodies of Army Pfc. Kevin C. Ott, 27, of Columbus, Ohio, and Sgt. Gladimir Philippe, 37, of Linden, N.J., were found. The soldiers were reported missing June 25 after they did not respond to a radio call to their post about 25 miles north of Baghdad.

Ott and Philippe had been shot.

The United States has 146,000 troops in Iraq, a country with 24 million people. Although this country is trying to stop more troop deaths, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said he expects more casualties.

And enemy fire deaths could continue over a long period because it could take five more years to stabilize Iraq, Kibbe said.

"Not one raid or five raids will deal with the problem," Rumsfeld told reporters during the Pentagon briefing Monday.

Killed in hostile fire

Twenty-five U.S. troops have died from enemy fire since major hostilities ended May 1 in Iraq, according to Pentagon records. A list of hostile fire deaths by state:

Ohio: 4

California: 3

Indiana: 2

South Carolina: 2

Colorado: 1

Puerto Rico: 1

South Dakota: 1

Texas: 1

Virginia: 1

Wisconsin: 1